Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Global Fisheries Could See More Profit Despite
Climate Change

Sustainable harvesting of seafood globally – over the next 75 years – could provide more food and profits, despite warming seas, if adaptive management prices are implemented, according to a report on international research efforts by Japan’s Hokkaido University.

The report published on August 29 in the journal Science Advances is also available online through the American Association for the Advancement of Science website EurekAlert.

Researchers said their conclusions take into consideration the projected fish populations decline as the ocean warms and habitats change.

The study points out that under a best management scenario, some major fish and shellfish stocks that are commercially harvested will grow and become more profitable offsetting others projected to shrink or even disappear. It also indicates that on a global average, profitability could rise by 14 billion US dollars and harvest by 217 million metric tons above today’s levels.

In the model used for the study, growth would be achieved under the projected moderate warming of 2.2 degrees Celsius (3.9 degrees Fahrenheit) above average global temperatures by 2100. But if temperatures rise further, global fish harvest and profits are expected to decline below today’s levels even with best management practice in place.

Their message, researchers said, is that oceans can continue to be a source of healthy seafood and sustainable livelihoods for billions of people only if actions are taken to manage stocks well and limit the carbon emissions that drive climate change.

“By working toward development of adaptive fishery management strategies and committing to international agreements for climate change mitigation and emission reductions, the future may be overall brighter than so far anticipated,” said Jorge Garcia Molinos an aquatic ecologist at Hokkaido University. Still this potentially brighter future appears unattainable for nearly half of the 915 species and mixed groups of species analyzed, and the tropics will be especially hard hit, he indicated.

Researchers said their work represents the first such study incorporating both climate change projections and alternative management approaches into predictions of future fishery status.

Participants in the study were from Hokkaido University, the University of California Santa Barbara, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, and the Environmental Defense Fund. Their work was funded by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports Science and Technology and three private US foundations.

Alaska’s Salmon Harvest 31 Percent Below Forecast

A preliminary review of 2018 Alaska commercial salmon fishing season released by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) in late August notes the harvest is 31 percent below the preseason forecast of 147 million fish and not likely to recover by season’s end.

Most of that shortfall has come from poor pink salmon returns to streams and rivers flowing into the Gulf of Alaska where the humpy harvest is about half of the preseason prediction. As of August 28, the preliminary harvest estimated by ADF&G was 105,862,000 salmon, including 49.6 million sockeyes, 38 million pinks, 15.4 million chums, 2.3 million cohos and 234,000 kings.

State biologists said several major sockeye salmon stocks had unexpected run timing this year. The peak run of Kvichak River sockeyes in the Bristol Bay watershed was 10 days later than average, making it the latest run since 1956. More than half of Kenai River late-run sockeyes returned in August, and Copper River sockeyes came back in three distinct pulses, the third happening in mid-July. These unusual run timing events created uncertainty for fishery managers and results in foregone harvest opportunity for commercial fishermen.

Still the fishing closures and restrictions allowed enough salmon passage to meet or exceed many established escapement goals, notably Yukon River summer and fall chum salmon, Canadian border king salmon passage, Kuskokwim River king salmon, Copper River sockeye and king salmon, all sockeyes and cohos in Upper Cook Inlet, Kenai River late-run kings and Unuk, Alsek and Keta river king salmon. Meeting those escapement goals bodes well for the probability that future salmon returns will provide harvestable surplus for all harvesters, the report reads.

ADF&G also noted that the three largest Alaska commercial salmon harvests to date occurred between 2013 and 2017. Back in the mid-1970s, harvests between 100 million and 150 million fish, like 2018, were far more common than harvests exceeding 200 million fish. The latter occurring only in seven seasons since 1975.

One of the highlights of the season was the Bristol Bay fishery, which saw the second largest sockeye harvest on record with nearly 42 million fish. It was the region fourth consecutive season with a harvest exceeding 35 million sockeyes. Also, on the plus side are Norton Sound, which is on track to exceed last year’s record coho salmon harvest, and the Kotzebue Sound with its chum harvest that should be among the top four ever recorded, biologists said.

ASMI/McDowell Group Notes Harvest Similarity to 2016

The latest weekly harvest report for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Association prepared by McDowell Group in Juneau, Alaska, notes that the state’s year-to-date harvest of some 105 million salmon is nearly identical to 2016 and generally below expectation.

