Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 13, 2020

Jul 13, 2020

Baywide daily harvest dropped below 2 million for the first time since July 4th. The total harvest is over halfway to the pre-season forecast swimming in at 25.2 million fish.

The Naknek in-river opener. July 2019
Credit Sage Smiley/KDLG

Full Show: 

Baywide daily harvest dropped below 2 million for the first time since July 4th yesterday. Total harvest so far this season is 25.2 million fish. Total escapement throughout the bay is now just over 12 million, and has now passed the pre-season escapement forecast. The total run in Bristol Bay so far this season is 38.4 million fish. 

Average fish per drift delivery was below 1,000 in every district of the bay yesterday. 

Nushagak District:

In the Nushagak district, yesterday’s harvest of 443,000 fish tipped the total harvest in the district to 7.1 million--the third largest harvest in the bay. That total harvest came 3% from Igushik set-netters, 25% from Nushagak set-netters, and 70% from the drift fleet. 

District-wide, escapement yesterday was 187,000 fish, bringing cumulative escapement in the Nushagak district to 2.8 million. Breaking that down by river:

Nushagak River:

The Nushagak River sonar counted 51,700 sockeye yesterday, bringing sockeye escapement in the Nushagak river to 1 million 60 thousand. 

The sonar also saw 1,200 kings yesterday for a total escapement of 39,900 kings in the Nushagak River, and 49 chums yesterday, making chum escapement 102,000. 

Wood River:

The tower crew in the Wood River counted 49,800 sockeye past the tower before 6am this morning. Total escapement in the Wood River is 1.7 million so far this season. 

Igushik River:

In the Igushik River, 5,000 fish passed the tower this morning, making total escapement up the Igushik River 121,000 fish. 

In total, the run in the Nushagak District is the third largest in the bay right now at 9.9 million fish. 

Togiak:

No fish were caught in Togiak yesterday; the cumulative harvest in Togiak is still 78,000 fish.

Escapement in the Togiak District was 600 fish yesterday, bringing the district’s cumulative escapement to 14,600. Togiak’s overall run is 92,400 fish.

Naknek-Kvichak:

In the Naknek-Kvichak District, fishermen caught 631,000 fish yesterday, attributed 8% to Kvichak set-netters, 13% to Naknek set-netters, and 79% to the drift fleet there. Total harvest in the Naknek-Kvichak is now 8.9 million--the largest harvest at this point in the season.

Escapement across the Naknek-Kvichak District was 1.2 million fish, pushing the district-wide escapement to 6.9 million. Breaking that down by river:

Alagnak River:

The Alagnak River escapement yesterday was 247,000, making total escapement up the Alagnak River 1.3 million. 

Kvichak River:

In the Kvichak River, 536,000 fish escaped yesterday, bringing total escapement in the Kvichak to 2.3 million fish. The Kvichak River also has an in-river fish estimate of 800,000. 

Naknek River:

And in the Naknek River, daily escapement yesterday was 441,000. This makes the Naknek’s total escapement 3.3 million fish so far. 

Altogether, the total run in the Naknek-Kvichak District is now 16.6 million fish--the largest run in the bay by more than 6 million fish. 

Egegik:

650,000 fish were caught in Egegik yesterday, pushing the total harvest in Egegik to just over 8.6 million. That’s currently the second-largest harvest right now. The total catch was attributed 14% to the set-netters and 86% to the Egegik drift fleet. 

Daily escapement in Egegik was 124,000 fish, for a season escapement of 1.8 million fish so far. The total run in the Egegik district is 10.4 million fish, the second-largest out of the bay’s districts. 

Ugashik:

Fishers in the Ugashik District caught 16,000 fish yesterday. Cumulative harvest in the Ugashik District is now 563,000, attributed 35% to Ugashik set-netters and 64% to the drift fleet. 

Escapement in Ugashik yesterday was 124,000 fish, bringing the total escapement up the Ugashik River to 434,000. Adding the 300,000-fish in-river estimate in Ugashik, the total run in that district is now 1.3 million fish.

Permit registration on July 13 9:00 a.m. to July 15 at 9:00 a.m.

Here’s how the fleet is spread out across the bay: 

As of this morning, there are 1,603 permits fishing on 1,245 vessels baywide. That’s 887 single-permit vessels & 358 D boats. At 9 a.m. on Wednesday, that will increase to 1,325 vessels, 379 of which will be D boats. By district:

The Naknek-Kvichak District continues to lead the bay in vessel registrations. 42% percent of the fleet is fishing there, or 527 vessels, 173 of which are D boats. In 48 hours, that will increase to 552 boats, 179 of which will be D boats. 

Egegik represents just less than 30% of the fleet. That’s 368 boats, 113 of which are D boats. That will decrease by one boat at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, for a total of 367 boats, 113 of which will still be D boats. 

