Cook Inlet Sockeye runs are surprisingly low this year. The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game is closing the personal use fishery on the Kenai River starting Monday, and the bag limit is also reduced. On the commercial fishing side, sockeye salmon harvests are the worst they've been since 1980.
"Kind of like Kings, the Sockeye are coming in less than we expected," explained Tom Vania, Southcentral Regional Supervisor for Sport Fisheries, in a live interview on KTVA's First Take at Five. "Early indications are those fish that spent three years in the ocean, that usually make up the bulk of the run, those are the ones that are really coming in poor this year. So, that was kind of unexpected."
As the Dept. of Fish and Game implements new restrictions to try to compensate for the low sockeye count, representatives say it has an obligation to share the burden between user groups.