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Pace Steady for Citations Issued In Bristol Bay Fisheries

While the Bristol Bay fishery for wild Alaska sockeye salmon has slowed, Alaska State Wildlife Troopers have kept busy, issuing 34 new citations over a period of several days in the second week of July for violations in the commercial fishery. In the latest tally, covering July 7-12, 21 of those citations were issued to non-residents and 13 to residents.The citations covered violations ranging from commercial fishing in closed waters to crewmembers without a crewmember license, not possessing a photo ID, mostly in the Naknek district, as the Egegik district of Bristol Bay has been closed since July 6 to allow for more escapement of salmon upstream.A Seattle fisherman pleaded guilty in Dillingham on July 12 to one charge of fishing in closed waters and was fined $6,000, with $4,000 suspende...
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Pollock Cooperative Agrees to Broader Closure Areas to Avoid Chum Bycatch

The Bering Sea Pollock industry has agreed to a new plan to reduce the chum salmon bycatch that happens every year in the Pollock fishery. The Marine Conservation Alliance made the announcement on July 12 from Juneau. Through use of the Inter-cooperative Salmon Agreement the Pollock industry agreed to allow the independent organization SeaState to close an additional 1,000 square nautical miles of fishing grounds to reduce encounters with chum salmon. That brings the total area allowed for closure to 5,000 square nautical miles – an area bigger than the state of Connecticut.“We as the Inter-cooperative can take the bull by the horns and address this problem,” said John Gruver of United Catcher Boats. “I think we are doing the right thing.”The cooperative program calls for SeaState to revie...
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Most Charges Dismissed After Attack on Fish Weir

By Bob TkaczJuly 2011A Homer resident, faced with ten criminal charges after allegedly admitting to a state trooper that he floated logs and other debris down the Anchor River to wreck an Alaska Department of Fish and Game weir last June, settled the entire matter with a thousand dollar fine and 30-day suspended jail sentence in a negotiated disposition approved by the trial court in April.“The whole story was completely fabricated. That one charge was to just let me know how stupid I was,” said Christopher A. Vigue, 46, May 24.Lance Joanis, state prosecutor in the Third Judicial District, and Deputy Prosecutor Amy Fenske, who handled the case, did not respond to repeated phone calls and emails in May asking why they agreed to dismiss the charges with a confession in hand.“He admitted thro...
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Bristol Bay Salmon Harvest Hits 15 Million

Wild sockeye salmon harvests in Bristol Bay hit 15.3 million fish through July 4 and just keep on growing, with a cumulative escapement of 4.7 million fish, for a total run through Independence Day of 20.4 million fish. That broke down to a total run of 8.5 million fish into the Naknek-Kvichak, 5,073,754 fish into the Nushagak district, 4.8 million into the Egegik district, 1.9 million into the Ugashik district, and 136,837 into the Togiak district.Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists say the preliminary harvest figures for July 4 alone show was 1.6 million fish, with the number of sockeye per drift delivery averaging 816,000 reds in the Naknek-Kvichak district, 758,000 in the Ugashik district, 561,000 in Egegik, 434,000 in the Nushagak and 395,000 in the Togiak district. On July ...
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Statewide Salmon Harvests Near 20 Million Fish Through July 1

Alaska’s overall statewide harvest of all wild salmon species through July 1 stood at a preliminary total of nearly 20 million fish. The good news for fishermen is that prices were holding steady through July 5 in Anchorage at $6.95 a pound for headed and gutted whole sockeye, with those omega-3 oil packed fillets going for $10.95 at one popular retail seafood outlet. Bristol Bay’s total harvest through July 1 stood at 9.5 million salmon of all species, including 9.3 million sockeye, 188,000 chum and 28,000 kings. For Prince William Sound, the total harvest was 3.3 million salmon, including more than 2 million reds, 1.9 million chum, 19,000 kings, some 4,000 silvers and 3,000 pink salmon. For the Copper River alone, the total run was 1.3 million fish, 1,338,000 reds, 18,000 kings, 11,000 c...
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Herring Roe Recovery in Norton Sounds Sets Another Record

The community development quota corporation for Alaska’s Norton Sound region is celebrating another successful herring harvest with record roe recovery. While small by comparison to herring roe harvests elsewhere in Alaska, the Norton Sound Economic Development Corp. said their fishermen topped their own high mark set a year ago by harvesting herring with an all-time record recovery of roe.The 744 tons of herring harvested this year in Norton Sound were comprised of 14.8 percent roe on average. The previous record, set in 2010 by Norton Sound harvesters, was 13.5 percent roe recovery.In total, the Norton Sound herring fleet, using gillnets, harvested 810 tons of herring, of which 66 tons were directed to a bait fishery. The CDQ group paid out more than $274,000 for the entire fishery, an a...
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Bristol Bay Waypoints Reports Big Catch

The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, which represents the drift gillnet fleet in Bristol Bay, is reporting its first big catch via the association’s new consumer friendly website, www.BristolBaySockeye.org.According to the BBRSDA, marketers at Haggen, a 29-supermarket operator with stores in Washington and Oregon, said they learned a lot about Bristol Bay salmon from the new website prior to contacting the BBRSDA about using some of its text and photos in their new Bristol Bay sockeye salmon promotion.The Haggen advertising promotes the taste, texture, health benefits, sustainability and abundance of Bristol Bay’s wild salmon species.Bob Waldrop, executive director of the association, said the association is pleased that it can help to build demand at the retail level....
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Area M Purse Seiners Sit Out First Salmon Opener

Fishermen's News July 2011By Margaret BaumanFor the second year in a row, the South Peninsula fishing fleet has decided to sit out the first opener of the salmon fishery to avoid the political controversies that arise when their catch of sockeye salmon includes a large number of chum salmon.The Aleutians East Borough at Sand Point said the decision was made June 4, after subsistence fishermen noted that the chum-to-sockeye ratios were still high.The period ran from June 7 through June 10.Salmon fishermen from these villages realized that chum salmon catches during the June fishery are politically dangerous, borough officials said.In the past Area M fishermen have been accused of affecting the subsistence and commercial chum salmon runs to the Arctic Yukon Kuskokwim region of Western Alaska...
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Statewide Salmon Harvest Growing

In just a week, Alaska’s statewide salmon harvest has grown from 4,094,000 fish to 8,430,000 in the nets, including 1.5 million sockeyes harvested in Bristol Bay. Preliminary statistics from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game through June 24 show the Egegik district had delivered some 762,000 reds and about 1,000 kings, while the Naknek-Kvichak district had a catch of 570,000 reds and fishermen in the Ugashik district netted 124,000 reds. Just a week earlier those totals stood at 110,000 salmon for Bristol Bay, with the bulk of the harvest – 95,000 reds – coming from the Egegik district.In Prince William Sound, the harvest reached 2.7 million fish, including more than one million chums and 18,000 Chinook salmon, up from 1.7 million salmon, including 694,000 chum and 17,000 kings a week...
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Fishermen Cited for Numerous Violations

Alaska State Wildlife troopers have cited more than three-dozen commercial fishermen in the Egegik district of Bristol Bay over the last two weeks for violations ranging from failure to display valid registration on their vessel to lack of current crewmember licenses and fishing in closed waters. A trooper spokesman at King Salmon confirmed that an increased number of wildlife troopers were covering the commercial fishery in that district, but did not give any specifics on how great the increased coverage is so far this season.On June 28 alone, 13 harvesters were cited, 5 of whom are Alaska residents, and the others from the Pacific Northwest. Those found to be fishing aboard drift gillnetters and at setnet sites without those required crewmember licenses faced a fine of $260 for each viol...