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AK Cook Inlet Salmon Set Gillnet Fishery

Current Classification on 2017 LOF

Category II
Estimated Number of Participants 736
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 7.3 % and 8.3% 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);
Harbor seal, GOA;
Humpback Whale, Central North Pacific1;
Sea otter, South Central AK;
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 humpback whales (Central North Pacific stock) in this fishery is greater than 1% and less than 50% of the stock’s Potential Biological Removal (PBR) level.


The fishery generally operates from June 2 to mid-September in Cook Inlet.  Fishing effort occurs during the day and night in the Upper Cook Inlet; while fishing effort occurs only during the day in the Lower Cook Inlet, except during fishery extensions.

Gear Description

This fishery uses set gillnet gear with continuous soak times during the opener[1].  In the Upper Cook Inlet, the catch is picked from the net (i.e., the net is tended) each day during a slack tide; while the catch is picked from the net every 2-6 hours in the Lower Cook Inlet.  The net becomes dry with low tide.   

[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.


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 633
Basis for Original Classification This fishery was categorized as a Category II based on logbook data.  Observer coverage 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 levels were greater 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 set gillnet fisheries which interact with similar marine mammals species, especially for harbor porpoise.
Past Names N/A
Species/stocks historically documented as killed or injured (but not currently on the list) N/A


Timeline of Changes

  • Added sea otter, South Central AK
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 738 to 736.
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 745 to 738.
  • Elevated from a Category III to a Category II based on a documented mortality of a humpback whale (Central North Pacific stock), in 2005.  This single event translated to an annual average mortality of 0.2 animals/year, or 1.55% of PBR (PBR=12.9).
  • Humpback whale (Central North Pacific) added with the subscript "1,” indicating that takes of this stock are driving the classification of the fishery.
  • Reclassified from a Category II to a Category III based on observer data from 1999-2000.  Only one serious injury of a harbor porpoise (GOA) was observed, which is less than 1% of PBR, and no serious injuries or mortalities were observed in any other stocks.  Reclassification was also supported by an analysis of all interactions in the fishery from 1995-2000.
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 604 to 745.
  • Dall’s porpoise (AK) added. The 1997 SAR reported that one mortality was recorded in logbook records in 1990 and 1992.  Logbook data for drift and set gillnet fisheries were combined.  As a result, some of the mortalities may have occurred in the drift gillnet.
  • An observer program was instigated to observe interactions with Cook Inlet Belugas for 1999-2000.
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 645 to 604.
  • The stock of harbor porpoise on the list of species killed/injured in this fishery was changed from “AK” to “GOA.”
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 633 to 645.


Updated January 15, 2017