Fish Radio

Fishing updates, April

April 7, 2016                   Sustainable fishing logo

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Lots of fishing in the April line up. I’ll tell you more after this –

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April marks the start of more fisheries across Alaska. Kodiak’s roe herring fishery begins on the 15th with a low 1,670 ton harvest limit. The lower catch will let the bulk of smallish four year old fish recruit into a larger future fishery, says James Jackson, area manager at Kodiak Fish and Game .Unlike other  regions where herring fisheries can be over in a few short sets, Kodiak openers can occur in more than 80 sections around the island.

  Kodiak is a big complicated fishery and it is very different. At Sitka, Togiak a lot of those places have large spawning aggregates and they tend to come in usually all at once and you can catch the GHL really fast. Kodiak there are so many different separate spawning aggregates, from Danger Bay to Uganik to Alitak, to all along the east side and they spawn at different times so sometimes in mid April and sometimes in late June.

Alaska’s biggest herring fishery at Togiak will follow, likely in May, with a catch pegged at nearly 30,000 tons. There’s lots of herring in the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region but no buyers. A small herring fishery may occur this summer at Norton Sound.

A fleet of 84 vessels signed up for a six day, 47,061 pound pot shrimp fishery set to open at Prince William Sound on April 15.

In Southeast Alaska, salmon trollers will be back out targeting kings by May 1 at the Stikine River.

Southeast crabbers had their second best Tanner fishery ever, topping 1.3 million pounds in just 12 days. The crab averaged $2.23 for 74 permit holders, 30 cents higher than last year.  To the contrary,  dwindling stocks of golden king crab yielded a  catch of just 155,000 pounds, down by half from last year. The 17 crabbers got a nice price of $10.50 a pound, compared to $11.86 last season.

Crabbing was about over in the Bering Sea, where just 2.5 million pounds remain in the 36.5 million pound snow crab quota.  Also, the big 17 million pound Tanner crab quota is a wrap.

Halibut landings are approaching 2 million pounds, or  9 percent of the catch limit. Most of the fish so far is going to Sitka.  For sablefish, 10 percent of the 20 million pound quota has crossed the docks.

And fishing for cod, pollock, rockfish, flounders and other groundfish continues throughout the Gulf and Bering Sea.

The North Pacific Council is meeting in Anchorage through April 12 and you can tune into the meetings from home.

Finally, April 11 is the deadline to submit proposals for the state Board of Fisheries cycle for next year, which includes Cook Inlet, Kodiak and king and Tanner crab fisheries. Find links to fish catches, meetings and more at our website

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.