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Read and Heed. Implementation of New Requirements for Commercial Fishing Vessels (12/1). Mandatory examinations and survival craft requirements
What: USAG Port Meeting
When: Monday Feb 23, 2015. 6-7PM
Where: NSRAA Conference Room, 1308 Sawmill Creek Rd
Purpose. We need to elect a new chapter president to replace Botso Eliason who served for many years. If you would like to run for office, please contact the Executive Director ASAP. Only members whose dues are current may vote; BUT THE MEETING IS OPEN TO ALL GILLNETTERS. We will also discuss the Board of Fisheries meeting in Sitka Feb 23 – March 3; and deep draft track lines in Lynn Canal and Stephens Passage.
Community Reception for BOF. Wednesday Feb 25, 6PM, Sitka Sound Science Center
BOARD OF FISHERIES – SOUTHEAST FINFISH – Feb 23 – March 3
Listed to audio
Meeting information, including proposals, agenda, roadmap, ADFG comments and report, on time public comments, and RC (when submitted).
Attached your will find USAG comments on BOF proposals and the agreement with SEAS, PVOA, PSVOA.
After careful deliberation USAG made an agreement with SEAS/PVOA/PSVOA to set some boundaries on BOF proposals and worked out an agreement, especially hatchery rotations that we believe help our fleet in the long run. This agreement was done in part to resolve issues between gillnetters and seiners without a fight in front of the Board of Fish.
We understand that there are mixed opinions on proposals 209 (PINK Mesh Depth) and 210 (Monofilament). We want to raise these issues to help generate a discussion of how we can make the feet more efficient and understand that are concerns that this could result in reduced time or area. Additionally, we are below our wild pink allocation and this could encourage the Department to provide additional pink opportunity.
The Alaska Fisheries Report (2/19) Coming up this week, a pot cod boat runs hard aground during heavy weather in Kodiak, though as of press time there’s been no oil pollution; the State Senate is taking a lot of testimony on Roland Maw’s appointment to the Board of Fish, and a fisheries pioneer is set to get honored this weekend in Anchorage. All that, and a new study looks at the graying of the fleet and where the next generation of fishermen will come from. We had help from KBBI’s Shady Grove Oliver in Homer.
Story off base in characterization of Alaska fisheries board appointee (2/15). I have concerns about the recent article of Feb. 4 in the Alaska Dispatch News, “Did Alaska Fish Board appointee really discover an endangered species?” I am Professor James Butler from the University of Alberta, and I was quoted in this article that is critical of the recent appointment by Gov. Bill Walker of Dr. Roland Maw to the state of Alaska Board of Fisheries. More
Cook Inlet fisheries battles continue into confirmation hearing (2/16). Cook Inlet commercial fishermen would like to see one of their own on the Alaska Board of Fisheries, but sport fishermen and their legislative allies are skeptical.
The Alaska Legislature will have to confirm Roland Maw as Gov. Bill Walker’s newest appointee to the fish board. It began its confirmation hearing Monday before the Senate Resources Committee, and heard conflicting portrayals of the Ph.D. fisheries scientist. More
BOF. Confirmation Hearings for Dr Roland Maw
SRES Hearing- Audio and Documents including support and opposition (2/16)
CONTROVERSIAL FISH BOARD NOMINEE ROLAND MAW WITHDRAWS FROM CONSIDERATION (2/20). Kenai River fish wars have claimed another Fish Board nominee, this time Roland Maw, named to the board by Gov. Bill Walker. Maw withdrew his name from consideration Friday after facing opposition.
He is former executive director of a commercial fishing group, the United Cook Inlet Drift Association, and a retired drift gillnet fisherman. More
Opinion. Questions about fisheries board appointment (1/30). Former Alaska Board of Fisheries chairman, Karl Johnstone, had a comment piece in the Alaska Dispatch News’ Wednesday edition where he gave his perspective on the recent announcement by Gov. Bill Walker that Johnstone would not be renominated to a board seat and Roland Maw, from the Kenai area, would replace him. More
Group responds to Howard Delo (2/5). Howard Delo has not forgotten his statement published in his April 24, 2014, commentary in the Frontiersman where he said “I guess when you can’t argue using facts, the only avenue left is finger-pointing and name-calling.” There is a paucity of facts and a whole lot of finger-pointing and name-calling in his most recent commentary on fisheries board appointments.
