Friday, August 17, 2012

Salmon season update

Alaska's commercial salmon catch is now well above 100 million fish.

The little pink salmon is the big story at this point in the season. Pinks are the most abundant kind of salmon, and seiners are really hauling them in.

Of the 107 million salmon of all species taken so far this season, nearly 55 million are pinks, according to the latest tally from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Sockeye salmon is the second-largest catch at 35 million fish, followed by chum salmon at almost 16 million.

It'll be interesting to see whether the industry can reach the state's preseason harvest forecast of more than 132 million salmon.

Even if it does, it won't be a particularly large salmon harvest this year, as the state has seen a number of seasons with catches exceeding 200 million fish.

Here are a few more salmon items of interest:

• We heard a lot of complaining from Cook Inlet setnetters over the extended closures they endured this season due to poor Chinook salmon returns to the Kenai River. The closures denied the setnetters a shot at their main money fish, sockeye. Well, now have a better understanding of their pain. In a letter to federal officials seeking a fishery disaster declaration for Upper Cook Inlet, Gov. Sean Parnell said the eastside setnet fishery was worth about $1.1 million to fishermen this year, compared to the annual average of $10.9 million.

• Coho, or silver, salmon generally are the latest to arrive each season. In Southeast Alaska, trollers have caught just over 580,000 silvers since July 1, receiving an average price of $1.81 per pound, Fish and Game reports. That price, times the average coho weight of 5.9 pounds, gives you a fish worth better than $10.50 at the dock.

• In the Kodiak area, the catch of 1.9 million sockeye is below average for this date in the season, but pink harvests are improving with 13.9 million taken so far, Fish and Game says.

• At Chignik, much of the seine fleet has quit for the season. It appears to have been a good one, with 1.8 million sockeye taken. A total of 68 permit holders made deliveries, the most in several years.

• Something unusual happened at Bristol Bay this season. Gillnetters in the Nushagak District took 877,000 pink salmon. Normally, the only fish in demand from the bay are its millions of sockeyes.


Anonymous said...

Your summary neglects to mention that while the cook inlet set netters were losing around 9 million dollars, a number that is very questionable in itself, that the businesses that benefit from in-river fishing in the Kenai and all the rivers in the Mat Su have lost far far more. It has been made clear that the economic impact from these in river fisheries far out weighs the impact from all of the commercial fisheries in the area, not just the set net fisheries. Yet you fail to mention this impact. Think of the many businesses that did not have a season, the hotels, restaurants, sporting goods stores, service stations, lodges, guides, boat sales and rental businesses, the loss of tax revenues, and the list goes on. All because of the absence of Chinooks. And the most disturbing aspect of the report comes when you fail to note that it is the east side set netters who have caused the problem in the first place by their over harvesting of the Chinooks. They put themselves in this position. And the funny thing is now there is an argument that set net fishing is no longer necessary to prevent over escapement. That has been established this year. Set net fishing has been eliminated over time almost all over the world because it kills fish that should be left unmolested. Maybe it's time to consider whether it does more harm than good in the central district to have set net fishing. And at the same it might be a good time to really let some fish get to the northern district. They have not had a good commercial fishery up north for years because of the interception by the central drift fleet. How many businesses in Anch and the Mat Su have been adversely impacted by this interception? How about writing about that impact. I read where the Governor and the Commissioner will be meeting with mat Su later this month. That should be entertaining. Once Parnell recognizes the problem may cost him votes, he will solve it and you will see a new management direction from the Com fish division. Finally, I understand that this "Deck Boss" blog seems to be for the benefit of commercial fishing interests, but it is open to all readers who really would like some objectivity and accuracy. Why not provide a balanced approach to your individual participation? It will provide additional credibility.

Anonymous said...

Hey genius, there's nothing to prevent you from buying a Cook Inlet setnet permit, leasing a site, and then choosing NOT to use it. They are going to be cheap.

49erDweet said...

