United Southeast Alaska Gillnetter’s Association

Corkline-News for Southeast Gillnetters, Sept. 6, 2014

GENERAL ELECTION.  Election information/absentee voting  here

  • Election Day – Tuesday, November 4, 2014 – Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Registration and Registration Updates Deadline – Sunday, October 5, 2014
  • Early and In-Person Absentee, Special Needs and By-Electronic Transmission Voting Begins –
    Monday, October 20, 2014
  • Absentee By-Mail Application Deadline – Saturday, October 25, 2014
  • Absentee by Electronic Transmission Application Deadline – Monday, November 3, 2014, 5:00 p.m. Alaska Time

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The Alaska Fisheries Report (9/4) Coming up this week, What were then three candidates for Alaska governor debated fish in Kodiak last week, and even though there are now just two of them, we’ll hear from all three. Also, Senator Begich tells us about progress on the latest reauthorization of the Magnuson Stevens Act. We had help this week from KMXT’s Brianna Gibbs in Kodiak and KBBI’s Shady Grove Oliver in Homer.

FEDERAL

Commercial fishermen say (EPA) water rules would be costly (8/31).  WASHINGTON.  When commercial fishing vessels unload their hauls on deck, crews usually gut their catch and put it on ice for the trip back to shore.

Then they do something that could land them in trouble under a 6-year-old law: They hose down the decks, sending the bloody mix of guts and scales into the water.

The Clean Boating Act of 2008 requires vessels to test deck-water runoff for contaminants. They also must sample seawater that is circulated into live wells for crabs and lobsters and then discharged back into the ocean, gulf or bay.  More

USCG.  Commercial Fishing Safety Advisory Committee to meet Sep 23-24 (9/3).  Written comments due Sep 16.  Topics include:
++ Status of Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Rulemaking projects resulting from requirements set forth in the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 and the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2012.
++ Presentation and discussion on safety standards by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service.
++ Subcommittee/working group sessions on (a) standards for alternative safety compliance program(s) development, and (b) training program requirements for individuals in charge of a vessel and engineer officer qualifications.  More/Federal Register

USDA reaches out to small businesses in Alaska (8/8).  “Look at this swiss chard, look at the color of those stems, it’s so beautiful!” says a customer at Dillingham’s small but highly appreciated Farmer’s Market last Wednesday afternoon.

“That’s called Northern Lights, and it tastes as good as it looks,” said Toni Herrmann of Warehouse Mountain Farms, busily setting out the rest of her produce.  More

USCG – vessel documentation renewal fee (8/12).  The US Coast Guard promulgated a rule establishing a fee of $26 for renewals of endorsements on Certificates of Documentation. The cost of renewals had previously been included in general overhead. The rule comes into effect on 10 November. 79 Fed. Reg. 47015

Moreland Named to Pacific Salmon Commission (8/12).  Governor Sean Parnell announced today that the U.S. Department of State has confirmed his nomination of Stefanie Moreland as Alaska’s representative to the Pacific Salmon Commission.

Moreland was recently appointed deputy commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G). She previously served as a special assistant for fish, wildlife, ocean, and Arctic policy in the Office of the Governor, as a fisheries staffer for Senator Lisa Murkowski, and as an economist for both ADF&G and the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission. Moreland fills a vacancy created by the retirement of long-serving Pacific Salmon Commissioner David Bedford.  More

Stream restoration on Kuiu Island near completion (8/13).  On a remote corner of the Tongass National Forest, a six-year-long stream restoration project is wrapping up. The cost: an estimated 1.2 million dollars, funded largely from grants obtained by the Nature Conservancy. The project is intended to restore salmon streams damaged over 40 years ago on Kuiu Island.  More/KFSK Audio

Stikine tributary sockeye pass landslide blockage (8/14).  More than 37-thousand sockeye salmon have made it past a blockage on the Tahltan River in British Columbia this summer.

