Commercial Fishing for coho salmon in the Nushagak district is set to open at 9 a.m. Thursday and Togiak Seafoods will be buying. General Manager Voita Novak says one tender, the Sea Trek II left Togiak at about 4 a.m Wednesday, headed to the Nushagak. Novak is asking fisherman to contact the tender Thursday morning on Channel 72.
"They need to first call the tender, let them know they're fishing. We need to know how many boats will fish so we know we can manage the fishery and everyone will be happy," said Novak.
A second tender, the Baranof will arrive Friday about noon. Novak says he needs to know fishermens’ plans in order to manage the tender schedule. It’s a 48 hour round trip to Togiak due to choppy seas and wind. Novak is asking for iced and bled fish and confirms that ice will be available free of charge:
"We have 50 totes of ice, we can get fisherman about 30 totes. Also, they can get ice from the harbor, everything is set up, we pay for the ice and they can ice the fish in the harbor," said Novak.
The price is not finalized, but is expected to be between 80 cents to a dollar for bled and iced fish.
"I'm trying to push as much as we can, I'm just trying to process the fish as fast as I can and get money for it," said Novak.
About 40 fisherman took part in last weekend’s opening. Voita expects a similar number for this weekend. He says fisherman delivered about 350 thousand pounds of silvers last weekend.
Matt Jones is the Assistant Area Management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. He says another 5 thousand, 500 fish came past the sonar Tuesday to bring the total to 77 thousand.
"We're several days ahead of the curve to get the escapement goal of 100 thousand. We're optimistic with the wind that we'll get these nice days of passage and and pretty quickly we'll hit our escapement goal," said Jones.
That goal stands at 100 thousand fish at the bottom end. Jones says the confluence of weather and commercial fishing worked out nicely for a productive few days of fishing.
"It looked like it was really good timing this past week in terms of commercial fishing and escapement. The wind and those forces combined to not have any worries about escapement and it allowed for some really good commercial fishing for a small group of people," said Jones.
The weekly fishing schedule for Nushagak silvers runs Thursday 9 a.m. through Tuesday 9 a.m. Fisherman are reminded to be sure they have a buyer before fishing.