Bill Webber of Cordova aboard his F/V Paradigm Shift 

Alaska’s salmon season officially kicks off one week from today on May 14 at Copper River near Cordova with a 12 hour opener for kings and sockeyes. Other salmon fisheries will follow across the state in coming weeks.

Alaska’s total salmon catch for 2020 is projected at just under 133 million fish this year,  a 36 percent drop from the 208 million fish taken in 2019.

The state’s largest herring fishery at Togiak in Bristol Bay opened on May 3. Icicle is the only buyer for a haul of nearly 39,000 tons of herring caught for their roe.

Kodiak’s roe herring fishery is still underway with one of the best catches in recent years topping 1,500 tons.  The price was reported at $300 per ton.

A small, one day a week herring fishery is still underway at Upper Cook Inlet through May 31.  The Inlet’s 200 ton smelt fishery runs from May 1 through June.

Dungeness crab opened around Kodiak on May 1.

Southeast Alaska’s longest ongoing fishery – beam trawling for pink and sidestripe shrimp –opened on May 1, mostly near Petersburg and Wrangell. That catch is nearly 1.8 million pounds. A pot shrimp fishery opens on May 15 with a 32,000 pound quota.

A ling cod fishery is underway and Southeast divers are still going down for giant geoduck clams.

And trollers will be out on the water this month targeting hatchery kings in several regions.

At Prince William Sound a short, second opener for big spot shrimp opened on May 4 and will wrap up on May 9. The total catch by 60 boats will come in at just over 68,000 pounds.

Nearly 2 million pounds of halibut has been landed since the mid-March opener. Catches are off by about 60 percent from last year due to low prices and little fishing interest.

Sablefish catches at just over 5 million pounds also are down.

The Bering Sea snow crab fishery should wrap up any day with a 30.6 million pound catch. Final prices won’t be settled until July.

And as always, catches for cod, pollock, flounders and much more are ongoing in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea.

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