ADF&G Forecasts 2020 Return of 48 Million Sockeye for Bristol Bay: a Harvest of 34.5 Million
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - November 11, 2019
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game released its 2020 forecast for a 48.95 million sockeye salmon total run, which would allow for a “potential total harvest of 36.91 million fish -- 34.56 million in Bristol Bay and 2.35 million fish in the South Peninsula fisheries,” last Friday.
The return is 6% larger than the most recent 10-year average of Bristol Bay total runs (45.9 million) and 29% greater than the long-term (1963–2019) average of 34.6 million fish.
As with every forecast and resulting management measures, all of Bristol Bay’s nine river systems (Kvichak, Alagnak, Naknek, Egegik, Ugashik, Wood, Igushik, Nushagak, and Togiak rivers) are expected to meet their spawning escapement goals.
The harvest forecast of 34.56 million salmon is 11% greater than the most recent 10-year harvest of 31.1 million which has ranged from 15.4 million to 42.0 million, and 38% greater than the long-term average harvest of 21.5 million fish (1963 to present).
The run forecast for each district and river system is as follows: 19.97 million to Naknek-Kvichak District (10.42 million to the Kvichak River, 4.08 million to the Alagnak River, and 5.47 million to the Naknek River); 10.75 million to the Egegik District; 4.67 million to the Ugashik District; 12.63 million to the Nushagak District (8.66 million to the Wood River, 2.90 million to the Nushagak River, and 1.07 million to the Igushik River); and 0.93 million to the Togiak District.
ADF&G forecasts that the 2020 run will consist of 19.14 million age-1.2 fish (39% of the total run), 7.06 million age-2.2 fish (14% of the total run), 21.04 million age-1.3 fish (43% of the total run), and 1.68 million age-2.3 fish (3% of the total run; Table 1).
The Bristol Bay total run has averaged 34.6 million from 1963 through 2019 and has averaged 45.9 million fish during the most recent 10-year period.
Since 2001, ADF&G reports that they have under-forecast the run by 14% and have ranged from 44% below the actual run in 2014 to 19% above the actual run in 2011. Forecasted harvests have had a mean absolute percent error of 14% since 2001.
The department noted the inherent higher uncertainty in forecasting individual river returns, compared to bay-wide returns. Since 2001, on average, they have under-forecasted returns to the Alagnak (-33%), Togiak (-12%), Kvichak (-22%), Wood (-17%), Nushagak (-20%), Ugashik (-0.5%), and Naknek (-14%) Rivers, and over-forecast returns to the Igushik (13%) and Egegik Rivers (14%).
In 2019, the Nushagak District exceeded 200% of the long-term average return for the third year in a row. This is not expected to continue in 2020. Another notable feature of the 2019 run was the presence of record-setting numbers of age-1.2 sockeye to the Egegik River (11.6 million) and Naknek River (5.3 million).
Island Voices: Little fish play a big role in marine conservation
Times Colonist by Ian McAllister and Bryce Casavant - November 10, 2019
Re: “Groups call for closure of herring fishery in Strait of Georgia,” Nov. 5.
It’s a trite fact that B.C. herring are a keystone marine species. These small fish play a critical role within our marine ecosystems along the West Coast.
US habitats to protect humpback whales would reach Alaska
KTUU by Associated Press - November 12, 2019
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The National Marine Fisheries Service has proposed creating critical habitat sites to protect humpback whales that will extend to waters off Alaska.
Solutions sought to ease conflicts over Southeast Alaska’s rising sea otter populations
Alaska Public Media by Jacob Resneck - November 11, 2019
Efforts to ease conflicts over Southeast Alaska’s growing sea otter population are underway. Federal and state officials recently met with scientists, fishermen and tribal groups in Juneau to find solutions.
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