Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Monday, March 29, 2021

More COVID dollars coming

Looks like Alaska is in line for another $40 million in federal fisheries assistance related to the coronavirus pandemic. Details here.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Sitka Sound herring harvest gets underway

Here's the latest update from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Save halibut, or save observers?

A number of businesses are coming to the defense of a trawl fleet possibly facing tighter halibut bycatch limits in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands.

Among them is Saltwater Inc., an Anchorage provider of fishery observers.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Should Alaska seafood qualify as organic?

Industry organizations are pushing to make Alaska seafood eligible for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's organic label.

Here's a letter the organizations just sent stating "we believe there is truly no more organic product than wild-caught Alaska seafood."

Sitka herring watch

The Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery will go on two-hour notice effective at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Juneau watch

A proposal to raise the state's fuel tax is again up for debate in the Alaska State Capitol.

House Bill 104 would, among other things, double the tax on motor fuel used in watercraft to a dime per gallon.

However, the bill specifies that "a watercraft licensed ... and used for commercial fishing is entitled to a motor fuel tax refund of 5 cents a gallon if the tax on the motor fuel has been paid."

With that provision, the bill has the support of United Fishermen of Alaska.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Fiber and fishing

GCI plans to run a subsea fiberoptic cable out to Unalaska and wants "no adverse interaction with the fishing industry."

Saturday, March 13, 2021

The Scandies Rose tragedy

The U.S. Coast Guard recently concluded a lengthy public hearing into the loss of the fishing vessel Scandies Rose, which sank on New Year's Eve 2019 in heavy seas southwest of Kodiak Island.

Of the seven crewmembers aboard, two were rescued and five were never recovered.

As part of its hearing, the Coast Guard posted numerous exhibits including this subsea survey report on the sunken vessel. Readers are advised that some images and details in the report may be disturbing.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Bigger salmon haul predicted

The 2021 salmon forecast is out, and a much larger catch is expected this year.

The state is projecting a statewide commercial harvest of more than 190 million salmon.

That compares to last year's tally of about 118 million.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Into the fray

The state is looking to join the fight against a lawsuit seeking to shut down the Chinook salmon fishery in federal waters off Southeast Alaska.

Crab crisis?

The Board of Fisheries has scheduled a March 16 special meeting to consider an emergency petition to close the Norton Sound commercial red king crab fishery for the remainder of 2021.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Juneau watch

The House Labor and Commerce Committee is planning a hearing tomorrow on seafood industry safety.

The hearing is expected to focus, at least in part, on a proposed but ultimately canceled $450,000 fine against Copper River Seafoods.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Do released halibut survive?

The International Pacific Halibut Commission is looking to conduct a recreational discard mortality study.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Halibut time! Sablefish too!

The halibut season opens at noon local time Saturday.

The open comes a good bit earlier than last year, when the halibut fishery started on March 14.

The sablefish season also opens at noon tomorrow.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

F/V Haida Lady afloat again

The F/V Haida Lady, which sank near Cobb Island south of Sitka, has been raised with lift bags and dewatering pumps, the U.S. Coast Guard reports. This is the boat as seen Wednesday. USCG photo

Juneau watch

Rep. Geran Tarr, D-Anchorage, has been named chair of the House Special Committee on Fisheries.

She takes the gavel from Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, who is now speaker of the House.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Bristol Bay's price discontent

After last season ended, Bristol Bay salmon fishermen grumbled over the 70 cents per pound the major processors paid for sockeye. It was a huge drop from the $1.35 paid the prior season.

The reason for the price drop would seem evident and understandable: COVID-19 and the anxiety it created in the markets.

Nevertheless, Bristol Bay fishermen remain angry over last year's fish price.

Many hope the processors will come through with supplemental payments for the 2020 catch.

This week, the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, which represents drift gillnetters, posted a white paper examining last year’s disappointing sockeye price and options for what the fleet could do about it. Here's a summary of the paper.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Seiner reported sunk near Sitka

Here's a situation report from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.