June 20, 2008

Biologists at a Loss Over Weak Salmon Run

What happened to the king salmon run in Alaska may be remain a mystery, but what's known for sure is a popular fishery has closed because of a dismal return.

So weak is the Deshka River run that biologists said they fear it could be as much as 70 percent off its goal of 13,000 in-river spawners, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

From the opening of the first fishery in the region, things have been slow, sports fish biologists said. The Copper River near Cordova started behind schedule in May, but the run has since built to the point that it's meeting minimum goals for the number of fish in-river. Returns of kings on the Anchor and the Buskin rivers are the worst on record so far and some runs are struggling on Kodiak Island.

No one knows what happened to preseason expectations of a good season, the report said.

If you ask the question, 'Why does it appear the runs all over the state seem to be coming in late,' ... (you) probably won't get a straight answer, which is probably the right answer, regional sport fish biologist Tony Vania told the newspaper.