Laine Welch Bids Goodbye to Fish Factor

April 2, 2022

This is my last fish column. The weekly write up about Alaska’s fishing industry began in 1991 in the Anchorage Daily News. Since then, subscribership has grown to nearly 20 news outlets across Alaska and nationally. The goal always has been to make readers aware...
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Askin' For AlaSkins

March 25, 2022

Dogs are “Askin’ for AlaSkins” made from fish skins with a side of CBDs. The treats, made from halibut, cod and salmon skins are the creation of Sara Erickson of Soldotna who began making and selling them in 2017. Since then, AlaSkins has...
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Herring Arrival Signals Start of Alaska's Spring Fisheries

March 25, 2022

The arrival of herring signals the start of Alaska’s spring fisheries and this year’s catch levels from each of the three main areas are record breakers. Combined harvests from three prime producing areas total 118,346 tons, or nearly 237 million pounds. The numbers come from fisheries at Sitka Sound in...
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Salmon Update

March 18, 2022

Salmon returning home to Alaska hatcheries again accounted for nearly one-third of the 2021 statewide catch for commercial fishermen at 64 million fish. It was the 8th largest hatchery home-coming since 1977 and at a payout of $142 million, the salmon produced 25% of the overall value at the Alaska docks. ..
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Fish Names Needed

March 18, 2022

The Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) is minus one member as it wraps up its meeting cycle through April 2, and two more seats become vacant in June. The BOF is meeting through March 22 in Anchorage to address...
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Fish Give Back

March 18, 2022

Western Alaska communities are invited to submit applications for grants from American Seafoods Company. A total of $45,000 will be given out in this round with the majority of awards ranging from $1,000 to $7,500 for projects that address social needs and food security. Another $45,000 will be awarded in October...
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BOF Meets With Empty Seat / NPFMC Names

March 11, 2022

The state Board of Fisheries is meeting March 10-22 in Anchorage minus one member. By March 11 Governor Dunleavy had not named a replacement for Indy Walton who resigned in December. Alaska law states that an appointment must be made in 30 days, but “the seat is vacant until an ...
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Dunleavy Administration Tries to Tackle Bycatch Issues

March 11, 2022

Gotta give the Dunleavy Administration credit for being the first to try and get to the bottom of one of Alaska’s most troubling fishing issues: bycatch. The governor in November 2021 created an Alaska Bycatch Review Task Force (ABRT) “to help better understand unintended bycatch of high value fishery resources in...
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Dunleavy Administration Tries to Tackle Bycatch Issues

March 11, 2022

Gotta give the Dunleavy Administration credit for being the first to try and get to the bottom of one of Alaska’s most troubling fishing issues: bycatch. The governor in November 2021 created an Alaska Bycatch Review Task Force (ABRT) “to help better understand unintended bycatch of high value fishery resources in...
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Little Biz Wins Big

February 25, 2022

Waterbody of Wrangell scored the grand prize for its Deep Blue Sea Soak at the Alaska Symphony of Seafood awards ceremony om February 24 in Juneau. Made with kelp and sea salts, the soak is described as “smelling like that first breath of fresh sea-salted air as you resurface from...
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ComFish Alaska

February 25, 2022

ComFish Alaska is celebrating its 42nd annual trade show at Kodiak from March 24-26 and it fatures a lively forum lineup offered both in-person and online. They include seafood market updates and opportunities, updates on...
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Proposed Ban On Russian Seafood

February 25, 2022

Quid pro quo…tit for tat…an eye for an eye… “If they don’t buy from us, we shouldn’t buy from them,” Alaska’s seafood industry has grumbled since 2014 when Russia abruptly banned all food imports from the U.S and several other countries. Then, as now, the faceoff stemmed from...
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Fish Names Needed

February 11, 2022

The next meeting of the state Board of Fisheries starts in a few weeks but it’s unknown who will fill the seat of Indy Walton who was appointed by Governor Dunleavy in September but resigned in December. By law, a new...
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Growing AK into Major Seaweed Contributor

February 11, 2022

The U.S. grows less than one-hundredth of one percent of the world’s $6 billion seaweed market but Alaska has the goods to grow into a major contributor. A new report assesses the pros and cons of six communities as locations for seaweed processing facilities to assist companies interested in operating in Alaska. It was...
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Call For Crew

