Western Alaska fishermen hoping for improved king salmon runs in 2014 will be disappointed again, according to biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The department is forecasting another dismal year for kings and has scheduled meetings in Unalakleet, Shaktoolik and Koyuk to discuss a strategy for letting them reach breeding waters, KNOM-radio reported.

is norton sound red king crab in decline? That question, as well as questions about crab stocks in fisheries across Alaska, were the focus of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s meeting in Nome Monday, the first in a slate of meetings scheduled through next week.

The National Marine Fisheries Service has selected 11 groups to help determine how it will spend $20.8 million in federal funds for the king salmon disaster declarations made in 2012.

Congress appropriated the funds earlier this year in response to the disaster declaration made for poor king runs on the Yukon River in 2010, 2011 and 2012, the Kuskokwim River in 2011 and 2012 and for Cook Inlet’s 2012 salmon fisheries.

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.

An increased number of commercial fishermen on Alaska’s Lower Yukon River are expected to be using dipnets this summer to harvest chum salmon, in a continuous effort to avoid king salmon, for whom there will be no commercial fishery.

The 2014 salmon forecast for Alaska's waters is well below last year, across the board.

But for those who fish and monitor Kotzebue Sound chum salmon, the projection is not really cause for concern.

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the state's total salmon catch for 2014 is projected to be down by almost half of last year's record total. State fishery officials are calling for an all-species harvest of just less than 133 million salmon, a 47 percent decline from last year's 283 million.

Resources for All Alaskans, a group formed to combat a proposed initiative to ban commercial setnet fishing in certain parts of the state, met in Kenai to talk strategy with several local fishing groups after being dealt a blow when an Alaska Superior Court judge ruled that it could not intervene in a lawsuit over the initiative.

The Alaskan Department of Fish and Game has released their outlook for this year's salmon season, and it's looking pretty miserable. 

"The 2014 Chinook salmon run is expected to be extremely poor and could be the worst on record. Drastic conservation measures are necessary in an attempt to meet escapement objectives. This information sheet describes the anticipated management strategies for the 2014 salmon fishing season."

U.S. commercial and recreational saltwater fishing generated more than $199 billion in sales in 2012, a gain of seven percent over the previous year, with the economic impact of fishing jobs increasing three percent from 2011 to 2012, according to a new NOAA Fisheries economics report.

Further, two more fish stocks were rebuilt to target levels in 2013, bringing the number of rebuilt U.S. marine fish stocks to 34 since 2000, according to another NOAA Fisheries report also released today.

A bill that would make the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission a division of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game got an introductory hearing in the Legislature April 19, with the expectation that commercial fishermen and other stakeholders will consider the idea for possible enactment next session.

Before then the Legislature’s Audit Division will “audit” the two agencies to identify overlapping activities, entry commission duties that may not easily be merged into Fish and Game, and possible costs and savings from the consolidation.