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About Us              2015 Annual Meeting – June 27

The United Cook Inlet Drift Association (UCIDA) was incorporated in 1980 to represent the 570 drift gillnet salmon fishing permit holders in Alaska’s Cook Inlet. UCIDA’s purpose is to enhance and perpetuate the interests of this valuable commercial salmon fishing industry.

Wild Alaskan salmon have been commercially harvested in Cook Inlet since 1882. Over the past twenty years, the drift gillnet fishing fleet has harvested more than 271 million pounds of salmon, primarily sockeye salmon. The combined efforts of the drift and set gillnet fisheries in Upper Cook Inlet have produced average annual harvests of over 23 million pounds of wild salmon for the American and world markets during the past twenty years. Five percent of the world’s supply of sockeye salmon comes from Cook Inlet.

UCIDA’s Board of Directors and staff work to promote responsible management to ensure the long-term health of this abundant salmon resource and the resulting opportunities and benefits it provides. The day-to-day work of UCIDA covers an extremely broad range of issues that ultimately affect salmon, their harvest and marketing. These may include fishery management, invasive species, oil and gas lease sales, navigation issues, endangered species acts, oil spill response, local, state and federal regulatory issues and both state and federal litigation.

The nine members of the Board of Directors serve staggered three-year terms. Elections are held at annual membership meetings. Members (Upper Cook Inlet drift gillnet permit holders) and Associate Members are encouraged to attend all Board meetings.



Office Manager – Audrey Salmon – info@ucida.org

Board of Directors

David MartinPresidentF/V Kaguyak
Erik Huebsch1st VPF/V Williwaw
Ian Pitzman2nd VPF/V Stephanie Anne
Paul MackieSec/TreasF/V Lorri Lee
Ilia KuzminDirectorF/V Currency
John McCombsDirectorF/V Katydid
Lavrentii (Larry) ReutovDirectorF/V Intrepid
Steve TvenstrupDirectorF/V Alaskan Lady
Dyer VanDevereDirectorF/V Swift Arrow


43961 K-Beach Road, Suite E
Soldotna, Alaska
(907) 260-9436

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ADF&G on the Hunt for Mile Long String of 29 Sablefish Pots in PWS (Fish Radio)

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Fish Radio with Laine Welch] April 17, 2015

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Lost pots in Prince William Sound could be a hazard to fishermen. More after this

Alaskan Quota and Permits in Petersburg works hard for fishermen so they can do what they do best – fish! Visit Olivia at www.alaskabroker.com

Fish Radio is also brought to you by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute – promoting sustainable communities through sustainable fisheries. www.alaskaseafood.org

A mile long string of 29 sablefish pots was lost last month in Prince William Sound after being run over by tugs towing barges at Knight Island Passage.

“It appears that some tug boats passed back and forth across where the gear was set, so it’s lost and we have no idea where it is”.

Maria Wessel is a groundfish biologist at the Fish and Game office in Cordova. A state research vessel has done several swipes of the grounds to no avail. The pots were part of an ongoing tagging study started in 2011 to track the movement of the Sound’s sablefish.

“It’s a movement study – we’re trying to see how well our population is mixed with the population in the wider Gulf of Alaska.”

Both ends of the gear were anchored with 400 fathoms of buoy line, with sets of three buoys each. Wessel called it an unusual loss.

“It was an unusual event to lose this gear. It’s buoyed on both ends and unusual to lose both buoys and not be able to retrieve it. It does happen”.

Prince William Sound ‘s sablefish fishery has been limited entry since 1996 and has 59 participants who share a static 242,000 pound harvest.

Wessel says the lost gear pose no threat to navigation, but sablefish longliners could snag some pots.

“There is a potential hazard of longline gear getting hung up on this lost pot gear and we wanted guys to be aware that is there.”

She says the lost gear poses no threat to the 53 shrimpers out on the grounds.

“Highly unlikely- that sablefish pots were set in about 1200 feet of water so it’s far deeper than a fisherman targeting spot shrimp would be fishing.”

Anyone encountering the lost pots should contact the Fish and Game office at Cordova.

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods. Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America. www.oceanbeauty.com

Michael Ramsingh
SeafoodNews.com 1-732-240-5330
Editorial Email: Editor@seafood.com
Reporter's Email: michaelramsingh@seafood.com

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Another Year of Chinook Conservation and No Subsistence Fishing ahead after Whitehorse Meeting

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Whitehorse Star] By Chuck Tobin on April 17, 2015

Chinook conservation is still the order of the day. It will be another year of heightened conservation for the annual harvest of Yukon River chinook on both sides of the border.

It will be another year of heightened conservation for the annual harvest of Yukon River chinook on both sides of the border.

Yukon and Alaskan management staff on Wednesday told the international Yukon River Panel in Whitehorse that measures are being taken to ensure enough of the troubled chinook stock reach the spawning grounds.