One of the many misrepresentations made by Delo in this Jan. 30, 2015, column is this: More
Documents/Hearings for Fishery Issues
State review triggers talk of cutting back commercial fishing commission (2/16). WASILLA — A new state review suggests the three-member state commission overseeing some of Alaska’s most lucrative commercial fisheries is prone to inefficiency and ripe for overhaul, with a few employees who are paid but rarely show up at the office.
The review of Alaska’s Commercial Fisheries Limited Entry Commission, conducted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, comes as officials struggling with a forecast $3.5 billion shortfall look to trim state spending.
The report was released in early February, about two weeks after the commission’s newest member — former Wasilla Mayor Verne Rupright — was appointed by Gov. Bill Walker. More
2013/14 Annual Report – PDF
CFEC Program Review Final Report (PDF 2,962 kB) CFEC response pending as is legislative audit.
CFEC Program Review Report Sources and Appendices
Senate panel advances fish commission nominees (2/10). Lawmakers advanced two appointees for the board that regulates participation in Alaska’s commercial fisheries.
The Senate Resources Committee on Monday held a confirmation hearing for Gov. Bill Walker’s appointees to the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission.
Juneau’s Benjamin Brown has already served one four-year term on the commission and is up for reappointment. Wasilla’s Verne Rupright was appointed in January to replace Frank Homan, who was appointed by then-Gov. Sean Parnell in November. More
ADF&G releases Volume Two of Chinook News (2/18). Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials have released volume two of Chinook News, with updates on the agency’s work on the Chinook Salmon Research initiative. The publication can be found online at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg= chinooknews.main.
The winter edition provides overviews of stocks and research projects of 12 important Chinook river systems and features articles on marine sampling in the Kodiak and Westward regions, Cook Inlet and Southeast Alaska. The 16-page report also highlights initiative funded environmental and ecological studies done in collaboration with the University of Alaska Fairbanks. More Chinook News – Winter 2015
Wrangell loses wildlife trooper to state budget cuts (2/18). The Department of Public Safety is not planning to fill the vacancy left in January by Alaska Wildlife Trooper Scott Bjork.
That makes Wrangell the only community in Southeast Alaska to lose such a position to upcoming state budget cuts. In addition to state trooper credentials, Alaska Wildlife Troopers are trained to identify and investigate hunting, fishing and trapping crimes. More/KSTK Audio
Haines king salmon derby cancelled; low run forecasted (2/20). Another tough year is predicted for king salmon in Southeast and that has prompted the cancellation of the annual Haines King Salmon Derby.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Rich Chapell says according to the forecast, if normal fishing continued this season in the Haines area, the number of Chilkat kings that make it up the river to the spawning grounds would fall below the escapement goal. That poor forecast triggers the low abundance management plan that calls for closing the popular Chilkat Inlet to sport fishing through the end of June. More/KHNS Audio
Walker releases budget with expected cuts (2/5). Gov. Bill Walker released his new budget Thursday afternoon, reducing $240 million in agency spending compared to the current fiscal year.
The budget, prepared in the face of sharp declines in state revenue, departed little from the cutbacks Walker outlined in his State of the Budget speech in January. The spending plan, subject to overhaul by the Alaska Legislature, seeks authorization to spend $10.4 billion in next fiscal year, beginning July 1.
The budget includes cuts of 300 positions, but some are already vacant. And state personnel officials say state agencies in recent years have had annual employee turnover ranging from 17 to 31 percent. That’s likely to mean that budget and position reductions can come this year with few, if any, actual layoffs. More ADFG Budget Documents
Sen. Stoltze & Rep. Neuman Introduce Alaskans-First Fishing Act (2/20). UNEAU-Senator Bill Stoltze (R-Mat-Su Valley/Chugiak) and Representative Mark Neuman (R-Big Lake) have introduced the ‘Alaskans-First Fishing Act’ in both the Senate and the House to ensure state residents have priority to use the state’s fisheries during times of fishing restrictions. Senate Bill 42 and House Bill 110, directs the Board of Fisheries to place restrictions on sport and commercial fisheries before putting restrictions on personal-use fisheries when the harvest of a stock or species is limited to achieve an escapement goal.