February 11, 2022

The call is out for trainees who want to learn the fishing life firsthand. It’s the fifth year that the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association in Sitka has hosted the program which so far has placed over 100 apprentices aboard fishing boats...
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Eager Markets

February 11, 2022

The seaweed processing report follows one from last August, also done by McKinley for AFDF, that highlights the wide range of markets. The global seaweed industry produces more than 70 billion...
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Alaska Fishing Updates

February 4, 2022

Frigid February fishing in Alaska features crabbing from the Panhandle to the Bering Sea, followed in March by halibut, black cod and herring. Crabbers throughout Southeast will drop pots for Tanners on February 11 and they’re expecting one of the best seasons ever. Fishery managers said they are seeing “historically high levels” of Tanner crab...
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Fish Hacks

February 4, 2022

Do you crack the crab shells with a rolling pin before cooking them, or have a special brine for smoked black cod? The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute has launched a #AlaskaSeafoodHacks program to find some of the best tricks and tips for preparing fish and shellfish...
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Oysters On The Go

February 4, 2022

Farm Suzuki of Japan is selling its specialty fried and raw oysters on the half shell and raw tiger shrimp at vending machines in Hiroshima and Tokyo, complete with a microwave for heating. Seafood Source reports that the concept is not...
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Halibut Boost

January 28, 2022

Pacific halibut total “removals” for 2022 were increased to 41.22 million pounds, up from 39 million in 2021. The catch limits for commercial, sport, subsistence and bycatch users were announced last week by the International Pacific Halibut Commission. For Alaska, all regions except...
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Trade Policies

January 28, 2022

Seafood is Alaska’s biggest export by far and lawmakers are getting tough on trade policies that unfairly trounce global sales. Two resolutions (SJR 16 and 17) were advanced last week by the House Fisheries Committee that address Russia’s ban on buying any U.S. foods since 2014, and punitive seafood...
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Fish Relief Funds

January 22, 2022

Several Alaska fisheries occurring from 2018 - 2021 were declared disasters last week by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, making participants eligible for relief funds...
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Bycatch Task Force Update

January 21, 2022

The 13-member bycatch task force created by Gov. Dunleavy in November will hold its first two-hour online meeting on Friday, January 28 starting at 9am. An agenda and link for ...
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Lease Plan Gets Panned

January 21, 2022

Alaskans gave a big thumbs down to a proposed oil and gas lease sale at Lower Cook Inlet that includes nine blocks covering over one million acres of seafloor...
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ASMI Economic Report

January 21, 2022

Where do most Alaska fishermen live? Which Alaska region is home to the most fishing boats? The answers can be found in an easy to read, colorful economic report by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute for 2019/2020 that includes all regions from...
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Tanner Crab Prices

January 14, 2022

$8.10 per pound! That’s the jaw-dropping advance price being paid to Kodiak fishermen for Tanner crab in the fishery that opened on January 15. High crab prices have led all other seafoods during the Covid pandemic as buyers grab all they can to fill demand at buffet tables, restaurants and retail counters around the world...
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Seafood Again Sets Sales Records

January 14, 2022

Sales of frozen and fresh seafood in the U.S. hit all-time highs in 2021, primarily driven by inflation. SeafoodSource reports that retail sales surpassed 2019 and 2020 as more Americans opted for seafood due to its proven health benefits. Data from market trackers...
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More Board of Fish Juggles

January 14, 2022

The state Board of Fisheries (BOF) meetings are not only dealing with Covid derailments, but also by conflicts from fishery openers. Increasing Covid rates caused the board to postpone its meeting set for January 4-15 in Ketchikan, where it planned to address 157 Southeast and Yakutat fish...
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Good Global Outlook

January 7, 2022

“A Rising Tide” for seafood sales is predicted by the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (EXIM) in a report that outlines performance and opportunities. Driving the push is people worldwide recognize the health benefits of seafood, said Jane Lemons, Business Development Specialist for the Office of Small Business at EXIM, an independent...
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Covid Cans Ketchikan

January 7, 2022

The Covid pandemic has derailed the AK Board of Fisheries meeting that planned to meet in-person from Jan.4-15 in Ketchikan. The Board oversees management of Alaska commercial, sport, subsistence and personal use fisheries in state waters out to three miles....
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Alaska Fishing

