United Southeast Alaska Gillnetter’s Association

Corkline-News for Southeast Gillnetters, March 20, 2014

Please take a moment to thank these businesses  http://www.akgillnet.org/?page_id=191  which have renewed their USAG Membership for 2013 or 2014 and encourage other support sector businesses to do the same

USAG Dues.

Haven’t paid your dues yet for 2013?  Drop a check for $300 in the mail today.  Year end notices were mailed around Thanksgiving.

Not a member yet?  Fill out and mail a membership form with your check for $300 to USAG, PO Box 20538, Juneau, AK 99802.   ADFG’s preliminary estimate is that the SE gillnet fleet grossed $29,555,255 in 2013—that means you have a valuable fishery to protect

Don’t forget, dues must be current to participate in the USAG fleet insurance program which has some major improvements this year including better rates and expanded coverage.

If you are not a member of our insurance program, contact John Long, Sea Mountain Insurance  john.long@sea-mountain.com (425) 775-1410 XT 145 work and he will get you a quote.



3/7/14 SSRAA Report.  By Chris Guggenbickler (F/V MARANANTHA, Wrangell).  Well, we just finished another winter of SSRAA meetings with our last scheduled meeting this winter.

One unanticipated new situation that has arisen for SSRAA was a fire at Crystal Lake Hatchery (CLH) incubation room.  CLH is a State owned facility and it is pretty early to tell exactly what will happen, but the facility was insured and preliminary assumptions are that the incubation building will be rebuilt.  There are about 4 or 5 buildings still standing as well as the raceways, so many components of the hatchery are still intact.  The main goal will be to get the ability to incubate eggs when we take chinook broodstock this spring.  Fortunately recently hatched fry were separated from the substrate (ponded) and moved to another building. Unfortunately around 550K Chickaman stock chinook slated for release in 2015 at Neets bay were lost.  This will be a direct shortfall in that release.  Also around 225K fall coho were lost, which is the entire broodstock release of coho at CLH.  This will create a gap in returns that will take some time to fill.  Of the Andrews creek chinook stock close to 1M were previously ponded and survived, around 600K were lost.  The surviving amount should fulfill the broodstock release goals at CLH, along with close to a full release at Anita Bay.  City creek, a sport fish project in Petersburg will most likely not get a release.

The SSRAA board passed a motion to financially support Prince of Whales Hatchery Association (POWHA) hatchery up to $500K per year for the next 3 years.  This is to insure that POWHA is able to take coho eggs this fall, without this support it was unsure whether this would happen.  Our staff will be more integrated with management at POWHA.  This will give the two associations time to work on the best long term solution.

In an error by a processor in which district a portion of catch was designated resulted in a $677K salmon enhancement tax (SET) error going to SSRAA instead of NSRAA.  This is still in negotiations, although a motion to pay back all the money to NSRAA from the 2015 budget (FY2015 starts July 1) was passed.  A motion to spread this out over 3 years was passed then reconsidered then failed, also an opinion was voiced that we should ask forgiveness of this as NSRAA receives much of the SET from cohoes released by SSRAA which are harvested in the north.

In a new order of business SSRAA passed a revenue goal for Neets bay cost recovery!  I will not list the figure as it has not yet went out to bid.  In forming a  revenue goal we passed a balanced budget, this is the first time we have not had a windfall/shortfall type cost recovery operation in Neets Bay.  The anticipated excess revenue above operational needs are then turned in to excess fish and dedicated in opportunity for the gear groups.  Unfortunately due to the NSRAA SET issue and the POWHA issue we were not able to offer as much user group opportunity as we were hoping, a troll target was set at 375K chum.  Last year’s Neets rotational schedule was passed. Also a motion was passed that if the cost recovery goal was met and broodstock was assured  trollers would fish all of Neets Bay in to seal rocks, net rotations would occur from seal rocks in starting with 24 seine/24 buildup/24 gillnet/  24 buildup, etc. until fall chum show up in the fishery. This would be new opportunity over the old cost recovery method.

The Anita bay rotation decision was deferred to the executive board at a later date pending an agreement between USAG/SEAS.

As there seems to have been some confusion from the letter submitted to DIPAC on the request for funding we passed a motion to send a board member and a staff member to the DIPAC meeting to clarify our intent.  Whether or not we get the funding we don’t want them to assume we just want to place the money in a reserve, the reserve is just the conduit used to get the opportunity to the fleet.  Our intent was to create opportunity as soon as possible with the funding.

SSRAA Spawning News (Feb 2014)

Southeast RPTs.  The next Southern, Northern, and Joint Southeast Regional Planning Teams meeting will be April 8, 2014, in Juneau. For additional information please contact Chairman Flip Pryor (garold.pryor@alaska.gov).

2014 Deep Inlet schedule – Calendar and additional information
2014 Deep Inlet schedule  – Single page calendar only – for printing
2014 ADF&G News Release – Deep Inlet


The Executive Committee is meeting on – March 25, 2014 at 5:00pm in the DIPAC conference room. – Agenda

The Personnel Committee is meeting on – March 26, 2014 at 5:00pm in the DIPAC conference room.

