Tag Archives: Prince William Sound

Prince William Sound season’s catch nears 56 million fish, statewide harvest now tops 201 million salmon

Statewide preliminary data compiled by ADF&G showed an overall harvest of 201 million fish, including 124.8 million pink, 55.3 million sockeye, 17.3 million chum, 3.4 million coho and 273,000 Chinook salmon. With the addition of some 100,000 fish last week, the 2019 Alaska commercial salmon season is nearly complete, noted Garrett Evridge of the McDowell Group, who compiles weekly commercial salmon reports in season on behalf of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. >click to read<  10:47

Coho harvests still coming from gillnet fishery

Coho harvests in Prince William Sound rose to 497,000 fish this week as drift gillnetters in the Coghill district made dozens of deliveries, and the Sound’s overall preliminary wild salmon deliveries hit 55.8 million fish. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Cordova office opened the Coghill District for an 84-hour driftnet fishing period on Sept. 17 in the wake of a 60-hour period that opened on Sept. 12, while the purse seine fisheries remained closed. >click to read<  14:51

Statewide harvest, boosted by the pink catch, rises to nearly 185M fish

A promise of rain loomed for Sept. 1-3, and temperatures cooled, but with no rain leading up to the Labor Day weekend holiday, a lot of pink salmon were still ending up dying off before spawning in Prince William Sound.“With low water the fish can’t enter the streams,”,,, It happens in some streams every year, but this year has been more intense, with little to no rain and drought conditions. Still compared to where the harvest stood on Aug. 6 there’s been quite a bit of improvement,,, >click to read< 14:11

Prince William Sound humpy harvest late, compressed but strong

Commercial harvests of humpies in Prince William Sound rose to over 34 million fish through Tuesday, Aug. 20, up nearly 12 million fish in seven days, while the overall salmon harvest for the Sound rose from 30.5 million to nearly 42 million for the same period. Still the pink salmon harvest remains late and compressed for wild stocks and the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corp. run, said Charlie Russell, seine area management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Cordova. “The most likely culprit is the record heat wave and drought conditions that have affected much of Alaska,” >click to read< 12:39

Prince William Sound Pink salmon fishery back in business

Pink salmon commercial harvests are still below forecasts, but even with no prospect of rain predicted so far until Aug. 22, the catch in Prince William Sound rose from 17.6 million to 22.2 million within the past week. Preliminary harvest figures posted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game showed that 22,904,000 pinks comprised the bulk of the overall Prince William Sound harvest as of Aug. 14. The rest of the overall catch to date of 30.5 million fish in the Sound’s commercial harvest includes 5,026,000 chum, 2,526,000 sockeyes, 18,000 Chinook and 15,000 coho salmon. >click to read< 13:13

PWSAC produces wild salmon for all

As general manager/CEO of the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corp., Casey Campbell is all about helping to educate the public about PWSAC’s role in developing sustainable salmon fisheries and how they do it. The state’s hatchery program itself, notes Campbell, was started in the mid-1970s to enhance, not replace wild salmon, so that coastal communities could have economies based on salmon, many challenges notwithstanding. The Good Friday earthquake in March of 1964 changed the topography of Prince William Sound and then in the 1970s there was very cold weather, he said. >click to read<  19:58

Humpy catch hits 7.4M

Humpy harvests in Prince William Sound jumped from 3.4 million to 7.4 million, as the overall wild salmon harvest for the Sound rose to over 14 million fish. Along with the growing pink salmon harvests, area processors have received 4,386,000 chum, 2,120,000 sockeye, 18,000 Chinook and about 1,000 cohos through July 16, according to the latest preliminary Alaska commercial salmon harvest report updated daily during the season by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. It’s been a good season for setnetters and drift gillnetters, according to Jeremy Botz, gillnet area management biologist at Cordova with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. >click to read< 13:19

Prince William Sound salmon harvests jump to 5 M+

Delivery of wild Alaska salmon to processors in Prince William Sound reached upwards of the five million fish mark as of July 2, as the catch from the Copper River drift fishery alone topped one million fish from the Copper River. For Prince William Sound the overall cumulative preliminary catch data shows 2,889,000 chum, 1,438,000 sockeye, 687,000 pink and 18,000 Chinook salmon. For the Copper River drift fishery,,, >click to read< 15:58

