Friday, April 26, 2024

Fewer salmon this year

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has posted its statewide salmon forecast, and it calls for a much smaller salmon harvest this year.

A reduced catch could be just what the doctor ordered with the processing sector struggling. Those troubles could crimp prices for fishermen, but a tighter supply of fish might help boost demand.

Forecasters expect a commercial catch of nearly 136 million fish across all species. That would be a big drop from the 2023 total of 232 million.

The statewide sockeye harvest is projected at 39.5 million fish, with 26 million coming from Bristol Bay. That compares to last year's take of 52 million sockeye statewide, with Bristol Bay accounting for 40.6 million.

The pink salmon forecast of 69 million fish is less than half of last year's catch of 155 million.

Headwinds for board appointees

United Fishermen of Alaska is opposing Curtis Chamberlain and Märit Carlson-Van Dort for the state Board of Fisheries. Here's the letter.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

More trouble for Peter Pan Seafood

Wells Fargo Bank has filed a petition for appointment of a general receiver. The action is pending in King County Superior Court.

Monday, April 22, 2024

The little blue label

The Alaska salmon fishery first qualified for the Marine Stewardship Council's blue ecolabel in 2000, and has achieved recertification a number of times since.

The current certification expires on May 11, and the fishery appears well on its way toward earning another five-year extension.

Alaska salmon producers consider the ecolabel important for accessing certain markets.

But Canadian conservation groups are objecting to recertification of Alaska salmon fisheries.

Owner, captains of crab vessels charged

Details in this press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Anchorage.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Juneau watch

The Alaska Senate on Friday passed a resolution establishing a Joint Legislative Seafood Industry Task Force.

The House will now take up the resolution, with a hearing set for 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Special Committee on Fisheries.

The task force would address the "economic crisis" now facing the state's seafood industry.

Fishermen are facing hardship, the resolution says, noting that "numerous seafood processing facilities are for sale, closing or planning to shut down for a portion, or all of, the 2024 fishing season."

As currently written, the resolution calls for a task force of 16 members including legislators, commercial seafood harvesters, processors, coastal community representatives and others.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Disaster relief for Cook Inlet

Federal officials today announced disaster determinations for the 2021 and 2022 Upper Cook Inlet eastside setnet salmon fisheries.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Emergency petition on Chinook bycatch denied

Details in this news release from the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Is Peter Pan dead?

Peter Pan Seafood Co. posted the following on Facebook:

We're saddened to share that Peter Pan Seafood will be halting operations at its processing plants, leading to the discontinuation of both summer and winter production cycles for the foreseeable future.

Efforts are underway to facilitate a smooth transition. For individuals who have worked or are working with Peter Pan Seafood as processors and are in search of job opportunities, we urge you to submit your application to Silver Bay Seafoods.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Cook Inlet EEZ salmon limits specified

The National Marine Fisheries Service today proposed 2024 catch limits for salmon in the Cook Inlet Exclusive Economic Zone.

These include a total allowable catch of 492,100 sockeye.

For much more detail, see this notice published in the Federal Register.

And the winners are...

Peter Andrew and Doug Elwell are the winners in this year's Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board election.

More details here.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Further financial pressure on Peter Pan

A fishing company has filed a lawsuit against Peter Pan Seafood Co. claiming nonpayment of nearly half a million dollars for deliveries of red king crab, Pacific cod and other fish.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Kids and permits

The Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission has launched a survey on minors owning commercial fishing permits. Take the survey here.

Friday, April 5, 2024

It's all over at Sitka

The Sitka Sound herring sac roe fishery will close for the season at 6 p.m. today.

The preliminary harvest estimate is 13,300 tons of herring, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said in this announcement.

That's far short of the preseason quota of 81,246 tons.

Processing sector consolidation

One processor, Silver Bay Seafoods, is growing while another company, Peter Pan, appears to be fading away.

More details in this joint press release.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Yukon Chinook shutdown agreed

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game and Fisheries and Oceans Canada have signed an agreement implementing "a suspension of directed Chinook salmon commercial, sport, domestic, and personal use fisheries in the mainstem Yukon River and Canadian tributaries for one full life cycle (seven years)."

End of the line for the Kodiak Enterprise

Readers will recall the terrible fire aboard the factory trawler Kodiak Enterprise while moored at Tacoma on April 8, 2023. Pacific Fishing magazine reported on the fire in its May 2023 issue (see Page 7).

The damage seemed extensive, but we didn't hear much about the ultimate fate of the 262-foot Kodiak Enterprise, among the largest of all U.S. fishing vessels.

Now we have some additional details. Bottom line: The Kodiak Enterprise is done.

Court papers filed recently in a federal air pollution case involving Trident say the fire resulted in a total loss of the vessel, and it won't ever be used again.

On Dec. 20, 2023, Trident certified that the Kodiak Enterprise had been "permanently rendered inoperable," the court papers added.

To our knowledge, a National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the fire continues.

Monday, April 1, 2024

Two named to Board of Fisheries

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has appointed Curtis Chamberlain to the Alaska Board of Fisheries, and has reappointed Märit Carlson-Van Dort.

Chamberlain will take the place of John Wood, whose term expires June 30.