The report was prepared by research analyst Garrett Evridge, a key member for the Seafood Market Information Service, conducted by McDowell on behalf of ASMI.

Evridge notes that pink salmon harvests to date are about four percent above the 2016 pace but remain slow compared to historical even-year harvests, with Southeast Alaska at 67 percent below the typical even-year numbers. The year-to-date keta volume is about a third lower than last year and 10 percent below the five-year average, while production in the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (AYK) region continues to exceed expectations. Through August 28, the AYK region harvested 2.1 million fish, including 1.8 million chum, 297,000 coho, 76,000 pink, 3,000 sockeye and 1,000 kings. Of that total 727,000 chum came from the Lower Yukon River, 659,000 from the Kotzebue area and 231,000 from Norton Sound.

Evridge’s report also indicates that about 2.3 million silver salmon have been harvested statewide this year, roughly a quarter below the five-year average, and that relatively strong Chinook fishing over the past two weeks has pushed the year-to-date total of kings to near the 2017 level.

At Kodiak, the sockeye harvest last week totaled about 340,000 fish, the highest weekly harvest this year for that region.

Alaska’s Chignik Salmon Fishery Declared an Economic Disaster

The declaration by Alaska Gov. Bill Walker on August 23 includes the communities of Chignik, Chignik Lagoon, Chignik Lake, Perryville and Ivanof Bay, all of which depend on the availability of salmon for subsistence and commercial harvest.

“Chignik is used to catching more than a million sockeye every year,” Walker said. “This year they caught 128 fish. Salmon is the economic and subsistence staple in these communities and the failure of this year’s fishery is a one-two punch. It is critical that we do what we can to support them as they work to recover; that’s what we’re here for.”

The disaster declaration allows the Alaska Legislature to appropriate money for assistance grants and allows the governor to make budget recommendations to legislators to accelerate the region’s existing capital projects and provide funding for new ones.

Walker has also directed the state’s Division of Economic Development to commit as many resources as possible to assist salmon permit holders participating in the Commercial Fishing Revolving Loan program unable to meet terms of their loans because of the low harvest.

“Declaring an economic disaster increases the ability of the state’s Division of Economic Development to work with commercial fishermen impacted by the disaster,” noted Micaela Fowler, a policy analyst with Alaska Office of Management and Budget. “It allows for greater flexibility to repayment (of loan) plans.” And while an appropriations bill is needed to fund capital projects, economic disaster stats would allow for additional flexibility with procurement and hiring practices once the money is appropriated, she added.

Recycling Solutions Sought for Commercial Fishing Nets

The Alaska Net Hack Challenge set for September 8–9 in Anchorage and Kodiak will engage participants in creating prototype designs for products to be made from recycled fish nets.

The challenge was designed by Nicole Baker, a former North Pacific groundfish fishery observer and researcher at the University of Washington. Baker is also the founder of, an entity working with fishermen and recyclers to get thousands of pounds of discarded fishing nets turned into new plastic products.

Through her website, Baker is connecting with fishermen with old nets that need recycling, recyclers looking for raw materials, net manufacturers who want to be involved in responsible disposal of their products, and others who might offer financial support for this massive recycling endeavor.

Last summer Baker’s efforts helped ship nearly 240,000 pounds of nets from Dutch Harbor to the Danish company Plastix, which refines and pelletizes plastics for reuse in many items, including water bottles.

Baker is co-hosting the challenge with the Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association’s Alaska Ocean Cluster Initiative, whose goal is to create new businesses in Alaska and thousands of new jobs, based on the Blue Economy. In addition to the design contest, speakers Peter Murphy, the Alaska regional coordinator for the NOAA Marine Debris Program and Ky Holland of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization, will discuss opportunities for entrepreneurial small businesses.

Baker said she is hopeful that people will start looking at those massive piles of old fishing nets as a resource that can be recycled into useful and valuable products.

More information on BEFA’s Alaska Ocean Cluster Initiative can be found online at

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Lack of ‘Cold Pool’ Observed in Southern Bering Sea Trawl Survey

For the past 37 years, annual trawl surveys of the southern Bering Sea have identified a “cold pool” south of St. Lawrence Island, a natural barrier that kept Alaska Pollock and Pacific cod from swimming beyond that area. This year there was none.