January 7, 2022

Wow, there is a lot of fishing going on across Alaska! Salmon is the heart of Alaska’s seafood industry but winter is when the fishing action really begins. Hundreds of boats are out on the water on the first day of each new year, beginning a ...
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Halibut Watch

January 7, 2022

Pacific halibut catches for 2022 will be announced at the annual International Pacific Halibut Commission meeting held online January 24-28, and fishermen are hoping for another year of increased catches when the fishery opens in early March. Last year’s coastwide catch limit was 39 million...
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Fish Picks and Pans for 2021

December 31, 2021

Since 1991 the weekly Fish Factor column has highlighted Alaska’s seafood industry with its annual “Picks and Pans - a no holds barred look back at some of the year’s best and worst happenings, and my choice for the year’s biggest fish story. Here are the choices...
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Salmon Sperm Spawns Plastic, LEDs

December 24, 2021

Salmon sperm is being used to make biodegradable plastic cups in China. Researchers at Tianjin University created the item by extracting DNA from salmon sperm and dissolving it in water with molecules commonly found in adhesives. It produces a gel that can be made into various forms and freeze dried...
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Alaska Salmon Research Task Force Introduced

December 24, 2021

An Alaska Salmon Research Task Force Act was introduced in Congress last week by Alaska Senators Murkowski and Sullivan that, if passed, aims to gain better understanding about causes of salmon declines, especially in the Northwest regions. Alaska. The bill also would establish...
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Salmon Prices Near Record Highs

December 17, 2021

Strong global and U.S. demand for sockeye salmon has pushed prices to near record highs, and boosted fishermen’s paychecks. Both Silver Bay and Peter Pan Seafoods a few weeks ago increased their base prices to fishermen to...
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NPFMC Sets 2022 Catch Limits

December 10, 2021

Fisheries are driven by numbers and there will be more ups than downs in 2022 catches for Alaska fishermen based on poundages set by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. The NPFMC is a federal advisory...
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Fishermen Enhance Science

December 10, 2021

Over 100 Alaska fishermen signed on for a Skipper Science program that lets them share what they know and see out on the water. The pilot program started in June and uses a free phone app for logging real time observations. “Basically, it worked and fishermen ...
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Lights Save Salmon

December 10, 2021

Low cost LED lights can help Chinook salmon escape trawl nets. A 2020 study by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission and NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center showed that LEDs are very effective in directing...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

December 3, 2021

Planet-friendly packaging - OBI Seafoods, which operates 10 processing plants in Alaska, has met its goal for 100% recyclable packaging on all of its nine canned salmon brands. Starting in January, all cans, lids, labels, holding trays and shrink...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

December 3, 2021

The Pacific halibut stock appears to be on an upswing and could result in increased catches for most regions in 2022. At the interim meeting of the International Pacific Halibut Commission last week, scientists gave an overview of the summer setline survey that targets nearly 2,000 stations over...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

November 19, 2021

A grilling on fish that is taken as bycatch didn’t satisfy the appetites of a bipartisan group of Alaska legislators at a special hearing on November 15 by the House Fisheries Committee. “We probably could not be more diametrically opposed on many...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

November 5, 2021

It’s a fish trifecta for Alaska’s 2021 salmon season! The fishery produced the third highest catch, fish poundage and value on record dating back to 1975. According to preliminary harvests and values by region from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

October 29, 2021

It’s hard to believe, but Dungeness crab in the Gulf of Alaska is now Alaska’s largest crab fishery – a distinction due to the collapse of stocks in the Bering Sea... Combined Dungeness catches so far from Southeast and the westward region (Kodiak, Chignik and the Alaska Peninsula) totaled over...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

October 22, 2021

Pollock Protein Noodles …Southern Style Alaska Wild Wings… candied salmon ice cream …fish oils for pets…fish and chips meal kits and Fin Fish earrings are just a small sample of past winners of Alaska’s biggest seafood competition – the Alaska Symphony of Seafood, which has showcased and...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

October 15, 2021

Optimism is the word that best sums up the attitude among most Alaska salmon fishermen after a good season, according to people in the business of buying and selling permits and boats. Most fishermen in major regions ended up with good catches and dock prices...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

October 1, 2021

The preliminary value to fishermen of the nearly 41 million salmon caught this summer at Alaska’s largest fishery at Bristol Bay is nearly $248 million, 64% above the 20-year average. That figure will be much higher when bonuses and other price adjustments are paid out....
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