Harvest numbers are mixed as season gets underway. Meanwhile, PWS wild salmon harvest tops 1.5M fish

Prince William Sound landings of wild Alaska salmon have been strong, as the fishery gets under way. Meanwhile sockeye production in Kodiak, Cook Inlet and Chignik is off to a slow start, fisheries economist Garrett Evridge says in his first harvest report of the season. “Year-to-date statewide harvest of sockeye is more than three times the prior year,” said Evridge, an economist with the McDowell Group, >click to read<14:08

PWS wild salmon harvest tops 1.5M fish – As more areas of Prince William Sound opened for commercial fishing, preliminary data compiled by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game put the catch at 1.5 million salmon through June 18, including some 813,942 fish caught in the Copper River. >click to read<

Early numbers show strong start for commercial sockeye salmon harvest in Prince William Sound

Commercial sockeye salmon fishing in Prince William Sound is off to a strong start, while it’s weaker in a handful of other fisheries, according to Anchorage consulting firm the McDowell Group. The statewide sockeye harvest of 696,000 fish through June 8 was more than three times what it was at the same time in 2018, according to numbers the McDowell Group prepared for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. Most of that harvest ⁠— 607,000 fish ⁠— was in Prince William Sound. Kodiak, Cook Inlet and Chignik fisheries were off to a slow start, McDowell economist Garrett Evridge said. Pink salmon numbers spiked in the second week of June, >click to read<10:38

“Northern Edge” – Alaskans at war with U.S. military over readiness exercises

The air in Cordova, Alaska, is an unlikely mix of fresh glacial air and diesel fuel fumes. On one side of the isolated town rise the Chugach Mountains; on the other, a worn-looking fleet of fishing boats float in Prince William Sound, a northern branch of the Gulf of Alaska. There are no roads in or out of Cordova, and more than half of its 2,000-plus residents depend on the salmon industry. But for two weeks this May, their way of life could be under fire — literally. >click to read<08:20

30 years after oil spill, he will never forget or forgive

Bob Day is 75 now. A fisherman for much of his life, he grew up on Alaska’s Prince William Sound. He will never, ever forget or forgive the desecration of that place he loves — or what he described as “a horror movie in your mind.” It’s been 30 years since the Exxon Valdez oil tanker slammed Bligh Reef just after midnight March 24, 1989. With its hull torn open, it spilled 11 million gallons of crude into Prince William Sound. >click to read<18:18

Photos: Remembering the Exxon Valdez oil spill 30 years later

It was just after midnight on March 24, 1989, when an Exxon Shipping Co. tanker ran aground outside the town of Valdez, Alaska, spewing millions of gallons of thick, toxic crude oil into the pristine Prince William Sound. The world watched the aftermath unfold: scores of herring, sea otters and birds soaked in oil, and hundreds of miles of shoreline polluted. Commercial fishermen in the area saw their careers hit bottom. It’s been 30 years since the disaster, at the time the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Only the 2010 Deep Water Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has eclipsed it. >click to read<16:16

Prince William Sound Tanner crab fishery gives winter season a boost

A rejuvenated Tanner crab fishery in Prince William Sound is showing positive signs of finishing out its second season in 30 years. The fishery opened for the first time since 1988 in 2017, operating on commissioners permits. A test fishery operated as an information-gathering pot fishery in the area in 2016 to a limited number of vessels. Based on Alaska Department of Fish and Game survey data, the stocks were good to go for another season this year, opening March 1 and closing either by EO or on March 31. So far, 11 vessels have landed about 16,850 Tanner,,, >click to read<09:37

One king salmon worth more than a barrel of oil to AK fishermen; Updates for 2018/19

Salmon stakeholders are still crunching the numbers from the 2018 season, which up front has two distinctions: it ranks as one of the most valuable on record to fishermen at nearly $596 million, and at just over 114 million salmon, it’s one of the smallest harvests in 34 years. A breakdown by the McDowell Group shows the sockeye harvest was the second most valuable in 26 years; the chum catch was the third most valuable since 1975. Audio report, >click to read<17:06

