Tag Archives: sockeye salmon

“We’ve been sitting on the beach for 16 days” – Copper River salmon fishery reopens

“We are back to getting into the goal range,” said Jeremy Botz, finfish area management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Cordova. “I think we are seeing a late compressed run. I still feel it is a relatively small run, but higher than in 2018 and 2020.”,, While eager to be fishing again, veteran Cordova harvesters felt they should have been allowed out on the grounds earlier to get a better handle on what the run, albeit late and maybe compressed, was really stacking up to be.,, Cordova harvester John Renner said the fleet should have been used earlier to collect data, to see if the run was weak or strong, rather than just waiting for the sonar count. “We’ve been sitting on the beach for 16 days,” >click to read< 14:15

New research suggests 70% decline in diversity of B.C. sockeye salmon stock in past century

There are at least 13 genetically different sockeye salmon that spawn in the rivers or tributaries of the Skeena River watershed and that has not changed in 100 years, the study found. However Price and co-author John Reynolds show that the vast majority of sockeye salmon now returning to the Skeena River to spawn, some 90 per cent, are of one type that originates in the Babine River, a tributary of the Skeena River. Price says the   predominant strain of sockeye in the Skeena River is wild, meaning fish that were not born in a hatchery or in a human controlled spawning channel, which could affect the fish’s ability to thrive as climate change and other pressures on the fish progress. >Click to read<  Loss of Sockeye Diversity Threatens Skeena Salmon, Study Finds – A century ago, the Babine accounted for 68 per cent of all wild sockeye returning to the Skeena, according to the study. At the time, gillnetting on the coast favored larger fish,,, photos, >click to read< 16:24

Canada’s sockeye salmon find their way home again after 50 years

For the first time in over 50 years, spawning sockeye salmon will return to Okanagan Lake in British Columbia,,, A fish ladder, left inoperable after the Penticton Dam was built in the 1950s, has been restored by the Okanagan Nation Alliance and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. A crane was used to remove a wooden gate blocking off the narrow concrete passage, opening the way for fish to get through.  “To watch that gate go up, and to know that fish can finally return to their historic grounds, was a tearful moment,” she said. McFayden is a member of the Okanagan River Restoration Initiative (ORRI) and the Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance. >click to read< 07:55

2020 commercial salmon catch, and value took a dive

Commercial salmon harvests proved challenging for the 2020 season, challenged by a global pandemic of the novel coronavirus, with the overall fish catch and its value down considerably from a year earlier. Data released on Monday, Nov. 9 by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said the all species harvest has an approximate value of $295.2 million, down 56 percent from $673.4 million in 2019. Fishermen delivered some 116.8 million fish, a 44 percent drop from the 208.3 harvested a year earlier, the report said. >click to read< 18:15

Minnesota family spends summers fishing Alaskan salmon to sell back home

The Rogotzkes, brothers Jay and Tom, dad Roger and uncle Dave, all run their own boats in Bristol Bay, home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon run. The Rogotzkes fish in 32-foot aluminum boats that drift freely, even with 900 feet of net trailing. It was Roger who got the family started in the unlikely profession more than 40 years ago. Back in college in 1980, Roger read about Bristol Bay in a magazine. Intrigued, he bought himself a plane ticket north the next summer. Two years later, in what the Rogotzkes now recognize as an astounding act of faith, Roger’s dad, Bob, mortgaged the family farm in Minnesota to buy his son a fishing boat and permit. That investment paid off, and two years later Bob did the same thing for his other son, Dave. “We really just owe everything to him,” Roger said. That makes this season bittersweet: Bob died in May, just before the four fishermen headed north. >click to read< 18:12

Fraser River sockeye fishery could be shut down for years

Fraser River sockeye, once the bread-and-butter of the commercial sector, appear to be collapsing for real this time. In 2009, low returns were described as a collapse, but the next year, Fraser River sockeye staged a major comeback, with 28 million fish returning, followed by 19 million in 2014. The Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC) estimates that only 283,000 sockeye may return to the Fraser River this year – a fraction of the 941,000 in a pre-season forecast, and only one-quarter of what is needed to meet this year’s escapement target. >click to read< 10:18

