The Southeastern Alaska summer commercial Dungeness crab season was “among the most successful in recent history,” the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said last week.

Preliminary information on the season, which closed Aug. 15, indicate that the summer season harvest is likely about four million pounds.

Southeast Alaska’s commercial salmon purse seine fleet is on track to hit or exceed pre-season forecasts for the region’s pink salmon harvest. Meanwhile, some hatchery chum salmon returns have been a disappointment.

This year’s pink salmon catch is only a fraction of last year’s record setting harvest of 89 million. As of the first week in August, the Southeast harvest was an estimated 15-16 million pinks.

Perhaps the biggest fish story this week is the Dungeness crab fishery in Southeast, which is seeing its best season ever. The total catch this year is pegged at nearly 6.5 million pounds for 150 crabbers who are getting about $3/pound, up 50 cents from last year. The summer dungie fishery closes August 15 and reopens October 1.

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.

Ramped up testing this summer shows Alaska fish is free of all signs of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear meltdown three years ago. State veterinarian Bob Gerlach -
The results of the testing of the Alaska fish that were just collected look very good. There is no detection of any radiation that would have originated from Fukushima. That was very good news.

The hatchery in the southeast Alaska community of Kake is scheduled to close Monday, though it remains possible that a regional hatchery group could still take it over.

Wild salmon capture continues growing in the main fishing districts in Alaska, reaching 5.5 million specimens statewide by 24 June.

Kake’s Gunnuk Creek Hatchery will be closing in a little more than a month, something Kake residents and leaders say is a calamity for the town’s economy and access to fish.

Kake Mayor Henrich Kadake Sr. said he’s been involved with the hatchery since “day one,” almost 40 years. It started as a high school project in 1973 and incorporated in 1976.

Major fishing ports and harbors critical to Alaska's economy are in the midst of designing, construction and fund sourcing in the spring of 2014, to meet needs ranging from float replacements to strengthening breakwaters.

With steady fishing vessel traffic from the Kenai Peninsula to Homer, Seward, Dutch Harbor, Sitka and Wrangell, planning, bidding and finding construction funds is an ongoing process, harbormasters said.