Shelikof Strait, in the Gulf of Alaska, is an important spawning area for walleye pollock, the target of the largest--and one of the most valuable--fisheries in the nation. This year, a team of NOAA Fisheries scientists went there to turn their usual view of the fishery upside-down.

Coming up this week, a look at salmon fry heading out to sea, learning where salmon come from by looking in their ears, and Petersburg's new dock gets dedicated.

Gov. Bill Walker’s office announced on May 20 that Robert Mumford has been appointed to the vacant seat on the Alaska Board of Fisheries.

“I am pleased to announce Bob Mumford as my appointee to the Board of Fish,” Walker said. “His vast range of experience in multiple fields — as a commercial pilot, hunting instructor and fish and game State Trooper — has taken him all over the state.”

Alaska’s celebrated Copper River salmon fishery is off and running, with first run kings and sockeyes paying record prices of $8 and $5.25 a pound respectively to harvesters. And in the marketplace seafood aficionados were lining up in Anchorage to pay $31.95 a pound for Chinook fillets and $24.99 a pound for fillets of red salmon.

Nowhere do people have as much opportunity to speak their minds to fish policymakers as in Alaska. And as a key decision day approaches, a groundswell of Alaska voices is demanding that fishery overseers slash the halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea.

Many Alaskans are speaking out against the more than 6 million pounds of halibut dumped overboard each year as bycatch in trawl fisheries targeting flounder, rockfish, perch, mackerel and other groundfish -- not pollock.

In the last ten years, Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands trawl fisheries have killed and discarded 62.6 million pounds of halibut as bycatch. A significant percentage of these juvenile halibut, averaging a little less than five pounds, would have migrated over time to the east, populating the Gulf of Alaska, Southeastern Alaska, and eventually all the way to Northern California. So although the bycatch of halibut is occurring far away in the Bering Sea, its effect is being felt all over Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.

A fish-filled Alaska Airlines jet touched down at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport shortly after 6 a.m. today, carrying 18,000 pounds of wild Alaska Copper River salmon — about 4,500 more pounds than the weight of a Learjet 31. A second plane carrying an additional 30,000 pounds is scheduled to arrive in Seattle around 10:20 a.m. Today officially marks the start of the salmon season that is anticipated by seafood lovers throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Grammy Award winners Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell will headline three days of fish, love and music this summer, at Salmonfest, also featuring several dozen more bands and soloists to the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds at Ninilchik. - See more at: http://www.thecordovatimes.com/article/1520emmylou-harris-headlines-salm...

Over 100 commercial fishing vessels turned out today to raise awareness and speak out against the U.S. Navy's upcoming trainings in the Gulf of Alaska. Vessels paraded from Cordova's harbor to the local fuel dock where they rafted up in a peaceful protest against the Navy's "war games." - See more at: http://www.thecordovatimes.com/article/1520commercial-fishermen-protest-...

A Navy training exercise planned in the Gulf of Alaska has sparked heated opposition in a small commercial fishing town nearby whose residents say the drills are taking place in the critical habitat of breeding and migratory marine life.

Migrating salmon and other marine animals will be harmed by explosions, sonar and up to 352,000 pounds of debris that includes toxic materials like mercury, lead and cyanide, said Emily Stolarcyk, program manager for the Eyak Preservation Council.

Coming up this week, summer salmon fishing gears up with Copper River's first opening; cannery bosses in Unalaska are handling the state's new, higher minimum wage by raising the rent they charge folks who come up and stay in their bunkhouses; and we get get a preview of the Yukon salmon season.

According to KMXT, the 82-foot fishing tender Northern Pride was enroute from Seward to Kodiak on April 21 when it caught fire and capsized northeast of Marmot Island. The three crew abandoned ship and were rescued by the Coast Guard, and the Northern Pride was believed to have sunk.

The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association held a drill conductor certification class at the MAP school in Dillingham this week.

