The first two openers of the 2019 Upper Cook Inlet drift gillnet season are done. The June 20 and 24 Central District fishing periods each yielded about two thousand salmon for a total harvest of four thousand one hundred thirteen (4013) fish on one hundred forty six (146) deliveries. Ninety two percent were sockeye. Setnetters on the west side of the Central District caught just under twenty-five hundred fish, of which all but fifteen were sockeye. The first set gillnet opener in the Northern District, just north of Nikiski, is today (was yesterday), June 27.
Fishing improved from last week in Lower Cook Inlet, with seiners in the various Kachemak Bay subdistricts hauling in around 3000 fish, mostly red salmon, on 18 deliveries. The pink runs are starting up as well, accounting for about twelve percent of the catch, mainly in the Neptune Bay subdistrict between Sixty-Foot Rock and the end of the Homer Spit. Southern district set gillnetters added anoher eleven hundred eighty two fish, bringing the total Lower Cook Inlet harvest for the year, including the Kamishak and Resurrection Bay seine fisheries, to one hundred thirty six thousand, three hundred sixty-nine (136,369) salmon.
Homer landed one hundred ten thousand, five hundred seven (110,507) pounds of halibut in the last week to maintain its spot as the top halibut port with almost one point two million pounds hoisted up its cranes. Kodiak and Seward follow closely with a million pounds each. In all, a little more than eight million pounds of halibut have been delivered to US ports, mostly in Alaska, with about nine million, seven hundred thousand pounds of quota left to catch.
Eleven boats delivered almost two hundred thousand pounds of sablefish into Seward in the last week, more than any other Alaskan port. Its one point eight million total pounds is good for third place in the state, behind Sitka and Kodiak. About fifteen million pounds is yet to be caught. Homer landed five deliveries for a little over eighteen thousand pounds of sablefish since last Thursday.
The end of next week should see the first lingcod and jig-caught rockfish deliveries to Homer, as both those fisheries open in Cook Inlet on July 1. Retention of lingcod caught as bycatch in the IFQ longline fisheries will also be allowed on that date.