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 most of Alaska’s largest fisheries get underway each year.

On January first, hundreds of boats with hook and line gear or huge pots 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 annual harvests of more than  three billion pounds.

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

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.

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 in October – crab openers in the Bering Sea… and so it goes on through the end of each year.

In all, more than 5 billion pounds of seafood cross Alaska’s docks each year worth more than $2 billion to fishermen.

The seafood industry is Alaska’s largest private employer.

Alaska’s fishermen and processors provide over 60 percent of our nation’s wild caught seafood.

 

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