DIPAC Spring Board of Directors meeting – March 29, 2014 at 9:00am in the Ladd Macaulay Visitor Center. – Agenda

DIPAC Scholarship Program for 2014 – Information and Application


Safety Lesson.  Canada’s Air Force rewrites rules after rescuer’s death in Arctic (3/17).  New regulations may restrict Royal Canadian Air Force operations when risk to rescuers judged to be too high

The Air Force is considering a rewrite of its rules for high-risk search-and-rescue missions following the investigation of a dramatic Arctic rescue in which one of its members died. ~~~~ Water leaked into drysuit.  More

Maritime industry seeks relief from vessel discharge regs (3/6).  The maritime industry is pushing Congress for relief from a web of federal and state regulations for ballast water and other vessel discharges.

The patchwork of rules “makes compliance complicated, confusing and costly,” Tom Allegretti, president of the American Waterways Operators (AWO), told a House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation hearing in early March. “It’s an operational nightmare for vessel owners. It’s legally treacherous for companies and legally treacherous for mariners to operate within the system.”

Congress can fix the problem with a single standard, he said. “We implore you to take action.”  More  Begich, Rubio Team Up to Fight EPA Regulations  (3/6) 

Commercial Vessel Discharge Reform Act gains support (2/28).  Pending federal maritime legislation to exempt commercial fishing vessels from certain requirements of the Clean Water Act, which could otherwise result in substantial fines, is gaining widespread support with commercial fisheries groups.

“Onerous,” was just one of the words John Renner, vice president of Cordova District Fishermen United, used to describe the situation facing commercial fishing vessel owners and operators who could otherwise be subject to fines for activities such as deck washing.

The Commercial Vessel Discharges Reform Act of 2013, which has been incorporated into H.R. 4005, the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014, would exempt commercial fishing vessels from certain requirements of the Clean Water Act.   More

Safety Zone.  What’s in your medicine chest? (3/6).  Have you ever wondered what’s in those white cabinets with either a red or green cross-mounted on the bulkhead?

It’s your handy-dandy first aid kit. It has been hanging on the bulkhead so long it’s become invisible and everyone just walks by it. That’s until somebody needs first aid and you run for the medicine chest.

Sometimes there’s a big surprise waiting for you. I’ve seen it many times. The contents have been used and picked over so much all you can find is a Band-Aid. I’ve seen cigarette butts and even some “reading material” in the cabinet. I guess it’s always good to be entertained while you’re trying to stop the bleeding.  More

For self-employed Sitkans, health act makes a difference (3/10).  For Wendy Alderson, it’s “too good to be true.” For Dan Evans, it’s life changing.

The deadline to enroll in health insurance through the Affordable Care Act is March 31, and that has prompted many Sitkans to bite the bullet and figure out what the act means for them. For some self-employed Sitkans, like Alderson and Evans, what they’ve found has been a pleasant surprise.  More/KCAW Audio

Petersburg fends off sea lions (2/19).  Using solar-powered electric fences and scarecrows, Petersburg harbor workers seem to have solved the problem of aggressive sea lions near their Southeast city.

According to the Petersburg Pilot, sea lions have stayed away from the city’s seaplane float and its fish cleaning station for almost a month. More

Free NOAA PDF nautical charts now permanent (2/21). After a three-month trial period, PDF versions of NOAA nautical charts will become a permanent product, free to the public. The free PDFs, which are digital images of traditional nautical charts, are especially valued by recreational boaters who use them to plan sailing routes and fishing trips.

The free PDF charts are part of a suite of new and enhanced navigational products designed to make NOAA’s data more accessible to the general public.  More


Annual (2013) Alaska Salmon Price Report
Annual Alaska Salmon Price Report Introductory Letter
Annual Alaska Salmon Price Report

Alaska House Agrees to Extend and Expand a Salmon Product Tax Credit (3/15).  Legislation passed the Alaska House of Representatives Friday that expands a popular tax credit to include herring. House Bill 204 expands the Salmon Product Development Tax Credit to include herring with the goal of allowing seafood companies to further diversify their product forms.  More/KDLG Audio

No spring trolling planned for Taku kings (2/19).  Salmon trollers will not be able to target Taku River salmon this May.

The Alaska Department of Fish & Game announced the 2014 Taku River large king salmon forecast yesterday (Tue 2-18-14), and predicts a run of only 26,800 fish. That’s just about 3,000 fish shy of what is required to allow trollers to target the early run.

Dave Harris, ADF&G’s Juneau area management biologist for commercial fisheries says the forecast is better than last year, but still poor.  More/KCAW Audio

NOAA.  Indicators of Fishing Engagement and Reliance of Alaskan Fishing Communities.  With the growing emphasis on ecosystem-based management by resource managers, there is an expanding need for measures of social well-being and sustainability for fishing communities. Because primary data collection is time-consuming and costly, use of secondary data is a practical alternative that can provide substantial cost savings in developing these measures.

