Cristy Fry

Fishermen get short reprieve on EPA discharge rules

Alaska’s congressional delegation has secured another short-lived extension to exempt smaller Alaska fishing vessels, under 79 feet, from Environmental Protection Agency incidental discharge regulations, which expired on Dec. 18, 2017. The temporary extension, which is effective only until Jan. 19, will provide fishing and small commercial vessels relief as Congress pursues a permanent exemption to a patchwork of burdensome federal and state regulations for vessel ballast water and incidental discharges.

Fishermen had mixed year

Alaska fishermen had a mixed year in 2017, with prices up but product down in some crab fisheries, quota up but prices down in the halibut fishery, prices and catches up in the sablefish fishery, and most salmon fisheries seeing large catches.

NPFMC drops cod quota

As expected, the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council has voted to drop the Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod quota by 80 percent, from the 2017 total allowable catch of 64,442 metric tons to a TAC of 13,096 mt.

Bristol Bay red king crab fishery off to slow start, but not unexpected

The Bristol Bay Times is reporting that the Bristol Bay red king crab fishery is off to a slow start compared to last year, according to Miranda Westphal, shellfish biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Unalaska. The season opened Oct. 15 and as of Monday, just over a week into the fishery, only 1.5 million pounds had been landed. In the same time period last year, the boats hauled in 6 million pounds.

Record pink harvest predicted for Prince William Sound

Prince William Sound is expecting the largest pink salmon harvest on record this year, a stunning 58.9 million fish, while the Copper River sockeye run is expected to come in at a modest 889,000 fish, with an additional 1.2 million sockeyes forecasted for harvest from Prince William Sound, mostly from the Main Bay hatchery facility.

Spring herring season kicks off

The Alaska spring herring season kicked off in Sitka Sound on March 19 with a 3-hour and 20-minute opening that rounded up 3,500 tons of sac roe herring, followed by a very short 15-minute opening three days later that scooped up around another 3,800 tons, which brought the season total to about half of the 14,600 ton quota.

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