Fish Radio
Salmon arrive slow and small, fishing updates
July 7, 2015

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Alaska’s salmon returns are slow and small; lots of fishing updates after this —

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Alaska’s salmon catch is going slowly – barely topping 18 million fish by yesterday. And statewide, the early sockeyes and chums are some of the smallest on record. At Copper River, Cook Inlet and Kodiak the red weights are down by as much as a full pound from normal, averaging under 5.5 pounds.

Biologists speculate the smaller size comes from food competition in the Gulf that’s worsened by water that’s five degrees warmer than average and depleting plankton supplies.

At the world’s biggest sockeye salmon fishery at Bristol Bay the catch of 8.5 million fish is down by more than half from the same time last year. The forecast calls for a whopping catch or nearly 38 million reds at Bristol Bay – the traditional peak is July 4th and landings this week should tell if the run is late, might arrive all at once or was way over estimated.

In other fisheries: Scallops opened July 1 near Yakutat, Kodiak, the Alaska Peninsula, Dutch Harbor and Bering Sea with a combined total of 340,000 pounds of shucked meats, down slightly.

Pollock, cod, mackerel, perch and various flounders are ongoing targets in the Bering Sea; Pollock reopens in the Gulf on August 25.

For halibut, 55% of the 17 million pound catch limit has been landed. Deliveries have dropped way off with less than 200,000 pounds taken in the past week. Homer, Kodiak and Seward are running neck to neck for halibut catches.

Seward more than doubles all ports for sablefish landings. A 55,000 pound sablefish season opens July 15 at Lower Cook Inlet.

A lingcod fishery opened July 1 in Prince William Sound with a nearly 33,000 pound catch from two regions. A shrimp fishery also is underway with a 67,000 pound harvest.

Southeast Alaska’s Dungeness crab fishery is going strong with a catch expected to top 2.25 million pounds.

At Norton Sound, the year’s first red king crab fishery opened on June 29 with a nearly 395,000 pound catch expected by small boat fishermen.

Find all of Alaska’s fish catches and more at our website – and on Facebook.

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. ( In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.