Alaska Alaska salmon returns down 87 percent, as Bristol Bay sockeye harvest soars National Fisherman by Jessica Hathaway - July 15, 2021 It’s catch as catch can in Alaska salmon fisheries with five of six species still lagging behind normal across the region. Bristol Bay and the rest of Southwest Alaska continue to be a bright spot for the second year running, but not across all species. https://www.nationalfisherman.com/alaska/alaska-salmon-returns-down-87-percent-as-bristol-bay-sockeye-harvest-soars Prince William Sound catch grows to 8.3M fish Chum harvest for Coghill district gillnetters exceeds 1.1M salmon Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman - July 15, 2021 Commercial salmon harvest numbers in Prince William Sound climbed to 8.3 million fish by Wednesday, July 14, as the overall statewide harvest surged to nearly 55 million fish. https://www.thecordovatimes.com/2021/07/15/prince-william-sound-catch-grows-to-8-3m-fish/ Federal, state and Tribal entities to research dwindling Chignik Chinook salmon runs “There were a few different questions we’re going to try to answer with that project, but a proposal has been submitted and we won’t know about funding until next year,” said Chignik Area Management Biologist Reid Johnson. KDLG by Brian Venua - July 14, 2021 Chinook runs have declined all around the state. One of the areas particularly hard-hit by the low returns is the Chignik River. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife plan to launch a three-year research project to find out why the Chignik River’s Chinook run has declined. https://www.kdlg.org/post/federal-state-and-tribal-entities-research-dwindling-chignik-chinook-salmon-runs#stream/0 Alaska COVID Cases Rising Due to Delta Variant and “Vaccine Hesitancy” SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - July 14, 2021 (Updated at 12:03 p.m. PDT) In the last three weeks, Alaska’s positivity rate of COVID-19 has been rising steadily, although it is still below 5%, the level the World Health Organization recommends to fight the virus. It is currently at 2.5% and state health officials say they want it below 2%. The increase in positive cases and in hospitalizations is attributed, state health officials say, most likely to the highly contagious delta variant of the virus. As of Monday, state data showed 46 people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 — up from 28 total hospitalizations on Friday. Of the 159 new resident cases reported, there were 72 in Anchorage, 11 in Sitka, nine in Eagle River, seven in Hooper Bay, six in Soldotna, six in Wasilla, five in Cordova, four in Fairbanks, four in Homer, four in Seward, three in Chugiak, three in Juneau, three in Kenai, two in Ketchikan, two in Sterling, and one each in Douglas, Kodiak, Kotzebue, North Pole, Palmer, and Petersburg. There were also 15 new nonresident cases identified: three in Anchorage, three in Fairbanks, three in Petersburg, one in Healy, one in Soldotna, and four in unidentified regions of the state. In Cordova ten new cases of residents was reported by the Cordova Times yesterday, adding to the now 38 which are currently active, according to data published by the city. Because of this, some community events have been postponed or moved online. Cordova city officials say they may again require those who attend City Council meetings to wear masks. All visitors to Cordova Public Library and the Cordova Historical Museum, including visitors who have been vaccinated, are currently required to wear masks. The vaccination rate for the Cordova and Valdez Census Area is curretnly 61%. As of Monday, 54% of Alaska’s population 12-year old and older had received the first dose of the vaccine. A slightly lower percentage (51%) were considered fully vaccinated. The highest vaccination rate in the state is in the combined Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula Boroughs — 86% of the population in that region have received one or more doses. Both boroughs are keeping most of the health, travel, and masking mandates in effect, although both administrations updated detailed descriptions of what is required in each community in the region. The City of Dillingham, which has more than twice the population of the combined total of the adjacent boroughs, is now considering easing their travel and mask mandates. Interim City Manager Chris Hdladick told KDLG.com on Monday that they would base changes to the health mandates “on measurable factors, like the city’s vaccination rate.” That rate for Dillingham’s eligible population is 75%, and the region has seen very few cases in the past four months. The lowest region of the state for vaccination rates are the Matanuska-Susitna and North Slope Boroughs and the Southeast Fairbanks Census Area. In the Mat-Su Borough the vaccination rate for eligible people is just 39%, the North Slope borough is 37%, and the southeast Fairbanks Census Area is 32%, rounding out the bottom three. Total population in all three areas is about 125,000 or 17% of the statewide population. Vaccination rates have improved in the state since March, when Alaska Public Media covered reasons why Alaskans were telling physicians they didn’t trust the vaccine. “ … Mat-Su doctors have heard from people resisting vaccines because they think the shots come from cells derived from aborted fetuses (they were used for early testing, but not for production), that getting vaccinated could cancel your life insurance (it won’t), and that the shots alter your DNA. (They don’t.)," wrote APM's Nathanial Hertz in mid-March. The state is working hard to help citizens understand the importance of the vaccine. Matt Bobo, Alaska’s immunization program director, told the Anchorage Daily News this week that