Fisheries are underway from Southeast to the Bering Sea
Alaska’s salmon catches have slowed for the past two weeks but the pace of the fishery remains ahead of last year’s harvest.
The statewide salmon catch as of August 10 was approaching 124.4 million fish. That’s nearly 78% of the preseason projection of 160.5 million salmon for the 2022 season.
Besides salmon, lots of other Alaska fisheries are underway from the Panhandle to the Bering Sea.
A small fleet of beam trawlers (one of the state’s oldest fisheries) is back on the water in Southeast targeting over 600,000 pounds of tiny Northern pink shrimp. Fishing can continue through August.
Alaska’s weathervane scallop fishery continues in regions from Yakutat to the Bering Sea. Only two boats participate and will compete this year for a combined catch of 367,500 pounds of shucked meats (the adductor muscles that keeps the shells closed). That’s up from 350,000 pounds last season.
A lingcod fishery is open at Prince William Sound and can run through December unless the 32,500 pound catch is taken first.
The sablefish season at Prince William Sound that opened April 15 was extended through September. The 58 permit holders share the 264,000 pound quota based on vessel size classes.
The far-flung golden king crab fishery is ongoing way out along the Aleutian Islands. That catch is set at nearly 6 million pounds.
Kodiak’s Dungeness crab fishery was nearing 900,000 pounds hauled up by 19 boats. The dungies were heftier than usual at 2.34 pounds compared to 2.06 pounds on average last year.
Conversely, the Dungeness fishery at Southeast closed July 30, two weeks earlier than usual. The fleet of 200 crabbers reported low catches throughout the region since the fishery opened in mid-June. Managers said a decision on the fall Dungeness opener set for October 1 will be made this month.
Norton Sound crabbers knocked it out of the park this summer with a crab haul that broke records. Twenty-six local, small boat fishermen hauled in over 317,000 pounds of red king crab from mid-June to late July, the best catch in five years. The record price of $12 a pound put the value at $3.7 million, an all-time high.
Alaska’s halibut catch was nearing 9.8 million pounds, nearly halfway to the 21.5 million pound catch limit for 2022. For sablefish (black cod), nearly 31 million pounds have crossed the docks, 45% of the 56.4 million pound quota.
The port of Homer held a slight lead for halibut landings, followed by Seward and Kodiak. For sablefish, Sitka was in the lead for landings followed by Seward and Kodiak.
Alaska’s halibut and sablefish fisheries began on March 6 and run through Dec. 7.
Fishing for pollock, cod, flounders and many other types of ‘whitefish’ is ongoing in the Bering Sea.
Pollock reopens in the Gulf of Alaska on September 1. The 2022 Gulf pollock harvest this year tops 300 million pounds, a nearly 25% increase over 2021.
Pacific cod also has made a rebound in the Gulf after a deadly, multi-year “blob” of warm water decimated the stock and forced a fishery closure in 2018.
For 2022, the Gulf of Alaska P-cod catch of 53 million pounds is an increase of nearly 40% from 2021.
Find links to Alaska fish catches at www.alaskafish.news