Damage caused by an Alaska state ferry hitting processor facilities at Petersburg has prompted Ocean Beauty Seafoods to close its processing facilities at Petersburg for the season, although harvesters will find access to ice, administrative services and fishing tenders available as usual.
A dreary Chinook forecast aside, fishermen on the Lower Yukon River are anticipating a robust run of oil-rich summer chum salmon to fill market orders both domestically and in Europe.
Commercial harvesters were understandably excited when the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced an allowable harvest of 88 million pounds of Bering Sea snow crab this year, up from 54 million pounds in 2011.
A veteran fisherman who served on the city council at Kodiak, Alaska, says commercial fishermen need to speak up in support of improved crew licenses, with a number that would track economic contributions of crew to local economies.
Just a year ago, harvesters found an abundance of nice ripe fish for a long period of time before they spawned, and caught 20,000 tons of Sitka sac roe herring, but rapid spawning this year kept the harvest at 13,500 tons, less than half the allowable catch.
University of Alaska Anchorage economics professor Gunnar Knapp says heâ€™s optimistic about the future of Alaska wild salmon, but also cautions about challenges ahead.
ComFish Alaska, Kodiakâ€™s annual commercial fisheries forum and trade show, set for April 12-14, will cover a range of topics this year, from salmon market trends and new safety regulations to perspectives on the Chuitna coal and Pebble mine projects.
Efforts to amend the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands groundfish fishery management plan and federal regulations to establish new measures to reduce chum salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea Pollock fishery now likely wonâ€™t be resolved at earliest until 2014.