Monday, July 9, 2012

Salmon season update

Bristol Bay gillnet boats line up to deliver their sockeye salmon catches to tender vessels. Jack Molan photo

We're approaching the halfway mark of the 2012 salmon season. Here are a few highlights from the action thus far:

• The statewide catch as of Friday, all species, totaled more than 22.2 million fish. The state predicts 132.1 million for the season.

• The harvest tally typically doesn't really mount up until the pink salmon hordes show up, and that hasn't happened yet. Only 428,000 pinks have been taken thus far.

• The state's main money fish is sockeye, and some areas are seeing good results. Bristol Bay gillnetters last week enjoyed day after day of big catches, and through Saturday the harvest was 14.9 million, or more than two-thirds of the preseason forecast. Copper River fishermen have taken 1.6 million sockeye — outstanding.

• In Upper Cook Inlet, poor king salmon returns to the Kenai River are hurting sockeye fishermen. The state Department of Fish and Game is closing down setnetters today. The idea is to let Kenai kings pass through.

• In Southeast Alaska, the general summer troll season that opened July 1 closes to retention of king salmon at midnight tonight. That's when the target harvest of 98,135 kings is expected to be reached. Fish and Game says it counted 548 troll vessels during aerial surveys.

• Commercial fishing has begun way up in Norton Sound, but it's a weird year. "The large amount of ice in Norton Sound this winter is thus far resulting in the latest runs of salmon observed in decades," Fish and Game reports.


Anonymous said...

There's the "ice in Norton Sound" problem again - everybody has been talking it up for weeks as if it's the real reason the salmon are late this year.

How about a reality check of salmon declines to the small rivers of Norton Sound for going on 30 years. Returns dwindling year after year and eventually there will be no more returning. I guess it's easier to come up with excuses of nature then work to solve the problem.

Tim Smith said...

Ice, yeah that's it. Late runs due to ice.

One thing for sure, it couldn't have been the result of bycatch in the pollock trawl fisheries.

Pollock provides.

Anonymous said...

come on reds. children need a new pair of boots,winter coats,crayons,and lunch money.

Anonymous said...

What I know about salmon:

Salmon grow in cold water.

Salmon spawn in cold water.

Salmon survive on their cyclic

Therefore, when it's time to go, it's time to go to the spawning grounds.

As for the "weird year" in the Norton Sound, it's going to get weirder yet with the lack of salmon returning causing the spawning grounds to become poor habitats for future runs. The rivers are crashing.

That's "weird" alright and it's only going to get weirder.

Anonymous said...

As an innocent observer of the salmon situation up in the Norton Sound, it appears that the managers of the salmon resources are changing the course of history by turning all the rivers into spawning habitat for HUMPIES. Record run of HUMPIES while the rest of the salmon species are crashing hard. That's not "weird", it's incompetence. Allowing fishers to fish even though the runs are weak leads to a crash, a big time crash. Big Boss needs to step in.

Anonymous said...

You need a new salmon update Wes.

Norton Sound's CDQ group, NSEDC, is paying commercial fishermen 40 cents a pound for Humpies. Fishers will need to catch and sell 18 pounds of humpies to equal the cost of one gallon of gas. It's not economically feasible. In fact it's a money losing operation. Public Monies down the drain.

Unknown said...
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