Category Archives: Halibut

International Pacific Halibut Commission Meetings 2013 | Live Audio


Its meeting time again for the IPHC. This season fishermen face yet another year of cuts and setbacks. Tune in for all the details. Click Here for the official site. The audio is also re-streamed here for your convenience. Tweet your comments to #IPHC, while listening live.

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2012 West Coast Commercial Fishing Year In Review Part 1


Salmon

In May, Copper River Reds started the salmon season off with a bang. A huge unexpected run pounded the Copper River flats as the season began with triple the amount of forecasted reds.  In 2012, 374,000 sockeyes were harvested in just the first two openers. Sadly, the price plummeted to as low as 1.25 a pound in the first few weeks of the record run. The rest of the salmon season of 2012 was fairly lackluster. Bristol Bay had a mediocre run of 20 million fish, which is down from the average of 25 million fish. Prince William Sound was expected to have a huge run and even convinced some southeast salmon seiners to abandon their disappointing southeast pink forecast in hopes of hitting it big up north. This clustering of boats sparked rumors of 90 boat lineups at some of the most famous hook offs in PWS. Southeast fishermen managed to find salvation in hatchery fish, primarily chum salmon, which provided great value to a fishery devoid of their traditional pink salmon. Check here for Laine Welch’s salmon summation for all the stats and facts of salmon in the various districts. Read on for a few more highlights in salmon news from 2012.

Early in the year it was evident that King Salmon runs were in big trouble. Southeast trollers suffered a dismal spring run, and northern regions, such as the Yukon and the Kuskokwim were declared a disaster by fisheries managers. By the year’s end, King salmon was a major disapointment for most of Alaska‘s different fishing regions. The king salmon run on the Kenai was the lowest on record, which goes back to the 1980s.

In October, the Alaska Chinook Salmon Symposium was held to Anchorage to deal with the dramatic declines in Alaska’s most precious species. King salmon declines for commercial fishermen were nearly 40% in recent years. The symposium graced participants with scientific data related to decreased runs throughout Alaska. Fisheries biologist used the term, “Black Swan,” to describe the event, which highlighted the lack of knowledge on the health of chinook run. Basically, there is no hard facts to explain the severe decreases in King salmon. This issue could seriously affect the future of salmon harvests in Alaska, as protection measures for chinook could limit salmon harvests in other species.

Perhaps, the biggest story in 2012 revolves around the concept of GMOs. Genectically Modified Organisms dominate our grocery stores and there is no clear way to differentiate between which foods that contain them and which do not. Many other countries have measures in place to make sure the proper labeling of these genetically altered ingredients. California fought the hardest with the “Right To Know” initiative, which would have distinguished all GMOs from natural products. Sadly, all legislation regarding labeling GMOs was shot down. Then, we have “Frankenfish.”  AquaBounty wants to be the first of its kind to create a genetically modified salmon that can grow twice as fast is it farmed counterpart. While the genectically altered salmon concept met strong opposition in the beginning of the year, it was a great surprise when the FDA announced their endorsement of “FrankenFish” over the holiday season. The nation struggled with various GMO legislative efforts throughout the year, but all were ultimately defeated by corporate juggernauts with huge financial lobbying pressures. Sadly, it’s likely that we will see Aquabounty’s salmon in stores by the end of 2013.

Halibut

The battle between sport and commercial fishermen reached a fever pitch in 2012, as the IPHC released their catch limits at the beginning of the year. Overall, the commercial fishing cuts totaled a 20% decrease, or 7 million pounds less than the previous year. Sport fishermen in B.C. suffered the earliest closure of recreational fishing in history, spawning numerous debates about allocation of halibut rights between sport and commercial fishermen. Halibut continues to be a harsh subject for all fishermen and more cuts are likely in 2013. Scientists now realize that the stocks were being over estimated and the true estimate of the stocks are in a flat phase. Hopefully, with proper management, we will see an upturn in the projected biomass in the near future. Check out more facts here.

