Monday, March 22, 2010

Bristol Bay processors again say they're ready

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game today came out with its processor capacity survey for the upcoming Bristol Bay salmon season.

As usual, the processors say they're prepared to handle a full harvest.

The state is forecasting a run big enough to support a commercial catch of 30.5 million sockeye. Surveyed processors said they're prepared to purchase and process more than that — 31.6 million sockeye.

But fishermen still might face delivery limits or shutdowns if the fish lump in unevenly, plugging the plants, the survey indicates.

This has been a major sore spot with gillnetters in recent seasons, with some accusing the processors of failing to plan adequately.

A couple of other interesting notes from the survey:

• Processors project a 6 percent decrease in tendering capacity in the bay this summer.

• Air transport of fish is expected to increase.

Bristol Bay last summer yielded a harvest of 30.9 million sockeye.

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