Happy New Year

Hello Seafood Lovers! Happy New Year! It has been quite some time since I have posted anything new on Today’s Catch. I have received several emails from people all over wondering what has been happening here at Island Seafoods. I appreciate the support and the overwhelming positive responses. I just wrapped up my busy Christmas shipping season and have some free time ahead of me. This past summer was extremely busy for me and my sport fish staff, made up of college kids. Time and space conflicts prevented me from staying up to date with Today’s Catch. Every time I sat down to post a new entry, someone needed something or needed to use this computer. I will make sure that I don’t miss a beat for 2010!

The past 5 months have been action packed. Sport Fish, salmon, halibut, cod, sole, pollock, rockfish, POP and black cod deliveries, visitors from all over the world, Turkish exchange students and professional film crews kept us humming 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Here is a recap from the summer of 2009.

Elsa and the Sport Fish processing crew

Turkish Exchange Students with a big King Salmon

Happy Customers from the Charter Vessel Reel Fun

Kodiak Brown Bear and sport angler

Capt. Chris Fiala of the U Rascal with a late September Halibut

F/V Stella and a deck load of POP

The 2009 Kodiak area salmon season has come and gone. While many of the seiners landed record catches, for our fleet of West Side set netters it was a different story. The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game kept West Side area closed for much of the summer with only 26 days of fishing time allowed. The Dept. bases openings and closures on the number of salmon that “escape” or make it past a certain point on the Karluk River. The Karluk River never reached its escapement goal. For the seiners fishing in the area, when there is a closure, they pull their net aboard and move to another area of the Island that is open. The set netters have no choice but to sit tight and wait for the area to open again. While fishing time was cut dramatically short, I was able to put up enough Premium Sockeye and Coho to get me through the long winter months.

Sockeye Salmon ready for the freezer

The number of visitors and sport anglers visiting Kodiak was lower than previous years, but that was to be expected with this tough economy. Although the overall number was down, Island Seafoods kept extremely busy. Many of our favorite “veteran” sport fishermen returned to test their luck with the often unpredictable Kodiak Summer weather. The Island was battered by a string of strong Easterly storms, keeping the harbor full many days. Sunny calm days were also in abundance and the “bite” was incredible.

deciding how to divide up the catch on the U Rascal & The Reel Fun at the dock after a day of fishing

Ling cod and king salmon aboard the U Rascal

In July a film crew with the National Geographic channel was here at Island Seafoods to film an upcoming special featuring Casey Anderson from “Expedition Grizzly”. The special focuses on the relationship between Kodiak Brown Bears and the salmon industry. Casey and the crew filmed several offloads out on the dock and some action inside the plant during sockeye salmon production before flying down to the south end of the Island to film Kodiak bears feasting on salmon. Look for the program to air on the National Geographic Channel sometime in late 2010.

Casey Anderson unhooks the net from the crane & Casey with a Sockeye for his bear Brutus.

Casey and I after the shoot

Several boats from the Discovery Channel show, “Deadliest Catch” made appearances in and around the Kodiak Waterfront, Tendering salmon for their different canneries.

F/V Incentive at Oscar's Dock & F/V Time Bandit pulling up to the fuel dock & F/V Cornelia Marie in Dog Bay Harbor & F/V Northwestern passing by Island Seafoods dock

In late summer Island Seafoods switched gears and started processing Pacific Ocean Perch or POP. 2 vessels participated in this fishery, the Stella and the Chellissa. The 100 foot long and nearly 40 foot wide, F/V Chellissa from Coos Bay Oregon was possibly the largest vessel to deliver fish here.

F/V Chellissa backing into the dock

The Massive deck of the F/V Chellissa

F/V Stella with a deckload of POP

Just before Thanksgiving, Island Seafoods had the special honor of doing a custom King Crab offload for the F/V Bering Hunter. The owner of the boat was shipping a 737 cargo plane full of live crab to a buyer in Washington State. We placed each live crab into a large 500 pound box for the plane ride south. This was the second year in a row for this special offload and the vessel owner is planning on dong it again next year.

Augustine pauses between lifts

The offload crew in the F/V Bering Hunter tank

F/V Bering Hunter crewman Mike Ferris holding a nice Bristol Bay King

After the end of the 2009 Halibut season in mid- November, Island Seafoods shut down for some much needed maintenance and repairs. For 6 weeks, we had carpenters, electricians, plumbers, concrete workers and welders working around the clock in preparation for our biggest season of the year, the Federal Pacific cod season which opened January 1st. With the new processing line configuration set up, we will be processing fresh Pacific Cod throughout the next 2 months. With the overall cod quota up by 40%, fishing should be hot. Stay tuned as I will be updating the Today’s Catch as the season progresses. Until Next Time, Enjoy!