Bristol Bay Update: Run Still Building at Port Moller with Over 5 Million Caught in the Bay
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – June 30, 2017
On the cusp of the July 4th holiday, speculation is rife in Bristol Bay about when and how large the 2017 sockeye run will be in the world’s most productive wild salmon return.
The preseason forecast of a 41.5 million sockeye run total means a 27.5 million estimated catch and a 14 million fish escapement.
As of June 28, just over 5 million sockeye have been caught in the Bay, including a precedent-setting more-than-a-million fish in one day on the Nushagak River. That surge hit last Monday. Cumulative escapement in the Nushagak is now 996,000 sockeye with a high-end goal of 2.2 million.
The Port Moller test fishery is showing increasing numbers for most of the region’s five major river systems. The genetic stock composition for the fish going by the Port Moller Stations on June 26-27, which are 6-10 days out from the mouth of the Bristol Bay rivers, was 31 percent Egigik, 21 percent Nushagak, 20 percent Ugashik, and fractions for the Naknek-Kvichak and Togiak.
“The run seems to still be building at Port Moller,” said Dr. Scott Raborn, who heads up the test fishery research team.
For the past two years, the massive sockeye return peaked about a week later than traditional July 4th peak. This year is looking similar, but other dynamics, like wind and tides can make a difference.
Earlier this week a 24-foot tide sunk floats and created delays as fishermen waited for the flood to recede or wade waist deep to load groceries onto boats tied to the dock.
The harvest forecast for the Naknek-Kvichak this year is 8.3 million sockeye with a total run of 16.1 million, the largest in the area this year.
Second largest is Egegik with a harvest forecast of 8.6 million sockeye and a total run of 10.7 million.
The Ugashik district is expected to yield a harvest of 4.1 million sockeye out of a total 5.5 million run.
Nushagak River’s sockeye run total is predicted to be 8.6 million with 6.1 million potentially available for harvest.
Escapements on the Nushagak and Wood River are now within their goal ranges, but it is too early to gauge how close the other river districts’ escapments levels will be to meeting goals.
Can we safeguard wild salmon for future generations?
Alaska Dispatch News by Nancy Lord – July 2, 2017
Upstream: Searching for Wild Salmon, From River to Table
By Langdon Cook; Ballantine Books; 2017; 329 pages; $27
For Alaskans, “Upstream” is — or should be — a cautionary tale. In it, author Langdon Cook explores the West Coast world of wild salmon from Alaska’s Copper River to California’s Sacramento Valley and inland to Idaho’s Redfish Lake. This entire region is — or once was — salmon country, in which humans and their cultures, for thousands of years, intersected with an iconic animal that held a key place in an interwoven system of life.
Yukon River chinook run stronger, but not enough for open fishing
‘It’s still only about half of the historical average,’ fisheries official says
Yukon News by Andrew Seal – June 30, 2017
Yukon’s chinook salmon fisheries are looking at another year of closure, despite a moderate increase in projected run size.
Hatchery king salmon show up near Petersburg
KFSK by Joe Viechnicki – June 30, 2017
While some returns of wild stock king salmon in Southeast Alaska have been historically low this year, some hatchery produced Chinook are showing up at sites near Petersburg this month. Those include kings making their way back to the Crystal Lake hatchery on southern Mitkof Island and a new release near City Creek on the north end of the island.
Copper River sockeye run comes in low, but king return better than expected
KBBI by Aaron Bolton – June 30, 2017
Gillnetters fishing the mouth of the Copper River for commercial kings are wrapping up their season. Forecasts this year were dismal, but the run was stronger than expected.
Summer SE Dungeness crab season shortened by three weeks
KFSK by Nora Saks – June 30, 2017
The summer season for the commercial Dungeness crab fishery in Southeast Alaska will be three weeks shorter than usual, closing on July 25th.
Sustainable seafood dining program expands nationwide
KING by Alison Morrow – June 26, 2017
A Seattle-based pilot program aimed to connect restaurants with local and sustainable seafood has grown to include more than 100 chefs.
Young pollock survival better than expected during most recent Bering Sea warm phase
Could be good news for pollock fishery
AFSC News by Christine Baier – June 28, 2017
In 2014 the Bering Sea warmed, raising concerns that pollock populations would plummet as they did in the previous warm phase of 2001-2005. But a new study suggests that this time young pollock had alternative resources that weren’t available during the last warming phase to help buffer ill effects of warming. With 2017 showing signs of cooling, pollock populations may have successfully weathered the warm years of 2014-16.
Labeling and Marketing
3MMI – The Market Is BUZZING with Predictions for the 2017 Alaska Salmon Fishery
TradexFoods – July 3, 2017
— In anticipation for the 2017 Salmon fisheries in Alaska, the market is buzzing with predictions for where pricing is headed. — In the twice frozen market, many Chinese vendors have precommitments secured already for raw materials in the new season.
Standing room only: 750 miles on a paddleboard to Alaska
Alaska Dispatch News by Dermot Cole – July 1, 2017
To hear Karl Kruger talk about his excruciating outdoor experiences as a child, it’s a wonder that he didn’t reach adulthood with a preference for the indoors.
Sustained by the sea: Cordova’s new generation of fishermen
Prince William Sound salmon keep fishing families, and the Alaska communities where they live, afloat.
Alaska Dispatch News – June 29, 2017
In 1949 Trae Lohse’s grandfather moved to Alaska, making his way to the tiny Southcentral seaside town of Cordova, tucked between the base of the Chugach National Forest in the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. He laid down roots in the tight-knit fishing community where residents come and go by boat or plane, raised his family and made a career of fishing the Copper River and Prince William Sound for one of the state’s most prized possessions—salmon.
People Don’t Care if Their Fish Is Sustainable
Taste, price, and texture matter most to consumers when it comes to buying fish.
Hakai Magazine by Eileen Guo – June 26, 2017
Local, fair trade, and organic have become battle cries for a global sustainable-food movement. The fishing industry, too, has responded to this surge of interest in how the food we eat affects the Earth and its waterways by eco-labeling products; passing stricter laws against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; and even applying blockchain technology—the approach behind bitcoin—to trace fish supply chains. But these fish-friendly initiatives are running into a wall: consumer apathy.
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