Sonic Tagging, an Aha! Moment for mixed fisheries
ANCHORAGE, EGAN CIVIC CENTER—Sonic tagging may help address a fisheries management problem in Upper Cook Inlet: the incidental catch of king salmon by setnetters and drift fleet fisherman who are actually after sockeye salmon off the shores of the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers.
The findings are in a study presented to the Alaska Board of Fisheries by Dr. David Welch of Nanaimo, Canada. What’s that mean for the Matanuska-Susitna Basin waters more than 50 miles upstream? It could provide a pass-through corridor for northernbound sockeye and coho, while still allowing the commercial fleet and setnetters to fish. This effort would focus Upper Cook Inlet commercial fishermen on Kenai stocks and leave the Mat-Su-bound fish alone.
“There’s only one or two Ah-ha moments in a career. And for me this is one of them,” said Mac Minard, a fisheries consultant at the Board of Fisheries for the Mat-Su Borough. “This changes everything and could be as significant as sonar was to escapement estimation years ago,” said Minard, who was a fisheries biologist for 27 years with the Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game.
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