Alaska and B.C.’s salmon runs expected to be worst ever recorded

Salmon returns on the west coast look bleak this year. Alaska’s salmon returns have been so poor that some communities already are claiming fishery disasters. The socket salmon run on B.C.’s Fraser River is expected to be the worst ever recorded,, in Alaska, the Cordova City Council passed a resolution last week, asking the state to declare disasters for both the 2018 Copper River sockeye and chinook salmon runs and the 2020 sockeye, chum and chinook runs at the Copper River and Prince William Sound,, The Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC) says this year may turn out to be the worst for sockeye salmon in the Fraser River since tracking began in 1893, >click to read< 12:56

Kuskokwim Bay Commercial Fishery Processing At Capacity

Seattle based E&E Foods is buying and processing the salmon on a ship anchored in Goodnews Bay. Chief Operating Officer Ken Eg says that the ship can handle 70,000 pounds of fish per day, and it’s often been buying more than that during recent openings. Eg said that about 70% of that poundage is sockeye salmon. The rest is divided between chum and kings, with coho expected to arrive by the beginning of August. The number of fishermen participating in the fishery has grown from 25 fishing the first openings, to 70. The majority are in Quinhagak, with the rest in Goodnews Bay. E&E wouldn’t disclose how much the fishermen are paid per pound of salmon, but called the price “competitive” and said that fishermen can get extra cash. >click to read<  12:05

Third time was the charm

Light winds, fog and rain spread over Prince William Sound on the eve of a 12-hour Memorial Day fishery, then turned overcast during the holiday, as the commercial fishing crews netted some 1,467 Chinook and 33,752 sockeye salmon. The catch boosted the total harvest to date to an estimated 45,537 fish, including 4,935 kings and 39,823 red salmon, well over five times the individual catches on May 14 and May 18. The first two 12-hour openers were so slow that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game cancelled fishing for the third opener on May 21. Now the fishery appears to be picking up speed. “It’s still not good,” said veteran harvester Jerry McCune,“We’re getting further behind every day. Hopefully things will pick up in June.” >click to read< 17:15

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

B.C. confirms sockeye salmon have passed through Fraser River slide naturally

The British Columbia government says that for the first time, sockeye salmon are confirmed to have swum past the massive landslide on the Fraser River north of Lilooet. As of Friday, the province says nearly 18,000 salmon had swum past the slide on their own via the natural channel that’s being restored. Nearly 52,000 salmon, including sockeye, chinook and small numbers of pink and coho, have also been transported,,, >click to read< 18:12

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

Bristol Bay – Why the two main forecasts have a 5 million-fish difference

This year, 44.6 million sockeye salmon will return to Bristol Bay – if you trust the University of Washington forecast. But the University of Washington forecast isn’t the only one out there. “This year’s forecast is 40.18 million,” said Gregory Buck, Fish and Game’s fishery biologist and regional research coordinator for Bristol Bay. Buck says the almost 5 million sockeye difference between the ADF&G and UW forecasts has a pretty simple explanation: an accumulation of small data interpretation differences. >click to read< 10:31

Monterey Bay fishermen catch salmon as far away as Alaska. A proposed copper mine there poses a local threat.

Tom DiMaggio is 96 years old and blessed with a full head neatly combed white hair and a warm handshake. A fisherman for his whole career, he’s been retired for over 20 years and remains a vibrant member of the fishing community – only these days, the community is far from the dock and instead gathers at the East Village Coffee Lounge in Monterey to while away weekday mornings, sipping espresso and swapping stories.,,Commercial fishing is an unpredictable profession in many ways, though the two greatest uncertainties are how many fish are caught and how much those fish sell for. The nature of the job means many fishermen want to surround themselves with a crew they can trust, which often means family. Ask the East Village table of old-school fishermen how they got started, and they all have a similar answer:, >click to read<14:00

Fisheries official says 2018 saw a ‘reasonably good return’ despite low numbers

The number of sockeye salmon that made it up the Fraser River last fall was lower than originally predicted, prompting a conservation group to blame the federal fisheries regulator for allowing the area to be overfished. “This year, it was the lowest run or spawning return they’ve seen on record on this cycle,” Greg Taylor told CBC Radio’s Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce. “They were very disappointing,” said Taylor, a senior fisheries advisor for the Watershed Watch Salmon Society.,,, A DFO representative told Joyce on Thursday that, while the numbers were lower than predicted, the return numbers were not out of the ordinary >click to read<20:14