Herring

The Sitka Sac Roe Harvest prediction was cut short early this spring due to an early spawn and lack of the predicted biomass of 28,829 tons. In just three openers, fishermen harvested 13,534 tons, which is more of an average harvest for the fishery. Recent price fluctuations and the lack of Japanese demand in the wake of the 2011 Tsunami, has created a delicate market. Togiak also had an early spawn event in 2012, leading many to wonder about the predictive models used in the fisheries harvest forecast. On a lighter note, San Francisco herring harvests seem to have a glimmer of hope after years of disappointment. All eyes will be on the Sitka harvest this spring, which has a forecast of 11,055 tons. Togiak will come next will a large predicted forecast of 30,056 tons.

Crab

Dungeness Crab

California’s dungeness harvest for the 2011/2012 season was 31,680,250 lbs., with an average price of 2.99 per lb. Oregon crab fishermen harvested 14.2 million pounds at an average price of 2.95 per lb. in the 2011-2012 season. Washington’s Non-Treat Coastal Commercial Landings totaled 8,617,136 lbs. for the 20011/2012 season. This year, both northern fisheries were delayed into the new year due to a “meat fill” issue. Typically, the season begins on Dec. 1. In recent years, the dungeness price has reached record highs and demand remains strong for these west coast delicacies.

Part II will include Bering Sea Crab Landings, Shrimp, Squid, Groundfish, and Dive Fisheries

 

North Pacific Fisheries Management Council Meetings 2012


This years meeting will cover a number of issues, including stellar sea lion protection, catch share issues, and crab allocations. The real heat of the meeting will focus on halibut and the battle between the charter and commercial fishermen. Halibut continues to be a tense issue because the quota has been decreased substantially over the past few years. Check below for links to LIVE audio of the meetings.  (here)  Read below for more info from Bristol Bay Times.  AbundentOceans has some great YouTube content from past meetings.  I expect that it will be updated soon.

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A long list of crabbing issues, decisions on halibut catch sharing, and groundfish regulations look to dominate a fall meeting of Pacific fisheries overseers.

The 15 members of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council will gather next week, beginning on Wednesday, to discuss fish issues for the Pacific Northwest.

The council is made up of 11 voting and four non-voting members. Seven of the voting members are from the state of Alaska, while others hail from Washington and Oregon.

The meeting is being held at the Anchorage Hilton from Oct. 3-9. For those unable to attend the public meeting, online participation is welcomed via http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc/.

After hearing initial reports from state and federal agencies, the council will move on to big-ticket items such as halibut, groundfish, stellar sea lions, vessel replacement issues and crab management.

In the halibut world, the council will make a final decision on the halibut catch sharing plan. If approved, the plan may move five percent of the yearly halibut allocation from commercial fishermen to charter and sport operations. There are a total of five options for Pacific halibut allocation on the table. That decision will be the first of the major issues addressed following reports.

via Halibut, crab, groundfish top council agenda – The Bristol Bay Times.

Grunnlovsdagen | The Vikings Are Lose | Petersburg’s Little Norway Fest 2012


Every year in May, the little fishing village of Petersburg, Alaska celebrates the local Norwegian heritage. The town is transformed for a four day festival that embraces the inner viking in all of us. Check out the local webcam and you might see a few vikings roaming the streets.  Click thru on the KFSK link to hear local audio.  Enjoy the youtube pick from last season’s festival.  Ha en fin søttende mai!

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Main Street will be lined with concessions and food booths. Vikings and Valkyries will parade through the streets with their ship, the Valhalla and their Viking mobile. Other residents will show off their traditional Norwegian costumes called Bunader. All this and more is coming up as the 54th annual Little Norway Festival goes into high gear on its second day – Friday, the 18th. Matt Lichtenstein asked Festival committee co-chairs Holli Flint and Katie Eddy for a preview of Friday’s schedule.

via Little Norway Festival in swing | KFSK.

