National Fisherman

More than 20 million sockeye salmon have passed through Bristol Bay this season, and the massive run is on target to hit its escapement goals. But a vessel that capsized in the Igashik continues to leak fluid into one of the bay's rivers, closing a commercial fishery that has lost at least $100,000 due to a closure in effect since Friday.

While total runs for Bristol Bay are a little over 20 million, that remains a little short of the 26 million pre-season run forecast. But "we're not quite done yet," said Paul Salomon, area biologist for the commercial fisheries division of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

An estimated 14 million salmon have been caught so far in Bristol Bay, by 1,600 drift net permits and 900 set net permits licensed to work the bountiful waters.

Salomon said Bristol Bay is seeing a "small surge of fish toward the end of the season," making it likely the runs will achieve their escapement goals -- that is the number of fish that make it upriver to spawn. Commercial fishing wraps up at the end of July.

Salomon said that both the Egegik and Ugashik rivers will hit their escapement goals. "As a manager, that's my main priority for the season," he said.

Still, the red salmon run is in a "low-production cycle right now," Salomon said. In the mid-2000s, runs of more than 40 million salmon surged into Bristol Bay. Bristol Bay runs have been about half that in the past two years, hovering around 20 to 25 million. The environmental system driving the return of fish is "complex," he noted, and the return regularly yo-yos up and down.

Any number of factors from ocean conditions to river flooding can change the survival rate of salmon, said Tim Sands, area biologist for the state's commercial fisheries division on the west side of Bristol Bay.

Sands tracks the Nushagak, Igushik and Togiak Rivers, where the salmon run is "really winding down." The Nushagak's salmon run is better than last year, but "below average overall," while the Togiak River's escapement is on track. The Igushik River remains closed because a vessel that capsized in 18 feet of water last month continues to leak fluids into the bay.

The 78-foot Lone Star capsized June 30 after the anchor chain got caught in its tranductor line, damaging the hull. The accident closed commercial fisheries until July 1 -- but fishing was closed again on July 5, due to leaking fluid. It has remained closed.

Read the full story at the Alaska Dispatch>>

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 3/10/15

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National Fisherman Live: 2/24/15

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Inside the Industry

SeaShare, a non-profit organization that facilitates donations of seafood to feed the hungry, announced on Wednesday, July 29 that it had partnered up with Alaska seafood companies, freight companies and the Coast Guard, to coordinate the donation and delivery of 21,000 pounds of halibut to remote villages in western Alaska. 

On Wednesday, the Coast Guard loaded 21,000 pounds of donated halibut on its C130 airplane in Kodiak and made the 634-mile flight to Nome.

Read more...

The New England Fishery Management Council  is soliciting applications for seats on the Northeast Trawl Survey Advisory Panel and the deadline to apply is July 31 at 5:00 p.m.

The panel will consist of 16 members including members of the councils and the Atlantic States Fishery Commission, industry experts, non-federal scientists and Northeast Fisheries Science Center scientists. Panel members are expected to serve for three years.

Read more...
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