“We did find Pollock and cod all the way up to the Bering Strait, but they were not concentrated in the normal areas,” says Lyle Britt, a veteran research fisheries biologist with NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center who was involved in the survey. “It appears that conditions are such now that we are moving into a warming phase and there is not clear evidence that we will move back into a cold phase, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a cold pool… because of the influx of climate change and weather,” he said.

The annual surveys, used in part by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to determine commercial groundfish allocations, collect data on everything, and that data, said Britt, goes into models that help assess the health of the habitat. Researchers trawl the bottom of each of dozens of measured squares in what has been considered a closed ecosystem and as they march across they expect fish to move around but that cold pool is critical to movement of the fish.

“Pollock and cod don’t want to go into the cold pool, because below 2 degrees Celsius their metabolic rates go down, so they can’t process food as well, they can become lethargic and they are not (long term) as reproductively fit,” Britt added. “We started realizing we were not seeing cold pool waters and there was not much ice last year. We also started to see that catches of Pollock and cod were lower than what we would historically see.”

Britt said the whole ecosystem is starting to look different, not just the commercial fishery, but cautioned that at this time the only hard data they have is the temperature data. “It is alarming to not have a cold pool for the first time in 37 years of the survey,” he said. “This can have some effect on distribution of the fishes, but until we have all the results from the survey processed, I don’t have any hard numbers to give you.”

Meanwhile there are no firm answers on whether the biomass of these groundfish has declined or these fish have moved outside the survey area.

Transboundary Mine Negotiations Criticized for Missing the Target

Alaska Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott and Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, have thanked Canadian government officials for their attention to transboundary mining issues, but say key areas of concern remain.

In their July 31 letter to Minister of Environment Catherin McKenna and Minister of International Trade James Carr, made public on August 21, they identified reclamation of the Tulsequah Chief mine site as one of those key areas, and urged their help in coordinating and facilitating British Columbia’s efforts to do so. They also urged the support of Canada’s government in establishing and funding a joint water quality monitoring program for salmon rich transboundary rivers that flow from British Columbia into Southeast Alaska.

The Tulsequah Chief mine, which operated from 1950 to 1957, and is currently in receivership, has been leaking acid mine drainage ever since.

Salmon Beyond Border, which represent commercial and sport fishermen and tribal groups on both sides of the border, thanked Mallott and Sullivan for writing the letter, but said they seem to have lost sight of the real issue. That is, they said, the need for binding international agreements and financial assurances to protect shared waters, rather than the continued pursuit of non-binding understandings that the group says hinder real action and liability.

Salmon Beyond Borders Campaign Director Jill Weitz said Teck Resources has been required to post more money in financial assurances for its one Alaska mine than for all five of its British Columbia coal mines that drain into Montana, despite their adverse impact on fish downstream in US rivers. Weitz also noted that Canadian taxpayers ended up footing the $40 million cleanup bill for the Imperil Metals’ Mount Polley disaster in the Fraser River watershed, which flows into the ocean just north of the Washington state line.

2018-2019 BOF Proposal Book for Alaska Available

A compilation of the proposals that the Alaska Board of Fisheries will consider during its 2018-2019 meeting schedule are now available in the new proposal book, which can be downloaded from

The board accepted and will review 173 proposals during its regulatory meetings, including matters related to Alaska Peninsula/Chignik/Bering Sea-Aleutian Islands Pacific cod; Bristol Bay finfish, Arctic/Yukon/Kuskokwim finfish, Alaska Peninsula/Bering Sea-Aleutian Islands/Chignik finfish, and statewide finfish.

Alaska Peninsula/Chignik/Bering Sea-Aleutian Island Pacific Cod issues are on the agenda for the October 18-19 meeting in Anchorage. Bristol Bay finfish discussions will take place on November 28 to December 4 in Dillingham, and Arctic/Yukon/Kuskokwim finfish will be reviewed January 15-19 in Anchorage.

The board will be back in Anchorage for the last two of this cycle’s meetings.

