Salmon aren’t returning to Cook Inlet and the Copper River as they have for thousands of years – why? ADF&G can only speculate, because they have inadequate data on escapement and freshwater spawning productivity. That must change.
Our salmon fisheries have suffered because the resource has not been scientifically managed. ADF&G lacks basic data like how many salmon reach their spawning streams and how many smolts migrate out to the ocean. We need to count spawning salmon at multiple upstream locations to assure adequate escapement. In addition, ADF&G also needs to capture and count a sampling of out-migrating smolt to estimate freshwater productivity.
Management emphasis has been on allocating the salmon harvest, not on creating a sustainable resource. We need sensible management of our fisheries to ensure salmon runs are forever.