Norton Sound Sees Bumper Salmon, Crab Season

Fish delivered to a buyer in Emmonak in late 2007. Photo: Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Fish delivered to a buyer in late 2007. Photo: Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

It’s a been a good summer for commercial fishing in the Norton Sound—and at the latest meeting of the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation Board, a strong crab and an ongoing salmon season means its not over.

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“We paid out over $2.047 million to our local crab fleet, which is just amazing.”

NSEDC Board chair Dan Harrelson of White Mountain adds the salmon are still running. So far this year fishermen in Golovin, Elim, Koyuk, Shaktoolik, and Unalakleet have racked up over $650,000—and they’re still fishing. Silvers are just starting their run—with Unalakleet delivering about 20,000 cohos as of last week. Harreslon says it’s an opportunity for people in communities throughout the region:

“We’ve had residents come from White Mountain and some of the non-fishing communities come in and work at the fish plant in Nome, or even travel to UNK and work at the fish plant in UNK. So there’s a definite economic opportunity for folks from Nome and the surrounding villages to work in our various fish plants and as well work on some of the vessels on some of our tenders that we have that are moving the salmon and crab throughout the region.”

The board also heard from it’s for-profit subsidiary, Siu Alaska. Siu’s president and CEO Cora Campbell says, beyond fish, cod liver is the exciting news for Siu this year: a new plant in Dutch Harbor is gearing up to turn the livers of the prized whitefish into health supplements.

“It’s a part of the fish that was just being discarded at sea before, so this is an opportunity to add value, and to use something that was a byproduct before and turn it into a finished product and sell it, and that’s the direction we want to go, full utilization.”

Campbell says Siu’s crabbing vessels are now heading to the Aleutians to harvest a combined 2.6 million pounds of golden king crab. Siu also has boats harvesting Bering Sea pollock