United Southeast Alaska Gillnetter’s Association

Corkline-News for Southeast Gillnetters, April 26, 2015

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News Highlights: Brutal BOF confirmation process results in denial for Ruffner, personal use bill threatens commercial fisheries, prices not looking good in 2015, BC mines in the news.

Safety. Are you ready?

Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Checklist Generator

Vessel Stability Program for iPhones (Free)

Fishing vessel Drills for iPhones (Free)

AMSEA Class Schedule

Implementation of New Requirements for Commercial Fishing Vessels (12/1).   Mandatory examinations and survival craft requirements

 

3/13/15 SSRAA Report by Chris Guggenbickler

We just finished two days of meetings in Ketchikan, the first a planning/production meeting where we discussed issues from

Low Unuk Chinook escapement to increases in production at Burnett inlet for summer and fall chum to SSRAA absorbing POWHA responsibilities and releases.

At the full board level on Friday Scott Walker presented the departments position on 7 Unuk Chinook tags recovered mainly during week 25

Neets Bay THA. In an effort to keep the Unuk from reaching triggers of stock of concern we are forced to cut time and area. We passed a motion to cut three days of net effort during week 25, by cutting rotation schedules in half, 12 hours for seine and 24 for gillnet. This is a time period when rotations are at 2/1, just prior to a 1/1 switch. Also the THA will be reduced for net groups from the Chin Point line in to the Bug Island line until the 29th of June. This is The SSRAA board’s recommendation to the Department and no guarantee that the department will be satisfied with these modifications alone.

We applied the $1.5 Million grant from DIPAC towards our revenue goal for Neets Bay, which allowed us to pass a cost recovery need of just over $5 Million from Neets Bay. This Grant allowed us the flexibility to set a 400K troll target of chum in Neets Bay. This will allow more THA opportunity early in the run, and for our cost recovery vessel to stay inside the troll fleet. We passed the same rotational schedules for summer chum after brood and cost recovery as in 2014. If we reach our cost recovery goal and broodstock is assured we will have two days of troll followed by seine and gillnet rotations. As we all know summer chum survivals have been on a lower survival trend recently. Hopefully there will be enough returning adults to allow us to shift the DIPAC grant to fishermen’s holds.

We also set a rotational schedule for the Anita Bay THA. At the recent Board of Fish meeting in Sitka the SEAS/USAG proposal for Anita was passed. This changed the wording for the time period from the beginning of week 31 until the 1st of September. This time period will revert back to 2/1 time ratio for gillnet/seine. In an effort between the user groups to allow some buildup with a condensed time schedule we passed 12 hours of seine (6am-6pm) with a 18 hour break followed by 24 hours gillnet (noon-noon) Please check this years’ rotational calendar for these change.

Recently POWHA is a large topic, and it appears we will most likely at some point (a motion to do so in production/planning tied and failed) absorb the facility, operations and responsibility. We approved an October board meeting on POW to “kick the tires” and this decision will become imminent next winter.

STATE

Commentary. Johnstone’s idea for Anchorage seat on Alaska fish board is completely wrong (4/8). Former Alaska Board of Fisheries chairman Karl Johnstone wrote an opinion published by Alaska Dispatch News March 31 that Anchorage was going to be disenfranchised from representation on the BOF. With due respect to the former chair, and acknowledgment that he and members of the BOF give time and hard work to their duties,  Johnstone’s commentary misunderstands the Legislature’s policy basis for BOF membership.

Article 8 of Alaska’s Constitution provides that our state’s fish are reserved to the people for common use, and that they are to be used, developed and maintained on a sustained yield basis, subject to preferences among beneficial uses. More

Senate committee questions Fish Board appointee over sportfishing support (4/13). Gov. Bill Walker’s latest nominee for the Alaska Board of Fisheries faced a barrage of critical questions at a hearing Monday over the depth of his support for sportfishing, even as a decision by the Senate majority caucus threw the whole appointment process into limbo.