Prince William Sound fishermen test oil spill response skills near Whittier

At first glance, it appeared to be a carefully orchestrated aquatic slow dance, set to the tune of barking sea lions. About 20 small commercial fishing vessels were joined Tuesday by large barges and state-of-the-art tugboats to test new oil spill response equipment on Prince William Sound. Smaller craft towed “current buster” oil booms in tandem with larger fishing boats deploying skimmers that would collect oil from the boom for transfer to a barge tank. It was one in a series of training exercises by Alyeska Pipeline Service Co.’s Fishing Vessel Response Program, which has an annual budget of $8 million. “Without these fishing vessels you don’t have a response plan,” said Jeremy Robida, the spill prevention and response manager for the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council. >click to read<15:30

Alaska’s 2018 commercial salmon harvest 30 percent below forecast, yet some fisheries have boomed

The statewide commercial salmon harvest is about 31 percent below the preseason forecast, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said in a statement Thursday. The 2018 season, it said, “has been unusual.” Preliminary numbers show a statewide commercial salmon harvest of about 103 million fish so far. That’s subject to change, because the fishing season isn’t completely over yet. Fish and Game’s forecast in March projected a total statewide harvest of 147 million fish. >click to read<08:03

Slow going toward the 39M harvest forecast

Commercial salmon harvests in Prince William Sound topped the 15.4 million mark through July 31, up by three million fish over the previous week, compared to 20.4 million delivered by the same time a year ago. All five species of Pacific salmon are running below the catch rate or the same statistics week one year ago. The pink salmon harvest has reached nearly 11 million fish, compared to 13 million at this time in July of 2016, and this year’s forecast of 32.7 million humpies. Deliveries of sockeyes have reached 1.3 million fish, compared to a year-to-date harvest in 2017 of 1.4 million, and the keta harvest stood at 3.2 million fish, compared to a catch of 5.4 million chums through the same time last year. On the bright side, the Copper River district >click to read<13:47

Coast Guard Medevacs crewman from fishing vessel in Prince William Sound

Coast Guard Station Valdez crew members medevaced an 18-year-old male, suffering from a hand injury, from the fishing vessel Pacific Harvester in Prince William Sound, Thursday evening. The station’s crew, including an emergency trauma technician, treated the man’s hand while in transit to a Valdez pier where he was transferred to awaiting emergency medical service personnel for higher care. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Anchorage command center received a report from the master of the Pacific Harvester requesting a medevac for the crewmember who was suffering from a hand injury and displaying signs of shock.  >click to read<16:25

Prince William Sound commercial catch tops 3.5M fish

Commercial harvests in Prince William Sound have reached 3.5 million salmon, even as the surge in the catch in late June slowed somewhat in early July. Through June 10 fishermen delivered to processors an estimated 2,450,601 chums, 1,022,779 sockeyes, 18,461 pinks, 7,829 Chinooks and 459 silvers. Drift gillnetters in the Coghill district alone have brought in over 1.8 million fish, including an estimated 1.7 million chums, 155,704 reds, 1,959 humpies, 386 kings and 94 silvers. Purse seiners in the Montague district had,,, Statewide harvest updates provided by the McDowell Group in Juneau for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute show that through June 10 nearly 28 million salmon have been delivered to processors. >click to read<12:55

Unexplained sockeye dropoff shuts down Yakutat fishery

Add Yakutat’s wild sockeye run to a growing list of struggling Alaska salmon stocks. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game shut down set net fishermen in the Yakutat District on Thursday after fishery managers determined less than 10 percent of the historical average have returned. Weirs on the Situk River have counted only 1,700 returning sockeye this year. That’s down from an average of 20,000. It’s the smallest return on record for this time in the year and a dropoff managers did not predict. >click to read<11:03

No commercial opener for Copper River salmon fishery

Faced with a sonar count that is the ninth lowest on record since 1978, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said the Copper River district of Prince William Sound would remain closed to commercial fishing. The midday announcement on June 6 assured that the district would open to subsistence fishing on June 7. Cumulative commercial harvest to date is the second lowest harvest in the last 50 years, ADF&G said in an announcement from its Cordova office. Harvesters were advised, however, that the commercial fishery might open on short notice, should indices of sockeye salmon abundance support such a fishery.  >click to read<11:12

Alaska: Prices are up, but commercial salmon harvests and forecasts are down

As a number of commercial salmon fisheries around the state kick off this week, the outlook for ex-vessel prices is looking good. Fishing economists say between lower run forecasts and strong foreign and domestic demand, commercial fishermen will likely see higher prices this year. But that doesn’t necessarily mean commercial fishermen will earn more this season compared to last year. Andy Wink with Wink Research and Consulting said although prices vary by species and region, most fisheries should see stable or higher prices this year. >click to read<08:20

