Sockeyes dominate Alaska’s early salmon openers and catches so far range from dismal to below average in most regions.
Scientists blame a mass of very warm water starting in 2014 for the downturn in both sockeye and Chinook salmon.
An exception is the early sockeye run at Bristol Bay which already has topped 12 million reds. Overall, Alaska’s salmon harvest is down 25 percent from the same time last year.
Trollers in Southeast started their summer Chinook season on July 1 with a catch set at 52,800 fish, down 16 percent. The take is based on a 1985 treaty with Canada that has since seen Alaska’s salmon share cut by more than 60 percent.
Lots of fishing besides salmon is going on all summer across Alaska.
Cod, pollock, flounders and other whitefish are being hauled in from the Gulf and Bering Sea.
The Dungeness fishery in Southeast is ongoing with a summer harvest pegged at 2.25 million pounds.
A red king crab fishery is underway at Norton Sound with a limit of 290,282 pounds.
Golden king crab along the Aleutians opens August 1 with a 6.3 million pound harvest.
Lingcod fisheries continue in portions of Prince William Sound and the Panhandle.
Shrimp fisheries also are ongoing in both regions.
Scallop fisheries opened across Alaska on July 1.
For halibut, 47 percent of Alaska’s 17 million pound catch has been taken so far with less than 9 million pounds remaining.
For sablefish, about 15 million pounds are left in the nearly 26 million pound quota.
In other fish news: the Alaska Board of Fisheries will hold a special meeting on July 17 in Anchorage to address four emergency petitions.
They include hatchery production in Prince William Sound, sockeye at Chignik, Kodiak and the Alaska Peninsula and gillnet chum fishing on the Yukon.
Finally, today (July 6) marks the start of Trump’s trade war with Alaska’s top seafood buyer: China.
A 25 percent tariff will be imposed on Chinese imports of Alaska salmon, pollock, cod, herring flatfish, Dungeness crab, sablefish and more. That’s on top of existing tariffs ranging from 5 to 15 percent. The new tariff will not include seafood that is sent to China for re-processing and distribution elsewhere.
China bought 54 percent of Alaska’s seafood exports last year valued at $1.3 billion.