Researchers with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s (AFSC) Economic and Social Sciences Research program have used secondary data in the development of fisheries engagement and reliance indicators to measure Alaskan fishing community involvement in a variety of aspects of fishing.  More/Full Article

New group defends Treadwell in setnet ban initiative case (3/6).  A new commercial fisheries group filed an amicus brief Thursday in the lawsuit regarding the initiative to ban Cook Inlet setnetters.

The Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance, or AFCA, wants to ask voters to ban setnets in urban parts of the state. If the initiative made it on to the ballot and passed, it would eliminate setnetters in Cook Inlet.

Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell denied the initiative petition in January based on a Department of Law opinion that found it was a prohibited appropriation of state resources.

AFCA, however, has said that the effort is conservation-focused, and filed an appeal of Treadwell’s decision in Alaska Superior Court in Anchorage Jan. 22. AFCA, which is comprised largely of sport interests, formed in 2013. The initiative is its first major action.

Now, another new group wants to weigh in.
Resources for All Alaskans, or RFAA, filed an amicus brief yesterday supporting the State of Alaska’s decision that the setnet ban initiative should not appear on the August 2016 ballot.  More

New version of contentious land-use bill emerges in Juneau (3/10).  A troubled Parnell administration bill to overhaul land use management in Alaska made its first appearance in this year’s legislative session Monday afternoon when a new version was introduced in the Senate Resources Committee.

Some who have been fighting House Bill 77, including fishing interests and Alaska tribal groups, said they aren’t satisfied. They maintain that even the latest adaptation limits the public’s voice and fails to protect Alaska rivers and streams.

But at least one key senator who was unconvinced last year said Monday that the bill appears to be a solid compromise.  More  HB77 and Public Comment  Video (3/10) Hearing

Ketchikan-POW ferry aids seafood, retail, tourism (3/11).  A small southern Southeast Alaska ferry line is of large value to the region’s economy. That’s according to a new report studying the Inter-Island Ferry Authority.

The authority, known as the IFA, carries about 52,000 passengers a year.

A single ferry leaves the eastern Prince of Wales Island port of Hollis each morning. It arrives in Ketchikan about three hours later, and then waits ‘til the evening to sail back.

A new study shows it’s an important part of the region’s economy. (Read the report.)

“No one is no more dependent on IFA’s daily timetable than those trying to get fresh or live seafood to market,” says Meilani Schijvens of Juneau-based Sheinberg Associates. She authored the report, funded by a state grant to the authority. Schijvens says the ferry carries 3 million pounds of seafood a year, with a value of $15 million. More/KTOO Audio

My Turn: Alaska officials need to pay attention to BC mines (3/13).  My grandmother who raised me taught me an important lesson — take care of the land and water, and it will take care of our present and future generations. I try to live by that principle every day. That’s why I’m speaking out about industrial developments happening near my home in Southeast Alaska. These developments are occurring across the border in Canada, but they have the potential to pollute Southeast Alaska rivers and harm our wild salmon.  More

B.C. still attractive to miners, minister says (3/5).  Industry representatives from around the world are disappointed in the latest rejected mine in B.C., but they’re not taking it out on the provincial government, Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett says.

Bennett started his week in Toronto at the Prospectors and Development Association convention, pitching B.C.’s efforts to make B.C. more attractive to mining investment. He said delegates were disappointed to hear that Taseko Mines’ proposal to develop a copper-gold deposit near Williams Lake.  More

Alaska and world seafood market expert encourages Petersburg to adapt (3/13).  Director of the University of Alaska’s Institute for Social and Economic Research Dr. Gunnar Knapp encouraged community members that doing more with less will be a central theme in the coming decade for fishing communities such as Petersburg and others across Alaska.

Knapp was the guest speaker for the Petersburg Chamber of Commerce banquet last weekend.

After touting Petersburg as one of the most successful fishing communities he’s encountered, he encouraged the community to adapt in changing times.

“Look for ways to diversify beyond one industry, beyond fishing to, god forbid, sport fishing, to tourism to other resource industries, to other things and your community will be stronger and more stable because of it.”  More

Hatchery salmon eggs lost in fire (3/4)Fire destroyed a salmon incubation building and over a million eggs at Crystal Lake Hatchery on Mitkof Island south of Petersburg early Tuesday morning.

