Alaska/Pacific Coast

Copper River Season Opens on Thursday
SEAFOODNEWS.COM  by Peggy Parker  –  May 11, 2015
The world’s first wild salmon return of the year is underway as chinook and sockeye enter the Copper River in central Alaska. The season begins this Thursday, May 14, at 7 a.m. Alaska Daylight Time.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will open the waters off the mouth of the Copper River for a 12-hour commercial fishing period on Thursday. Their next announcement will be on Saturday, May 16.

ADF&G’s Miles Lake sonar camp was deployed on May 6 and the crew is working to deploy the north and south bank sonars. The in-river sonar shows identifiable sockeyes and chinook as they swim through the first bottleneck upriver from the ocean. ADF&G technicians then count each fish, allowing the biologists to know when to open the fishery.

Chinook, or king salmon, are the first to arrive, but this year’s forecast is only 5,500 fish. That compares to last year’s forecast of 22,000 fish which was never realized. Commercial, subsistance, personal, and sport landings produced only 10,200 chinook last year, and ADF&G’s escapement goal of 24,000 fish was not met.

The story is different for sockeye. This year’s forecasted catch is 2.44 million fish, higher than last year’s 2.05 million fish which was more than one-and-a-half times the previous 10-year (2004–2013) harvest average of 1.32 million.

If realized, the 2015 forecast total run would be the fifth largest in the last 36 years, since 1980. The natural run forecast is driven by the massive estimate of 4-year-old fish in 2014 (696,000 fish) and the subsequent prediction for 5-year-old fish in 2015. Last year’s estimate of 4-year-old-fish was the largest since 1965.

Returns of salmon that entered the ocean in 2012 have had excellent survival so far, but the significantly warmer North Pacific waters in 2014 will increase the uncertainty in the 2015 run projection. However, the main factor in the uncertainty of ADF&G’s forecast is that the number of 4-year-olds used as input to the model to predict the 5-year-olds return is outside the range of ADF&G’s historical data.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/975023/Copper-River-Season-Opens-on-Thursday

Business of Fish Overview
KDLG by Matt Martin – May 11, 2015
A complete review of all presentation of last week’s Business of Fish meetings in Dillingham and King Salmon.
On Tuesday and Thursday of last week, business leaders, regulators, and fishermen came together to discuss issues of this upcoming fishing season. Below is an archive of presentations given at the event this year.
http://kdlg.org/post/business-fish-overview

International

Latest Russian Salmon forecast is for a 30% drop in sockeye, an increase in Pinks over 2013
SEAFOODNEWS.COM  [SeafoodNews]  May 11, 2014
The latest Russian salmon forecast calls for a drop in sockeye tonnage of 30% compared to  2014.  Current projections are for a harvest of 35,700 tons of sockeye, which is 30% below the 2014 figure.

For pinks, projections have increased to 256,000 tons, according to the North Pacific Development Association in Hokaido, which tracks Russian fishery estimates.  This is about 8% higher than in 2013, the last odd numbered year for pinks.

The pink increase will be primarily in Kamchatka, where landings are expected to rise to 93,000 tons vs. 40,000 tons in 2013.

Chum salmon is also predicted to be as much as 50% higher than in 2013 – with a total harvest of 124,800 tons.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/975083/Latest-Russian-Salmon-forecast-is-for-a-30-percent-drop-in-sockeye-an-increase-in-Pinks-over-2013

Environment/Science

Changing Marine Species Composition in Puget Sound
The Fish Site – May 12, 2015
US – The most populated areas of Puget Sound have experienced striking shifts in marine species over the last 40 years, according to research from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
http://www.thefishsite.com/fishnews/25647/changing-marine-species-composition-in-puget-sound/

What’s killing off B.C.’s young salmon?
The Globe and Mail by Mark Hume – May 10, 2015
Hundreds of millions of young salmon are emerging from rivers along the B.C. coast, beginning a perilous journey that will take them north into the Gulf of Alaska. What happens on that remarkable migration, which most of the fish will not survive, remains one of the greatest mysteries of ocean science.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/whats-killing-off-bcs-young-salmon/article24362542/

USFS Fisheries: Salmon top Tongass product
KCAW by Robert Woolsey – May 7, 2015
The US Forest Service says the most valuable product on the Tongass National Forest is now salmon.
Ron Medel is the Fisheries Program Manager for the Tongass. He gave a statistics-packed presentation to the Sitka Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday (5-6-15). His task over the last several years has been to figure out how much Alaskan salmon is produced in the forest.
http://www.kcaw.org/2015/05/07/usfs-fisheries-tongass-lands-produce-ocean-wealth/

Fishermen, communities need more than healthy fish stocks
UW Today by Michelle Ma – May 6, 2015
The Alaska salmon fishery is touted as one of the best in the world. When measured with an ecological yardstick, it is – fish stocks are healthy and the fishery is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as consistently meeting rigorous biological standards. Fish are individually counted as they swim upstream to ensure there are enough to breed.
http://www.washington.edu/news/2015/05/06/fishermen-communities-need-more-than-healthy-fish-stocks/

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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May 12, 2015