Alaska Peninsula/Bering Sea-Aleutian Islands/Chignik finfish are on the agenda February 21-27, while statewide finfish general provisions and supplemental issues are on tap March 8-11, 2019.

The proposals constitute proposed regulatory changes for the identified regions and species. For a copy of the proposed regulation changes contact the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Boards Support Section, P.O. Box 115526, Juneau, AK 99811-5526 or call 907-465-4110.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Wild Salmon Deliveries to Processors in Alaska
Top 93 Million Fish

Commercial deliveries of wild salmon to processors in Alaska rose by eight million fish in the past week, bringing the total estimated catch to about 93.6 million fish through August 14.

Deliveries included 48,575,000 sockeyes, 30,919,000 humpies, 12,462,000 chums, 1,440,000 cohos and 202,000 Chinooks.

The state’s central region, Bristol Bay in particular, with Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound, brought in nearly 70 million of those salmon. The Bristol Bay harvest alone came to a preliminary harvest estimate of 43.5 million fish, including nearly 42 million sockeyes, while Prince William Sound brought in upwards of 23.7 million fish. However, the catch continued to lag well behind most forecasts.

McDowell Group economist Garrett Evridge noted in his weekly report for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute that the year-to-date catch is five percent behind 2016 and 40 percent below the five-year average. With only three weeks of fishing left, the year-to-date statewide pink salmon volume is roughly equal to 2016, a year in which economic disaster declarations were issued, Evridge said. Pink salmon harvests in Prince William Sound and Kodiak were about double the year-to-date 2016 volume, while Southeast is two-thirds lower.

Keta harvests of 12 million fish so far are about 20 percent lower than the five-year average, and sockeye production continues to be slow in Cook Inlet, Southeast and Chignik fisheries.

On the bright side, sockeye fillets were back in the coolers at Costco stores in Alaska, still at $9.95 a pound. Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Wash., had plenty of fresh wild caught salmon too, including sockeye fillets at $24.99 a pound, although not saying online where they were caught. Anchorage two top seafood retailers, New Sagaya and 10th & M Seafoods, also had fresh sockeyes for sale. New Sagaya had plenty of whole sockeyes at $5.99 a pound, while 10th & M offered fresh sockeye fillets at $10.95 a pound and fresh wild sockeye steaks for $7.95 a pound.

Hundreds Turn Out in Alaska to Celebrate
Wild Salmon Day

Hundreds of people flocked to events in nine Alaska communities on August 10 to chow down on barbecued wild salmon and learn more about the importance of maintaining healthy fish habitat.

The events, most free of charge, were also in support of an initiative to strengthen fish habitat protection standards.

Anchorage and Palmer events were hosted by The Alaska Center and included a barbecue, live music, family-friendly activities, as well as presentations on the importance of salmon habitat.

Those attending the Trout Unlimited event at Cooper Landing were asked to bring a dish to share. In Fairbanks, Tanana Valley Watershed Association hosted a floating film festival down the Chena River with talks about the importance of salmon to the Alaska lifestyle.

In Homer and Soldotna, a salmon barbecue, local salmon arts and crafts and other family-friendly activities were sponsored by Cook Inletkeeper, while in Juneau Salmon Beyond Borders provided food, libations and a silent auction.

The Sitka Seafood Festival, Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association and Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust were hosts in Sitka, where the festivities included frilled salmon, a beer garden, and live music, while the Susitna River Coalition at Talkeetna entertained with a taste of wild salmon, games, a river walk and fish screen printing.

Wild Salmon Day was signed into law on May 8, 2016 by Gov. Bill Walker.

“Nearly all Alaskans are impacted by salmon in some way whether through subsistence, recreational, or commercial fishing, or just sheer appreciation for Alaska’s abundant wildlife,” the governor said. “HB 128 (establishing Wild Salmon Day) is intended to celebrate these uniquely Alaskan ways of life and share our appreciation for wild Alaskan salmon with the rest of the world.”

Alaska Supreme Court Approves Putting Salmon Initiative on November Ballot

The Alaska Supreme Court has reversed a lower court decision on the Stand for Salmon ballot initiative and ordered that it be placed on the November 6 general election ballots, except for two provisions that were ruled out by the judges.

