Wednesday July 27, 2022


The Alaska Department of Fish and Game changed how it counts the fish that pass through the sonar site on the Nushagak River this year.

The sonar, about 25 miles upriver of the commercial fishing district, allows technicians to get population estimates of Chinook, chum and sockeye salmon as they swim upstream toward their spawning grounds.

But in a memo quietly published in mid-June, state biologists said a recent study showed the existing method of counting may have underestimated Chinook and chum runs. And they said they hope the new methodology provides more accurate counts of the salmon species going forward — which could be increasingly important as managers grapple with low king salmon counts on the Nushagak and around Alaska.

Bristol Bay area research biologist Jordan Head said the sonar gives Fish and Game technicians a visual of the fish swimming past so they can get a count of the run.

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