The Alaska Department of Fish and Game have opened commercial driftnet fishing in the Drift Gillnet Area 1 of the Central District and in the Expanded Kenai and Expanded Kasilof Sections of the Upper Subdistrict today from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.
Pat Shields, commercial fisheries biologist with the Soldotna office of Fish and Game said that the optimal escapement goal (OEG) for Kasilof River sockeye salmon is 160,000–390,000 fish. More than 457,000 sockeye salmon are estimated to have passed the Kasilof sonar through July 27.
The Kenai River inriver sonar goal is 1,000,000 to 1,200,000 sockeye salmon. More than 1,172,000 sockeye salmon are estimated to have passed the Kenai River sonar through the same time period.
Due to the closure of the setnet fishery in the Kenai, Kasilof, and East Forelands Sections of the Upper Subdistrict, and considering the cumulative passage of sockeye salmon into the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers, commercial fishing with drift gillnets in the Expanded Kenai and Expanded Kasilof Sections is warranted in order to harvest additional sockeye salmon migrating to these watersheds.
Drifters are reminded that, because set gillnetting is closed in the Upper Subdistrict, drifting within one mile of the Kenai Peninsula shoreline north of the Kenai River and within one and one-half miles of the Kenai Peninsula shoreline south of the Kenai River is closed until further notice.