n Southeast, seining for pink salmon is what fills some fishermen’s wallets. The season runs from late June to the first part of September peaking in August. As Angela Denning reports from Petersburg, so far the run is weaker than expected.
The deadline is July 28 on bids for the Southeast Alaska purse seine test fishery, to be done in pounds of salmon.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game said in an announcement July 24 that contracts for the aerial survey will be awarded to the bidder who bids the lowest total pounds, once Alaska bidders preference is considered.
The process is an effort to generate $30,000 for the aerial survey.
A robust forecast, followed by what first appeared to be a season gone bust in Bristol Bay, culminated with a run of wild sockeyes exceeding 50 million reds, and the price to fishermen sank.
"Everybody's concerned with the price," said Dave Harsila, president of the Alaska Independent Fishermen's Marketing Association, and a veteran Bristol Bay harvester. "I don't think anybody expected it to be that low, but that's what it is.
Two seafood industry trade associations have come to an agreement to transfer, effective for the 2016 season and beyond, ownership of the Marine Stewardship Council sustainability certificate for Alaska salmon.
The transfer announced July 21 by the Pacific Seafood Processors Association and the Alaska Salmon Processors Association is to be completed by Oct. 1.
The agreement will have no impact on sales for 2015.
July 17 - About a month after the purse seine season started, pink salmon started to appear in Southeast Alaska and an excellent harvest of 58 million fish is expected.
“It is early, typically by, we’re in statistical week 29 and typically we’ve only seen about on average still only about five per cent of the harvest in Southern Southeast Alaska and maybe eight or nine per cent in northern Southeast,” stated Andy Piston, pink and chum salmon project leader for Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) in the region.
Coming up this week, Bristol Bay sockeye strategically held back from hitting the nets until everyone doubted they'd show at all; Manakotak says “we can annex, too,” and getting to know our friends, the cannery workers. We had help KDLG's Molly Dischner and Dave Bendinger in Dillingham, and KFSK's Joe Sykes in Petersburg.
This year’s return of pink salmon in Southeast Alaska has started off slower than 2013’s record-setting harvest, the parents of this year’s pinks. About a month into the purse seine season but still weeks before the peak, some pink salmon are starting to show up in the commercial seine catches.
A massive cleanup effort is getting underway in Alaska, with tons of marine debris — some likely sent to sea by the 2011 tsunami in Japan — set to be airlifted from rocky beaches and taken by barge for recycling and disposal in the Pacific Northwest.
Five weeks into the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon fishery, with a preseason harvest forecast of 40.5 million fish, the estimated catch was climbing ever so slowly, as fishermen and processors waited it out.
As of July 6, biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game were estimating the total Bristol Bay harvest to date at 9.1 million salmon, and the statewide catch of salmon at 20 million fish.
Alaska's first shellfish hatcheries could be its last, given the impact of growing ocean acidification, according to a new report published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.
The research -- by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the University of Alaska and a shellfish hatchery -- found that in 25 years, Alaska’s coastal waters may not be able to support shellfish hatcheries unless costly new systems are put in place.
Hidden Falls chum salmon performance is far below the forecast and the fishery will need to be closed in order to ensure broodstock numbers. The broodstock goal is 180,000 fish for the Hidden Falls/Takatz programs (101 million eggs), Deep Inlet (24 million eggs), and Southeast Cove (55 million eggs). NSRAA secured the permit for up to 30 million eggs from DIPAC, and DIPAC has generously agreed to take up to the limit this year. So far about 35,000 chum have been harvested at Hidden Falls; the male ratio from Sunday June 28 was 68%.
A decision by the Pacific Salmon Commission to cap this summer's Alaska harvest of king salmon at 237,000 fish, down from 440,000 fish a year ago, is prompting outrage from the Alaska Trollers Association.
"This year's quota shines a bright light on a treaty agreement that is not working for Southeast Chinook fishermen and communities," said Dale Kelley, executive director of the Alaska Trollers Association.
There are less than two weeks to go before the traditional start of the summer king salmon trolling season, on July 1st — but fishermen in Southeast don’t know yet how many kings they’ll be allowed to catch. That’s because representatives on the Pacific Salmon Commission are deadlocked: they can’t agree how many king salmon are out there.
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.
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.
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.
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.