Robert Ruffner, director of the conservation group Kenai Watershed Forum, has faced criticism from some personal-use dipnetters and sportfishermen from Copper River, the Kenai and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. They’ve accused him of supporting commercial fishing interests instead, and have opposed his appointment to the seven-member board that sets and revises fishing regulations in Alaska. ~~~

Wasilla Republican Sen. Charlie Huggins told Ruffner he wished the board seat still belonged to Karl Johnstone, the retired Anchorage judge who resigned in January after Walker notified him that he wouldn’t be reappointed.~~~

Normally, the Legislature holds a joint confirmation session on appointees regardless of committee action. But on Monday, the Senate majority canceled the joint session, according to a spokesperson. If the Legislature doesn’t meet, the appointments are considered declined, according to a legislative legal opinion. More

Commentary. Sport anglers have good reason to demand fair representation on Board of Fisheries (4/13). By Kevin Delaney. Gov. Bill Walker has nominated Robert Ruffner, executive director of the Kenai Watershed Forum and a resident of Soldotna, to fill a seat on the seven-member Alaska Board of Fisheries. If Mr. Ruffner is confirmed by the Alaska Legislature we will have one member each from Kodiak, Dillingham, Huslia, Petersburg, Soldotna, Fairbanks and Talkeetna, but no representative from the area with the largest population in the state. Serious questions of this nominee are in order given the long dominance of Kenai fishery commercial interests and institutions in Upper Cook Inlet salmon management, often at the expense of sport and personal use anglers in the rest of the Southcentral region. More

Alaska Board of Fish nominee Robert Ruffner makes his case (4/15). OK, we’re all Alaskans and we seem to love a good political fight. We really like to fight about fish. So grab the popcorn for the next round. If you’re following this, then you’ve seen half a dozen editorials, letters to the editor and stories over my nomination to the Alaska Board of Fisheries, all written by someone else. Most recently from an out-of-state individual paid to advance one group’s vision. With a couple days to go before the Legislature makes a decision, you need to hear from the applicant himself. More

Peninsula Clarion Editorial. Legislators responsible for their conduct and their votes (4/23). There was at least a kernel of truth in the Legislature’s debate over Robert Ruffner’s nomination to the Board of Fisheries.

While he couched it in terms of maintaining a balance on the board, Sen. Bill Stoltze made it clear in his comments during the Legislature’s joint session last Sunday that he expects any nominee to that seat to be beholden to sport fishing interests. He went on to characterize Ruffner’s nomination as an attack on Southcentral and personal-use fishermen — nevermind that Ruffner has been a longtime resident of the region and has described himself on the record as an avid personal-use fishery participant. More

AJOC EDITORIAL: Legislature votes for factions over fish (4/22). The mantra “Fish come first” has been exposed as nothing more than a fish tale.

Gov. Bill Walker’s second crack at a Board of Fisheries nominee was defeated April 19 in the Legislature by a 30-29 vote when Robert Ruffner of Soldotna became the latest trophy — though likely not the last — mounted by the Kenai River Sportfishing Association.

Just as it did two years ago to oust board member Vince Webster by an identical 30-29 vote, KRSA engaged in a heavy-handed lobbying effort of distortions and character assassination, this time against a candidate who has devoted his professional career to conservation as the executive director of the Kenai Watershed Forum.

While KRSA claims “Fish come first” in its slick propaganda to mask its true purpose as a guided fishing lobbying group, Ruffner has actually lived that motto. More

GUEST COMMENTARY: Time for Kenai-area community to cut its ties with KRSA (4/22)
. By Dwight Kramer. Last weekend the Alaska Legislature voted against the confirmation of Soldotna resident Robert Ruffner for a seat on the Board of Fisheries. Robert is well respected locally, in-state and nationally for his work on habitat and clean water issues and their relationship to providing good salmon rearing conditions.

He is also a resource user that participates in the sport and personal use fisheries. With his scientific background he was probably the best qualified applicant this position has seen in a long time. More

AJC. Legislature narrowly rejects Ruffner for Board of Fisheries (4/22). Another Board of Fisheries nominee has fallen victim to the aggressive politics of the Cook Inlet fish wars.

The Legislature voted 30-29 against confirming Gov. Bill Walker’s Board of Fisheries nominee Robert Ruffner during the end of session confirmation hearing on April 19.

Walker nominated Ruffner to the position following the resignation of Karl Johnstone as the board chair and subsequent withdrawal by Roland Maw after criminal charges were filed against him in Montana over receiving resident hunting and fishing licenses. More

Legislature fails to confirm Ruffner to Board of Fisheries (4/19)
. The Alaska Legislature failed to confirm a Soldotna conservationist for a seat on the Alaska Board of Fisheries.