That river is a tributary of the Stikine River near Wrangell. Tahltan salmon are a big portion of the returns each year to the Stikine’s watershed. A landslide in May created a partial barrier on the Tahltan River that threatened to block king and sockeye salmon from returning to spawning grounds. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada in July was transporting some of those fish by helicopter around the blockage.  More

King salmon trolling ends on slow note (8/18).  After an unprecedented two extensions, the summer king salmon season for trollers in Southeast is over.

The Alaska Department of Fish & Game closed the fishery at 11:59 PM Monday, August 18 — two days later than planned.  More

Southeast seine fleet catching pinks, missing chums (8/8).  Southeast Alaska’s commercial salmon purse seine fleet is on track to hit or exceed pre-season forecasts for the region’s pink salmon harvest. Meanwhile, some hatchery chum salmon returns have been a disappointment.

This year’s pink salmon catch is only a fraction of last year’s record setting harvest of 89 million. As of the first week in August, the Southeast harvest was an estimated 15-16 million pinks.

“Well this year certainly isn’t last year by a long shot,” said Dan Gray, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s regional salmon management coordinator. “We knew that going in. It’s an odd year. Our pre-season forecast was for 22 million fish harvest and it appears that we’re gonna be doing a little better than that but it certainly doesn’t even compare to last year.”  More/KFSK Audio

