Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 19, 2021

Jul 19, 2021

The Nushagak’s sockeye run is the second-largest on record, at 27 million fish. The total bay-wide run is at 62.2 million fish -- just 719,000 away from breaking the biggest run on record. Ugashik was the only district to harvest more than 100,000 fish yesterday. The season’s total catch is 38 million fish -- so far, the seventh-largest on record. 

Bristol Bay salmon. July 2021.
Credit Hope McKenney


Peter Pan Seafoods ups base price to $1.25 a pound for Bristol Bay sockeye

Peter Pan Seafoods has raised its base price for Bristol Bay sockeye to $1.25 a pound. 

The company announced an initial base price of $1.10 in June, before fishing began. 

The processor told its fleet it was upping the base price to $1.25 on Saturday -- the day after OBI Seafoods set its base price for that amount. 

Travis Roenfanz, the Bristol Bay manager for Peter Pan, said the company upped its price to compete with other processors.

“There were some other rumors out there that the other base prices were going to be posted at $1.25, so we wanted to make sure that we were competitive. So we bumped up to $1.25 to match what we were hearing out there in the other industry sectors,” Roenfanz said on Monday.

Peter Pan will pay an additional $0.10 for fall fish after July 18, and $0.30 worth of quality bonuses.

The 2021 price is up almost 80% from last year's 70 cents per pound, and it is on par with the price for 2018.

Roenfanz said that despite a week of million-fish days in the Nushagak, the season has been smooth so far. The company did send some of its Bristol Bay fish to other facilities.

“We shipped some to Port Moller and to King Cove, and that was a great help to us," he said. "But we never got close to limits, and we were able to handle everything quite well.”

OBI announced its base price of $1.25 on Friday. It will include a $0.15 late-season bonus for boats that continue to fish after July 23. That increase will not go into effect until after that date.

Fisher Poets

Fisher Poets is an annual gathering of -- you guessed it -- poets who fish, or fishermen who write poetry. One of the first people to get involved was Moe Bowstern, a fisherwoman, poet, artist, and storyteller. East Side Reporter Mackenzie Mancuso met up with her in Naknek to talk about the importance of storytelling and art in the fishing industry.

Moe Bowstern was involved in Fisher Poets early on, and fished for decades in Kodiak before coming to Bristol Bay. June 19, 2021.
Credit Mackenzie Mancuso/KDLG

Listen to Moe Bowstern read her poem "Onward to Togiak, West Bering Sea, 1996" :

For more information on the annual Fisher Poets gathering in Astoria, Oregon, visit www.fisherpoets.org.

NOAA "Women in the Fisheries"

In 2017, social scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration arrived in Bristol Bay to interview and record women in Alaska’s fisheries. The project is archived with NOAA’s Voices Oral History Archives.

Our third portrait features Connie Timmerman. Her interview was recorded in 2017 by Anna Lavoie and Jean Lee in Dillingham.

Lisa Greene, a student at Maine College of Art, edited this portrait. Thanks to NOAA Fisheries for sharing this project with KDLG. Learn more about the project in this episode.

Messages to the fleet

To the WallyWorld set net crew on the Egegik beach:

Hope you’re still getting a few fish! We’ll see you this weekend.  Love and Miss you!   From, Barb

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

Hey Fluffy Buns. Please tell Matt Hakela (hack-el-ah) that I still can’t find the pumpkin spice beard oil he wanted, so I’m sending some of your extra Rosewater Mustache Wax. Such a good thing you order it by the case!

Finished up the bedazzling on all your work clothes. I’m cleaning closets next. Do you mind if I donate your Barbra Streisand and Spice Girls CDs? I need to make room for my Waylon and Cash collection.

Miss you like crazy! 

Montana Chick

Nushagak sunset. July 2021.
Credit Hope McKenney

The numbers

The bay-wide run is just 719,214 fish shy of breaking the largest run on record of 62.9 million fish, which was set in 2018. 

Harvest has definitely slowed down around the bay -- Ugashik was the only district to harvest more than 100,000 fish. The daily catch was 351,000, bringing the total to 38 million. 

516,700 fish escaped up rivers across the bay yesterday, for a total escapement of 24.1 million.

