May means even more fisheries are going on across Alaska – and in just two weeks, it’s salmon season!
As always, fishing for pollock, cod and various whitefish continues throughout the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea. At Prince William Sound, 41 shrimp boats are back on the water from May 1 to May 11 to finish off the 67,000 pounds spot shrimp quota. A small sablefish fishery also is underway in the Sound.
Southeast shrimpers also got a reopener to finish off a half million pound harvest. A lingcod fishery opens in Southeast on May 16 for jig and trollers with a 310,700 pound catch.
Togiak’s roe herring fishery got underway over the weekend taking a couple thousand tons with good roe counts.
About 20 percent of Alaska’s halibut catch has been taken so far with 14.5 million pounds remaining. Petersburg is way out in front of all other ports for landings.
And the Panhandle’s spring Chinook fishery opened for trollers on May 1.
While trollers in Southeast fish for kings nearly year round, Alaska’s salmon season officially gets under way when runs of sockeyes and kings arrive at the Copper River near Cordova. Fishery managers say the first opener is expected to occur the week of May 14th. That will be followed by salmon fisheries all across the state.
The total Alaska salmon catch for 2017 is pegged at 204 million fish, nearly one million more than last year.
The harvest breakdown is Chinook salmon at 80,000 in region outside of Southeast; a sockeye salmon catch at nearly 41 million is 12 million fewer reds than last year.
Coho catches should increase slightly to nearly 5 million, a catch of nearly 17 million chums is a bump up of more than one million.
Finally, the projected pink catch of 142 million is up by nearly 103 million fish over last year.