It came as no surprise when the first price postings last week tanked for Bristol Bay sockeye salmon to $1.20 per pound, with an extra 15 cents for chilled fish. That compares to a base price of $1.50 a pound last year.

The Bristol Bay catch topped 28 million reds by Friday, 11 million more than projected, and the fish were still coming. (Alaska’s total sockeye salmon catch as of July 18 was more than 37 million and counting.)

A new project aims to show fishermen how they can save money with do it yourself energy audits on their boats. And volunteer vessels are wanted to test drive some of the technologies and methods.
Just as with a home audit to try and understand where your energy is going, how your vessel is consuming energy and finds places where it might be wasted or not used as efficiently as possible, and frankly, most fishing vessels are not very energy efficient.

The hatchery in the southeast Alaska community of Kake is scheduled to close Monday, though it remains possible that a regional hatchery group could still take it over.

Wild salmon capture continues growing in the main fishing districts in Alaska, reaching 5.5 million specimens statewide by 24 June.

Despite the name, don't confuse the Pinbone Wizard with the classic The Who song about a pinball phenom.

Although, once you see the machine in action, quickly and efficiently pulling tiny pin bones out of a salmon filet without wrecking the meat, it's hard not to walk away with the descending chord progression of the classic rock 'n roll song stuck in your head.

 

In Congress today, a bill that would allow foreign students to work in Alaska fish processing plants cleared a major committee. The provision is part of a spending bill now headed to the Senate floor. Both Alaska senators say they pressed for the return of the J-1 visa program to help meet demand for seasonal seafood processors. But the program is controversial.

 

J-1 visas are intended to promote cultural exchange. As the State Department explains it in promotional materials, it’s all about “hands-on experience to learn about U.S. society and culture.”

Halibut prices are up significantly over last year, but buyers aren’t backing off due to depleted inventory levels and also thanks to the fact that there simply isn’t much supply.

“It’s taken off again,” Trish Haaker, senior vice president of Orca Bay Seafoods, told Undercurrent News. “It’s so expensive. I think the majority of it is going fresh.”

Multiple sources told Undercurrent buyers went into this season, which kicked off March 8, with very low inventories.

Frustration is growing in the Kuskokwim region of western Alaska, as subsistence fishermen challenged managers for more openings on the river that has seen harsh restrictions this season in an effort to conserve king salmon.

Managers heard their concerns at the Kuskokwim River Salmon Working Group meeting in Bethel Tuesday, but reiterated that their efforts were for conservation, as the king salmon run in the region appears on track to be abysmal going into the 2014 season.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks has a new bone removal machine receiving patents.

Larry Kozycki invented the Pinbone Wizard in the 1990’s.  But when Kozycki died in 2001, the manager of the Geophysical Machine Shop at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Greg Shipman took over the development.  Shipman says when he is current developer but Kozycki was the brains behind the original prototype.

Salmon prices at wholesale show marked seasonal variations for both wild and farmed fish. It’s a pattern that has been tracked for decades by Urner Barry, the nation’s oldest commodity market watcher in business since 1895. The prices tend to decline through June, July, August and September and they begin rising again from November through the following April or May.

Two things drive the well-established pattern, said market expert John Sackton, who publishes Seafood.com, an Urner-Barry partner.