Fraser River sockeye finally catch a break with cooling water temps

Sockeye salmon entering the Fraser River this week will be aided by cooling water temperatures, which should decrease mortality and help them reach their spawning grounds up river in better condition. Commercial fishers are optimistic that the sockeye run will live up to early season predictions as late-season fish start to enter the river. Sockeye migrating into the river this summer are the grandchildren of the record-breaking 2010 run that exceeded 28 million fish. “The fishing we’ve had up to this point has been pretty darn good,” said Chauvel. “You have to make your money in these peak years. The years in between are subsistence, so it’s these sockeye years that put you over the top.” >click to read<22:02

Alaska’s 2018 commercial salmon harvest 30 percent below forecast, yet some fisheries have boomed

The statewide commercial salmon harvest is about 31 percent below the preseason forecast, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said in a statement Thursday. The 2018 season, it said, “has been unusual.” Preliminary numbers show a statewide commercial salmon harvest of about 103 million fish so far. That’s subject to change, because the fishing season isn’t completely over yet. Fish and Game’s forecast in March projected a total statewide harvest of 147 million fish. >click to read<08:03

The mysterious case of Alaska’s strange sockeye salmon returns this year

There’s something unusual going on with the sockeye salmon runs returning to Alaska this year. In some places — like Bristol Bay — the runs are strong. In others, like the Copper River or the Kenai River they’re unexpectedly weak. In some places, there are sockeye that are unusually small. In others, sockeye of a certain age appear to be missing entirely. It’s a mystery. In Southeast Alaska, one of the first Fish and Game staffers to notice an unusual trend was Iris Frank, a regional data coordinator and fisheries technician. Frank’s lab is on the first floor of Fish and Game’s Douglas Island office that looks like it hasn’t changed much in the 32 years since she got there. >click to read<18:06

‘Gorgeous fish’: Steveston fishery workers haul in sockeye salmon bounty

Trung Nguyen, selling sockeye off his boat at the Steveston Pier for $8 a pound, has been waiting four years for this moment. Nguyen and other commercial fishery workers returned to the Richmond harbour Thursday with coolers full of salmon after being allowed out on the Fraser River Wednesday to catch salmon. The 2018 run is expected to be the biggest since 2014 and fishery workers had 24 hours to take advantage of the bounty. Strong runs come in four-year cycles and this year’s could eclipse 20 million fish. “Nice and firm. Gorgeous fish,” Nguyen said, showing a potential buyer an example of his haul. “We haven’t had an opening for four years, so this is a big year.” >click to read<09:46

Fraser River sockeye salmon fishing bonanza to start next week

The Fraser River will open next week for its first sockeye salmon run of the season, in a year that is expected to bring in millions of fish for the first time in four years. For local fishermen, it’s better than Christmas. “Oh, we’re super excited,” said Richmond fisherman Roy Jantunen, hours after learning the Pacific Salmon Commission had announced a 24-hour opening from 7 a.m. Wednesday. Jantunen is preparing to go flat out for that full day, without any sleep, to maximize his catch. “It’s great news,” he said. “Last week, we were pulling out the nets and getting them ready. We haven’t used these nets in four years.” >click to read<08:08

Kenai River anglers ask for closure of Cook Inlet commercial set netting

The Kenai River Sportfishing Association (KRSA) is calling for the closure of set net fishing on the Cook Inlet until adequate numbers of king and sockeye salmon enter the Kenai River. The organization is asking Gov. Bill Walker to direct the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to take action and help Kenai River salmon numbers rebound.,,, One commercial set netter agrees a closure could benefit harvests for both sides. “As a commercial set netter for almost 50 years, and speaking for myself,” Ken Coleman said, “I believe we commercial fisherman have always been in favor of department closures when the health of the fisheries is at risk, whether it be sockeyes, or Chinook or other species. >click to read<08:24

Bristol Bay sockeye harvest breaking records as other districts suffer

The Nushugak District in Bristol Bay is experiencing an all-time record harvest of sockeye salmon as other districts across Alaska suffer poor returns. “Last year the Nushagak set an all-time record of 12.3 million fish for the year, I just got off the phone [on Friday] with the manager and he expects that record to be broken today,” said Art Nelson, a spokesperson for commercial fisheries at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. “And there are more fish to come.” Other districts across Alaska have been struggling with poor sockeye harvests. >click to read<08:44

