July 9, 2013
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Updates on salmon, plus Bristol Bay’s permit buyback and Pebble comments to the EPA … More after this –
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Alaska’s salmon catch as of Monday topped 35 million, out of a total forecast of 179 million fish. Sockeyes, or red salmon, accounted for over half of the catch so far, with the statewide catch approaching 20.5 million.
Over 13 million of the reds came from Bristol Bay and a run that came and went eight days early means the harvest is unlikely to reach the nearly 17 million fish projection. KDLG (www.kdlg.org) reports that just 136,000 sockeye were taken Friday in all of Bristol Bay. Fishermen and processors in major districts were idled over the weekend waiting for enough fish to show for another opener.
Sockeye salmon are Alaska’s big money fish, often worth two thirds of the value of the total salmon catch. … Next to show in big numbers will be pinks, which managers expect to yield a 118 million catch, 73% higher than last year.
Fishermen at Alaska’s biggest salmon fleet at Bristol Bay say they are in favor of a state buyback on driftnet permits. Results of a survey sent out to 1,858 permit holders so far indicates that 74% support a buyback and 81 percent support looking into it, including the costs and impacts on local communities.
There’s no deadline. This isn’t a vote it is just an expression of interest. No one is approving us moving into an advocacy position on this. We are simply looking into it and seeing how it might work in the Bay.
Bob Waldrop is director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association which is doing the survey. (www.bbrsda.com) An optimum number of drift permits is between 900-1,400, based on a 2005 state report.
Finally, over 620,000 public comments were made to the Environmental Protection Agency by June 30th on protecting Bristol Bay from large scale mining. Tens of thousands more letters and emails are still to be posted.
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. (www.oceanbeautyseafoods.com)