Wednesday, November 27, 2013

State trims Bristol Bay sockeye forecast

The Department of Fish and Game's revised forecast calls for a 2014 sockeye salmon harvest of 16.86 million fish, down 620,000 fish from the previous projection.

Most of the cut is in the Nushagak District.

Calling all halibut proposals

The International Pacific Halibut Commission is accepting proposals for the 2014 season.

Click here to read the proposals submitted so far.

As you can see, quite a few Western Alaska residents really, really want an increase in the Area 4E catch limit.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Something old, something new

While in Seattle last week for Pacific Marine Expo, Deckboss naturally took time to go check out the boats at Fishermen's Terminal in Ballard.

Above is the Blue North, a 174-foot cod freezer longliner built in 1945.

At right is the Optimus, a gleaming new combination boat.

Gulf pollock and cod up, sablefish down

The outlook for Gulf of Alaska groundfish stocks is mixed for 2014.

Government scientists are recommending appreciably higher "acceptable biological catch" levels for pollock and cod.

The sablefish ABC, however, is significantly lower.

See all the numbers here.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will consider the recommendations and set catch quotas at its Dec. 9-16 meeting in Anchorage.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pollock quota looks to stay flat

The 2014 quota for Bering Sea pollock isn't likely to change much from the current year.

And how can Deckboss say this?

A panel of government scientists, known as the Groundfish Plan Team, has issued its slate of recommendations for pollock and other fish species.

The recommended "acceptable biological catch" for eastern Bering Sea pollock is 1,369,000 metric tons, just a shade below the 2013 ABC of 1,375,000 tons.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will consider the numbers at its Dec. 9-16 meeting in Anchorage.

The council will make its own quota recommendations to the commerce secretary, who has final say.

Bering Sea pollock, of course, is one of the world's largest fisheries by weight. The fish are caught by trawl net and processed into such products as fish sticks and surimi.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bristol Bay salmon forecast to be corrected

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game today issued this advisory:

It has recently come to our attention that a newly developed database program used to generate data for the 2014 Bristol Bay forecast had an error in the catch computation.

Once corrected, the changes are likely to reduce the forecast to westside Bristol Bay: Nushagak and Togiak districts. The forecast to eastside Bristol Bay districts is unlikely to change.

A revised 2014 forecast should be available by the middle to end of next week.

Fish Expo time!

Deckboss is in Seattle for Pacific Marine Expo, running this morning until 3 p.m. Friday.

Hope to see you on the show floor!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bristol Bay forecast: 17.5 million sockeye

Looks like Bristol Bay can expect another relatively small sockeye salmon catch in 2014.

The harvest is projected at 17.48 million fish, says the forecast from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

This season produced a catch of 15.4 million sockeye on a forecast of 16.6 million.

Troopers chief: We don't discriminate

The Alaska Wildlife Troopers don't discriminate against any group, says the agency's director, Col. Jim Cockrell, in this column published in the Homer News.

Cockrell wrote the column in response to a letter from some Bristol Bay driftnetters alleging enforcement bias against "Russian" boats.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fish Board to entertain emergency petition

The Board of Fisheries has scheduled an emergency teleconference for Nov. 26 to consider a petition asking the board to undo its recent action to establish a purse seine fishery for Atka mackerel in state waters in the Aleutians.

The petition and other details are posted here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

'Theatrics and political games'

United Fishermen of Alaska, the state's top commercial fishing organization, calls the proposed voter initiative to ban setnets "a staggering social and economic assault on Alaska's seafood industry."

Read more here.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Setnetters fire back

The Kenai Peninsula Fishermen's Association responds to news of a campaign to ban commercial setnets in Cook Inlet and elsewhere.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ban setnetters?

A group called the Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance wants to let voters decide whether to ban commercial setnets near the state's main population centers. Here's a press release.

Salvage plans in works for sunken vessel

Here's a situation report on the grounding of the F/V Arctic Hunter near Dutch Harbor.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Joe Bundrant named CEO at Trident Seafoods

Chuck Bundrant announced his son, Joe, is taking over as chief executive at Trident Seafoods, one of the largest processors operating in Alaska.

This doesn't mean, however, that Joe Bundrant, 47, now has full command of the Seattle-based company.

This message to employees indicates he'll report directly to the elder Bundrant and the rest of the company's board of directors.

Chuck Bundrant is board chairman and Trident's founder.

Monday, November 4, 2013

'Average' pink salmon catch forecast for Southeast

A new forecast calls for an "average" harvest of 22 million pink salmon in 2014 in Southeast Alaska.

"An actual harvest of 22 million pink salmon would be well below the recent 10-year average of 41 million pink salmon, but is close to the average harvest over the past five even years," the forecast says.

Southeast is one of Alaska's top-producing pink salmon regions.

Generally, odd years produce bigger catches. The 2013 harvest was the biggest ever in Southeast at 89.2 million pinks.

Bits and pieces

Here's a news roundup, including some slightly dated items Deckboss wasn't able to post right away.

• Halibut season closes at noon Thursday.

• At its October meeting, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council re-elected Eric Olson as chairman. Olson works for Yukon Delta Fisheries Development Association, a Community Development Quota group.

• State biologists see potential for another enormous herring haul next spring at Togiak. The forecast calls for an allowable harvest of 27,890 tons in the sac roe fishery. The industry took 28,793 tons last season.

• Gov. Sean Parnell has made some Pacific Salmon Commission nominations. Details in this press release.

• A new annual report is out on U.S. commercial and recreational fisheries. As you might expect, the report is replete with Alaska references. Here's one interesting note on salmon:

The average price per pound for all species in Alaska was 72 cents in 2012 — a decrease of 5 cents from 2011.