From Sitka to Kodiak, small, independent commercial fishermen are taking an increasingly hands-on role in marketing their own fish.

Rhonda Hubbard and her husband Jim of Seward started selling and processing their own fish more than two decades ago. Since then, she’s seen more fishermen do the same.

Hubbard said that the markets many of those fishermen reach, like farmers’ markets in the Lower 48 and other small sales opportunities, are niches that traditional processors often can’t fill.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is predicting a very strong sockeye run in 2015, compared to 2014.

A total of 53.98 million sockeye salmon (range 44.83–63.13m) are expected to return to Bristol Bay in 2015. This prediction is 40% greater than the previous ten-year mean of total runs and 51% greater than the long-term mean of 32.43m, said ADF&G.

Total run forecast at 54 million sockeye.

Dongwon’s food and beverages division Dongwon F&B and US subsidiary Starkist will own a combined 12.5% in Silver Bay Seafoods, the Alaskan seafood company has just announced.

Earlier today, the South Korean conglomerate Dongwon announced that it had signed a deal to invest in Silver Bay, a fishermen-owned processing company headquartered in Sitka, Alaska.

A nice new video from ADFG about the genetic sampling and analysis done in support of the Bristol Bay fishery.

A year ago, 81% of the Bristol Bay salmon drift permit holders who responded to a survey sent out by the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) said they would like to learn more about a potential buyback of Bristol Bay drift permits. Such a buyback would reduce the number of drift gillnet permits allowed to participate in the Bristol Bay salmon fishery.

The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) will sponsor a panel discussion regarding a Bristol Bay permit buyback in the salmon drift gillnet fishery at the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle.

Panel members will include representatives from National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska’s Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the author of this report, Northern Economics.

Norton Sound Seafood Products paid out more than $4 million to 212 fishermen so far for the 2014 fishing season. This new payout is double the rate seven years ago when $2 million was paid to 120 fishermen.

Friday marked the release of $7.5 million in federal disaster assistance for commercial fishermen affected by the 2012 failure of the Chinook salmon in the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers and Cook Inlet. Both US Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich welcomed the news and spoke in support of the decision.

The state of Alaska is spending millions of dollars working on what could be called a mystery — why king salmon runs continue to decline.
The Chinook Salmon Research Initiative has many parts with the same goal, to better understand what is happening to king salmon so the resource can be better managed through both good times and bad.