Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: June 26, 2020

Jun 26, 2020

Half of all the boats in the bay are fishing in the Nushagak, which caught 160,000 fish yesterday -- also half of the daily catch bay-wide. Egegik's escapement is now lower than it was at this point last year, and the total run in the Naknek-Kvichak district passed 100,000.

Dillingham Harbor. Wednesday, June 24, 2020.
Credit Brian Venua/KDLG

 


Check out the numbers on our daily numbers page, or at the bottom of the page.

COVID-19 update

There were no new cases of COVID-19 reported in Bristol Bay June 25 or June 26. As of the last counts we received, there are 21 active cases in Bristol Bay Borough, 16 in Lake & Peninsula Borough, and 16 in the Dillingham census area. The total bay-wide is 53. Those numbers include residents and non-resident workers. 

North Pacific Seafoods confirmed today in an email that two positives were discovered at their Red Salmon cannery in Naknek, and that known positives at the plant were transported to Anchorage via private charter, and that rapid tests for close contacts of the known positives have so far been negative. 

Silver Bay Seafoods confirmed on Wednesday that three positive cases from last week or early this week were at their Naknek plant, and were either now recovered, or being treated by on-site medical personnel. 

Horizon Air

Alaska Airlines announced their plans this week for post-summer airfare in Bristol Bay.

The airline will fly the E-175 jet in and out of Dillingham and King Salmon starting in October, the announcement says. The aircraft is operated by Horizon Air, a regional partner with the airline. The aircraft can seat up to 76 passengers and is “perfect for many communities where larger aircraft are not the best option.”

Booking for flights in the region for after August 17 is available June 26. Alaska Airlines announced year-round service to the region last month, after RavnAir Alaska shut down and filed for bankruptcy.

NOAA Fisheries tells employees not to reference COVID-19

An internal memo sent to NOAA Fisheries employees bars them from explicitly referring to COVID-19 or the pandemic in announcements without preapproval. It suggests they use alternatives such as “extraordinary times.” For more, KDLG caught up with Nat Herz with Alaska Public Media and Alaska's Energy Desk in Anchorage. Herz reported on the memo for NPR.  


Nushagak District

In the Nushagak district, yesterday’s drift and set-net openers brought in 160,000 sockeye for a season total harvest of 193,660. Igushik set-netters caught 19.6% of that 160,000, Nushagak set-netters caught 35.5%, and the Nushagak drifters caught the other 44.9%.

Total escapement in the Nushagak district yesterday was 119,060, bringing the escapement total to 362,174. 

Yesterday’s additions from escapement and harvest mean the total run in the Nushagak is 555,834 fish. That’s just about 2 million fish less than this time last year. That lag is mostly due to catch, which had topped 2 million by this point last year. 

Drift fleet in the Nushagak had a 3 hour opener this morning, and set-netters in the district had their opener end just a couple of hours ago. 

Nushagak River

The Nushagak River sonar counted 73,946 sockeye yesterday, for a total escapement of 187,592. It also recorded escapement of 5,650 kings for a total king escapement of 21,595, and 9,404 chum, for a total chum escapement of 23,717.

Wood River

The crew at the Wood River counting tower counted 10,464 sockeye as of 6am this morning, bringing escapement totals up the Wood to 179,016 fish.

Igushik River

In the Igushik River, the tower crew counted 1,836 sockeye as of 6am, bringing total escapement in that river to 7,866. 

Togiak

There aren’t any escapement numbers yet for Togiak, but the section saw a whopping 130 fish catch yesterday, bringing the season total catch to 801 sockeye. 

In 2019, the Togiak run was 10,000 fish further along than it is now, but Togiak is a traditionally later run. 

Egegik

Now over to the eastside… yesterday, Egegik’s escapement was about 7,000 fish ahead of last year. Today, it’s 60,000 fish behind. 19,506 fish escaped upriver in Egegik yesterday, bringing the season total escapement to 116,868. 

After yesterday’s opener in Egegik, harvest increased by 87,000 fish, bringing the season total harvest to 233,118. The Egegik drift fleet caught 87% of yesterday’s harvest, and the set-netters caught the other 13%. Catch still lags behind 2019 by about half a million.

The total run in Egegik is now at 369,986. 