In the Nushagak District, vessel registrations have dropped to just 20% of the fleet, or 236 boats, 48 of which are D boats. In two days, the Nushagak district will lose one D boat, for a total of 235 vessels, 47 of which will be D boats. 

6% of the fleet is fishing in Ugashik. That’s 71 boats, 24 of which are D boats. In 40 hours, that will jump by almost 100% to 128 boats, 40 of which will be D boats. 

And in Togiak, 43 boats, or 3% of the fleet, are still holding down the fort. That won’t change in the next 48 hours. 

Chignik:

6,692 sockeye passed the Chignik weir yesterday, along with 3,486 late run sockeye. That brings the total sockeye run at the Chignik weir to 143,107, and the late run to 24,545. 

Also yesterday, 42 kings passed the weir for a total Chignik king run of 381, and 36 pinks passed the weir, bringing the pink run to 360 fish. 

Area M:

Daily sockeye catch in Area M was 47,634, bringing the total sockeye harvest to just under 1.2 million fish. 

Area M also had daily harvests of 197 chum, 15 kings, 18 pinks, and 1 coho salmon. 

Port Moller:

This is the second-to-last day of daily catch indices from the Port Moller test fishery for the 2020 season. Indices from today, which we’ll have for you tomorrow, will round out the test fishery for the year. 

Here are yesterday’s indices from Port Moller: 

Station  Index

Station 6 had an index of 32 -- 4 in the 4 ½ and 6 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 8  had an index of 7 -- 2 in the 4 ½ inch mesh.

Station 10 had an index of 17 -- 4 in the 4 ½ and 1 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 12 had an index of 25 -- 8 in the 5 ⅛ inch mesh.

Station 14 had an index of 37 -- 11 in the 4 ½ inch mesh.

Station 16 had an index of 18 -- 4 in the 4 ½ and 1  in the 5 ⅛.

Station 18 had an index of 120 -- 40 in the 4 ½ inch mesh.

If you’re impressed that we say all those numbers every day on the fish report with no water breaks, donate to KDLG! Go online to kdlg.org and click the yellow donate button. We’ll be right back with more of your favorite niche public radio show, the Bristol Bay Fisheries Report.

 

COVID-19 update: 

Another Lake and Peninsula Borough resident has tested positive for COVID-19.

The Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation announced Sunday that the person was not showing symptoms, and was instructed to remain in isolation.

The source of the infection is not known, but the corporation says it is not due to community spread. BBAHC has alerted state health officials so they can begin identifying the person’s recent contacts. It also notified the City of Dillingham and the person’s village.

In a media release, the corporation says the person was infectious beginning on July 7; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mark the beginning of the infectious period 48 hours before the person tested positive. BBAHC did not name the village the person is from.

It says the health aide in the person’s village will monitor the new positive case and all close contacts to ensure access to any medical care that may be needed.

The health corporation also reminded people that the most important ways to protect themselves and others are to continue to wear masks, wash their hands frequently, and practice social distancing.

The new case in the Lake and Pen Borough is identified as the number of new COVID-19 infections surges across the state, reaching a new daily high this weekend.

Coast Guard Safety:

At least two fishing vessels in the bay were lost to accidents up to this point in the season. The F/V Legion caught fire last month and F/V Knot Crazy sank last week. The coast guard caught up with us today to share an update about last week’s sinking, along with a safety PSA for vessel operators in the Bay.

 

Why processors put fishermen on limits -- Intrafish reporter Rachel Sapin breaks down the big run and processor setbacks:

The bay saw a few big harvests last week in three of the biggest districts -- Egegik, Naknek-Kvichak and Nushagak. Huge hauls in multiple districts meant that processors had a hard time keeping up. For more, Izzy Ross talked to Rachel Sapin, a business reporter with Intrafish. 

 

In a follow-up email, Sapin said that Copper River Seafood told her they did not issue limits last week. 

We’re going to stick with seafood products for a minute here. The Alaska Symphony of Seafood is an annual contest for new value-added products made with Alaska seafood.

Its goal is to encourage product development and give winners a leg up when promoting their goods. Izzy talked to Julie Decker, the executive director of the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation, and Lilani Dunn, the marketing director for the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association.

Decker and Dunn also included this plug for potential symphony participants.

Messages to the fleet:

To: Capt. Brent Cathey on the F/V Independence

Hey hot stuff. Hope you’re doing well and able to rest when you can. I finished sprucing up your snow machine today. Have you ever heard of bedazzling? Your seat cover alone is amazing, don’t get me started about the handlebars.

Hey, I found a pillow cover embroidered for someone named “Uncle Tickle Bunny” - is that you?

All my love,

Montana Chick

Contact KDLG at fish@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200

Correction: The percent allocations of harvest by gear type are calculated from the cumulative harvest, not the daily catch as initially reported.