Tag Archives: Laine Welch

Record high prices, strong demand for Canadian snow crab bodes well for Alaska

The top executives of Royal Greenland and Ocean Choice International (OCI) noted demand has remained strong for Canadian snow crab in 2017, despite record-high prices caused by reduced supply from the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery. In April, Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) cut the 2017/2018 total allowable catch (TAC) for the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery 22% year-on-year — to 35,419 metric tons — causing prices to increase to record levels of over $8 per pound (for 5-8 ounce size crab) during the season, sources said. The Newfoundland season started on April 6 and finished between May and August, depending on the area. click here to read the story 18:38

AK seafood earnings, poundage outpaced by Washington state

Alaska’s seafood industry puts more people to work than any other private industry, topping 60,000 workers in 2015. Of that, less than half – 27,600 – were Alaska residents. And while 71 percent of active fishing permit holders call Alaska home, most of the gross earnings go to the state of Washington. Based on numbers from the United Fishermen of Alaska’s annual Fish Facts, resident fishing permit holders made gross dockside earnings of just over $602 million two years ago. That compares to more than $904 million by nearly 6,580 Washington-based permit holders and crew. Fishermen  from Oregon took home more than $126 million from Alaska’s fisheries and Californians pocketed nearly $28 million. That adds up to more than $1 Billion flowing out of state by non-resident fishermen. Listen to the audio report, read the rest here 17:29

Alaska commercial fishing picks and pans for 2016

The start of 2017 marks the 26th year for this weekly column on Alaska’s seafood industry that aims to make readers aware of the economic and cultural importance of our state’s oldest industry. Alaska fishermen and processors provide 65 percent of our nation’s wild-caught seafood; it is also Alaska’s most valuable export to more than 100 countries around the world. The bulk of Alaska’s fishing fleet of nearly 10,000 vessels is made up of boats less than 50 feet long. Each is a small business that supports several families. For fishing towns like Kodiak, Cordova and Homer, where 500 to 700 vessels are home-ported, those boats are essentially the majority of our downtown store fronts. Call it a mall in a marina. Here are my fishing picks and pans for 2016 — a look back at the best and worst fish stories of 2016, in no order, plus my choice for the biggest story of the year. Laine Welch  Read the story here 08:51

Bristol Bay total salmon catch #1 in 20 years, Value tops $156m

bristol-bay-region-300x219From Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game September 9, 2016 The following is an overview of the 2016 Bristol Bay commercial salmon season. All data are preliminary. The 2016 inshore Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run of 51.4 million fish ranks 2nd out of the last 20 years and was 46% above the 35.1 million average run for the same period. This year’s Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run was 10% above the preseason inshore forecast of 46.6 million fish. The Egegik,Nushagak, Togiak and Ugashik districts were higher than the preseason forecast while Naknek-Kvichak district was less than predicted. Read the rest here 19:04

Alaska Pink Salmon Fishery Set To Rank as Worst in 20 Years

pink salmonAlaska’s 2016 pink salmon fishery is set to rank as the worst in 20 years by a long shot, and the outlook is bleak for all other salmon catches except sockeyes. “Boy, sockeye is really going to have to carry the load in terms of the fishery’s value because there’s a lot of misses elsewhere,” said Andy Wink, a fisheries economist with the Juneau-based McDowell Group. The historical peaks of the various salmon runs have already passed and the pink salmon catch so far has yet to break 35 million on a forecast of 90 million. That compares to a harvest of 190 million pinks last year. Weekly tracking through August 15 shows the pace of the Chinook salmon harvest (341,000) is down 42 percent versus last year in net fisheries, cohos (under 2 million) are down 20 percent, and the chum catch (12 million) is down 25 percent. Read the article here 14:42

F/V Northern Leader to be profiled on Discovery’s “Mighty Ships” Series

Northern_LeaderDemonstrating enviable efficiency, F/V Northern Leader of Kodiak will take a star turn on the popular “Mighty Ships” cable TV program. “Mighty Ships” producers search for unique ships around the world. Its seven-year run has featured a range of vessels including cruise ships, aircraft carriers, cargo ships, dredgers and more. The programs focus on the operational capabilities and technical aspects of the ships while making use of computer-generated animation to show underwater operations. What attracted them to the 184-foot freezer-longliner Northern Leader is its joystick-controlled, eco-friendly propulsion system that runs on electricity — the first U.S. fishing vessel to do so — and its head-to-tail use of the fish it catches. The 3-year-old Northern Leader fishes primarily for Bering Sea cod. Says Discovery: “Catching fish with hooks, not nets, she sends out 80 kilometers of fishing line containing 76,000 hooks. In the heart of the Bering Sea, her crew battles a hurricane with 13-meter-high waves and winds of more than 100 kilometers per hour.” Read the rest here 13:54

