Tag Archives: Bristol Bay

Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 5, 2020

The total harvest for the bay is around 1.2 million, as of yesterday. Taking a look across the bay, the total run is at around 8.5 million. The numbers seem to be picking up on the eastside again. The Nushagak district’s daily harvest was 165,000 yesterday, bringing the season’s harvest to 2.6 million. That was harvested 4% by Igushik set-netters, 26% from Nushagak set netters, and 70% from drifters. In the full Nushagak district, daily escapement was 36,800 yesterday. That makes the total escapement across the Nushagak district 1,056,000 Breaking that down by river system… audio, >click to read/listen< 14:57

Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 4, 2020

A big bump of fish hit the Naknek-Kvichak and Egegik yesterday — those fleets caught most of the bay’s daily harvest of nearly 1.2 million. Total harvest around the bay is now approaching 5 million. Escapement yesterday was 140,000, and 1.8 million fish have escaped around the bay this season. The total run is at around 6.8 million. The Nushagak district’s daily harvest was 60,000 yesterday, bringing the season’s harvest to,,, Breaking that down by river system, audio report, >click to read< 07:25

How Coronavirus Is Threatening Alaska’s Wild Salmon Fishing Season

A Brooklyn winemaker travels north to Bristol Bay each summer to net the red salmon that support his family. This year he’s faced with a tough ethical and economic choice. Mr. Nicolson, 45, spends much of the year working at Red Hook Winery in Brooklyn, where he is the managing winemaker, but his main income is drawn from Iliamna Fish Company. The business, which he and two cousins own, sells Alaska red salmon directly to thousands of shareholders, most of them in New York and Portland, Ore., as well as to a few high-end restaurants and stores, including the Park Slope Food Co-op in Brooklyn. >click to read< 19:25

For fishermen traveling to Bristol Bay, Alaska Air confusion complicates early season

Alaska Air normally starts flying to the region June 1, but this spring it began on May 18th. It’s aiming for year-round service to the region. But the airline has struggled to regulate its schedule. I experienced this myself when I was making plans to come to Dillingham. I booked a flight from Portland to Anchorage, and then on to Dillingham on June 2. But about a week before my trip, I got an email saying that my flight was now headed from Portland to Seattle, Seattle to Anchorage — with no flight to Dillingham.,, Gregg Marxmiller, a Dillingham fisherman, said flights he had purchased for his crew-members were pushed back twice. He wasn’t notified either time. >audio report, click to read< 16:34

Salmon set to return, Poor Kenai king returns will restrict start of Cook Inlet, Copper River counts keep commercial fishing closed

The start of the massive Bristol Bay commercial sockeye fishery is fast approaching but this year is bringing with it a level of uncertainly rivaled by few others even in the volatile fishing industry. Fishery participants and observers generally expect a softer market and lower prices for Bristol Bay sockeye due to several factors, >click to read<. Poor Kenai king returns will restrict start of Cook Inlet fishery – That means the fishing time for East Side   Cook Inlet setnetters will be no more than 36 hours per week, as long as the sport gear and harvest restrictions remain in place, per the Board of Fisheries paired restrictions plan for the sport and commercial fisheries that are often in conflict. >click to read<.  Copper River counts keep   commercial fishing closed – There seems to be a decent chance commercial fishing in   the Copper River District could resume soon despite a dismal start to the famed early season salmon fishery. >click to read< 16:26

How one fisherman brings his wild salmon catch from Alaska to Missouri

Sean Guffey was studying communications at the University of Michigan when he drove to Alaska during the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Soon, he was on a fishing boat with scientists studying the impact of the spill. As he watched, Guffey learned from their observations and concerns about wildlife. Every year since, he has found his way back to Alaska. Today, he is the captain of Watermen, a boat docked in Bristol Bay. And every summer, he catches wild sockeye salmon and brings it back to Missouri to sell. photos,  >click to read< 17:22

Dunleavy mandates strict guidelines for Bristol Bay commercial fishermen

The mandate targets independent fishing boats, many of which are operated by captains and crew who travel to Bristol Bay from outside Alaska. Specifically, it applies to those that have not “agreed to operate under a fleet-wide plan submitted by a company, association or entity” representing them. The new mandate also requires crewmembers to undergo verbal and physical screenings upon arrival — and they can’t have respiratory problems or fever. Crew members are allowed to quarantine onboard, though they’re still allowed to fish as long as they restrict contact with other boats and people on shore as much as possible. To protect communities, the mandate stipulates that crew can only leave the vessel for essential purposes. >click to read< 08:45

Fishermen concerned over Pebble employee appointed to Board of Fisheries

While communities and fishermen in Bristol Bay are facing an immediate challenge in deciding if and how to hold the $300 million salmon fishery in a few weeks, an appointment to the Board of Fisheries is adding to the stress felt by many in the region.,, Among the governor’s appointments is Abe Williams, who is an employee of the Pebble Partnership,,, Williams was born and raised in Naknek, currently lives in Anchorage, and is a fourth-generation Bristol Bay fisherman. However, his position on Pebble Mine has bothered both commercial and sport fishermen in Bristol Bay. Williams is currently the Director of Regional Affairs for the Pebble Partnership. >click to read< 12:14