The confirmation for Gov. Bill Walker’s appointee, Robert Ruffner, was defeated with 29 lawmakers in favor and 30 against, during a joint legislative session on Sunday in Juneau. The board sets fishing regulations for the state and sets allocation in a multi-billion dollar fishing industry.   More

Redoubt Reporter. No ‘voice’ for Peninsula on BOF (4/21)

Homer News Seawatch. Ruffner doesn’t win legislative approval (4/22). The support from commercial fishermen and local governments apparently prevented a nominee for the Alaska Board of Fisheries with no commercial fishing experience whatsoever from being confirmed by the Legislature.

The nominee, Robert Ruffner, lost on a 30-29 vote.

The strongest opposition came from Sen. Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak, who spent nearly nine minutes of the 35 minutes of discussion about Ruffner talking not about Ruffner’s lack of qualifications, but about how much unprecedented support Ruffner had. More

Pinks predicted to carry season, again. Taku chinook outlook poor (4/17). In 2013, pink salmon returns in Southeast Alaska broke records, leading commercial fishermen to catch more than 100 million salmon from all five species for the first time ever in the region. Biologists don’t expect this year to be quite as stellar, but pinks, which tend to run in odd year cycles, are expected to carry the year for commercial fishermen once again.

For Southeast Alaska, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game predicts a total harvest of a little more than 1.1 million sockeye, 2.9 million coho, 58 million pinks, and a little less than 9.3 million chum (including 7.4 million hatchery chum) for a total, excluding chinook, of 71.3 million salmon caught in Southeast Alaska. More

Oceans Alaska official optimistic about industry (4/20). Ketchikan-based Oceans Alaska has gone through some transformations over the past few years. It started out as a mariculture research and educational venture, then the nonprofit organization got into the shellfish seed business while still retaining its research focus. Now, though, OceansAlaska is shifting into a fully commercial operation that its new director said should become profitable in the near future. More/KRBD Audio

Banks seek to expand portfolios in stable fishing industry (4/8). The rationalization of federal fisheries has created a healthier environment for Alaska banks to underwrite commercial fishing industry loans.

Alaska’s banks had a healthy 2014 in spite of the nervousness over falling oil prices, spurred by increased consumer market confidence and commercial construction. The five Alaska-based banks together grew their total assets 9.3 percent from $5.4 billion in 2013 to $5.9 billion in 2014. Net income grew a collective 11 percent, from $55 million in 2013 to $61 million in 2014.

Luke Fanning, a loan officer at First National Bank Alaska and commercial fisherman, said the banks have plans to use flush deposit balances to up their game in the fishing world.

“Seafood is the number one employer in Alaska, and banks recognize that, and they’re hungry for loans,” Fanning said. More

Members of the Fishing Industry Discuss How to Find and Educate Workers (4/6). Groups across Alaska want to keep the fishing industry strong and steady and increase the number of people who pursue maritime careers.

Industry sectors and state agencies across the state have compiled the Alaska Maritime Workforce Development Plan, which outlines different approaches to bolstering the industry, including increased training and more education programs. More/KMXT Audio

Personal use priority bill stirs reaction among public (4/8). A pair of bills in the Alaska Legislature would create a hierarchy of importance for Alaska state fisheries, with subsistence at the top and commercial and sport fishing at the bottom.

Senate Bill 42, introduced by Sen. Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak, and House Bill 110, introduced by Rep. Mark Neuman, R-Big Lake, together titled the “Alaskans-First Fishing Act,” would direct 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.

The focal point for the act’s support and opposition are the popular Upper Cook Inlet personal use salmon fisheries in the Kenai, Kasilof, and Fish Creek rivers that fuel allocation and gear conflict battles in the Board of Fisheries process. More

Voices of the Peninsula: Some Alaskans first, some dead last, and most left out (4/4). By Paul Dale. As both a lifelong Alaskan and commercial fisher, I wanted to share my views on Senate Bill 42, establishing personal use priority in times of salmon shortages. Prime sponsor Senator Bill Stoltze has introduced failed versions of this for seven years, but this session, some legislators are giving it favorable attention. One could ask why such consideration now, when harvests of sockeye salmon in the premier Kenai river dipnet fishery are robust by any measure, and have grown almost every year since its inception. More

