Saturday, July 26, 2014

'We are saddened'

Cook Inlet fishermen respond to the court order on a proposed ballot initiative to ban setnets.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Parnell seeks salmon bailout

Alaska's salmon industry is stuck with a crushing inventory of pinks, and it would really, really help if the federal government would buy a bunch (again).

That's the upshot of this letter from Gov. Sean Parnell to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Anti-setnet initiative revived

A judge has issued an order reversing Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell's rejection of a proposed ballot initiative to ban commercial setnets in Cook Inlet and elsewhere.

It means Alaska voters could have a chance to vote on the ban, which supporters believe is necessary to protect king salmon.

Assistant Attorney General Lance Nelson tells Deckboss: "The state will go through its normal evaluation process before deciding whether to appeal the ruling."

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Troopers say six boats seized at Togiak

Alaska Wildlife Troopers say they seized six commercial drift gillnet boats recently after they were spotted fishing well outside the Togiak salmon district of Bristol Bay.

Troopers identified the six boats as the Five Gs, the Skammin, the Kalena Annielyse, the Good Deal, the Inuli and the Hammer Time.

A news release posted yesterday said troopers on July 8 conducted a patrol of the Kulukak Bay area after receiving reports of illegal fishing.

A trooper few the area in a Piper Super Cub and discovered multiple vessels operating gear one to two nautical miles outside the district, the news release said.

"The trooper photographed and documented the locations where boats were fishing, and was able to land on the water and interview one of the fishermen," the release said.

A few days later, troopers executed search warrants resulting in the seizure of the six boats.

Several people aboard the vessels were charged with commercial fishing in closed waters, a misdemeanor.

All those charged were said to be from Togiak. They include:

• Rodney Gosuk, 39, owner and permit holder on the Five Gs
• Anthony Poulsen, 46, owner and operator of the Skammin
• Norma Ayojiak, 44, permit holder on the Skammin
• Michael Poulsen, 21, crewmember on the Skammin
• Alvaro Sutton, 35, owner and permit holder on the Kalena Annielyse
• Kevin Harless, 52, owner and permit holder on the Good Deal
• William Byayuk, 22, owner and permit holder on the Inuli
• Leroy Fox, 54, owner and operator of the Hammer Time
• Will Fox, 18, permit holder on the Hammer Time

Most already have pled guilty and been sentenced in Dillingham District Court, troopers said. The troopers didn't specify what the sentences involve.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bristol Bay prices — a disappointment?

We now hear that one major Bristol Bay salmon processor, Alaska General Seafoods, is paying a base price of $1.20 per pound plus 15 cents for chilled fish.

Other major processors are apparently also paying $1.20.

That's the word from AIFMA, the Alaska Independent Fishermen's Marketing Association.

Most likely, this price will disappoint Bristol Bay fishermen. Coming into the season, many expected $2 per pound or more for sockeye.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Bristol Bay salmon surprise keeps growing

The Bristol Bay sockeye catch now stands at almost 27 million fish, or about 10 million more than state biologists expected for the season.

Daily production has held steady at around 1 million fish for the past week.

Of the bay's five fishing districts, the Naknek-Kvichak zone has been the star with a tally of more than 13 million sockeye.

Still no word on what processors intend to pay gillnetters for the fish.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A curious culinary note

During a recent trip, Deckboss perused his in-flight magazine and found an article that says: "More and more chefs are putting bycatch on the menu."