I can understand the first "Anonymous's" angst but his coverage criticisms of Deckboss miss the mark, IMO. Other press stories during the season covered in various depths - some pretty shallow, btw - the points he raises. But "Alaska commercial fishing news and notes" pretty well says it. "Anonymous" #1 needs to rant against someone else. Makes great points, btw, just misses his aim.

Anonymous said...

What the declaration of financial disaster in Cook inlet misses is that the drifters picked up the slack from the set netters and pocketed the $9 million.

There was no net loss in the ex-vessel value to commercial fisheries in Cook Inlet, just a transfer from one gear group to another gear group.

The processors did the same number of sockeyes despite the set netters being closed.

And guess what? Both the Kenai and Kasilof rivers will be within there escapement ranges once the in-river harvest from anglers above the mile 19 sonar counter is deducted.

When the set netters were first closed this season, the rally cry was "We have to fish to keep the sockeye from over escaping..." Guess what - set net harvests weren't needed to contain the sockeye escapements; The drifters, along with the personal use and in-river sport fisheries contained an above average return just fine.

The upshot is maybe people will start to realize that Cook Inlet is severely over capitalized with commercial fishing gear, specifically with set net gear. It has the lowest commercial permit values, the largest concentration of unfished permits, and this year brings that home in spades. When two-thirds of the available fishing permits are closed and it has no real effect on the final escapements - guess what - time for a gear reduction in the Cook Inlet commercial fisheries.

There, that is THE commercial fishing story in Cook Inlet that no one wants to acknowledge or discuss - but it is the truth.

Anonymous said...

Frickin crybaby sports dudes

Ci setnets were fucked this year

No other way around it

Bad juju for the sports on kenai kings but the setnetterx never caused this problem

The pulse fishery would have kept things going and the department seemed to think they were managing an endangered species

Ci setnetters were simply fucked

This will not stand


Anonymous said...

I feel 4 the guides but kings are their target species

Setnet would have caught a minimal amount of kings while catching a million sockeyes

There's more escapement than 010 and 011 when we caught millions of sockeyes

This was a poorly managed fishery - be it board of fish until august 1 or adfg from august 1-5


Anonymous said...

Last year sw winds put the Kenai run on the beach south of the Kasilof. This year ne winds kept the Kenai fish offshore. Escapement was within goals without set nets fishing. What direction will the wind blow next year? Hope its blows up pennys ass...

How about we talk some spawning sanctuary in the Kenai river for king salmon. Lay off the catch and release in the tomato patch. Do we shoot spruce hens on the nest or cow moose when they are calving?

Anonymous said...

No question that it must have been hard for the east side set netters to sit on their hands watching the drift fleet rake it in, see the dip netters catch record numbers and be told they cannot fish. However, history is in the making. Times are not what they were. Where many years ago set netters could harvest as many kings as were available because there was no demand for an in river harvest, now the in-river fishers are an economic force that contributes far more to the economy of the area than the set net fishers and are now part of the historical users of the resource. Tell me again Bobby T how your friends who have been taking the Chinooks in their nets and under-reporting them are not part of the problem. When have they EVER come up with a solution on their own to assist in preventing their incidental catch of Chinooks? My guess is that they are at risk of becoming unnecessary to the plan to maximize the fishery and provide maximum benefit to alaskans. And maybe, Bobby T you are about to become unnecessary as well. Have you ever put the resource first? Do you care if there is a biological risk to an iconic fish. And for you to call the sports guys "fricken cry babys" shows where your real heart is. I think so long as your commercial buddies get theirs you could care less about what is right and wrong. No wonder managers and policy makers talk about how ineffective you are.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love the comments about how we have to manage the fishery according to the biology of the fishery.

Well the first rule of managing a fishery by biology is meet the minimum escapement goals.

If the department had wanted to ignore the Kenai River king salmon minimum escapement goal, it would have fished the east side set net fishery and allowed the in-river sport fishery wide open.

Instead, it managed the fishery based on biology, and it closed the east side set net fishery and the in-river sport fishery, because they harvested more than 10,000 kings last years in a "restricted" harvest strategy to conserve kings.