Personal use and subsistence fisheries bill meets lukewarm response (4/14). A bill that would require a management priority on subsistence and personal-use fisheries in Alaska did not get priority treatment in the House Fisheries Committee on April 7. The committee heard a presentation on the bill, but Chairwoman Louise Stutes announced from the outset that no testimony would be taken and the bill would be held in committee.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Mark Neuman, a Republican from Big Lake, requires that subsistence and personal-use fisheries be considered ahead of sport, recreational and commercial fishing interests in times of resource scarcity. More HB110 is a companion bill to SB42 (Sen Stoltze)

Shift of spill response cost from oil industry to Alaskans divides lawmakers (4/8). Alaska legislators are moving to shift some costs for the state’s spill prevention and response program from the oil industry to Alaskans, drawing opposition from both left and right.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to add a “surcharge” of a penny a gallon to the cost of most refined fuels sold in Alaska, though aviation, government and some others are exempted. More

SARDFA director details industry’s challenges (4/9). Southeast Alaska’s dive fisheries are a $15 million industry that operates in what is generally a slow time for other regional commercial fishing. Fishermen who hold dive permits agreed years ago to pay a tax to fund the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s management of the limited-entry fishery. The tax also pays for PSP, water quality and, now, arsenic testing, all run by the Southeast Alaska Regional Dive Fisheries Association. More/KRBD Audio

Petersburg raises short-term harbor fees, sets drive down dock price (4/9). Petersburg’s borough assembly Monday passed an increase in fees for transient and short term moorage in the borough’s three harbors.

The harbor master and harbor board recommended the increase, which is meant to offset increasing costs of maintaining Petersburg’s docks and floats.   More

UAF Study Researches the “Graying” of Alaska’s Fisheries (4/15). The aging of the fishing industry is a source of concern to coastal communities and some employers who wonder where they’ll get new workers when their current ones retire. A research project that focuses on Bristol Bay and the Kodiak Archipelago hopes to analyze this issue in an ongoing study, and a researcher from the study will share its progress at a lecture tonight at the Baranov Museum. More

FEDERAL

USCG – vessel documentation paperwork (4/16). The US Coast Guard posted a notice reminding stakeholders of their ability to electronically check on the status of their vessel documentation paperwork at the USCG National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC). Courtesy Bryant’s Maritime Blog

Marine accidents: What went wrong? (4/16). The recently published, amply illustrated “Safer Seas 2014: Lessons Learned from Marine Accident Investigations”  includes 23 reports completed last year covering towing and passenger vessels as well as OSVs, tankers and fishing boats. Towing accounted for nine accidents and fishing for five. More

NMFS. Successful conservation efforts recognized in revised ESA Humpback Whale listing (4/20). Reclassification into 14 distinct population segments will provide more tailored management approach. NOAA Fisheries proposed today to reclassify the humpback whale into 14 distinct population segments under the Endangered Species Act, providing a more tailored conservation approach for U.S. fisheries managers. Protection and restoration efforts over the past 40 years have led to an increase in numbers and growth rates for humpback whales in many areas.

The humpback whale is currently listed as endangered throughout its range. The proposed rule finds that ten of those 14 populations do not warrant ESA listing. More

Yereth Rosen. Feds propose overhauling endangered species protections for humpbacks (4/20)

Snake River fall Chinook might come off threatened list (4/22)
Pacific Salmon Commission Feb 2015 Meeting Summary Documents http://www.psc.org/Meetings/2015_PSC_Annual_Meeting_Summary.pdf


USCG Adm. Zukunft: The Man, His Mission (4/8). Adm. Paul F. Zukunft, the 25th commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard has a full plate. Driving sexual assault out of the Coast Guard; Preparing the fleet for operations through the year 2061; Coordinating intel and assets to stem the flow of illegal drugs … they are all on the short list. From his Washington, DC, HQ he shares his vision and mission with Maritime Reporter. More

NIOSH Advises Fishermen on How to ‘Live to be Salty’ (4/8). Falling overboard is the second leading cause of death among commercial fishermen nationwide, and the reason for that, says NIOSH, is not wearing a personal flotation device.

