As Alaska’s salmon season draws to a close, lots of fall fisheries are gearing up. The total Alaska salmon tally mid-week was 112 million fish in a season that was a bust in most regions. Exceptions were Bristol Bay, Norton Sound and Kotzebue. The values of the 2018 salmon fishery will be out next month.
Southeast is one of Alaska’s busiest regions for fall fishing. About 400,000 pounds of side stripe and pink shrimp are being hauled in by a few beam trawlers and the season for spot shrimp opens October 1. Usually close to half a million pounds of big spots are hauled up in local pots.
Dungeness crab will reopen in Southeast in October, but there will be no red king crab fishery there this year due to low crab numbers. A small, 120,000 pound red king crab fishery occurred last fall for the first time in six years.
Nearly 200 Southeast divers will head down for more than 1.7 million pounds of sea cucumber starting October 1.
A 140,000 pound cuke fishery at Kodiak attracts around 20 divers. Smaller sea cucumber catches in the 5,000 to 20,000 pound range also occur along the Alaska Peninsula, Aleutians and Bering Sea.
For halibut, 77 percent of the Alaska catch has been taken with 4 million pounds to go. For sablefish, the catch is nearing 60 percent of the 25 million pound quota. Both fisheries end on November 7.
Fishing for cod, rockfish, flounders and pollock continues in the Bering Sea. Pollock reopens in the Gulf of Alaska October 1.
Bering Sea crabbers will find out any day the fate of a red king crab fishery at Bristol Bay and catches for snow crab and Tanners. Those fisheries open October 15.
The industry will get a first peek at possible fish catches for next year when the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meets October 1- 9 in Anchorage. Comments on all agenda items are open through September 28.
Finally, the state Board of Fisheries will meet October 15-19 at the Egan Center. On the agenda: a work session, Pacific cod issues and an open town hall meeting on Alaska hatcheries.