Kenai collapse

posted by Rick Rydell - 

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Alaska’s most famous salmon river is heading into August on the cusp of an unprecedented salmon collapse.

Not since 1979, when the 49th state was still battling back from a salmon crash caused by less than stellar fisheries management and a two-decade-long, cold-water regime in the North Pacific Ocean, has the Kenai River neared the end of July with so few sockeye salmon in-river.

The sockeye failure has forced a temporary closure in the commercial fishery that looks to become permanent even as anger level rises; an early end to the popular personal-use dipnet fishery that helps tens of thousands of Alaskans fill their freezers in the name of food security; a no-harvest rule in the fading fishery for the rivers once famous Chinook, and  a reduction in the sport-fish bag limit for sockeye salmon which has come fuel a good chunk of the Kenai Peninsula tourism industry.

Kenai collapse
Rick Rydell

Rick Rydell

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