September 24, 2021

Lost fishing gear - be it nets, lines or pots - continues “ghost fishing” forever, causing a slow death to countless marine creatures and financial losses to fishermen. Now new “smart buoys” can track...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

September 17, 2021

Unlike in the Bering Sea, there’s good news for crab in the Gulf of Alaska. A huge cohort of Tanner crab that biologists have been tracking in the Westward region for three years showed up again in this summer’s survey. “We were optimistic and we...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

September 10, 2021

Alaska’s Bering Sea crabbers are reeling from the devastating news that all major crab stocks are down substantially, based on summer survey results, and the Bristol Bay red king crab fishery will be closed for the first time in over 25 years. That stock has been on...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

September 3, 2021

It took freedom of information requests, weeks of queries to administrators and more than three months past a legal deadline for Governor Dunleavy to finally release his choice for a Board of Fisheries seat. Dunleavy announced last Friday his...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

August 27, 2021

Alaska’s 2021 salmon harvest has blown past the forecast and by August 27 had topped 201 million fish, well above the 190 million projected at the start of the season. The catch was bolstered by a surge of pink salmon...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

August 20, 2021

Nutrition, Native ways and knowing where your fish comes from. That multi-message forms the nexus of a new partnership of the Bristol Bay Native Corporation, salmon fishermen and Bambino’s Baby Food of Anchorage. Bambino's launched the..
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

August 13, 2021

Bycatch gives Alaska’s otherwise stellar fisheries management its biggest black eye. The term refers to unwanted sea creatures taken in trawls, pots, lines and nets when boats are going after other targeted catches. Bycatch is the bane...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

July 23, 2021

Most people are unaware that the yarns and fabrics that make up our carpets, clothing, car seats, mattresses, even mop heads, are coated with chemicals and metals such as copper, silver and aluminum that act as fire retardants, odor preventors, antifungals and anti-microbials...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

July 16, 2021

Early prices to Alaska salmon fishermen are trickling in and as anticipated, they are up across the board. That will give a nice boost to the economic base of both fishing communities and the state from fish taxes, fees and other assessments. About one-third (62 million) of Alaska’s projected catch of...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

July 9, 2021

“Unprecedented” is how fishery managers are describing sockeye catches at Bristol Bay, which topped one million fish for seven days straight at the Nushagak district last week and neared the two million mark on several days. By July 9, Alaska’s statewide sockeye salmon catch was approaching 32 million, of which more than 25 million...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

July 2, 2021

Fishermen are the ears and eyes of the marine ecosystem as a changing climate throws our oceans off kilter. Now a new phone app is making sure their real life, real time observations are included in scientific data. The new Skipper Science smartphone app, released on...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

June 25, 2021

Governor Mike Dunleavy is the “decider” for winners and losers in Alaska’s salmon season as the state careens towards a shutdown on July 1 due to no budget. As salmon fisheries swell, pink slips are in the hands of 15,000 state workers, including hundreds...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

June 18, 2021

Crab has been one of the hottest commodities since the Covid pandemic forced people in 2020 to buy and cook seafood at home, and demand is even higher this year. Crab is now perceived as being more affordable when compared to the cost to ...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

June 11, 2021

Alaskans who are engaged in or interested in mariculture are invited to become founding members in a new group that will advance the growing industry across the state. The newly formed Alaska Mariculture Alliance (AMA) is a private non-profit successor...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

June 4, 2021

Eager buyers are awaiting Alaska salmon from fisheries that are opening almost daily across the state and it’s easy to track catches and market trends for every region. Fishery managers forecast a statewide catch topping...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

May 28, 2021

Alaskan interest in growing kelp continues to outpace that of shellfish, based on applications filed during the annual window that runs from January through April. The number of 2021applicants dropped to just...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

May 22, 2021

Grundens is using recycled plastics from old fishing gear for a new line of rugged casual wear, and the first batch contains contributions from Cordova. Grundens, whose motto is “We are fishing,” is the go-to brand for outer wear and foul-weather gear for mariners around the world. The company, which originated in...
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Seawatch by Cristy Fry

May 20, 2021

Fishing for shellfish in Prince William Sound has been hit and miss this spring, with the Tanner crab fishery catch down significantly, but the pot shrimp fishery experiencing good catches and hot sales so far. The Cordova Times reports that...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

