Articles written by Laine Welch

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 By Laine Welch    Dockside    May 26, 2016 

Fish Factor: High prices kick off Copper River opener

Alaska’s salmon season officially got underway on May 16 with the arrival of thousands of sockeye and king salmon at the Copper River near Cordova, and high prices were the talk of the town. The first opener produced a catch of 25,000 sockeye and...

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    May 19, 2016

Fish Factor, Alaska's salmon season begins with a lot of optimism

Alaska’s salmon season has gotten underway with lots of optimism, a far cry from the bleak feelings of a year ago. Last year’s fishery was blown asunder by a perfect storm of depressed currencies, salmon backlogs and global markets awash with...

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    May 12, 2016

Fish Factor: Salmon fishermen can get rebates for baleen whale pingers

Alaska salmon fishermen can get rebates on pingers aimed at keeping baleen whales away from their gear. The six inch, battery operated tubes are tied into fishing nets and transmit animal-specific signals every five seconds to alert the animals to ke...

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    May 5, 2016

Fish Factor: Costs of test fishing now being covered by fishermen

In the face of Alaska’s multi-billion dollar budget shortfalls, state policy makers are putting the onus on fishermen to cover the costs of going fishing. “One of the sources we have to offset general fund decreases is increased test fishing. We...

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    April 28, 2016

Fish Factor: Budget cuts continue to affect Alaska fisheries in all regions

Cuts affecting Alaska’s fisheries will be spread across all regions and species, depending on the final budget that is approved by state legislators. As it stands now, the total commercial fisheries budget for FY 2017 from all state and federal...

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    April 21, 2016

Fish Factor, Higher ocean acidity is affecting Bering Sea crab shell production and immune systems

Increasingly corrosive oceans are raising more red flags for Bering Sea crab stocks. Results from a first ever, two year project on baby Tanner crabs show that higher ocean acidity (pH) affects both their shell production and the immune systems....

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    April 14, 2016

Fish Factor: Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan discusses efforts for fisheries

Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan has scored seats on nearly every Congressional committee that deal with issues on, over and under the oceans. That fulfills a commitment he made to Kodiak when he ran for office two years ago, he said at a ComFish town...

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    April 7, 2016

Fish Factor: Few fishermen are hooking into the Coast Guard direct SOS lifeline

Alaska fishermen can send an SOS call directly to the Coast Guard, but many are not hooking up to the new lifeline. Digital Selective Calling (DSC) instantly signals a distress call over VHF radios to other vessels, and the feature has been a...

 
 By Laine Welch    News    March 31, 2016

Fish Factor: 2016 salmon forecast down 40 percent from last year

Alaska’s 2016 salmon harvest will be down by 40 percent from last year’s catch, if the fish show up as predicted. The preliminary numbers released by the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game call for a total catch of 161 million salmon this year; the...

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    March 24, 2016

Fish Factor: How 50¢ a pound for reds turns into over $10 for customers

If a fisherman gets 50-cents a pound for his reds, how can the fish fetch $10, $15 or more at retail counters? “It’s all the other stuff that happens after he sells the fish. A lot of costs, margins and profits are included in that retail...

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    March 17, 2016

Fish Factor: The value of Alaska salmon fishing permits plummet

Fire sale salmon prices last year and a dim outlook for the upcoming season have caused the value of Alaska fishing permits to plummet. To another extreme – the prices for halibut catch shares have soared to “unheard of levels.” Starting with...

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    March 10, 2016

Fish Factor

Fish stomachs could help solve the mystery of why Alaska halibut are so small for their age. Halibut weights are about one-third of what they were 30 years ago, meaning a halibut weighing 120 pounds in the late 1980s is closer to 40 pounds nowadays....

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    February 25, 2016

Fish Factor: Salmon market facing many challenges in 2016

Early signs point to continuing headwinds in world markets for Alaska salmon. Global currencies remain in disarray, the ongoing Russian seafood embargo is diverting more farmed salmon to the U.S., and tons of product remains in freezers from back to...