Egegik is having an opener right now that ends at 9:45pm for drift boats and at 11:45pm for set-netters. 

Naknek-Kvichak

In the Naknek-Kvichak district, yesterday’s drift and set-net openers increased district harvest by 40,000, bringing the total harvest to 74,832. That breaks down to 3.5% of the harvest from Kvichak set, 18.1% from Naknek set, and 78.4% from the drift fleet. 

Total escapement to the Alagnak, Kvichak, and Naknek rivers was 15,486 making the season total escapement for the district 53,950. 

Today in 2019, both escapement and harvest totals in the Naknek-Kvichak district topped 140,000 for a 2019 season total of 320,000. 

Yesterday, the total run in the Naknek-Kvichak district passed 100,000 and stands at a grand total of 127,782. 

The set-net period in the Naknek-Kvichak district has been extended until 11:30pm tonight, and the drift fleet in the Naknek section is an hour into an opener that also ends at 11:30pm tonight.  

Ugashik

In Ugashik, yesterday’s catch was 8,800 fish, bringing the total harvest to 9,044, which is also the total run number. There are still no escapement numbers in Ugashik. 

But Ugashik is surpassing the catch and total run counts from 2019, which had just passed 7,500 a year ago today.

Chignik

6,868 sockeye passed through the Chignik weir yesterday, and 6 passed through as of 9am this morning. That brings the total run count to 48,678, with 47,682 of those fish in the early run and 996 in the late run. 

Yesterday, 6 chinook salmon passed through the weir, and no additional kings this morning. This brings the total number of kings to 30.

Area M 

Harvest information from yesterday in Area M is being kept confidential due to a limited number of processors. As it stands, last public information released by the fishery show a harvest of 2,230 chinook, 268,919 sockeye, 1.5 million pinks, and 409,800 chums. 

Permit registration on June 26 9:00am to June 28 at 9:00am

As of 9am this morning, there were 1,075 vessels fishing the bay, 306 of which were D boats. That’s a total of 1,367 permits. Breaking down where those boats are fishing:

Once again, the Nushagak far outstrips the other districts with 49.5% of the fleet fishing there. That’s 532 vessels, 170 of which are D boats. On Sunday morning at 9am, just one of the D boats will leave, bringing the district total vessels to 531 and the D boats 169.

Egegik also maintains its second place for registration. As of 9am, there are 264 vessels there, 65 of which are D boats. That’s 24.5% of the bay-wide fleet. In 48 hours, there will be 281 vessels, 73 of which will be D boats. 

The Naknek-Kvichak district comes third for vessel registrations, representing 21.3% of the fleet. Right now there are 179 single-permit boats and 50 D boats, which will increase to 190 single-permit vessels and 56 D boats at 9am Sunday. 

In Togiak, there are still 31 vessels fishing, and no D boats. That won’t be changing in the next 48 hours. 

And Ugashik is being fished by 19 boats, 6 of which are D boats. They’ll add two D boats on Sunday morning for a total of 21 vessels. 

Port Moller 

The boats of the Port Moller test fishery fished some of the odd-numbered stations yesterday to assess the width of the band of fish caught at station 10. 

Breaking down yesterday’s numbers: 

Station  Index

Station 2 had an index of 0 -- catching no fish.

Station 4  had an index of 12 -- 6 in the 5 ⅛ inch mesh.

Station 6 had an index of 2 -- 1 in the 5 ⅛ inch mesh.

Station 8 had an index of 34 -- 8 in the 4 ½ and 9 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 9 had an index of 42 -- 4 in the 4 ½ and 17 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 10 had an index of 70 --  24  in the 4 ½ and 12 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 11 had an index of 54 -- 11 in the 4 ½ and 15 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 12 had an index of 110 -- 27 in the 4 ½ and 30 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 13 had an index of 27 --  11in the 4 ½ and 2 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 14 had an index of 33 -- 15 in the 4 ½ inch mesh.

Station 16 had an index of 18 -- 3 in the 4 ½ and 5 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 18 had an index of 4 -- 2 in the 4 ½ inch mesh.

Station 20 had an index of 3 -- 1 in the 4 ½ inch mesh.

Station 22 had an index of 88 -- 43 in the 4 ½ and 1  in the 5 ⅛.