STATE PRIMARY ELECTION IS AUGUST 19 (TUESDAY). Be sure to educate yourself on the candidates and issues. If you are not able to vote in person, be sure to vote absentee or early.
Here is a timeline you should be aware of:
June 19,2014. You can apply for an absentee ballot today
August 4, 2014 Early and absentee in-person voting begins at many locations throughout Alaska.
August 4, 2014 Civilian voters may begin to apply for absentee ballots by electronic transmission.
August 9, 2014 Deadline to apply for an absentee ballot by mail.
August 18, 2014 5:00 p.m. Alaska Standard Time Deadline to apply for an absentee ballot by electronic transmission.
August 19, 2014 Primary Election Day – Polls open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
August 19, 2014 Deadline for absentee by-mail ballots to be postmarked.
Cruiseship Tracklines. The tracklines used in Lynn Canal and Stephens Passage in 2013 will be used again in 2014. Discussions were held about making a minor adjust met but in the end the pilots decided to make no changes this year. Feedback on how this works is appreciated. Tracklines are here and paper copies are available at Auke Bay and Aurora harbormaster offices, Douglas Harbor, and Harris Harbor.
Safety. USCG – replacement parts for emergency equipment (7/9). The US Coast Guard issued a Lessons Learned reminding mariners that failure of seemingly minor items can sometimes create a catastrophe. Courtesy Bryant’s Maritime Blog
Safety. USCG – failure of seemingly minor items (7/9). The US Coast Guard issued a Lessons Learned reminding mariners that failure of seemingly minor items can sometimes create a catastrophe. Courtesy Bryant’s Maritime Blog
Recent Study Seeks to Reduce Injuries on Industrial Fishing Vessels (6/27). Researchers with a major university have delved into the data to try and figure out what is causing injuries aboard large seafood harvesting and processing vessels in the Bering Sea. KDLG Audio
Alaska Board of Fisheries Announces for the 2014/2015 Meeting Cycle Agenda Change Request Deadline
For Immediate Release: July 24, 2014
CONTACT: Glenn Haight, 907-465-6095
The Alaska Board of Fisheries (board) announces the 2014/2015 meeting cycle agenda change request (ACR) deadline of August 18 is approaching.
At its October 15–16, 2014 Work Session in Juneau at the Centennial Hall Convention Center, 101 Egan Drive, the board will review ACRs for possible scheduling in the 2014/2015 meeting cycle.
ACRs are submitted by the public, advisory committees, and agencies for proposals on regulatory areas not set for deliberation in the current meeting cycle. In order for the board to approve and schedule an ACR for later in the meeting cycle, the ACR must meet one of the following criteria as established in 5 AAC 39.999.
· For a fishery conservation purpose or reason
· To correct an error in a regulation
· To correct an effect on a fishery that was unforeseen when a regulation was adopted.
ACRs are due to Boards Support Section by 5:00 p.m., August 18, 2014 at the Boards Support Section office in Juneau. A postmark is NOT sufficient for timely receipt. ACR forms may be found online and then submitted by mail or fax, at:
Mail: ADF&G, Boards Support Section
P.O. Box 115526
Juneau, AK 99811-5526
Fax: (907) 465-6094
Seafood Harvesters Applauds Senate Action In Support of America’s Commercial Fishing Fleet (7/24)
Senate Agreement Could Avert Massive Fish Cliff for Economically-Critical Industry
Washington, DC – The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation favorably reported S. 2094 (the “Vessel Incidental Discharge Act,” or VIDA), introduced by Senator Begich and 30 co-sponsors, to deal with discharges incidental to the normal operation of a commercial fishing vessel on Wednesday. Seafood Harvesters of America President Chris Brown applauds the Senate for taking action on the measure, which has earned wide bi-partisan support:
“Harvesters urge the full Senate to consider S. 2094 on the floor as soon as possible, which will level the fishing field by extending an existing discharge exemption granted for recreational vessels to commercial vessels. If Congress fails to get this legislation signed into law before the end of the session, when the moratorium expires, it could push our economically-critical industry to the edge of a massive ‘fish cliff’.
