It started with the Copper River and now the harvest of Alaska’s wild salmon is growing quickly, as fisheries in the Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak , Cook Inlet, the Yukon River, and Bristol Bay start to kick in.
Commercial harvesters in the Copper River drift fishery harvested an estimated 940,000 wild salmon through June 15, and the overall Prince William Sound harvest reached 1.7 million fish.
That's according to the estimated in-season statewide harvest posted online daily by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
State biologists estimate a total of 946,000 sockeyes have been caught in Prince William Sound, including 907,000 reds in the Copper River drift fishery, where harvesters have also caught some 20,000 kings.
LOWER RUSSIAN LAKE -- What the heck’s a weir, anyway?
“It’s French for fence,” explained Alaska Department of Fish and Game Area Management Biologist Robert Begich.
Put simply, the fish weirs used by the department are typically long aluminum dam-like grates that extend the width of a river or creek to impede fish passage. Salmon migrating upstream to spawn are trapped behind the structure, which includes a small door through which technicians can allow fish to move through one at a time. This lets workers click off each fish on hand counters as the salmon pass.
Mediation talks are set to begin June 8 in Seattle regarding participation in a Marine Stewardship Council client group for Alaska salmon certification held by the Seattle-based Alaska Seafood Processors Association.
The Bering Sea is a tough, unforgiving environment. As Alaska Native peoples we have survived and flourished for thousands of years by sustainably harvesting this sea’s bounty, including the noble Pacific halibut. Our home, the island of Saint Paul in the Pribilof Islands, is located in the central Bering Sea in the heart of the nation’s richest commercial fisheries.
In Sunday’s guest column, the Central Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association referred to trawl fishing as a grave threat and an “environmentally disastrous policy” that has devastated their halibut fishery and “plundered the Bering Sea.”
As a fishery scientist who has worked for more than 20 years with trawl fishermen to reduce salmon, crab and halibut bycatch, I find the recent rhetoric around proposed North Pacific Fisheries Management Council changes to the Bering Sea halibut bycatch cap very frustrating. In particular, I hear media campaigns underwritten by environmental NGOs claiming, “It’s been 20 years since the halibut bycatch cap was last reduced,” implying that this has created a conservation issue.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.