In the decision handed down on August 8, the judges deleted two sentences on grounds that they would encroach on the discretion over allocation decisions delegated to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Alaskans are divided in their opinions on the Stand for Salmon initiative, for which proponents turned in some 49,500 signatures to the Division of Elections in Anchorage on January 16.

Initiative backers say it offers stronger protections for fish habitat. Opponents contend that it will have an adverse impact on business development.

Opposition to the initiative is led by Stand for Alaska, which includes eight Alaska Native regional corporations formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, and the ANCSA Regional Corp., as well as numbers businesses affiliated with the oil and gas and mining industries. The Bristol Bay Fishermen’s Association (BBFA) has also filed a brief in the Alaska Supreme Court opposing the initiative.

A complete list of Stand for Alaska supporters is posted online at Stand for Alaska to date has raised upwards of $8 million, compare to less than $1 million by Stand for Salmon, according to reports filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

Major contributions totaling more than $1 million toward defeating the initiative came from BP Exploration Alaska, Donlin Gold, Teck Alaska (owner of the Red Dog Mine), Kinross Fort Knox and Sumitomo Metal mining, owner of the Pogo Mine.

According to Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth, the supreme court decision “confirmed the state’s understanding of the initiative power and its limitations. That limitation extends to the legislature’s power to allocate the state’s resources – including fisheries and waters – among competing uses.”

In this case, said Lindemuth, “It would have prohibited development of any project that would substantially damage anadromous waters (i.e. waters that support migrating fish such as salmon) and presumed that all waters are anadromous unless proven otherwise. The Alaska Supreme Court agreed with the state that this effectively allocated use of the waters for fish to the exclusion of other uses, such as mining.”

Stand for Alaska meanwhile issued a statement saying the high court’s decision “validates just how flawed and poorly crafted the measure is” and reaffirmed its opposition to the initiative.

“The court severed two sentences on provisions that prohibit certain permitting decisions,” said Valerie Brown, legal director for the nonprofit environmental law firm Trustees for Alaska. “What that means is a decision to deny a permit is not required, but it is within the discretion of Fish and Game to deny a permit. Otherwise the rest of the initiative goes forward.”

Brown added, “If it passes it will mean we will have public notice and public comment and that the court also preserves the habitat protection standard, so for the first time we have standards that the Department of Fish and Game has to apply when they are making permitting decisions.”

UK Website Explores Women in Fisheries

Researchers in the United Kingdom have launched a new website, at, to explore the role of women in fishing families on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

The study is examining how women contribute to the survival of both fishing families and the fishing industry and aim to shed light on women’s roles, identities and their well-being. Researchers also hope to learn how small-scale fishing families, using boasts under 10 meters (32.8 feet) are adapting to a changing environmental and economic climate.

“Listening to women’s stories is a central part of this research and the new website provides information about how people can sign up and take part,” said Madeleine Gustavsson, a research fellow at the University of Exeter’s European Centre for Environment and Human Health, who is leading the study. “We want to hear from as many women involved in fisheries as possible, whatever their roles might be.”

The website features a regularly updated news section where readers can follow the project’s progress, read about the latest research and hear about other efforts to improve recognition of women in fisheries on local and international levels.

Gusatavsson notes that while small scale vessels make up 80 percent of the fishing fleet in the UK they receive only four percent of the national fishing quota.

Project organizers are working closely with small scale fisheries harvesters and advocacy groups, including AKTEA (European network for women in fisheries and aquaculture), LIFE (Low Impact fishers of Europe) and the Coastal Producer Organization.

Those interested in contributing to the discussion are invited to email Gustavsson at, follow her on Twitter at, or contact the Take Part page of the website.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Golden King Crab Fishery Under Way in Aleutians

The 2018–2019 Aleutian Islands golden king crab fisheries is under way, with a quota of 3,470,400 pounds of individual fishing quota (IFQ) and 385,600 pounds of community development quota (CDQ), for a total of 3.9 million pounds east of Adak.

West of Adak, there is a 2.5 million-pound quota, with 2,250,000 pounds for the IFQ harvesters and 250,000 pounds for the Adak community allocation (ACA).

Vessel registration got under way on July 29. The fishery began on August 1 and will remain open until April 30. Fishermen can concurrently harvest IFQ and CDQ golden king crab in the eastern Aleutian Islands or IFQ and ACA golden king crab in the western Aleutian Islands, but they may not be concurrently registered in both the eastern and western Aleutian Islands.

