February 7, 2017
It’s freezing out there and baseball bats are breaking ice from the rails and rigging, but that doesn’t stop hundreds of Alaska boats from going fishing.
Vessels of all gear types are targeting pollock, cod, flounders, rockfish, mackerel and more throughout the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea.
Divers are still going down for giant geoduck clams in Southeast and a big ling cod fishery is underway. A fishery for seven different types of rockfish just wrapped up in the Panhandle. That produced nearly 60,000 pounds.
Habitat laws that protect Alaska salmon have not been updated since statehood.
Defend our right to healthy rivers and sustainable fisheries at www.standforsalmon.org and on Facebook.
About 260 Southeast king salmon trollers are still out on the water, far less than usual, and it’s slow going. A winter catch of less than 8,000 kings so far is a quarter of the take at this time from the last two years. The kings are fetching over $10 a pound.
Southeast’s golden king crab and Tanner crab fisheries open on February 17. For golden kings, the catch is 105,000 pounds; the catch for Tanners will be announced after a few days into the fishery.
For crab in the Bering Sea, 41 percent of the 19 million pound snow crab catch has been taken. And the winter red king crab at Norton Sound kicks off today (Feb. 7) with a total catch this year at just under half a million pounds. (496,800)
More salmon numbers are trickling in for the upcoming season that officially begins in mid-May with runs of kings and sockeyes at Copper River. The numbers are bleak for both this year – a projected return of just 1.5 million reds is the third lowest in 20 years. For king salmon, the Copper River catch could be down to just 3,500 fish.
At Lower Cook Inlet the total salmon catch this summer is expected to be just over 800,000 fish.
Upper Cook Inlet will be the focus of the state Board of Fisheries when it meets Feb. 23 through March 8 in Anchorage.
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council wrapped up its February meeting yesterday and much of the focus was on developing alternative measures for halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea. So called Abundance Based Management would give more “flexibility” to groundfish fleets when the halibut stock shows increases.
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