Salmon struggles extend to unprecedented restrictions at Chignik

A tough sockeye salmon commercial fishing season is shaping up in the Gulf of Alaska, from the Copper River across to Kodiak Island and back to the mainland at Chignik. And the Yukon River is seeing dismal chinook salmon returns, although the summer chum run is strong. “I haven’t put my net in the water once,” complained Chignik purse seiner Roger Rowland on June 26. “It’s literally the worst run ever.” Rowland commented from the fishing district on his cellphone, via teleconference in an Unalaska City Council meeting, about 300 miles to the southwest where he lives, during a break between votes. >click to read< 18:36

Horrible timing

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game was Wednesday lobbying Alaska residents to buy Chitina dipnet permits to fish the Copper River even as the troubled, 2018 return of sockeye salmon to that big, muddy drainage was fading so badly that Cordova commercial fishermen pleaded to have the dipnet fishery shut down. “As of today sonar counts are well below projected counts and remain below the minimum threshold of 360,000 sockeye salmon for spawning escapements,” the Cordova District Fishermen United said in a letter to state officials. “In light of the weak early run component, restrictive closures on commercial fishing openers, and no noticeable increase in counts at the sonar currently, it is in the best interest of our sockeye runs to close the Copper River personal use and sport fisheries.” >click to read<18:26

Cordova disaster?

The Copper River commercial salmon fishery will remain closed on Monday, leaving about 550 gillnet fishermen in Cordova to sit in port and ponder what is increasingly looking like a disaster for what is pound-for-pound Alaska’s most valuable sockeye run. Favored fad-fish of high-scale restaurants, Copper sockeye had a reported price on their heads of $8.50 to$9.50 per pound when the season opened, and everything looked good-to-go despite a below-average, pre-season sockeye forecast. >click to read<09:53

Upper Cook Inlet – Commercial fishermen to open with regular periods

Commercial fisheries managers in Cook Inlet are moving forward with a cautious eye on salmon runs but relatively normal fishing regulations for the summer. An Alaska Department of Fish and Game announcement released Friday detailed the 2018 commercial salmon fishing management strategy for Upper Cook Inlet. Managers are predicting a somewhat lower Kenai River late-run king salmon return, but it’s still within the sustainable escapement goal; the sockeye salmon forecast for the Kenai River is predicted to be 2.5 million, which is about 1.1 million less than the recent 20-year average. >click to read<08:04

The Secret Lives of Commercial Fishermen – Corey Arnold

In the early 2000s, Corey Arnold worked on commercial fishing boats in some of the world’s most dangerous waters, taking photos of the job whenever he had the chance. Soon galleries and magazines were paying attention. In 2008, Arnold shot a story for Outside in Bristol Bay, Alaska, about environmental threats from the proposed Pebble Mine. During that assignment, he discovered a seasonal fishing community at Graveyard Point, near the mouth of the Kvichak River, and established his own salmon operation. (An excellent photo article.) >click to read<16:50

20,030,171: final tally on Nushagak District banner year

With final tally from fish tickets, Bristol Bay’s westside district officially reached a milestone most never thought possible. After Bristol Bay’s sockeye season winds down, the Department of Fish and Game works on inputting all the data from fish tickets, both the electronic and paper kind. Westside area management biologist Tim Sands says this gives a more accurate tally, which coincidentally just pushed his district to a new milestone. click here to read the story

Bumper sockeye salmon run forecast for Bristol Bay in 2018

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is forecasting another bumper year for sockeye salmon in 2018. An expected 51 million sockeye could return, with 37 million set aside for commercial fishing. “All systems are expected to meet their spawning escapement goals,” wrote the ADF&G in a news release. The bumper forecast comes amidst debate about whether to open the controversial Pebble Mine, a move that supporters say would bring growth and economic activity to the region. Detractors say the mine would harm the profitable watershed. click here to read the story 08:39

Experts: Idaho hatchery built to save salmon is killing them

A relatively new $13.5 million hatchery intended to save Snake River sockeye salmon from extinction is instead killing thousands of fish before they ever get to the ocean, and fisheries biologists in Idaho think they know why. The Department of Fish and Game in information released this week says water chemistry at the Springfield Hatchery in eastern Idaho is so different from that in the central region that the young fish can’t adjust when released into the wild. Idaho Rivers United, an environmental group, blasted the report as more reason for removing four dams on the lower Snake River that impede salmon click here to read the story 10:53