Tag Archives: Bristol Bay

When sailboats ruled Bristol Bay

One hundred and thirty-two years ago, the Bristol Bay commercial fishery began on the shores of the Nushagak River when the first cannery went into operation and canned a little more than 4,000 salmon. Within four years, three more canneries appeared on the Nushagak, and within a decade canneries were built on the Naknek and Kvichak rivers. The dawn of the 20th century saw dozens of canneries around Bristol Bay catching, processing and canning millions of pounds of sockeye salmon every summer. By 1910, Bristol Bay accounted for 40 percent of Alaska’s commercially caught salmon. Even today, Bristol Bay makes up about 40 percent of Alaska’s salmon value. Canneries are large industrial operations. In the early days, coal and steam provided the power to run complex systems of boilers, belt-driven pulleys and winches needed to butcher, cook, can and deliver salmon to the world. But when it came to actually catching fish in Bristol Bay, canneries relied upon the muscle of men and the power of wind. click here for images, and read the story 11:27

Bristol Bay fleet chilled more salmon in 2016 than ever before, according to study

The Bristol Bay salmon drift fleet sold more chilled salmon to processors last year than ever before. Bristol Bay is the world’s largest salmon fishery, and is making efforts to sell a larger portion of its catch as fillets, rather than canned. Filling those fresh and frozen orders requires chilling at the point of harvest, which more fishermen are apparently doing.  According to the BBRSDA survey, chilling bonuses averaged 16 cents per pound last season. Depending on the base price, the percentage that 16 cents represents can be too large to ignore. While most new boats come with refrigerated seawater systems installed and more are added to older vessels each year, the study found there are still plenty of skippers who are holding out. Click here to listen, and read the story 16:30

Billings fishing company offers sustainability and affordable wild salmon

Every June, Joe Echo-Hawk makes the long trek to Bristol Bay, Alaska to catch thousands of pounds of sockeye salmon. The area around the Kvichak River has hosted generations of commercial fishermen. But a growing number of operations like Echo-Hawk’s have adopted a new business model that’s beneficial to the people fishing and consumers who enjoy their catch. Echo-Hawk operates Kwee-Jack Fish Co. with his wife, Angela Echo-Hawk. The Billings-based company does more than just catch the fish. It also distributes directly to consumers as a community supported fishery, or CSF. Customers can place orders for flash-frozen salmon fillets in 10-pound increments until May 26. Joe and a crew of two or three other fishermen travel to Bristol Bay in June and fish through July to catch the salmon to fill orders in Montana, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The fish is shipped on a barge to Seattle and trucked to Billings. Kwee-Jack guarantees delivery of the fish by early September. click here to view the photo gallery and read the story 12:16

It’s good business to keep Bristol Bay protections

Regulations are in the crosshairs in Washington, D.C. these days. Those elected officials and appointed agency leaders have been clear in their goal to get rid of regulations they say are blocking jobs and economic activity. I humbly suggest that in this flurry to slash red tape, one Environmental Protection Agency protection should stay in place: the one protecting the Bristol Bay fishery in Alaska from the controversial Pebble Mine. I guarantee you the EPA’s plan to restrict mine waste disposal in Bristol Bay waters protects jobs and economic activity: those of my family and the 14,000 others who rely on our nation’s most valuable salmon fishery. In fact, we Alaskans call the sockeye salmon that return to Bristol Bay in their annual spawning runs “red gold.” Bristol Bay is the largest wild salmon fishery remaining anywhere in the world. For thousands of years, those fish have represented not just survival, but wealth. continue reading the op-ed here by Kim Williams 09:08

Alaskans should have the final say on Pebble Mine – Sharon and Everett Thompson of Naknek, Alaska,

Pebble Mine’s Canadian, would-be developers are ecstatically peddling a story that their mine’s approval is certain. A new Trump Administration, “desires to see Pebble permitted,” Northern Dynasty’s chief executive said Monday. Because of this, investors are piling on, sending the Northern Dynasty stock soaring in recent weeks. All of these outsiders have forgotten one thing: the Pebble Mine is proposed in Bristol Bay, Alaska, not the South Lawn of the White House. Bristol Bay supports the world’s largest run of sockeye salmon that sustains local communities, businesses and the regional economy. Alaskans hate the proposal despite “alternative facts” being pushed by Northern Dynasty in recent days claiming local support. Let the record show that 80 percent of Bristol Bay residents have said clearly that they don’t want the mine. Statewide, 65 percent of residents have said “no mine.” Read the op-ed here  The notion that the Trump Administration will approve Pebble is shear speculation on the part of Northern Dynasty. Read the story here 09:22