May 14, 2021

Alaska’s lone seafood marketing arm gets zero budget from the state and to date, has received no pandemic funds. The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute is hoping to get a breather from the more than $1 billion coming to Alaska in the latest round of federal relief dollars under the...
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Seawatch by Cristy Fry

May 13, 2021

Togiak herring got off to a slow start last week working on a record quota of 47,300 tons, in spite of increased participation, according to KDLG Public Radio in Dillingham. Ten seiners showed up for the season, along with ...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

May 7, 2021

Alaska’s 2021 salmon season officially starts on Monday, May 17 with a 12-hour opener for reds and kings at the Copper River! All eyes will be on early Cordova dock prices for Alaska’s famous “first fresh salmon of the season” as an indicator of wild salmon markets. Covid-forced closures in 2020 of high end...
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Seawatch by Cristy Fry

May 6, 2021

Alaska seafood has been getting a lot of national attention lately, and while the pandemic has been a struggle for many fishermen, it has been something of a boon for marketers. Third generation Alaska fisherman Hannah Heimbuch got her star turn on...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

April 30, 2021

The budget for Alaska’s commercial fisheries division is facing no cuts for the upcoming fiscal year, assuming the current numbers make it through the Legislature. “The governor's proposed budget is at about $72.8 million, which is a slight increase from...
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Seawatch by Cristy Fry

April 29, 2021

NOAA Fisheries has been pushing back against what it calls “disinformation” about a picture circulating on social media lately of two orca whales taken as bycatch in a trawl net in Alaska. They don't dispute that the photo is real, or say that...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

April 23, 2021

Are toxins from road runoff a threat to salmon in Anchorage’s most popular fishing streams? A Go Fund Me campaign has been launched so Alaskans can chip in to find out. The push stems from an organic...
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Seawatch by Cristy Fry

April 22, 2021

When the pandemic struck last year, some were calling for the State to shut down the Bristol Bay salmon season to avoid bringing thousands of workers from out of state into the small community of Dillingham to keep from overwhelming the limited health care system. Instead, processors spent millions quarantining...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

April 16, 2021

“Insatiable” is the word being used to describe the demand for snow crab as the world’s largest fishery got underway on April 5 at Eastern Canada. And while more snow crab will be available this year, buyers expect a tight supply. Global seafood supplier...
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Seawatch by Cristy Fry

April 15, 2021

The halibut season is off to a slow start in Homer, with so few deliveries that National Marine Fisheries Service doesn't list the landings because of privacy concerns. What landings have taken place on the Kenai Peninsula have been in Seward, which has seen 172,674 pounds delivered as of Monday. Even Kodiak, which...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

April 9, 2021

Alaska fishermen displaced by the Covid pandemic are being recruited for seafaring jobs aboard U.S. cargo barges, tankers, towboats, military support vessels, research and cruise ships and more...
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Seawatch by Cristy Fry

April 8, 2021

Tribes in Bristol Bay are collecting signatures to push the Alaska congressional delegation to provide permanent protection for the area through federal regulation. On their website, United Tribes of Bristol Bay say that there are two things that need to happen to...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

April 2, 2021

The mask requirement for all persons aboard fishing vessels still stands and Alaska’s U.S. Senators are adding their clout to have it removed.
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

March 27, 2021

It’s “back to the future” for Alaska canned salmon as more Americans choose it for its health benefits and as an easy-to-use ingredient for sandwiches, salads and more. Salmon canning in Alaska started in...
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Seawatch by Cristy Fry

March 25, 2021

After dealing with the closure of several processing plants in Dutch Harbor and Akutan due to COVID-19 outbreaks, Bering Sea crab fishermen now have to manage another costly and time-consuming problem: not enough fuel in St. Paul in the Pribilof Islands. By regulation under the...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

March 19, 2021

Halibut prices for Alaska fishermen for 2021 started out significantly higher than last year, despite sluggish demand and transportation logjams in some regions. The Pacific halibut fishery opened...
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Seawatch by Cristy Fry

March 18, 2021

It is pretty much old news that 2020 was not a great year for salmon in Alaska. Catches were down, prices took a hit due to the pandemic and fish didn't do what they were supposed to as climate change reared its ugly head. This year is looking better, largely due...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

