Tag Archives: Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Coronavirus: Bristol Bay fishermen urged to delay travel to the region until at least May 1

On Thursday, the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, which represents the Bristol Bay drift gillnet fleet, issued its first COVID-19 advisory to the fleet asking that non-local Bristol Bay Fishermen delay travel to the region until at least May 1 and listed the state mandated quarantine protocol for anyone who does travel to Alaska from out of state.,, Since Alaska enacted a limited entry permit system, the share of permits held locally by Bristol Bay residents has declined by more than 50 percent, according to a 2017 University of Alaska Fairbanks analysis. Many drift fishermen make the trip each summer from Washington, Oregon or California. >click to read< 07:49

Humpy run into Price William Sound forecast is above average

Forecasts for the 2020 fishing season show a robust run of pink and chum salmon into Price William Sound, along with a healthy run of kings and below average return of wild and hatchery salmon to the Copper River. The area forecast released by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game on Tuesday, Jan. 28, also put wild sockeye returns to Coghill Lake at slightly below average. >click to read< 09:20

Rockfish closure another blow to Southeast fleet

Southeast Alaska fishermen won’t get to target yelloweye rockfish in 2020, and that’s another notch in tightening belt for the area fleet. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the full-year closure on Dec. 31, spanning both the commercial and recreational sectors. Targeted fishing for all nonpelagic rockfish, which includes species like yelloweye, quillback, tiger and china rockfish, will be closed across the region due to declining populations of the fish. >click to read< 11:00

GHL down for Pollock pelagic trawl fishery

A directed fishery for walleye pollock using pelagic trawl gear in the Prince William Sound registration area will open at noon Jan. 20 with a guideline harvest level 2,988 metric tons, down 684 metric tons from last year’s quota. Registration for this fishery will be issued only to individuals who possess a 2019 miscellaneous saltwater finfish permit card for trawl gear. The deadline for registration is 5 p.m. Jan. 13. >click to read< 09:01

As the marine mammal takes a bite out of the fishing industry, A modest proposal for hunting sea otters

Phil Doherty doesn’t think sea otters are cute. Sure, he can see why tourists might get a kick out of watching the fuzzy critters reclining in waves with clams on their bellies, fixing to chow down. But to Doherty, co-director of the Southeast Alaska Regional Dive Fisheries Association and the commercial fisherman he represents, those cuddly otters are eating their bottom line. >click to read< 15:07

Fishermen participating in Alaska’s largest herring fishery have a huge quota to fill next year. But the primary customer isn’t buying.

“I’m a recovering herring fisherman,” joked Bruce Schactler. Schactler, who lives in Kodiak, has been fishing in Togiak off and on since 1985. But he won’t be returning this summer. “The market is so bad that Trident will not be buying fish this year, so we’re not going. Every ton that is frozen and shipped off to Japan is a loser. There’s no money being made,” he said. >click to read< 07:06

2019 salmon season fell short in some areas

As nearly every commercial salmon fisherman in Upper Cook Inlet can tell you, the 2019 season fell far short in every department. The commercial harvest came in at about 2.1 million sockeye, 37% below the most recent 10-year average, and the total run, forecast for 6 million sockeye, fell 13% short,,, Lower Cook Inlet, meanwhile, had a better season with a commercial harvest of 2.4 million fish of all species. >click to read< 18:07

Southeast Alaska fisherman pleads guilty to illegally harvesting $35,000 worth of sea cucumbers

A Southeast Alaska commercial fisherman has been convicted for his role in illegally harvesting nearly 7,500 pounds of sea cucumbers near Prince of Wales Island. Jonathan McGraw Jr., of Naukati Bay, pleaded guilty to fishing in closed waters and providing false information on a harvest report. Both are misdemeanors. In 2018, McGraw and two others were charged with illegally fishing in a scientific preserve near Whale Pass. That area has been closed to fishing since the 1980s. >click to read<  21:13