2017 Bristol Bay sockeye forecast in line with recent average

bristolbaysockeyesBristol Bay can look forward to a regular season in 2017 after two years of hard work, if the forecast is to be believed. Alaska’s largest sockeye run has blown past projections the last two years, but next year the Alaska Department of Fish and Game predicts an average harvest. “A total of 41.47 million sockeye salmon (range 31.20–51.73 million) are expected to return to Bristol Bay in 2017,” according to an ADFG report released Nov. 15. “This is virtually identical to the most recent 10-year average of Bristol Bay total runs (41.39) and 27 percent greater than the long-term mean of 32.76 million.” For commercial fishermen, this means next year’s harvest will also be average, with a commercial harvest of 29 million. “A Bristol Bay harvest of this size is 2 percent lower than the most recent 10-year harvest which has ranged from 15.43 million to 37.53 million, and 34 percent greater than the long-term harvest average of 20.52 million fish (1963 to present),” the report states. Read the rest here 15:14

Record high prices expected for red king crab fleet

red-king-crab-2432px-608x400The Bristol Bay red king crab season is moving at a fast pace, with most of the quota already harvested. While state regulators slashed quotas, a crab industry official says fishermen are seeing plenty of all species, and are expecting record high prices. On Tuesday, the fleet had landed 7.5 million pounds, for 89 percent of the red king crab quota, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Unalaska. Only 18 boats were still registered, down from the peak of 62 vessels. The season opened on Oct. 15. While the red king crab prices are expected at record highs, that’s the one bright spot for the major crab fisheries in the Bering Sea. Tanner crab has been canceled because of conservation concerns. The snow crab quota was nearly cut in half, compared to last year. Now, more fishermen than ever are expected to try to fill their pots with another species, Pacific cod, according to Krista Milani, a fisheries biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service, in Unalaska. While she’ll know more next week, she reports a “very unusual” amount of fishing boats planning to go directly into Pacific cod from red king crab. Read the story here 09:57

Bristol Bay Sockeye output blows previous seasons out of water

bristolbaypullingFor the third season in a row, the world’s largest sockeye salmon run featured above-average numbers, a late run, and sub-average prices for the fishermen. Unlike last year, however, the fishermen’s pockets so far aren’t as empty in 2016, and the overall market outlook seems to have improved. In terms of output, the summer of 2016 blew previous sockeye seasons out of the water, second only to last year’s run of 59 million. “The 2016 inshore Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run of 51.4 million fish ranks 2nd out of the last 20 years (1996–2015) and was 46 percent above the 35.1 million average run for the same period,” according to a season summary from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Along with being above average run, the 2016 Bristol Bay sockeye harvest surpassed ADFG forecasts. “The 37.3 million sockeye salmon commercial harvest was 26 percent above the 29.5 million preseason forecast,” the summary reads. “All escapement goals were met or exceeded, with a total sockeye salmon escapement of 14.1 million fish. A total of 29,545 chinook salmon were harvested in Bristol Bay in 2016.” Read the story here 17:03

Bristol Bay total salmon catch #1 in 20 years, Value tops $156m

bristol-bay-region-300x219From Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game September 9, 2016 The following is an overview of the 2016 Bristol Bay commercial salmon season. All data are preliminary. The 2016 inshore Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run of 51.4 million fish ranks 2nd out of the last 20 years and was 46% above the 35.1 million average run for the same period. This year’s Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run was 10% above the preseason inshore forecast of 46.6 million fish. The Egegik,Nushagak, Togiak and Ugashik districts were higher than the preseason forecast while Naknek-Kvichak district was less than predicted. Read the rest here 19:04

Processing upgrades possible, but humans irreplaceable says analyst

IMG_0860Processing the 20 to 40 million sockeye harvested in about a month each summer is no small feat. And while the Bristol Bay salmon fishery has come a long way from the hey-days of canneries, there are more improvements to come. Bergur Goumundsson has already seen his share of changes in fisheries. He grew up in a town of about 400 people north of the Arctic Circle. His father was a longline fisherman; his brother followed suit. Eventually, Goumundsson found his way into processing technology, and now works for the fisheries division at Morel, an international company that works in food processing. “My job is basically to analyze processes and come up with ideas that could increase the yield. To make more usable products out of the raw materials that you have,” he said. Audio, read the rest here 16:35