While Wednesday’s agenda for the Whitehorse meeting involved mostly technical presentations with numbers and graphs, there were those who used the open microphone to emphasize the cultural importance of the Chinook.

For 17 years now, Teslin Tlingit elder Madeline Jackson has not set a net for chinook.

She told panel members how her two teenage granddaughters in the audience are skilled at cutting fish, how they knew how to clean and prepare fresh water fish from the lakes. But they’ve never cleaned a chinook salmon, she said with regret.

Jackson said there must be a continuing united front to revive the chinook stocks, a front so strong the whole world will take notice.

“My mom used to say, ‘take what you need, do not take it all, because there are some people coming behind you. ’”

The 12-member Yukon River Panel is a joint Canada-U. S. management body that meets twice a year to receive technical input and discuss conservation and harvest strategies.

It began meeting in Whitehorse last Sunday. Wednesday and this morning were the only sessions open to the public. The meeting was scheduled to conclude this afternoon.

Alarm bells over the rapidly shrinking annual migration of chinook salmon have been going off for years. But the urgency has become louder in the last couple of years.

So much so, Alaska almost eliminated its passionately guarded subsistence fishery last summer, and the aboriginal food fishery in the Yukon was non-existent.

In the summer of 2011, for instance, Alaska’s subsistence fishery harvested 40,211 chinook, according to records.

Last year, it took 3,281, and even those were incidental catches while fishing for other salmon, along with chinook caught in research test fisheries.

In the summer of 2011, the Yukon’s aboriginal food fishery harvested 4,550 chinook, down 3,000 or 4,000 fish from the annual harvests of a decade earlier. Last year, the aboriginal fishery took 100, mostly for ceremonial purposes.

Chief Eric Fairclough of the Little Salmon-Carmacks First Nation described how the Northern Tutchone of the region were culturally linked to the chinook.

Today, he told the panel members, their traditional fish camps are being overrun with willows because nobody’s using them.

And yet, his First Nation is in a constant battle with government over development proposals that have the potential to do significant harm to whatever salmon stocks remain, the chief said.

Fairclough they’re now facing the Yukon government’s Next Generation Hydro project. It’s a proposal to identify a site and develop the territory’s next major hydroelectric dam, a proposal that will inevitably have a significant impact on salmon stocks, he said.

Duane Gastant’ Aucoin of the Teslin Tlingit Council told panel members one of the 10 potential sites calls for a dam across the Teslin River.

Thirty per cent of Canadian salmon use the Teslin River, he said.

“We met with the Next Generation Hydro people and said, ‘are you nuts? ’”

Aucoin assured the panel the Teslin Tlingit Council will continue its fight to protect salmon stocks.

He thanked all those along the Yukon River who made sacrifices by not fishing for chinook last summer.

“The Teslin Tlingit Council would still like to see it happen again this year, and for the entire cycle (chinook life cycle of seven or eight years), ” Aucoin said. “What was started last year, shutting down the fishery, we need to keep doing that at least for one cycle. ”

Alaska scientist Stephanie Schmidt put up numbers Wednesday showing how the return of chinook salmon of Canadian origin would routinely hit 160,000 fish or higher in the 1980s and early ’90s.

In the last decade, however, the annual migration of Canadian chinook has plummeted, and was at an estimated 64,773 last summer, she explained.

Schmidt estimates this year’s total run of Canadian chinook will be between 59,000 and 70,000.

Scientists on both sides of the border acknowledge they don’t know exactly why the chinook salmon stocks are in so much trouble.

Though they generally agree the problem goes well beyond just harvest levels, and are likely associated with changing environmental conditions.

Alaska will again be implementing chinook fishing closures and rigorous conservation plans to fulfill its international treaty obligation of ensuring at least 42,500 chinook reach the Canadian border, Schmidt said.

She said Alaska’s harvest of 3,281 last year was the lowest on record.

For the most part, Alaskan communities who rely on the chinook for food are still in full support of tough conservation measures, though that support is not as rock solid as it was last year, Schmidt told the panel.

Mary Ellen Jarvis of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans told panel members conservation will also be a priority on the Canadian side.

But until officials have had a chance to discuss this summer’s approach with Yukon First Nations, she said, she isn’t able to say exactly what the management plan will look like on this side of the border.

The harvest of an estimated 100 chinook last year was also the lowest ever, according to available records.

Jarvis said the harvest that did occur was mostly for ceremonial purposes.

With no targeted fishing for chinook in Alaska last summer, an estimated 63,431 crossed into the Yukon, all but 100 or so reaching the spawning grounds.

The estimated spawning escapement of 63,331 was the largest in five years.

The spawning escapement in 2013 was 28,669, well below the minimum spawning target of 42,500.

