Friday, May 21, 2021

'An all-time high'

Now here's a rarity — a press release from a processor publicly announcing its prices for salmon.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Observer enforcement action

The North Pacific Observer Program 2020 Annual Report discloses this enforcement action, among others:

F/V Seafisher — Crewman Iakopo Jake Vae was charged under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act with forcibly assaulting and sexually harassing a fisheries observer onboard the vessel. A $60,000 notice of violation and assessment was issued.

Sluggish start at the Copper River

Once again, the Copper River salmon fishery is off to a slow start.

Monday's 12-hour season opener produced an estimated 8,200 sockeye, far short of the 27,100 anticipated for the period. The catch averaged fewer than 21 fish per delivery.

Gillnetters also caught 1,960 Chinook salmon during the opener.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has scheduled another 12-hour opener for Thursday in the Copper River District.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Better prices for Bristol Bay?

The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association has just published its preseason sockeye market outlook, and its sounds quite bullish for higher ex-vessel prices this year.

"Wholesale market conditions for Bristol Bay sockeye products appear very favorable heading into 2021, compared to the 2020 season," BBRSDA says.

The base ex-vessel price was a disappointing 70 cents per pound in 2020, a season plagued with pandemic uncertainty.

Details are now emerging, however, of certain price adjustments and bonuses for last year's harvest. Check out the Bristol Bay Fishermen's Association price chart.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Juneau watch

The state House of Representatives just passed House Bill 28, which eliminates the need for commercial fishing vessels to be registered with both the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission and the Division of Motor Vehicles.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Yukon gloom

Here, in a nutshell, is the 2021 run outlook for Yukon River salmon:

Chinook — poor
Summer chum — below average
Fall chum — below average
Coho — below average to average

The department expects no directed fishery for Chinook.

Will the Yukon ever see a return to better days?

Uncle Sam's big buy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it will buy pollock, sockeye salmon and other products in "the largest single seafood purchase in the department's history."

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Dealing with Russia and China

State legislators have introduced a pair of resolutions aimed at troublesome overseas markets.

Senate Joint Resolution 16 — Calling on President Biden to immediately seek and secure an end to the embargo imposed by Russia on seafood imports from abroad so that Alaska seafood producers' access to the Russian domestic seafood market is fully restored.

Senate Joint Resolution 17 — Requesting the U.S. Trade Representative bring a renewed focus on the plight of producers of seafood in the state and the United States and to compel China to comply with its commitment to increase its imports of seafood products from the United States.

Abe is out

State legislators yesterday confirmed all of the governor's appointments to the Alaska Board of Fisheries with the exception of Abe Williams, who was rejected by a vote of 18 yeas to 41 nays.

Click here to see how the lawmakers voted.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Protecting oceans, or creating bureaucracy?

Alaska Congressman Don Young says he's introduced legislation to "direct NOAA to establish the American Fisheries Advisory Committee." Here's the press release.

Seining way up north

This 2021 Norton Sound salmon season outlook says "there will be an experimental purse seine fishery targeting pink salmon."

Monday, May 10, 2021

Pay the man

The Alaska Supreme Court has ruled against factory trawl operator Fishermen's Finest, which had challenged the state landing tax as unconstitutional. Here's the court's 31-page opinion.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

OBI's image

Deckboss notes that OBI Seafoods, the company created in 2020 through a merger of Ocean Beauty and Icicle, has a new logo. Like it?

Thursday, May 6, 2021

It's nearly salmon time!

The Copper River District is set to open for the season at 7 a.m. May 17. Here's the announcement.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

More on those orcas

The National Marine Fisheries Service has provided more information regarding the two orcas taken as bycatch last year.

The orcas died as a result of the bycatch. Or as NMFS put it: "Unfortunately, this was a marine mammal bycatch mortality incident."

NMFS declined to name the vessel involved, saying that information is confidential. However, the agency would say this much: "The killer whales were incidentally taken in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands flatfish trawl fishery."

NMFS provided an observer's photos from the incident. "All identifying information and metadata have been removed or blurred out in these photos in accordance with Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act confidentiality provisions," the agency said.

Readers are advised the images are fairly grisly, and you might find they take a bit of time to download. See the photos here.

What else?

"Observers were able to collect tissue samples from the whales, which have been sent to a lab for genetic analysis and possible identification for stock of origin," NMFS said. "This analysis has not yet been conducted, as regular lab activities have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic."

Bycatch of orcas in Alaska fisheries is not unprecedented. NMFS cited its most recent technical memo on human-caused mortality and injury of Alaska marine mammals. Search "killer whale" for a number of regrettable orca encounters with fishing vessels and gear — not only trawl but also longline and pot.