Fish Radio
June 4, 2013                                                

Salmon fishing at Bristol Bay Credit: ADF&G

Salmon fishing at Bristol Bay
Credit: ADF&G

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Salmon starts at Bristol Bay and fish managers meet in Juneau. More after this —

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 Salmon season officially opened at Bristol Bay on Monday although the reds aren’t likely to show up in good numbers for a few weeks. The test fishery at Port Moller that gauges run strength will get underway on June 10 and last for about a month.  The sockeye harvest at Bristol Bay this year is pegged at about 17 million fish. This month will see the start of salmon fisheries all over the state.  The total Alaska forecast this year is for 179 million salmon, nearly 30 percent higher than last year.  Pushing the higher catch is pink salmon, with a catch forecast of 118 million fish, 73% higher than the 2012 harvest.  You can track all the salmon catches by region throughout the season with Fish and Game’s Blue Sheet – 

 The North Pacific Fishery Management Council begins its summer meeting on Wednesday in Juneau.    Up for discussion:  allowing the use of pot gear for sablefish quota share holders in the Gulf of Alaska.  It’s something the council and industry have been talking about for several years to, in part, prevent predation from hook and line gear by killer whales.  Also on the agenda:  updates on the restructured observer program and a report on electronic monitoring.  The dominant issue will be defining a roadmap for trawl bycatch reduction in Gulf groundfish fisheries.   It will likely include some form of catch share plan – but with groundfish, it is unlikely to be gifted as fish shares in perpetuity, as in Alaska’s halibut/sablefish and Bering Sea crab  programs.

 Nicole Kimball, the state’s federal fisheries coordinator, says the Council and industry will explore many kinds of limited duration and allocative quotas, some never tried before.   

  Cut: Whether it’s quotas for the target species, bycatch species, whether its quotas only used in a coop structure, looking at the ability to allocate quotas that limit the duration of that allocation and reallocate it after some period of time based on vessels’ performance in achieving the Council’s objective, which is reducing bycatch.  No one has really done this, it’s uncharted territory, but everyone has talked about it. And so now we are going to take a serious look at whether that might be appropriate.  

 To listen live while the meeting is in session:

 Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, celebrating 103 years of partnership with Alaska’s coastal communities.  In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.