Bristol Bay reds late again; late run Kenai kings start strong

05salmon-fishing-sunset-in-egegik-fisheryIt’s the second late run in a row for the state’s most valuable salmon fishery, and the late run of king salmon in the state’s most popular river are showing up early in strong numbers. Bristol Bay, the world’s largest wild sockeye salmon producing region, experienced a massive late run of sockeye salmon last year, contributing with other market forces to drop the ex-vessel price of salmon to 50 cents per pound, or about half the historic average. This year, most signs point to a similarly late run. Late doesn’t necessarily mean below forecast. Last year, the historical midpoint of July 4 came and went with only 8.87 million fish harvested, about 35 percent less than the five-year average. All signs pointed to a Bristol Bay harvest of less than 20 million fish. By the end of the season, a late burst of sockeye produced one of the largest runs on record. Read the rest here 16:19

Bristol Bay fisherman lands fishery’s 2 billionth salmon

2+billionth+salmonA fisherman last week landed the 2 billionth salmon to be caught in Bristol Bay’s 133-year commercial fishing history, according to harvest statistics by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Bristol Bay’s 2 billionth salmon milestone was surpassed on Wednesday July 6. The 2 billionth salmon was among hundreds of thousands of fish caught by commercial fishing vessels in Bristol Bay that day. A symbolic salmon was selected from the multitude and awarded to longtime local fisherman Howard Knutsen, 86, who has fished Bristol Bay for decades. Knutsen, captain of the Sea Hunter 2, accepted the prestigious fish on board the Lady Helen fishing tender in the Ugashik fishing district near Pilot Point, according to local commercial fisherman Lindsey Bloom. Link 07:43

Listen to the Bristol Bay Fisheries Report July 1, 2016

kanakanak_boats_june_27Tonight a Ugashik set-netter tells us he’ll fish despite some stormy weather this weekend, Area Manager Paul Salomone updates on Egegik and Ugashik numbers, and we check-in on a Kuskokwim dilemma. The total run to Bristol Bay hit 4.5 million on Thursday – 40 million or so left to go. Fish and Game has a countdown to the two billionth salmon caught in Bristol Bay, and we’re closing in. Thursday’s catch of 475,000 brought the season total to about 3 million, and some strong Naknek-Kvichak escapements let to an opener there sooner than planned. While those eastside fisherman were busy with their nets, we heard about the nets in the Egegik and Ugashik districts, and the wind blowing at Ugashik Bay. Plus, a check on the Kuskokwim, where no buyer means no commercial fishing, despite a healthy enough run. To listen, click here  16:15

Yes, Copper River Seafoods just posted a preseason price. And yes, it’s encouraging.

img_3022__2_Up to $1.25 for “Excelent Fish” caught this week, going out fresh to a market that is hungry for the product, says CRS. Company says it intends to post a price every Sunday for the week ahead. Copper River Seafoods Bristol Bay manager Vojtech Novak posted a price for this week’s sockeye catch, and says he intends to post a weekly price every Sunday. It’s an unusual step for one of Bristol Bay’s buyers to list a price before the catch comes in. “You know, the owner of our company was a fisherman, and he feels like he’s still a fisherman,” said Novak. “His dream was always to know the price before going fishing, and we’re trying to work on that and give our fishermen a price. Before they go fish, they know what they’re getting.” Read the rest here 13:10

Efforts to launch local processors in two Bristol Bay communities may finally be coming to fruition.

levelock_1For decades, many of the processors in Bristol Bay have been large companies, with offices in Washington and parent companies in foreign countries. But two small communities are developing locally-owned processing plants.  Bristol Bay’s fishing communities have long been dependent on the companies that turn raw fish into a sell-able product and get it shipped out of the bay. The communities of Port Heiden and Levelock want to take on that role themselves and – hopefully – keep more of the decisions, and the benefits, local.  “We wanted to start a locally tribally owned processing plant so that we could create a longer season for our fishermen, also to have our fishermen fish closer to home so they don’t have to go all the way up to Ugashik to fish, and to provide them with a higher price for their fish because we’ll be doing direct marketing and have a higher quality product,” she said. “That will mean more jobs and more pay for the fishermen.” Audio, read the rest here 19:38

