Salmon mural in Dillingham by Arpayo Moore


Alaska’s 2019 salmon season is winding down and the catch so far of 198 million is just seven percent off the preseason forecast.

The fishery is on track to be the 8th largest harvest since 1975. A catch of more than 55 million sockeye salmon is the largest since 1995.

Lots of Alaska fisheries are gearing up or still underway.  

As always, boats of all gear types and sizes are fishing for cod, rockfish, perch, flounders, Alaska pollock and many other species.

Alaska longliners have taken 73 percent of the nearly 18 million pound halibut catch limit with less than 5 million pounds to go. Homer leads all ports for halibut landings followed by Seward and Kodiak.

So far 58 percent of the longline sablefish quota has been taken with under 11 million pounds remaining in the nearly 26 million pound quota. Sitka has topped Seward as the usual leading port for sablefish landings, with Kodiak third.

Both the Pacific halibut and sablefish fisheries end on November 14.

Fall means dive fisheries for pricey sea cucumbers.

On October 7 divers will head down for nearly 2 million pounds of cukes in Southeast Alaska.

A much smaller sea cucumber fishery of 165,000 pounds opens on October 1 at Kodiak, Chignik and the South Peninsula. Sea cukes last year paid out at over $4 a pound to fishermen.

The Panhandle’s popular spot shrimp fishery also opens October 1. Fishermen using pots can haul up just over a half million pounds.

Also in Southeast Alaska – the Dungeness crab fishery will reopen October 1 in a year that could be the best in a decade.

The catch for the summer fishery that wrapped up last month topped 4 million pounds and managers expect a good catch this fall. Dungies averaged $3.06 a pound making the summer fishery worth nearly $13 million at the docks.

Here’s a new one:  The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has established a season for the commercial harvest of detached kelp that has washed up on beaches in Lower Cook Inlet.

Participants will need a Commissioner’s Permit and a commercial CFEC permit that define the dates and areas and potential quantity of kelp harvests.