Ronald Johansen, 22, was out camping with his brother and cousin in Chagvan Bay last week. After bagging some geese, Johansen set out alone by skiff Friday afternoon to return home to Goodnews Bay. The other two were to follow in a separate boat later. Johansen's trip should’ve taken an hour and half, and the waters outside the sand bars were calm as he set out.

Those conditions, he said in a KDLG interview Tuesday, changed quickly.

While studying Chinook salmon in the Bering Sea, researchers have found themselves in the wake of an unlikely killer.

Andrew Seitz is a researcher at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, who has spent the past several years studying Chinook salmon. He said the first sign of foul play came from satellite tags used in his research this winter. The tags gather behavior and migration data for the salmon, taking temperature and depth readings every two minutes — then relaying them to researchers by satellite later on.

Coming up this week, there's a new CEO for Icicle Seafoods, but is he there just to oversee its break up or sale? Don Young says he wants to keep legal beagles out of fisheries, and it's blessing of the fleet time in Juneau.

There’s no doubt that the recent announcement of shutting down directed fishing for groundfish will have an effect on Alaska fisheries, particularly for cod, but U.S. fisheries officials told SeafoodSource that this doesn’t mean no one can fish for cod and flatfish.

Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute officials say a major seafood trade show in Brussels in mid-April brought in high sales in the nick of time, on the eve of what are projected to be some of the largest salmon runs in recorded history.

On site sales were reported to be more than $44 million, according to the ASMI, which promotes the sale of Alaska’s wild seafood on a global scale.

Climate researchers say a giant mass of warm water in the Pacific Ocean may be responsible for unusual sightings of marine life in the North Pacific while also influencing North American weather patterns.

The years 2002 through 2005 were bad for Bering Sea pollock. The biomass plunged during those years. In a presentation in Washington, D.C., a NOAA fisheries biologist said today ongoing research points to two suspects: ice and fat, in league with each other.

Alaska U.S. Rep. Don Young’s bill to reauthorize and amend the Magnuson-Stevens Act was marked up and favorably reported to the U.S. House of Representatives by the House Natural Resources Committee on April 30. The bill, titled the “Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act,” cleared the committee with 21-14 vote.

WASHINGTON -- Purveyors of the proposed Pebble mine aren't done fighting federal, activist and state efforts to stop the massive gold and copper mine in its tracks.

This month, the Pebble Partnership will test its arguments that the Environmental Protection Agency jumped the gun in its efforts to stop the project and illegally colluded with the projects’ opponents before doing so. Meanwhile, the EPA’s independent inspector general is nearing completion of an investigation into the agency’s process.

Federal fisheries scientists will begin surveys of the Gulf of Alaska and the Eastern Bering Sea in mid-May, collecting data needed for fisheries managers to determine sustainable fishery harvest levels.

Doug DeMaster, science and research director for NOAA's Alaska Fisheries Science Center, said April 28 that this year's distinct surveys will be the biennial Gulf of Alaska continental shelf survey and the annual eastern Bering Sea continental shelf survey.

Coming up this week, Togiak herring opened up this week, direct marketing of salmon is getting a boost, and the delegation from the state's largest fishing port decline to sign a letter asking for a huge cut in bycatch.

This weekend marks the 25th anniversary of Juneau’s Blessing of the Fleet. The annual tradition honors those who participate in one of the state’s largest industries.
It’s held at the Alaska Commercial Fishermen’s Memorial on the downtown waterfront. Five names have been added to the memorial’s granite wall this year, bringing the count to 203 men and women.

A nice video the debuted in Brussels last week; check it out!

A terrific video from Ray Hilborn, produced by Steve Minor. CHeck it out and pass it along.

Each year more than one-third of all the salmon caught in Alaska begin their lives in a hatchery.

There are 31 hatchery facilities in Alaska: 15 privately owned, 11 state owned, two federal research facilities, one tribal hatchery at Metlakatla and two state-owned sport fish hatcheries.