commercial fishing

This Week in Bycatch - August 6

Aug 7, 2019
Halibut
Nancy Heise / Wikimedia

Incidental catch of bairdi, opilio, and king crab remained low across the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands regulatory areas for the week ending July 27.  Less than three thousand crab were caught across all gear types.  King salmon bycatch stood at 62 fish for the week, while all other salmon species accounted for 18,971 fish.  About half of the non-chinook were caught in statistical area 517 north of False Pass just west of the entranc

This Week in Landings - 08/02

Aug 2, 2019
Salmon
University of Washington

Sockeye salmon continued pouring into Upper Cook Inlet.  Six hundred forty thousand found their way into the nets of the commercial gillnet fleet, up from three hundred ninety thousand the week before.  The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced that the Kenai and Kasilof rivers have exceeded escapement goals, and they have extended fishing periods for set gillnetters and opened expanded areas in the Kasilof, Kenai, and Anchor Point subdistricts  to drifters.

This Week in Bycatch - July 30

Jul 31, 2019
Halibut
Nancy Heise / Wikimedia

July continued to report the lowest catches of prohibited species in 2019 throughout groundfish fisheries in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands regulatory areas, according to reports from onboard observers compiled by the National Marine Fisheries Service.  In the week ending July 20, total halibut bycatch in non-IFQ groundfish sectors was reported at 85,855 pounds.

Salmon
University of Washington

Halibut landings across the state have slowed down as boats turn their attention to salmon.  Homer landed 109,763 pounds of halibut on fifteen deliveries in the last week, over twice as much as Kodiak.  Seward recorded 37,573 pounds. Almost eight and a half million pounds have been caught so far around the state in the IFQ longline fishery.  

Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

Four fishermen from Homer and Anchor Point were found guilty of herding thousands of salmon out of closed waters and illegally harvesting them in 2018. A Homer District Court Judge placed all of the men on probation and fined them thousands of dollars, but ultimately reduced most of those fines.

Last July, an Alaska State Wildlife Trooper observed the 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.

Courtesy of Robin McAllistar

Many women in the commercial fishing industry say sexual harassment is part of the job. But, being on a boat for weeks or months at a time can make harassment hard to escape and seeking help especially difficult. Now, there’s a push to make the seas safer for women. 

Rudy Gustafson

The U.S. Pacific halibut season kicked off Friday. Some of the first deliveries to Alaska ports are expected later this week and will set the tone for prices on the docks this year. Market conditions are expected to be more favorable for Alaska’s halibut fishermen and processors compared to last year.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

What happens when wild salmon interbreed with hatchery fish?

A study by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game looking at chum and pink salmon runs in Southeast and Prince William Sound is expanding to help biologists understand the interplay between wild runs and hatchery strays. There is concern that hatchery fish could alter the genetics of wild populations, posing a threat to their survival.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says its massive hatchery-wild research study will inform the conversations surrounding the rates at which hatchery pink and chum salmon stray into wild streams and whether they’re less productive than their wild counterparts.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

The Alaska Board of Fisheries will host a committee meeting Friday on Alaska’s salmon hatchery program. The gathering is meant to be a forum to discuss the latest research and developments in the hatchery industry.

That information is supposed to inform stakeholders, board members and department staffs’ understanding of the issues surrounding salmon hatcheries. But the conversation is about more than just science and statistics. 

KBBI

The trade war with China is impacting Alaska’s seafood industry. Alaska seafood exports to China have dropped by a fifth compared to last year.

Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Jeremy Woodrow told the Alaska House Fisheries Committee Wednesday that the industry blames Chinese tariffs. That’s according to a recent industry survey.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

After about five years of work, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s hatchery-wild study is beginning to answer crucial questions: do hatchery pink salmon produce fewer offspring compared to their wild counterparts and do they affect the productivity of the wild stocks they spawn with?

Last week, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources announced some key appointments. Kenai Peninsula sportfishing advocate Ricky Gease will serve as director of state parks.

That’s worrying some commercial fishermen and hatchery proponents because Gease, a known hatchery critic, could have influence over Cook Inlet Aquaculture’s operations in Kachemak Bay State Park.

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

The partial federal government shutdown has left some Alaska fishermen and others wondering whether federal fisheries set to start in January will open on time. The National Marine Fisheries Service has been affected by the shutdown and many employees aren’t there to answer phones, leaving some with more questions than answers.

Albert Duncan with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s law enforcement office said his division is still running during the shutdown.

Blob 2.0 is bad sign for Gulf of Alaska groundfish

Dec 7, 2018
Photo Courtesy of Holland Dotts & the Alaska Marine Conservation Council.

Fish heavily impacted by a three-year marine heatwave in the Gulf of Alaska may be headed for round two. Commonly referred to as the blob, warmer waters between 2014 and 2017 were blamed for a dramatic decline in Pacific cod and are thought to have negatively impacted other species such as pollock.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council set catch limits for several groundfish species in the Gulf of Alaska Thursday afternoon. Before members set those limits, Stephani Zador with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center updated the council on the latest trends in the Gulf. 

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