Fish Radio
September 19, 2013

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch … Sea otters take a bite out of permit values.  More after this –

Sea otter with Dungeness crab Credit: Zac Hoyt

Sea otter with Dungeness crab
Credit: Zac Hoyt

Otters bite into Southeast fishing permits

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 Alaska salmon permits are picking up value in major regions, especially for seiners. At Chignik and Prince William Sound, for example, seine cards are over $200,000.  The priciest of them all is a Southeast seine permit at over $300,000.

  Hard to tell where that will shake out. Most people think the permits are headed up because they have such a fantastic year, but they had moved up so fast prior to the season that might not happen.

 Olivia Olsen with Alaskan Quota and Permits in Petersburg says it’s been a busy year. Hand and power troll permits also are selling steady, as are others in the diverse region.

  A lot of permits all year moving –  a lot of Se herring pound permits, as many cuke permits as we could come up with, shrimp pot permits, shrimp trawl permits, which have been really hard to come by, those have been popular too.

 Southeast Alaska is the only region that has seen increases in halibut catches.

 The halibut IFQ fishermen here in Se are real happy with their catch, the numbers per skate, and availability of the fish. That optimism moves into where they feel like maybe there won’t be more cuts in Southeast   and increases, so therefore the only halibut that’s been moving at all this year has been 2C.

 Prices for Southeast halibut quota shares range from $38-$46 a pound.

 On a big downswing, Olsen says, are Dungy permits.  The reason – sea otters.

 The sea otters are really causing havoc and they are moving in and moving north and just wiping out the grounds behind them. So it has really hurt the Dungeness fishermen, it’s a definite problem, a major problem.

 Olsen says most of the initial permits holders have sold out and new entrants are buying at fire sale prices.

 I would say that a majority of the initial dungy permit holders have just sold out. And there are new guys coming in, but the prices are so low they feel like they can recoup at least the permit price.      

 Economists estimate otter  predation  on Southeast’s crab and dive fisheries has cost the region nearly $30 million since 1995.    

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. ( In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.