Catcher only vessels are required to carry an observer for 50 percent by weight of their harvested crab during each of three trimesters: August 1 to October 31, November 1 to January 31, and February 1 to April 30.

Last year’s quota for the area east of Adak was 2,979,000 pounds of IFQ and 331,000 pounds of CDQ, for a total of 3.3 million pounds. West of Adak, the 2017 quota was 2.2 million pounds, including 2,011.500 pounds of IFQ and 223,5000 pounds for the Adak Community Allocation.

Salmonfest Draws 8,000 Lovers of Music and Salmon Habitat

Salmonfest 2018 at Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, brought together more than 8,000 people for three days of music, food, fish and love. The event celebrates the connection of Alaskans to the fish and waters that provide their beloved resource.

Sixty-five bands performed on four stages in this annual late summer event that also promotes information on the importance of healthy salmon habitat and educates festival goers on projects that could potentially have adverse impact on critical habitat.

Salmon themes and signs protesting the Pebble mine were visible festival-wide. Headliner Brandi Carlile’s band and other musicians also sported stickers on their shirts in protest of the proposed Pebble mine in the Bristol Bay watershed area.

“This is the population that can make a difference,” said Sam Snyder, the Wild Salmon Center’s senior campaign manager, whose focus this year is the Stand for Salmon Campaign backing the salmon initiative on the state’s general election ballot in November.

“We’ve got to protect the habitat,” Snyder said. “How do we maintain habitat and balance with resource development? Our fisheries are complicated.” These fish, he said, “are part of our economy, part of our culture.”

The eclectic crowd, from parents with babies in arms to grandparents from the Woodstock generation, meandered in the warm sunshine between informational booths manned by a variety of conservation and environmental entities to vendors hawking food and beverages, crafts and even massages.

“We love salmon,” said Dawnell Smith of Trustees for Alaska, a nonprofit public interest environmental law firm with offices in Anchorage, Alaska. “We love clean waters. We want people to know what we do.”

The annual music festival is supported by and benefits two non-profits, the Kachemak Bay Conservation Society and Cook Inletkeeper, both of Homer, Alaska.

Alaska Commercial Salmon Harvest Climbs to
Nearly 85M

Deliveries of commercial wild Alaska salmon to processors reached nearly 85 million fish by August 7, including some 48 million sockeyes, over 24 million humpies, 11.5 million chums, nearly 1.1 million cohos and 198,000 Chinooks.

For the same period a year ago, the harvest included 53.6 million sockeyes, 25 million chums, 5.2 million cohos, and 262,000 kings. The pink salmon catch compared with 39 million caught for the same period in 2016, which was a disaster year for humpies.

“Bristol Bay remains the bright spot in Alaska’s commercial salmon fisheries this summer,” notes Garrett Evridge, an economist with the McDowell Group in Juneau, Alaska, in a weekly summary report for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. “The Bristol Bay sockeye harvest was one of the best ever,” said Garrett, “but all other sockeye harvests in Alaska are well below the forecast.”

The focus of the industry has shifted to pink salmon, with the current week typically the peak harvest period for humpbacks. “Year-to-date pink harvest volume is comparable to 2016, but very slow by historical standards, particularly in Southeast Alaska,” he said.

With about one month of fishing remaining, year-to-date keta harvests statewide are 42 percent lower than a year ago and 20 percent behind the five-year average, although the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region continues to exceed its five-year average volume.

Evridge also notes that coho production year-to-date is 51 percent lower than 2017 and Chinook production is 15 percent behind as well.

The availability of wild Alaska sockeye salmon is slimming rapidly, not even mentioned online this week by the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Wash. In Anchorage, they have disappeared from the seafood department at Costco stores and were marked up to $19.95 a pound at Fred Meyer stores, which was $10 over the sale price two weeks earlier. 10th & M Seafoods still had fresh wild sockeye salmon steaks for $7.95 a pound and fresh sockeye salmon fillets for $10.95 a pound, while the online Anchorage purveyor FishEx was offering sockeye fillet portions for $29.95 a pound.

