Data to Debate Poor Red Runs

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
14 December 2007, at 12:00am

US - New state reports could help shed light on what or who is responsible for the string of dismal red salmon runs in the Susitna Valley.

More likely, however, is the possibility the new data will only add to the long-running debate over the issue.

Larry Engel, a former state sportfisheries biologist and member of a Matanuska-Susitna Borough mayor's task force looking at the fisheries, said the new data, some of which was released this week, is a step forward.

It includes better estimates of how many Mat-Su-bound fish are intercepted by commercial fleets, and will help check the state's current method of estimating returns based on a sonar counter in the Yentna River.

The reports are part of a $1.6 million study the state approved in 2005 in partnership with Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association because of concern about the dismal runs.