Bristol Bay Fishermen prep for 2016 reg changes

akirabrooke_dillingham_harborThe Bristol Bay salmon fishery will see some changes this year, from when fishermen have to declare a district and how tenders accept deliveries from d-boats, to when the Wood River Special Harvest Area can be used. Among the changes made by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the State Board of Fisheries is one that will affect most fishermen early in the season, no matter their district. This year, drifters must register in the district in which they intend to fish right from the get go. Gone is the time to test the waters in different areas before committing to one. Once a fishermen is committed, there’s mandatory wait before they can switch. That change was made by the state Board of Fisheries in December, and was widely supported by public testimony and the Bristol Bay area advisory committees. But Dillingham drift fisherman Bronson Brito was one of few who opposed the change this winter, and said in mid-May that it’ll effect how he starts his season. Audio,  Read the rest here 16:46

Bristol Bay commercial halibut fishery opens Sunday

alaska-halibut__frontHalibut management throughout Alaska relies on a mix of state, federal and international rules, and Bristol Bay is no different, with sport, subsistence and commercial fisheries here. The Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation oversees the local small boat halibut fishery, which opens May 1 this year. More than two dozen fishermen are eligible to participate, and they’ll have access to 115,000 pounds of halibut. That’s a significant increase from last year’s 74,000 pounds. Audio report, Read the rest here 09:31

ADF&G Releases Bristol Bay Update

A new forecast for the 2016 sockeye salmon fishing season in Bristol Bay says the fishery, which opens by regulation on June 1, is expected to have a run of some 46.6 million fish, with 29.5 million potentially available for commercial harvest. The figures were released on April 4 by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. For the eastside districts, fishing will be allowed using a weekly schedule that will vary by district, to balance fishing opportunity with escapement in the early part of the season, particularly for Chinook salmon. In the Nushagak District, management of the king salmon fishery will govern fishing time in the early part of the season, followed by directed sockeye salmon management as abundance dictates. Read the rest here 10:01

Bristol Bay buyers say they can handle full 2016 sockeye run

A survey of the 12 primary processors in Bristol Bay says that they should be able to handle more sockeye than are forecast to be caught this summer. But that’s not a guarantee that fishermen won’t be placed on limits. Each winter, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game surveys the main Bristol Bay processors to get a sense of how many fish they can handle. This year, the major processors, which operate 16 facilities, said they can process 35.5 million fish. That’s more than the 29.5 million harvest forecast. Read the article, Click here 12:50

A new report is a reminder of what many Alaskans already know: seafood is a big industry in the state.

2_Miles_Wiebe_PavlofBayASMI Communications Director Tyson Fick said his organization commissioned the McDowell group to update a study on the role seafood plays in Alaska, and America’s, economy. “There’s more labor income from seafood than from tourism and mining combined, which is pretty substantial, and certainly very, very important in places where seafood is primary, like Bristol Bay,” Fick said. The report says the 60,000 workers in Alaska’s seafood industry earn $1.6 billion per year. That includes the equivalent of about 4,650 full time jobs in Bristol Bay. Audio, read the article here 11:49

One permit, One person – Alaska Board of Fisheries rejects Bristol Bay permit stacking

thWZZIY211“There’ll be fewer people able to participate,” said board member Fritz Johnson, a Dillingham resident and commercial fisherman in Bristol Bay. “It’s a rational business decision, but I think the board needs to take a view of this…based on what’s best for coastal communities and what’s best for the resource.” Bristol Bay fishermen in attendance were evenly divided on permit stacking, which the board allowed in the area in 2009 but with a sunset clause for 2012. Opponents said permit stacking would consolidate the fishery into fewer hands, echoing concerns over crab fishery rationalization a decade prior. Read the article here 08:17

Bristol Bay sockeye earnings hit decade low

799px-Sockeye_@_Bristol_Bay-265x300For the first time in a decade, ex-vessel earnings for sockeye salmon coming out of Bristol Bay, Alaska, have fallen below $100 million, despite a “massive” return of 58m fish, according to a sockeye bi-annual market analysis prepared for the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association by McDowell Group. According to the report, 2014 marked the fourth consecutive year that base ex-vessel prices –the price paid to fishermen by a processor for whole fish — were above $1.00/lb, “Bristol Bay seemed to be on a roll; firing on all cylinders and producing strong earnings”. Value fell sharply, however, in 2015,,, Read the rest here 14:00

