Winter sees a wide array of fisheries out on the water with more to come. Cod and a big mix of whitefish kicked off the year in the Bering Sea and in many parts of the Gulf.
Alaska pollock, the world’s largest food fishery, opened on January 20 in the Bering Sea with a 3 billion pound harvest. Smaller pollock catches will come out of the Gulf (250 million pounds) and at Prince William Sound (5 million pounds).
Boats are targeting black rockfish in Southeast, and at Kodiak, Chignik, the Alaska Peninsula and along the Aleutians.
Bering Sea crabbers are still out on the grounds pulling up snow crab. This season’s catch was boosted to nearly 34 million pounds, a 24 percent increase.
A 400,000 pound Tanner crab fishery at Kodiak is going slow.
Tanner and golden king crab fisheries open in Southeast on February 17. The golden quota of 41,000 pounds is down by about half.
A Tanner crab fishery opens on March 1 at Prince William Sound.
Southeast’s shrimp trawl fishery closed on February 3 around Petersburg and Wrangell with a catch of 400,000 pounds of pinks and sidestripes. Shrimp trawling is Southeast’s longest ongoing fishery since 1915 and it will reopen again in May.
And if you didn’t think Alaska salmon fishing goes on nearly year round –over 100 Southeast trollers are still out on the water fishing for winter kings.
Also on Friday: the state Board of Fisheries heads into a marathon meeting on Upper Cook Inlet fishing issues. More than 170 management proposals are on deck through Feb 19 at the Anchorage Egan Center.