Alaska/Pacific Coast

The Alaska Fisheries Report
KMXT by Jay Barrett September 15, 2016
Coming up this week, there are renewed concerns about mine waste pollution in Southeast, as well as worry over the invasive green crab showing up one day soon. All that, and it’s the last fishery for one long time biologist, coming up on the Alaska Fisheries Report. We had help this week from KCAW’s Robert Woolsey in Sitka, KSTK’s Aaron Bolton in Wrangell, and CoastAlaska’s Ed Schoenfeld in Juneau.

Post Season Re-Cap of Bristol Bay: Highest Value in 20 Years, 2nd Highest Total Run
SEAFOODNEWS.COM – September 15, 2016
Alaska’s salmon biologists have run the numbers and the post-season preliminary bottom line is that this year’s Bristol Bay run ranks 2nd out of the last 20 years. The total run size, according to the revised preliminary report, was 51.4 million salmon.

The average run from 1996–2015 is 35.1 million salmon. This year’s run was 46% above the 20 year average.

Total catch for sockeye of 37.3 million was 26% above the 29.5 million preseason forecast.

The Bristol Bay 2016 harvest of all salmon species was 39.2 million fish, ranking first over the last 20 years (1996-2015) and worth a preliminary exvessel value of $156.2 million, 40% above the 20-year average of $111.0 million.

All escapement goals were met or exceeded, with a total sockeye salmon escapement of 14.1 million fish.

A total of 29,545 Chinook salmon were harvested in Bristol Bay in 2016. The harvests for other species are 1,042,345 chum salmon; 91,387 coho salmon; and 751,756 pink salmon.

The 2016 sockeye salmon run timing was similar to 2015 as it was one of the latest on record, approximately 7 days late.

Fish weights and lengths were smaller than the historical average with an average sockeye salmon weight of 5.4 pounds, but overall fish were slightly larger than 2015.

Individual river systems performed as usual: unpredictably.

Ugashik led the way with a total inshore run of 8.4 million sockeye, 70% above ADF&G’s pre-season forecast. Catch in Ugashik this year was 6,765,569 fish.

Egegik, Togiak, and Nushagak, all came in above pre-season forecasts, by 39%, 23% and 1% respectively. Catch in Egegik reached 8,479,961 sockeye this year.

In Togiak, a total of 611,480 sockeye were landed.  Nushagak’s preliminary harvest this year was 8,013,145 sockeyes.

Naknek-Kvichak district run size was less than predicted: 21.4 million sockeye instead of 21.2 million, a difference of only 8%.  Catch in Naknek-Kvichak was 13,460,265 reds.

This year’s Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run was 10% above the preseason inshore forecast of 46.6 million fish.


Fisheries legislation moves to Senate
The Cordova Times – September 16, 2016
Legislation that would implement U.S. participation in two international fishery treaties that the U.S. helped negotiate has been approved by a voice vote in the House and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Fisheries board will hold Soldotna work session
The Cordova Times – September 15, 2016
The Alaska Board of Fisheries has scheduled a thee-day work session Oct. 18-20 at the Soldotna Regional Sport Complex on the Kenai Peninsula in advance of its 2016-2017 regulatory cycle meetings.


Global Fish Watch
This week Google and Oceana announced a new page that tracks AIS information from commercial fishing vessels on Google Earth. The intent is to “make global fishing activity more transparent. Global Fishing Watch provides the tools to allow people to visualize fishing activity and to analyze its effects.” Exactly how people will analyze effects from this map is an interesting question.
Click the link to access the map, it requires sign up through gmail or Facebook.


What the ‘sixth extinction’ will look like in the oceans: The largest species die off first
Washington Post by Chris Mooney –  September 14, 2016
We mostly can’t see it around us, and too few of us seem to care — but nonetheless, scientists are increasingly convinced that the world is barreling towards what has been called a “sixth mass extinction” event. Simply put, species are going extinct at a rate that far exceeds what you would expect to see naturally, as a result of a major perturbation to the system.

Oceans Are Absorbing Almost All of the Globe’s Excess Heat
New York Times by Tim Wallace – September 12, 2016
This year is on track to be the third consecutive hottest year on record. Where does that heat go? The oceans, mostly.

Federal Register

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Exchange of Flatfish in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 09/16/2016
NMFS is exchanging allocations of Amendment 80 cooperative quota (CQ) for Amendment 80 acceptable biological catch (ABC) reserves. This action is necessary to allow the 2016 total allowable catch of flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area to be harvested.


Growing a new kelp industry in Alaska
APRN by Amanda Compton – September 13, 2016
Aquaculture is not new in Alaska. And now a company in Southeast is hopeful it’s found a new crop to grow in state waters- kelp, or seaweed. But before the state gives the green light to the fledgling industry, it needs answers to some pretty basic questions. From Juneau, Amanda Compton has more.

Wanted: Local Responders For Entangled Whales
KUCB by Laura Kraegel – September 14, 2016
Unalaska has seen a lot of whale activity in recent years, with many pods passing through the bay and even a few entanglements.

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September 16, 2016