Volunteer fire department spokesman Dave Berg said the call came in around 2:30 Tuesday morning. He says the department decided to send one truck to the site, almost 18 miles south of Petersburg. “When our truck got out there with our senior fire officers they discovered that indeed the building was fully engulfed and they went into defensive mode with hose lines off of the truck, they drafted water and were able to keep the sections of the building that keep the fuel tanks cool and so there was no spill to our knowledge but the building was a total loss,” Berg said.   More

Senate Resources Holds a Confirmation Hearing for Board of Fisheries Member Fritz Johnson (3/3).  The Senate Resources Committee held a confirmation hearing on Friday for the man who represents the Bristol Bay region on the Alaska Board of Fisheries.  KDLG Audio

Amazon.  Catching a Deckload of Dreams – Chuck Bundrant and the Story of Trident Seafoods.  Catching a Deckload of Dreamsrecounts the remarkable journey of Chuck Bundrant, chairman and founder of Trident Seafoods Corporation, the largest vertically integrated seafood harvesting and processing company in North America. Born and raised in the heartland of Tennessee and Indiana, as far away from salt water as a young man can get, Bundrant knew nothing about Alaska or how wild seafood was caught and processed. But he knew how to dream, and he had what it takes to chase a dream down with unwavering determination and the ability to enlist others to do things they would never have done on their own. The pursuit began in a ’53 Ford station wagon, jammed tight with three other boys he’d talked into quitting college after one semester. Bundrant’s plan was to point the Ford west to Seattle and make their way north to Alaska in the dead of winter, 1961.  More

Compass: Gov. Parnell should work for subsistence amendment (2/15).  Anyone familiar with the state’s recent political history knows that the Alaska Native people — some 108,800 strong, according to the latest Census figures — have spent decades working to protect our subsistence way of life. Subsistence hunting and fishing have defined our traditional culture since time immemorial. Its preservation unites our people like nothing else. It is safe to say that securing legal protections for our subsistence way of life is directly linked to the very survival of Alaska Natives.

Gov. Sean Parnell is aware of this priority and has often talked about his administration’s support for the traditional Alaska Native way of life. At last October’s AFN Convention in Fairbanks, the governor told the thousands of Alaska Natives assembled:

“… Traditional family values means ensuring Alaskans can feed their families. Traditional family values include the dignity derived from being the family provider, both from subsistence activities, as well as from earning a paycheck. … Today, and every day, we affirm that the ancient traditions still matter. Your governor and our administration have walked beside you to assure that these traditions and your identity remain strong.”   More


Sockeye Fillets Make a Whole Foods Top 10 List (2/14).  The leading organic and natural foods grocery store chain in the U.S. recently released a top 10 list that includes sockeye salmon fillets from Alaska.  More/KDLG Audio

Record pink salmon catch could create market glut (2/25).  JUNEAU, Alaska — State officials say Alaska’s record pink salmon harvest in 2013 could create a market glut that will drive prices down for several years.

The state Division of Economic Development sees a glut in supply after the 2013 harvest, bringing downward pressure on prices, KFSK-radio (http://bit.ly/Mrpx1Y ) reported.

“The 2013 pink harvest was the largest on record,” said division director Joe Jacobson before the House Fisheries Committee this month. “It’s led to a glut of supply and it will probably, there will be downward pressure on prices because of it. And it’s really been a pretty tremendous impact.”  More

US still weighing if genetically altered fish is safe (3/14).  The Food and Drug Administration is still considering whether a proposed genetically engineered fish is safe for consumers, the agency’s top official said on Thursday.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said it was examining as many as 35,000 comments about the application on the salmon by Boston-based AquaBounty Technologies Inc, which applied for approval in the mid-1990s.  More

Sitka guidebook charts course for Fish-to-Schools programs (3/19).  Sitka’s Fish-to-Schools program will be easier to reproduce in other communities, thanks to a new handbook from the Sitka Conservation Society.

A Guide to Serving Local Fish in School Cafeterias was published online last week (3-14-14) by the Society. It contains everything someone needs to know to navigate the sometimes-choppy waters to get locally-caught seafood onto public school menus.  More/KCAW Audio

Groups press Costco to reject ‘Frankenfish’ (3/18).  Food safety and environmental organizations are pushing retail giant Costco to refuse to stock a brand of genetically engineered salmon awaiting approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

Target, Kroger, Safeway, Trader Joe’s and other companies have already committed to refrain from selling the salmon, dubbed “Frankenfish” by opponents of food made with genetically modifies organisms (GMOs).

The Center for Food Safety, along with the groups Friends of the Earth, Food & Water Watch and Consumers Union, are gathering signatures in support of a letter to Costco CEO Craig Jelinek, urging him to follow suit. More

NOAA.  Sustainable Seafood Certification.  The topic of seafood certification has come up at many meetings of the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC) over the past decade, and their previous guidance has informed the agency’s current policy[i].  Due to stakeholder requests and increasing public interest, in mid-2012, NOAA Fisheries asked MAFAC to explore the creation of a NOAA certification mark or other acknowledgement that could certify sustainability of domestic wild-caught and aquaculture fishery products.  MAFAC agreed and organized a working group to investigate the topic and develop a recommendation.  Your assessment of MAFAC’s recommendation is welcome.  Send comments by e-mail to: nmfspolicy@noaa.gov by April 30, 2014.  More

Technology gives certainty to seafood purchases (3/10).  Like many other fish dealers, Red’s Best is teeming with pallets of shiny succulent seafood, fresh haddock and hake, boxes of clams, and more exotic catches, with trails of crushed ice leading from bin to packing crate. But the real prize of Red’s operation at Boston Fish Pier is in a side room, where the company’s salesmen work from computers to market locally caught seafood to high-end wholesalers who sell to restaurants around the country.

