Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 20, 2018

Jul 20, 2018

Bristol Bay’s salmon run surpassed its preseason forecast Wednesday and hit 54.9 million on Thursday. How much longer will this incredible run keep trucking along? We look into it on our last regular broadcast of the Bristol Bay Fisheries Report this summer.

Quality control technician Maddie Vancuren looks over an assessment on a tender near Naknek.
Credit Mitch Borden / KDLG

Look for our final wrap-up show on Friday, July 27.

Many Bristol Bay salmon processors give bonuses to fishermen who can chill the fish sitting in their boat’s hold. That’s not so easy, though, when ice is in short supply.

On July 4 this year, 674 vessels were fishing the Nushagak District. That's double the number of boats that day for the previous four years (2017 had 389 vessels, 2016 had 308, 2015 had 325, and 2014 had 335). With that many boats on the water, the Nushagak ice barge and tenders couldn't keep up with demand. Many fishermen reported the Bristol Maid would only dole out 500 pounds of ice on busy days. The Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation and Trident Seafoods team up to run the barge, but neither entity would comment on how often they had to limit ice this summer. 

If fishermen can get their hands on ice, seafood processors pay them millions of dollars for premium sockeye. How do companies make sure they’re getting their money's worth? KDLG's Mitch Borden discovers it's by using mostly college students to keep fishermen honest. He takes us on board a tender for that story.

Togiak is traditionally the last of Bristol Bay’s five districts to spin up. It’s a much smaller fishery and more local. Boats that have fished elsewhere in the Bay can’t transfer into the area until July 27. KDLG’s Avery Lill talked with area management biologist Tim Sands about how things are shaping up there. She also spoke with area management biologist Travis Elison about how he's handling management decisions in Naknek-Kvichak.

Catch this program at 6 p.m., 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. on AM 670, and online at KDLG.org. We'll be back with a final wrap-up Fisheries Report on July 27. Thanks for following our show this summer!

Letters from home to your friends and family in the Bay this summer? Email us at avery@kdlg.org, or call 907-842-5281.

Have feedback, suggestions of something you'd like to hear? Reach Avery Lill / Izzy Ross / Austin Fast / or Mitch Borden (in Naknek).

Contact the author at austin@kdlg.org or 907-842-5281.

Allison O'Brian (left) of Dillingham and her deckhand Shawna Fike clean out brailer bags on board the F/V Flying Cloud Thursday in Dillingham's small boat harbor.
Credit Austin Fast / KDLG

Brailer bag filled with fish being loaded onto a tender near Naknek.Credit Mitch Borden / KDLGEdit | Remove