Rammed or shooting the gap? Salmon seiners clash in Prince William Sound criminal case

An unusual criminal case in Cordova that centers on a violent fishing boat collision two years ago is expected to wrap up without jail time. The June 2016 crash between seiners in a Prince William Sound cove near Whittier revealed a dark side of Alaska’s multimillion-dollar pink salmon fishery. Kami Cabana, the 25-year-old third-generation fisherman at the helm of the Chugach Pearl, faced first-degree felony assault charges for what prosecutors called an intentional ramming. Her attorney argued it was Jason Long, the Cordova-based skipper of the Temptation, who was actually at fault: He tried to force his way through a lineup of boats with a dangerous maneuver. Video, >click to read< 11:08

Boats and ships near Prince William Sound, the Coast Guard can’t hear you

If you’re on the waters of Prince William Sound, you’ll have to be extra cautious. That’s because if you run into trouble, depending on where you are, the Coast Guard says they may not hear your distress signal. The Coast Guard announced Friday afternoon that it can’t hear distress VHF transmissions until vessels reach Port Wells in Prince William Sound, specifically on VHF-FM channel 16. If you are in the following areas the Coast Guard won’t be able to hear a distress signal on channel 16: >click to read<09:28

Deadly success?

Twenty-eight years ago, the state of Alaska banned fish farming in favor of salmon ranching. The idea was simple: Catch a bunch of fish, squeeze out their eggs and sperm, mix the two together, hatch the eggs, raise the little fish in a hatchery, dump them in the ocean, wait for them to come back, and net the money. What could possibly go wrong? Maybe this: From 1985 to 1994, before the hatchery program seriously geared up in the Prince William Sound, the commercial catch of sockeye (red) salmon in Cook Inlet averaged about 5.3 million fish per year.>click to read<10:34

Boat warfare

Even in a state famous for it fish wars, a violent collision between three commercial-salmon fishing boats in Prince William Sound that left a crewman seriously injured in the summer of 2016 has attracted more than its share of attention. But then most Alaska fish wars don’t deteriorate into actual boat-to-boat combat.,,, Court documents early on, however, revealed there was a GoPro camera on board the Temptation when the collision occurred, and now some of that video has emerged. >click to read< 08:01

Average year for coho harvest in PWS, but prices are up

Commercial fishing for coho salmon is winding down in Prince William Sound. Gillneters at the mouth of the Copper River are seeing a relatively average year with about 170,000 fish harvested so far. While the harvest is typical, the price this year is not. Coho are fetching about $1.50 per pound at the docks, about double the average price. Alaska Department of Fish and Game Area Management Biologist Jeremy Botz expects fishing to stay open another week. click here to read the story 21:07

Prince William Sound’s pink salmon run shows up late, harvest is underway

Up until Monday, numbers of pink salmon returning to Prince William Sound looked like they may be a repeat of last year’s dismal run, but the fish are beginning to show up and the harvest is underway. “On Monday, the common property fishery took about 2.5 million fish. Yesterday, it’s looking about 1.2 million,” Charles Russel said, Alaska Fish and Game’s Area Management Biologist for the Prince William Sound area. “Today, initial reports say that fisheries may be close to yesterday, but we’re a little bit behind, but still catching good numbers of fish.” The sudden pick up will have seiners breathing a sigh of relief after last year’s harvest, which was among the worst on record. The federal government officially declared the run in Prince William Sound and others around the state a disaster in January. click here to read the story 08:51

Prince William Sound harvest tops one million fish

Commercial harvests of red salmon reached 378,000 fish in the Copper River drift district through June 20, as the run and harvest continued to be below forecast, while Chinook catches were above expected. The commercial harvest of sockeyes is still trending consistently below forecast, noted Jeremy Botz, who manages the state’s gillnet salmon fishery from the Cordova office of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The good news is that both reds and kings appear to be in great condition and larger than average, Botz said. Sockeyes are weighing 5.6 pounds to 5.7 pounds, and the kings on average have weighed in at about 21 pounds, compared to about 18 pounds in recent years. “They are larger than we have seen in quite a while, by close to three pounds, he said. click here to read the story 13:07