“In times of shortages, I feel Alaskans should have the first preference for our commonly-owned salmon resources. Subsistence and personal use are fisheries in which only Alaskans participate,” said Senator Stoltze. More
Kuskokwim Fishermen Set Sights on Co-Management (2/6). Efforts to establish tribal co-management of Kuskokwim salmon are slowly progressing. A steering committee is in Bethel to sketch out the future of who regulates the river. Kuskokwim fishermen are eager to be managers, instead of simply advisers.
10 members of a steering committee met for the first time in Bethel Thursday. Fisherman from Nikolai at the headwaters down to the mouth began to define what they want to see in tribal co-management. Committee member Bob Aloysius from Kalskag emphasized tribes need to be more than simply advisers. More/KYUK Audio
Alaska lawmaker proposes change to process for fisheries, game boards (2/12). An Alaska lawmaker has proposed changing how the state boards of fisheries and game make regulations.
Sealaska to log parcels on POW Island, Cleveland Peninsula (2/3). The regional Native corporation for Southeast Alaska will log 3,400 acres of land this year that it received in December through federal legislation.
The federal government turned over a total of 70,000 acres of Tongass National Forest to Sealaska Corp., KCAW-FM reported. More
Opinion. Cook Inlet Setnet Ballot Initiative (1/7). The fight between commercial fishermen and sportfish, personal use, and subsistence users over resource allocation has been fought at the Board of Fish and political levels for a number of years. Recently, the Cook Inlet Fishermen’s Fund took the State of Alaska to court over management of Cook Inlet salmon fisheries. The move expanded the battlefield from the Board of Fish to state courts. This is Lawfare by Cook Inlet commercial fishermen who are also fighting the allocation fight in federal court. ~~~~
They appear to be shocked, simply shocked that they would be next up to bat. But play with fire and kill off resource development, jobs, and tax revenue into state and local governments here in Alaska via ballot initiative, and don’t be surprised that a bunch of people who believe you have been taking too many of their fish out of their freezers over the years to grab up that tool and use it against you.
I opposed this for a long time, hoping that the Board of Fish process could be made to work, but the passage of the most recent anti-Pebble initiative along with the nearly endless and highly offensive Snoopy dance afterwards by the Bristol Bay commercial fishermen and their supporters so angered me that I believe it is time to go after all of them hammer and tong and start teaching them a very harsh lesson. ~~~
The Cook Inlet setnetters are first. If this passes, it will be soon followed by a similar initiative aimed at the Cook Inlet drift fleet and eventually all out of state commercial fishermen in Southeast and Bristol Bay. Enjoy the ride, boys, as it is the vehicle that you chose to drive. http://peninsulaclarion.com/opinion/2014-12-20/voices-of-the-peninsula-s… More
Walker administration proposes cutting staff that challenges the feds (2/10). JUNEAU — Two of Gov. Bill Walker’s departments are proposing cuts to programs aimed at fighting federal government plans and initiatives just a few weeks after Walker and state legislators loudly criticized federal initiatives to limit oil and gas development in Alaska and offshore. ~~~
The Department of Law, meanwhile, is proposing to save another $450,000 by cutting a pair of attorneys who work on conflicts between the state and federal government over the Endangered Species Act and other areas. And it hopes to save another $300,000 by ending a contract with an outside law firm that works on endangered species issues. More
AKDOL. Nonresidents Working in Alaska, 2013. This publication provides estimates of the number of resident and nonresidents working in Alaska and includes information by area, industry, and occupation.
USCG – documentation & tonnage (1/30). The USCG Marine Safety Center (MSC) posted a brochure providing a concise explanation regarding documentation and tonnage of smaller commercial vessels. Courtesy Bryant’s Maritime Blog
NTSB – transportation deaths during 2013 (2/2). The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a press release stating that in 2013 there was a slight drop in transportation fatalities. Marine deaths dropped from 711 to 615, with the vast majority of these deaths (560) occurring in the recreational boating sector. Courtesy Bryant’s Maritime Blog
How cold water kills so quickly (2/3). I always assumed that falling into cold water was more dangerous because you can die from hypothermia. It turns out that it’s even more dangerous than that. Falling into cold water can also trigger something called “cold shock response,” which can cause you to drown in an instant.
