Alaska/Pacific Coast

Alaska Fisheries Report
KMXT by Maggie Wall – April 24, 2017
In Bristol Bay, Togiak herring biologists are predicting a May opener.
Chemical oil spill dispersants are better for birds than they are for fish and some biologist want to set up new protocols to put in effect before a spill occurs, and more monitoring of dispersants after a spill.

Sockeye shortfall forecast
Fish Site – April 25, 2017
This year’s commercial sockeye harvest in Upper Cook Inlet (UCI) is projected to be 1.2 million fish less than the 10-year average, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Utility to halt Kenai Peninsula dam study after public outcry
Alaska Dispatch News by Alex DeMarban – April 21, 2017
Jan Bukac of Seward asks a question during the Chugach Electric Association public meeting in the Moose Pass Community Hall on the proposed hydroelectric project on the North Fork of the Snow River on Tuesday. (Bill Roth / Alaska Dispatch News)

New advocacy group for Bristol Bay commercial fishermen founded this month
KDLG by Avery Lill – April 24, 2017
Sustaining Bristol Bay Fisheries aims to keep those who fish in Bristol Bay informed and politically active in issues related to fishery sustainability.

Togiak Update: Aerial Surveys Are Underway, No Sign of Herring Yet
SEAFOODNEWS.COM – April 25, 2017
Late last Friday, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the appearance of several positive indicators that could have heralded herring moving into Togiak this week.

A spotter pilot who flew the Togiak herring district last Thursday and again on Friday, “reported no herring in the area but ice was breaking up and dispersing on the tide,” the agency reported.

“Sea bird activity is also increasing,” the agency noted. “Additional reports indicate schools of fish, presumably herring, being picked up by sounders on vessels in transit to the herring grounds. These schools, observed 20 miles from Hagemeister Island, also had predators associated with them. The forecast is calling for winds 20 knots and higher through Sunday so department staff will plan to fly Monday afternoon.”

Today, their announcement was blunt and to the point.

“Department staff flew a survey of the herring district today under fair conditions and saw no herring,” ADF&G’s announcement read. “Sea bird activity was increased from the last survey but still relatively low. No sea lions were observed. Water temperatures are still below the temperature where we would expect to see herring arrive. We appreciate all reports on conditions on the grounds.”

Last year’s herring season in Togiak began April 17, 2016, the earliest the purse seine fishery has ever opened in Togiak and 10 days earlier than in 2015.  The season was over April 30 with a final harvest of 15,171 tons, just slightly below the 2004−2013 average purse seine harvest of 15,505 tons. The harvest was 75% of the 20,148 ton GHL last year.

The 2017 forecasted harvest for both seine and gillnet caught Togiak herring is 22,943 mt. Seventy percent of that is allocated to the Togiak seine fleet, or 16,060 mt.

Aerial surveys will continue this week.


Bill would authorize individuals to get fish enhancement permits
Peninsula Clarion by Elizabeth Earl – April 20, 2017
Individual Alaskans, private companies and nonprofits could jump into the world of incubating and releasing salmon under a bill being discussed in the Legislature.


What Fish Is Good For Me And The Planet? New Documentary Explores
NPR by Natalie Jacewicz – April 24, 2017
Facts about the virtues of eating fish can be slippery. On the one hand, fish provide protein and omega-3 fatty acids, the substance in fish oil supplements, which is thought to boost cognitive health. Plus, unlike cows, fish don’t belch vast amounts of the greenhouse gas methane into the air. So, fish should be good for your health and the environment. But the science of omega-3 benefits is far from settled, and as fish farming grows to keep up with global demand, the industry is raising new questions about environmental sustainability.

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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April 25, 2017