Tag Archives: Southeast

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

Southeast pink salmon catch lowest in over four decades

Southeast Alaska’s commercial pink salmon catch will wind up way below forecasts, the lowest harvest in more than four decades. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s pink and chum salmon project leader for Southeast Andy Piston said the region’s commercial catch this summer is 7.3 million fish. “And that would be the lowest region-wide harvest since 1976,” Piston said. “And our Southeast purse seine catch, and that’s the gear group that catches most of our pink salmon, is about 6.5 million which again is the lowest we’ve seen since the mid-1970s.” It’s not the lowest catch ever. >click to read<14:57

Southeast Dungeness crab fishermen will have full season in 2018

Southeast Alaska’s Dungeness crab fishery had a strong first week and will not have a shortened season like last year. The summer season for most of the region started June 15. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced in late June that crabbers would have a full two-month summer season. Fishermen caught more than 871,000 lbs. during the first week. The agency uses the first week’s catch to estimate how many crab will be harvested during the season. Tessa Bergmann with Fish and Game in Petersburg said this year’s estimate is the third highest on record. “Our harvest estimate for the 2018 season is just over 3.7 million lbs.,” Bergmann said. That is well above the 2.25 million lb. estimate required for a full season in Southeast Alaska. It will mean crabbers can keep fishing through Aug. 15. >click to read<15:08

Optimism scarce as commercial fisheries start up in Southeast

Activity is picking up in the harbors in Petersburg this week as fishing boats and tenders prepare for the start of several commercial fishing seasons, but optimism is a little scarce on the docks. Fishermen this summer are feeling the impacts of reduced catches, low forecasts and increasing competition from marine mammals. In South Harbor, Charlie Christensen is readying the Erika Ann for some tendering work in the early summer. Then he’ll switch over to seining once pink salmon start coming in. He has a long list of bad news for his fishing season, stretching back to management decisions by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for golden or brown king crab. He also points to whale predation on black cod,,, >click to read< 17:22

Halibut quotas for 2018 come in slightly lower than expected

The total allowable catch for the 2018 Pacific halibut season in the Gulf of Alaska and Southeast will be set slightly lower than what U.S. commissioners on the International Pacific Halibut Commission had asked for. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will publish a final rule in the Federal Register Tuesday setting combined charter and commercial quotas in Southeast, area 2C, at 4.4 million pounds. That’s about a 17-percent drop from the total allowable catch in 2017. >click to read<17:39

Stedman sponsors resolution to control sea otter growth

A Senate resolution seeking an increase in the number of sea otters hunted in Southeast Alaska is making its way through the legislative process. Sitka Republican Sen. Bert Stedman said the Senate Joint Resolution 13 is a way for the state to ask the federal government to do something about Southeast’s increasing otter population. “I think this is a good starting point for the conversation,” he said. “We live a different lifestyle up here, and we want to preserve it and keep it in balance. And having the sea otters virtually run unchecked,,, >click to read<19:30

Commercial fishing for Southeast red king crab to open this fall after six years

Southeast Alaska will open to commercial fishing for red king crab this fall for the first time in six years. The crab population has seen a steady increase, according to state surveys. But whether the opening set for November 1 will be lucrative is still to be seen. Joe Stratman, who is Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s lead crab biologist for Southeast, said the red crab population has been on the rise since 2013. “Basically, in the last four or five years we’ve seen improvement in legal, mature biomass estimates in Southeast,” Stratman said. click here to read the story 15:30

Southeast gillnetters set a one-week record

Commercial fishermen caught a historic amount of fish this week in a district south of Juneau. Statistics are still preliminary, but catch numbers for gillnetters in the Taku River-Port Snettisham district will likely set a record for the first full week of July, according to reports from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. ADF&G is reporting that fishermen in the district caught 170,000 chum salmon from July 2 to July 8, well above the previous record for the week of 134,000 set in 2013. So far, gillnetters have caught nearly five times as many chum salmon this year compared to last year. click here to read the story 12:25

Fishermen gear up for Southeast Dungeness crab season opening

19 year-old Jordan Lapeyri is busy pushing wheelbarrows piled high with little plastic bait jars up and down the South Harbor dock ramp. Lapeyri’s been fishing since the tender age of six. He’s done plenty of seining and gillnetting – but crabbing is something new. And he is in high spirits. “I’m feeling great! It’s gonna be fun. Good experience. I’ve never been crabbing before,” said Lapeyri. The captain of the Nolan Michael, a family friend, needed a deckhand. And Lapeyri needed a job. It was an easy match. “I wanted just to go seining but then he said he wanted to go try Dungy crabbing first before, for about 10 days, a couple weeks or so, and see how many crabs show up. If none show up, we’ll just leave. Get ready to go seining, put the seine net on,” Lapeyri said. click here to read the story 10:05

King fishery closed

Fisheries managers in Southcentral Alaska might still be wrestling with what to do about a weak return of king salmon to the Copper River, but their counterparts in Southeast Alaska have acted to protect kings returning to the Taku and Stikine Rivers. Officials with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game today announced commercial troll fisheries which catch most of the Southeast kings, or Chinook as they are otherwise called will close at midnight Sunday. Preseason forecasts for wild Chinook salmon production in Southeast Alaska are at an all-time low, a press release said.  Typically, in the Taku and Stikine rivers, nearly half the run has entered the river by the end of the third week of May; however, record low numbers of Chinook salmon are being seen in-river this year.  The Taku and Stikine are transboundary rivers, and Fish and Game runs research programs with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada to assess in-season run strength. Click here to read the story 13:13

Southeast Red and blue king crab fishery closed again

Warmer water in Southeast breeds larger king crab than other parts of the state. Southeast red kings can grow up to 24 pounds with a five foot leg span. But unlike places like Bristol Bay, Southeast’s population has not been abundant in recent years. In fact, there have been only two commercial openings in the last ten years, one in 2005 and one in 2011. That last opening saw a price of $10.66 per pound. The harvest that year was worth nearly $1.9 million at the docks. In 2005 it was $5.31 a pound. Audio, Read the rest here 10:27

ADF&G figures show commercial pinks slow to arrive in Southeast

Southeast Alaska fishermen have pulled in almost 10 million salmon so far this summer even as the pace of fishing remains below five-year averages, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. On Sunday, ADF&G reported seiners had hauled in 4.85 million pink salmon and 1.85 million chum salmon in the season to date. Gillnet boats brought in another 570,000 pinks and 1.5 million chum. While those figures sound impressive, Fish and Game has forecasted an excellent pink harvest of 58 million fish. Purse seining captures most of the pink salmon in Southeast. Read the rest here 14:46