Halibut prices are back in the nose bleed range, near to or topping $7/lb at major ports. 85% of Alaska’s catch has been so far with just over two million pounds left to go out of the nearly 16 million limit. The ports of Kodiak and Homer are neck a neck with halibut landings topping two million pounds each.
For sablefish, 78% of the 24 million pound quota has been landed. Both of those fisheries end in mid November.

“I would call it a great run,” Jennifer Nener, area director for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), said Tuesday as seine boats were given a three-day opening to scoop up late-arriving sockeye off the mouth of the Fraser. The overall run is estimated at 20.7 million fish but a final number can’t be calculated yet because of uncertainty about the number of sockeye holding in salt water just off the river’s mouth.

Conscientious chefs, shoppers, and restaurant goers in search of sustainable seafood just got a heap of new options to choose from. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s highly regarded Seafood Watch program recently announced an unprecedented upgrade in the listing of 21 species of fish caught on the U.S. West Coast. The sustainable seafood ranking program no longer cautions consumers to avoid these species, thanks to improvements to fisheries management in the 14 years following the collapse of the entire West Coast groundfish fishery, when many species were considered dangerously overfished.

When Alaskans fish for salmon, most are hoping to bring home those gorgeous — not to mention delicious — red fillets for the barbecue, freezer, or canning jar. When the fish are cleaned, the long skeins of pink or red eggs often go overboard with everything else.

Not so in the commercial fishing industry, where salmon eggs — or roe — have become big business. Russia’s embargo of American seafood has been a setback to Alaska’s caviar industry, but demand for the product is growing elsewhere.

Something odd is happening in Northern Pacific waters: They're heating up. In fact, it hasn't been this warm in parts of the Gulf of Alaska for this long since researchers began tracking surface water temperatures in the 1980s, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The warming began last year in the Gulf of Alaska and has since been dubbed "The Blob" by Nick Bond, of the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean. Temperatures have been as high as about 5 degrees Fahrenheit (3 Celsius) above average.

Prices are down compared to last year due to the high supply, although not nearly as drastically as buyers had hoped, Canadian processors told Undercurrent News.

The president of a sockeye processor in Canada told Undercurrent sockeye wholesale prices are currently down 20 to 30% from last year’s price due to low supply, but the price is far less attractive than buyers had anticipated.

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.

Leading companies from Alaska's USD 6 billion seafood industry have announced their support for a ban on Russian seafood imports to the United States and urged Russia to rescind its ban on US food imports, in force since 7 August.

The seafood companies believe such a move would not only further squeeze Russia's faltering economy as Russia threatens European stability, but would support America's sustainable, high-quality fisheries.

As Bristol Bay wrapped up its 2014 salmon season, with a harvest just shy of 29 million sockeyes, other fisheries in Alaska were picking up speed.

As of Aug. 12, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s preliminary salmon harvest added up to a total of 125,271,000 fish, including 72,541,000 humpies, 41,718,000 reds, 8,471,000 chum, 2,128,000 silver, and 413,000 Chinooks.

The final statewide harvest of 272,629,000 fish for the 2013 season included 219,160,000 pink, 29,257,000 sockeye, 18,578,000 chum, 5,353,000 coho and 281,000 Chinooks, according to ADF&G.

Russia last week banned imports of food for one year from the US, Canada, Europe, Norway and Australia due to sanctions they imposed due to its aggressive actions in Ukraine. That makes for a direct hit to Alaska seafood which last year exported nearly 20 million pounds of seafood to Russia, valued at more than $60 million.

Alexa Tonkovich is International Program Director for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. The biggest impact, she says, will be on salmon roe.