Powering this nerve center is a software program developed by Red’s Best founder, Jared Auerbach, that can provide buyers with an incredible level of detail on every fish and mollusk that comes through the doors. Each shipment comes with a label printed with a QR code that, when scanned, links to a Web page of information, from when and where the seafood was caught to a bio of the ship’s captain and even what equipment he used.

“Where we’ve done well is giving people the tools to pass on the story of the fish. We believe there’s value in the story,” Auerbach said. “We’re aggressively marketing” local fishermen.  More

Alaska Seafood Releases New eCookbook for Kids (3/11).  The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) has partnered with some of Alaska’s own pint-sized chefs (ages 5 to 16) to produce Alaska Style Recipes For Kids, a children’s cookbook that shares delicious and fun ways to prepare seafood for kids and adults alike.   More

“Sockeye Market Analysis” Report Released (3/12).  A new report shows that Bristol Bay produced 31-percent of the world’s commercially caught sockeye salmon last year. That’s down significantly from previous years. The new “Sockeye Market Analysis” report was prepared by the McDowell Group for the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association.  More  Full Report

Icicle Seafoods sells interest in Salmones Aysen to former CEOs Guhlke, Giles (3/5).  Former Icicle Seafoods CEO Dennis Guhlke is taking over Icicle’s half of the ownership interest in the company’s Chilean venture, Salmones Aysen, a Chilean producer of farm-raised coho and Atlantic salmon, as Icicle focuses on expanding its salmon farming operations in Washington state’s puget sound region.  More

Mar 29. 
DIPAC Board Meeting, Juneau
Apr 8.  Regional Planning Team (RPT), Juneau
Apr 10Proposals due for 2015 BOF SE Finfish
Sep 23-25.  UFA Board Meeting, Anchorage


Feb 23-Mar3.   BOF SE Finfish, Sitka

Posted 3 weeks, 5 days ago at 8:34 am.

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Corkline-News for Southeast Gillnetters, January 20, 2014

Please take a moment to thank these businesses  http://www.akgillnet.org/?page_id=191  which have renewed their USAG Membership for 2013 or 2014 and encourage other support sector businesses to do the same


Haven’t paid your dues yet for 2013?  Drop a check for $300 in the mail today.  Year end notices were mailed around Thanksgiving.

Not a member yet?  Fill out and mail a membership form with your check for $300 to USAG, PO Box 20538, Juneau, AK 99802.   ADFG’s preliminary estimate is that the SE gillnet fleet grossed $29,555,255 in 2013—that means you have a valuable fishery to protect

Don’t forget, dues must be current to participate in the USAG fleet insurance program which has some major improvements this year including better rates and expanded coverage.

If you are not a member of our insurance program, contact John Long, Sea Mountain Insurance  john.long@sea-mountain.com (425) 775-1410 XT 145 work and he will get you a quote.


What:  United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters (USAG) Port Meeting

When:  Saturday, February 15, 2014, 10:00AM to noon.

Where: Nordby Conference Room, Fishermen’s Terminal, Seattle

USAG Board Members Bill Auger and BJ King will provide an update on the Pacific salmon treaty, enhanced fish, Alaska legislation, USAG insurance program, and answer your questions.  Open to all S03A permit holders, crew, and significant others.  BJ King is the local contact–(206) 910-4773 cell.

SSRAA Report 1/16/14 by Chris Guggenbickler (F/V MARANANTHA, Wrangell, USAG Vice President)

Well, we just finished up a few more days of meetings in Ketchikan dealing with SSRAA business.

On Wednesday the marketing committee met and received six letters of interest from processors for cost recovery at Neets Bay.  After custom processing for many years, this “bid process” of cost recovery has generated considerable discussion at most committee and full board levels as to the timeline and method of budgeting that will be best moving forward.  We will be soliciting bids for cost recovery on Neets Bay chum this spring.

Thursday the Finance Committee met and recommended a Capital and Operating budget that will come up at the March meeting for board approval.  The Finance Committee made recommendations which I will bring up in the full board report. The Finance Committee only makes recommendations to the full board for approval.

Friday the full board met, with the first portion of the meeting going by reasonably fast, agenda, previous minutes, officers and committee assignments were predetermined and reasonably straight forward.  We did have introductions of new board members Dan Castle (seine), Brennon Eagle (gillnet) and Nick Ohmer (Chamber of Commerce).

The Production Manager reported he had met with the City the previous night and we are moving forward with the Deer Mountain facility and the City will raze the raptor center .  SSRAA will be applying for a hatchery permit at this spring RPT meeting for this facility.  Also SE Alaska experienced a fairly severe storm Tuesday which generated flooding and landslides, one landslide occurred at Neets Bay between the lake and the facility.  Fortunately the pipeline is intact and no fish were lost, although we will have some increased costs in mobilizing a large excavator, removing debris and securing the pipeline.  Staff reports were fairly brief as we had a full agenda and written reports were included in the packet.