John Sackton, Editor and Publisher
SeafoodNews.com 1-781-861-1441
Editorial Email: Editor@seafood.com
Reporter's Email: jsackton@seafood.com

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Pesticides New Threat to Lamprey Populations in Columbia River

SEAFOODNEWS.COM By Peggy Parker -- April 17, 2015

A study released yesterday by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission found that high levels of pesticides, flame retardants, and mercury in Pacific lampreys may be contributing to their overall decline in the Columbia River Basin.

The study, titled “Reconnaissance of Contaminants in Larval Pacific Lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus) Tissues and Habitats in the Columbia River Basin, Oregon and Washington” showed concentrations of some flame retardants and pesticides were several hundred times higher in larval and juvenile lamprey tissues than in the surrounding sediments.

The rarely studied role of habitat contamination in the recent decline of lampreys was the main objective of the research. Over 100 analytes were measured in sediments and tissues at 27 sites across a large geographic area of diverse land use.

This is the largest dataset of contaminants in habitats and tissues of Pacific lamprey in North America and the first study to compare contaminant bioburden during the larval life stage and the anadromous, adult portion of the life cycle.

Bioaccumulation of pesticides, flame retardants, and mercury was observed at many sites. Based on available data, contaminants are accumulating in larval Pacific lamprey at levels that are likely detrimental to organism health and may be contributing to the decline of the species.
Lamprey numbers have declined dramatically in the Columbia Basin over the past 30 years.

In the 1950s, biologists counted 400,000 adult lampreys migrating from the Pacific Ocean past Bonneville Dam and upstream to spawn. Current counts have dipped down to 20,000, according to the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.

Hydroelectric dams kill thousands of migrating lamprey, according to Todd Sween, a field team member for the Nez Perce Tribal Hatchery’s Pacific lamprey consultation project.

“They have to pass through eight dams to get to our country, and at each one, basically, we lose about 50 percent of the lamprey on the average,” Sween said.

“The adults are spawning, they’re staying where we put them,” Sween said.

“We also now have evidence through electrofishing that there are young spawning in the target streams that we’re doing these plants in.”

The tribes along the Columbia Basin hope to develop a better passage system around the dams for the lamprey, which have long been part of native culture.

The lamprey are a key dish in traditional feasts, used in cultural performances, and are even believed to have medicinal purposes. The Pacific lamprey have extremely high fat content, which make them valuable to tribal diets, but also to the diets of the animals in the ecosystem.

“Pound for pound, one lamprey is equal in caloric value to five salmon,” said Aaron Penney, a production supervisor for the Nez Perce Fisheries.

Pacific lampreys also offer an alternate food source to sea lions, terns, and other predators that would otherwise by munching on threatened salmon.

Peggy Parker, Science and Sustainability Editor
SeafoodNews.com 1-781-861-1441
Editorial Email: Editor@seafood.com
Reporter's Email: peggyparker@seafood.com

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Togiak Herring Forecasted to be Higher than Ten-Year Average

SEAFOODNEWS.COM By Peggy Parker - April 17, 2015

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game forecast a total return of 163,480 tons of herring this spring. That means up to 32,696 tons will be available for harvest in 2015. Biologists will fly over the inshore waters of Togiak Bay this weekend, looking for signs of the returning masses of herring. Togiak herring, much larger than the herring landed in Sitka and Kodiak, will still face a tight market in Japan due to high inventories, declining consumption trrends, and the currency exchange rate.

Harvest allocation, in accordance with the management plan, will allocate 29,012 metric tons for the Togiak sac roe fishery, 20,309 for purse seiners, 8,704 metric tons for gillnetters, 2,184 metric tons for the Dutch Harbor Food and Bait fishery, and 1,500 tons for the spawn-on-kelp fishery. There is not expected to be a spawn-on-kelp fishery this year.

Last year the herring showed up in early May for one of the largest harvests in recent years. Yesterday ADF&G issued a daily report:

"The department received reports of fish on the grounds in Togiak yesterday. Based on this information, staff flew a survey of the Togiak herring district today. Conditions for the survey were fair to good. The uplands are mostly clear of snow, the rivers are open and many of the tundra ponds are also open. Staff did observe some fish in the bight near Togiak Reef in Togiak Bay. No fish were observed anywhere else. Staff did fly for several miles along the shore of Hagemeister Island where herring are typically observed entering the district. Staff did observe numerous sea birds and grey whales but no sea lions. The sea surface temperature map, pafc.arh.noaa.gov/ice.php?img=sst, still indicates 0 degree water in the area. Weather permitting, staff will fly again on Sunday, April 19."

The forecasted run of 163,480 would be 110% of the ten year average.

Surveys were flown between 22 April and 23 May 2014 with peak biomass observed on 2 May. Most of the biomass surveyed occurred in the center of Togiak Bay with a smaller concentration to the east in Kulukak Bay.

Peggy Parker, Science and Sustainability Editor
SeafoodNews.com 1-781-861-1441
Editorial Email: Editor@seafood.com
Reporter's Email: peggyparker@seafood.com

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