Copper River Opens May 15 With Sockeye Run Near Average, but Big Improvement in Kings
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – May 7, 2018
The famed Copper River salmon season opens on Thursday, May 17 for a first period of just 12 hours — from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
ADF&G manages the Copper River returns of salmon by ensuring that adequate escapement makes it up the river to spawn. Subsequent periods will be announced in-season.
The total run of Chinook salmon is estimated at 43,000 fish, close to the ten-year average of 45, 000 fish. Of the 43,000 expected to return this year, at least 24,000 chinook will be needed for escapement, leaving an estimated 19,000 fish to be taken in the common property fishery.
This compares to last year’s forecast of 4,000 chinook harvest in the Copper that was blown out of the water by a final harvest that exceeded 10,000 chinooks.
For sockeye salmon, the total run point estimate is 1,736,000 fish. The recent 10-year average (2008–2017) Copper River wild sockeye salmon total run is 2,078,000 fish.
Gulkana Hatchery sockeye salmon total return is predicted to be 148,000 fish (80% prediction interval: 108,000–188,000 fish) for a total Copper River sockeye salmon return (wild + hatchery production) of 1,884,000 fish.
Total Copper River sockeye salmon common property harvest (all fisheries) is predicted to be 1,220,000 fish with a commercial harvest of 942,000 fish.
An expanded Chinook salmon inside closure area moves last year’s king closure further out towards the ocean from the mouth of the Copper River. The area features a series of barrier islands and shallow bottom that create dangerous channels and large breakers.
The new closure area is defined as waters north of a line connecting the following points: Steamboat North, Steamboat South, West side Pete Dahl Entrance, West end Grass Island, East end Grass Island, West end Kokenhenik Bar, East end Kokenhenik Bar, and Western tip of Softuk Bar. Specific longitudes and latitudes are provided by the ADF&G office in Cordova.
The Miles Lake sonar camp is anticipated to be deployed on May 7. The banks of the river are currently covered in shore ice. The Prince William Sound Science Center’s Lower Copper River Sonar Station will soon be up and running near the mouth of Clear Martin River on the lower east side of the Copper River.
The Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association provided funding for this project. This spring, the Marketing Association also provided $75,000 and area processors another $35,000 towards the purchase of an ARIS sonar system and existing sonar system upgrades for the Miles Lake field camp.
This new sonar system and the upgrades will allow the department to continue evaluating salmon length measurements at the field camp with the ultimate goal of differentiating large Chinook salmon from smaller salmon (i.e. sockeye salmon and small Chinook salmon).
Alaska Supreme Court hears salmon-ballot initiative case
The court heard arguments Thursday on whether the initiative dubbed Yes for Salmon can appear on the November ballot.
Seattle Times by Associated Press – May 2, 2018
ANCHORAGE — A ballot initiative that aims to strengthen a state law that protects salmon habitat has made its way before the Alaska Supreme Court.
East Coast Fishery
Crab crisis: Md. seafood industry loses 40 percent of workforce in visa lottery
Washington Post by Scott Dance – May 3, 2018
Maryland’s seafood industry is in crisis: Nearly half of the Eastern Shore’s crab houses have no workers to pick the meat sold in restaurants and supermarkets.
Global Fisheries Beautifully Illustrated & Mapped
Sustainable Fisheries UW by Max Mossler – May 3, 2018
A new paper out in Marine Policy ($) gorgeously illustrates global fisheries over the past 150 years. The figures tell the story and are cool as hell (spoiler—we saved the best for last):
Sustainable Alaska: How can we reduce fish ‘shrink’?
Juneau Empire by Keith Cox – May 4, 2018
The seafood industry continually confronts major opportunities and challenges due to its diversity and complexity.
Labeling and Marketing
3MMI – What’s Going On in the Chum Salmon Market
TradexFoods – May 7, 2018
3MMI — in this week’s episode we review the effects of rising Swai prices. There are limited resources for Swai in the USA now as the USDA Catfish inspection program began to be fully enforced in September 2017. We can see a sharp price increase during this time clearly reflected in this TradexLIVE Price Trends Graph over the past two years…
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