Is it a coincidence that one of the world’s largest mineral deposits is located near the world’s largest sockeye salmon spawning grounds at Bristol Bay? And if the likes of a Pebble Mine removed the bulk of those deep deposits that also create the world’s magnetic field, could it disrupt the…

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This year marks the 30th year that the weekly Fish Factor column has appeared in newspapers across Alaska and nationally. Every year it features “picks and pans” for Alaska’s seafood industry — a no-holds-barred look back at some of the year’s best and worst fishing highlights, and my choice…

A lack of fish in the freezers is an encouraging sign for Alaska salmon as we head into the new year, driven by increasing customer demand. But headwinds from trade disputes and the COVID pandemic also loom large on the 2021 horizon.

Tamped down prices due to toppled markets caused by the COVID virus combined with low salmon returns to many Alaska regions added up to reduced paychecks for fishermen and will mean lower tax revenues for fishing communities.

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After a salmon season that successfully fished its way through a pandemic and upturned markets, the value of Alaska salmon permits is ticking up in two regions while toppling in others.

Many Alaska fishermen are likely to be involved in regulatory meetings next spring instead of being out on the water. And Alaska legislators will be distracted by hearings for hundreds of unconfirmed appointments as they tackle contentious budgets and other pressing issues.

Unless you fished for salmon this summer at Bristol Bay, it’s been slim pickings for fishermen in other Alaska regions. Salmon returns have been so poor that communities already are claiming fishery disasters.

Alaska’s seafood industry stakeholders have a four bagger chance to provide input on policy decisions that directly affect their livelihoods: trade, relief payouts for cod and salmon, Board of Fisheries meeting plans and appointees. For several, the window of opportunity is tight.

All systems are go for keeping close tabs on fish and crab stocks in waters managed by the state, meaning out to 3 miles. While constraints from the coronavirus resulted in nearly all annual stock surveys being cut in deeper waters overseen by the federal government, it’s “closer to normal” …

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Surveys of Alaska’s fish, crab and halibut stocks in the Bering Sea have been called off or reduced due to constraints and dangers posed by the coronavirus. 

Recycled fishing nets from Cordova will soon help launch a new clothing line by Grundens, the maker of the iconic foul weather gear “built by fishermen for fishermen for over a century.”

Giving COVID relief funds to the seafood industry and stepping on the gas for offshore fish farming are two big takeaways from the executive orders and congressional packages coming out of the nation’s capital.

Sales of Alaska’s most popular seafoods are being hit hard by markets upended by the coronavirus, but perhaps none is getting battered worse than halibut. Along with the big losses in the lucrative restaurant trade, Pacific halibut also is facing headwinds from increasing foreign imports.

The value of Alaska salmon permits is another casualty of the coronavirus, with prices dropping for all fisheries across the state. There are a lot of permits for sale — and the most offers ever to lease permits, especially at Bristol Bay.

Seafood coming from and going to China is piling up in freezer vans and cold storages indefinitely as the coronavirus continues to cause commerce chaos around the world. 

Lost in the headlines about the hits to seafood sales from the Trump Administration’s trade war with China is another international barrier with Russia that’s been going on far longer.