That’s why representatives of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health were back at Comfish 2015 in Kodiak this past week to show off and promote the use of personal flotation devices designed for use in specific fisheries. More

NMFS/USFWS Improving ESA Implementation. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services) are working collaboratively to improve the implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by considering appropriate changes to our practices, guidance, policies, or regulations to enhance conservation of listed species. The objective of this effort is to ensure that key operational aspects of the ESA are up-to-date, clear, efficient and effective. We are not seeking any changes to the ESA statute because we believe that implementation can be significantly improved through rulemaking and policy formulation.   More Regulatory Reform fact sheet

MARKETING

Hometown U: Fishing for salmon consumers in China (4/26). Right about now, Alaskans are digging through the spidery corners of their backyard sheds and garages, pulling out waders and tackle boxes, sweeping leaves off gunnels and hooking up boat trailers.

It’s time to get ready for summer and salmon fishing.

Pardon me for this, but Qiujie “Angie” Zheng has bigger fish to fry. She’ll be setting her hooks in China this summer… for Alaska salmon consumers. More

Standards for organic seafood coming this year, USDA says (4/16). After more than a decade of delays, the government is moving toward allowing the sale of U.S.-raised organic fish and shellfish. But don’t expect it in the grocery store anytime soon.

The Agriculture Department says it will propose standards for the farmed organic fish this year. That means the seafood could be available in as few as two years — but only if USDA moves quickly to complete the rules and seafood companies decide to embrace them. ~~~     Wild fish would not be eligible for the organic label — that would be too difficult to monitor. More

Íslandsbanki Issues United States Seafood Market Report (4/21). Íslandsbanki, an international leader in seafood financing, today released its United States Seafood Market Report at Seafood Expo Global. The report provides insights into key trends and issues shaping the industry in the major seafood regions of the United States: the Atlantic Coast, Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Coast. Highlights of the U.S. report include: More

MSC certified fisheries on track to catch 12 pc of global wild-capture (4/22). The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) today celebrated 15 years of MSC certified seafood and recognised the ‘leaders for living oceans’ that are driving growth and success in the sustainable seafood market.

MSC certified fisheries now catch 8.8 million tonnes of MSC certified seafood per year, accounting for close to 10 per cent of the total global wild-capture. With 255 fisheries certified and over 100 currently in assessment to the MSC Standard, volumes could increase to over 10 million tonnes, representing around 12 per cent of the global wild harvest, in the next 18 months. More

Lower salmon prices may mean more markets (4/8). Too much red and pink salmon could be a blessing in an ugly disguise for 2015.

Industry has a pessimistic outlook for the price of Alaska salmon in 2015, due in large part to one of the largest pink and sockeye salmon run forecasts in 50 years. A healthy U.S. economy is driving a strong dollar, which can harm exports, and key markets have vanished.

Like sinking oil prices, however, the value squeeze could open new domestic market positions as more consumers get a taste of wild-caught Alaska salmon in a market flooded with foreign farmed fish. More

Alaska sockeye salmon glut expected to lower prices (4/9). The price of Alaska sockeye salmon is expected to drop this year as a huge run and leftover cans and frozen fillets from last season cause a glut in supply.

Although fans of the red-fleshed fish may rejoice, the news isn’t good for fishermen in Bristol Bay, the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world. Even without enormous numbers of fish flooding the market, prices are already under pressure. More

Alaska Salmon Producers Decide to Rejoin MSC, All Bristol Bay Sockeye to be MSC Certified (4/10). Virtually all of Alaska’s abundant wild salmon will be harvested under MSC certification as well as the existing RFM certification this summer.   The major processors representing more than 70% of Alaskan Wild Salmon who withdrew from the MSC program in 2010, are in discussions with the Marine Stewardship Council and the existing client group to offer MSC certified salmon.

Ocean Beauty, Peter Pan, Trident, Icicle, Alaska General Seafoods, Leader Creek and North Pacific Seafoods, Kwikpak Fisheries LLC, Triad Fisheries and Yukon Gold have joined with Copper River Seafoods, Silver Bay, Double E Foods, 10th & M and some smaller producers to land and process salmon that will be eligible for the Marine Stewardship Council chain of custody certification. More

Fishermen’s News. As Fishery Nears, Salmon Processors Face Certification Issues (4/15)

Facing tough market, salmon processors plan return to certification program (4/15)

ASMI Marketing Update (4/10)

Orca Bay Seafoods products get verified as non-GMO (4/8). American seafood processor and distributor Orca Bay Seafoods has recently received verification by the Non-GMO Project as producing products free of genetic modification.

