Laine Welch

Laine Welch
Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod. She retired in April 2022 from her Fish Factor reports, but now produces a blog at

Alaska Fish News: State attracts 20 Alaska aqua-farm applications

Twenty applications for Alaska aquatic farm permits were received by the state by the April 30 deadline. That’s the highest number in 17 years, said Flip Pryor, statewide aquaculture section chief at the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game which issues the permits.

Release of radioactive water from Fukushima OK-ed by Japan

Roughly 1,000 tanks holding 1.2 million tons of diluted but still radioactive water will be released into the ocean starting next year. The toxic stockpile stems from damage to the Fukushima nuclear power station by a horrific 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in 2011. The incident damaged the plant’s cooling systems and caused three reactor cores to melt.

All signs point to good demand for wild Alaska salmon

Weekly bulletins for Alaska salmon catches by region and species are available for free starting in early June. The bulletins are compiled by McKinley Research Group for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. At a glance, a teaser out this week shows 2021 dock price trends for fishermen (ex-vessel), prices for key products compared to previous years, 2022 harvest forecasts by area and more.
Early herring spawn event at Knowles Bay. (March 31, 2019) Photo courtesy of Vanessa Lane-Miller/Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Fish Factor: Herring harvesters anticipate record catch, but shortage of buyers

The arrival of herring signals the start of Alaska’s spring fisheries and this year’s catch levels from each of the three main areas are record breakers.

Fish Factor: Robust return of salmon to hatcheries in 2021 paid out $142 million

Salmon returning home to Alaska hatcheries again accounted for nearly one-third of the 2021 statewide catch for commercial fishermen at 64 million fish. It was the 8th largest hatchery homecoming since 1977 and at a payout of $142 million, the salmon produced 25% of the overall value at the Alaska docks.

Fish Factor: Bycatch Review Task Force hard at work

Gotta give the Dunleavy Administration credit for being the first to try and get to the bottom of one of Alaska’s most troubling fishing issues: bycatch.

Fish Factor: Alaska seafood industry wants Russia’s seafood out of US

“If they don’t buy from us, we shouldn’t buy from them,” Alaska’s seafood industry has grumbled since 2014 when Russia abruptly banned all food imports from the U.S and several other countries. Then, as now, the face-off stemmed from Russia’s invasion and subsequent takeover of chunks of Ukraine which prompted backlash and severe sanctions.

Fish Factor: Alaska seaweed farming shows great potential

The U.S. grows less than one-hundredth of one percent of the world’s $6 billion seaweed market but Alaska has the goods to grow into a major contributor.

Fish Factor: Lawmakers push to get tough on trade policies

Seafood is Alaska’s biggest export by far and lawmakers are getting tough on trade policies that unfairly trounce global sales.

Fish Factor: ASMI updates snapshot of Alaska fisheries

Where do most Alaska fishermen live? Which Alaska region is home to the most fishing boats? The answers can be found in an easy to read, colorful economic report by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute for 2019/2020 that includes all regions from Ketchikan to Kotzebue.
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