Fishtival is our annual “Welcome home!” festival for Steve and our local fishermen, where we celebrate the season’s successes, visit with other local producers, and catch up with friends, family and loyal customers about our summer on the water. We know some of our customers and friends aren’t local or couldn’t make it, so: a quick 2018 season recap!
First, some not-so-great news:
- Unfortunately, Bristol Bay was the exception this year. At the end of July, catches were down by a third in most of Alaska. The industry is hopeful that many of these fisheries are just late, but more boats are calling it and heading for port each day.
- But mariculture is on the rise! Mariculture is the cultivation of fish (like we do!) or other marine life for food like shellfish and seaweed.
Anchorage Daily News reports about more than just scallops in this growing sector of the seafood industry, “Kelp is poised to be one of Alaska’s biggest crops with one of the biggest payouts.” Curious? We’re now carrying Barnacle Foods Kelp Salsa! Come in and try some!
Some better news...
Bristol Bay wide:
- Records were broken! Surpassing a 60 million fish harvest, 2018 was the second largest ever recorded run in Bristol Bay.
- The Nushagak District saw two days this summer in which the fleet caught over a million fish.
- The Wood River, a smaller river within the Nushagak District, had its highest escapement ever since biologists started recording data in 1952.
- For a more in-depth season recap, check out KDLG’s summer fisheries reports.
News from the F/V Ava Jane news:
We hosted some crew from The Wild and Inflatable Film in hopes to better share what it is we do out there!
We took the kids to Alaska and introduced them to some of our favorite spots. Tommy is learning quick!
What does this mean?
Firstly, it means grateful Bristol Bay fishermen and wary industry leaders. There’s not much like the feeling of being prepared to have your best season ever and spend weeks aboard your 32’ boat waiting on the fish. Thankfully, this was a summer without much waiting for Bristol Bay crews. It’s good to be busy!
Especially during a year when much of the state was forced to wait, or still is, for the fish to show. We know we must remain vigilant, perhaps watching for effects of climate change, and wait and see what the experts learn following this season -- not just for salmon but also for halibut and cod, which are down this year. As fishermen and seafood providers, the risks of this business are clear to us, as is risking the planet and its wild stocks. Wild for Salmon will continue to make responsible choices in providing sustainable seafood to our customers.
High Bristol Bay numbers are certainly something to notice and congratulate the area-management biologists on their good work in supporting sustainability in the region. Of course, the salmon work in mysterious ways, and we can’t expect these types of returns forevermore without taking all the precautions available to us. Seasons like this one remind us to take all steps within our power to respect these fisheries.
Despite this hard-to-hear news, the industry is not panicked yet. Every year is dynamic and variable: something fishermen understand well. And it still means fish for you and your family! If you weren’t able to join us for Fishtival, you still have time to save on all salmon products as we make room for this season’s product. Add a healthy protein option of Wild Alaska Salmon to your freezer!