March 12, 2021

Alaska’s salmon harvest for 2021 is projected to be a big one with total catches producing a haul that could be 61% higher than last year, due mostly to an expected surge of pinks. Fishery managers are predicting ...
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Seawatch by Cristy Fry

March 11, 2021

Alaska fisherman, doctor and former candidate for U.S. Senate Al Gross wrote an op-ed in the Anchorage Daily News on Monday proposing trading the land under the Pebble Mine prospect to the federal government for protection in exchange for extending state waters out to12 miles, from the current 3 miles. Gross argued that...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

March 5, 2021

It’s likely that no other fishing regions of the world reach out for stakeholder input as much as Alaska does to gather policy-shaping ground truth by state and federal managers and organizations. That’s demonstrated by two...
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Seawatch by Cristy Fry

March 4, 2021

For fishermen waiting to receive their halibut and sablefish IFQ permits in the mail as usual, the National Marine Fisheries Service is no longer sending them out. Fishermen have to...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

February 26, 2021

The Pacific halibut fishery opens on March 6 and increased catch limits combined with a cautiously optimistic outlook for the near future have fanned interest in buying shares of the popular fish. In January, the International Pacific Halibut Commission...
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Seawatch by Cristy Fry

February 25, 2021

The International Pacific Halibut Commission is seeking information from the past two years about the financial impact of COVID-19 in a trio of surveys for the commercial, processing and charter sectors. In a press statement, the IPHC stated “In order to...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

February 20, 2021

Alaskans are preparing for another salmon season of poor to average runs to most regions. The big exception once again is at Bristol Bay where another massive return of more than 51 million sockeyes is expected. Managers predict that...
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Seawatch by Cristy Fry

February 18, 2021

The global COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc in the fishing industry with processors continuing to pay tens of millions of dollars in related costs, the largest processing plant in North America being shut down for weeks, and the Coast Guard issuing...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

February 13, 2021

Fishermen must wear masks while they are underway, even while sleeping, and the Coast Guard intends to enforce it. That’s an edict issued as a public health emergency by the Center for Disease Control in...
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Seawatch by Cristy Fry

February 11, 2021

The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council is struggling with how to deal with three strong year classes of sablefish that are being caught in the directed fishery that are too small to be of much value but must be...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

February 6, 2021

“Eye-popping” seafood sales continue; One Alaska king salmon is worth the same as two barrels of oil...
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Seawatch by Cristy Fry

February 4, 2021

The International Pacific Halibut Commission held their 97th annual meeting this week, and voted to increase the quota in all areas of Alaska. The quotas in Alaska have mostly been going down for several years, with area 3A, the largest area in...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

January 29, 2021

Pacific halibut harvesters got some rare good news last week: increased catches in 2021 along with a longer fishing season. At its annual meeting that ended on January 25, the International Pacific Halibut Commission boosted the coastwide removals for 2021 to 39 million pounds, a 6.53% increase over...
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2021 Pacific Halibut Catch Limits

January 29, 2021

The IPHC voted this morning on the final catch limits for the 2021 Pacific halibut fishery. Here are the catch limits for the directed commercial fishery and the TCEY (Total Constant Exploitable Yield), or the total mortality from all sources for halibut over 26" for 2021.
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Seawatch by Cristy Fry

January 28, 2021

The Canadian government is phasing out all of the open net pen salmon farms in the Discovery Islands in British Columbia over the next 18 months, under pressure from the First Nations, according to multiple news sources. Seafood Source reports that the mandate...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

January 22, 2021

New ocean-related jobs, investments and opportunities will be seeded by an ambitious Blue Pipeline Venture Studio that connects marine business entrepreneurs with the technology, contacts and finances they need to grow. “The state's blue economy includes anything that takes...
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Seawatch by Cristy Fry

January 21, 2021

Trawl fishermen targeting pollock in the Gulf of Alaska have collectively agreed to stand down from the January 20 start of the fishery in order to target the fish in their more lucrative phase of harvesting the roe, instead of the flesh of the fish which is used more in...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

January 15, 2021

The single biggest hit to fishermen from the Covid-19 virus is lower dock prices, according to Alaska and West Coast harvesters, and 98% said their businesses have been badly bashed by the pandemic. That’s based on survey results compiled...
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Seawatch by Cristy Fry

