Tuesday, June 9, 2020

June 10, 2020


FISH FACTOR: Crucial fish surveys curtailed by COVID-19 precautions
Alaska Journal of Commerce by Laine Welch - June 8, 2020
Surveys of Alaska’s fish, crab and halibut stocks in the Bering Sea have been called off or reduced due to constraints and dangers posed by the coronavirus.

King Cove Confirms First Local Case Of COVID-19 In Seafood Industry Worker
KUCB by Hope McKenney & Maggie Nelson - June 8, 2020
The Alaska Peninsula village of King Cove has confirmed its first local case of COVID-19 in a seafood worker who tested positive for the virus Monday.

Ocean Beauty, Icicle form OBI Seafoods LLC
No big changes for harvesters delivering their 2020 catch
Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman - June 8, 2020
In an agreement closing on June 1, major processors Ocean Beauty Seafoods and Icicle Seafoods emerged as OBI Seafoods LLC.

Seafood processing plants navigate state's COVID-19 health mandates
KTUU by Alexis Fernandez - June 9, 2020
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - As Alaska’s commercial fishing season gets underway for the summer, thousands of fishermen and processing plant workers are set to arrive in coastal communities from outside the state. And with that, a concern that visitors could spread COVID-19 in rural parts of the state that may have limited health-care facilities.

Copper River Closed Until Escapement Increases, Bristol Bay Only Bright Sockeye Spot in Alaska
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - June 8, 2020
With the closure of the Copper River to all but subsistence fishing until escapement numbers for spawning salmon increase, focus is shifting to Prince William Sound with a forecasted harvest of 25.99 million pink salmon. Forecasts for pink and chum salmon there are 19% higher than the ten-year average. Statewide, pink and chum forecasts are down from last year, to 12 million from 21 million pinks caught last year in Southeast, 12 million from 33 million last year in Kodiak, and a statewide total of 60 million this year, less than half of last year’s pink salmon harvest.

Sockeye salmon dominate the story in Alaska this year, with whiplash predictions of low numbers in almost every river system except Bristol Bay. Biologists predict a run of 48.95 million fish with a harvest of 36.91 million sockeyes, down from 42 million caught last year.

Harvests as of last weekend on the Copper are 71,370 sockeye. Another 3,582 sockeye have been harvested in Prince William Sound.

Prices for sockeye and chinook are impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and the near shut down of the foodservice industry. Ex-vessel prices for Copper River salmon have strengthened from initial low prices of $3.25 per pound for sockeye and $6.25 per pound for chinook, but only to the $4 per pound range for sockeye and nearly $7 per pound for chinook, the Anchorage Daily News reported last week.

Escapement in the Copper River grew from a few thousand salmon daily after the count began May 19, to 11,000 for several days, peaking at 15,696 on June 4, and have dropped back to the mid-11,000 mark since. Projected escapement during that time was at least twice that. Cumulative escapement as of June 6 was 145,257 salmon compared to a forecasted 239,904 salmon at that time.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game note that the Copper’s cumulative commercial harvest this year is the 3rd lowest to-date in 50 years. Cumulative sonar count through 6/5 is 133,836 fish whereas 224,927 fish are projected by this date.

At Prince William Sound’s Main Bay hatchery, a sockeye harvest of 989,000 salmon is anticipated during the summer fishery. Harvest from the 36-hour Eshamy District period that began on Monday, June 1 was 540 sockeye and 520 chum salmon with 19 deliveries reported. Coghill is expecting 145,000 sockeye harvest, down from the ten-year average of 187,000 sockeye.

In Chignik, sockeye salmon returns past the Chignik River weir have been extremely low: 251 sockeye as of June 5 compared to an escapement objective of 12,000-17,000 sockeye. Biologists there say that typically “approximately 4% of the Chignik early sockeye salmon run has escaped as of June 5.”  It is too early to determine the run timing or strength yet.

AMSEA plans drill conductor course in Sitka
Cordova Times - June 7, 2020
Fishing vessel drill conductor training will be offered in Sitka on June 18 by the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association, providing a hands-on experience with marine safety equipment and best practices for surviving emergencies at sea.

Craig/Klawock spawn-on-kelp harvest is 586,000 pounds
Strong herring recruit class starting to show up in Southeast Alaska
Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman - June 7, 2020
The Craig/Klawock spawn-on-kelp pound fishery, with 147 permitted fishermen landing 568,000 pounds of the fish, was the highlight of 2020 herring fishery in Southeast Alaska, say biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

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