Commercial Fisheries

Board of Fish agenda heavy with hatchery issues

Oct 12, 2018
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.

Courtesy of the International Halibut Commission

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council, or NPFMC, took a step during its meeting Monday toward regulating unguided boats that anglers pay to use for halibut fishing. The council may require those boats to be registered and may also impose more restrictive charter bag limits on the customers that utilize them.

KBBI

Some of Alaska’s seafood industry has escaped the Trump administration’s trade war with China for now. The industry is happy the administration dropped some mainstay seafood products from a list of tariffs it imposed last week.

The Trump administration levied billions of dollars worth of tariffs on the world’s second largest economy on Sept. 24.  The tariffs start at 10 percent and will ratchet up to 25 percent by 2019. The Trump administration’s original list of levies included seafood products that Alaska processors export to China for reprocessing.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

Recently, an argument over whether hatcheries are causing more harm than good has been heating up. The debate is nothing new. But an Alaska Department of Fish and Game study is about to take a step toward answering a question central to the debate: do hatchery fish that spawn with wild populations pose a threat to those stocks?

“You want to make two cuts: one to get at the heart and one to get at the otoliths,” Pete Rand told a group of new filed staff.

Courtesy of Rudy Gustafson

In the first round of what seems to be an escalating trade dispute between the U.S. and China, tariffs have been levied on billions of dollars worth of goods in both countries. The Alaska fishing industry, which harvests roughly 60 percent of all wild seafood in the U.S., has been caught in the crosshairs of that disagreement.

But it’s not the Chinese tariffs that are giving the industry heartburn. It’s a proposed tariff on seafood imported from China.

Kachemak Bay pink season on track for a good year

Aug 10, 2018
Alaska Department of Fish and Game

The commercial pink salmon season in Kachemak Bay is on track to be a good year. As of Aug. 8, the seine fleet picked up roughly 180,000 pinks, well above the 88,000 fish harvested at this point in the season last year and about four times more pinks compared to 2016.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game Biologist Glenn Hollowell said about 20 permit holders have participated in the southern district.

“Most of those fish we believe are going back to the Tutka Bay Hatchery, and the Tutka Hatchery special harvest area just opened today to common property harvest,” he added.

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.

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.

North Pacific Fishery Management Council

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council appointed two Homer-based fishermen to its Cook Inlet Salmon Committee last month. The council asked the committee to evaluate management options for Cook Inlet commercial salmon fishing in federal waters when it created the group earlier this year.

Dan Anderson and Hannah Heimbuch were both appointed to the committee during the NPFMC’s June meeting in Kodiak. The council also pointed three other commercial fishermen to the group, two of which are from Kasilof. All six members are drift gillnet permit holders.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Commercial fishermen in lower Cook Inlet are having a mostly average season so far this summer. Seiners have hauled in roughly 34,000 sockeye, which sits between the 2016 and 2017 harvests.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game Area Management Biologist, Glenn Hollowell said most of those fish are comprised of hatchery stocks.

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