Bristol Bay fishermen to land 2 billionth salmon in 2016

Next July, a commercial fisherman will land the 2 billionth salmon caught in Bristol Bay’s 133-year fishing history. Since the inception of Bristol Bay’s canned salmon industry in 1884, its fishermen have landed 1.99 billion salmon, 93 percent of which were sockeye. Fishermen will achieve the 2-billion-salmon milestone when they catch another 9.5 million. This will happen next season, based on the Alaska Department of Fish & Game’s recently released forecast for a harvest of almost 30 million sockeye in 2016. Read the rest here 13:58

Bristol Bay fishermen petition the State to intervene regarding sockeye salmon prices.

An online petition that went live Nov. 3 had more than 821 signatures from fishermen and other supporters as of Nov. 10, asking the State of Alaska to intervene regarding sockeye salmon prices. Erick Sabo started the. He wrote it up this summer, but waited to open it up for signatures until fall had come, and nothing had changed about the summer’s low prices. “I hate to see fifty cents, I can’t believe it,” he said. “I’ve been in a state of shock and depression since I put the boat up. And even though we’re at this terrible level, I think it is bringing people together.” Read the rest here 15:06

Halibut fishermen in Bristol Bay had their best season in several years this summer.

BBEDC Regional Fisheries Director Gary Cline said some would consider this summer a surprisingly good one for halibut, given the decline in quota seen in much of the state in recent years. “It was nice to see the halibut fishery start to rebuild, comparing the last several seasons, and this year the ex-vessel value came about to be approximately $226,205 dollars,” Cline said. That estimate is for the nearshore fishery in Area 4E, prosecuted by local fishermen who access the quota through BBEDC. “So we had 17 fishermen and they delivered 45,000 pounds, roughly, which was the biggest volume since 2007,” Cline said.  Listen, Read the rest here 18:31

Bristol Bay 2015 season summary: 3rd-largest run ever

IMAG0849The Department of Fish and Game released a summary of the Bristol Bay 2015 fishing season, now noting a total inshore run of 58 million sockeye salmon. That makes 2015 a near-record-setting year, says Fish and Game area biologist Tim Sands. “It’s second out of the last 20 years – the only one that beat it was 1995 – and it’s the third-largest run of all time,” said Sands. This year’s harvest was counted at 37.6 million sockeye, which Sands say is the fourth largest ever, using records going back to the 1880s.  Read the rest here 20:52

Battle Over Alaska’s Bristol Bay Pits Salmon Against Gold

Commercial fisherman, native Alaskans and environmentalist in Bristol Bay have banded together to fight the building of the mine. Bristol Bay provides 40% of America’s wild caught seafood and $2 billion dollars in commercial fishing. It’s also the single greatest sockeye salmon fishery in the world. Right now, much of the land is protected by either the federal or state governments, but not the one piece where the potential mine would sit. Read the rest here 09:44

Bristol Bay fisherman’s lot: Either too few sockeye, or too many

Bristol Bay reds run by their own clock“Lots of cotton, lots of fish!” That’s the old Bristol Bay, residents say. We could scoff at these old sayings, thinking “What in the world is the relationship of Alaska wild cotton to the sockeye run?” There should be no kinship between these two, but I still felt a little unease upon departing the jet in King Salmon and seeing almost no cotton on the drive to Naknek. The wild cotton never materialized this season. The red salmon did, though they were late enough to make even the most seasoned fishermen a little nervous. Read the rest here 15:51

Bristol Bay fishery Tuesday July 28 update – The fish may have outlasted the fleet this year, returns are still continuing but effort is winding down.

FishinFoolJuly22 dillinghamThrough Monday, the total Bristol Bay sockeye run was estimated at 51,935,000, according to Area Management Biologist Tim Sands. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has stopped sending out daily run summaries, but managers are still tracking the activity. “It looks like we’ll break 52 million in the total run here today,” Sands said Tuesday. Although fish are still returning to Bristol Bay, buyers are shutting down. Sands said Tuesday that there were only two buyers in the Nushagak District. Read the rest here 16:52

