As salmon season kicks off, some Alaska fishermen fear for their futures

On a brilliant spring morning, Buck Laukitis, a longtime fisherman from this Kenai Peninsula town, stood at the city dock watching his catch come ashore. Crew members aboard Laukitis’ boat, the Oracle, filled bags with dozens of halibut — some of the fatter ones worth $200 or more — which a crane would lift up to the dock. There, processing workers on a small slime line weighed the fish, tossed crushed ice into the gills and slid them into boxes for shipment to Canada. Harvest, unload, sell, repeat — exactly how the iconic Alaska commercial fishing industry is supposed to work. Until you ask Laukitis about the Oracle’s sister vessel, the Halcyon. Instead of fishing for another species, black cod, like it’s built for, the Halcyon is tied up at the dock. For Laukitis to make money, processing companies would need to pay $2.50 for each pound of black cod delivered to a plant. But right now, buyers aren’t paying much more than $1.50, he said. With Laukitis on the dock last month were his young grandkids and adult daughters — fishermen who run a popular brand called the Salmon Sisters. Photos, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 12:40

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