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    February 11, 2016

Fish Factor: Black cod survey looks for cause of population decline

Needy Alaskans are enjoying a rare taste of sablefish, thanks to a science project that kept research fish from going over the rails. Sablefish, more commonly called black cod, are one of the world’s priciest, high end fish, and Alaska waters are...

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    February 4, 2016

Fish Factor: Halibut catches will not be slashed for the first time in 15 years

Alaska’s halibut stocks are showing signs of an uptick and fishermen’s catches will not be slashed for the first time in 15 years. Fishery managers on Friday set the coast wide Pacific halibut harvest for 2016 at 29.89 million pounds, a 2.3...

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    January 28, 2016

Fish Factor: UFA working to protect fisheries science during budget crisis

A single Chinook salmon is worth more than a barrel of oil. The winter kings being caught by Southeast Alaska trollers are averaging 10 pounds each with a dock price of $7.34 a pound, according to state fish tickets. That adds up to $73.40 per fish,...

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    January 21, 2016

Fish Factor: Two early fish bills hope to swim past budget cuts during legislative session

Fishing issues will take a back seat to budget cutting when the Alaska legislature convenes on January 19 for its 90-day session, but two early fish bills (and one hold-over) already are getting attention. One new measure aims to stop the migration o...

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    January 14, 2016

Fish Factor: Alaskan mariculture expanding from shellfish to seaweed farming

Alaska’s mariculture industry has passed some big milestones, and is getting set to head into the weeds. Aquatic farming, which was Ok’d by Alaska lawmakers in 1988, topped $1 million in shellfish sales for the first time ever in 2014, coming in...

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    January 7, 2016

Fish Factor: A look back at the best and worst fish stories of the year

2016 marks a quarter of a century for this weekly column that targets Alaska’s seafood industry. At the end of every year, I proffer my ‘no holds barred’ look back at the best and worst fish stories, and select the biggest story of the year....

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    December 31, 2015

Fish Factor: Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea groundfish catch quotas go up

“Tis the season for even bigger Alaska fish catches when groundfish seasons open at the start of the New Year. Catches of pollock, cod, flounders and other groundfish account for nearly 85 percent of Alaska’s harvest poundage, and 67 percent of t...

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    December 24, 2015

Fish Factor: Alaska fisheries bypro ducts being converted into new income streams

Alaska crab shells are fueling an eco-revolution that will drive new income streams for fabrics to pharmaceuticals to water filters. And for the first time, it is happening in the USA and not overseas. The entrepreneurs at Tidal Vision in October...

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    December 17, 2015

Fish Factor: "Caught By Alaskans for Alaskans" program aims to sell seafood in Alaska

Caught by Alaskans for Alaskans is a business concept that bested 170 others in a global fisheries business competition last month at Stanford University in California. The contest, sponsored by Fish 2.0, awards creative approaches that build demand...

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    December 10, 2015

Fish Factor: Halibut catch could decrease slightly next year

Despite some encouraging signs that Pacific halibut stocks are stabilizing after being on a downward spiral for nearly two decades, catches could decrease slightly in most regions again next year. That’s IF fishery managers accept the catch...

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    December 3, 2015

Fish Factor: Contest call is out for innovative seafood products contest

The call is out for products to compete in Alaska’s most celebrated seafood bash, and another new category has been added to the mix. For the 23rd year, the Symphony of Seafood in 2016 will showcase innovative new products that are entered both by...

 
 By Laine Welch    Dockside    November 26, 2015

Fish Factor: State Boards asking for input on on budgets and bycatch

Alaskans are being asked to weigh in on two tough issues: budgets and halibut bycatch. First off, the state Boards of Fish and Game are asking for ideas on cutting costs within their annual meeting cycles, as well as for the state agencies involved...

 

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