Here’s an example of how it works. On the official Coast Guard blog, Paul Newman, a USCG boating safety specialist, points to the case of a man who had taken a stand-up paddleboard (also called a SUP) onto Lake Tahoe. The man had brought a lifejacket with him, but instead of wearing it, he tied it the leash of the board (which should have been around his ankle). About 50 yards from shore, he fell off and drowned instantly. More
Senate – hearing on vessel discharge regulations (2/4). The Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation conducted a hearing entitled “The Impacts of Vessel Discharge Regulations on our Shipping and Fishing Industries”. Testimony was heard from Mr. James Farley, Kirby Offshore Marine; Mr. James Weakley, Lake Carriers Association; Ms. Claudia Copeland, Congressional Research Service; and Captain Robert Zales, National Association of Charter Boat Operators. Courtesy Bryant’s Maritime Blog
Chairman Inhofe Announces U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee Members (2/3). Senator Dan Sullivan to Chair Fisheries, Wildlife, and Water subcommittee.
Conflict brewing over recent Subsistence Board decisions (2/5). If science-based fisheries management is Gov. Bill Walker’s goal, then he has more than just the Alaska Board of Fisheries to worry about.
There’s a conflict brewing between subsistence and conservation-minded, scientific fisheries management at the Federal Subsistence Board. During its January meeting, the board passed a unanimous motion to close the federal waters of Sitka Sound around Maknahti Island to commercial purse seine herring harvests, in addition to voting in favor of gillnet subsistence fisheries for the Kenai and Kasilof rivers.
Subsistence is meant to be the first and foremost consideration of fisheries management, according to both state and federal bylaws. But fisheries must also be managed by the best available science. More
Salmon Sisters Meld East Coast Education With Commercial Fishing Roots (2/17). Today we meet a pair of Alaskans who run the business Salmon Sisters. Emma and Claire Laukitis were born and raised on the Aleutian Islands near False Pass. Emma says it was quiet and simple upbringing.
“Growing up there was isolated,” she said. “It was really all we knew; we had an awesome childhood there.” More/APRN Audio
New Products: Trident whitefish burgers and surimi sticks (1/28). Seattle-based Trident Seafood has launched two new products that the company says it’s entering into Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation’s February Symphony of Seafood product contest.
With the idea of “making great seafood simple,” the company created the “Alaskan Whitefish Burger,” a Alaska pollock product seasoned with onion, garlic, white pepper and chives available for foodservice in 3.2oz or 4oz portions.
“They’re designed to cook from frozen in minutes with no waste or trim and no pre-prep hassle in the kitchen,” the company said, adding that the whitefish burger will add a new option to Trident’s already-available salmon burger. More
Alaska Symphony of Seafood To Crown Grand Prize Winner At Anchorage Gala (2/19). The Alaska Symphony of Seafood will crown this year’s Grand Prize winner at the annual event in Anchorage on February 21. The Alaska Symphony of Seafood is a competition for value-added products made from Alaska seafood. Events have taken place in Seattle and Juneau in previous weeks and judging will culminate at the Anchorage Awards Ceremony. More
Alaska Salmon Price Report for Sept-Dec (2/18).
Alaska Salmon Price Report for Sept-Dec Introductory Letter
Alaska Salmon Price Report for Sept-Dec
ASMI Marketing Report (2/2)
Alaska Symphony of Seafood Entries Range From Smoked Salmon To Pet Snacks (2/4). Cold smoked sockeye salmon candy and salmon chips from 2014 grand prize winner Tilgner’s Specialized Smoked Seafood are among the 17 entries in the 2015 Alaska Symphony of Seafood competition.
So are gourmet pet snacks, including Yummy Chummies Dog Treats from Arctic Paws, Alaska Naturals Wild Seafood Pet Treats from Trident Seafoods, and wild caught salmon sticks from Copper River Seafoods. More
How Fish Could Change What It Means For Food To Be Organic (2/3). When it comes to organic certification, food producers must follow strict guidelines.