Alaska salmon prices seem to be rebounding – Chilean farmed salmon takes a hit

150723SetnetDSC_6796Alaska’s salmon season has started with optimism, a far cry from the bleak feelings a year ago when the fishery was blown asunder by a perfect storm of depressed currencies, salmon backlogs and global markets awash with farmed fish. Prices to fishermen fell nearly 41 percent between 2013 and 2015, years which produced the two largest Alaska salmon harvests on record. But in the past six months, those trends have turned around. Another positive turnaround involves salmon supplies. “If you want to see what’s happening with fish prices, look at supply and demand. Look at how much was produced in Alaska and how much our competitors produced,” advised fisheries economist Gunnar Knapp,,, Read the rest here 09:08

McDowell Group Report outlines economics of Kodiak Island’s seafood industry. Jobs=38%

Kodiak is grappling with how new ways of managing groundfish might affect the island’s economy.  Plans being crafted now affect catches of up to 25 different fish species – which together  made up 83 percent of all Kodiak landings in 2014.  To provide some guidance, a new economic impact report breaks down how the entire seafood industry plays out throughout the Kodiak Island borough, which includes six outlying villages for a total population of 14,000 residents. The draft report done by the McDowell Group gives a 10 year snapshot starting in 2005, covering all the  local actions it takes to be a seafood powerhouse year after year.  Nearly  500 million pounds of seafood worth  $150 million to fishermen was delivered to Kodiak Island in 2014. Read the rest here 18:08

Salmon markets face lower supplies

Supply-Demand-SignsA downward shift in supplies of salmon could boost demand for Alaska fish. If that basic rule holds true, prices could move out of the basement. Some balance appears to be in the offing. Alaska’s projected salmon harvest of 161 million fish is down 40 percent from last season due to an off year for pinks. Bristol Bay’s sockeye forecast of just under 30 million is well below harvests of the past two years. That helps remove backlogs of reds, which are moving briskly through markets. A prime example: Sockeye exports to Japan, which is enduring local fishery failures, surged 320 percent at the end of last year and demand is expected to remain strong. Audio report, Read the rest here 17:51

Bering Sea crab prices increase big across the board

tanner2_adfgOnly a handful of boats are still out hauling crab pots from the Bering Sea and they can be sure of a good price for their catch. It’s just been a really good year for crab all aroundJake Jacobsen is a four decade fishing veteran  and director of the Inter-Cooperative Exchange, a harvester group that catches 70 percent of the Bering Sea crab quota. Right now the boats are finishing off the Tanner and snow crab shares. We haven’t even started the final prices for snow crab yet. We started out with an advance of $2.00 a pound but that really doesn’t mean anything. The advance price is just a number we throw out there so the fishermen have some money to pay their expenses as they go along.  Audio, Read the rest here 18:35

Salmon permit prices plunge while halibut soars

alaska-halibut__frontFire sale salmon prices last year and a dim outlook for the upcoming season have caused the value of Alaska fishing permits to plummet. At the other extreme, the prices for halibut catch shares have soared to “unheard-of levels,” according to Olivia Olsen of Alaskan Quota and Permits at Petersburg. This year’s small increase in the halibut quota combined with hopes of a repeat of $6 to $7 per pound prices was enough to send quota share prices skyrocketing.  “There was a big rush after the halibut numbers were announced in late January,” said Olsen of Petersburg. Read the rest here 10:32

Don’t expect price jump for Alaska red salmon this year

Early signs point to continuing headwinds in world markets for Alaska salmon. Let’s count the troubling signs: • Global currencies remain in disarray • The ongoing Russian seafood embargo diverts more farmed salmon to the U.S. • Tons of product remains in freezers from back-to-back bumper sockeye runs. (Most of Alaska’s salmon goes to market frozen or headed and gutted. One plus: Aggressive market promotions have kept reds moving briskly at retail outlets at home and abroad, removing some of the backlog. Read the rest here 16:12

Alaskans own dwindling number of Alaska fishing permits

unalaska-8Fishing issues will take a back seat to budget cutting when the Alaska Legislature convenes Jan. 19, but two early fish bills (and one holdover) are getting attention already. One new measure aims to stop the migration of commercial fishing permits out of Alaska. Forty years ago at Bristol Bay, 36 percent of the more than nearly 2,000 permits were held by locals and 64 percent by nonresidents. By 2013, the numbers were 19 percent local and 81 percent nonresident. Similar trends, by varying degrees, are happening in other regions as well. Read the article here 12:33

