Monday, May 27, 2013

A couple of Memorial Day harvest notes

The Togiak herring fishery most likely closes at noon today. The catch has been enormous, nearly 28,400 tons.

Over at the Copper River, salmon gillnetters get their third opener of the season starting at 7 a.m. today. The sockeye fishing has been hot with a cumulative catch of 266,739 fish, more than double the number expected.


Anonymous said...

Another huge period. But if you listened to NPR last week you'd have been mislead into thinking it's been a slow year because the first period catch of 84,000 fish was half the previous year. The fact is the long term average for the first period is less than 50,000 fish. Probably closer to 30,000.

What's happening now days is ADF&G is changing the structure of the run in their attempts to prevent the fleet from catching kings and their dependence on the sonar to determine run strength. By closing the "inside" and going to shorter 12 hour openers even in the face of great catches, then closing the Flats down for a week until the counter goes off, they are front loading the run. Last year's half million over escapement is a case in point. Then the counter goes crazy and they give 36, 48, and even 60 hour openers twice a week hammering the later stocks weakening the mid and back part of the run. June fishing is nothing like it used to be because of this.

Whatever the run size, consistent twice weekly openers are a better way to managing the run than the current managing by fear. Unless you just want a huge blast by the counter so you don't have to think or justify your actions the rest of the season.

Anonymous said...

Consistent openings are great with consistent escapement, but a potentially devastating strategy early in a seaon like this when the river is frozen, water is low, and fish are reluctant to enter. Continuing to hammer away at next weeks escapement, then next months escapement out in the ocean will take care of the early Copper River wild stocks. Half a million caught and less than 100 past the counter? If you're not nervous, you are not paying attention.

Anonymous said...

Not at all nervous about what's in the river or what's been caught. You don't get catches like that in that short of time unless there are lots of fish. And without inside openers, you haven't a clue if fish are entering the river. This run is just fine. The counters are suspect tho.

Fish and Game forced the outside fleet to become more efficient by the way they manage the fishery. Being forced to fish outside in bad weather on huge buildups after long closures is why the average boat is bigger, faster, and has more power. You have to be able to handle weather and big loads now and get there fast when your radio group calls you.

Anonymous said...

When thay are catching that many dogs, they are obviously fishing considerably offshore, intercepting travelling fish. Been there, done it. No such thing as a Copper dog. We called them mush puppies. Heavy feeding belly burners.

I wonder how many of those reds are actually Copper bound?

WASSIP genetic reports showed that Area M was intercepting fish bound for distant rivers, including those in Area E, the Bering and Copper.

With this new(er) early large offshore fishery management, fish out in those far rips could be going anywhere.

Genetics report?