commercial fishing

On the Kenai Conversation this week, host Jay Barrett welcomes Cook Inlet commercial salmon fishermen Paul Shadura, Jesse Bjorkman and Andy Hall to discuss the downward trajectory of salmon returns, management goals and the need for all gear groups to finally come together and work for the benefit of the fish.

Jay Barrett/KDLL

While Gov. Bill Walker was in Kenai on Friday, he took some time to listen to the concerns of over a hundred Cook Inlet commercial fishermen about management of salmon in the district during this year of low returns. It was a generally cordial meeting but there were many direct questions. Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotton joined Gov. Walker and was called upon several times to defend Fish and Game policy. Lack of faith in escapement policy also arose.

Commercial salmon fishermen in Upper Cook Inlet will finally get a chance to put their nets in the water on Thursday. It is the first of the fleet’s regular 12-hour Monday-and-Thursday scheduled fishing openings.

Brian Marston, Fish and Game’s area manager for Upper Cook Inlet commercial fisheries, says this opening will be district-wide.

Redoubt Reporter

A new bill working its way through the state senate would address the state-wide issue of the greying of the fleet. That is, many commercial fishermen reaching retirement age or beyond, and no younger fishermen in their wake to take over the limited number of permits. The bill had its first hearing this week, but will need some changes before going further.

 

 


As the Alaska Board of Fisheries begins its work session in Anchorage today, it will consider requests from the Kenai Peninsula Borough and cities of Kenai and Soldotna to meet on the Kenai Peninsula in the future.

The board considers Upper Cook Inlet management issues every three years. It’s going on 20 years since the board held a full meeting on the central peninsula, despite being home to some of the largest salmon-producing rivers and associated fisheries in the region.

In Nikiski, there's a little-noticed seafood plant that processes and ships out fresh and fresh-frozen razor clams to all parts of the country. That's because it's currently the only one in operation -anywhere. The plant manager is Rusty Roessler, who's been in charge at Pacific Alaska Shellfish for the past 14 years.

On this week's Kenai Conversation, host Jay Barrett speaks with long-time Alaska cannery boss Rusty Roessler, who spent 14 years as the manager of Pacific Alaska Shellfish in Nikiski. Today (Aug. 16) is Roessler's last day, and he's retiring after 36 years managing seafood processing plants around Alaska. This is an extended version of the conversation that aired.

August 10 marked the second annual Wild Salmon Day across the state. On the central Kenai Peninsula, salmon lovers gathered at Soldotna Creek Park to hear some of the works of local fisher poets Clark Whitney and Steve Schoonmaker.


The sockeye run continues its slow burn into the Kenai River.

Commercial fishing for the drift and set-net fleets was generous last week, but things look to be slowing down a bit.