Pollock fishing aboard the F/V Ocean Hope 3
Credit: alaska-in-pictures.com


There’s lots of fishing going on throughout the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea.

January 1 saw the start of cod and other groundfish fisheries and the nation’s biggest catch – Alaska pollock – gets underway on January 20. Over three billion pounds will come out of the Bering Sea.

Gulf fishermen, however, have chosen to delay their pollock start to February 4 in hopes of higher-quality, schooled up fish. That will add another 250 million pounds to Alaska’s pollock harvest.

A pollock fishery also opens at Prince William Sound on January 20 with a nearly 5 million pound harvest.

Trollers at Southeast are still fishing for king salmon. That winter fishery ends on March 15.

Divers are still tapping on a 1.7 million pound sea cucumber harvest; divers also continue fishing for geoduck clams.

A ling cod fishery also is underway in the Panhandle with an 856,000 pound catch limit.

Looking ahead: at Sitka Sound, a roe herring harvest of 33, 304 tons is projected although managers expect the catch will not top 20,000 tons.

At Alaska’s largest roe herring fishery at Togiak in Bristol Bay the catch this spring is pegged at a whopping 42,639 tons. It remains to be seen if there will be any buyers.

Kodiak divers are still going down for sea cucumbers with a 130,000 pound harvest.

Crabbing continues in the Bering Sea for snow crab (40.5 million pounds), bairdi Tanners (2.1 million pounds) and golden king crab (6 million pounds).

Finally, tomorrow/Friday is the deadline for fishermen to apply for trade relief. That’s the program through USDA that pays extra poundage to make up for losses from ongoing trade disputes.

Friday also is the deadline to comment on the Board of Fish and Game meeting cycles. Comments can be entered online  or emailed to dfg.bof.comments@alaska.gov/. A special committee meeting of both boards is set for January 19.

The International Pacific Halibut Commission’s online annual meeting is set for the week of January 25.

A virtual  Alaska Marine Science Symposium takes place on Jan. 26-28.

And the North Pacific Fishery Management Council will hold its meetings online from Feb. 1-12.