Petersburg seine fisheries are bustling this season as commercial fishermen netted record-breaking pink salmon numbers last week.
Petersburg’s Troy Thynes, Alaska Fish and Game Commercial Fisheries Biologist, said the pink harvest is doing well throughout Alaska.
“It was a record setting week for a single week harvests in Southeast Alaska,” Thynes said.
According to Fish and Game press release estimates, more than 16 million pink salmon were harvested during the July 28-29 and August 1-2 openings.
Thynes attributes the large number of fish to all around good ocean and freshwater survival conditions.
Randy Lantiegne, Icicle Seafoods Fleet Manager, said his company saw the pink run come in strong on the north end during 2011 but the current run is more balanced in all districts. He said fish coming in quickly from the Petersburg area are close to maximizing their processing capacity.
“There’ll be some late nights around here and we’ll work hard to keep it going,” Lantienge said.
Some Petersburg fish processing plants are trying to hire more employees because others haven’t shown up for work. A local plant manager who wished to remain anonymous said the increased workload is likely weeding people out.
The manager cited the current average weight of pink salmon—around three pounds—is lower than usual which results in more fish needing to be processed so plants can reach weight goals.
F/V Erika Ann captain Charlie Christensen fished both openings.
“It looks like it’s going to be a banner year for pink salmon,” Christensen said. “All the years I’ve fished I’ve never seen a start like this.”