Captains and crews are racing towards another salmon season in Alaska. In just a matter of weeks, salmon will be pouring over the rails of seiners throughout southeast Alaska.
Genuine Goodness! AlabamaSeafood.com delivers a sweet ad campaign to highlight some of their fisheries. I find it a little weird that I live in Alaska and this Alabama seafood commercial makes me hungry. I really wish we had some US coverage of Alaska's seafood. Every commercial break on Deadliest Catch should be pushing some sort of Alaska Seafood. It's completely obvious to me that there is a huge lack of seafood knowledge if the average consumer doesn't even know what kind of fish they are eating. It's time that we educate and entice Americans with the beauty of Alaskan Seafood. In fact, I have a plan…
The first thing fishermen want to know is the prices for their fish, but sometimes that can be tough to come by. Final sales for most of Alaska’s seafood are made long after a fishery closes, and settlements to fishermen may not be known for several months.
But there is an easy way to find out how fish prices are tracking. The state Department of Revenue’s Tax Division compiles prices for every kind of fish and shellfish caught by Alaska fishermen by region. The prices are not in-season; they show a snapshot of the previous year and how fish prices are trending.
Here’s a sampler from 2010: Alaska halibut went from a low of $4.49 per pound on the Alaska Peninsula, to a high of $5.17 in the Cook Inlet region. The highest price average paid for sablefish was $5.97 at Juneau/Yakutat to a low of $5.46 at Ketchikan/Craig. Herring at Bristol Bay averaged 7 cents per pound last year to a high of 65-cents at Ketchikan. Octopus fetched 45 cents at Kodiak and a nickel per pound for squid. Gray cod got the lowest price at 13-cents at Petersburg/Wrangell to a high of 49-cents at Sitka/Pelican. Lingcod went for a low of 46 cents at Kodiak, up to $1.22 at Juneau.
Kodiak fishermen got the lowest price for Chinook salmon at just 64 cents per pound compared to $5.41 at Prince William Sound. Chums saw a low of 28 cents at Bristol Bay to a high of 86 cents at Sitka/ Pelican. Cohos fetched 50 cents a pound at the Alaska Peninsula and averaged $1.55 at Sitka. The lowest price for pinks was at Cook Inlet at 30 cents to a high of 44 cents at Kodiak, Petersburg and Wrangell. For sockeye salmon the lowest price was at Bristol Bay at $1.07; the high topped $2 a pound at the Prince William Sound region.
There are prices for 15 different kinds of rockfish on the list – the lowest paid was a dime paid at Kodiak for red banded rockfish to a high of $1.42 for thorny heads at Dutch Harbor The priciest Alaska seafood last year? Spot shrimp at $7.81delivered to Juneau/Yakutat, followed by Bristol Bay red king crab $7.42 per pound. The lowest valued were rex sole, flathead sole and arrowtooth flounder, each at 2 pennies per pound.
Here’s some great audio that really sums up the Southeast salmon situation. It was nice to be part of some record breaking salmon runs. More photos and video from the season coming soon.
Coming up this week: As Alaska’s salmon season winds down, it’s apparent the statewide catch won’t equal projections – EXCEPT, in Southeast where they’re breaking records; Some Pollock B fishermen are taking a break in the middle of the season; and what fishermen’s wives like and don’t like about their husbands going to sea. We had help from KFSK’s Matt Lichtenstein in Petersburg, KUCB’s Alexandra Gutierrez in Unalaska, KPLU’s Robin Cedar and Jake Ellison in Tacoma, and Fish Radio’s Stephanie Mangini in Kodiak.
Petersburg fishermen and processors are seeing a lull in fishing after a strong showing north of Petersburg so far in the season.
The run has been so strong thus far that the Alaska Department of Fish & Game upped its projections for pink salmon in Southeast, however a recent downswing in areas around Petersburg south to Ketchikan has processors carefully examining the salmon runs.
So far, big numbers of pink salmon have been harvested in districts 10, 12 and 14, on the north side of Kupreanof Island, west side of Admiralty island and north of Chichagof Island.
According to the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, as of July 22-23, 20 million fish had been harvested by the purse seine fleet; 18.2 million of those fish were caught in northern districts.
Since the July 22-23 numbers, seine openings have netted an additional 4.9 million pinks on July 26-27, and 2.7 million pinks on July 31-Aug. 1.
Based on catch rates, in-season predictions by the ADF&G are for 67 million pink salmon, up from the projected 55 million pre-season projection.
Fishermen and processors are hoping that projection comes true, as those fishing in southern Southeast around Ketchikan and Petersburg are seeing a lull, according to Dave Ohmer, plant manager of Trident Seafoods and Randy Lantiegne, fleet manager of Icicle Seafoods.
“Southern pinks dropped off last week,” Ohmer said.
Ohmer said the gap is hard to explain.
via Petersburg Pilot.
The salmon season in Southeast Alaska has produced a interesting twist in the last few weeks. After a record breaking run of early pinks in July, the fish have tapered off to a trickle. The closures of Area 1 and Area 2 have prompted many fishermen to worry about the rest of the season. We are currently on the rush north to hope for another big push of fish. If it doesn’t happen in the next week, the season might have quite a surprise ending. Good Luck to everyone out there. Let’s hope the fish are still pouring in. Eat more salmon!
The trip north was super smooth this year. The weather was a bit bumpy as we crossed Dixon Entrance. Otherwise, the trip was spectacular. We had a fair amount of sunshine and no hang ups along the way. All in all, I would say that it was a successful trip. Here’s a great video from the trip north last year. The time lapse turned out great. I was able to put the final touches on the video from last season, so expect it in the coming days. Here is a trailer for the upcoming video. I’m currently heading out to fish now. Thank you ATT for 3G.
Salmon seining season starts with plenty of boat preparation. Nets must be mended, boats must be painted, and engines must be tuned. The average boat maintenance per season averages around 20,000 dollars, assuming nothing major has gone wrong. This year, we are primarily focused on the net.
At 1440 feet, the net is just over a 1/4 of a mile long and about 74 feet at its deepest. The key to purse seining involves the ability to close or “purse” the bottom of the net. Once the bottom of the net is closed, its just a matter of hauling the gear in. The net can take quite a beating over the course of the season. Dragging it along the bottom and fishing in crazy tides, tends to stretch and distort the overall shape. The main objective is to mend the holes and square up the top and bottom of the nets. Here’s a timelapse of the process in action at the Fisherman’s Terminal in Seattle.