Salmon fishing in Alaska has picked up in some areas but catches are still lagging overall. The statewide catch has topped 100 million fish with more hauls for pinks, chums and cohos set to go.
Pink salmon catches at nearly 36 million are down by half of the typical even year catches but have picked up nicely at Kodiak and Prince William Sound; not so at Southeast where humpy harvests are well below forecast.
Chum takes at nearly 14 million are down by 40 percent from last year’s record 25 million catch. A total chum catch of 21 million is projected.
Coho catches of about 2 million are off by 39 percent from the same time last year. This year’s coho forecast calls for just under 5 million statewide.
End of season sockeyes are averaging a few hundred-thousand per week with a total take so far at 49 million. One of the brightest salmon spots is at Norton Sound where both chum and coho catches could set records.
Alaska’s total salmon harvest for 2018 is pegged at 149 million fish.
Elsewhere, manmade salmon is trying to make a splash.
More genetically tweaked Atlantic salmon grown in Panama has made its way to undisclosed markets outside the US. The manmade fish grows three times faster than normal salmon.
Last summer, Massachusetts-based biotech firm AquaBounty sold its first five tons of “Frankenfish” to undisclosed Canadian customers.
AquaBounty received FDA approval this year to raise its salmon at a new land-based Indiana facility, but it is currently prevented from importing its genetically tweaked salmon pending the issuance of final labeling guidelines. The company said it expects the import roadblock to be lifted this year.
Finally, plans are underway to grow and sell salmon and other seafoods directly from fish cells.
San Diego-based BlueNalu says it will “disrupt current industry practices” and be a pioneer in “cellular aquaculture™” in which living cells are isolated from fish tissue, cultured and then assembled into “great-tasting fresh and frozen seafood products.”
Undercurrent News reports BlueNalu is being seeded with $4.5 million in startup funds from a private venture fund called New Crop Capital whose mission is ‘funding the future of food.’