Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Adding it all up

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute has posted a big new report titled Economic Value of the Alaska Seafood Industry.

McDowell Group, a research and consulting firm, prepared the report for ASMI.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Coast Guard conducts medevac near Sitka

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter today hoisted an ailing woman off the fishing vessel Tuxedni in Tebenkof Bay, 67 miles southeast of Sitka.

The woman, 44, reportedly was suffering from "severe abdominal distress," the Coast Guard said in a press release.


Alaska's all-species commercial salmon catch has now eclipsed 250 million fish, and the pink salmon harvest alone is over 200 million.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Blue North fined, ordered to pay $179,000 in restitution after guilty plea to illegal cod catch

From the Alaska State Troopers:

Location: Dutch Harbor
Type: Sentencing
On 12/15/10 Alaska Wildlife Troopers in Dutch Harbor were contacted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, which reported that the F/V Blue Ace, a 124-foot catcher-processor, had taken Pacific cod with longline gear in state waters closed to vessels 60 feet or greater in overall length. Investigation revealed the Blue Ace was owned by Blue North Fisheries Inc. and operated by Boi Njardvik, 51, of Seattle, and over the course of three separate trips during the B season for Aleutian Islands District cod had taken 417,436 pounds of round-weight cod inside state waters closed to fishing vessels of the Blue Ace's size and gear type. The case was referred to the state Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals for review. On 6/5/13 Njardvik pled guilty to commercial fishing in closed waters and was fined $3,000 with $1,500 suspended. Blue North Fisheries also pled guilty to commercial fishing in closed waters and was fined $10,000 with $5,000 suspended and placed on probation for three years. In addition, Blue North Fisheries was ordered to pay the state restitution of $179,145.68 for the cod that was taken illegally.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Governor names three to ASMI board

Gov. Sean Parnell has reappointed Kevin Adams and Jack Schultheis to the board of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

Parnell also appointed Amy Humphreys. She fills the seat formerly held by Dennis Guhlke, whom Humphreys replaced in February as chief executive of Icicle Seafoods Inc.

Here's the press release from the governor's office.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

It's unofficial!

Alaska's all-species commercial salmon catch now stands at just over 234 million fish, the Department of Fish and Game reports.

That blows away the old record of 221.9 million set in 2005.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Salmon notes

We're having a banner salmon season, led by a blockbuster catch of pink salmon.

The statewide harvest now exceeds 211 million fish. Here's a chart showing the catch of each species and the preseason forecast.

Salmon speciesCatch forecastCatch to date

Here are a few notes as the season enters the stretch run.

• A record 77.6 million pinks have been taken in Prince William Sound. This includes 74.1 million in the general seine fishery and 3.5 million in hatchery cost recovery fisheries. Based on run timing, state biologists project a final catch of 90.9 million.

• Seiners in Southeast Alaska also are setting records for weekly catches of pink salmon. Fishery managers say the final tally could top 70 million.

• Alaska's all-species commercial salmon harvest has exceeded 200 million fish four times (1995, 1999, 2005 and 2007). The all-time record harvest was 221.9 million in 2005.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Another tender goes down

Man, it's been a tough season for fish tenders.

State officials say the 72-foot tender Pacific Queen hit a rock and sank this week in Duncan Canal southwest of Petersburg.

The wood-hulled boat, built in 1938, belongs to Joseph Lykken, of Wrangell.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fate Hunter finds disaster

The fish tender Fate Hunter, partially sunk about seven miles west of Valdez. The 65-foot steel-hulled vessel was heading to Valdez after taking aboard 150,000 pounds of salmon when it ran aground Sunday morning. A nearby vessel, the Akemi, picked up the Fate Hunter's uninjured crew. The tender belongs to Smotherman Fishing Inc. of Hammond, Ore. Efforts are under way to recover fuel from the vessel. DEC photo

Trident expanding into Deep South

Seattle-based Trident Seafoods is planning a $41 million value-added processing plant in Georgia, that state's governor announced today.

The plant will be in Carrollton, west of Atlanta.

