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AK Cook Inlet Salmon Drift Gillnet Fishery

Current Classification on 2017 LOF

Category II
Estimated Number of Participants 569
Target Species Salmon
Applicable Take Reduction Plans N/A
Observer Coverage Observer coverage is calculated by the percentage of fishing days observed.  Observer coverage was 1.8 % and 3.7% in 1999 and 2000, respectively.  The fishery was not observed from 1990-1998, and 2001-2005.
Marine Mammal Species/Stocks Killed or Injured Beluga whale, Cook Inlet;
Dall's porpoise, AK;
Harbor porpoise, Gulf of Alaska (GOA)1;
Harbor seal, GOA;
Steller sea lion, Western U.S.

^ Number of participants estimates are based on state and federal fisheries permit data.  The estimated number of participants is expressed in terms of the number of active participants in the fishery, when possible.  If this information is not available, the estimated number of vessels or persons licensed for a particular fishery is provided.  If no recent information is available on the number of participants, then the number from the most recent LOF is used.  NMFS acknowledges that, in some cases, these estimations may be inflating actual effort.  

*Observer coverage levels include the latest information reported in the most current final Stock Assessment Report (SAR)

1 Indicates the stock or species is driving the classification of the fishery 

Note: Current classification based on final LOF, no proposed changes are reflected in this table.

Basis for Current Classification

The total annual mortality and serious injury of harbor porpoise (Gulf of Alaska [GOA] stock) in this fishery is greater than 1% and less than 50% of the stock’s Potential Biological Removal (PBR) level.


This fishery generally operates from June 25 to end of August in the Central District of the Upper Cook Inlet.  Drift gillnet fishing effort for sockeye salmon peaks in mid to late July.  Currently, drift gillnet fishing for salmon in the Cook Inlet occurs in the Central District area only for the two regular 12-hour openers[1] on Mondays and Thursdays. 

[1] Salmon may only be fished commercially during periods known as openers established by the AK Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) in-season.  Openers may last days or weeks.  The ADFG posts weekly notices of fishing openers and announces the openers on regular radio channels.  Fishing periods are often extended by emergency order during the last 24 hours of the opener

Gear Description

This fishery uses drift gillnet gear with soak times of 15 minutes to 3 hours, or continuously.  The gear is set during the day, with 6-18 sets per day. 


This fishery is managed by the AK Department of Fish and Game as a limited entry fishery with gear restrictions on the mesh and net size, and area closures.

Historical Information

Original Category (Year added to the LOF) II (1996)
Original Number of Participants 576
Basis for Original Classification This fishery was categorized as a Category II based on logbook data.  Observer coverage levels were inadequate to determine mortality and serious injury levels across all fisheries, but available data suggested that, if observer data were available, the data would likely indicate that serious injury and mortality were more than 10% of PBR for each stock with which this fishery interacts.  Data suggests that levels of mortality and serious injury would be similar to those in other Category II drift gillnet fisheries which interact with similar marine mammal species.
Past Names AK Cook Inlet drift gillnet (until 1999)
Species/stocks historically documented as killed or injured (but not currently on the list) N/A


Timeline of Changes

  • Estimated number of participants was updated from 571 to 569.
  • Estimated number of participants was updated from 554 to 571.
  • Added a superscript “1” in Table 1 after harbor porpoise (GOA), indicating that takes of this stock are driving the classification of the fishery.
  • NMFS proposed downgrade this fishery to a Category III, but retained the Category II classification based on analysis completed after the proposed rule.  One mortality of a harbor porpoise in 2000 extrapolates to a mortality estimate of 27 animals in 2000, or an average of 13.5 animals/year for 1999 and 2000, which is adequate to retain the fishery as a category II.
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 560 to 576.
  • Beluga whales (Cook Inlet) added because the stock was designated as a strategic stock in 1998.  An observer program was instigated in 1999-2000 to observe interactions with Cook Inlet beluga whales.
  • Renamed the fishery the "AK Cook Inlet salmon drift gillnet" to specify the target species.
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 577 to 560.
  • The stock of harbor porpoise was changed from “AK” to “Gulf of Alaska.”
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 554 to 577.


Updated January 15, 2017