by Lorien Nettleton ~ December 16th, 2011
Included in Governor Parnell’s proposed Fiscal-Year 2013 Budget was a line-item for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s proposed study of Salmon bound for the Susitna watershed. The item specifies $625-thousand dollars appropriated from Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission receipts. If approved, Fish and Game will begin a study of Sockeye Migration to determine at what point Susitna-bound fish split off from the intermixed stocks in Cook Inlet. Lowell Fair is the Research Coordinator for Fish and Game’s Central Region, and he says that during commercial season, the salmon in Cook inlet are intermixed, with stocks from Kenai, Kasiloff, and Susitna fisheries commingling. If funded, the project would establish a series of sample sites further north in the inlet, to see if Susitna stocks begin to separate out from fish bound for other rivers. Fair says this study will help Fish and Game establish escapement policies for Susitna sockeye, which have seen decreased numbers making it through the inlet to the river. It would also provide information to allow commercial and sport fishermen to exploit more abundant Kenai and Kasiloff stocks.