The subsistence eulachon fishery in the Ketchikan-Misty Fjords Ranger District is closed effective Feb. 25th due to expected low returns.

District Ranger Susan Howle announced the closure on Wednesday.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game also is closing state-managed eulachon fisheries in the area. Any eulachon caught there must be immediately returned to the water unharmed.

There has been no eulachon fishery in portions of the area since 2005, when the Unuk River run collapsed. The eulachon life cycle is typically a five-year period. Based on returns in the last three years, the announcement states that all eulachon returning to the area will be needed for spawning to rebuild populations. 

A type of smelt, eulachon are a small, oily fish, and are an important traditional food for Alaska Natives.