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Photos: Kotzebue commercial chum salmon fishery

Maniilaq workers unload chum salmon from a skiff in Kotzebue, Alaska on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Great Pacific Seafoods workers move chum salmon to anther tote in Kotzebue, Alaska on Friday, August 8, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Frank Kenworthy Sr. picks chum salmon from his net on the beach at sunset in Kotzebue, Alaska on Friday, August 8, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Tyler Williams, Dessirea Kenworthy and Frank Kenworthy Sr. pick chum salmon from their net on the beach at sunset in Kotzebue, Alaska on Friday, August 8, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Tyler Williams, Dessirea Kenworthy and Frank Kenworthy Sr. pick chum salmon from their net on the beach at sunset in Kotzebue, Alaska on Friday, August 8, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Tyler Williams, Dessirea Kenworthy and Frank Kenworthy Sr. pick chum salmon from their net on the beach at sunset in Kotzebue, Alaska on Friday, August 8, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Copper Rive Seafoods workers unload a skiff as another skiff to arrives to unload chum salmon in Kotzebue, Alaska on Friday, August 8, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Great Pacific Seafoods workers take a break as they wait for another skiff to arrive to unload chum salmon in Kotzebue, Alaska on Friday, August 8, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Great Pacific Seafoods workers unload chum salmon from a skiff as another skiff waits in the background on the beach in Kotzebue, Alaska on Friday, August 8, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Billie Rabang, of Great Pacific Seafoods, makes out a check for the chum salmon Pearl Goodwin and the husband John Goodwin delivered in Kotzebue, Alaska on Friday, August 8, 2014. The chum salmon set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Fishers from the villages surrounding Kotzebue set up tents on the beach during the chum salmon fishery in Kotzebue, Alaska on Friday, August 8, 2014. The chum salmon set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
A Great Pacific Seafoods worker's rubber gloves rest the dock on as they wait for another skiff to unload in Kotzebue, Alaska on Friday, August 8, 2014. The chum salmon set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Devin Sheldon and Cyrus Harris pick chum salmon from their net in the evening on the beach in Kotzebue Alaska as kids swim in the background. Commercial fishers unload chum salmon at three buyers on the beach in Kotzebue, Alaska on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Copper River Seafoods workers unload chum salmon from a skiff in Kotzebue, Alaska on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Copper River Seafoods workers unload chum salmon from a skiff in Kotzebue, Alaska on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Maniilaq workers unload chum salmon from a skiff in Kotzebue, Alaska on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Maniilaq workers unload chum salmon from a skiff in Kotzebue, Alaska on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Maniilaq workers unload chum salmon from a skiff in Kotzebue, Alaska on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Dyane Nelson wears a party dress to play in the water with Karen Reich, Karissa Harris and Arvid Nelson in Kotzebue Alaska as the sun sets. Commercial fishers unload chum salmon at at Great Pacific Seafoods and Maniilaq in the background in Kotzebue, Alaska on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Joanna Sours carries chum salmon along the beach as Arvid Nelson, Karen Reich, Dyane Nelson and Karissa Harris play in the water in Kotzebue Alaska as the sun sets. Commercial fishers unload chum salmon at Copper River Seafoods in the background in Kotzebue, Alaska on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Maniilaq workers unload chum salmon from a skiff in Kotzebue, Alaska on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Maniilaq workers unload chum salmon from a skiff in Kotzebue, Alaska on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Jonas Cleveland and Dena Fields rest by their tent in the evening on the beach in Kotzebue Alaska after the chum salmon fishing ended for the day. Commercial fishers unload chum salmon at three buyers on the beach in Kotzebue, Alaska on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Derek Nelson tosses a chum salmon into the skiff as he picks the salmon from the net on the beach in Kotzebue Alaska. A bearded seal skin dries on a stretching rack in the evening sun. Commercial fishers unload chum salmon at three buyers on the beach in Kotzebue, Alaska on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Julia Stalker and Lorraine Booth are selling pizza and maple donuts to fishery workers in the evening on the beach in Kotzebue Alaska. Commercial fishers unload chum salmon at three buyers on the beach in Kotzebue, Alaska on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Elmer Goodwin Sr., Aya Goodwin and Stephanie Stalker pose with their boat in the evening on the beach in Kotzebue Alaska after the chum salmon fishing ended for the day. Commercial fishers unload chum salmon at three buyers on the beach in Kotzebue, Alaska on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Dena Fields does the dishes in the tent she shares with fishing partner Dena Fields on the beach in Kotzebue Alaska. Commercial fishers unload chum salmon at three buyers on the beach in Kotzebue, Alaska on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Cyrus Harris and Devin Sheldon pick chum salmon from their net in the evening on the beach in Kotzebue Alaska as kids swim in the background. Commercial fishers unload chum salmon at three buyers on the beach in Kotzebue, Alaska on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Commercial fishers unload chum salmon at Great Pacific Seafoods on the beach in Kotzebue, Alaska on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. The set net fishery is stacking up to be one of the best takes in the 53 year history of the fishery. The skiff fishery takes place in Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Bob Hallinen

In an industry full of booms and busts, the Kotzebue commercial chum salmon fishery is exploding.

After decades of fluctuation, including a point where the fishery all but ceased to function, it’s back this year, and fishermen are slaying.

So far, about 80 permit holders -- about 69 of which fish on a consistent basis -- have brought in 4.45 million pounds of salmon. On July 28, those fishermen brought in 534,000 pounds of fish to the fishery, 10 times more than the average of 50,000-70,000 pounds of fish that usually get caught each day.

Read more: Flourishing commercial chum fishery has Kotzebue fishermen breaking out the boats