Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Crewmember death on factory trawler reported

A crewmember on the American Seafoods factory trawler Northern Eagle died at sea, likely from an ammonia leak, KUCB radio reports.

Al Burch, Kodiak fisheries pioneer, crosses the bar

Here's an obituary.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Alaska Native tribal AP member resigns

Shawaan Jackson-Gamble recently resigned from his seat on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council's Advisory Panel.

His appointment to the AP was notable, as he was the first to fill the newly designated Alaska Native tribal seat on the panel.

"A call for nominations to fill the vacancy will be posted on the council's website soon," council Executive Director David Witherell tells us.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

A new point person for processors

The Pacific Seafood Processors Association has named Julie Decker as its new president.

Decker, of Wrangell, currently is executive director of the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation.

She succeeds Chris Barrows as president of PSPA. Barrows left the organization last December and joined Golden Alaska Seafoods.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Trident's Unalaska plans

Trident Seafoods is confirming plans to build a major new processing plant at Unalaska to replace its outdated plant at nearby Akutan.

But the Seattle-based company says it'll delay breaking ground on the new plant until 2025 due to adverse market conditions.

"The rate and pace at which markets are collapsing across our key species is staggering," says Trident CEO Joe Bundrant.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Salmon notes

Here are a few observations from the middle of the salmon season.

• The statewide, all-species catch now stands in excess of 145 million fish. Ongoing pink salmon fisheries appear capable of powering us past the preseason forecast of 189.5 million.

• Trident Seafoods, in a fleet letter dated Aug. 5, reported grim conditions in the salmon markets, including "a sharp decrease in wholesale prices across all species." The Seattle-based processing giant said chum markets had "collapsed," and that the company would stop buying salmon in most areas on or about Sept. 1. Trident further said Russia, with a huge pink salmon harvest this year, had "shown a willingness to offload inventory at very low prices in part to fund the war in Ukraine." Trident added: "We haven't seen a collapse in value like this since the 1990s when pinks went well under 10 cents a pound."

• Have state fish cops confirmed the long-suspected practice of "chum chucking" in Area M? Here's an Alaska Beacon article exploring the issue. And here's a press release from the Area M Seiners Association.

More catch shares coming

Quite a few Alaska fisheries operate under some form of catch shares.

Now comes another catch share program, the first implemented in Alaska since 2012.

This program applies to the Pacific cod trawl catcher vessel sector in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands.

Fishing under the program is scheduled to start in January. Read more about it here.

Are they in or out?

Setnet permit holders will vote by mail in October on whether to pay a landings tax to join the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association.

More details in this notice of election.

A new factory trawler arrives

A brilliant new factory trawler, the Arctic Fjord, has landed in Seattle.

Built at the Thoma-Sea shipyard in Louisiana, the vessel is expected to be ready to fish next year's Bering Sea pollock season, operator Arctic Storm Management Group says.

The new vessel originally was announced in 2018 at 328 feet long.

Click here for more on the Arctic Fjord, including a video of its arrival in Seattle.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Salmon notes

Here are a few interesting observations from the salmon season thus far.

• The statewide commercial salmon catch just clicked over 100 million fish. We still have a long way to go to reach the preseason forecast of more than 189 million. But it's certainly possible as the high-volume pink salmon fisheries start to kick in.

• It appears the Southeast Alaska pink salmon run is "much higher than forecasted," the Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports. Effort is down this season with an estimated 180 purse seine boats fishing compared to 194 last year and 208 in 2021.

• The Bristol Bay sockeye fishery is all but done, and it's another strong catch this year of nearly 39 million fish, well over the preseason forecast of 36.7 million. Fishermen are unhappy, however, as processors are paying 50 cents per pound, a huge drop from last season.

• The nearly 12 million sockeye taken in Bristol Bay's Nushagak District ranks as the sixth-largest harvest since 1893.

• In Area M, the Alaska State Troopers have charged several cases of "salmon chucking," or the unlawful discarding of fish. Details on these cases can be found on our sister blog The Brig.

• Copper River driftnetters have tallied a decent 842,000 sockeye this season.

• Chignik has produced 668,000 sockeye.