For an organic steak, for instance, the cow it came from has to be raised on organic feed, and the feed mix can’t be produced with pesticides, chemical fertilizers or genetic engineering.
Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering a set of rules for organic farmed fish. Several consumer groups, though, say the recommended rules don’t go far enough to meet the strict standards of other organic foods. More
Sustainability dispute in past, Walmart launches ‘The Alaskan’ (2/5). Walmart announced on Jan. 28 the launch of an in-store brand, The Alaskan, for sale in every Alaska Walmart Supercenter and 20 Washington stores, as well as a 14 additional products of wild Alaskan cod, salmon, rockfish, sole, and crab to its general stock.
The new items are on shelves just a couple years after Alaska seafood in Walmart stores was in jeopardy following a company plan to only stock seafood products carrying the Marine Stewardship Council certification for sustainability. More
Mining ministry “fully endorses” Mount Polley report (2/13). British Columbia’s mining ministry is fully supportive of the conclusions of a report investigating the environmental disaster at the Mount Polley tailings storage facility.
The province’s minister of energy and mines, Bill Bennett, said in a press conference this week that the “government is committed to implementing all of the panel’s recommendations”.
The chief inspector of mines has issued a letter stating that all mines must report by the end of June whether they are using any materials or designs similar to the dams at Mount Polley and to what extent they have been scrutinised by inspectors. More
Tahltan agree to temporary discharge permit at Red Chris mine (2/13). Tahltan Nation president Chad Day says that in keeping with an agreement signed between it and Imperial Metals last August the council has granted permission for the company to begin releasing effluent into its tailings pond.
“Although our Nation still has some questions about the Red Chris mine, we also know that the mine is almost ready to open,” said a statement from Day.
“The permit has been issued with several conditions including commitments to follow all of the recommendations from last year’s Third Party Review of mine tailings arrangements,” the statement continues. More
Empire Editorial: Mining disasters must end with Mount Polley (2/12). Two.
That’s how many tailings dams holding back mine waste are expected to fail every decade in British Columbia.
That’s the number of proposed mines and sites under advanced exploration in British Columbia right now. More
British Columbia’s Commitment to Mining Prompts Growing Fisheries Concerns (2/18). In the wake of the release of an independent expert engineering investigation and review into the Mount Polley mine disaster in British Columbia, a watershed-based conservation group is voicing concerns over approval of a new permit for another BC mine. More
Comment: Mines minister must not ignore his own experts (2/20). “The panel firmly rejects the notion that business as usual can continue.”— Mount Polley Expert Review Panel
In all the fuss about the execution of search warrants in the Mount Polley Mine disaster case, we shouldn’t lose sight of the main issue — how do we prevent the next disaster?
Indeed, Mines Minister Bill Bennett commissioned the Mount Polley expert panel “to ensure this never happens again.” So why is the minister dodging commitment to the panel’s most important recommendation? Why has he failed to endorse that vital recommendation — and shuffled it off to bureaucrats for extended “review”? More
Murkowski talks mines, deficit (2/20). Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, visited her home state this week to give her annual address to the Legislature, focusing her speech on the recent state-federal tussle over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
But Alaska’s a complicated place, and there’s always lots to talk about when it comes to state issues. Our senior U.S. senator stopped by the Empire office to talk a little more in depth about other things on her plate. More
Mining industry welcomes BC’s independent panel report on Mount Polley (2/3). The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) has committed to reviewing the information and recommendations of the Friday-released report examining the August 2014 tailings dam failure at the Mt Polley mine, in British Columbia, with a view to enhancing tailings dam safety.
The report, compiled by the British Columbia government-appointed independent panel, concluded that the cause of the tailings dam breach was a layer of clay underneath the dam that was not taken into account in the original design. The panel stated that the failure occurred notwithstanding effective regulatory oversight. More
B.C. company’s offices searched in mine disaster probe (2/4). The B.C. Conservation Service has searched two offices of the company that owns the Mount Polley mine as part of an investigation into a tailings pond spill that gushed millions of gallons of wastewater into streams and rivers.