State announces hefty individual insurance rate increases for 2015 (9/5).  On Thursday, the Alaska Division of Insurance announced hefty insurance rate increases in 2015 for Alaskans who purchased individual plans under the Affordable Care Act. As politicians spoke out to blame the increase on one another depending on their stance on the national health care law, Alaskans face more immediate questions about how and why they may be affected.  ~~~

~~~What are the increases?

In 2015, Premera Blue Cross insurance rates will increase between 35 and 40 percent, Wing-Heier said. Those plans cover roughly 7,000 Alaskans. Alaskans who chose a silver plan (the most popular) through Premera will see an increase of 37 percent.

Moda Health plans will increase between 22 and 28.8 percent, according to Wing-Heier. These plans cover roughly 8,000 Alaskans, Moda regional operations director Jason Gootee said.

Rates for other insurers have not been finalized yet, Wing-Heier said.  More  APRN Audio (9/5)

STATE

Obituary.  James Bentley Kallander (1954 – 2014).  James Bentley Kallander, 59, of Cordova, Alaska, died Thursday, July 31, 2014. He passed following a brave three-year battle against cancer, surrounded by his family.  Memorial service in Cordova Sep 7.   More  Condolences

 

Obituary.  James Paul Zuanich (5/28).  Jim Zuanich died unexpectedly Saturday, May 24 while hiking one of his favorite local trails, Pine and Cedar lakes. He was a proud commercial fisherman owning the purse seine vessel Marshal Tito.  More

2014/2015 BOF Proposal book available on line here.

AJC.  Board of Fisheries releases proposals for 2014-15 cycle (8/28). Fishermen and other stakeholders are asking the Alaska Board of Fisheries to consider 162 proposals to change subsistence, commercial, personal use and sport regulations in fisheries throughout the state during the 2014-15 meeting cycle.

The board proposal book for the upcoming meeting cycle can be downloaded from its website.

The longest meeting is likely to be the Southeast and Yakutat finfish meeting in Sitka, which is scheduled to run March 3 to Feb. 23, with 121 proposals on the table.  More

BOF Agenda Change Requests Available (8/29).  The Alaska Board of Fisheries (board) 2014 agenda change requests are available for review on the board’s website. Agenda change requests are submitted by the public, advisory committees, and agencies seeking regulatory change for regions and species not up for deliberation in the current meeting cycle. The board will accept an ACR as a proposal for the 2014/2015 meeting cycle if it establishes the ACR is:

·         For a fishery conservation purpose or reason.

·         To correct an error in a regulation.

·        To correct an effect on a fishery that was unforeseen when a regulation was adopted.

The board will meet October 15–16, 2014, at the Centennial Hall Convention Center, 101 Egan Drive, Juneau Alaska beginning at 8:30 a.m. No regulatory action will be taken at this meeting.  Agenda topics include:  election of officers, agenda change requests, meeting organization and establishment of committees for 2014/2015 cycle, informational reports and/or administrative issues that may come before the board. A live audio stream is intended to be available on the Board of Fisheries’ website at www.boardoffisheries.adfg.alaska.gov.

The agenda and any other meeting documents, including agenda change requests, will be available prior to the meeting on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Board of Fisheries, meeting information webpage at: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.meetinginfo.

The work session is open to the public, but no oral public testimony will be taken. Written comments, due by October 1, may be mailed to:  Boards Support Section, P.O. Box 115526, Juneau, AK  99811-5526, faxed.

State amplifies response to KSM mine (8/22).  In comments issued Wednesday on Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell, a proposed mine in British Columbia’s transboundary Unuk River watershed, the state of Alaska asked that Canada either conduct the more in-depth review Alaskan fishermen, Native groups, tour operators and organizations have been calling for, or take another approach to address Alaskans’ concerns.  More

 

Alaska stops short of calling for Canadian government review of worrisome B.C. mine (8/22).  The Parnell administration is saying more information is needed about the threat posed to Alaska by a huge Canadian mine, but officials didn’t ask the Canadian government outright to review approvals by the pro-mining province of British Columbia.

Alaska fishing, tribal and conservation groups have been outspoken in seeking a more thorough inquiry into approval of the KSM mine by the province, calling for a Canadian federal “panel” review. They’ve won support from Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski, who have asked for the U.S. State Department to get involved in protecting Alaska interests, and from Southeast legislators.  More

‘It’s a bit disconcerting': Mount Polley mine tailings spill nearly 70% bigger than first estimated (9/4).  Imperial Metals’ estimate of the size of the spill from its Mount Polley mine tailings dam collapse is nearly 70 per cent greater than the initial estimate.

