The arrival of fall doesn’t mean the end of commercial seafood harvests in Southeast Alaska for the year.
Far from it. Although the commercial net fisheries for salmon are concluding, several commercial fishing seasons for other types of seafood are just about to begin in early October.
These include the commercial dive harvest fisheries for sea cucumbers (first opening scheduled for Oct. 4) and geoduck clams (first possible opening date is Oct. 6 or Oct. 7) and red sea urchins (2021-22 season opens on Friday). The commercial pot shrimp fishing season will start on Friday, as will the herring winter food and bait fishery in portions of Section 3-B and District 4. In addition, Friday will see the opening of the fall/winter commercial Dungeness crab fishery in Southeast Alaska.
The commercial winter troll fishery is set to start on Oct. 11— and there are some continuing fisheries, too.
The commercial individual fishing quota fishery for halibut in Southeast Alaska that started back in March is continuing through Dec. 7, while the commercial fisheries for sablefish (black cod) in the northern and southern Southeast inside subdistricts are set to remain open through Nov. 15.
In short, there’s a lot of seafood harvesting that will be happening during the next several weeks and beyond. That’s good for Ketchikan and the region’s other commercial fishing ports that benefit from the economic activity of a sector that operates just about year-round.
That’s a key point. While it might seem like activity fades when the fall season arrives, there’s still an industry quietly in action bringing jobs to the region and the best seafood in the world to the world.