Commercial salmon season is all but finished, but that only means a shift to cod for Kodiak fishermen.
Saturday was the opening day for the Pacific Cod B season for trawl, pot and hook-and-line fishermen. Seventeen thousand metric tons of cod were available in the central Gulf of Alaska and another 8,410 tons in the western Gulf of Alaska, representing 40 percent of the annual cod allocation for the year.
According to forecasts from the National Marine Fisheries Service, trawlers were expected to complete their portion of the central Gulf cod quota before the end of the holiday weekend, while pot fishermen are expected to have three weeks’ worth of fishing. Hook-and-line boats are expected to stay busy at least through September in the central Gulf.
Final numbers for the salmon season will not be available for several weeks, but the rapid decline in catches means those figures will not change greatly from current numbers.
On Saturday, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game reported its tally of salmon caught in Kodiak waters had risen to 19.6 million fish.
That figure is more than 2 million salmon above preseason estimates and includes 16.5 million pink salmon — 3 million more than forecast.
The surge in pink salmon countered a sockeye run below expectations. Through Saturday, 2.1 million red salmon had been caught, about 600,000 below forecasts. The chum salmon run of 840,000 fish was about 40,000 below preseason projections.