Salmon is winding down – lots of other fisheries going on/gearing up across Alaska!
Alaska’s salmon catch has surpassed expectations and is on its way to 210 million fish. The forecast called for 204 million this year.
Pinks are at a respectable 130 million so far on a 142 million fish forecast.
Highpoints this season are a statewide sockeye catch topping 50 million for the tenth time in history – 37 million from Bristol Bay. A huge Alaska chum catch is just shy of the 24 million all time record.
“That was a surprise. I don’t think we expected that at all.”
Forrest Bowers is deputy director of commercial fisheries at Fish and Game.
Whitefish fisheries are in full fall mode with September 1 cod fish openers at Prince William Sound, Cook Inlet, in Kodiak waters and throughout the Bering Sea.
Pollock fishing reopened in the Gulf of Alaska on August 25. More than 3 billion pounds of pollock will be caught in Alaska’s fisheries this year.
A lingcod fishery is still underway in Prince William Sound.
Likewise, halibut are still crossing the docks across the state. Longliners have taken 75 percent of the 18 million pound catch limit with Kodiak way out ahead for landings, followed by Seward and Homer a distant third.
The sablefish catch is at nearly 70 percent of its 22.5 million pound quota. The halibut and sablefish fisheries run through November 7.
Alaska fishermen also are gearing up for a busy October line up – Dungeness crabbing and the big spot shrimp fishery open in Southeast on the first and Bering Sea crab fisheries kick off on the 15th.
The state Board of Fisheries will review 18 agenda change requests at a mid-October work session in Anchorage. Seven are from the Yukon region, five for Kuskokwim salmon and four regarding salmon at Cook Inlet.
One proposal by the United Cook Inlet Drift Association suggests a new plan that would cap weekly and seasonal sockeye salmon harvests in some Kodiak fisheries.