Alaska/Pacific Coast

Yukon River Salmon Outlook Indicates More Chum and Coho in 2017 but No Improvement on Chinook
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – May 3, 2017
Although the Chinook outlook for the Yukon River this year is as grim as it was last year, summer and fall chum and coho salmon all look better for 2017.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game came out with their forecast for the season on Alaska’s longest river, and it’s mostly good news.

Escapement goals for Chinook salmon have been met for the past three years, but the department continues to use conservation measures to rebuild the fisheries. Fish and Game will open the season for subsistence 24/7 with 7.5-inch or smaller mesh prior to the Chinooks showing up. Once they do, subsistence salmon fishing will be provided on a reduced regulatory schedule with 6-inch or smaller mesh to allow for escapement.

By regulation, fishing will close just before the first pulse of Chinook salmon enters each area.

When the biologists are confident that the Chinook salmon run is adequate and escapement goals are likely to be met, they will consider shifting the fleet over to 6-inch mesh gillnets as well as 7.5-inch mesh gillnets with shorter, less frequent openings.

The 2017 drainage-wide Chinook salmon outlook is for a run size of 140,000 to 195,000 fish. The  upper end of the range is greater than the run seen in 2016, but will need subsistence harvest restrictions in order to assure minimum escapement needs.

The picture is much brighter for summer chum salmon, expecting an above-average return with a projected commercial harvest of up to 1.5 million chum salmon. Compared to last year’s projection of 450,000 to 950,000 potentially available, this year’s projection is half again as large as the upper end from last year.

The fall chum return is also projected to be above average: this year’s projected return of just under 900,000 is triple last year’s forecast of 20,000 to 230,000 fall chum.

Finally, coho are projected at 60,000 — to 200,000 fish available this year, a far cry from last year’s 30,000 to 100,000 potentially available.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1060082/Yukon-River-Salmon-Outlook-Indicates-More-Chum-and-Coho-in-2017-but-No-Improvement-on-Chinook

Congress Directs FDA to Formally Change Brown King Crab to Golden King Crab in Budget Bill
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton – May 3, 2017
With Budget bills practically the only thing being passed in Congress these days, it was an opportune time to fix the problem with Golden King Crab.

This crab, called Brown crab in the past, has been marketed as Golden King crab for many years by ASMI and the Alaskan crab producers.

It is an extremely stable fishery with a harvest of around 6 million pounds a year. The Latin name is Lithodes aequispinus, and it is very similar to red king crab except it has more spines and has slightly less meat yield.

The crab is found on the continental slope, and it is thought that about 80% of the population is too deep for strings of crab pots.

The FDA, however, despite repeated requests, has refused to change the legal acceptable market name of Brown king crab to Golden King Crab. So Congress did it for them.

Buried on page 117 of the 1665 page bill is one line: “The acceptable market name of Lithodes aequispinus is ‘golden king crab.”
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1060109/Congress-Directs-FDA-to-Formally-Change-Brown-King-Crab-to-Golden-King-Crab-in-Budget-Bill

5600 tons of herring harvested in Togiak opening weekend
State’s largest herring fishery opened Friday night, with a steady harvest reported through the weekend. One tender, the F/V Tugidak, struck a rock and was beached for repairs Sunday.
KDLG by Dave Bendinger – May 1, 2017
The Togiak sac roe herring fishery, the largest of its kind in the state, opened Friday night at 6:00 p.m. KDLG’s Dave Bendinger reports:
http://kdlg.org/post/5600-tons-herring-harvested-togiak-opening-weeken

Politics

Trump order baffles Bering Sea Elders
Alaska Public Media by Liz Ruskin – May 1, 2017
When President Trump signed an order last week lifting his predecessor’s restrictions on offshore leasing in the Arctic, he also revoked a decree that created the “Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area.”
http://www.alaskapublic.org/2017/05/01/trump-order-baffles-bering-sea-elders/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+aprn-news+%28APRN%3A+Alaska+News%29

Environment/Science

Alaska Sea Grant’s funding secure for now
KTOO by Elizabeth Jenkins – May 2, 2017
The White House wanted to cut Sea Grant’s funding for the remainder of this fiscal year. If the request had been approved, several projects in Alaska would have ended as early as this summer.
http://www.ktoo.org/2017/05/02/alaska-sea-grants-funding-secure-now/

Scientists see the future in the bellies of fish
KTOO by Elizabeth Jenkins – May 2, 2017
Southeast Alaska is home to hundreds of glaciers and a lucrative fishing industry. As those glaciers retreat, the freshwater they send into the ocean could begin to dry up. Scientists are trying to figure out how that will impact the marine environment.
http://www.ktoo.org/2017/05/02/scientists-see-future-bellies-fish/

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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May 3, 2017