SeaShare, the Seattle-based non-profit dedicated to distribution of high quality seafood to food banks nationwide, has received a donation of 450,000 portions of oven ready pollock and hake from the At-Sea Processors Association.
SeaShare’s Mary Harmon said Aug. 25 that the APA rallied once again to generate its annual donation of the lightly breaded four-ounce portions.
Deliveries of wild Alaska salmon to processors reached nearly 236 million fish as of Aug. 25, exceeding the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s forecast by more than 15 million fish, and the pink salmon forecast alone by upwards of 26 million fish.
The humpy harvest alone stood at 166.6 million fish. Processors had also received some 503,000 kings, 13.7 million chums, 2.4 million silvers and 52.6 million reds.
With the bulk of the sockeye season over, biologists and fishermen have continued to notice smaller than average weight for one of Alaska’s most valuable exports.
Workers statewide from offices of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, or ADFG, noticed an early in-season trend of smaller-than-average fish. Throughout the state’s early season salmon fisheries, particularly sockeye and chum, fish were coming in shorter and lighter for their age.
Alaska’s wild salmon harvests rose to more than 211 million fish through Aug. 18, as the humpy harvest alone climbed to 143.6 million, exceeding the forecast of 140 million pinks.
That was an overall estimated catch increase of 35.7 million fish over the last week, including 33.2 million pink salmon. The preliminary Alaska commercial salmon harvest report is updated daily during the salmon season by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
During a Monday call with reporters, Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan says a Trade Customs Bill could help get more Alaska seafood into foreign markets.
“We’re working on, in that bill, that would dramatically increase market opportunities for our seafood. You know, Alaska is the super power of seafood, we harvest more seafood than the rest of the country combined, and that would go after the highly subsidized fishing fleets of foreign nations. And we’re encouraging the administration, in these trade agreements, to go after unfair subsidies for other fishing fleets.”
The number of chinook salmon entering the Yukon has met minimum targets for the second year in a row.
This year, 57,000 fish have been counted in the Yukon River at Eagle, Alaska, just above the target of 55,000.
Biologists the number is somewhat encouraging, but say the problem of declining chinook has not been solved. This year's number still pales in comparison to average run sizes in the 1990s which measured 150,000 fish.
Coming up this week, Bristol Bay sockeye may have been late but they're finishing in record territory; the Fish Board took action to protect Togiak fishermen; and buyers are struggling to keep up with the number of chum salmon flooding Norton Sound. All that, and the details behind the long awaited peace treaty over MSC labeling.
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.
The Chinook have reached Canada, and Alaska Fish and Game biologists say they’ve now met nearly all escapement goals along the Yukon and are confident they’ll see enough of the prized king salmon cross the border.
“Passage estimates at the sonar project near Eagle indicate that the first and second pulse of Chinook have migrated across the border and are on their way to the spawning grounds in Canada,” fisheries biologist Holly Carol said during the weekly Yukon fisheries teleconference organized by the nonprofit Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association.
Tough restrictions that shut down fishing at the start of this year’s king salmon run on the Kuskokwim River may have made a difference.
A state research biologist told a Kuskokwim River advisory group Wednesday that goals for salmon escapement -- fish that swim past nets, hooks and predators to spawn -- have been met on several of the big river’s key tributaries.
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.
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.
In another hurdle for Royal Dutch Shell’s Arctic drilling program, an ice-handling vessel playing a key role in the operation has returned to Dutch Harbor after a gash was discovered in its hull.
The Fennica, a 380-foot Finnish vessel, was damaged Friday as it headed for the drilling grounds in the Chukchi Sea off the northwest Alaska coast, with a state-certified marine harbor pilot on board handling it. The vessel is one of 29 Shell plans to send to the area this summer.