The B.C. government has estimated that 10 million cubic metres of water and 4.5 million cubic meters of finely ground rock containing potentially-toxic metals was released by the collapse of the dam on Aug. 4.

But Imperial Metals has estimated the size of the spill at 10.6 million cubic metres of water, 7.3 million cubic metres of tailings and 6.5 million cubic metres of “interstitial” water. That’s enough water and material to fill nearly 9,800 Olympic-sized swimming pools.  More

Officials amend disclosures in response to APOC complaints (9/4).  In the latest round of the Cook Inlet fish wars, the Alaska Public Offices Commission received about 200 complaints primarily from commercial fishermen against a sportfishing advocacy group.

Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage residents with ties to Cook Inlet commercial fisheries — including United Cook Inlet Drift Association Executive Director Roland Maw — submitted the complaints to the commission Aug. 25 regarding the Kenai River Sportfishing Association’s Kenai River Classic and other outreach and lobbying of public officials regarding fisheries management.

The Alaska Public Offices Commission will hear three of those complaints, but rejected the other 198 on Aug. 27. The volume of complaints was about 10 times the amount APOC typically receives over an entire year; in 2013 the commission received 12 complaints according to its biennial report.  More

 

Alaska commercial salmon harvest tops 146 million (9/4).  Alaska’s commercial salmon catch continues to climb, reaching 146 million fish through Sept. 2.

Statewide, the total catch includes 42.9 million sockeye, 89.5 million pink salmon, 3.9 million cohos, 9.2 million chums and 477,000 kings, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s bluesheet estimate.  More

Gubernatorial Candidates Talk Fish in Kodiak (8/29).  The three primary candidates running for governor this year convened at Kodiak’s Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium last night for a debate focused solely on topics related to the seafood industry. Incumbent Sean Parnell, Democrat Byron Mallot and Independent candidate Bill Walker fielded dozens of questions from a media panel, audience members and even each other during the event that was broadcast around the state.

KMXT Photo

One question posed by an audience member dealt with the Fish and Game and the department’s declining budgets in recent years.

Parnell said the state is getting a pretty good return on investment when you consider it is spending about $200 million on a $6 to $10 billion industry.  More/KMXT Audio  Link to entire 2-hour debate is imbedded.

Alaska Gubernatorial Candidates Take on Fisheries Issues (9/3).  When it comes to myriad commercial fisheries issues facing Alaska, from a declining budget to Russia’s ban on import of Alaska seafood, three candidates vying to be Alaska’s next governor had plenty to say this past week in Kodiak.

The occasion was the 2014 fisheries debate, sponsored by the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce and KMXT Kodiak public radio, featuring incumbent Gov. Sean Parnell, Independent candidate Bill Walker and Democrat Byron Mallott. (Five days after the debate, Walker and Mallott announced in Anchorage that they had combined their campaigns to a single Independent slate, with Walker running for governor and Mallott for lieutenant governor).  More

AFDF Seeks Proposals for Alaska Mariculture Initiative (8/27). The Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation is seeking proposals for its Alaska mariculture initiative, an economic analysis to inform a statewide strategic plan for enhancement, aquatic farming and restoration of shellfish and marine plants.  According to AFDF, the economic impact of mariculture could grow to $1 billion in Alaska by 2045, given a coordinated effort, a pubic-private partnership, and a strategic plan designed to reach this goal.  The deadline for proposals is Sept. 19.   More

DOT to start herbicide spraying in Southeast (8/27). The Alaska Department of Transportation plans to spray herbicides on Prince of Wales Island. It will be the first time the DOT has applied herbicides in southeast Alaska since the state eliminated public review requirements in 2013. This has some community members and environmental groups worried about chemicals leaching into nearby habitat.  More/KFSK Audio

MARKETING

ASMICanned Salmon Recipe book, prepared by the Alaska Global Food Aid Program

US canned salmon exports to UK rise overall, but sockeye still lags (8/12).  A jump in canned salmon to the UK is a major reason for the roughly 18% rise in US exports of the packaged seafood this year through June, even though canned sockeye exports to the European nation continue to struggle.

Canned exports to the UK made up nearly half of the total 19,910 metric tons the US sent abroad this year through June, well ahead of the approximately 34% they comprised of 16,916t of total global exports in the same period last year, US National Marine Fisheries Service data show.