Here's the press release.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Injured seine boat crewman needs medevac

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter today hoisted an injured crewman off the F/V Beverly Ann about 50 miles southeast of Seward.

The call for help was that deck equipment had struck the 22-year-old crewman in the head, the Coast Guard said.

The Beverly Ann is a 54-foot purse seiner out of Cordova.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Over the top!

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports the commercial salmon catch now tallies 179.7 million fish, surpassing the preseason forecast of 179 million.

367 brilliant ideas

Here's the proposal book for upcoming meetings of the Alaska Board of Fisheries.

This meeting cycle includes statewide Pacific cod, Chignik finfish, Lower Cook Inlet finfish, Kodiak finfish, Upper Cook Inlet finfish, and statewide king and Tanner crab.

Obviously, the marquee meeting is Upper Cook Inlet finfish. Should be a real cage match, as always.

Deckboss spent a couple of hours this morning looking over the proposal book, which packs 367 offerings.

Here's a quick and rather random sampler:

Proposal 45 — Require 100 percent observer coverage on groundfish trawl vessels in state waters of the Cook Inlet, Kodiak and Chignik management areas. Sponsor: Alaska Marine Conservation Council and others.

Proposal 52 — Prohibit catch-and-release fishing for salmon in all Cook Inlet fresh waters. Sponsor: Central Peninsula Fish and Game Advisory Committee.

Proposal 126 — Prohibit permit stacking in the commercial set and drift gillnet fisheries in Upper Cook Inlet. Sponsor: Kenai River Sportfishing Association.

Proposal 285 — Prohibit dipnetting from boats in the Kenai River personal use fishery. Sponsor: United Cook Inlet Drift Association.

Proposal 348 — Increase harvest limit for Aleutian Islands golden king crab. Sponsor: Golden King Crab Coalition.

Check out the proposal book for more details on these and other proposals. The book also has meeting dates and locations.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Pink salmon seiners aren't the only ones who could be celebrating after this season.

Southeast trollers are looking to score big on coho salmon.

"The wild return and commercial catch projections are well above average and second only to those in 1994, when the coho salmon return was the largest on record," the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said in this announcement. "High abundance levels have been observed throughout the region during the past several weeks."

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Explosive catches of pink salmon reported

Deckboss just got off the line with Dan Gray of the state Department of Fish and Game down in Sitka.

Purse seiners are making what are believed to be record catches in Southeast Alaska.

"It's just more and more and more fish piling in here," Gray says.

State fishery managers and overwhelmed processors have been talking about how to "keep things orderly and under control," he says.

The state's preseason forecast was for a Southeast seine harvest of 54 million pinks, but now managers believe it'll be 60 to 70 million or even more.

To cope, processors have placed vessels on delivery limits.

Such limits also are reported in Prince William Sound, which likewise is seeing huge catches. Through Monday, seiners had taken an estimated 49.4 million pinks in the common property fishery.

Hatchery pinks dominate the runs in Prince William Sound, while Southeast pinks are predominantly wild fish.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Coast Guard airlifts crewman after winch injury

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter today hoisted an injured crewman off a fishing vessel 92 miles southeast of Sitka.

The 21-year-old crewman, who wasn't identified, was reported to have suffered injuries to his hand and arm while using a winch aboard the 54-foot F/V Jerilyn.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Salmon notes

Here are a few highlights from the ongoing Alaska salmon season.

• The statewide all-species catch now exceeds 120 million fish, the Department of Fish and Game reports. The forecast for the full season is 179 million.

• The pink salmon fishery is really rocking. In Southeast Alaska, indications point to a purse seine harvest of 60-70 million pinks, well above the state's preseason forecast of 54 million.

• In Prince William Sound, seiners bagged 35.6 million pinks through July 31, a record total for the date.

• The Norton Sound chum salmon harvest has again topped 100,000 fish, with another 130,000 taken at Kotzebue. "Hopefully, there will be enough flights in and out of Kotzebue to keep up with the good catches coming in," the department said Friday.

• We're now seeing coho catches pick up around the state. Coho generally are the latest arriving of the five commercially harvested Pacific salmon species.