Fish Radio

July 10, 2014

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch … A salmon update – and why all Alaskans should care about fish prices. More after this –                                     Economic value of seafood industry

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Alaska’s statewide salmon catch is approaching 48 million fish, nearly double from just one week ago. Pushing the numbers is a surge in sockeye catches at Bristol Bay. By yesterday that catch was nearing 22 million reds, already five million more than the preseason projection. At Prince William Sound the catch was nearing 19 million of mostly hatchery pinks. Elsewhere, fisheries were fairly uneventful. Just over two million salmon, mostly chums, were taken so far in Southeast districts. Kodiak’s total was pushing 1.5 million of mostly sockeye salmon. It’s been slow going at Cook Inlet with less than one million fish so far. Alaska Peninsula fishermen took 2.5 million sockeyes as of yesterday; no fishing at all yet at Chignik. Salmon fishing is just getting underway this week in the Kuskokwim region and at Norton Sound. Fish wheels are back on the Yukon for chums and the season opens today at Kotzebue where four buyers are interested in the chum catch.

 Not much talk yet about fish prices – and if you’re not in a fishing region, why should you care? The various state taxes on fish usually equal 3 – 5 percent of the dockside values and are shared 50/50 between state coffers and local areas where the fish are landed. Seafood economist Andy Wink with the McDowell Group in Juneau points out that with commercial catches on the order of 5 to 6 billion pounds per year, even adding one penny per pound makes a difference of nearly a million dollars for the state and local governments each.

There’s lots of salmon fishing left to go. Find links to daily and weekly catches at our website at Alaska Fish Links.   

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods. Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America.   In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.