The Fish Ticket

April 11, 2024

Permits & State Fisheries

Bristol Bay drift permits are leasing at $14,000 this week. There are quite a few listed, and we have current offers of up to $14,000. Our highest offer to purchase a Bristol Bay drift permit is $135,000. Cook Inlet drift permits still aren't moving much, but we leased one at $3,900 this week and have a new offer of $4,000. Other new offers include $6,500 for a hand troll permit and $3,000 for a Kodiak seine EMT. 

In fishing news, the 2024 Cook Inlet herring season opens April 22 and will run through May 31 or until the GHLs are met. And the 2024 spring troll salmon fishery opens in select areas on May 1. (ADFG notes that there have been modifications to a number of spring troll and terminal harvest areas  for the 2024 season, so make sure to check your coordinates!)

Tomorrow's Herring Revitalization Committee meeting (April 12 at 9 am in Kodiak) will focus on "current and potential markets, differences among Alaska’s regional herring fisheries, and potential legal pathways to resolve changes to regulatory systems." If you can't make it in person, tune in online here.

Some reminders:

The Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission is working to refine the internal procedures that guide transfers of permits to minors under 16 (or under 10 for set net permits) and are requesting input. If this is something you care about, please take a few minutes to complete their survey.

IFQs & Federal Fisheries

Quota holders: are you looking for someone to catch your quota this season? Check out our improved IFQ Charters page for an up-to-date list of vessels looking to catch your quota.

About 8% of the halibut TAC and 7% of the sablefish TAC has been landed so far this year. 1,286,340 pounds of halibut have been landed to date, up slightly from the 1,267,504 pounds harvested by this time last year. Due to low ex-vessel prices, sablefish landings are down about 42% from 2023 numbers. 3,988,646 pounds have crossed the docks so far this year versus about 6,896,367 pounds by this date last year. Halibut dock prices today in Homer were at $5.00/$5.25/$5.75 and Yakutat was at $5.00/$5.25 earlier this week. No recent black cod prices to report. Here's an interesting article on the state of the sablefish market and here's another one on the affect that limited processing capacity is having on harvest.

In quota news, 3A unblocked continues to move around the thirty dollar mark with a recent sale at $29.00. Blocked 3A D class sold at $23.00 this week. Very little action in the black cod quota market despite very low asking prices. 
 
The NPFMC meeting wrapped up this week. A full report will be available here soon. In short, the Council voted to consider tighter restrictions on chum salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock trawl fishery, directing staff to analyze a range of alternatives, from which the Council will take action at a future meeting. The Council punted Area 4 halibut vessel caps to a future meeting. The Council adopted a purpose and need statement and identified an array of alternatives for updating maximum retainable amounts of incidental catch species, in order to reduce regulatory discards, among other things.

What Else?

Amendment 80 trawlers will be testing a new whale-deterring gear modification this summer, which uses echo-reflective webbing to help whales detect and avoid the net. 

The Senate Resources Committee canceled its confirmation hearing for Mike Porcaro, who was appointed by Governor Dunleavy last year to be CFEC’s second commissioner. Porcaro, a consultant and talk show host based in Anchorage, did not apply for the job and has no related experience (minor details). The Committee has not given a reason for the cancellation.

The International Pacific Halibut Commission is looking for new members for its Management Strategy Advisory Board. If you're interested in helping to shape harvest strategy in the Pacific halibut fishery, submit by April 19.

Wrangell’s Heritage Harbor is getting 830 anodes this month, after the city’s harbor master found out last year that the harbor didn’t have any anodes at all. Better late than never…

ComFish kicked off in Kodiak today and runs through Saturday. Attendees heard prerecorded legislative updates from Senator Murkowski and Representative Peltola today, and will hear from Senator Sullivan on Saturday. Keep up with live updates here.

This week's Alaska Fisheries Report: North Peninsula Dungeness season is about to open, Trident finalizes sale of its Petersburg plant, Silver Bay takes over Peter Pan operations, Annette Island Packing Company’s reopening, a pause on Yukon Chinook fishing, and a federal grant for transitioning to cleaner power. 

Kodiak’s old Gibson Cove Cannery is set to be demolished this summer, taking down all but the pilings and decking. 

The Metlakatla Indian Community reopened the Annette Island Packing Company, which had closed in 2018 after buying fish for nearly a century. The company has started off slowly, buying locally caught halibut and salmon and selling fresh product.

Here's how processing plant changes may affect Alaska seafood jobs, with Kodiak jobs looking most vulnerable.

BBRSDA announced the results of its recent board election: Peter Andrew retained his resident seat, and Doug Elwell will take over Matt DeWitte's nonresident seat.

BBRSDA will host presentations from ADFG and the Bristol Bay Science and Research Institute on the 2024 Bristol Bay forecast on April 18.  

A newly published 17-year study explores how climate directly and indirectly impacts salmon survival, which will be used to help plan for the future and inform management decisions.

On that note, scientists are working with stakeholders to "evaluate scenarios that predict changes in the distribution and abundance of commercially important fish and shellfish due to climate change" and to develop alternative management strategies in response.  

A correction: Last week's Fish Ticket included an article that mentioned Silver Bay would be leasing Peter Pan's Dillingham, Port Moller, and King Cove plants for the 2024 season. That was misreported; Silver Bay will be running Dillingham and Port Moller, but the fate of Peter Pan's King Cove plant is still undetermined.

Some reminders:

AMSEA has a ton of upcoming drill conductor classes! Registration and info here.

AgWest Farm Credit (a sponsor of this newsletter!) offers $15,000 New Producer Grants to newer fishermen. That's free money 😎 The deadline to apply is May 31. Note that the flyer refers to agriculturalists, but the grant program is open to fishermen.

The Halibut Defense Group is intervening in a lawsuit to enforce trawl bycatch reductions. Lawsuits are expensive. If this matters to you, please consider donating to the Halibut Defense Fund.

Applications are open for ALFA's 2024 Crew Training Program.