No one injured after one vessel sinks, three beached in big overnight Nushagak fishery

Jul 3, 2017

Boats reported to be too heavily loaded with sockeye had problems overnight, though exactly what happened to whom is still unclear. State officials say all are accounted for, and no significant spills appear to have been caused.

The fishing vessel Bunchie was one of several that ran into serious problems early Monday morning in the Nushagak District. Pictured here, the Bunchie had been towed near the beach but was still submerged during high water.
Credit Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game

KDLG: At least four fishing vessels appear to have had major problems from Sunday night to Monday morning in Bristol Bay's Nushagak District. One, the fishing vessel  N-11, capsized and sank after "deck-loading" a big catch of sockeye.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the good samaritan vessel Run Out recovered all four crew members safely.

After 2 a.m. Monday, the F/V Bunchie began taking on water just below Ekuk. The good samaritan vessel Anne Louise took the Bunchie’s four crew members aboard and towed the Bunchie to the beach, said the Coast Guard.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports perhaps three other vessels were beached, likely to prevent boats from sinking under the weight of too many fish. Those vessels include the Ketok on Ekuk Beach and the Ora near Clark's Point.

State staff flew an aerial survey Monday to assess for possible spilled fuels, but reported nothing major was seen. The owners of the vessels were taking steps to appropriately pump off fuel and oil and dispose of wasted salmon, according to Fish and Game.

A week ago the Nushagak District set a record for a single-day harvest, landing more than a million sockeye. The run dropped off for several days, but the anecdotal reports into ADF&G and KDLG Monday are that there were huge deliveries being made. Two processors had to stop buying fish for part of the day Monday. The full tally of catch and escapement from Sunday to Monday's fishing will be published Tuesday morning.

Contact the author avery@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200.