Sunday, July 5, 2015

Bristol Bay bust?

Gillnetters in Bristol Bay have taken just over 8 million sockeye salmon through the Fourth of July.

Uh-oh.

Independence Day usually marks the peak of the Bristol Bay fishery, and so we would have expected a much bigger harvest by now considering the state's preseason forecast of 37.6 million fish.

Alas, we've seen plenty of seasons when the catch came in way under, or way over, the forecast.

This looks like one of those way under years. Even if the industry doubles the current tally, we'd have only 16 million sockeye for the season, far below last year's harvest of 28.8 million.

Still no word on fish prices. But an unexpectedly small harvest should push up prices substantially, don't you think?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Injured man hoisted off seiner near Sand Point

The U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday airlifted an injured man off a fishing vessel near Sand Point.

The 28-year-old patient was reported to have a head injury. He was aboard a 48-foot boat listed in state records as the Capt'n Jay, a purse seiner.

Here's a video of the rescue.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Salmon notes

Here are a few highlights from Alaska's young salmon season.

• The action is starting to pick up at Bristol Bay, where gillnetters had landed 2.6 million sockeye through Monday. The season forecast calls for a bumper harvest of 37.6 million fish, so we could see the bay explode in the next few days as the fishery peaks. Track the daily catch here.

• In Southeast Alaska, the chum salmon return to the Hidden Falls Hatchery has been a huge disappointment.

• At the Copper River, gillnetters have caught just over 1.2 million sockeye and 22,492 Chinook. The preseason forecast called for 2.24 million sockeye and 6,000 Chinook.

• At Chignik, it appears about 50 seine permit holders are taking part in the fishery, down a bit.

• On the Lower Yukon River, chum fishermen are again restricted to dipnets and beach seines instead of gillnets. This allows for the safe release of scarce Chinook.

• Way up north at Kotzebue, commercial salmon fishing is expected to open July 10. At this point, however, the area has only one confirmed buyer compared to three last year.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Trollers 'outraged' over Chinook quota

The summer troll season for Chinook salmon in Southeast Alaska will open July 1.

But the state announcement fails to clearly spell out the quota.

The Alaska Trollers Association says the quota is 237,000 fish. And the trollers are outraged.

Icicle Seafoods to be sold in two pieces

After months of speculation, we now have confirmation that the owners of Icicle Seafoods Inc. are selling the company.

Here's the press release.

Icicle, based in Seattle, is one of Alaska's largest seafood processors.

Paine & Partners, the private equity firm that's held Icicle since 2007, says it has agreements to sell Icicle in two pieces.

Convergence Holdings Inc. will acquire Icicle's land-based wild seafood processing and farmed salmon activities.

Dominion Catchers LLC will acquire Icicle's harvesting and processing vessels as well as the associated fishing rights.

"Convergence and Dominion have agreed to enter into long-term contracts to continue Icicle's diversified seafood operations," the press release says.

Convergence is described as "the latest company established by the Indonesia-based Soetantyo family."

The transaction is expected to close in August. Naturally, no one is revealing the sale price.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Death reported aboard vessel in Larsen Bay

From the Alaska State Troopers:

Location: Kodiak
Type: Unattended death
On 6/23/15 at about 0630 hours, the Larsen Bay medical provider for Icicle Seafoods Inc. notified the Alaska State Troopers of a death aboard a fishing vessel parked in Larsen Bay. Subsequent investigation revealed Steven King, 61, of Randle, Wash., died of apparent natural causes aboard the vessel during the night. Next of kin have been notified.