UW Releases Revised Quinn Book on Pacific Salmon and Trout

A revised edition of University of Washington fisheries professor Thomas Quinn’s book “The Behavior and Ecology of Pacific Salmon and Trout” has been published, complete with over 100 new photos and information gained since the first edition in 2005.

“This is a book really about the fish, not about what we have done to them,” said Quinn, whose initial intent was to write “a book specifically about the fish, their behavior, their ecology, their movement, what they eat, what eats them.”

Over the past 13 years since the first edition was published, there has been substantial research on salmon and trout, and Quinn decided it was time for an updated version of the book.

The first edition was mostly about salmon. The revised and updated book covers all aspects of the life cycle of Pacific salmon, trout and char fish in the Pacific with chapters about: homing migration from the open ocean through coastal waters and up rivers to their breeding grounds; courtship and reproduction; the lives of juvenile salmon and trout in rivers and lakes; migration to the sea; the structure of fish populations; and the importance of fish carcasses to the ecosystem. The book also includes information on salmon and trout transplanted outside their ranges.

Almost all the photos in the original book were from slides. The new edition contains several digital images, tables, figures and updated references.

“It’s everything you ever wanted to know about salmon and trout, with beautiful photos, for students, anglers, conservation groups, citizens who want to get involved in stream restoration,” he said.

There is also information throughout the book on the impact of climate change on these fish, with the topic specifically addressed in the last chapter.

What’s important to me is that people realize it is an effort to be informative; to be accurate, but accessible and also visually attractive, so people can pick it up and read it,” he said.

“The last edition came out in 2005. There have been a fair number of things we have learned since then,” he said. That new research includes much on the impact of climate change on fish, which he has been monitoring. “We had an inkling, but things have happened faster than I would have guessed,” he said.

The book may be preordered from the University of Washington press, the nonprofit book and multimedia publishing arm of the university, at

Thursday, August 2, 2018

New Towing Vessel Regulations in Effect

As of July 20, 2018, all vessels engaged in towing – including fishing vessels towing other fishing vessels – are now required to comply with new towing vessel regulations, the Coast Guard announced. Certificates of inspection are to be issued to towing vessels in phases over the next four years. Coast Guard Sector Juneau and Sector Anchorage personnel worked with towing vessel operators throughout Alaska to prepare them to meet the deadline.

Lt. Cmdr. Mason Wilcox, chief of inspections for Coast Guard Sector Anchorage, noted that the operators they have communicated with have been receptive and working hard to ensure they are all in 100 percent compliance. “We appreciate them being proactive and their dedication to safety,” he said.

The regulations history dates back to passage of the Coast Guard and Marine Transportation Act of 2004. The new regulations, referred to as subchapter M within Title 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations, boost the existing requirements for firefighting and lifesaving equipment, establish standards for construction and arrangement of new construction vessels, and phase-in machinery and electrical standards over the coming decade.

For further information regarding towing vessel inspection regulations, contact:
• Coast Guard Sector Juneau inspections division – 1-907-463-2477 or email;

• Coast Guard Sector Anchorage Inspections Division – 1-907-428-4200 or;

• Coast Guard District Seventeen Towing Vessel Coordinator – 1-907-463-2823 or

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Commercial Salmon Harvest in Alaska
Tops 73 Million Fish

More than 73 million salmon have been commercially harvested in Alaska so far this season, which is a third lower than the 2017 year-to-date harvest of 110 million fish.

The statewide sockeye harvest is seven percent lower than last year and nine percent above the five-year-average, according to Garrett Evridge, an economist with the McDowell Group in Juneau, Alaska. These numbers appear in his report for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

“While the Bristol Bay sockeye volume will be one of the highest on record, other sockeye fisheries continue to suffer this year,” Evridge wrote, “Chignik has recorded no landings and Southeast Alaska is 80 percent below the five-year average.”

The year-to-date pink salmon harvest is 15 percent behind 2016, due primarily to lagging harvest in Southeast Alaska, Prince William Sound and Kodiak. Harvesters have delivered some 5.8 million salmon to processors in Southeast Alaska, 15.5 million in Prince William Sound, and 1.5 million at Kodiak. The statewide keta harvest of 11 million fish is about 40 percent below 2017 and 14 percent behind the five-year average.