During Finance Committee reports, recommendations came forward to the full board.  A recommendation was passed to take $75,000 from operational reserves to buy more fish food due to warm winter temperatures and higher growth and metabolism rates.  Float camps are mobilized and summer chum are transitioning to net pens in saltwater approximately a month earlier than normal.

A recommendation to create a revenue goal was passed; previously SSRAA harvested all the chums not caught in the Neets Bay THA, having either a shortfall or windfall.  Moving forward this means we will pursue more common property opportunity on fish above our cost recovery needs if there is an excess, also this will allow the Marketing Committee to come up with a number on value needed in better determining bid parameters.

We also passed a motion that the shortfall from last year come from the Neets Bay Harvest Fund.  It appears the revenue shortfall from FY13 will be about $1.92 million.  The Neets Bay Harvest Fund (NBHF) is a little different than our operating reserves ($1.9M), capital reserve ($600K).  The NBHF was created as a buffer to allow more active fishing in the bay before cost recovery is assured.  It may also be used to “buy” opportunity for gear groups.  This can happen if windfalls or grants bring the fund in excess of a needed “buffer”.  For instance last year we allowed two extra net rotations in early July and a troll harvest of 480,000 chums, while gear groups benefited from increased opportunity, we fell short on needed cost recovery and drew from this reserve.  In another instance we could “spend” excess revenue in this account to lessen the revenue goal for Neets Bay therefore taking less fish for cost recovery and creating more gear group opportunity.  After the $1.92 deduction this fund has just short of $3M in it.  We feel a minimum of $2.5 M is needed in the fund to buffer for overharvesting or revenue shortfall, while revenue in excess of that may be dedicated in opportunity in the bay.

SSRAA received a letter from DIPAC welcoming a request for supplemental funding; they are open to any proposal that would provide direct benefit to the common property in the short and/or long term.  The SSRAA board passed a motion to direct staff to write a letter to DIPAC requesting $1.5 M that we would place in the Neets Bay Harvest Fund. Our goal would be to create common property opportunity in lieu of cost recovery in Neets Bay with this funding.

Also we passed a motion to add $600K to the capital expansion at Burnett Inlet.  This would allow for a larger cement pad for increased production at the facility.  This should save us money in the long run on bringing Burnett to full production as we are already pouring one pad, and while the crews are there would expand the project thus saving expense in the long run.  In this motion was also starting the summer chum brood stock expansion permitting process that I spoke of last report.

Next we had a presentation from staff on the pros/cons of taking over the Prince of Whales Hatchery Association (POWHA).  This is a complex issue, a couple of the main points are that in 2013 it was a major contributor to the troll fleet, about 8% of the coho (196,683 fish/$1.85M) This is a certainly helpful in the enhanced allocation picture as a contribution to troll.  Although the negatives are also lengthy with $5.2M in debt, deferred maintenance on a state facility and substantial capital needs along with possible political issues.  The other side of that is it is doubtful the 5 million coho permit would be reissued to SSRAA if POWHA goes bankrupt.  We voted to have staff bring a couple financial options to the table in March, one being the minimum financial aid to keep POWHA in business so they can take eggs next fall until we get a better handle on the best way to proceed.

Also a motion was supported to write a letter to DIPAC stating SSRAA supported a $500K DIPAC grant to POWHA.

We also approved a two year contract extension to John Burke as General Manager.  This will be John’s last extension and we will be forming a searching committee to start looking for a new General Manager for SSRAA, also long time R&E manager Susan Doherty has given notice that she will be leaving SSRAA at the end of this year.

As SSRAA seemed to be out of options a year ago to increase production, at least in available water, it seems many things have fallen in place whereas permitting and capital funding may be the next hurdles in increasing releases.


Fishing Vessel Update from Ken Lawrenson (1/17)

No regulation changes taking effect this year, unless the folks at HQ can get the Interim Final Rule out in the Federal Register, in which case we will see implementation of some items from the 2010 and 2012 Authorization Acts (mandatory exams for all commercial fishing vessels (CFVs) beyond 3 miles of the territorial sea baseline in 2015, regs for classification for some new CFVs > 50-ft built after July2013, etc).

On the regulatory front, and this is not a new reqt, we have seen an upswing in CFVs that are getting various “direct marketing”/processing permits from the State and going into business thinking that they can start processing fish… such as filleting salmon onboard.  Owners need to be mindful that “processing” fish carries class and other requirements, or they need to work with the CG to get an exemption.

Alaskans are represented on the Commercial Fishing Safety Advisory Committee by the following members:

Jerry Dzugan (AMSEA in Sitka)
Alan Davis (American Seafoods in Seattle)
Karen Conrad (North Pacific FV Owners Assoc in Seattle)
Jake Jacobsen (Surveyor, Crab Coop, Seattle and AK)
Mark Saldi (Fisherman, Skagway)
Torie Baker (Fisherman, SeaGrant Prof, Cordova)

Contact info is at

Hope this helps.  Let me know if you or your membership have any questions or concerns.



Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Coordinator
US Coast Guard 17th District
Juneau, Alaska
907 463-2810
907 321-4110 Cell

USCG – marijuana use prohibited (1/14).  The US Coast Guard issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin regarding its recreational and medical marijuana use policies for maritime transportation workers. The bulletin notes that marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug in the federal Controlled Substances Act. As such its use by maritime transportation workers is prohibited, even when state law allows recreational or medical use of marijuana. Medical Review Officers will not verify a drug test as negative based upon marijuana use of any type.  Courtesy Bryant’s Maritime Blog


USCG – marine casualty reporting (1/14).  The US Coast Guard seeks comments on draft guidance in the form of a Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) entitled “Title 46, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 4 Marine Casualty Reporting Procedures Guide with Associated Standard interpretations”. Comments should be submitted by 14 April. 79 Fed. Reg. 2466 Courtesy Bryant’s Maritime Blog

State, feds fight lawsuit seeking federal oversight of Cook Inlet fisheries (1/14).  The Alaska Legislature’s two Finance Subcommittees on the Department of Fish and Game held a public hearing in downtown Anchorage Tuesday to discuss a lawsuit underway in which a Southcentral driftnetters association is seeking federal oversight of Cook Inlet fisheries.

The lawsuit, filed by the United Cook Inlet Drift Association (UCIDA) last year, challenges the validity of Amendment 12, an amendment to the federal Fishery Management Plan that allows for Alaska to regulate commercial salmon fishing in three areas of the state: The central part of Cook Inlet, the eastern part of Prince William Sound, and part of the waters off of the Alaska Peninsula and Unimak Island. Originally filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the case was later moved to Alaska.  More   Cook Inlet Fishermen Want Federal Fisheries Oversight  KSKA Audio (1/15)

Panel Will Target Tongass Plan Rewrite, Timber Transition (1/18).  The Forest Service is setting up an advisory board to help rewrite the Tongass National Forest’s management plan. It’s somewhat similar to another panel that shut down last year without completing its work.

Tongass managers have a couple big jobs ahead of them.

They’re reviewing and updating the land-management plan for the 17-million-acre forest. They’re also working on a roadmap for a transition from old-growth to young-growth timber harvests.

So, the agency has decided to recruit 15 people for an advisory committee.

Tongass Supervisor Forrest Cole says they’ll take about a year developing proposals for the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and the chief of the Forest Service.  More


Young Fishermen’s Summit. Youngbloods in the industry (1/13).  Charlie Ess, National Fisherman’s North Pacific bureau chief, takes a look at the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit, which aims to attract new blood into the industry and offer them assistance. The most recent summit took place in Anchorage in December.  Video

Silence can be deadly for Northern District salmon (1/9)By Howard Delo.  Last Friday, I explained why it is critical for as many residents of the Northern District of Cook Inlet as possible to show up at the Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) meeting to be held at the Egan Center in Anchorage from Jan. 31 to Feb. 13. That same day, the Chairman of the BOF, Karl Johnstone, had a Compass column in the Anchorage Daily News asking for and encouraging folks to do the same.

If you missed Johnstone’s article, he explained that the more public input the BOF received from all affected users concerning the various issues of fisheries management in Cook Inlet the better the board can make more informed and improved regulations to address correcting some of these issues. In our case, that means telling the BOF how the lack of returning Northern District salmon runs has impacted economic, recreational and quality of life issues in the Valley.  More

Treadwell rejects urban set net ban (1/10).  Alaska’s Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell rejected a ballot initiative proposal that aimed to ban set nets on Alaska’s non-subsistence shore areas earlier this week.

A release from Treadwell’s office cited advice from a Department of Law report as the reason for denying the proposal, saying it violated the Alaska Constitution.

“Were this type of initiative permissible, voters could continue to reallocate stocks to any fishery simply by eliminating specific gear or particular means and methods of catching fish,” states the letter from the Department of Law. “For example, the next initiative might propose to eliminate purse seining, trawling, dipnetting, or catch-and-release sport fishing in particular areas to increase harvest opportunity for other types of users. This would ‘prevent … real regulation and careful administration’ of Alaska’s salmon stocks, contrary to the purpose of the prohibition on initiative by appropriation.”  More

HB77.  Micciche to address permitting bill (1/16). A Soldotna legislator on Thursday said he has asked that a controversial permitting bill be sent to the Senate Resources Committee for further review when the Legislature reconvenes.

Sen. Peter Micciche, who held community meetings on HB77 last month, said his constituency does not support the bill in its current form.

The measure from Gov. Sean Parnell was billed as a way to improve the permitting process. But critics say it could hurt the public’s ability to participate in permitting decisions and give the Natural Resources commissioner too much power.

