commercial fishing

KBBI News

The sockeye run on the Copper River is off to an incredibly slow start. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game opened the fishery on May 17 for a 12-hour fishing period.

Gillnetters came home with roughly 1,900 sockeye and returned on Monday for another opening, but fishing still remained slow with only 3,400 fish winding up in nets.

Fish and Game biologist Jeremy Botz said those numbers are well under what the department expected.

Courtesy of Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association

A controversial plan to move part of a hatchery operation to the head of Tutka Bay near Homer is complete. Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association placed two net pens at the head of the bay on April 26.

The hatchery association is in the process of moving fish into the pens. Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association Executive Director Gary Fandrei said the pens will be removed once the 20 million pink salmon it plans to raise at the site can be released.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

Boat and fishing vessel owners will likely be required to meet new registration and title requirements next year. The change is part of Senate Bill 92, which passed through the state Legislature this week. The bill aims to give the state, municipalities and individuals more tools to hold owners of derelict and abandoned vessels legally liable.

The Senate sent the bill to Gov. Bill Walker’s desk Thursday after the House passed the legislation earlier this week.

Fish and Game

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is forecasting 2018’s lower Cook Inlet pink salmon run to be a modest one despite disastrous runs in 2016, this year’s parent year. A number of 2016 pink salmon runs were declared a federal disaster.

Area Management Biologist Glenn Hollowell said the commercial harvest was limited to about 70,000 pinks that year.

Courtesy of Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association

The Alaska Board of Fisheries re-established a committee on hatchery operations Friday at its meeting in Anchorage. The board took up the issue after an emergency petition was filed in December calling for a committee to look into issues of straying hatchery fish and the impact on wild stocks.

Courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks

Over the last year, warm water temperatures in the Gulf of Alaska, infamously known as the blob, have dissipated. Warmer water temps are thought to have a hand in massive bird die-offs and a decline in Pacific cod stocks. Now that the three-year period of summer-like marine conditions is over, scientists and fishery managers are eager to assess the full impact of the blob.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Salmon runs in Prince William Sound are predicted to be average or below average in 2018.

 

For seiners, wild pinks are expected to come in about 20 percent under the 10-year average for even years, but Alaska Department of Fish and Game Area Management Biologist Charlie Russell said hatchery fish are expected to pick up some of the slack.

Creative Commons photo by Ed Bierman

The International Pacific Halibut Commission, or IPHC, will set the total allowable catch for halibut along the West Coast next week. At its interim meeting back in November, IPHC scientists suggested slashing 2018’s catch by 24 percent for both commercial and charter operations, a reduction of about 7.5 million pounds. That potentially large cut is likely to lead to heated debate during the commission’s meeting in Portland.

KBBI

The International Pacific Halibut Commission, or the IPHC, will kick off its annual meeting in Portland Monday. The international regulatory body is expected to slash the total allowable catch of halibut on the West Coast by 24 percent due to declining stocks. With potentially less Pacific halibut on the market, prices are likely to increase, but a new direct competitor on the East Coast may hamper the market’s ability to compensate for lower halibut stocks in Alaska.

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.

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