commercial fishing

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has been trying to find out if hatchery fish from operations in Tutka Bay Lagoon and Port Graham have been straying into wild fish habitat, and over the past four years, they found that very few of those fish are colonizing wild streams. But scientists found that a number of hatchery fish from Prince William Sound are winding up in streams around Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet. That trend has left scientists and regulators with more questions than answers.

Creative Commons photo by Ed Bierman

The International Pacific Halibut Commission, which regulates halibut fisheries in U.S. and Canadian waters, is set to take a fresh look at the minimum size limit for commercial fisheries during its meeting cycle this winter. The current limit allows commercial fishermen to retain fish larger than 32 inches, but the size of mature halibut has been shrinking over the years, which has some wondering whether the limit should be reduced or removed altogether.

Since the 1990s the size of mature halibut has been falling.

Courtesy of Fish and Game

Commercial fishing for coho salmon is winding down in Prince William Sound. Gillneters at the mouth of the Copper River are seeing a relatively average year with about 170,000 fish harvested so far. While the harvest is typical, the price this year is not. Coho are fetching about $1.50 per pound at the docks, about double the average price.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game Area Management Biologist Jeremy Botz expects fishing to stay open another week.

KBBI

There is a lot we don’t know about the impacts fishing regulations have on the fishing industry here in Alaska. Scientists have tried to find answers to several questions for years, from dwindling numbers of king salmon to the interactions between marine mammals and various fisheries. One social scientist wants to know the impact those regulations have on the lives of fishing families. 

Marysia Szymkowiak, a social scientist, is conducting a study for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fishery division regarding the home life of Alaska’s fishing families.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Up until Monday, numbers of pink salmon returning to Prince William Sound looked like they may be a repeat of last year’s dismal run, but the fish are beginning to show up and the harvest is underway.

“On Monday, the common property fishery took about 2.5 million fish. Yesterday, it’s looking about 1.2 million,” Charles Russel said, Alaska Fish and Game’s Area Management Biologist for the Prince William Sound area. “Today, initial reports say that fisheries may be close to yesterday, but we’re a little bit behind, but still catching good numbers of fish.”

KBBI

Alaska’s Legislature has been at an impasse for months on the state budget. Gov. Bill Walker called legislators back for a second special session Friday and voiced his dissatisfaction with their progress. With a potential state government shutdown about two weeks away, Homer’s fishing and tourism industry could suffer.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is still working through the kinks of a potential government shutdown on July 1.

“This has never happened in Alaska. We’ve never faced this,” Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotton said.