Bristol Bay fishermen aghast at 50-cents-a-pound price for sockeye

Bristol Bay fishermen pull sockeye or red salmon from a net near Naknek, AlaskaMost Bristol Bay fishermen were shocked and dismayed when they heard last week that major buyers would pay 50 cents a pound for . That’s a throwback to the dock prices paid from 2002 to 2004, and is far below the $1.20 or more paid last year. A late surge of reds produced catches of nearly 13 million fish in the final week of this year’s run, bringing the total by July 23 to 34.5 million fish. Fish were still trickling in, and state managers, who called the season an anomaly, said the final tally should reach the projected harvest of 37.6 million sockeye. Read the rest here 15:35

Bristol Bay Fisheries Report July 17, 2015

pushed to the limitThe fishery is usually winding down this time of year, but  folks on the east side say catches – and the wind – is going strong. Area Managers Travis Elison and Paul Salomone talk about fishing in the Naknek-Kvichak, Egegik and Ugashik Districts, the port in Naknek is busy, and fishermen talk about the wind and their limits. Listen to the report here 08:15

SOCKEYE BLITZ! Sockeyes surge into Bristol Bay fishermen’s nets

After a lackluster beginning, Bristol Bay red salmon have roared to life well past their normal timing, with a July 14 total commercial harvest of just less than 23 million. The new outlook predicts the harvest will be around 30 million, which is still short of the initial forecast but far greater than the 20-year average harvest. Processors warned against the “schizoid” nature of the area early in the season, and the notoriety has proven well-earned. Read the rest here 11:49

Wait period to fish Naknek-Kvichak, Egegik districts waived, strong catches continue in much of Bristol Bay.

NaknekBeachJuly9-2The48-hour waiting period to transfer into the Naknek-Kvichak, Egegik, Ugashik and Nushagak Districts ends by regulation July 17, but it’s waived as of Tuesday for the Naknek-Kvichak and Egegik District. Fishermen can’t transfer into the Togiak District after fishing any other district until July 27. Catches declined slightly on Monday, but are still among the highest of the season with 1.8 million fish caught that day, bringing the baywide catch to about 22.8 million, with the total sockeye run estimated at 33.7 million fish. From aboard the F/V Crimson Hunter,,, Read the rest here 19:10

Bristol Bay fishery Sunday update – catches climbing, processors plugging up.

Saturday’s bay-wide catch was 2.1 million sockeye, bringing the season total to 18.7 million. The total run is estimated at 27.7 million fish so far this summer, still below the pre-season forecast of 54 million – but not a total bust according to some fishermen. Lower combine setnetter Jonah Golden said it seemed like most people were catching their quota with time to spare. “We caught our quota and got to come in and take a little nap,” he said Sunday morning. Read the rest here 21:08

Bristol Bay fishery Saturday update – Naknek-Kvichak netted 1.1 million yesterday, it’s biggest catch to date.

The Bristol Bay fishery continues to show signs of building towards either a peak or a long tail end with another day of big catches Friday. Naknek-Kvichak netted 1.1 million yesterday, it’s biggest catch to date. KDLG reports that some processors had already started letting people go because of the smaller-than-forecast run. Activity at the Bristol Bay Port is ramping up, though. “In the last 24 hours we’ve taken in 98 reefers of salmon,” said Robert “Herk” McDermott, the port manager, speaking Friday. For context, he said 139 was the most they had ever moved in a 24-hour period. Read the rest here 10:38

Summer at Graveyard Point – In a seemingly abandoned corner of Bristol Bay, a new economic model emerges and a family adapts

Corey%20Arnold%20Graveyard%20Point%20WIDE_0Last summer, after all the other fishermen had home at the end of the Bristol Bay salmon season, Corey Arnold stuck around Graveyard Point. A photographer and commercial fisherman, Arnold described the scene at the old cannery as eerie and empty. When the people went home, grizzly bears showed up, a sure sign that it was time for Arnold to leave. The bears just added to the run down, barren feel of Graveyard Point, the abandoned salmon cannery that serves as home base for about 120 fishermen for six short weeks each summer. They spend six long weeks catching hundreds of sockeye, or red, salmon near the banks. Read the rest here 16:48

Bristol Bay run nears 20 million sockeye

Yesterday fishermen in Bristol Bay hauled in their biggest catch to date – landing about 1.7 million sockeye, including 1 million harvested out of the Naknek-Kvichak district. The total run to Bristol Bay now stands at about 20 million sockeye, which is still well below the forecast … but Port Moller’s test fishery says catches the last two days are near the highest of the season. Listen, Read the rest here 17:26

Bristol Bay forecast goes bust

bristol bay fishing report 6-21-15Bristol Bay needed volume to make up for a soft market, but state biologists say there’s no reason to expect that it’s going to happen now that the season’s unofficial point of no return has passed. Not only will the run come in far less than forecast, but likely come in well less than the 20-year average harvest. Travis Elison, the management biologist for the ADFG Dillingham office, said a low run is a foregone conclusion. “My perspective is that the run is below forecast,” said Elison. “That’s pretty obvious to me.” Read the rest here 22:28

Bristol Bay fishermen hit the 2 million mark June 29 ,sockeye catch still climbing!