Coronavirus: Bristol Bay community leaders lay out minimum protocol needed to allow salmon season

Leaders of several major community organizations in Bristol Bay have issued a list of minimum protocols they expect to be in place before the commercial salmon fishery can take place this summer. Among other the protocol listed, fishermen and other seasonal workers would undergo a physical exam including a COVID-19 test with a negative result no more than 48 hours before traveling to the region. After arriving in Bristol Bay, the individuals would be transported to a quarantine location and remain in quarantine until a follow-up negative COVID-19 test is confirmed. The leaders listed out other expectations, including weekly health screenings, for the seafood industry to establish as minimum protocol for the 2020 season. >click to read< 11:12

In This Remote Town Spring Means Salmon, and Thousands of Fisherman From Coronavirus Hot Spots

Later this spring, Alaska’s Bristol Bay will blossom into one of the largest annual salmon fisheries in the world. The regional population of about 6,600 will triple in size with the arrival of fishermen, crews and seasonal workers on jets but also private planes and small boats, many traveling from out of state. And yet the heart of the health care system in southwestern Alaska, in a corner of the state where the Spanish flu once orphaned a generation, is a 16-bed hospital in Dillingham operated by the Bristol Bay Area Health Corp. Only four beds are currently equipped for coronavirus patients. As of Wednesday, the hospital had a few dozen coronavirus tests for the entire Florida-sized region, tribal leaders said. >Click to read< 14:16

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

In America’s largest salmon fishery, preparations begin for coronavirus prevention ahead of the season

Around Bristol Bay, community leaders, health facilities and local entities are working to coordinate their preparations for the coronavirus. Thousands of fishermen, processors, and cannery workers will travel to Bristol Bay in the coming months to participate in the commercial fishery. As of Thursday afternoon, no one in the region had been tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Alaska’s first known case of the disease was announced Thursday afternoon. >click to read< 11:26

Record of decision on Pebble delayed to autumn 2020

A final environmental impact statement that will determine the future of a proposed copper, gold and molybdenum mine abutting the Bristol Bay watershed in Southwest Alaska has now been delayed until the summer of 2020. “The delay is caused by us deciding that we needed more time to refine our analysis, and to finalize the respond to the concerns raised through the public comment period,” said Sheila Newman, deputy chief of the regulatory division of the Corps. The final EIS was previously anticipated no later than the beginning of March. >click to read< 09:19

2020 Forecast: Bristol Bay still looks bright, but fishermen face cuts in cod, crab and halibut

Judging by the forecasts, 2020 could be an eventful year in Alaska’s commercial fisheries. Even though not all the forecasts and catch limits are rosy, there are some bright spots, such as an increased eastern Bering Sea snow crab total allowable catch and another promising forecast for Bristol Bay sockeye salmon. However, fishermen this winter are looking at tighter limits in some groundfish fisheries, particularly in the Gulf of Alaska. >click to read< 11:50

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

Frontiers 190: Iron Men of Bristol Bay

Alaska is a place where much of its history is still fresh, yet with so many stories on the verge of disappearing forever. Such is the case with the double ender sailboat, pushed by the wind and the tides across Bristol Bay in pursuit of salmon. For more than 60 years, they were the workhorses of the canneries that brought in fishermen from all over the world in big sailing ships to work the boats and pull in nets, heavy with sockeyes, all by hand. The sailboats may have been beautiful, but they were dangerous. And although motorized boats appeared on the market in the 1920s, Bristol Bay fishermen weren’t allowed to use them for commercial catches until the 1950s. Video, >click to read< 11:22

Meet the salmon scientist at the center of the Pebble fight

Beneath the steady static of rain on a tin roof, University of Washington aquatic ecologist Daniel Schindler made some soup. On a clear day, he’d be wading through thousands of hump-backed, hooked-jawed sockeye that turn the pristine waters of southwestern Alaska red every year. Schindler has put himself in the middle of the two-decade fight over the Pebble mine, a proposal to build one of the world’s largest gold and copper mines roughly 100 miles east of Lake Nerka. >click to read<  20:01

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

We ask Sen. Murkowski to let the Pebble process play out

Perhaps you have seen our ads thanking Sen. Lisa Murkowski for standing up for the permitting process for Pebble. The theme of our ads is “we need jobs” and “we want hope.” While the coastal communities in our region see some benefits from the short commercial fishing season, many in our home communities do not. Recently, several of our Bristol Bay leaders took to these pages pushing Sen. Murkowski to more be more aggressively involved in the permitting process. We support Sen. Murkowski staying informed and engaged about the Pebble issue. >click to read< 09:53

Fishermen catch 2 billionth sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay this year, since record-keeping began

This year, during the fishery’s second largest harvest on record, Bristol Bay commercial fishermen hit another historic number: the 2 billionth sockeye salmon caught by commercial fishermen since record-keeping began in the late 1800s.  “It wasn’t supposed to happen this fast, but the last couple of seasons had huge returns,” said Nushagak/Togiak Area Management biologist Timothy Sands.  >click to read< 10:24