“Congress must ensure that US commercial fishermen can continue to sustainably harvest our seafood resources for the benefit of American consumers, coastal communities, and the thousands of small business around the country that depend on continued access to US seafood. By advancing this important legislation the Committee has demonstrated its commitment to protecting not only the aquatic environment, but also the commercial fishing industry throughout the United States that depends on clean water for its livelihood.”
- Congress.gov: S.2094 – Vessel Incidental Discharge Act – https://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/2094/text
Seafood Harvesters of America (“Harvesters”) is an umbrella association representing 14 commercial fishing organizations from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico north to New England. For more information, please visit seafoodharvesters.org or contact (202) 888-6296.
Empire Editorial: Senators promise more foreign workers for Alaska (6/27). Last week, the office of Sen. Lisa Murkowski sent out one of its regular legislative updates. This one was more triumphant than most coming out of the stagnant 113th Congress. It declared that Murkowski (with the help of Sen. Mark Begich) had successfully inserted language reviving the J-1 visa program into a funding bill for the U.S. State Department.
State fisheries columnist Laine Welch, writing from Kodiak, remarked in part that “Alaska seafood processors will soon get relief.”
We weren’t aware that multibillion-dollar seafood corporations needed help to make money. More
My Turn: Too many jobs, not enough Alaskans (7/2). I am writing on behalf of the Pacific Seafood Processors Association, a trade organization established in 1914, whose member companies process the majority of the seafood produced in Alaska each year.
I was sorry to read that the Juneau Empire believes businesses in Alaska suffer when seafood processors use nonresident labor. The more than 100 seafood processing plants in Alaska are a critical economic driver for dozens of Alaskan coastal communities, providing markets and jobs for Alaskans, and landing tax revenues for the state and local governments. As I write this, there are hundreds of family-owned small boats throughout Alaska fishing for salmon and unloading at our docks. More
BC Mine Project Raises Concerns Over Salmon Habitat (7/23)
A Canadian government environmental report on a proposed open pit mine northwest of Stewart, British Columbia, is raising concerns from Southeast Alaska fishing interests, who say the project could cause significant harm to salmon habitat.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s comprehensive study report on the Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell project, released on July 21, says the agency is satisfied that identified mitigation measures for the project would address potential environmental impacts.
These impacts include, according to the report, potential impacts in Alaska on fish, recreational and commercial fisheries and human health from changes to water quality and quantity in the Unuk River.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, on July 21 opened its fourth and final public comment period on the environmental assessment, which will run through Aug. 20.
The lengthy assessment centers on a proposal from the junior mining company Seabridge Gold Inc., to develop a gold, copper, silver and molybdenum mine, planning the Unuk and Bell-Irving watersheds some 65 kilometers northwest of Stewart, British Columbia. Seabridge Gold, with offices in Toronto, and Smithers, British Columbia, has identified the KSM project as one of the largest undeveloped gold projects in the world, with proven and probable reserves of 38.2 million ounces of gold and 9.9 billion pounds of copper.
The headwaters of the Unuk and Mass rivers lies just 19 miles from the Alaska border. The Unuk, which begins in Canada and flows into Alaska’s Misty Fjords National Monument, is a key Southeast Alaska king salmon and eulachon river. The Nass is British Columbia’s third largest salmon river, producing fish harvested by both Canadians and Alaskans.
A copy of the Canadian government’s assessment is online at http://ksmproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/34-081-CEAA_KSM_EN_R4_X4.pdf.
Public comment on the project may be submitted by Aug. 20 to KSM Project, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, 410-701 Georgia Street West, Vancouver, British Columbia V7Y 1C6 More information is at http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/details-eng.cfm?evaluation=49262,http://salmonbeyondborders.org/ and http://bit.ly/KSMmegamine.
Hatchery chum salmon forecast close to 2013 levels (6/25). The first returns of hatchery chum salmon are showing up in fishing nets in Southeast Alaska this month. Summer chums play an important part in the early season for net fishing fleets and the troll fleet as well. Hatchery officials are forecasting runs close to last year’s.
A little lost in last year’s record setting pink salmon haul in Southeast was a strong catch for chum salmon. Last year seiners, gillnetters and trollers brought in 12.5 million dogs in the region. The bulk of those fish start their lives in hatcheries around the Panhandle and most return earlier in the summer than pinks. Fishery managers expect nearly as many chums this year but nowhere near last year’s record setting pink catch. More
Hatchery in Kake closing June 30th (6/25). A hatchery in the Southeast community of Kake is closing its doors this month and has released its final chum, pink and coho salmon. There’s still some hope that a larger regional hatchery organization can figure out a way to restart the salmon enhancement program there.
