May marks the official start of Alaska’s salmon season with the return of sockeyes and kings to the Copper River near Cordova. State managers announced there will be a 12 hour opener on May 17! That will be followed by other salmon fisheries throughout the state.
Alaska’s 2018 salmon harvest is projected at just over 147 million fish, down 34 percent due to an expected shortfall of pinks.
Managers in Southeast announced that under provisions of the Pacific Salmon Treaty, the harvest for Chinook salmon is limited to 130,000 fish for all users, down 80,000 from last year. For commercial trollers the take is 95,700 kings and the May/June season will open only in a few select areas.
Southeast’s trawl fishery for coon stripe and spot shrimp opened on May 1 with a 675,000 pound quota from four districts. That fishery runs through June.
A fishery for sidestripe shrimp also is underway at Prince William Sound with a nearly 113,000 pound catch quota.
Fishing for lingcod in SE opens May 16 with a catch of just over 310-thousand pounds. (310,700)
The Togiak herring fishery at Bristol Bay is set to wrap up any day as the catch nears the 24,000 ton limit.
A small herring fishery also is ongoing around Kodiak.
Norton Sound’s red king crab fishery closed on April 30 just shy of the 50,000-pound winter harvest. The shortage will be added to the summer crab fishery for a combined total of about 300,000 pounds.
Alaska’s halibut catch is approaching 3 million pounds with Seward and Sitka leading all ports for deliveries.
Sablefish catches topped 4 million pounds with Sitka in the lead for landings.
And fishing continues for all kinds of whitefish in both the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska.
Finally, Frankenfish is a step closer to supermarket sales in the U.S.
AquaBounty, the producer of the genetically engineered, salmon won FDA approval last week to make the fish in a new Indiana plant it bought for $14 million last year. The plan is to produce nearly three million pounds annually.
A final hold up now is commerce laws that don’t allow the genetically tweaked salmon to be sold in the U.S. until labeling guidelines are in place to inform consumers. The unidentified Frankenfish has already hit markets in Canada.