Bristol Bay fishermen hit the 2 million mark June 29. Baywide, the total catch was about 2.6 million sockeye as of June 29. If the projections are correct, that means there’s about 35 million sockeye still to be caught, and researchers have said they still expect the pre-season forecast to come to fruition. The Egegik harvest through June 29 was about 1.1 million reds, and the Nushagak catch was about 914,000. But fishermen in those districts said that fishing still felt slow. Read the rest here 09:17

Trident’s new fishmeal plant to go online soon in Naknek

The newest processing plant in Bristol Bay is about to go online this month. Trident Seafood’s multi-million dollar fishmeal plant should get a test run with Togiak herring. Trident agreed to build the plant as part of a 2011 settlement over alleged EPA Clean Water Act violations, and now the company, and residents, should get to see (and smell) it if works as intended. As they’re putting the finishing touches on the new plant, Trident offered KDLG’s Matt Martin in inside plant tour, and he has this report. Audio, Read the rest here 13:04

Permit buyback at Bristol Bay: Good idea, but how/who to pay for it …

At a packed Expo gathering last month in Seattle, a majority of permit holders said that favored reducing the fleet. When the question was raised generally of do you support a fleet reduction, probably 2/3 of the folks raised their hands. Then when the question was focused down to how many of you prefer a buyback, that dropped to about a third. Audio, Read the rest here 17:46

Bristol Bay’s big run may hurt prices in Cook Inlet

Bristol Bay is expecting a sockeye salmon harvest topping 40 million fish next year, including the southern Alaska Peninsula. That’s bound to challenge harvesters and processors in ensuring quality, and have a chilling effect on prices for Upper Cook Inlet sockeyes. Read the rest here 13:34

Controversial Bristol Bay salmon permit buyback support falters

Bristol Bay salmon fishermen’s 81% support of studying the economic impact of a drift gillnet buyback program in Bristol Bay broke down into a general sense of opposition during a Pacific Marine Expo discussion on the program last week. Fishermen and regulators criticized the potential program’s cost, whether it is even necessary and the uncertainty of its ability to improve the fishery. Read the rest here 11:37

Bountiful crab season underway – Red king season winds down, boats shifting to Tanners

848645_lCrabbers had caught most of their Bristol Bay red king crab quota as of last Friday, harvesting 85 percent of the nearly 10 million pound quota, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Unalaska. Read the rest here  08:30

Scary lessons for Bristol Bay from recent B.C. mine-waste accident

For millennia, humanity’s insatiable appetite for valuable metals has degraded the integrity of ecosystems that provide habitat for the world’s wildlife, and the clean water and food humans need to thrive. During the past decade, proposals have emerged to develop several mega-mines on the North America’s West Coast on some of our largest free-flowing rivers that produce much of the world’s wild salmon. Read the rest here 07:52

OPINION: A better bay: Sustaining local fishing jobs

Here’s a few more numbers though. Since the inception of limited entry in 1975, local permit ownership has declined from 1,372 to 707. This loss stems from permit transfers to non-locals, but also and increasingly from the out-migration of permit holders from the region. Read the rest here 14:47

Mine waste storage and salmon runs, what could go wrong?