Opposite forecasts for SE pinks, Bristol Bay reds; Cook Inlet busts

Biologists are forecasting another weak pink salmon year for Southeast and another strong sockeye salmon run for Bristol Bay coming in the 2020 season. The forecasts for Southeast Alaska and for Bristol Bay, released in late November, continue the trends of the past few years in both areas. In Southeast, biologists are forecasting about 12 million fish to be harvested, with a range of 7 million to 19 million fish. >click to read< 11:51

Bristol Bay red king crab fishery trends toward closure as fleet reports slow fishing, aging stock

This season, the 54-vessel fleet has reported slow, spotty fishing, and the stock continues to show signs of decline. The current quota — 3.8 million pounds — is the lowest since the fishery was rationalized in 2005. “A lot of boats had to scratch their way through the season,” said Ethan Nichols, assistant area management biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. “There were only one to two large schools of legal males that were reported to us from captains out on the grounds. So the season was definitely a bit of a grind.” >click to read< 20:18

2019 PWS salmon harvest worth nearly $115 M, Statewide, 206.9 million fish brought in $657.6 M

Preliminary harvest figures compiled by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game put the value of the statewide commercial catch of 206.9 million salmon at $657.6 million, including $114.9 million for the 57.8 million fish caught in Prince William Sound. State biologists estimated the Prince William Sound harvest to include 18,399 Chinooks, averaging 18.42 pounds each, garnering fishermen an average,,, >click to read< 13:58

Solutions sought to ease conflicts over Southeast Alaska’s rising sea otter populations

A hundred years ago, the fur trade wiped out sea otters in Southeast Alaska. They were reintroduced in the 1960s with 412 animals brought from Amchitka Island and Prince William Sound. Since then, they’ve done really well. The last official estimate in 2012 shows that there are more than 25,000 of them. But their success has changed their environment as they’re a keystone species. “Many of those effects are really disruptive to the existing, you know, commercial activities like shell fisheries that have developed.” >click to read< 07:57

Red King Crab Quota Down 12% As Stock Trends ‘Toward Fishery Closure Thresholds’

Commercial fishing opens Tuesday, Oct. 15 for Bristol Bay red king crab. This season, the declining population has forced managers to set the total allowable catch (TAC) at 3.8 million pounds. That number is 12 percent lower than last year, as well as the lowest since the fishery was rationalized in 2005. Even if fishermen catch all of the TAC, it’ll be the smallest harvest since 1982. “This is not good news,” said biologist Ben Daly of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. “We’re trending toward fishery closure thresholds.” >click to read< 15:11

The failed ban

The coming year marks the 30th anniversary of the state of Alaska’s attempt to control world salmon markets by banning fish farming in the 49th state. It would seem an appropriate time to review what has happened since then: Farmed salmon production, a meager 271,000 tonnes per year at the time of the 1990 ban, has grown to more than 2.2 million tonnes per year – a more than eight-fold increase. Bristol Bay sockeye salmon that spent the late 1980s trading near an average, annual price of $2 per pound ($4.24 per pound in 2019 dollars, according to the federal inflation calculator) is now worth $1.35 per pound or about 32 percent of its pre-ban value , according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game figures. >click to read< 13:00

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

Humpy catch ends, coho opener wait for rain

“We still haven’t gotten a lot of rain, so we’re tracking behind in escapement and the (coho) commercial harvest is below anticipated,” said Jeremy Botz, gillnet area management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Cordova. “We had been fishing once a week and now we have been closed for more than a week.” The last opener for coho salmon was Sept. 2. >click to read< 12:59

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

Longtime lobbyist accused of fishing over the line

A fishing industry lobbyist has had his 41-ton salmon catch confiscated for allegedly fishing in closed waters near Sitka. Bob Thorstenson Jr., a former executive director of Southeast Alaska Seiners Association, was commercial fishing Sunday in Crawfish Inlet when wildlife troopers say he came within 200 yards of a stream. Alaska Department of Fish and Game area biologist Eric Coonradt told CoastAlaska that drought conditions have made the native pink salmon especially vulnerable near freshwater streams. >click to read< 21:41

