Alaska Salmon Update: Harvest for Pinks in PWS Now 144% Above Pre-Season Forecast
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - August 11, 2021
This is the peak week for Alaska pink salmon harvests historically, but it’s unlikely the state will achieve the 124.2 million pinks predicted earlier this year. In Prince William Sound, where wild pink salmon have returned at higher levels than expected, fishermen have landed more than 35.7 million pinks, more than four million in the last five days of last week. While exceeding the annual forecast for Prince William Sound and accounting for more than half of all pink salmon caught in the state currently, it’s unlikely that Alaska will see the pre-season forecast of 124.2 million pinks this year. Statewide pink salmon landings are at 65.9 million fish.
ASMI’s Weekly Alaska Salmon Harvest report notes that salmon harvests have exceeded five-year weekly averages for a fourth consecutive time during the first week of August.
“With the salmon season more than half over, a clearer picture of the total end-of-season harvest should come into focus in the next week or two,” said Dan Lesh with McKinley Research, author of ASMI’s Salmon Harvest Report.
“The biggest unknown is the timing and magnitude of peak pink salmon harvests,” said Lesh.
Statewide, the pre-season forecast for sockeye was shattered as Bristol Bay broke all historical records for the total run (harvest and escapement), and came in second for all-time harvest, now 40.3 million sockeye, or 77% of the total statewide harvest of 52.2 million.
Total salmon catch as of Monday is 125.4 million fish, made up of 65.4 million pinks, 52.2 million sockeye, 6.2 million chum or keta salmon, 800,000 coho and 174,000 Chinook.
Comparing earlier state forecasts with total catch so far, Chinook is lagging by 95,000 salmon compared to pre-season estimates of 269,000 Chinook. Chum or keta salmon have also been disappointing with only 6.25 million chum caught when 15.3 million were forecasted for harvest. The coho salmon catch, predicted to be 3.8 million, is usually caught in late August and the month of September. Current landings for coho are 796,000 coho as of Monday. Pink salmon harvest expectations were around 124.2 million this year; 65.94 million have been landed to date. More are expected this week and next. Finally, the sockeye salmon forecast statewide was 46.6 million red salmon and already 52.2 million have been landed.
Governor, Industry Send More Salmon to Yukon- Kuskokwim Villages as Food for Winter
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - August 11, 2021
Alaska’s Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim or AYK area had an unprecedented failure in the salmon runs this year where there wasn’t enough salmon even for subsistence use. Only pink salmon, the smallest and lowest in fat content, were landed in serious numbers, but not enough to feed families through the winter along the nearly 2,000-mile river.
Governor Dunleavy partnered with the Tanana Chiefs Conference, Alaska seafood processors, and air cargo companies to distribute 25,000 pounds of Chinook and chum salmon to the villages on the river earlier this month.
The second donation of 12,500 pounds of chum salmon was delivered to Interior communities on the river last Monday.
“Spending 20 years in rural Alaska, I understand the hardships that the communities are facing when they cannot prepare traditional foods for the winter season,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “While this donation cannot replace a bountiful subsistence fishing season, the collaboration of local business leaders, tribal and village leaders, and the seafood industry goes a long way in assisting our communities.”
The delivery consisted of 12,500 pounds of Prince William Sound chum salmon purchased from Copper River Seafoods. The salmon was flown by Everts Air Cargo to Emmonak for further repackaging and distribution by Kwik’Pak Fisheries.
“This is truly a relief for the folks out here who depend on fish to get through the winter. Most impressive was how fast the Governor’s office put this together, especially considering in only a matter of days the families here in the Lower Yukon will have this fish,” said Jack Schultheis, Operations Manager for Kwik’Pak in Emmonak.
