Copper River Seafoods posts $1.35/lb as Bristol Bay's catch goes to 300,000

Jun 21, 2017

This is a brief update for Wednesday, June 21. Catch the latest news and numbers from the fishery each night at 6, 10, and 2 a.m. on the Bristol Bay Fisheries Report.

Kings were showing up in nets on Kanakanak Beach Wednesday morning as the high water receded.
Credit Nick Ciolino / KDLG

KDLG: Bristol Bay’s total catch this season is now over 300,000 sockeye through Tuesday.

The Egegik fleet landed 95,000 sockeye yesterday, bringing the season total there to 278,000.

The Naknek-Kvichak catch is 12,000 on the season, Ugashik is 7000, the catch at Igushik is still confidential, and Togiak has put about 1000 sockeye on the books.

An email to KDLG Tuesday confirmed that Copper River Seafoods has posted a price of $1.35 per pound for best quality sockeye. Copper River COO Mark Hansen says they will continue to post a price each week for their fleet, the same as they did last year.

The Port Moller Test Fishery catches were down a bit Tuesday, after the boat took Monday off for repairs. The total catch was 10 in the four-and-a-half and 10 in the five-and-an-eighth inch mesh nets.

The genetic sampling report from Port Moller’s June 14 through 17 catches was released Tuesday:

Genetics for the June 14-17 catches.
Credit PMTF

After seeing the west side escapement numbers Wednesday morning, manager Tim Sands says he decided not to fish the fleet by noon, later announcing those openers for later in the day.

"We're at the stage where commercial fishing for sockeye is imminent, but the longer we can delay it the more chance we have of getting some kings through the system," he said Monday morning.

The Wood River total count hit 95,000 Tuesday, with another 19,000 past the tower through 6 a.m. The Nushagak king count Tuesday was just 211, bringing the season total to 2800 fish, which is way behind.   The Nushagak sockeye count is way ahead, with 46,000 counted Tuesday, bringing the season total there to 210,000.

"My decision this morning to not fish was based on word that kings appear to be moving through system, finally, and even if we take another hundred or two thousand fish up the Wood River, it's a small price to pay to get some kings up the river," said Sands. "You can look around the state at other places that have had trouble with kings, and the restrictions that brings down on the commercial fishery, and we don't want to go there. We want to do everything we possibly can to avoid that kind of restriction that's involuntary. So a small voluntary restriction here I think could pay big dividends for us in the long run."

Upriver, reports are that the kings are still slow to show. Overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday morning, subsistence fishermen were reporting more catches, finally, including John Trusty who said he had 15 in his net.

"Our set net sites are at the end of Kanakanak Beach, and oh yeah ... they're running. This is the best spot, right here," he told KDLG Wednesday morning.

Starting Friday the Department of Fish and Game will reduce the bag limit for sport fishermen in the Nushagak-Mulchatna drainage. Until further notice, fishermen can only keep one king greater than 20 inches per day, and only two per year. The jack king limit is still five per day, five in possession, no annual limit.

More news and numbers every night on the Bristol Bay Fisheries Report at 6 p.m., 10 p.m., and 2 a.m., and online at KDLG.org

Reach the author at dave@kdlg.org or 907-842-5281.