The Togiak District in Bristol Bay edged past the bottom end of its escapement goal late in July. The mark was reached just days after the rule prohibiting fisherman to transfer to Togiak from other districts was lifted.
As the slow and steady sockeye season winds down for Togiak resident fisherman, some are still looking forward to a late run of silvers.
KDLG’s Nick Ciolino spoke with some fisherman and processors in the Togiak distict:
A total run of more than 580 thousand fish was counted for the Togiak district through Sunday, about 80 thousand less than the forecasted total. The total harvest is also about 40 thousand fish short of the 480 thousand projected catch.
The fishing effort in Togiak is reserved for the majority of the season to local residents.
“Not the best, but I’m getting by with what I can get in the boat.”
That’s Joseph Andrews of the fishing vessel Lucy Joe. He says that while things have been on the slow side in Togiak, he’s happy for the boats who participated in the record run to the Nushagak district.
“Andrews: I’m so glad some of these people are catching lots—quite a few. Our run of fish seemed to disappear.
Ciolino: Today is the first day boats from other districts can transfer over here. Are you seeing a lot of new boats?
Andrews: No. Most of them ended up with too much fish in the Nushagak.
Ciolino: They caught enough in the Nushagak huh?
Andrews: I think so. I’m glad for them, because sometimes it’s very hard.”
But others expect the effort to continue in Togiak. The district has had a late run of silvers in past years, and the effort has continued through August long after the peak run of sockeye.
Jarek Hanak is the plant manager at the Copper River Seafood processing in Togiak. He says he expects some fisherman will transfer to the district, and adds his facility will continue to buy fish into silver season.
“There are fisherman that fish for other canneries. Some of them they come and start fishing for us. We don’t really say no to anybody who fishes for whoever else—as long as it’s from Togiak. We don’t really make rules, and I really do expect an effort from them.”
ADF&G continues to leave the district open to commercial set and drift fishing. On a Monday through Friday schedule.
Contact KDLG's fisheries reporter Nick Ciolino at email@example.com or 907-842-5281