Products verified by the project may bear the seal of verification. Orca Bay received this status for its ahi tuna yellowfin steaks, Alaska cod fillets, Alaska pollock fillets, cod fillets, flounder fillets, haddock fillets, halibut steaks, keta salmon fillets, mahimahi fillets, ocean perch fillets, Pacific salmon fillets, scallops, sockeye salmon fillets, and swordfish steaks. More

Sockeye Salmon on a Downward Spiral (4/14). US – If you are a sockeye buyer then the current market is ideal for any upcoming purchase decisions, reports Rob Reierson in the Tradex Foods 3-Minute Market Insight. Video-3min

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY

Attention Copper River gillnet fisherman! (4/22). A study by the University of Washington aims to assess the unique health risks faced by commercial fishermen. A pilot program aims to assess the overall fitness and unique health risks faced by the Copper River gillnet fleet. The study is being conducted by a team from the University of Washington (UW), including Dr. Debra Cherry, who directs the university’s occupational medicine training program.

“We are looking at the health habits of commercial fishermen before and during the fishing season with a goal of finding ways to help improve their health,” said Cherry. More

Research identifies factors affecting salmon spawning (4/16). Warmer water and smaller run sizes can increase the rates at which salmon spawn away from their home streams, according to a study led by a University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher.

Peter Westley, assistant professor of fisheries at UAF’s School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, and a research team analyzed 17 years worth of migration data for 19 populations of hatchery-produced chinook salmon in the Columbia River. The data showed that climate variables influence straying rates, according to findings published online by the Ecological Society of America. More

NMFS. Humpback Whales: An Endangered Species Act Success Story? Are humpback whales still endangered, or have their populations recovered enough since whaling ended that they can now be taken off the Endangered Species List?

NOAA Fisheries scientists have spent several years researching this question, and their answer is not a simple yes or no. Instead, the Agency identified 14 distinct population segments of humpback whales, 10 of which we identified as not warranted for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The other four still appear vulnerable to extinction currently or within the foreseeable future and require the continued protection of the ESA. More

DAHLHEIM, M. E., A. N. ZERBINI, J. M. WAITE, and A. S. KENNEDY. 2015. Temporal changes in abundance of harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) inhabiting the inland waters of Southeast Alaska. Fish. Bull., U.S. 113:242-255. (.pdf, 1.73 MB).  OnlineNOTE: NMFS thinks gillnetters are a possible reason for population decline in the Wrangell/Zarembo area. We are still waiting for the observer report.

What the Pacific ’blob’ can tell us about climate change (4/9). A warm pool in the Pacific Ocean, 300 feet deep and 1,000 miles wide, may not be caused by the recent warming of the planet — but what it’s doing to fish, California and the East Coast may tell us a lot about what’s in store as the ocean continues to heat up. More

WaPo. The Pacific Ocean may have entered a new warm phase — and the consequences could be dramatic (4/10). Two new studies have just hit about the “warm blob” in the northeast Pacific ocean — a 2 degree C or more temperature anomaly that began in the winter of 2013-2014 in the Gulf of Alaska and later expanded. Scientists have been astonished at the extent and especially the long-lasting nature of the warmth, with one NOAA researcher saying, “when you see something like this that’s totally new you have opportunities to learn things you were never expecting.” More

PSP: With new lab, STA takes a gamble on shellfish testing (4/10). Despite the risk of paralytic shellfish poisoning — or PSP — Southeast Alaska has a robust dive fishery that includes geoduck clams. The entire industry hinges on weekly testing results from the Department of Environmental Conservation laboratory in Anchorage.

This scenario could change in the not-too-distant future. In part 1 of our 2-part series, KCAW’s Emily Kwong reported on efforts by Sitka Tribe of Alaska to monitor the waters of Southeast for PSP. In part 2 today, she tracks their plans to launch a commercial testing lab. More/KCAW Audio

JOHNSON, S. W., A. D. NEFF, and M. R. LINDEBERG. 2015. A handy field guide to the nearshore marine fishes of Alaska. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-293, 211 p. (.pdf, 32 MB).  Online

Let’s hear it for chum: The underdog salmon has a serious drive to thrive (4/15). SUBTLETY IS NOT its strong suit. When a brawny chum salmon, free swimming somewhere in the North Pacific, gets a signal from somewhere deep within the gravel of its DNA that it’s time to turn tail toward Seattle to spawn, woe be upon any impediment that might stand in its way. More

  1. Sockeye overfishing risks salmon future: critics (4/9). Conservationists say federal fishery managers allowed serious overfishing of Fraser River sockeye salmon last summer and too few fish spawned as a result.

