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Weak Salmon Runs Expected in 2024 for Norton Sound

Chum salmon. Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Chum salmon. Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) has released their 2024 Norton Sound Salmon Management Outlook. The report details expectations for salmon runs in the Norton Sound and Port Clarence districts, including management strategies to ensure sustainable fishing practices.

Salmon Run Projections

The ADF&G projects varied outcomes for different salmon species in 2024. Pink salmon runs are expected to be average, though not reaching the record levels seen in the past decade. Chum salmon runs are anticipated to be poor, particularly in Southern Norton Sound, potentially limiting commercial fishing opportunities for this species. Coho salmon runs are also forecasted to be weak, similar to the previous year. King salmon runs are expected to be weak, and no directed commercial fishing for king salmon is planned.

Subdistricts in the Norton Sound Management Area. 

Subdistrict-Specific Information (Subdistrict Map Link)

  • Nome Subdistrict: Below-average salmon runs are expected. Commercial fishing for chum, pink, and coho salmon may occur based on escapement data. Restrictions may be implemented if escapement goals are not met. Subsistence fishing is allowed seven days per week prior to June 15 until after August 15 in the marine waters of Subdistrict 1. From June 15 through August 15, the marine waters of Subdistrict 1 west of Cape Nome are open to set gillnet fishing on a weekly schedule from 6 p.m. Wednesday until 6 p.m. Monday.
  • Golovin Subdistrict: Limited commercial chum salmon fishing is expected, with the Niukluk River counting tower providing key data for management decisions. NSEDC will operate a counting tower this year. 
  • Elim Subdistrict: Commercial fishing opportunities for chum, pink, and coho salmon will depend on buyer interest and escapement data, with no subsistence restrictions anticipated.
  • Norton Bay Subdistrict: Below-average commercial salmon harvests are expected. The Ungalik River counting tower will continue to provide escapement data. No restrictions on subsistence fishing are expected this year. 
  • Shaktoolik and Unalakleet Subdistricts: Managed as a single fishery, these subdistricts will see closures for king and chum salmon conservation. Commercial pink salmon fishing may occur in July if buyer interest exists.
  • St. Michael and Stebbins: Subsistence fishing will be open seven days per week from Pt. Romanof to Black Point. Gillnet mesh size may be restricted if necessary to conserve king salmon. 
  • Port Clarence District: No commercial fishing is expected due to market conditions and low sockeye salmon escapement. Subsistence net fishing in the Port Clarence District and Pilgrim River will close to subsistence net fishing on June 15. The Port Clarence District will reopen on July 1 to all legal gear types unless extended by Emergency Order. The Pilgrim River will remain closed from June 15 until further notice. 

Contact and Additional Information

Fishermen are advised to stay updated through Nome public radio stations and advisory announcements. The public may call the Nome office toll-free number at 1-800-560-2271, the local number of 907-443-5167, or the Unalakleet field office at 907-624-3921 for information.

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