Laine Welch

Chicken of the Sea's pinks in a pouch bode well for Alaska salmon

The new line of pinks in a pouch being launched by Chicken of the Sea is good news for Alaska’s struggling salmon industry, as virtually all of the fish will come from Alaska waters.

Nearly 700 million pounds of seafood make Dutch Harbor top port for 12th year

For the 12th straight year, the port of Dutch Harbor/ Unalaska netted the top spot last year in terms of seafood landings. The National Marine Fisheries Service announced earlier this month that commercial fishermen delivered 699.8 million pounds of fish to Dutch Harbor, making it the port with the highest volume of landings in the nation. That’s an increase of 20.5 million pounds over 1999 landings. Cameron, La., was ranked as the No. 2 port for the quantity of landings in 2000, with 414.5 million pounds.

Here's what halibut and salmon, farmed and wild, bring at the retail counters

Prices paid to Alaska salmon fishermen continue to make lots of headlines, so it’s interesting to look at what the fish is fetching at retail counters across the Lower 48.

Urner-Barry is the primary source that most market watchers turn to because it has been tracking U.S. food commodities since the early 1900s. A glance at its retail features over the July Fourth holiday showed these price trends per pound at major supermarkets for fresh salmon, both farmed varieties and Alaska wild, which includes salmon and halibut.

Japan imports record volume of salmon -- but it's farmed, not wild Alaska fish

Japan imported a record volume of salmon in the first four months of this year, increasing 33.5 percent compared with the same time last year. The Internet site Fish Information Service reported that most of the increase was because of a 33 percent increase in imports of farmed coho.

The second largest increase came from farmed trout imports, which totaled 13,100 tons, an increase of more than 53 percent.

Some of season's Copper River reds, kings fetch higher-than-negotiated price

The season’s first reds and kings from Copper River returned higher prices to fishermen and saw buyers throughout the Northwest scrambling to be the first to feature the prized fish at their restaurants and retail counters.

Red salmon fillets were reportedly flying out of Seattle stores at $12.99 a pound, while kings were bringing an unbelievable $19.99 a pound.

Halibut to tell scientists their secrets when first tags transmit data in mid-June

Defining "critical habitat" is a complex task these days, as fishery managers are required to take an entire marine ecosystem into account when making management decisions. Next month, information from tagged halibut could bring researchers increased understanding, at least for the big flats in the Gulf of Alaska.

As halibut comes in, prices slip at dock, not at store

Huge catches of halibut continue to cross Alaska’s docks since the fishery opened in mid-March. On April 25, for example, more than 726,000 pounds of the prized flats were delivered, the highest daily volume since a few days after the season opened on March 15. Starting on April 16, nearly 2.5 million pounds were landed throughout the state, for a total of nearly 9 million pounds delivered through April 27. That’s 15 percent of the Alaska catch limit of roughly 58 million pounds.

Kenai visitors center reels in '2001: A Fish Odyssey' art exhibition for summer

The largest fish art show ever in Alaska opened May 1 at the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center. Dubbed "2001: A Fish Odyssey," the exhibit features the works of more than 100 Alaska artists and 14 artists from outside the state.

 All mediums are featured, including fish skin basketry, wood carvings, fiber arts, three dimensional works, sculptures, pottery and much more.

Revenue fishing's a poor way to fund Fish and Game budget, caucus concludes

Test fishing is a poor way for Alaska Department of Fish and Game to pay for fisheries research. That was the consensus among legislators at a recent Fish Caucus meeting in Juneau. Also called "revenue fishing," the practice refers to the harvest and sale of fish or shellfish for the primary purpose of generating revenue.

Small-boat salmon fisheries the next to bear scrutiny of federal observers

Alaska has the strictest and largest fishery observer program in the world, primarily on large vessels that haul aboard huge catches of groundfish or crab. Observers work on board fishing boats throughout the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska, collecting the samples and data that give a sketch of what’s really going on out there.

The information is used to provide state and federal fishery scientists and policy makers with the status and health of the various stocks, so they can manage the fisheries wisely and effectively.

Price of salmon at the dock is just the beginning of what fish will eventually cost

Salmon fishermen often wonder why there is such a large difference between the prices they get and the prices they see quoted in markets, both at home and abroad. The Salmon Market Information Service offers this generalized background: A sale price has three major elements. These are the cost of fish, cost of manufacture and cost of shipping. The starting point for cost of fish is the ex-vessel price, the amount paid to fishermen at the dock. This price is not adjusted for taxes paid by fishermen. Cost of fish is the processor’s cost of raw material, adjusted for recovery rate.

Fewer sockeyes, chum part of state's forecast for this year's salmon season

Alaska’s salmon industry could get a boost in world markets if early projections for this season’s harvest hold true. State number crunchers are forecasting a fishery that’s similar to last year’s catch, with two important exceptions -- fewer sockeye and chum salmon.

Preliminary projections peg the statewide harvest this year at roughly 142 million fish, down from last year’s forecast of 153 million. The actual catch fell well below that number, however, coming in at 136 million salmon worth $272 million at the docks.

Fisheries specialist leaves organic salmon label legacy

Industry advocate Kate Troll has left her job as fisheries specialist with the state Department of Community and Regional Affairs. During her three years on the job, Troll led the charge to make sure wild seafood would be included in new national organic standards.

"Kate not only kept the door open, but went through the door on that one," a co-worker said. Troll also was involved from the beginning with the Marine Stewardship Council’s eco-labeling program, which last year certified Alaska salmon as coming from a healthy fishery.

State scientists urge federal Steller plan go back for improvement

Go back to square one and come up with a better plan, is the recommendation Alaska scientists are making to federal fish managers. At issue is the hotly disputed BiOp or biological opinion, on Steller sea lions, which states that commercial fisheries jeopardize recovery of the endangered animals.

Proposed regulations could endanger Alaska's shellfish, plant farm industry

Aquaculture is in its infancy in Alaska, but shellfish and plant farmers fear proposed regulations will doom the slowly growing industry. A few weeks ago the state Department of Fish and Game put growers on notice that it wants to limit the location of farms and require detailed information about native species living near potential sites.


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