Meanwhile in the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region, keta salmon fishing is 27 percent above the five-year average. Coho production is 52 percent below the 2017 pace but there are still two more months of steady fishing ahead. The king salmon volume is 16 percent behind a year ago.

In western Alaska, fishermen harvested nearly five million salmon overall in the Alaska Peninsula, with the South Peninsula delivering more than three million fish.

Retail prices for wild Alaska sockeyes this past week ranged from $17.99 a pound for fillets when available at Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Wash., to $7.95 a pound for sockeye steaks and $10.95 a pound for sockeye fillets at 10th & M Seafoods in Anchorage.

Economist Advises to Brace for Continuing Change in Seafood Industry

Economic success for specific wild fisheries in the future will depend on management that enables sustainability, efficiency, innovation and market orientation throughout the supply chain, according to fisheries economist Gunnar Knapp.

“Think in terms of the entire supply chain, with everyone in the supply chain depending on everyone else,” he advised during a presentation, in late July, to the biennial meeting of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade in Seattle, Wash. “And think broadly,” said Knapp, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Alaska Anchorage, citing a World Bank report on the prospects for fisheries and aquaculture through 2030.

The report projects that aquaculture will produce about two-thirds of food fish, that China will consume nearly 40 percent of all seafood, and the production of tilapia and shrimp will more than double., In addition, it predicts that aquaculture will more than double in India, Latin America and Southeast Asia, while per capita consumption of fish in Sub-Sahara Africa will decline.

“The question is not just how much fish can we catch or grow, but how much fish do people want to buy,” he said. To that end he compared the differences between wild fisheries and aquaculture, noting for example that the potential for growth in aquaculture is high, while the potential for growth in wild fisheries is low. “There are also more communities historically dependent on wild fisheries who would be less receptive to innovation, compared to those historically less dependent, and more receptive to innovation,” he noted.

“Economic factors, particularly population and income growth, are likely to drive growth in aquaculture production and consumption and changes in the geographic distribution of production and consumption. Fish politics, meanwhile, will figure in total allowable catches, open access versus rights-based management, marine protected areas and quota allocations, while “regular” politics will impact trade, labor, immigration, environmental regulation and food safety” he added.

“My guess is that globally fish and aquaculture politics will gradually shift to enable fisheries and aquaculture to better respond to future opportunities and challenges” Knapp said.

He also added that changes in ocean conditions, including temperatures, currents and acidification, will also directly impact wild fisheries and aquaculture, as well as global food markets. And while resource uncertainty will remain a fundamental and possibly growing constraint to wild fisheries, aquaculture will be relatively less vulnerable to nature-driven changes.

Investigation Underway into Sinking of Fishing Tender in Bristol Bay

An investigation into the sinking of the 58-foot F/V Pacific Knight near Clark’s Point in Bristol Bay, Alaska – an incident in which one crew member was lost, while two others were rescued by good Samaritans from the F/V Amanda C – is underway.

According to the US Coast Guard an estimated 800 gallons of diesel and 300 gallons of hydraulic fluid were on board when the vessel sank on July 25. How much of that fuel spilled, creating a sheen on the water that prompted closure of the Nushagak district of Bristol Bay, is still undetermined.

The fishery was reopened on the afternoon of July 31, after two days of aerial surveys showed no visible sheen, according to Tim Sands, area management biologist at Dillingham for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

According to Todd Duke, general manager for Resolve Magone Marine Services (Alaska) Corp. in Anchorage, Alaska, it will take several weeks to remove the vessel. Meanwhile, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) plans to attempt to refloat the vessel in future dive operations. Poor visibility, severe currents and deck gear have restricted dive operations.

Lone Fisherman, Inc. was identified as the responsible party for the Pacific Knight.

DEC officials said the vessel owner was working with the Coast Guard and had hired Resolve Magone. Sockeyes are still plentiful in the Nushagak district, with nearly 24 million of the red salmon harvested so far this season, and fishing still underway for pink and silver salmon.

At this time of year Nushagak Bay supports all five species of Pacific salmon, several commercially important ground fish species, marine mammals, sea birds, shorebirds, waterfowl and eagles. The shorelines west of Nushagak Bay are part of Togiak National Wildlife Refuge.

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