Overall, the US exported 9,727t of canned salmon to the UK, well up from last year’s 5,766t.  More

ASMI Marketing Update (8/19)

 

NY Times.  Relearning How to Eat Fish (8/11).  On a recent weeklong cruise along the shores of southeast Alaska, the dining room menu included wild salmon, Dungeness crab and sablefish. Many of my fellow 63 passengers had neither heard of nor tasted sable.

No wonder: Almost all of this delectable, nutritious fish caught by Americans is exported, along with about one-third of all our wild catch. Instead, we dine on farmed seafood imported from countries like China, Thailand and Chile; 86 percent of the seafood we consume is imported.

Despite the overwhelming popularity of shrimp among Americans, none was served on the trip. A naturalist who lectured on board cautioned that almost all the shrimp reaching American tables is imported, half of it farmed in Asia — mostly under conditions that would ruin even the most voracious appetite.  More

 

Russian bans add to uncertain picture for salmon prices (8/13).  Alaska’s commercial fishermen have hauled in more than 125 million salmon this year, but the prices for those fish are still in limbo.

Fishermen have landed about 72.5 million pinks, 41.7 million sockeye, 2.1 million coho, 8.4 million chums and 413,000 kings, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s bluesheet estimate Aug. 13.

Russia’s recent ban on imports from the United States, Canada, Norway and other countries could affect the price for Alaska salmon, however.

The country is not allowing food imports, including seafood, in response to the economic sanctions other countries instituted after a Malaysian Airlines flight was downed over eastern Ukraine.  More

Opinion.  Russia’s seafood import ban, bogus labeling hurt Alaska fishing industry (9/2)Most of you have heard about the Russian prohibition on the importation of seafood products from the United States, the EU, Canada and others. This is a big deal, with a lot of unknown consequences, and will have a significant impact on the U.S. seafood industry. A lot of salmon roe from Alaska goes (or has gone) to Russia during the past several years.  Closure of the market will mean oversupply in the remaining accessible markets, which will mean reductions in the value of our roe products. The impacts are not isolated to Alaska: Currently, 1,000 metric tons of West Coast hake (a type of white fish), previously destined to Russia, are sitting in cold storage with prices falling.

What is particularly grating is that this is a one-sided affair, and Russia is allowed to continue its destabilizing actions in the U.S., EU and other countries in which Russian companies are currently selling seafood. Millions of pounds of red king, golden king, and snow crab are illegally harvested in Russia every year and, in essence (using mislabeling and other techniques), smuggled into the United States. The McDowell Group has estimated the Alaska crab industry has lost $500 million in the last several years due to this activity.  More

Murkowski Helps Convince Administration to Buy Millions in Alaska Pink Salmon for Americans in Need (9/3).  Just more than a month after Senator Lisa Murkowski urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to consider Governor Sean Parnell’s proposal to use existing federal funds to buy extra Alaska canned pink salmon for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has agreed to purchase up to $13 million worth.  This news is welcomed by Alaska’s seafood industry, which has been burdened by a glut of pink salmon from last year’s record harvest, and boosts the nutrition options for low-income Americans facing the lingering recession.  More
Juneau Empire (9/3)      KDLG Audio (9/3)

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY

California blue whales rebound from whaling, first of their kin to do so (9/5).  The number of California blue whales has rebounded to near historical levels, according to new research by the University of Washington, and while the number of blue whales struck by ships is likely above allowable U.S. limits, such strikes do not immediately threaten that recovery.

This is the only population of blue whales known to have recovered from whaling – blue whales as a species having been hunted nearly to extinction.

Blue whales – nearly 100 feet in length and weighing 190 tons as adults – are the largest animals on earth. And they are the heaviest ever, weighing more than twice as much as the largest known dinosaur, the Argentinosaurus. They are an icon of the conservation movement and many people want to minimize harm to them, according to Trevor Branch, UW assistant professor of aquatic and fishery sciences.  More

New Seine Skiff Based on Tug Boat Design (8/20).  In June, 2014, Seattle-based Snow Boat Company delivered a new 24-foot by 13-foot seine skiff to King Cove, Alaska for the area M salmon fishery. The boat is one of the largest seine skiffs in Alaska, and almost begs not to be considered a skiff due to the size and power.

Over the years, the rails on seine skiffs have been getting higher, thus creating a need for a higher tow post. This height can lead to instability and poor towing characteristics. Bringing the tow point down was the primary goal in the new design.  More

