Tag Archives: Chatham Strait

Commercial Fishing Photo Of The Day | South Point, Hidden Falls

Boats showed up in force during the last Hidden Falls Hatchery opening yesterday! Luckily, a bit of fish showed up in the morning, but the rest of the day produced very little Chum salmon. About 50 seiners will pack into Hidden Falls again this Sunday. #eatmoresalmon


Commercial Fishing Photo Of The Day | Deckload O Chum

It's rare to find a deckload of chum salmon, but we had a number of them during the cost recovery fishery at Hidden Falls in 2007. We harvested 4 million pounds of chum salmon between four purse seiners in just a few weeks. It was awesome to make massive sets of chum salmon around Hidden Falls with no competition. These days, the hatchery is more accessible to all fishermen, which makes for some serious shoot outs at the falls. I can't wait to see the chums floppin around the falls this summer!


Commercial Fishing Video Of The Day | F/V Mark Christopher’s Watery Grave

This is an incredible underwater video of a sunken seiner just outside of Takatz Bay in Chatham Strait. Thanks the Haulinggear.com for this incredible find. This is unlike anything I have ever seen before. Enjoy the video. As my friend Seth Perry said, “Now we know what the snag of White Rock is.”


Commercial Fishing Photo Of The Day | Ready, Set, Let Er Go!


This shot was taken on the decks of the Rose Lee during the summer of 2008. I can't wait for the summer salmon season. The first day of fishing this year is July 7th, for me. I'll be doing a king opener in Sitka on the F/V Quandary. Come on, salmon!

Commercial Fishing Photo Of The Day | Southeast Skiff Surfin




Jon Stack off the F/V Jean D enjoys some off time during the record 2011 salmon run.  Most of the seining fleet was jam packed into the north end Chatham Strait, so we headed in to Tenakee Springs for one of the early season closures.  It was nice to see salmon seiners back in Tenakee Springs for a change.


Fishtory | Southeast Alaska and Herring

The history of herring in the southeast reaches back nearly 4000 years to the subsistence uses of the of the local Tinglit and Haida who harvested the herring roe on the branches of Hemlock trees. This tradition still exists as a huge part of the spring ritual in Sitka each year. The commercial fishing history and uses of herring date back to the late 1800s, when herring was typically reduced into oils to be used in soaps and fish meal for agricultural needs. Herring was also salt cured for the various food demands. By 1905, almost 50 different canneries were operating in Southeast Alaska and the advent of halibut fishing put even heavier demands on herring stocks for use as bait. With all of the numerous uses for herring, production peaked around the late 1930s. However, the intensive harvesting devastated the herring stocks and by 1942 all herring fishing had stopped in southeast to hope for rebuilding stocks. In 1966, the last oil reduction plant closed down in southeast alaska. Many of the largest herring biomasses have been devastated by poor practices in the past. However, the Sitka biomass is at its largest ever. The only way to ensure a better future is to understand the past. It’s no doubt that our fishery practices were flawed in the past. The only real question is. Will we repeat these mistakes in the future?

Herring have supported some of Alaska’s oldest commercial fisheries, and subsistence fisheries for herring in Alaska predate recorded history. The spring harvest of herring eggs on kelp or hemlock boughs has always been an important subsistence resource in coastal communities throughout Alaska. Traditional dried herring remains a major staple of the diet in Bering Sea villages near Nelson Island (Pete 1990) where salmon are not readily available.

Alaska’s commercial herring industry began in 1878 when 30,000 pounds were caught and prepared for human consumption. The early European settlers in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska caught herring and preserved them with salt in wooden barrels, as they had done with herring from the North Sea. Salted and pickled herring production for food peaked after World War I, when about 28 million lb (12,700 mt) were harvested annually (figure of historical herring sac roe harvests).

Reduction fisheries which “reduce” herring to meal and oil began initially in Southeast Alaska, where a plant at Killisnoo in Chatham Strait was producing 30,000 gallons of herring oil annually by 1882. During the 1920s herring became increasingly valued for oil and meal. Herring reduction plants sprang up along the Gulf of Alaska from Craig to Kodiak near locations where concentrations of herring could be found. Harvests during the 1920s and 1930s, as high as 250 million lb (113,400 mt) per year, were probably too high and may have caused the stocks and fisheries to decline. During the 1950s, lower-cost Peruvian anchoveta reduction fisheries severely impacted the oil and meal markets. Alaskan herring reduction fisheries quickly declined, and the last Alaska herring reduction plant closed in 1966.

via Commercial Herring Fisheries, Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

via http://www.subsistence.adfg.state.ak.us/TechPap/tp173.pdf

2011 West Coast Commercial Fishing Year in Review | Part I

A lot has happened in the world of commercial fishing within the past year. Halibut has dominated the recent headlines with serious implications of a failed fishery. Whereas, commercial salmon fishing has garnered some of the highest prices and catch returns in years. The commercial fishing industry seems to be plagued with more than is fair share of highs and lows. So, hunker down and we will go over some of last years biggest headlines in what some call the “Deadliest Business.”


Salmon dominated the news this year with recent hints of a virus blooming in wild pacific salmon population and a geneticly designed Frankenfish that would solve all of our salmon farming issues. Also record harvests In southeast and Chignik supplied plenty of headlines too. Of course, news of an impending industrial mine in the heart of Alaska‘s sockeye country was met with fierce opposition throughout the year.


Commercial squid fishing in California has seen a huge uptake in value within the last two seasons. In the past, the fishery could take up to six months to catch the quota of 180,000 tons. Last year they were done by Christmas. This year the boys were done by turkey day.

King Crab

Bering Sea King crab quotas were heavily cut this year, but record high prices and a quick season were great for consumers and producers. Southeast Alaskaeven got a chance at king crab this past October. Six years had passed since the last crab opener in the region, so locals were eager to cash in the on record prices.

Dungeness Crab

Dungy Crab soared this past season as Oregon delivered one of its highest valued harvests in years. The crab were selling for more than 2.65 in some regions.

Sitka Sac Roe Herring

Sitka Herring was seriously impacted by the Japanese tsunami this spring. Right before the herring started showing, the tsunami devastated most of the Japanese seafood market, including the buyers. The tragedy resulted in a huge drop in the ex vessel price of herring. In 2010, herring were 410 dollars a ton. This spring we were only able to get 100 dollars a ton.

Up Next

The next segment will include halibut, pollock, and even some dive fisheries.  Feel free to add some suggestions or point me to stories that I may have overlookd

Alaska Commercial Fishing Viewpoints | F/V Quandary

For ten years, Rob Phillpott, has been on the hunt for pink salmon and running the deck aboard the Quandary with Tom Polluck as captain .  This was the summer of a lifetime in southeast, so its easy to see why everyone is so excited.  Who am I kidding?  It’s always a blast in southeast alaska during the summertime.  Enjoy the videos..

No story about the Quandary could be told without this video.  The video is truly amazing.  I believe its from the summer of 2007.  Hollis Jennings constructed this her “greenhorn” year.