    And they say a continued policy of allowing overly aggressive commercial fishing threatens to wallop vulnerable salmon runs again this summer. More

MINING

My Turn: Disagreements over mining require dialogue (4/12). Like any industrial activity, when it comes to mining there will always be disagreements about where, when and how such activity should take place. That’s why it is important to have an open dialogue so we can work together to understand each other. As part of that dialogue, I want to address a number of items the Juneau Empire raised in its last editorial.

There are not 123 mines in British Columbia. There are currently six coal mines and 10 metal mines in operation in British Columbia and very few of these are in trans-boundary areas. More

SE Tribal council boosts anti-mine campaign (4/16). Southeast Alaska’s Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska is increasing its opposition to mines just across the border in British Columbia.

That’s what central Council President Richard Peterson told delegates during a State of the Tribe address on Wednesday during the council’s annual meeting in Juneau.

He urged delegates to challenge mines on rivers that flow through the region. More

Tahltan vote in favour of mine benefits agreement (4/20). AS much as 40 per cent of the workforce of a newly-opened mine in northwestern B.C. is to be made up of members of the First Nation on whose traditional territory it is located.

And members of the Tahltan Nation are also to be deeply involved in environmental monitoring of the Red Chris copper and gold mine owned by Imperial Metals and located near Iskut on Hwy37 North.

The two conditions are among a series making up an agreement with Imperial that was approved this past weekend by 86.9 per cent of the Tahltan who voted. More

APEGBC Professional Practice Guidelines Respond to Mount Polley Recommendations (4/16). The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEGBC) announced today that work is progressing on a significant element of its action plan to help improve dam safety in BC.

Following the release of the Report on Mount Polley Tailings Storage Facility Breach on January 30, APEGBC initiated work on a key recommendation in the report to develop professional practice guidelines for dam site characterization assessments. The guidelines will outline the standard of care and professional obligations professional engineers and geoscientists must uphold when conducting these assessments, and will define the roles and responsibilities of the various participants and stakeholders involved in this process. More

TRU Announced Funding for Mining Research (4/21). A research project conducted at Thompson Rivers University(TRU) will study ways to improve the strategies to monitor mines and environmental restoration for the 19 mines across British Columbia.

TRU’s Dr. Lauchlan Fraser and Natural Resource Sciences post-doctoral fellow Dr. Heath Garris will be conducting the research funded by Genome BC alongside University of British Columbia’s Dr. Sue Baldwin. More

Red Chris Mine gets closer to full production (4/21). A British Columbia mine upriver from Wrangell and Petersburg is one step closer to full production after reaching a benefits agreement with a First Nation group last weekend.

Red Chris is a copper and gold mine in the Stikine River watershed on the traditional territory of the Tahltan First Nation. Tahltan Central Council members overwhelmingly voted to enter an agreement with Red Chris. It gives them environmental oversight rights, jobs and a share of mine revenue. More

Column: Why mining matters in B.C. (4/21). Mining is a critical industry in B.C., supporting dozens of communities and thousands of families across the province. Although mining takes up a very small portion of B.C.’s land base — less than one per cent — it contributes millions in revenue to help pay for services like health care and education, and employs over 30,000 workers.

Did you know that nearly three million adults in B.C. own smartphones, and each device contains approximately 16 grams of copper and 34 milligrams of gold? There were also more than 7,400 single-family homes built in B.C. in 2014, and each one contains roughly 200 kilograms of copper for everything from wiring to built-in appliances. Since 2012, the Mount Polley Mine on average produced over 14,000 metric tonnes of copper and over 1,100 kilograms of gold per year. More

Off the Beaten Path: Transboundary mining efforts are just another gold rush scam (4/10). The history of gold rushes has no shortage of scams. There’s everything from fake telegraph stations, to the disaster that occurred in Valdez in 1897-1898 when around 4,000 men and women, hoodwinked by steamboat companies advertising a supposed easier route to the Interior, were dropped off in Prince William Sound. In the ensuing months the would-be prospectors tried to reach the Klondike via a route over the Valdez Glacier. Suffering scurvy and other deprivations, many died. Several claimed there was an ice demon on the glacier that was tormenting and killing them. Few, if any, ever made it the gold fields. More