Imperial Metals Corp. is being investigated by several agencies for possible violations of the Fisheries Act and the Environmental Management Act. More
Juneau joins chorus of communities calling for international mine review panel (2/4). Juneau has joined a growing number of Southeast communities to call for an international panel to review transboundary mines near the Alaska-British Columbia border.
This week, the Juneau Assembly passed a resolution urging the U.S. federal government to work with Canadian officials to refer transboundary mining projects to the International Joint Commission. More
Canada’s mining boom spills into U.S. waters (2/10). Carrie James’ story ought to sound familiar: She grew up in a small town on the Alaskan coast, fishing for salmon the way her Haida and Tlingit ancestors had for generations. She taught her children, two boys and a girl, how to catch, smoke and put up the fish. And then, as with so many other salmon-based tribes, plans for upstream development began to threaten her way of life.
But unlike some Pacific Northwest tribes, which have lately negotiated with hydroelectric companies to repair some of the damage caused by dams — or tribes in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, which at least have the Environmental Protection Agency on their side in the fight over Pebble Mine — James has felt powerless in her effort to stop a handful of mines from being dug in the headwaters of rivers that feed her tribe and economy. That’s because the headwaters aren’t in Alaska. They’re in Canada. More
Alaska Salmon Success is Grounded in Collaboration (2/20). Video
The Birth of Sustainable Seafood: The Evolution of Collaborative Management (2/20). The Alaska salmon fisheries are difficult to manage. It takes collaboration between fishermen, processors and scientists. Here’s a look at how it is done. Video
Getting up close and personal with Alaska’s coastline (2/20). “I feel like an eagle,” said Mike Jackson, a Kake elder, watching the ShoreZone imagery flash across the screen. He knew the nooks and crannies of the shoreline. But no one had seen them like this before.
Twisted filigrees of glacial water, spitting their plumes of gray into the turquoise sea. Curtain-like cliffs, striped by bands of colorful lichen and algae. Fractured polygons of arctic tundra, outlined by shining channels of water. Witness the whole coast at low tide, from an eagle’s-eye view. More
Alaska Sea Grant Book. Community-Based Monitoring of Alaska’s Coastal and Ocean Environment. Whether initiating a community-based monitoring program or working with a continuing program, Alaska communities, scientists, engineers, and agencies will find this guide indispensable for implementing best practices. To make a CBM program work, the need for monitoring and the intended use of the data must be identified, benefits for the community should be clearly stated, and a scientist, agency, or organization must be committed to manage the program, to be responsive to community needs, and to meet the scientific needs of the data users. The emphasis is on collecting scientifically defensible data via systematic observations, and on enjoying the group effort! (Free PDF)
Ocean Acidification And How It Affects Alaska’s Fisheries (2/17). Shellfish are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification, and colder waters are becoming more acidic than warm waters. What does this mean for Alaska and its fisheries – especially crabs and oysters? Or for the food chain that feeds other species in the ocean? The answers are beginning to come in from the scientific world, and we’ll learn more about ocean acidification on the next Talk of Alaska. Graphic/ARPN Audio (1 hour)
Plastic in the Ocean (2/3). Birds are now turning up dead on remote beaches with stomachs full of plastic. Certain areas of Alaska’s remote coast are now littered with debris that was carried there by ocean currents. Not only is the amount of this debris growing, but the amount of money available for cleaning it up is far too small. APRN Audio (60 minutes)
Seabird Decline Could Signal Drop In Ocean Productivity (2/10). Seabirds are on the decline in the North Pacific, from the Western Aleutians to Vancouver Island. Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey compiled and filtered the data of hundreds of thousands of surveys of different species conducted in the last 40 years to document the decline. They say the decline could signal a drop in the overall productivity of the ocean.
Gary Drew is wildlife biologist with the United States Geological Survey who spent more than a decade compiling the data set with a colleague. He says the overall trend was a decrease in seabird biomass of about two percent, but the decline varied from species to species. APRN Audio
Feb 23-Mar 3. BOF SE Finfish, Sitka
Mar 11-12. NSRAA Board, Juneau
Mar 13. SSRAA Board, Ketchikan
Mar 17-19. Federal Subsistence – Southeast RAC, Sitka
Apr 4. DIPAC Board Meeting, Juneau