ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Businesses that depend on Kenai River king salmon will likely face a difficult start to the summer, as biologists say they've never seen so few fish this time of year.
The Kenai is Alaska's river of record, with the world's largest king salmon caught in these waters, the largest king salmon sport fishery in the world -- and now a new, more troubling record.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says there are very few king salmon in the water. Officials counted just 32 Thursday.
It's a phenomenon happening on many rivers in Alaska, but the Kenai is one of the state's most popular fishing sites, as well as the backbone of the local economy in the summer.
Some fishing guides would rather Fish and Game go to a catch-and-release policy, which they say would still bring in tourists eager to land a king, if only for a few minutes. But Fish and Game says there are too few fish even to allow that.