prince william sound

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

Every year, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company trains over 2,000 fishermen from Valdez to Kodiak how to respond to an oil spill in Prince William Sound and surrounding areas. Homer residents can see a mock response every spring just off shore in Kachemak Bay, but on Saturday, the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council gave the public and local decision makers a chance to get a first-hand look. The demonstration is part of an effort to help Alaskans better understand what goes into planning for a potential oil spill.
 

Image courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard

The U.S. Coast Guard called off the search for an overdue boater near Whittier Sunday evening. A boater in a red 16-foot skiff went missing near Passage Canal while tending crab pots just north of town.

 

The Whittier harbor master altered the Coast Guard of the missing boater Saturday afternoon. The harbor master told the coast guard that the boater typically returns by 1 p.m.

 

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.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has been conducting a limited study on straying hatchery pink salmon around lower Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay to see whether fish from the Tutka Bay Lagoon and Port Graham hatcheries have been spawning in wild streams, but to its surprise, it discovered Prince William Sound hatchery fish in several local systems. But hatchery pinks from the Sound are also winding up in the commercial harvest.

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.

Courtesy of the Coast Guard

Coast Guard helicopter and cutter crews rescued two people and three dogs near Montague Island in Prince William Sound Friday. The Coast Guard dispatched a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and the Cutter Chandeleur after a mayday call came in over VHF radio.

Two boaters reported that their 34-foot vessel was taking on water before kayaking to Montague Island with one of three dogs. The helicopter crew transported the two boaters and their pet back to safety after they signaled their location with a flare.

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.

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.”