Piscatology 101 | NOAA State Of The Fisheries Report


In general, 86% of the fisheries reviewed are in good shape.  This is great news for an industry that has a bad wrap for raping and pillaging the oceans resources.   The entire report is below.  Also, the article below is a nice summation of the report from SeafoodSource.com.

 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Fisheries Service on Monday released its annual report card, called the “Status of U.S. Fisheries,” which has been issued to Congress annually since 1997.

Of the 258 stocks and multi-species groupings known as complexes NOAA scientists reviewed for “overfishing” status in 2011, 222 stocks, or 86 percent, were not subject to overfishing, an improvement from 2010 when 84 percent, or 213 out of 253 stocks, were not subject to overfishing.

Of the 219 stocks and complexes reviewed for “overfished” status in 2011, 174 stocks, or 79 percent, were not overfished, compared to 77 percent, or 159 out of 207 stocks, in 2010. Thirteen of those 45 overfished stocks were located off New England, the most of any geographic region.

Overfishing” means the catch is above the target set in the fishery’s management plan, while “overfished” factors in a safety margin ensuring the stock is able to recover.

Also, a record six fish stocks were rebuilt to healthy levels in 2011, bringing to 27 the number of stocks that have been rebuilt in the last 11 years. They are Bering Sea snow crab, widow rockfish, chinook salmon (North California Coast, Klamath Fall), coho salmon (Washington Coast, Queets), summer flounder and Gulf of Maine haddock.

“[Most] rebuilding plans started 10 to 15 years ago after Congress amended the Magnuson-Stevens Act in 1996, so we’re seeing the results of that,” said Galen Tromble, NOAA Fisheries’ division chief for domestic fisheries, in a press briefing on Monday.

However, six stocks were newly determined to be overfished in 2010 and 2011. Rebuilding plans are currently being developed for these stocks and must be in place within two years of an overfished determination. Overall, 51 stocks are subject to rebuilding plans, with six additional plans in development.

via A record six U.S. fish stocks rebuilt in 2011 – SeafoodSource.com.

Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit 2012 | Video


Just about 70 fishermen from all over Alaska have gathered in Juneau for the Young Fishermen Summit.  Nearly every fishery is represented here, with gillnetters being the highest volume.  Most of the attendees are from Southeast, however Bristol Bay is highly represented as well. The two day event covers many facets of the fishing industry, including fishery management, private marketing and politics.  I’ve included some quick video from Bruce Gabry’s talk on record keeping.  The images are from the media package included at the summit. Check back for more updates as the day continues.  Later today, we will be at the NOAA Headquarters at Lena Point. Stay tuned and post any questions if you are interested.

Ports of Call | Seattle, WA Fisherman’s Terminal


This massive port is home to over 600 boats, supplies over 10,000 jobs, and contains the majority of the Pacific fishing fleet.  Its a world within its self, just nestled across from historic Ballard.  The port facilitates nearly every ever fishery from trawlers to trollers.  At any time of the year, you could easily wander down and find someone grinding, painting, or mending.  This is also a great hub for any hopeful greenhorns who want to make their way to Alaska.  The offices for most of the main processors such as Ocean Beauty and Trident are located close by and provide access to many of the factory processing jobs.  The added benefit of keeping your boat in fresh water over the winter is a huge draw, but it means you must traverse the Ballard Locks to get back to the sea.  Overall, the Fisherman‘s terminal is an icon of America‘s fishing fleet.  If your reading this blog, I’m pretty sure you have been there once or twice.  If not, it’s worth a stroll.

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

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.
http://juneautek.com/2011/07/17/a-parade-of-pink-salmon-in-southeast-alaska/
http://juneautek.com/2011/11/01/capitalcityweekly-com-southeast-alaskas-online-newspaper/
http://juneautek.com/2011/10/24/alaska-ponders-isa-outbreak-in-wild-salmon-population/

Squid

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.
http://juneautek.com/2011/01/02/oregon-crab-season-2010/

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