The Port Moller Test Fishery got started on Monday and today is the 6th day of fishing. There was another large uptick in catches on Friday with 259 sockeye caught in the 200-fathom net over just 4 of the 5 stations that are normally fished.
The crew of the Research Vessel Pandalus skipped station 10 Friday morning due to impending weather as the fished back into Port Moller. Friday’s catch produced a daily traditional index number of 136, which pushes the cumulative index number up to 308. That far exceeds the largest cumulative index number for the fishery, at this point in the run, between 1990 and 2012. The average cumulative index number is 88. The lowest such number is 21 back in 1994. The previous high through June 14th was 191 set back in the year 2000.
The test fishery is run by the Bristol Bay Science and Research Institute, which is a subsidiary of the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation, with assistance from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Catches as part of the Port Moller Test Fishery increased again on Friday. 259-sockeye were caught, which is way up from the 157 fish caught on Thursday. Once again the high station was station 6 where 97 sockeye were caught. 90-fish were taken at station 4 and 62 fish were caught at station 8. 10-fish were caught at the inside station on Friday.
As like the last couple of years the Port Moller Test Fishery will be using a 200-fathom gillnet consisting of alternating 50-fathom panels of 4 ½ inch mesh and 5 1/8 inch mesh. On Friday 131 of the sockeye were taken from the 5 1/8 inch mesh panels with 128 fish taken from the 4 ½ inch mesh panels.
The annual Port Moller Test Fishery got started on Monday and is currently scheduled to run through July 10th. One of the products from the test fishery that many fishermen, processors, and other stakeholders use is the index numbers that are intended to represent the sockeye resources moving through the test fishery area, which stretches from the Port Moller area to the Northwest. One again the traditional cumulative index number through Friday is 308. That’s the highest cumulative index number from 1990 through last year. The cumulative replacement index number, which represents the actual catches in the new net, was 108, which is higher than the replacement index number recorded through this point in the season in 2011 or 2012.
General wisdom is that the Port Moller Test Fishery samples sockeye that are 5 to 8 day’s out from the inshore districts of Bristol Bay. Fish and Game confirms that the first genetic stock composition estimates from the fishery should be released by ADF&G on June 20th and will cover the fish caught and sampled between June 10th and the 17th. KDLG’s News will be providing extensive coverage of the test fishery during our local news an in the Bristol Bay Fisheries Report. The updates from the test fishery can be found online on the website of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association. That website is www.bbrsda.com.