No Fukushima-Related Radiation Detected in Alaska Seafood

Following the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, there have been public concerns about potential impacts on Alaska seafood from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.  Although modeling and other analyses have not demonstrated a potential risk to Alaska fish, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Division of Environmental Health (DEH) has been coordinating with the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Division of Public Health, as well as other state, federal, and international agencies and organizations to address continued public concerns. Read the article here 16:59

Groundfish boosts Alaska fishing jobs, 84% of total fish poundage

Alaska’s seafood industry puts more people to work than oil and gas, mining, tourism and logging combined. And the numbers continue to grow, thanks to increased catches of groundfish, primarily pollock and cod. According to the November issue of by the state Department of Labor, fishing employment grew by 0.7 percent last year, boosted by 350 jobs in groundfish harvesting – a nearly 25 percent increase.   Gains were made in every month of the year, with employment records set in March and December. Read the rest here 16:08

Trawlers may convert to pot gear for cod catches

One of the tools being talked about to help trawlers reduce salmon and halibut bycatch is the opportunity to voluntarily convert to pot gear to catch Pacific cod. It’s an option being discussed by fishery managers as they craft a trawl bycatch reduction plan for the Gulf of Alaska. Sam Cunningham, “The reason someone might be interested in using pot gear, and the reason is that it would have lower bycatch of prohibited species of Chinook salmon and halibut, and when those species are caught incidentally they would be less likely to die because they are caught in pot gear.” Listen, and read the rest here  17:51

Alaska 2015 salmon values = $414 million; PWS tops all regions

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) has compiled preliminary figures for the 2015 commercial salmon harvest and harvest value. The total 2015 statewide commercial salmon harvest was 263.5 million fish, and was comprised of 474,000 Chinook salmon, 15.2 million chum salmon, 3.6 million coho salmon, 190.5 million pink salmon, and 54 million sockeye salmon. Overall, this represents the second largest salmon harvest on record, and was exceeded only by the record harvests of 2013. Read the rest here 15:32

Alaska salmon permit values nosedive after the fishing season

The value of Alaska salmon permits has taken a nosedive directly after the fishing season. The permit market is really unsettled right now after the season we just had. There were a few bright spots out there, but fisheries in a few areas of the state that did not do well, either because of production or price or both. So the dust really hasn’t settled here since the season ended. Doug Bowen runs Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer. permits have taken the biggest hit after another huge sockeye run ran into a perfect storm of global currency chaos amid a glut of wild and farmed salmon on the market. Bay fishermen got a dismal price of just 50 cents a pound for their reds. Listen, Read the rest here 16:12:06

Meetings will shape AK fishing futures: salmon vs coal, setnet ban, NPFMC, BOF, IPHC

It’s a meeting line up like never before for Alaska’s fishing industry. Starting off  this Friday  – the  state Department of Natural Resources will hear both sides on competing claims to water rights for salmon streams at Upper Cook Inlet’s Chuitna River or to dewater the region for what would be Alaska’s  biggest coal mine. The decision could set a state precedent. A decision is expected on or before October 9.Next Wednesday, August 26, is the state Supreme Court hearing on the setnet ban proposed for Cook Inlet and five other Alaska regions.  Read the rest here 18:03

Bristol Bay fishermen aghast at 50-cents-a-pound price for sockeye

Bristol Bay fishermen pull sockeye or red salmon from a net near Naknek, AlaskaMost Bristol Bay fishermen were shocked and dismayed when they heard last week that major buyers would pay 50 cents a pound for . That’s a throwback to the dock prices paid from 2002 to 2004, and is far below the $1.20 or more paid last year. A late surge of reds produced catches of nearly 13 million fish in the final week of this year’s run, bringing the total by July 23 to 34.5 million fish. Fish were still trickling in, and state managers, who called the season an anomaly, said the final tally should reach the projected harvest of 37.6 million sockeye. Read the rest here 15:35

Comments wanted as GOA trawl bycatch reduction program is crafted

Crafting a program to reduce trawl bycatch in Gulf groundfish fisheries has been underway for three years. In October the North Pacific Council will begin piecing the new program together in a process that could take several years. The new program will  include some form of catch shares (because it’s easy for regulators!)  If a member of the public is worried about bycatch management but they  don’t think catch shares are a viable alternative, we’d really appreciate hearing other ideas. (Because they can’t figure out any other way!!!) Listen, Read the rest here 17:47

