Fisheries meetings coming up in Seattle, Dillingham

IPHC meets Nov. 27-28, Alaska Board of Fisheries Nov. 28-Dec. 3

Fish watch

Some major Alaska fisheries are winding down for the year, while others are still going strong.

In Southeast, a fishery opened on November 8 for seven different kinds of rockfish.

About 170 divers are still going down for more than 1.7 million pounds of sea cucumbers, and more than 700,000 pounds of giant geoduck clams.

The Dungeness crab fishery is ongoing, and Southeast’s golden king crab fishery ends district wide on November 13.

Trollers also are out on the water along the Panhandle targeting winter king salmon.

Pollock fishing closed to trawlers in both the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska on November 1. Ditto for cod except for boats using longline, jig and pot gear. Boats also are still fishing for flounders and many other species of whitefish.

Crabbers are close to wrapping up the four-million-pound red king crab fishery at Bristol Bay; likewise, the take of 2.4 million pounds of Bering Sea Tanner crab is going fast. No landings are reported yet for snow crab; that fishery typically gets underway in mid-January.

Fishing for halibut and sablefish (black cod) closed on Nov. 7. For halibut, 95 percent of the nearly 20 million-pound catch limit was taken; for sablefish 79 percent of the 26-million-pound quota was caught.

Homer regained its title as Alaska’s top port for halibut landings, followed closely by Seward and Kodiak.

The industry will get its first look at potential halibut catches for next year at the International Pacific Halibut Commission meeting set for Nov. 27-28 in Seattle.

Finally, the state Board of Fisheries meets in Dillingham from Nov. 28-Dec. 3 to take up 47 management proposals for Bristol Bay commercial, sports and subsistence fishery issues.

Fishing jobs jump

After a steep drop in 2016, seafood harvesting jobs grew 8.3 percent last year, the most in percent terms among all Alaska industries.

Harvesting hit a record in 2017 at 8,509 monthly jobs on average and jumped to nearly 25,000 jobs in July.

According to the state Department of Labor’s November Economic Trends, salmon fishing jobs grew overall but varied considerably by region. The crab fisheries had the only employment loss.

By region, harvesting jobs in the Aleutians jumped by nearly 20 percent, mostly through gains in groundfish catches.

Bristol Bay’s fishing jobs also grew overall by 6.2 percent.

The Southcentral region continued its trend of harvester job gains, adding 116 jobs for seven percent growth.

Southeast Alaska’s fishing jobs were up by 7.7 percent with halibut harvesting growing the most by 150 jobs.

Kodiak was one of the few areas to lose fishing jobs. While halibut and salmon harvesting jobs increased, losses in groundfish pushed down Kodiak harvesting employment by 81 jobs each month on average.

The Yukon Delta also lost fishing jobs in groundfish and salmon for an overall decline of 12.7 percent.

The November Trends shows that among all Alaska industries, seafood processing tops the list for injuries.

A rate of 8.8 injuries per 100 full time workers is more than double for other Alaska industries, and is one and a half times the national average for food manufacturing.

The magazine also spotlights the six small communities that make up the Aleutians East Borough.

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