January 13, 2021

The Sitka Tribe of Alaska has won a second lawsuit challenging the State of Alaska's assertion that they are providing “reasonable opportunity” for subsistence harvest of herring roe in an ongoing battle pitting seiners and ADF&G against the Tribe. The latest ruling...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

January 12, 2021

Is it a coincidence that one of the world’s largest mineral deposits is located near the world’s largest sockeye salmon spawning grounds at Bristol Bay? And if the likes of a Pebble Mine removed the bulk of those deep deposits that also create the world’s magnetic field, could it...
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2021 Sablefish TAC Increases in All Areas

December 14, 2020

After a week of meetings, the NPFMC voted Thursay and Friday to adopt the recommended ABC, resulting in increases to the 2021 sablefish TAC of 25% across the GOA, 82% in BS, and 131% in AI. While the Council suggested that the science supports an increased catch, stakeholder concerns about the...
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Historical Sablefish Ex-Vessel Values 2001-2020

December 4, 2020

Below are ex-vessel values of sablefish over the last 20 years. These values do not represent seasonal highs, lows, or averages, rather they are a snapshot of prices midseason for each year. Do you have prices or data to share? Email us at [email protected] We appreciate being able to...
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Seawatch by Cristy Fry

December 3, 2020

The International Pacific Halibut Commission held its interim meeting last month and lead quantitative scientist Dr. Ian Stewart is recommending a quota increase in all areas of Alaska. For Alaska waters, the quota recommendations, all in millions of pounds, are: Area 2C, Southeast, 5.16...
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Seawatch by Cristy Fry

November 24, 2020

Upper Cook Inlet commercial salmon fishermen are alarmed at a proposal to eliminate commercial salmon fishing in the Exclusive Economic Zone, all salt-water areas beyond three miles, in the Inlet. The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council has been tasked with overseeing management of...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

November 23, 2020

Frozen sockeye salmon strips bring tasty nutrition and relief to teething babies. Photo credit: Babino's Baby Food. The lightly seasoned salmon strips, made mostly from Bristol Bay reds, are the third product made by Bambino’s Baby Food of Anchorage that is aimed at getting more...
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Seawatch by Cristy Fry

November 17, 2020

Bristol Bay is looking at a smaller sockeye season for 2021, but still in respectable territory. The projected run of 51 million sockeye would allow for a potential total harvest of 37.4 million fish in Bristol Bay and 1 million fish in the South Peninsula fisheries. That would put...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

November 17, 2020

Tamped down prices due to toppled markets caused by the Covid virus combined with low salmon returns to many Alaska regions added up to reduced paychecks for fishermen and will mean lower tax revenues for fishing communities. A summary of the preliminary harvests and values by the Alaska...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

November 7, 2020

The number of boots on deck in Alaska has declined and most fisheries have lost jobs over the past five years. Overall, Alaska’s harvesting sector ticked downward by 848 jobs from 2015 through 2019. A snapshot of fish harvesting jobs is featured in the November edition of...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

October 31, 2020

After a salmon season that successfully fished its way through a pandemic and upturned markets, the value of Alaska salmon permits is ticking up in two regions while toppling in others. Permit values are derived by the state Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission based on the average value of four...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

October 31, 2020

Many Alaska fishermen are likely to be involved in regulatory meetings next spring instead of being out on the water. And Alaska legislators will be distracted by hearings for hundreds of unconfirmed appointments as they tackle contentious budgets and other pressing issues. New dates have...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

October 20, 2020

Light-weight collapsible pots prevent whales from pirating pricey black cod from longline hooks and give a break to small “Getting whaled” is so pervasive fishery managers allowed black cod (sablefish) fishermen to switch from baited lines to rigid pots in the Bering Sea...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

October 9, 2020

More young Alaskans are officially among the next generation of professional fishermen and ocean stewards to hail from Cordova, Haines, Homer, Ketchikan and Sitka. The futures of eight fishermen were cemented thanks to $1.5 million in loans from a Local Fish Fund (LFF) launched in 2019 ...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

October 2, 2020

Now that the 2020 pack of Alaska salmon has been caught and put up, stakeholders will get a better picture of how global prices may rise or fall. Nearly 75% of the value of Alaska’s salmon exports is driven by sales between July and October. And right now, lower supplies of wild...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

