We might be heading into the holidays, but fishermen are still out on the water across Alaska, with lots more openers coming up in just a few weeks.
Catch forecasts for 2018 are trickling in almost daily from state and federal fishery managers.
Trawlers are still out fishing for various whitefish like flounders and perch, and cod is open to longline, jig and pot gears through December 31. Then, the very next day on January 1, cod will reopen to fishing in both the Gulf and Bering Sea.
In Southeast Alaska, divers are still going down for giant geoduck clams and sea cucumbers.
And salmon trollers got some good news: the winter Chinook fishery will remain open until further notice. A steep decline in the stock has managers being extra cautious. A closing date for the fishery will be set at the January Board of Fisheries meeting in Sitka.
Also in Southeast: the 2018 forecast for the Sitka Sound herring fishery is just over 11-thousand tons (11,128), down from nearly 15-thousand tons (14,649) this year. That fishery usually kicks off in March.
At the state’s largest herring fishery at Togiak, the 2018 catch is pegged at just over 24-thousand tons (24,042), up slightly from this year’s fishery which typically begins in May. (Last season produced a harvest of 17,403 tons on a quota of 22,943 tons.)
Bering Sea crabbers will be back out on the water in January targeting snow crab and Tanners.
Also in January – Alaska’s biggest fishery, pollock, will open on the 20th in the Gulf and Bering Sea, including at Prince William Sound, which has a 7.1 million pound catch quota.
2018 catch limits for halibut will be announced by the International Pacific Halibut Commission in late January.
Finally, the Alaska Board of Fisheries meets January 11-23 in Sitka. The board will consider 153 proposals regarding Southeast and Yakutat fish and shellfish issues for commercial, subsistence, sport and personal users.