In a Northern Dynasty submission to the EPA, Knight Piesold, the firm which engineered the , weighed in. “Modern dam design technologies are based on proven scientific/engineering principles, and there is no basis for asserting that they will not stand the test of time.” Well, I guess the test of time was a pop quiz and Knight Piesold flunked it. They also engineered the failed dam at Northern Dynasty . Read the rest here 11:00

The Sockeye Run to Bristol Bay has Exceeded 30-Million

Commercial fishermen continue to harvest huge amounts of sockeye as the total run to Bristol Bay has exceeded 30-million. Monday’s sockeye harvest was just over 1-million sockeye. That pushes the season total to over 21.1-million. The district that is way out front in regards to,, Read more here 09:33

Over 20-Million Sockeye Harvested in Bristol Bay – Mike Mason

The sockeye harvest in Bristol Bay has topped 20-million as the run has exceeded the pre-season forecast. Sunday’s harvest was 954-thousand sockeye to push the season total to just over 20-million.,,Now looking at the latest escapement numbers.  Read more here 11:06

Over 2-Million Sockeye Harvested Thursday in Bristol Bay – WHOO! Thats a lot of Dinners!

The sockeye harvest in Bristol Bay topped 2-million on Thursday to push the season total to 4.1-million. Over 860-thousand sockeye were taken in the Egegik District on Thursday,, Read more here 11:38:

Coast Guard conducts safety inspections as Bristol Bay fishery begins

uscg logoOver the course of nine days, the inspection teams issued approximately 303 examination decals and inspected an estimated 20 percent of the anticipated 1,200 vessels taking part in the fishery. During their stay in Dillingham, Coast Guard vessel inspectors met with fishermen to discuss regulations. Read more here  22:50

Risky business this summer at Bristol Bay: Sockeye Market Analysis

Uncertainty best sums up the mood as fishermen and processors await the world’s biggest sockeye salmon run at Bristol Bay. In fact, it’s being called the riskiest season in recent memory in the 2014 Sockeye Market Analysis. The biannual report is done by the McDowell Group for the fishermen-run Regional Seafood Development Association. Read more here 17:05

Bristol Bay Fisheries Report for June 13, 2014

Friday’s Bristol Bay Fisheries Report includes reports about the ongoing Port Moller Test Fishery, the recent BB-RSDA Annual Meeting, and a new film about Bristol Bay’s commercial salmon fishery.  The report also includes an update on how things look in the eastside districts. Listen to the report by Mike Mason  11:59

EPA Moves to Protect Bristol Bay from Pebble Mine

The Environmental Protection Agency today announced that they are using section 404 C of the Clean Water Act to halt development of the Pebble Mine in Southwest Alaska. Section 404 C authorizes the EPA to prohibit or limit projects that would have an unacceptable adverse impact on the environment. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy made the announcement during a teleconference this morning. Read more here  15:43

Seattle Times Editorial: Vigilance required at Alaska’s Bristol Bay

A major partner in the proposed Pebble mine project in Alaska has withdrawn, but do not assume the giant mine is dead or Bristol Bay is safe. OPPONENTS of a massive gold, copper and molybdenum mining operation proposed for the headwaters of Alaska’s salmon-rich Bristol Bay are not letting their guard down. [email protected] 09:39

Fisheries Economist Gunnar Knapp on This Year’s Price Increase in Bristol Bay

radio-microphoneThe sockeye harvest this year in Bristol Bay came in short of the pre-season forecast and is low compared to the harvest’s recorded in recent years. However, the base price paid to fishermen jumped up by 50-cents. KDLG’s Mike Mason recently spoke with a leading fisheries economist in an effort to explain how the base price is set and why in increased this year. Listen @ kdlg

Commercial fishermen in Bristol Bay hauled in another 53-thousand sockeye on Wednesday to push the season total to above 15.5-million fish.

The District leading all others in harvest this season is the Naknek-Kvichak District where fishermen hauled in another 24-thosuand sockeye on Wednesday, [email protected]

94-Thousand Sockeye Harvested Monday in Bristol Bay

Another 94-thousand sockeye were harvested Monday in Bristol Bay as large portions of the setnet and driftnet fleets have wrapped up their effort for the season. KDLG’s Mike Mason has the details.

Bill could open Bristol Bay along with many other areas in the U.S., to offshore drilling.

A bill making progress through the legislative ladder of the U.S. Congress is garnering some nervous attention in Alaska this month. House Bill 2231 could potentially open up the previously protected waters of Bristol Bay, along with many other areas in the U.S., to offshore drilling. The legislation is called the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act, and was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee earlier this month by a majority vote of 23 to 18. [email protected]

Over 1-Million Sockeye Harvested in Bristol Bay on Sunday

The daily harvest of sockeye in the massive Bristol Bay commercial fishery topped 1-million fish on Sunday. Through Sunday the total catch Bay-wide is over 3.2-million sockeye. [email protected]