This week the Alaska Board of Fisheries will consider a proposal to expand the area where releasing northern pike back in the water from which it was caught in is prohibited.
Previously the board voted to put the rule in place for the West Cook Inlet and the Susitna drainage in 2011.
“A lot of people actually thought that applied Southcentral-wide, but in reality it only applied to those two management areas. So this really is just kind of a housekeeping proposal, making this region consistent with those,” Parker Bradley, invasive species research biologists with the ADF&G said.
Although pike are native to much of Alaska, they are considered invasive in Southcentral.
Parker says that genetic testing shows that the pike is Southcentral are distinct from those in Western Alaska and most likely came from a population in Minto Springs. There is no prior record of pike in Southcentral before the mid 1950s.
“The impact is pretty well documented. Heavy predation on salmonid populations here in the region, Alexander Creek probably being the worst case scenario,” Bradley said. “In some of these systems they’re actually able to extirpate most of the salmon populations, trout populations and native species. But it really just depends on the habitat the degree of impact they have in an area. So some places pike do co-occur with salmon in Southcentral because the habitat is not as good for pike.”