Mining Association of Canada forms tailings management task force (3/17). The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) announced Tuesday it has commissioned an independent, multi-stakeholder expert task force to review its tailings management requirements and guidance documents under its Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative, a mandatory program for all MAC members, to ensure they are as effective as they can be at preventing tailings dam failures and optimizing the design, construction and ongoing management of tailings storage facilities. MAC plans to publish the task force’s final report by the end of 2015.

The formation of the independent task force is part of MAC’s ongoing review of its tailings management program, which it proactively initiated immediately following the Aug. 4, 2014 tailings breach at the Mount Polley mine, MAC said in a press release. More
Towards Sustainable Mining

Red Chris tailings pond ‘totally different’ from Mount Polley: Bill Bennett (3/2). B.C.’s Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett said he’s confident the tailings pond at the proposed Red Chris mine won’t fall to the same fate as the one at the Mount Polley mine.

“It’s a totally different design in terms of the tailings storage facility itself. Mount Polley had a two kilometre square facility with four man-made dams. At Red Chris you have the natural contour of the valley so you have two sides where you don’t need a dam. You’ve got one in because the valley runs downhill,” he told The Early Edition’s Rick Cluff.

Bennett said independent engineers, engineers from Imperial Metals — the company behind the proposal, and engineers from the Tahltan First Nation have all signed off on the design.

Last week, the B.C. government granted Imperial Metals, which is the same company behind the Mount Polley mine, an interim permit to test the tailings pond at the Red Chris site. More

CALENDAR. 2015

May 2. Alaska Commeercial Fishermen’s Memorial and Blessing of the Fleet 10:00AM, Juneau

May 8. Juneau Maritme Festival-Port to Starboard Progressive Dinner (Fundraiser)


May 9.
Juneau Maritime Festival, Juneau

Oct (TBD). SSRAA Board Meeting, Craig

Oct 26 (Week of). UFA Board Meeting, Petersburg

Nov 12. NSRAA Board Meeting, Sitka

Dec (1st week). Gillnet Task Force, Sitka

Dec 3. JRPT, Sitka

Dec 5. DIPAC Board Meeting, Juneau

CALENDAR 2016

Jan 25-29. IPHC Annual Meeting, Juneau, AK

Jan 27-29. Young Fishermen’s Summit; VI, Juneau Baranof

Feb 16. New USCG “survival craft” rules go into effect

CALENDAR 2017

April. SE BOF Finfish Proposals due

CALENDAR 2018

Feb/Mar (TBD). SE BOF Finfish meeting

Posted 6 days, 11 hours ago at 12:12 pm.

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Corkline-News for Southeast Gillnetters, February 22, 2015

Support the businesses that support you:

Southeast Alaska Pilots
Tender SAVAGE (Tomi Marsh)
More

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.

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Community Reception for BOF. Wednesday Feb 25, 6PM, Sitka Sound Science Center

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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.

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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.


STATE

 

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

Roland Maw Appeals for Publication of his Submission (2/16)

Nominee Maw faces marathon board confirmation hearing (2/19)

KBBI. Maw Withdraws from Consideration for Board of Fisheries Position (2/20)

AP. Alaska Board of Fisheries nominee withdraws name (2/20)

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

(2/3) 2015 House Fisheries Committee Fisheries Overview.pdf Audio including Commissioner Designee Cotton remarks & philosophy

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

CFEC Reports
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

Alaska Sea Grant Fishlines (Feb)

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.

Rep. Tammie Wilson introduced a bill Wednesday that would eliminate board-generated proposals. More     HB103

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.

 

FEDERAL

 

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

Murkowski Bill Would Provide Permanent Protection from “Nonsensical” EPA Discharge Regs for Fishing Boats (2/5)

Rubio, Thune, and Nelson Introduce Legislation to Set a National Standard for Small Vessel Discharges (2/5)

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

  

MARKETING

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

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.

Thirty.

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

 

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY

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

CALENDAR. 2015

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

Posted 2 months, 1 week ago at 12:04 pm.

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