Preliminary summary gives Bristol Bay highest exvessel value ever

After reviewing preliminary data from the season, Alaska Department of Fish & Game says that 2019 appears to be have produced the highest exvessel value of all time at $306.5 million. That means the money paid to boat captains as they unloaded their catches at dock was the highest ever, though the numbers don’t include adjustments for icing, bleeding, or production bonuses. The ADF&G summary also shows that the sockeye fun of 56.5 million >click to read<  10:46

Sockeye harvest breaks all-time top 5; pinks picking up

The 2019 salmon season has seen plenty of fish return to the state, but far from evenly across regions. As of Sept. 10, commercial fishermen across Alaska have landed 198.4 million salmon of all five species, about 8 percent less than the preseason forecast of 213.2 million. Most of that shortfall is in pink and chum salmon, which haven’t delivered on their forecasts so far, but a surplus of sockeye salmon helped make up for some of that gap. Statewide, commercial fishermen have landed more than 55.1 million sockeye, about 9 percent more than last year and 5 million more than the preseason forecast. >click to read< 07:40

Bristol Bay Salmon Are in Hot Water

I’ve worked as both a journalist and a commercial fisherman for over a decade, participating in more than a dozen fisheries from Southern California to the western Gulf of Alaska. I’ve seen booms and busts over the years, and this summer the fishing in Bristol Bay was booming. Estimates say 56.3 million salmon returned to the bay’s rivers. While down from 2018’s record-breaking runs, with 62.3 million fish, Bristol Bay has so far bucked the trend of declining salmon runs seen in other regions. But all is not well. by Nick Rahaim >click to read< 09:43

Pebble Mine: Commercial Fishermen, Indigenous People Unite to Fight Mine in Alaska

The Pebble Mine is a large deposit of gold, copper and molybdenum located at the headwaters of Bristol Bay. The deposit was first discovered in the 1980s and multinational corporations began seriously pursuing its development in the 2000s. Those who want to develop the mine say it will create high-paying jobs for locals and reduce America’s dependence on foreign countries for the provision of raw materials. Opponents say toxic discharge from the mine could foul the home of the world’s largest salmon run, bankrupting the mammoth fishing industry and destroying the local ecology. “It’s one of the unique things about this whole fight,”,,, >click to read< 10:40

EPA kills proposed Obama-era Pebble mine ‘veto’

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday it will reverse an Obama-era decision to block a controversial Alaska mine project. “After today’s action EPA will focus on the permit review process for the Pebble Mine project” Region 10 Administrator Chris Hladick said in a statement. While the EPA is withdrawing the 2014 determination, which it wrote “was issued preemptively and is now outdated,” the withdrawal does not constitute an approval of the permit application or a determination in the permitting process. “Instead, it allows EPA to continue working with the Corps to review the current permit application and engage in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process,” the statement reads. >click to read< 19:19

Remembering 1919, one hundred years later, the Spanish flu hit Bristol Bay, and the salmon run collapsed.

“The Spanish flu arrived to Alaska in 1918 and devastated the population.,, People thought it had run its course that winter, but when cannery ships arrived in 1919, people were quickly becoming sick, it was evidenced it was influenza, and it devastated not just the Native population, it killed many people who lived here, but it really changed the demographics in this region.” Within weeks of the start of the 1919 fishing season, hundreds of cannery workers and locals were infected with the Spanish flu.  The virus wiped out most of the adult population in many villages around Bristol Bay, leaving behind dozens of orphaned children. One of the communities most changed by the outbreak was Naknek. >click to read< 22:05

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

New tech could unveil the secret life of Bristol Bay red king crab

Fishery researchers in Alaska are using cutting-edge technology to track migratory patterns of one of Alaska’s tastiest catches — the red king crab.
Biologists tagged 150 mature male crab in Dutch Harbor in June. The tags transmit acoustic readings back to an unmanned saildrone equipped with an accoustic receiver. This allows researchers to track movement across the ocean floor and monitor changes in water temperature. >click to read< 11:53

On the way to Bristol Bay, a sunken boat buoys a friendship

My two friends and I have been talking about the zombie apocalypse. It’s our shorthand for when things go very, very wrong.,,,  Last week in a brief moment amidst chaos I remarked to her, “Well, here we are in the zombie apocalypse. I’m glad I’m here with you.” We were standing in the cabin of the Catch 22, the commercial fishing vessel belonging to Adri and her husband Luke. We had been accompanying him as he headed out to Bristol Bay for the summer when the boat hit a rock in a very shallow section of the Kvichak River and sank. >click to read<10:27

OPINION: Bristol Bay’s future is in our fish and natural resources

We are just a few of the many young adults whose livelihoods depend on the clean water and pristine land that has sustained the people of Bristol Bay since time immemorial. As Pebble tries to sell Alaskans on its sham of a mine plan, this time by focusing on jobs, we want to clear something up: We oppose Pebble Mine. We want to protect the environment that provides the resources to sustain our communities and families, and we won’t stop until our work is done. >click to read<11:17