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

The Associated Press reported erroneously,,, Correction: Alaska-Salmon Hatcheries story

In a story Aug. 11 (Scientists warn of too many pink salmon in North Pacific) >click< about Alaska salmon hatcheries, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Alaska salmon hatcheries release 1.8 billion pink salmon fry annually. Total Alaska hatchery releases of all salmon and rainbow trout in 2018 was 1.8 billion fish, with pink salmon accounting for more than 1.05 billion. A corrected version of the story is below: Pink salmon numbers may threaten other North Pacific species >click to read<  13:47

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

Sockeye harvests wind down; pinks and chums slow going

As Alaska’s salmon fisheries transition away from sockeye and kings to pinks and chums, the harvest results so far look mixed. May, June and July are the main harvest months for sockeye salmon across Alaska, beginning in Prince William Sound and reaching a crescendo in Bristol Bay throughout July. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game forecasted a total sockeye harvest of 41.7 million sockeye salmon for the 2019 season. Some sockeye are still being harvested, but as of Aug. 11, the count stood at 53.7 million sockeye, more than 43.1 million of which came from Bristol Bay. Bristol Bay’s harvest blows away even the large harvest from 2018 of 41.7 million,,, >click to read< 10:07

Scientists warn of too many pink salmon in North Pacific

Biological oceanographer Sonia Batten experienced her lightbulb moment on the perils of too many salmon three years ago as she prepared a talk on the most important North Pacific seafood you’ll never see on a plate, zooplankton. Zooplanktons nourish everything from juvenile salmon to seabirds to giant whales. But as Batten examined 15 years of data collected by instruments on container ships near the Aleutian Islands, she noticed a trend: zooplankton was abundant in even-number years and less abundant in odd-number years. Something was stripping a basic building block in the food web every other year. And just one predator fit that profile. >click to read< 15:47

Coho salmon closures on tap for Southeast commercial trollers

Commercial salmon trollers in Southeast can expect a region-wide fishing closure for coho salmon in August. One part of the region is already being shut down because of low coho numbers. But a second king salmon opening is likely to keep the fleet on the water. Trollers have been targeting coho and chum salmon since the end of the five day opening for king salmon at the beginning of July. >click to read<  21:29

Bristol Bay sockeye harvest blowing away forecast once again

Bristol Bay is approaching the record for sockeye salmon harvest once again. As of July 21, fishermen in Bristol Bay’s five districts had harvested just more than 42 million salmon. More than 41.5 million of those were sockeye, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game; that’s already more than the 41.3 million sockeye harvested in 2018, the second-largest harvest on record. The largest harvest on record, which occurred in 1995, still stands at 44.2 million sockeye. >click to read< 09:40

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

Cook Inlet salmon fisheries into full swing after rough 2018

Upper Cook Inlet salmon fisheries are now in full swing, with promising sockeye returns finally showing up. East Side setnetters in the sections north of Kasilof opened for their first period July 8, and the personal-use dipnet fishery on the Kenai River opened July 10. They join the drift gillnet fleet and other Upper Cook Inlet setnetters as well as the inriver sportfishery and the Kasilof River personal-use fishery. As of July 8, nearly 80,000 sockeye salmon had passed the sonar in the Kenai River. That’s more than double the number that had passed through on the previous date in 2018, when only 37,513 had passed, according to the Alaska Departm,,, >click to read< 15:31

‘Unheard of’ flood of pinks surprises at Alaska Peninsula

The biggest fish story for Alaska’s salmon season so far is the early plug of pinks at the South Alaska Peninsula. By June 28, more than 8 million pink salmon were taken there out of a statewide catch of just more than 8.5 million. Previously, a catch of 2.5 million pinks at the South Peninsula in 2016 was the record for June and last year’s catch was just 1.7 million Managers at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game at Sand Point said at this pace, this month’s catch could near 10 million pinks. By Laine Welch,  >click to read< 11:53

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<