September 29, 2020

Some surprising results are revealed in the first of a series of briefing papers showing how Alaska’s seafood industry has been affected by the pandemic from dock to dinner plates. The updates, compiled by the McDowell Group for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

September 24, 2020

Alaska fishermen can increase their federal trade relief funds by adding higher poundage prices for 15 fish and shellfish species. While it’s welcomed, the payouts are a band-aid on a bigger and ongoing problem. Through December 14, fishermen can apply to the U.S. Department of...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

September 15, 2020

Bering Sea crabbers will soon know how much they can pull up in their pots for the upcoming season that opens October 15. This week the Crab Plan Team, advisers to state and federal fishery managers who jointly manage the fisheries, will review stock assessments and other science used to...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

September 8, 2020

Kodiak has again scored a first debate between candidates in one of Alaska’s most high-profile political races: the U.S. Senate. Kodiak has been hosting debates for congressional and gubernatorial hopefuls since 1999 with a single focus: Alaska’s seafood industry. The date and...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

August 30, 2020

Governor Dunleavy’s controversial selections to the state Board of Fisheries (BOF) will get a legislative hearing in early fall and the call is out for public comments. The board oversees management of the state’s subsistence, commercial, sport and personal use fisheries. Appointments were made on April 1 and would normally go through a vigorous vetting process by the Alaska legislature with public input. But COVID-19 sent...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

August 30, 2020

Alaska’s seafood industry stakeholders have a four bagger chance to provide input on policy decisions that directly affect their livelihoods: trade, relief payouts for cod and salmon, Board of Fisheries meeting plans and appointees. For several, the window...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

August 30, 2020

Unless you fished for salmon this summer at Bristol Bay, it’s been slim pickings for fishermen in other Alaska regions. Salmon returns have been so poor that communities already are claiming fishery disasters. Cordova’s City Council last week unanimously passed a...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

August 30, 2020

Snacks that are good for people and the planet now come in the form of crispy chips that are made from Bristol Bay sockeye salmon skins. The new, flash fried snack was spawned by a Los Angeles-based company called Goodfish, which aims to “propel sustainable seafood into our...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

August 30, 2020

Alaska seafood processors are paying tens of millions of dollars extra to cover costs from the Covid pandemic, and most of it is coming out of pocket. Intrafish Media provides a first, in-depth look at how costs for providing protective gear like masks and gloves, testing...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

August 30, 2020

It got little attention from the mainstream media but seafood netted some historic firsts in the nation’s new dietary guidelines. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee submitted a report in July to the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services that...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

August 30, 2020

All systems are go for keeping close tabs on fish and crab stocks in waters managed by the state, meaning out to three miles. While constraints from the coronavirus resulted in nearly all annual stock surveys being cut in deeper waters overseen by the federal government, it’s...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

August 30, 2020

The biggest red salmon run in the world is building at Bristol Bay. Up to 50 million fish could surge into its eight river systems in coming weeks, on par with past seasons. When it’s all done, the fishery will provide nearly half the global supply of wild sockeye salmon. But this summer is different. Not only due to...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

August 30, 2020

It was inaction on health care that ultimately made Dr. Al Gross of Juneau decide to challenge Republican Dan Sullivan, who is running for a second, six-year term to represent Alaska in the U.S. Senate. Gross, who has opted for the Independent ticket, has fished his whole...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

August 30, 2020

Unexpected upheavals stemming from the coronavirus have slowed the process of getting relief payments into the hands of fishermen and communities hurt by the 2018 Gulf of Alaska cod crash. In late February, the Secretary of Commerce cut loose $24,416,440 for affected stakeholders. Then in late March, Alaska...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

August 30, 2020

The global seafood industry will experience lasting impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, including reduced demand and pricing. That is the conclusion of the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture report produced every two years by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

August 30, 2020

Most Alaskans are surprised to learn that seafood is by far Alaska’s top export, the source of the state’s largest manufacturing base and its #1 private employer. More surprising is that those simple to find facts are not included in the official trade sheet for Alaska provided by the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). The information on the...
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Fish Factor by Laine Welch

August 29, 2020

Surveys of Alaska’s fish, crab and halibut stocks in the Bering Sea have been called off or reduced due to constraints and dangers posed by the coronavirus. In what they called an “unprecedented” move, NOAA Fisheries announced in late May that five Alaska surveys will be...
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