Fishing vessels use drive-down float at Ketchikan harbor (7/17). The City of Ketchikan’s new drive-down float at Bar Harbor has seen steady use since opening on June 17. More
Despite higher fees, Sitka’s ANB Harbor a welcome upgrade (7/3). Marcus Lee of Leecraft made the new archway and sign that now marks the entrance to the marina, installed last Wednesday. He said it took him about three weeks to build.
“It’s all done with a Scotch Brite and a grinder and the colors are stained, except for the mountain, which is is stainless and it’s heat colored, with a torch,” said Lee.
In 2012, the Alaskan legislature approved up to $4.25 million in state funds to help completely rebuild Sitka’s Alaska Native Brotherhood Harbor. City staff estimate the total cost of the job was $7.5 million. More/KCAW Audio
Icicle, Scanbio PE owner seeks to raise $850m for new fund (7/21). Paine & Partners, the private equity owner of Icicle Seafoods and Scanbio Marine Group, is in the fund-raising process for its fund IV, down 29.2% on the level of its fund III.
The new fund is expected to raise $850 million, according to a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), down from the $1.2 billion raised in 2007 for the private equity’s third fund. More
Summer king fishing opens with record hopes (6/30). If you’ve noticed a lot of empty slips in local harbors today, there’s a reason for that: Tuesday (7-1-14) is the first day of the summer troll opening for king salmon — and Southeast fishermen are looking at a record high target harvest.
“This is just an extraordinary year,” says Fish & Game biologist Pattie Skannes.
Trollers will be going after more than 171,300 kings in this first opening. Skannes says it’s the largest target ever for the July opener. More
Strong start to season for SE gillnetters (7/9). For gillnetters in Northern Southeast, the season started off with lots of big, heavy fish and boats from around the region flocking north for a piece of the action.
In the first four weeks of fishing, record number of gillnet boats have fished in the Northern Lynn Canal, the area officially designated 15C. Last week, 240 boats were counted – and that’s up from last year record count of 190 boats for the same week. It also means that according to numbers from the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission, more than half of the total number of salmon gillnet permits in Southeast are being fished in the Lynn Canal these last two weeks. More
Japanese fishermen visit Alaska for ideas on sustainability (7/22). A group of Japanese fishermen is touring the Northwest United States to get an education in fisheries. The group’s first stop was Juneau.
37-year-old Fumihiro Sugawara is a chum salmon fisherman in Rausu, which is located in the northeast of Hokkaido Island in Japan. He’s been fishing for 16 years.
He and 12 other Japanese fishermen are visiting Alaska for the first time. More/KTOO Audio
Whales may impact herring stocks’ recovery (7/18). While whales are not to blame for the decline of herring in places like Lynn Canal and Prince William Sound, they may be keeping depleted stocks down. More
Tracking salmon to their birth streams (7/17). Strontium is a trace element and mineral people use to make glow-in-the-dark paints and toothpaste for sensitive teeth. In research for his college degree, Sean Brennan used strontium’s unique qualities to track salmon in an Alaska river.
At Brennan’s Ph.D. defense at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, advisor Matthew Wooller praised Brennan’s ambitious plan and his execution of it up and down the many webs of the Nushagak River. The Nushagak, a river swelling with the bodies of salmon right now, drains the Nushagak Hills as well as the Alaska and Aleutian ranges. The Nushagak and all its fingers provide a path for salmon from their natal streams to Bristol Bay. More
Herring return to Auke Bay (7/4). At the end of June, herring returned to Auke Bay to spawn in significant numbers for the first time in more than 20 years — and though the ultimate success of the eggs remains to be seen, it’s a promising sign for those working to increase herring’s abundance in Lynn Canal and Southeast Alaska. More
Welcome New Business Members Kito’s Kave and the Java Hus in Petersburg.
Aug 18. BOF ACR’s due
Aug 19. Alaska Primary Election
Sep 23-25. UFA Board Meeting, Anchorage
Feb 23-Mar3. BOF SE Finfish, Sitka