his department has received federal funding that they’re hoping to use to launch state-level incentives to boost the state’s vaccination rate. Earlier this spring Alaska distributed $1 million in grants to local chambers of commerce around the state for community-level incentives to get vaccinated. The program was highly successful. “The community knows what their members want and what motivates them,” Heidi Hedberg, the director of the Alaska Division of Public Health, told the ADN. “This was a great example of that partnership between the business sector, public health and the community. And that was wildly successful.” The state’s tourist industry was set to launch after Royal Caribbean International’s Serenade of the Seas, tied up to Ketchikan’s docks last Friday. It was a test cruise, to see how well the new COVID-19 precautions worked. Other cruise ships are expected later this month through October. But earlier this week, three people aboard the American Constellation cruise ship tested positive in Petersburg and are now in isolation there. Two of the three people who contracted the virus were fully vaccinated, according to American Cruise Lines. Passengers who can show evidence of vaccination were allowed to leave the ship in Petersburg for sight-seeing. The ship left Petersburg Friday afternoon and arrived in Juneau early Saturday, according to Juneau officials, ADN reported. Unvaccinated crew members quarantined on the ship in Juneau and passengers flew out from there, the statement said. American Cruise Lines has canceled its next cruise, which was scheduled for July 14, “out of an abundance of caution,” the company said. https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1203276/Alaska-COVID-Cases-Rising-Due-to-Delta-Variant-and-Vaccine-Hesitancy Opinion Opinions: Salmon hatcheries add resilience to Alaska’s seafood industry Anchorage Daily News by Kristin Carpenter - July 15, 2021 This past year hasn’t been an easy one. The impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are widespread, affecting the ability of Alaskans to support their families in the same way they did before. https://www.adn.com/opinions/2021/07/15/salmon-hatcheries-add-resilience-to-alaskas-seafood-industry/ *Requires Subscription FYI’s Salmonfest 2021 features 60+ bands, including Alaska Native musicians Larger amphitheater, onsite camping grounds enhance festival Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman - July 12, 2021 Salmonfest is back, offering three days of fish, love and music at the Kenai Peninsula Fairbanks, Aug. 8-10, complete with 60-plus bands, opportunities to learn more about protecting salmon habitat, and a newly developed onsite campground. https://www.thecordovatimes.com/2021/07/12/salmonfest-2021-features-60-bands-including-alaska-native-musicians/ Alaska Fish Radio: Pacific Marine Expo is back! Seafood News by Laine Welch - July 14, 2021 One of the seafood industry’s biggest and most popular trade shows is back and in person after Covid forced it to cancel last year. Pacific Marine Expo is set for November 18-20 in Seattle for its 55th year. The show is on track to again host about 500 vendors and the timing will likely attract over 6,000 visitors. “So what's in our favor this year is whenever the show dates are just prior to Thanksgiving, which they are this year, it's usually one of our most productive shows and our exhibitors are very happy about it. So the dates are a jumping off point for our Alaskan attendees that are traveling for Thanksgiving. They come to the event, spend a few days at the show, and then they either stay in Seattle, or they travel throughout the country to visit family for the holiday weekend.” Bob Callahan is group vice president and Expo director. He adds that this year’s show brings an added bonus for visitors. “And then this year is a bonus. The Seahawks play on Sunday, the day after the show closes. They play the Cardinals. So we'll be giving out Seahawks tickets throughout the event over the three days.” Expo will again feature fishing fan favorites and Alaska’s own exhibition area in a prime area - “We'll have the Alaskan Pavilion that's looking very strong. You know, 25% of our audience comes from Alaska. And we have about 50 companies that exhibit in the Alaskan Pavilion, so it's a great atmosphere. And it's right adjacent to the beer garden where we have a happy hour each evening where we provide complementary beer and hand out the Seahawks tickets.” Callahan says last year’s Covid cancellation has made people value the in-person trade show experience even more. “You know, a year ago, it was difficult, but it really opened a lot of eyes in terms of how valuable our exhibitors see the event and how valuable the attendees see the event. They will come to the event, because they want to see the new products and new technology, but they also want to see the person behind the product and who's selling the product. So that's really important. And you can't get that over the internet or a webinar or in a digital format. So the face to face event, I think, is coming out stronger, after COVID than people perceived before.” Registration for Pacific Marine Expo begins in August. And ideas for Expo speakers are being accepted through this Friday (July 16). Find out more at www.pacificmarineexpo.com. And find links at www.alaskafishradio.com and on Facebook and Twitter. Fish Radio is also brought to you by OBI Seafoods - who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. (www.oceanbeauty.com) In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch. https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1203338/Alaska-Fish-Radio-Pacific-Marine-Expo-is-back
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