Setnet numbers, bycatch rates refute sport claims

Salmon setnets are not outdated forms of fishing gear that indiscriminately kill everything in their paths. That’s the main talking point of sport fish advocates aiming to ban setnets in six regions of Alaska. “I believe now more than ever that Alaskans want to end the devastating and outdated mode of commercial fishing called setnetting. I spent six years as a setnetter in Upper Cook Inlet and during that time I caught a lot of red salmon. However, my nets also caught sharks, birds, ducks, flounders, dolly vardens and a lot of king salmon. Setnets are decimating other species in Alaska.” But the data don’t back up the deadly claims that the gear indiscriminately kills and threatens other species. Listen, Read the rest here

Fish War: What does the future hold for setnets?

signituresA one handed clap best describes the reaction to the 43,000 signature drop off by anti-salmon setnet advocates at the Division of Elections last week. The ban is being pushed one-handed by the Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance (AFCA), whose board of directors delivered stacks of signature booklets, followed by a press conference rife with talking points, table pounding, bravado and buzzwords.,,, “Setnetting in Alaska is very important to these local coastal economies. They are long time, family based operations ,,, Read the rest here 09:43

The Fish Wife Life – What’s the fishing life like for the wives left behind?

A fisherman’s life is a wonderful life, but what about for the fisherman’s wives? Fish Radio asked some of Kodiak’s wive’s what their likes and dislikes are being married to a fisherman. I guess my likes would be you know it’s always nice when the leave and its always nice when the come home. It’s the best of both worlds. It’s hard being a single parent all the time. When you never know when they are coming home and when they come home they still have boat work, it’s not like they come home and don’t have work to do or they are done working. Audio, Read the rest here 16:43

Seattle-based trawlers facing prospect of 50% halibut bycatch cut – Whopping salmon harvest, and A new, safer Vicky

Many Alaskans are speaking out against the more than 6 million pounds of halibut dumped overboard each year as bycatch in trawl fisheries targeting flounder, rockfish, perch, mackerel and other groundfish — not pollock., Whopping salmon harvest – In all, Alaskans are bracing for a huge season — state managers project a harvest of 221 million salmon, a whopping 39 percent higher than last year., A new, safer Vicky – Few fishermen go to sea without their Vickies — the small, sharp Victorinox Swiss Army knife used for everything that needs a quick cut. Read the rest here 16:15

Alaska’s salmon season officially starts tomorrow, May 14!

Alaska’s 2015 salmon season officially gets underway tomorrow, May 14th. Trollers in Southeast Alaska fish for king salmon nearly all year long, but the official start is near Cordova. The 500-plus fleet is set for the first 12 hour opener on Thursday amid the usual media hoopla. The harvest at Copper River this year is set at 2.2 million sockeye salmon and a conservative six thousand kings. In following weeks, various salmon openers will kick off all over Alaska,,, Read the rest here 17:51

PInks are out competing sockeye salmon for food at sea, report says

Growing numbers of pink salmon are out competing sockeyes for food in the ocean, causing the reds to grow slower and smaller. That’s the claim of a new study by Seattle and British Columbia researchers, who say the race for food ultimately affects sockeye abundance and survival. Greg Ruggerone is a senior scientist at Natural Resources Consultants in Seattle and study co-author. He says it was aimed originally at finding causes for declining sockeye runs at British Columbia’s Fraser River in 2009. Audio, Read the rest here 18:34

AK fishing updates, ADFG budget cuts

FISH-With-Mic-Logo-GRAPHIC-303-x-400-e1360148757522 As always in Alaska, lots of fishing is going on from Ketchikan to the Bering Sea. Salmon trollers are back out on the water at Neets Bay near Ketchikan , and it’s hard to believe that the 2015 salmon season will officially kick off in just a few weeks at Copper River. More than 50 boats are dropping pots for nearly 70,000 pounds of shrimp at Prince William Sound after a three year closure. Read the rest here 20:25

Who are Alaska’s biggest fishing whiners?

Alaska’s fisheries are targeted by many different gear types, from dip nets to big Bering Sea catcher processors. Fish Radio went down to the docks to hear what Kodiak fishermen believe are the whiniest group, Probably those who are less fortunate in catching the most fish. Definitely the trawl fleet. The state wide fishing fleet. I do believe it’s the Listen, and read the rest here 20:57

Alaska – New opportunities for scallops, seine pollock fall flat

 Alaska is trying to provide new fishing opportunities inside state waters but the two latest have fallen flat as a flounder. A scallop fishery that reverted to open access this year drew no takers by the April 1 deadline.  There were no takers again in the Westward Region for a new seine pollock fishery that opened this month and will continue into June. It’s the second year for the trial fishery permitted by the state Board of Fish. For seiners, Stichert says there have been lots of tire kickers, Audio, Read the rest here 17:45