Bristol Bay Fishermen Urged To Delay Start Of Sockeye Season

The coronavirus spread has taken a toll on so many industries and workers’ livelihood, that a group has encouraged the profitable and critical Bristol Bay sockeye salmon fishing season be delayed over COVID-19 concerns shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Here’s more from KTUU:

On Thursday, the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, which represents the Bristol Bay drift gillnet fleet, issued its first COVID-19 advisory to the fleet asking that non-local Bristol Bay Fishermen delay travel to the region until at least May 1 and listed the state mandated quarantine protocol for anyone who does travel to Alaska from out of state.

“You do NOT want to be the outsider photographed or seen around town in public spaces if this situation turns for the worst. Such actions could quite literally jeopardize your business, your fishing career, and even personal health. Do not risk it, and make sure your crew does not place your business at risk either,” the BBRSDA advisory said.

Since Alaska enacted a limited entry permit system, the share of permits held locally by Bristol Bay residents has declined by more than 50 percent, according to a 2017 University of Alaska Fairbanks analysis. Many drift fishermen make the trip each summer from Washington, Oregon or California.