Permits & State Fisheries

October 20, 2023

In Bristol Bay, another drift permit sold this week at $132,000, the same price as last week's sale, and we have an offer of $131,000; a setnet permit sold at $48,000, down quite a bit from pre-season sales in the $70,000 range. In Cook Inlet, drift permits are selling at $26,000-$26,500, and we have an offer of $25,000. And in Southeast, a hand troll permit with gear sold for $8,500.

In fishing news, the Kodiak Tanner fishery will open in January, and likely again in 2025, as biologists see encouraging signs of another upcoming cohort. We have a few Kodiak Tanner to 60' permits listed starting at $75,000 and a couple permits to 120' starting at $110,000. We also have an offer of $12,000 for an EMT on an under 60'. Meanwhile, the Kodiak Dungie season closes on the 31st, with a catch that might hit 1.8 million pounds by 16 vessels. And, the Kodiak sea cucumber fishery opened on the 1st and runs through April, however not a single vessel has registered. In contrast, the Southeast sea cucumber season appears to be off to a good start, with prices starting at $3.50, but increasing to $4.50 and even $4.75 last week. 

In the salmon world, post-season numbers are starting to trickle out, and they're not pretty. The value of the 2023 PWS salmon harvest was 21% below the 10-year average and 13% below 2022. The Southeast drift fishery officially closed last week, with preliminary numbers showing harvests of all species aside from chum were below the 10-year average. But, there were fewer boats in the water - 50 vessels fewer than the 10-year average. In Cook Inlet, the overall salmon harvest was more than four times larger than last year's catch, but due to poor market conditions, this year's harvest was worth only two thirds of what last year's catch was worth. Ouch. 

ATTN COOK INLET DRIFT FISHERMEN: (don't tune out, this is important!) NMFS is looking for comments on the proposed federal management of the Cook Inlet fishery occurring in the EEZ (federal waters). Here's the gist of it:

"This action—Amendment 16 and the proposed rule—would result in separate federal management of salmon fishing in the Cook Inlet EEZ. The State of Alaska would continue to manage all salmon fishing within state waters. Federal management would implement new requirements for commercial drift gillnet vessels fishing in the Cook Inlet EEZ. Fishing in the EEZ would occur on Mondays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. beginning on or after June 19 each year until either the total allowable catch is taken or August 15. Commercial fishing vessels would have to obtain a federal permit, maintain a fishing logbook, and have a vessel monitoring system installed on their vessels. Commercial fishing vessels would not be allowed to participate in the federal fishery at the same time as participating in the state water fishery."

For more information, read the full text of the proposed rule in the Federal Register. These are massive changes. If you have thoughts to share, please submit a written comment. NMFS is required to respond in writing to all comments. To comment, click the green button at the top that says "submit a formal comment."

ICYMI: here's the 2023/2024 proposal book for regular cycle Board of Fish meetings on Upper Cook Inlet, Lower Cook Inlet, and Kodiak finfish.