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Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 24, 2020

Sage Smiley/KDLG

A lull in returns today -- at 468,000 fish, the daily harvest bay-wide was about half what it was the day before. The total run is 55.9 million fish -- about half a million away from last year’s. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released the final environmental review for the proposed Pebble Mine.




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North Pacific Seafoods settles lawsuit

A Seattle-based seafood processor will pay out more than $440,000 to workers at a Bristol Bay cannery, the result of a settlement after the company was sued in June.

“We think that it is a fair and just compensation for the workers that were held for 12 days at a hotel without being paid," said Jonathan Davis, a managing partner of the San Francisco-based Arns Law Firm, which filed the lawsuit. The firm took on the case pro bono, so it will not receive any compensation for its work.

The processor, North Pacific Seafoods, was sued for false imprisonment and failing to pay the workers, among other charges. The workers, who were from Mexico and other parts of the United States, were on their way to Naknek to work at the Red Salmon Cannery for the summer salmon season. The suit alleged that the workers arrived at the hotel and were forced to gather in a crowded hallway for several hours before they were tested for COVID-19. They were then told to go to their hotel rooms and wait.

When three of them tested positive for COVID-19, all of those at the hotel were told they had to quarantine in the Crowne Plaza LAX Hotel without pay or lose their jobs. The suit also alleged that their key cards were deactivated so that they could not re-enter their hotel rooms if they left.

The workers were flown to Alaska on June 22. According to Davis, North Pacific Seafoods then sought to settle the cases individually. Davis sees that as an attempt to undermine the case.

“We stepped into that process and were able to increase the amount that was eventually agreed upon per worker,” he said.

As a result of the settlement, most of the workers are eligible to receive up to $2,685 if they sign a release negotiated with North Pacific. The specific amount depends on how long they were in Los Angeles.

KDLG reached out to the company for comment, but it did not respond in time for this broadcast.

The Numbers

The total run is 55.9 million fish -- about half a million away from last year’s. A lull in returns today -- at 468,000 fish, the daily harvest bay-wide was about half what it was Wednesday. Egegik brought in half of yesterday’s catch. Total harvest is at 37.7 million. Escapement across the bay was 134,300, and the total escapement is at 18.1 million. The total Naknek-Kvichak run is far and away the largest in the bay at 24.2 million fish. 

Let’s get down and dirty with the numbers this evening. 

Nushagak District

Fishers in the Nushagak District caught 48,000 fish yesterday. This brings total harvest in the Nushagak District to 8.8 million fish. That’s cumulatively attributed 4% to Igushik set-netters, 68% to the drift fleet, and 26% to Nushagak set-netters. 

Across the Nushagak District, daily escapement yesterday was 25,500, which makes the total district-wide escapement for the season 3.7 million fish.

Breaking that escapement down by river …

Igushik River

In the Igushik River, a daily escapement of 5,700 fish yesterday makes total escapement up the Igushik 296,000 fish.

Nushagak River

The Nushagak River’s daily escapement was 3,200 yesterday, bringing cumulative escapement in the Nushagak river to 1.22 million. 

Wood River

And in the Wood River, 16,500 fish escaped yesterday, which pushes Wood river escapement for the season to 2.23 million. 

Altogether, the Nushagak District’s total run is 12.6 million fish--the third largest run in the bay. 


Togiak’s harvest is still confidential. As of the last public update, Togiak’s cumulative harvest is 161,000 fish. 

Escapement up the Togiak River yesterday was 9,700 fish, bringing total escapement in the Togiak district to just over 101,000. We do not have an up-to-date total run number for the Togiak district because of the confidentiality of recent harvests. 


The Naknek-Kvichak District caught 101,000 fish yesterday, which brings cumulative harvest in the district to 13.8 million fish. That’s attributed 7% to Kvichak set-netters, 11% to Naknek set-netters, and 82% to the drift fleet. 

Escapement across the Naknek-Kvichak District was 38,000 fish yesterday, making cumulative escapement district-wide 10.4 million fish. Let’s look by river:

Alagnak River

The Alagnak River had 33,500 fish escape yesterday, bringing cumulative escapement in the Alagnak to 2.3 million. 

Kvichak River

4,400 fish escaped up the Kvichak River yesterday, putting total escapement in that river just barely over 4 million fish. 

Naknek River

No escapement numbers from the Naknek River yesterday. Escapement up the Naknek is still 4.1 million fish. 

The total Naknek-Kvichak run is far and away the largest in the bay at 24.2 million fish. 


A daily harvest of 247,000 fish in Egegik yesterday brings the cumulative harvest in the Egegik district so far this season to 12.6 million fish. Cumulative apportionment comes out to 86.6% to Egegik drifters and 13.4% to the set-netters. 

A daily escapement of 9,800 fish in Egegik yesterday makes the total escapement up the Egegik river almost 2.4 million. Egegik’s run is the second largest in the bay at 14.9 million fish.


In the Ugashik District, fishers caught 72,000 fish yesterday. This brings total harvest in Ugashik to 2.3 million fish. Cumulative apportionment stands at 79% to the drift fleet and 21% to the set-netters. 

51,000 fish escaped in Ugashik yesterday, pushing season escapement in Ugashik so far to 1.5 million fish. Ugashik’s total run is 3.8 million fish. 


Yesterday, 3,806 sockeye passed the Chignik weir, and 3,343 late run sockeye. Total sockeye run at the Chignik weir is 205,939, and 69,887 in the late run. 

31 kings also passed the weir yesterday, bringing the total king run to 857, and 19 pinks passed the weir yesterday, making the total Chignik pink run 644.

Area M

The South Peninsula is closed to commercial fishing. Here are the harvest numbers from yesterday in all of Area M:

Fleet caught 98,000 sockeye in Area M yesterday, bringing the total harvest of sockeye in Area M to 1.95 million. 

There were also daily harvests of 1,200 kings, 16,000 chums, 6,100 coho, and 204,000 pinks. Total pink harvest in Area M is 2.1 million.

Izzy Ross is the news director at KDLG, the NPR member station in Dillingham. She reports, edits, and hosts stories from around the Bristol Bay region, and collaborates with other radio stations across the state.