Alaska restricts king salmon fishing in northern Cook Inlet

King salmon fishing on the Deshka River (KTUU)
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - State fisheries officials have closed commercial and sport fishing for chinook salmon in northern Cook Inlet for 2019.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game on Monday also announced restrictions for subsistence fishing of chinooks, also known as king salmon.

See the full closure announcement here for Sport and Commercial fisheries.

The department is restricting fishing to conserve weak stocks. Many streams have failed to see sufficient salmon return to meet department goals.

The closure applies to the Northern Cook Inlet Management Area, which includes the entire Susitna and Yentna drainages, and the Little Susitna River, which is in the Knik Arm management area.

The closure does not affect the stocked fishery at the Eklutna Tailrace -- that fishery will remain open. It does not apply to the Anchorage or Kenai areas.

Acting Fish and Game Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang says the 2019 outlook is particularly worrisome with the Deshka River king salmon forecast well below the escapement goal. Deshka salmon are an indicator stock for management of the Susitna River drainage.

In-season surveys will gauge runs and fishing opportunities may be restored.

Commercial fishing will be closed in Cook Inlet's northern district through June 24 to allow king salmon passage.

Channel 2's Kortnie Horazdovsky contributed to this report. This story previously incorrectly reported that the closure applied to the Anchorage area. It is narrowed more specifically to management units 1-6 of the Northern Cook Inlet management area, and not the entire area.

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