In Alaska, people who keep a close eye on fisheries think there's good news for future king salmon runs on the Yukon River.

This past fall, Alaska imposed tough new regulations on the by-catch of king salmon by the pollock fishery. By-catch is fish caught unintentionally in a fishery while intending to catch other fish.

The Alaska Renewable Resource Coalition said that last year, Alaska’s Pollock fishery scooped up more than 50,000 king salmon.

The new rules should cut that by-catch by more than half.

The coalition hopes it will lead to a healthy return of king salmon.

"When you put those regulations in, the fishermen tend to go and update or improve their fishing gear and that has, I think, that will definitely help the king salmon fishery in the future. They are very tasty and lovely to catch and a lot of people certainly rely on them so I think anything we can do to help improve that and make sure they get all the way up the river and meet the allotments that are supposed to reach the Canadian border would certainly be helpful," said Melissa Heure from the Alaska Renewable Resource Coalition.


King Salmon from Alaska on sale at a market in Seattle. The Alaska Renewable Resource Coalition thinks new by-catch laws will help bring the fish numbers up in the Yukon River. (iStockphoto)

Heure cautions that it could take a few runs with the new regulations in place before the king salmon numbers return to normal on the Yukon River.