On Thursday, it was announced that about 30 tribes and Native communities had delivered resolutions to Parnell’s office opposing HB77.  More

Report: Fish unaffected by Tulsequah Chief mine discharge.  Third-party performed analysis of water quality (1/15).  Although significant levels of copper and zinc were found downstream from the Tulsequah Chief mine, the mine’s drainage poses a low risk to fish in the Tulsequah River, according to a third-party water quality assessment released Dec. 20. The report also stated the discharge does not affect the Taku River.

Scientists from Palmer Environmental Consulting Group, Core6 Environmental Ltd. and Triton Environmental Consultants, firms based in British Columbia, performed a study of the water quality at four sites in the Tulsequah River, where the mine is located near the confluence of the Taku River in British Columbia about 40 miles north of Juneau.  More  Contact me by email if you a copy of the actual report

Fish funding, bills await Legislature as session convenes (1/16).  The Alaska State Legislature will be tasked with discussing several fisheries issues when it resumes its work in Juneau Jan. 21.

Budgets for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, will top the agenda in a declining revenue environment, and fisheries research and management funding will be part of that discussion.

In 2012, Gov. Sean Parnell announced that he was seeking $30 million for a chinook salmon research initiative over five years. The Legislature appropriated $7.5 million of Parnell’s requested $10 million for the current fiscal year 2014. This year, the governor’s proposed budget calls for $10 million for the second phase of the initiative.  More

Delta Western merges with Anchorage distributor (1/9).  Two major petroleum distributors in Alaska merged at the start of this year.

Delta Western, Incorporated is one of the petroleum, fuel, and oil distributors in the Wrangell area.

It’s a large distributor throughout Southeast Alaska, Western Alaska and Bristol Bay, and the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands.

As of January 1st, 2014, it merged with Inlet Petroleum Company, a distributor based in Anchorage.  More/KSTK Audio


Murkowski Food Advocacy Effort Builds Momentum, Expands to $20 Million Alaska Salmon Purchase (1/17)

Department of Agriculture Purchases Canned Pink Salmon for Food Banks Nationwide

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After successfully encouraging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expand its efforts to provide more produce to food banks and affiliates nationwide last week, Senator Lisa Murkowski was able to help convince Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to use $20 million in existing funds to also purchase Alaska canned pink salmon for Americans in need.

Murkowski was the lead Republican on a bipartisan August letter (attached) with over 20 of her Senate colleagues recommending more be done by the USDA in light of increased need across the country through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) – leading to last week’s $126 million purchase of fruits and vegetables.

“When I initially encouraged Secretary Vilsack to consider using TEFAP funds to help provide healthy food for Americans in need, my goal was to ensure that food banks and their partners would have greater access to a wide variety of healthy foods,” said Murkowski.  “Every Alaskan knows that our salmon is brain food and full of protein, so I suggested the Department of Agriculture consider our nutritious and delicious salmon for food banks nationwide experiencing high levels of need.”

A recent survey of 250 Fairbanksans served by the Fairbanks Community Food Bank revealed that of those who received food boxes: 25% can’t find work; 20% are disabled; 20% are working poor; 8% are military; 7% were laid off; 6% are students; 5% are sick or had an accident, and 6% had unexpected situations or emergencies.

Senator Lisa Murkowski is a strong supporter of the Food Bank of Alaska and its affiliate network, having visited several branches in recent months to pitch in as well as hearing more about their day-to-day challenges.  USDA Press Release (1/15)     14.01.17.TEFAP.pdf
KTUU Story

Short Taglines on Brailers in Bristol Bay May Negatively Impact Salmon Quality (1/8)The Board of Directors for the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association will meet Friday and Saturday in Seattle to consider several proposals submitted for possible funding this year. As KDLG’s Mike Mason reports, one of the proposals seeks to offer up a simple solution to a problem that might be impacting the quality of sockeye harvested in Bristol Bay.  KDLG Audio

Commercial fishing film festival celebrates third year (1/15).  There’s a big mix of commercial fishing footage in Alaska and elsewhere, from the historical to the hysterical online this week for the Third Annual Commercial Fishing Film Festival.

The collection of fishing movies from around the globe is being broadcast online this week through January 18. Viewers can vote for their favorites and upload their own video for next year. It’s the creation of Juneau fisherman and writer David Clark, who has a commercial fishing website. Joe Viechnicki spoke with Clark about the latest installment.  More/KFSK Audio and link to videos

Video of the weekA Glimpse of Gillnetting in Southeast 


Jan 17.
  SSRAA Board meeting, KTN
Jan 21. 
Legislature convenes, JNU
Feb 10-14.  Pacific Salmon Commission, Vancouver BC
Feb 21.  USAG Port Meeting, Seattle
Mar 4-5.  NSRAA, PSG
Mar 6-7.  SSRAA, KTN
Mar 29. 
DIPAC Board Meeting, Juneau
Apr 8.  Regional Planning Team (RPT), Juneau
Apr 10Proposals due for 2015 BOF SE Finfish

Feb 23-Mar 3.   BOF SE Finfish, Sitka

Posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago at 7:46 am.

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