Archives for December 2013

AK New Year kicks off with cod; goes all year round

Fish Radio
January 1, 2013

 Here's to a safe and prosperous New Year.

Here’s to a safe and prosperous New Year.

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch….January marks the start of Alaska’s largest fisheries – and that means more jobs than any other Alaska industry!  More after this –

Fish Radio is brought to you by the At-Sea Processors Association – The APA’s Alaska pollock companies fund marine research programs at Alaskan universities to improve our understanding of the environment, and to promote conservation of ocean resources. Learn more about APA’s conservation efforts at

Find out who’s catching all that seafood and their favorite recipes at a new micro site from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute – find it at


Salmon will always be the heart of Alaska’s fisheries. That’s why many people think of summer as the fishing season. But that’s not the case.

The heart of winter is when Alaska’s largest fisheries get underway each year. On January first, hundreds of boats with hook and line gear or pots will begin plying the waters of the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska for Pacific cod, rockfish and other groundfish. Then on January 20th trawlers take to the seas to target Alaska pollock, the world’s largest food fishery with harvests opping three billion pounds.

Crab boats will soon be out on the Bering Sea in earnest for snow crab, Alaska’s largest crab fishery.

Late February or early March sees the start of the eight month long halibut and sablefish seasons. March also marks the beginning of Alaska’s roe herring circuit, usually at Sitka Sound, and  those fisheries will continue for several months all the way up the coast as far west as Norton Sound, assuming there are herring buyers.

And although wild Alaska king salmon is available from Southeast trollers nearly year round, mid May marks the official start of Alaska’s salmon season with the runs of kings and reds at the Copper River. Salmon fisheries take center stage all summer and into the fall.

That’s followed by another of Alaska’s fishing highlights – red king crab from Bristol Bay … and so it goes on through the end of each year.

In all, more than five billion pounds of seafood crosses Alaska’s docks each year. Alaska’s seafood industry each year provides more jobs than oil and gas, mining timber and tourism combined.

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, serving Alaska’s fishing communities since 1910. On the web at  – In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.






AK crab updates; a first look at currencies of overseas seafood customers

Fish Radio
 December 31, 2013                   

Bering Sea crab fishing Credit: alaskadispatch

Bering Sea crab fishing
Credit: alaskadispatch

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch … Crab updates and world currencies. More after this –

 Fish Radio is brought to you by the At-sea Processors Association. APA  fishing companies donate one million nutritious Alaska pollock meals each year to food banks–in Alaska and nationally–to help fight hunger in America.  Learn more about APA’s Community Catch program at

 Federal grants are available to help “Made in America” companies compete with imports and save US jobs. Learn more at


Southeast crabbers ended one of their best fall Dungeness fisheries ever and a few did hards are still on the grounds around Sitka and Ketchikan. 

“The fall season looked pretty good compared to past seasons. We came in at right at a million pounds for the fall season.

 Adam Messmer is Fish and Game’s assistant shellfish manager for Southeast.

The last two years the catch has come in at half that. Messmer says less gear was on the grounds with 87 permits fishing. The price averaged $2.53 a pound, similar to last year, bringing the value of the   catch to more than $2.5 million. Southeast’s total  Dungy  harvest this year is at 2.6 million pounds, well above what was expected.

 Switching to the Bering Sea – snow crab pots are being dropped earlier than usual. The fishery traditionally gets going in mid-January. Two reasons:  crabbers want to avoid getting closed out by sea ice – and strong demand for less crab is pushing the highest prices ever.     No final word on  prices at the dock, but contract prices to Japan were reported at $5.50 to $5.60 for smaller sizes and $6.10 for large crab. Alaska’s total catch is 54 million pounds, down 20 percent. So far nine percent of the snow crab harvest has been landed at St. Paul.  

  It looks to be a tough year for seafood traders tied to foreign currencies, cautions’s  John Sackton.  The expected growth of the US economy and strong dollar make our seafood more expensive for overseas buyers facing weaker currencies.  That could mean more sales here at home. As the US dollar strengthens, Sackton says, it will be a moderating influence on domestic seafood prices. 

 We’ll look at the currencies of Alaska’s biggest customers later this week.   

Some currencies at a glance: 

 The  Yen is at 105Y per dollar, the highest since 2008. Japan wants to weaken its value to boost its exports.

The Euro is trading at a two year high against the dollar but is expected to weaken.  The Chinese Yuan is trading at a 20 year high against the dollar making imports more expensive.

The Canadian dollar has weakened about 6% and  is expected to drop to about 90 cents against the US dollar later this year.

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, an Alaska corporation proudly supporting Alaska’s coastal communities and the Alaskans who depend on fishing for their livelihoods and culture.    In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.