Commercial Fisheries

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has tapped his former legislative aide to serve on the Board of Fisheries. Matanuska-Susitna Borough resident John Wood is largely unknown by fishing groups.

In the world of Alaska fish politics, John Wood is not a big player.

“Most of the response I’ve heard from UFA members is ‘who is he?’ People are not familiar with him,” United Fishermen of Alaska Executive Director Frances Leach said.

Photo by Daysha Eaton/KBBI

Alaska’s first commercial salmon fishery is off to a good start on the Cooper River in Prince William Sound. After two fishing periods, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Area Management Biologist Jeremy Botz said fishermen have caught nearly 74,000 sockeye and about 4,000 chinook.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

Hatcheries release over a billion juvenile salmon into the Gulf of Alaska each year, and recently, fishermen, scientists and interest groups have been fighting about the impacts of all of those fish.

State managers are in the middle of a decade-long study aimed at determining reproductive differences between hatchery and wild fish, and the study’s results may impact the salmon industry's access to some of its most lucrative markets.  

Courtesy of Gov. Mike Dunleavy's office

Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced four appointments to the Alaska Board of Fisheries Monday. One of Dunleavy’s picks has served on the board in the past and is likely to go through a heated confirmation process.

Three of Dunleavy’s appointments, if confirmed by the Legislature, would replace board members Robert Ruffner, Orville Huntington and Al Cain.

Ruffner, who had reapplied for his position, said he’s disappointed with the decision.

Courtesy of NOAA

The Gulf of Alaska is once again experiencing a marine heatwave. This follows the infamous warm-water event known as the “blob,” that formed back in 2014, which scientists have tied to seabird die-offs and declining Pacific cod stocks.

Scientists around the world are trying to predict these events, but there are economic implications to forecasting the future.

Scientists around the world are working to understand the impacts of marine heatwaves as they become more common. They also want to predict when and where the world’s oceans will heat up.

Photo Courtesy of Holland Dotts & the Alaska Marine Conservation Council.

About a year after federal regulators dramatically cut the Pacific Cod quota in the Gulf of Alaska, some fishermen in the Bering Sea say there are too many boats fishing for the declining species.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is looking into the problem, but potential solutions are likely to be controversial.

Since Pacific cod stocks crashed in the Gulf of Alaska in recent years, members of the fishing industry say fishermen are focusing their efforts farther west.

Courtesy of Rudy Gustafson

As the federal government shutdown wears on, Alaska’s fishermen have started to see some of its impacts percolate to the surface.

But a major question the industry has is going unanswered: Does the National Marine Fisheries Service have a plan to open Alaska’s halibut and sablefish fisheries if the shutdown lasts?

There have been some problems that have come with the shuttering of the National Marine Fisheries Service, or NMFS for short.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

The Homer City Council is requesting that Gov. Bill Walker declare the 2018 upper Cook Inlet sockeye salmon fishery an economic disaster. Council members passed a resolution Monday asking Walker to make the declaration.

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the total 2018 harvest of all salmon in upper Cook Inlet was valued at $11 million, nearly 70 percent below the 10-year average. The total commercial sockeye harvest in upper Cook Inlet came in at 815,000 fish, which was also down roughly 70 percent from the 10-year average.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

The Alaska Board of Fisheries’ agenda was packed with hatchery issues Tuesday.

Board members considered putting some issues on future agendas, but they also held a public forum on the broader state of hatcheries following a lengthy report from Alaska Department of Fish and Game staff.

Some board members expressed interest in taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to increasing hatchery production.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

The Alaska Board of Fisheries will kick off its annual work session in Anchorage Monday and salmon hatcheries will once again be a prominent topic of discussion. The board will consider whether to add issues surrounding production levels to future agendas and it will kick off a broader discussion on the hatchery industry Tuesday.

Disagreements over salmon hatcheries have been roiling over the past few years, and those arguments have played out at Board of Fish meetings.