Fish updates, ADF&G budget assault
April 2, 2015
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – April updates on fisheries and an assault on fish budgets by Alaska lawmakers. More after this –
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April means Alaska’s fisheries are going full bore with pollock, cod, rockfish and flats being hauled up by a mixture of trawl, longline, pots and jig gears in both the Bering Sea and most of the Gulf, which has the highest cod and pollock catches since the 1980s.
The Bering Sea snow crab fleet has 10 million pounds remaining in its 61 million pound quota. Boats are also still targeting Tanner crab.
Less than one million pounds of halibut was landed in the first two weeks of the fishery from just 166 Alaska landings. The catch limit this year is 17 million pounds. For sablefish, just over one million pounds has crossed the docks so far from 86 landings.
After a three year closure, Prince William Sound’s pot shrimp fishery opens April 15 with a 67,000 pound catch. Kodiak’s roe herring fishery officially opens that same day with a typical catch around 4 thousand tons.
Seiners co-opped at Sitka Sound and took 87-hundred tons of roe herring in one week. Less than half of the 48 permit holders fished this year but all will get a share of the catch. Southeast trollers wrapped up their winter king salmon season last week, the earliest closure ever. Nearly 400 trollers fished starting October 1 for roughly 45,000 kings, averaging nearly $9/lb.
Other big salmon news is the 39 percent increase projected for Alaska’ salmon catch this year to 221 million fish.
The increase in fish isn’t being matched in funding support by state lawmakers. The Senate Finance committee slashed the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game budget even more severely, with cuts now totaling $15 million. Commercial fisheries take the biggest hit, with habitat conservation projects and sport hatchery programs also on the cutting room floor.
Finally, Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan has selected fellow Ohioan Erik Elam as his fisheries advisor. Elam was a former legislative aide for Rep. Don Young. Sullivan chairs the Senate Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife Subcommittee; he said in an email that Elam will focus on “energy, federal lands, fisheries, the Coast Guard, and oceans.”
Find fishing links of all kinds at www.alaskafishradio.com and catch the line up at ComFish, going on now, at ww.comfishalaska.com/
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. (www.oceanbeauty.com) In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.