Alaska Fisheries Report
KMXT by Maggie Wall - April 18, 2019
The Togiak herring fishery opens earlier than ever before, while in Sitka researchers hope to learn how warming ocean temps and acidification affect herring.
Also, this week, some are calling it a money grab. The Dunleavy administration’s proposal to keep 100 percent of the fisheries taxes would hit fishing towns which depend on the tax especially hard. We have two reports looking at the impacts.
Pacific Council Finalizes Generally Improved Salmon Seasons for 2019
SeafoodNews.com by Susan Chambers - April 16, 2019
Most salmon trollers can expect better ocean salmon seasons this year -- while also meeting conservation goals, fishery managers said Monday.
The Pacific Fishery Management Council finalized its recommendations for 2019 salmon seasons at its meeting in Rohnert Park, Calif., for seasons beginning in May.
The seasons must still be approved by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, but managers said that is expected.
The adopted regulations for Chinook salmon reflect the improved status of Sacramento River fall Chinook, Oregon managers said in a notice to industry. Rogue River fall Chinook and Klamath River fall Chinook populations both are in good and fair condition, respectively, they added.
Also, most of the north migrating stocks of Chinook (Oregon Coastal Chinook stocks from the Nehalem River south to the Elk River as well as a number of Columbia River Chinook stocks) are in moderate to poor condition. These north migrating stocks of Chinook contribute very little to Oregon’s ocean seasons, but are very important to Oregon’s inside estuary and river recreational seasons.
The commercial ocean troll salmon seasons north of Cape Falcon will have very limited Chinook salmon quotas again this year. The ocean fishery will be managed by quotas, season length, and vessel landing week (Thursday-Wednesday) limits. The early Chinook salmon-only season will start on May 6. The season will continue until the overall quota of 13,200 Chinook or the Leadbetter Pt., Washington, to Cape Falcon (in northern Oregon) subarea cap of 1,800 Chinook is taken, or June 28, whichever comes first. Fishermen will be limited to 100 Chinook per vessel for the period of May 6-15 and then shift to a 50 Chinook per vessel per landing week (Thursday-Wednesday), beginning May 16.
The summer all-salmon fishery north of Cape Falcon will open on July 1 and continue through the earlier of the overall Chinook quota of 13,050 Chinook or 30,400 fin clipped coho, managers said in the notice to fishermen. Trollers will also be limited to 150 adipose fin-clipped coho during the landing week (Thurs-Wed) per vessel.
This year's fisheries were designed to take advantage of a higher number of coho salmon forecast to return to Washington's waters as compared to recent years, Kyle Adicks, salmon policy lead for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said in a press release. However, projected low returns of key Chinook stocks in Puget Sound prompted fishery managers to restrict fisheries there.
"We're able to provide more opportunities to fish for coho in some areas, particularly in the ocean and Columbia River, than we have been able to do for several years," Adicks said. Coho fisheries generally benefit sport fishermen but can constrain commercial fishermen targeting Chinook if coho is taken incidentally. "But continued poor returns of some Chinook stocks forced us to make difficult decisions for fisheries in Puget Sound this year."
Again in 2019, fishery managers projected another low return of Stillaguamish, Nooksack and mid-Hood Canal Chinook and took steps to protect those stocks.
WDFW Director Kelly Susewind acknowledged the reductions in Puget Sound salmon fisheries are difficult for both fishermen, primarily sport fishermen, and the local communities that depend on those fisheries.
"Reducing fisheries is not a long-term solution to the declining number of Chinook salmon," Susewind said. "The department will continue working with the co-managers, our constituents, and others to address habitat loss. Without improved habitat, our chinook populations will likely continue to decline."
Limiting fisheries to meet conservation objectives for wild salmon indirectly benefits southern resident killer whales. The fishery adjustments will aid in minimizing boat presence and noise, and decrease competition for Chinook and other salmon in these areas critical to the declining whales, WDFW said in a press release.
In the rest of Oregon, from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain near Port Orford in southern Oregon, the Chinook salmon season will be open April 20-30, May 6-30, June 1-Aug. 29, and Sept. 1 through Oct. 31. Beginning Sept. 1, a 75 Chinook salmon per vessel weekly limit (Thursday through Wednesday) will be in place.
From Humbug Mt. to the Oregon/California border, the commercial troll fishery will be open April 20-30 and May 6-30. Beginning June 1, landing week (Thurs-Wed) limits of 50 Chinook per vessel will go into effect along with monthly quotas of 3,200 Chinook in June; 2,500 in July; and 1,200 in August (8/1-29).
"I really appreciate everybody's work this week," Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Fish Division Deputy Administrator Chris Kern said on the Council floor. "[It was] a lot of hard work, but I feel pretty good about where we landed."
Similarly, California trollers should expect more time on the water this year.
Brett Kormos, with the Marine Region of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, noted the two primary rivers, Sacramento and Klamath River, that contribute fall Chinook to ocean salmon fisheries are still in a rebuilding phase or overfished status. Still, "we are also looking at increased harvest opportunities in both commercial and recreational sectors in 2019 compared to 2018," Kormos said.
Fishery managers modeled the seasons and limits to allow for a Sacramento River fall Chinook spawning escapement of 160,129 hatchery and natural area adults.
East Coast Fishery
Federal appellate court upholds NOAA Fisheries' definition of bycatch
Seafood Source by Steve Bittenbender - April 17, 2019
A panel of federal appellate judges has upheld a lower court’s decision that ruled on NOAA Fisheries’ method for assessing bycatch in New England fisheries.
Scientific Teams Set Out to Track Unprecedented Changes in the Eastern Bering Sea
NOAA Fisheries - April 18, 2019
Over the past five years winter atmospheric conditions that influence the Bering Sea have been markedly different from previous years. Strong, warm winds out of the south—sometimes lasting more than 30 days—have forced sea ice northward. Water temperatures have been warmer than normal and NOAA scientists have observed some significant changes in marine species. They are in unexpected places, in larger or smaller numbers than normal, and many are thin. Scientists are also seeing changes in the numbers of young fish that are reaching maturity.
AK: Experimental tilapia skin burn treatment heals Haines dog
Alaska Public Media by Claire Stremple - April 12, 2019
Veterinary medicine didn’t have solutions for severe burns in animals until a UC Davis vet was motivated by the California wildfires to pioneer a new treatment. She brought her skills to Haines to teach local vets how to use the tilapia fish skins—and help save a local dog’s life.
The special ingredient inside these new gluten-free noodles? Fish, from Alaska.
KTOO by Nat Herz - April 18, 2019
The featured ingredient in the new gluten-free “protein noodles” stocked at Costco might surprise you: It’s pollock, the unassuming whitefish caught by the millions in the Bering Sea, off Alaska’s coast.
NOAA Fisheries Announcing a New Text Alert System
Saving Seafood by NOAA Fisheries - April 18, 2019
The following was released by NOAA Fisheries:
You can now sign up to receive text alerts from us. Our new text alert system has more functions, including the ability to choose the topics that interest you, and to unsubscribe and subscribe by text. If you previously received our texts, and want to continue getting them, you must sign up for this new system.
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