commercial fishing

Alaska State Troopers

Alaska Wildlife State Troopers say four commercial fishermen illegally caught and transported thousands of pounds of salmon near Homer in late July.

Wildlife Troopers Detachment Commander Rex Leath said troopers observed operators of the commercial seine vessels Little Star, Relentless, Northstar and Windstar making a “dedicated effort” in Dog Fish Bay south of Homer to drive salmon out of waters closed to commercial seining.

Alaska State Troopers

Alaska State Troopers say five commercial fishing vessels illegally caught and transported thousands of pounds of salmon near Homer in late July.

According to a trooper dispatch released Monday,  a wildlife trooper observed operators of the fishing vessels Little Star, Relentless, Northstar and Windstar working together in Dog Fish Bay south of Homer to drive salmon out of waters closed to commercial seining and into areas open for commercial harvest. Troopers say the vessels harvested fish in closed waters as well.

Rudy Gustafson

Halibut ex-vessel prices are seeing a slight uptick around the state, which is good news for some fishermen after prices fell about $2 per pound at the beginning of the season.

Doug Bowen works for Alaska Boats and Permits, a vessel and fishing permit broker in Homer. Bowen tracks halibut prices around the Gulf of Alaska, which have a significant influence on the halibut quota he sells for fishermen.  

“We did see the ex-vessel price for halibut perk up a bit where we’re at $6.25, $6.50, $6.75 here in Homer today,” Bowen said.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Commercial fishing for pink salmon is underway in Prince William Sound and unlike sockeye returning to the Copper River earlier this year, pinks are showing up mostly as forecasted.

“Right now, we seem to be tracking right along with the 10-year even average, maybe slightly behind,” Alaska Department of Fish and Game area management biologist Charlie Russel said. “But the 2018 season in Prince William Sound is shaping up to be a better year than the weak parent year 2016.”

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

As a number of commercial salmon fisheries around the state kick off this week, the outlook for ex-vessel prices is looking good. Fishing economists say between lower run forecasts and strong foreign and domestic demand, commercial fishermen will likely see higher prices this year. But that doesn’t necessarily mean commercial fishermen will earn more this season compared to last year.   

Andy Wink with Wink Research and Consulting said although prices vary by species and region, most fisheries should see stable or higher prices this year.

KBBI News

The sockeye run on the Copper River is off to an incredibly slow start. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game opened the fishery on May 17 for a 12-hour fishing period.

Gillnetters came home with roughly 1,900 sockeye and returned on Monday for another opening, but fishing still remained slow with only 3,400 fish winding up in nets.

Fish and Game biologist Jeremy Botz said those numbers are well under what the department expected.

Courtesy of Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association

A controversial plan to move part of a hatchery operation to the head of Tutka Bay near Homer is complete. Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association placed two net pens at the head of the bay on April 26.

The hatchery association is in the process of moving fish into the pens. Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association Executive Director Gary Fandrei said the pens will be removed once the 20 million pink salmon it plans to raise at the site can be released.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

Boat and fishing vessel owners will likely be required to meet new registration and title requirements next year. The change is part of Senate Bill 92, which passed through the state Legislature this week. The bill aims to give the state, municipalities and individuals more tools to hold owners of derelict and abandoned vessels legally liable.

The Senate sent the bill to Gov. Bill Walker’s desk Thursday after the House passed the legislation earlier this week.

Fish and Game

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is forecasting 2018’s lower Cook Inlet pink salmon run to be a modest one despite disastrous runs in 2016, this year’s parent year. A number of 2016 pink salmon runs were declared a federal disaster.

Area Management Biologist Glenn Hollowell said the commercial harvest was limited to about 70,000 pinks that year.

Courtesy of Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association

The Alaska Board of Fisheries re-established a committee on hatchery operations Friday at its meeting in Anchorage. The board took up the issue after an emergency petition was filed in December calling for a committee to look into issues of straying hatchery fish and the impact on wild stocks.

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