The 2014 charter halibut catch exceeded the allocations in both Southeast and Southcentral despite projections last winter that the management measures would keep anglers within the limits for each area.
Scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks have been studying the waters in the Gulf of Alaska and found that the warmer than normal temperatures are averaging one to five degrees warmer than the September average of 55-57 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Seward Line is the long-term monitoring site in the Gulf of Alaska. It helps scientists understand the details of what is happening in the waters over the Alaska shelf.
If measured in sheer volume of fish, the Upper Cook Inlet commercial harvest of salmon was low: preliminary Fish and Game estimates show it at about 20 percent less than the 10-year average harvest. But, when price-per-pound is factored in, the exvessel value of the 2014 harvest was high at $35 million — making it the second year in a row that Cook Inlet commercial harvesters have seen lower-than-average harvests with higher-than-average values.
How do you solve a problem like bycatch in the Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries?
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council devoted hours of its fall meeting in Anchorage to that question, finally emerging with a motion calling for analysis of a number of alternatives and options.
The three alternatives to be considered include taking no action, a trawl bycatch management program for the Western Gulf, Central Gulf and West Yakutat area, and an alternative with a community fisheries association allocation or adaptive management program.
The Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association is pleased to announce that Copper River coho will be featured at two culinary events in September—Alaska Public Media’s Second Annual Sustainable Chef on September 28th in Anchorage and the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America event on September 26th in Seattle. Both events highlight regional foods, chefs and sustainability. The venues will be a unique opportunity to taste and sample this year’s robust and healthy commercial coho harvest.
Cook Inlet setnetting has been an integral part of the Kenai Peninsula’s economy for more than a century, employing hundreds of hard working families who spend their summers harvesting a living from the inlet’s robust salmon runs.
Changes effective Dec. 1 in the Pacific halibut and sablefish fisheries in the Bering Sea/ Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska will require owners of catcher vessel sector individual fishing quota to be on board, rather than a hired skipper.
The IFQ program had allowed initial recipients of catcher vessel halibut and sablefish quota share to hire a vessel master to harvest the annual allocation of IFQ derived from the quota share.
The Cook Inlet drift fleet is largely done fishing for the summer, with a catch of more than 2 million salmon.
Through Aug. 12, when fishing had ended in most areas, the fleet had landed 1.4 million sockeyes, 402,138 pinks, 65,678 silvers and 107,299 chums according to call-in estimates provided by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
United Cook Inlet Drift Association Executive Director Roland Maw said the average drifter caught about 18,000 pounds of sockeye. Most fishermen saw lower catch per unit effort, or CPUE, this summer.
A federal judge ruled Thursday to uphold the federal decision to remove Cook Inlet from the salmon fishery management plan.
Alaska has managed salmon since statehood, and the National Marine Fisheries Service removed Cook Inlet salmon from the federal fishery management plan, or FMP, after the North Pacific Fishery Management Council unanimously voted in December 2011 to officially delegate that authority to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Eligible Cook Inlet fishermen will receive a $2,000 fixed payment, plus a percentage based on their landings history from 2007 to 2011, according to National Marine Fisheries Service, or NMFS, spokeswoman Julie Speegle.
According to information provided by the National Marine Fisheries Service, an estimated 443 permit holders from Cook Inlet’s East Side setnet fishery will be eligible to apply for payments, as will an additional 96 Northern District fishermen.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced this week the approval of the first grant application to assist fishermen affected by the 2012 commercial fisheries failure in the Yukon Chinook, Kuskokwim Chinook and Cook Inlet fisheries.
The first installment of disaster relief money will soon be on its way to Alaska fishermen hurt by low Chinook salmon returns to the Yukon, Kuskokwim and Cook Inlet regions. Disasters were declared by Governor Parnell for those three regions in 2012, opening the door for relief payments from the feds. NOAA Fisheries announced last week that $7.8 million will be distributed in direct payments to fishermen for losses. The payments break out at $3.2 million for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Region and $4.6 million for the Cook Inlet Region.
A federal judge has ordered the National Marine Fisheries Service to prepare a supplemental environmental assessment for the revised marine observer program that was implemented in 2013.
No immediate changes to the program will be made, but Judge Russel Holland found that NMFS did not account for whether it would lose data quality after learning that higher costs would reduce the amount of observer days at sea by more than half compared to what was originally planned.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has stopped reporting the number of Kenai River red salmon going past its sonar counter 19 miles upriver from the mouth. The reason? Tens of thousands of pink salmon, also known as humpies, have flooded the river, making it difficult for biologists to differentiate between the two species.
Voters could be asked to decide whether to ban setnets in certain parts of Alaska under a court decision made Wednesday.
The Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance, or AFCA, filed a ballot initiative petition in November seeking to ask voters whether to ban setnets in urban parts of the state, which would primarily impact Upper Cook Inlet setnetters.
With recent culinary trends pointing to a heightened interest in domestic seafood sources, it’s worth noting that Alaska’s pristine Prince William Sound, home to more than 570 drift and set gillnet permit holders, is one of our country’s premier yet best kept secrets when it comes seafood resources.
The world’s biggest sockeye salmon run is expected to surge into Bristol Bay any day, where a catch of about 17 million reds is projected. Elsewhere, the annual summer troll fishery in Southeast Alaska kicks off on July first with a target of just over 166,000 chinook salmon.
Lots of crab fisheries are underway each summer — dungeness fishing began on June 15 in Southeast where a harvest of 2.25 million pounds is expected. The region’s golden king crab fishery will close on July 10, with a catch of about 234,000 pounds.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found that Alaska seafood is safe from Fukushima radiation, but a citizen's group plans to conduct a separate study of the water in lower Cook Inlet using a crowdsource funding site.
"The (FDA) results confirm information from federal, state and international agencies that seafood in the North Pacific and Alaska waters poses no radiation related health concerns to those who consume it," said a statement released by state health and environmental officials.