Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has agreed to purchase $13 million of canned pink salmon from the state of Alaska. The move comes at the urging of Senator Lisa Murkowski, who says a strong 2013 harvest led to an excess of pinks, and having USDA purchase the surplus cans from state companies would help prevent a drop in the price paid to fishermen. Tyson Fick, spokesman for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, says the purchase, which will provide cans to The Emergency Food Assistance program, was an excellent idea.

Political group Bristol Bay Forever is sponsoring a ballot measure that would put additional environmental protections on the area known as the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve. The area, consisting of 36,000 square miles of land and rivers in Southwest Alaska, was established in 1972 as a way to protect the local salmon populations from the effects of oil and gas development. For any oil or gas company to get surface entry rights, they need to obtain a legislative declaration that says their activities won’t harm the fish.

The Pacific Salmon Commission announced today that it was decreasing the run-size estimates for the early summer-run and summer-run sockeye.

According to the Fraser River Panel’s Aug. 26 announcement, the panel met today and decreased the early summer-run estimate to 2 million fish and the summer run estimate to 6 million fish.

An estimated 94 percent of the sockeye are currently passing through Johnstone Strait, according to the announcement and assessments of the late-run sockeye abundance are underway.

A Juneau-based scientist recently published a study that found climate change poses a serious threat to the Tongass National Forest’s snow-fed salmon streams. On the other hand, watersheds too cold for big salmon runs may become more productive.

Nature Conservancy scientist Colin Shanley, the study’s lead author, said a few degrees of warming makes a big difference for Southeast Alaska’s fish.

Yukon River king salmon continue to show symptoms indicative of low production. Unprecedented fishing restrictions in Alaska this summer allowed over 64,ooo kings to cross the border into Canada. That was enough to surpass an escapement goal, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Eligible Cook Inlet fishermen will receive a $2,000 fixed payment, plus a percentage based on their landings history from 2007 to 2011, according to National Marine Fisheries Service, or NMFS, spokeswoman Julie Speegle.

According to information provided by the National Marine Fisheries Service, an estimated 443 permit holders from Cook Inlet’s East Side setnet fishery will be eligible to apply for payments, as will an additional 96 Northern District fishermen.

A state-backed five year, $30 million dollar Initiative is underway to discover why Alaska’s Chinook salmon production has declined since 2007. More than 100 researchers and over three dozen projects are focused on Chinook stocks in 12 major systems from Southeast to the Yukon. Early on, they’ve pinned down some findings -

After an unprecedented two extensions, the summer king salmon season for trollers in Southeast is over.

The Alaska Department of Fish & Game closed the fishery at 11:59 PM Monday, August 18 — two days later than planned.

Pattie Skannes is troll management biologist for the region.

“Yeah. We don’t usually work on Saturday and Sunday. But this was one of those openings that required a little bit of attention every day. We set it for three days thinking, This is going to be easy. But it turned out to be anything but easy.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced this week the approval of the first grant application to assist fishermen affected by the 2012 commercial fisheries failure in the Yukon Chinook, Kuskokwim Chinook and Cook Inlet fisheries.

For the last week, from Shugnak all the way down to Kotzebue, people are reporting dead fish washed up on the banks of Northwest Alaska's Kobuk River in astonishing numbers. The fish appear to have been healthy and unspawned. Some have mysterious white welts dotting their backs.

Carolyn Ballot, mayor of Ambler, said when she first heard about the fish, she suspected bears were pulling salmon out of the water, which is nothing unusual. But the huge number of fish washing ashore quickly became concerning. She wondered whether warm weather in the region was causing the die-off.