Well last year, once the in-river harvest was deducted from the total of the DIDSON sonar counter, the minimum escapement was not met.

This year, managing by biology, the local area managers closed the set nets and the sport fishery, and viola, the minimum goal for king salmon escapement MAY have been met.

Anonymous said...

bob...I love ya, but you can't argue your way out of a paper bag. "friken crybab[ies]"? is that the best you can do?

Anonymous said...

And so it goes..........on and on. The same rhetoric and rantiing and raving I have been hearing for the last 50 years. In my humble opinion, many of you have valid points BUT why should one user group be eliminated over any other user group just because they are smaller or less valuable? To me that is like saying "We have to close Mom & Pop's grocery store because Big Megastore is worth more." It is all about conserving a valuable resource and promoting the economy of Alaska in diverse ways. I believe this can be done and still allow all user groups to participate. Come on, if we can put a man in space can't we come up with solutions? All of you stop your complaining and bashing and get busy coming up with solutions that benefit ALL USER GROUPS, not just your own. By the way, I have heard that there actually are some attempting to do that right now. Keep up the good work!!

Anonymous said...

It's easy to "close Mom & Pop's" business because a "Big Megastore" has the money to crush them.

Anonymous said...

Essn could have been opened, should have opened

I see the official king count ended aug 08

Probably 5000 more past the counters by now

What's that make it


This is not an endangered stock

I'll bet it exceeded min esc goal by enough to have helped out the lodges as well as 3-5 key days for essn when it would have counted instead of the 4 days at the fringes of the season


Anonymous said...

Well, there you have it! Bobby T has the inside dope on escapement on the Kenai. And all from his remote location in SEAK. We can forget the sonar, the test fishery, creel counts, harvest numbers, and all other indicators and just ask Bobby T for the answer. All these years the answer was right next to us and we just ignored it. Maybe commissioner Campbell and her staff can rest easy from now on. Just give Bobby T a call and base management decisions on what he says will occur. With his sense of biological and allocative fairness we all know that we will be swimming in record numbers of Chinooks in Cook inlet in the very near future. Thanks so much Bobby T for your wisdom.

Anonymous said...

Wisdom is always by the inside dope, just look to boobyt's SEAS group, their "super exclusive" S.E. Salmon Seine Fishery, including federal buyback funding from NOAA, no extra charge, in violation of both CFEC Statute and Article 1's corrosive obligations clause.

Ever been to Alaska?

"This constitution is dedicated to the principles that all persons have a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the enjoyment of the rewards of their own industry; that all persons are equal and entitled to equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law; and that all persons have corresponding obligations to the people and to the State...

Sec. 16.43.310. Establishment of buy-back funds and permit buy-back assessments...
(a) When the optimum number of entry permits is less than the number of entry permits outstanding in a fishery, the commission may establish a buy-back program, a buy-back plan, and a buy-back fund for that fishery.

1974, Go SEAS! Where S01A is severely impacted, after the two biggest years in that fisheries history, and too many units of gear is the same old arbitrary and capricious standard, with no Optimum Number Report in sight?

(d) The sustained yield management and economic health of the following fisheries is severely impaired as a result, among other factors, of too many units of gear participating in the commercial harvest:
(1) Bristol Bay registration area - drift gillnet fishery;
(2) Cook Inlet registration area - drift gillnet fishery;
(3) Prince William Sound registration area - drift gillnet fishery.

Confusing 16,000 statewide permit holders, where "happiness" is always based on bobbyt's 400 "super exclusive" S.E. Seiners Association

May establish a buyback, but of course Must not tell anyone, a little north of the Calhoun Street Branch and UFA Headquarters, including the Corrupt Bastards Club members bobbyt President.

Anonymous said...

Not to worry much longer. Word has it that Mr. T has no respect from the Dept. or the BOF. He is the subject of back room jokes in the Director's offices and even though Cora is the forever commercial come first Commissioner, even she has had enough of Bobby t. Most just laugh at his comments and some may even feel some pity for him.