Fish Radio

Fishing updates, May

May 4, 2016

Losses from toxic algae bloom in Chilean salmon farms = $800 million Credit:

Losses from toxic algae bloom in Chilean salmon farms = $800 million

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – May means more fisheries opening up across Alaska. I’ll tell you more after this –

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Trollers in Southeast Alaska fish for king salmon nearly year round – but May marks the official start of Alaska’s salmon season with the first big runs of kings and reds to the Copper River near Cordova.  The 500-plus fleet is on notice that the likely start date is May 16th. The Copper River catch this year calls for 1.6 million sockeyes and 21,000 kings.

Four million pounds of halibut have crossed the docks since the mid-March opener, mostly at Sitka. That leaves 13.5 million pounds left to go.  For sablefish, landings of five million pounds are 25 percent of the catch quota.

Shrimp fisheries get underway in May in Southeast Alaska.  Shrimping also is ongoing  at Prince William Sound through May 5th.

A smelt fishery opened May 1st at Upper Cook Inlet in salt waters between the Chuit and Little Susitna Rivers. Fishing by hand dipnet can last through June or until the catch reaches 100 tons.  There’s also a small 150 ton herring fishery going on at the Upper Inlet through the end of the month.

The total roe herring tally at Sitka Sound was just over 97-hundred tons (9,758), nearly 5 thousand tons below the quota.

Kodiak’s roe herring fishery is slow going and it’s all over at Togiak. That catch is likely to fall far short of the projected catch of nearly 30,000 tons.

In the Bering Sea, there’s less than a half million pounds left to go in the snow crab catch. Fishing continues for cod, pollock, flounders and more.

Looking ahead at early salmon market indicators – The toxic algae bloom that wiped out tens of millions of Chilean farmed salmon has sent prices skyrocketing in Japan.  SeafoodSource reports wholesale coho prices at Tokyo’s Tsukiji market ranged from about $3.10-$3.35 per pound in late April, the highest point in 15 months and up 20 percent from the same time last year.  Japan buys 80 percent of Chile’s coho production.

Adding to the farmed fish decline:  drug resistant sea lice are plaguing Norwegian producers. Finally, wild salmon catches from Russia this year are expected to be lower overall.


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Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, an Alaska corporation proudly supporting Alaska’s coastal communities and the Alaskans who depend on fishing for their livelihoods and culture.    In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.