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Thursday, July 14, 2022

Alaska NOAA takes temperature of the Bering Sea in annual Bottom Trawl Survey KUCB by Laurelin Kruse - July 12, 2022 The F/V Vesteraalen and the F/V Alaska Knight are out in the Bering Sea for the annual Bottom Trawl Survey. https://www.kucb.org/science-environment/2022-07-12/noaa-takes-temperature-of-the-bering-sea-in-annual-bottom-trawl-survey 2022 Bristol Bay Harvest Shatters All-Time Highest on Record at 46.6M Sockeye And More Coming SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - July 13, 2022 Yesterday afternoon the official word was posted on Facebook: “Bristol Bay sets all-time harvest record (and it’s not done yet)!” from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The record was shattered on Monday, when the daily catch of 2,754, 500 (which includes Togiak’s catch of 11,500 sockeye) carried the cumulative total to 46,564,310 sockeye caught, more than 2 million above the 1995 record of 44.3 million. ADF&G records go back to 1883 when commercial fishing in the Bay began. There is no doubt that the record set on Monday July 11 will be much more by the time this year’s season in the Bay is over. According to the University of Washington’s Alaska Salmon Program, the 2022 Bristol Bay run timing has been tracking two days earlier than the model since mid-June. The program, run by Dr. Ray Hilborn, predicted a total run of 71.91 million sockeye, slightly less than ADF&G’s 73.4 million. Their November 2021 forecast for the 2022 harvest was 52.4 million compared to ADF&G’s 59.94. In ADF&G’s Facebook post, they note “Current inshore run projections are tracking above the 73.4 million preseason forecast which would be the largest inshore run in the history of the fishery.” The chart above, from UW’s Alaska Salmon Program, compares the daily run (showing catch and escapement) of prior years when total actual run size is known. It’s easy to see how both catch and escapement is much larger this year than ever before. This year’s cumulative sockeye salmon escapement in all rivers of Bristol Bay is 13.8 million; meeting or exceeding the pre-season goals, with the exception of the Togiak River, which is expected to meet its goal. ADF&G lauded “the fleet, processors, supporting industry, and communities of Bristol Bay on their efforts this season and being part of this historic achievement.” Andy Wink, executive director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA), which is funded by the fleet, agreed. “Congratulations to all the resourceful fishermen, processors, tender crews, and support workers who are now part of history, the largest harvest in Bristol Bay’s long history. “It takes thousands of tough people laboring through exhaustion, rough weather, sore muscles, mechanical problems, and more to make it happen. Kudos to the dedicated biologists who continue to help keep this fishery thriving and have the skills and confidence to predict this massive run.” BBRSDA is one of two Alaska regional groups who also market their salmon. BBRSDA’s Marketing Director Lilani Dunn has been working hard to help Bristol Bay’s processors — a critical link in the supply chain — get the salmon to retailers and foodservice operators who can provide it to consumers. "This record-breaking harvest reflects the collaborative work between the Bristol Bay fishers, biologists, local community, and seafood processors,” said Dunn. “When enjoying Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon, Americans should feel a sense of pride that they have chosen to support a fishery that has taken extreme care over many decades to preserve true sustainability, ensuring that generations to come will also be able to nourish themselves with this near-perfect protein.” Retailers across the U.S., including Publix Super Markets, Hy-Vee and Whole Foods Market will be selling fresh Bristol Bay sockeye throughout 3,200 retail stores across the country. Other retailers carrying Bristol Bay sockeye include Heinen’s in Cleveland, New Seasons Market in Portland, Wegmans, Harris Teeter, Rosauers Supermarkets, Raley’s, Quality Food Centers and Dierbergs Markets, Dunn said. Although each of those supply chain links are important, let’s not forget the fish. First, a look at how big this run really is — the migration of 70-plus million animals returning to nine river systems in Western Alaska — by seeing a snapshot of the returning salmon just last weekend. On Friday, July 8 cumulative catch totals in the Nushagak District was 16.2 million in a run of 22 million. Three days later, that harvest grew to 20.13 million, a daily average more than 1.3 million fish. In the Naknek-Kvichak District, Friday’s cumulative catch of 6.5 million grew on Monday to 9.2 million. In Egegik, cumulative harvest total on July 8 was 10.5 million sockeye, which ballooned to 12.9 million by Monday. Same story in Ugashik where Friday’s catch totaled 2.7 million at the end of what has been considered the peak week in the Bay, only to see Monday’s cumulative catch at 4.2 million and growing. Second, this record-breaking abundance is happening while rivers to the north and southwest are not seeing enough salmon to achieve escapement needs. Why is this? Daniel Schindler, chief investigator for the UW Alaska Salmon Program, has been studying Bristol bay salmon runs for decades. Alaska Public Media’s KDLG radio station interviewed him last August when the same scenario was playing out across Alaska. Schindler mentioned the resiliency to higher ocean water temperatures that Bristol Bay salmon seem to have, along with the area’s watershed -- a habitat that is uninterrupted by roads, dams and other development. “That’s one of the reasons Bristol Bay is so unique, is that all of that habitat diversity is still here, and all of that genetic diversity in the salmon and life history diversity is still here,” he told KDLG. “And it’s interesting scientifically, but it’s also important for the fishery, because all of that diversity stabilizes how many fish come back from year to year. Last year Schindler was looking at a run of 64 million fish, and a harvest around 50 million. “It’s hard to believe the 50 to 60 million fish per year that we’ve been seeing [in years past] — never mind the 64 million fish that we’ve seen this year — is going to continue at that level forever,” he said a year ago. “But if we look into a crystal ball for the next century and look at the fact that the world is warming, there is no reason to believe that Bristol Bay salmon populations won’t continue to flourish even under substantially warmer temperatures.” “Really the question is how much more warming these systems can withstand before they get too warm like California and other places in the Pacific Northwest,” he said.

Illustration Courtesy: UW ASP https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1230118/2022-Bristol-Bay-Harvest-Shatters-All-Time-Highest-on-Record-at-46-point-6M-Sockeye-And-More-Coming

National Americans pulling back into “familiar patterns of savings," harming seafood sales Seafood Source by Christine Blank - July 11, 2022 High inflation continues to impact fresh seafood sales in U.S. grocery stores, but sales of canned and pouched seafood are rising as shoppers cut costs. https://www.seafoodsource.com/news/foodservice-retail/americans-pulling-back-into-familiar-patterns-of-savings-harming-seafood-sales Federal Register Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Request for Information on Bristol Bay Red King Crab and Eastern Bering Sea Snow Crab Mortality Mitigation Measures A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 07/14/2022 The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) is requesting information from the public on ways to reduce fishing-related mortality for Eastern Bering Sea (EBS) snow crab, a stock that is overfished. Information from the public is critical to that effort and, therefore, the Council is seeking public input. This notice invites the public to submit written comments on the topic generally and in response to specific questions outlined below. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/07/14/2022-14989/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-request-for-information-on-bristol-bay-red-king

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