Genetic Study to Improve King Management

This year’s fish may look the same as last year, but local biologists now know more about what’s going on underneath the skin. A genetic study conducted last year revealed that the Kings passing through East Side Set Nets are not all from the Kenai. Area Management Biologist Pat Shields…


Shields: “Prior to that genetic study, we had said that all of the harvest that occurred in the East Side Set Net were Kenai River Kings, and we knew that wasn’t true then, but we just didn’t have the data to support it. Now we have the genetics data that shows that, again you know, that 68, 69 percent on average of them are Kenai. So we can put that into the brood tables of Kenai River that we use to set escapement goals, so you ask how does it affect the management, well it affects it in a myriad of ways, in that we just have a better handle now, a better understanding of the total run of Kings that are headed to the Kenai. We can set better escapement goals with that data, and we can hopefully make better management decisions because of that data.”


Shields was reluctant to comment on whether this would allow additional openings in the fishery…


Shields: “If you look at the historical data, and now we’re saying that the East Side Set Net fishery harvests less, does that mean we could fish more… I guess some people might see it that way. You know, I tend to look at it as that it gives us better escapement data. When you know how many spawners you put into a system and then how many adults return from that, we can set better goals that have a higher likelihood of maximizing our yields or our returns.”


For more, read: Dept. Fish and Game Releases King Salmon Genetics Report.


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