“We are grateful to Governor Dunleavy and all involved for the donation of salmon to the communities on the Lower Yukon River in a time of need,” said CEO Vivian Korthuis, Association of Village Council Presidents. “Again, the donation will not fill the freezers up, but the salmon is very appreciated. We are grateful and the acknowledge teamwork it took to get the salmon from where they were caught, transported, delivered and distributed to the families along the Lower Yukon River. Quyana on behalf of the region.”
“As Alaska Native people, sharing resources is one of our cultural values that helps us survive during hard times,” said Calista President and CEO Andrew Guy. “Quyana to all who have donated fish to our Lower Yukon communities, and to all the partners working to distribute the fish.”
The earlier delivery of 25,000 lbs. of king and chum salmon caught in Bristol Bay were donated by six fish processors there. Alaska General Seafoods, Leader Creek Fisheries, North Pacific Seafoods, Ocean Beauty Icicle, Silver Bay Seafoods and Trident Seafoods have worked through Sea Share for Bristol Bay salmon to be donated to both the AVCP and TCC Regions along the Yukon River.
Sea Share partnered with Lynden, Northern Air Cargo, Everts and Alaska Air to fly the fish to Anchorage. It was flown to the Emmonak by Everts and dropped off at the Yukon Delta Fisherman’s Development Association for repacking to be delivered to families along the Lower Yukon River by river tender. Three tender boats delivered during a four-day effort to distribute the fish.
At the time, the Anchorage Daily News reported “Communities up and down the Yukon are coming to terms with a collapse in key stocks, and now confronting the prospect of a winter without enough food. Tribal groups working in the region say the situation is dire, and are scrambling to find alternative ways to get protein and assistance to some of the most rural households in the state.”
ADN reporter Zacharia Hughes said no one knows why so few chum returned this year.
“Hypotheses include warming waters from climate change, the proliferation of hatchery fish, and commercial fishing practices in the Bering Sea,” reported Hughes for ADN. "But none of those theories fully account for why so few chum are coming back this year,” he wrote.
“We’re supposed to have 1.6 million fish through the sonar, and we have about 150,000 through the sonar,” Schultheis, who has run Kwik-Pak Seafoods in the area for decades, told ADN of the number of chum counted entering the river.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said.
The salmon is being distributed to communities that have had an economic impact due to COVID-19 and the closure of subsistence fisheries due to poor salmon returns. Additional deliveries to the region will be announced in the coming weeks.
During last year’s summer of pandemic precarity, TCC alone spent more than $400,000 buying salmon to distribute to families in its region, which does not cover the ten villages in the Lower Yukon.
Ben Stevens, who manages the TCC’s Tribal Natural Resources Commission, told ADN earlier this month that one strategy state and federal official sshould pursue in the months ahead is recalibrating management policies with tribes when it comes to wildlife like moose, caribou, and other ame. During the height of the pandemic, with flights grounded, seasonal work curtailed, and store shelves empty, people in his communities requested special hunting openings to feed themselves. Managers said no.
“What the hell are we supposed to do in that situation?” Sevens asked. “How about loosening some of those stringent regulations on rural people. That would go a long way.”
New grant will help OSU researchers find ways to prevent injury in Dungeness crab industry
Oregon State University - August 10, 2021
CORVALLIS, Ore. — A team of Oregon State University researchers will use a new federal grant to study how different equipment configurations onboard crab vessels could help prevent injury to crabbers.
Press Release: Cantwell Applauds Unprecedented Investment in Puget Sound and Salmon Recovery in Infrastructure Package
August 10, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statement about a historic $2.855 billion investment in salmon recovery and ecosystem restoration programs, as well as tens of billions of dollars allocated for water infrastructure in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). (A full description of the infrastructure bill’s impacts on Washington state can be found here.)
Pacific Seafood Processors Association 1900 W Emerson Place Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98119 Phone: 206.281.1667 E-mail: email@example.com; Website: www.pspafish.net Our office days/hours are Monday-Friday 8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. *Inclusion of a news article, report, or other document in this email does not imply PSPA support or endorsement of the information or opinion expressed in the document.