Nushagak District

Nushagak fishermen caught 66,000 fish yesterday, for a total harvest of 17.4 million. The average drift delivery contained 285 sockeye.

Nushagak drifters caught more than 80% of that cumulative catch and set netters caught 13%. Igushik set nets hauled in around 3%, and another 3.5% was unspecified.

The Nushagak’s total run is at 27 million. The district’s biggest run was 33.7 million fish in 2018.

Nushagak River

The sockeye run up the Nushagak continues its downward trajectory for the fourth day in a row. 14,923 sockeye passed the sonar yesterday. The total sockeye escapement is at 4.6 million fish.

Around 152 Chinook escaped up river yesterday, bringing the total king run in the Nushagak to 53,369. That’s 1,600 under the minimum escapement goal in the river.

The chum run yesterday took a big drop from Saturday -- 321 fish escaped up river, bringing the total chum run to 123,325.

Wood River

Wood River’s escapement is also steadily shrinking. 53,250 fish swam up river yesterday, and another 18,348 escaped as of 6 a.m. this morning. The run up the Wood River is at 4.2 million.

Igushik River

The Igushik’s run has stayed pretty steady over the past five days; 20,442 fish escaped yesterday, and another 3,600 passed the counting tower this morning. The run up the Igushik is at 802,758.

Togiak

Togiak’s fleet harvested 7,000 fish yesterday, with an average drift delivery of 497 sockeye. The season total harvest is at 274,476.

Escapement up the Togiak River has remained steady for the past few days. Yesterday, almost 11,000 [10,890] fish swam up river, and another 2,958 escaped as of 6 a.m. this morning. Total escapement up the Togiak is at 105,930.

The district’s total run is at 377,448. Like the Nushagak, Togiak’s biggest run returned in 2018 at 1.3 million fish.

Naknek-Kvichak 

The Naknek-Kvichak’s fleet harvested 68,000 fish yesterday, for a season total of 8.2 million. An average of 157 sockeye were in each drift delivery.

Drift nets pulled in about three quarters of that cumulative catch. Naknek set netters harvested 13%, and Kvichak set nets hauled in 12%. 

The district’s run has reached 18.3 million fish. The biggest run in the Naknek-Kvichak was 44.3 million fish in 1965.

Naknek River

16,362 fish escaped up the Naknek River yesterday, for a total spawner count of 2.6 million.

Kvichak River

The Kvichak’s escapement was the highest in the district yesterday, coming in at 73,470. The river’s total escapement is at 2.6 million.

Alagnak River

The Alagnak also saw quite a few fish pass the counting tower yesterday -- daily escapement was at 66,144, bringing that river’s total to 2.8 million.

Egegik 

Egegik fishermen harvested 77,000 fish yesterday, with an average of 394 sockeye per drift delivery. The district’s total catch is at 7.6 million.

Egegik’s drift fleet caught 84% of that total catch, and set netters have harvested 16%.

Escapement up the Egegik River was 19,200, for a total of 1.7 million spawners so far.

The district’s total run is 18.3 million fish -- about 5 million under Egegik’s record run of more than 23 million fish in 1993.

Ugashik

Ugashik had the biggest harvest of the day, as fishermen pulled in 133,000 fish, with an average drift delivery of 562 sockeye. The total harvest is at 4.5 million fish.

The drift fleet has caught 87% of that catch, and set netters have harvested around 13%.

242,058 fish escaped up the Ugashik yesterday, for a total escapement of 2.5 million.

The run there sits at 7 million fish -- just 1 million under Ugashik’s biggest run of 8.2 million in 2016. 

Chignik Weir

At the Chingik Weir, 9,100 sockeye passed the weir yesterday. 30 Chinook also swam up river.

As of 9 a.m. today, 1,758 sockeye passed the weir, and 6 chinook also swam through.

The season total for sockeye is 325,861. The early run is at 247,848, and the late run is at 78,013.

The Chignik River Chinook run is at 475. 

Area M

At Area M, 37,200 sockeye were caught yesterday, for a total of 5.4 million. About 80 chum were harvested, bringing that cumulative to almost 934,000 fish. The pink catch was at 40 fish, for a total of 3.4 million. And the coho harvest was 34 fish, for a season total of 26,400.

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