Commercial salmon values were at record highs across Norton Sound this summer.
As the salmon season begins tapering off, returns across much of western Alaska have been above average. But there’s one fishery where the commercial harvest is shattering recent precedents: Kotzebue. And the cause is a mix of Mother Nature and marketing.
State managers emphasized record-level chum runs, even as middle and upper river fishermen say they are not yet seeing those returns for themselves.
With chum salmon surging through much of Western Alaska, commercial openings are having dramatically different effects–from a price spike in Kotzebue, to frustration along the Upper Yukon.
A strong fall chum run of 850,000 fish expected, and Fish and Game managers say that should be more than enough to meet subsistence and commercial needs.
Managers for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game have announced the closure of sockeye salmon fishing in the Nome sub-district.
If you live near the Norton Sound, get ready for salmon.
The analysis potentially opens up the pollock fishing industry to new limitations and early closures, but falls far short of the immediate relief many subsistence users called for.
Yesterday an advisory panel on salmon bycatch heard more than an hour of public testimony—part of the ongoing debate on how to limit the number of king salmon accidentally caught by pollock fishermen at a time of unprecedented restrictions on subsistence fishing and historically low king salmon runs.
As subsistence fishermen and state fishery managers anticipate the worst Chinook run on record, tight fishing restrictions have some subsistence fishermen saying they can’t catch summer chums.