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Biologists expect more Cook Inlet red salmon next summer

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

Biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game are projecting a healthy 11 percent increase in red salmon harvested from Upper Cook Inlet next summer.

The projected harvest of 4.9 million reds is also well above the 20-year-average of 3.8 million fish. A total run of 6.7 million reds is expected.

However, the Kenai River run is expected to slip slightly – to 4.4 million red salmon, down from 4.7 million this year. Projected to drop even more significantly is the Susitna River, which is expected to see just 363,000 reds.  That’s an 18 percent drop from this summer.

“This puts us in the middle tier for management next year,” said area management biologist Pat Shields, according to the Alaska Journal of Commerce.

However, the Kasilof River return is expected to be up about 28 percent to some 903,000 reds.