Researcher: Some rivers’ salmon at risk (8/22).  A Juneau-based scientist recently published a study that found climate change poses a serious threat to the Tongass National Forest’s snow-fed salmon streams. On the other hand, watersheds too cold for big salmon runs may become more productive.

Nature Conservancy scientist Colin Shanley, the study’s lead author, said a few degrees of warming makes a big difference for Southeast Alaska’s fish.  More

Science paper: Climate Change Sensitivity Index for Pacific Salmon Habitat in Southeast Alaska

Welcome New Business Members Kito’s Kave and the Java Hus in Petersburg.

ADFGSoutheast Fish Counts  Southeast Harvest

CALENDAR.

2014

Sep 16-18SE Conference, Wrangell

Sep 23-24.  Commercial Fishing Safety Advisory Committee, Providence RI   Comments due Sep 16

Sep 26.  UFA 40th Anniversary Dinner, Anchorage Captain Cook 

Sep 26-28.  UFA Board Meeting, Anchorage Date Change

Sep 29-Oct 1ASMI All Hands, Anchorage (Marriott)

Oct 1Comments due on BOF ACR

Oct 15-16BOF Work Session, Juneau Centennial Hall ACR’s   Audio Stream Updated

Nov 4Alaska General Election  Absentee Voting

Dec 1 (Week of, exact dates TBD).  Gillnet & Seine Task Forces, JRPT, USAG Annual Board Meeting, Petersburg

2015

Feb 23-Mar3.   BOF SE Finfish, Sitka

Posted 1 week, 6 days ago at 6:14 am.

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Corkline-News for Southeast Gillnetters, August 8, 2014

STATE PRIMARY ELECTION IS AUGUST 19 (TUESDAY).  Be sure to educate yourself on the candidates and issues.  If you are not able to vote in person, be sure to vote absentee or early.

Here is a timeline you should be aware of:

June 19,2014.  You can apply for an absentee ballot today

August 4, 2014 Early and absentee in-person voting begins at many locations throughout Alaska.

August 4, 2014 Civilian voters may begin to apply for absentee ballots by electronic transmission.

August 9, 2014 Deadline to apply for an absentee ballot by mail.

August 18, 2014 5:00 p.m. Alaska Standard Time Deadline to apply for an absentee ballot by electronic transmission.

August 19, 2014 Primary Election Day – Polls open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

August 19, 2014 Deadline for absentee by-mail ballots to be postmarked.

The form for an absentee ballot is here.  More information of absentee and early inperson boting is here

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Advocates: Tailings dam breach a warning for Alaska (8/8)A tailings dam at Mount Polley Mine in British Columbia ruptured Monday morning, sending toxic waste into a watershed that flows into Vancouver. The breach spurred some Southeast Alaskan fishermen and Alaska Native organizations to renew calls for more extensive environmental review of British Columbian mines proposed for watersheds that flow into Alaska.

The Mount Polley breach, which Canadian news organization CBC News called “one of BC’s worst environmental disasters,” and which Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs compared to the Exxon Valdez oil spill, sent about 10 million cubic meters of tailings water — which preliminary testing indicated Thursday meets Canadian and BC drinking water standards — and 4.5 million cubic meters of fine toxic tailings into lakes and rivers in the Fraser River Watershed, according to figures from BC’s Ministry of Energy and Mines.  More

Company behind Mt. Polley disaster to open mine near Southeast Alaska (8/8).  After the tailings pond dam breach at Mount Polley on Monday morning, Southeast Alaskans are worried about another Imperial Metals Corporation mine already being constructed at the headwaters of the Stikine watershed, one of the largest salmon producers in the Tongass National Forest.

The Red Chris Project, an open-pit copper and gold mine, is being constructed in northwest British Columbia near the Iskut River, a major tributary of the Stikine River. The Red Chris is predicted to process almost 30,000 tons of ore per day for 28 years, according to the Imperial Metals Corporation website.  More

RELATED STORIES AT BOTTOM.

KSM Mine Wins Environmental Approval From British Columbia Government (7/30).  A controversial mine planned for an area northeast of Ketchikan just won environmental approval from the British Columbia government.

Toronto-based Seabridge Gold was granted what’s called an Environmental Assessment Certificate on Wednesday.

The corporation is developing the Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell prospect, near rivers that empty into the ocean in or near Southeast Alaska.

Seabridge still needs similar approval from Canada’s federal government. The KSM mine got a provisional OK earlier this month, and the final public comment period ends August 20th.  More/KTOO

Is the Tongass key to slowing climate change? (7/30).  The Tongass National Forest is in the crosshairs of environmental organizations again. Two large coalitions are pressuring the Obama administration to stop all old-growth logging, in part to fight climate change.

The Sierra Club, Alaska Wilderness League and Natural Resources Defense Council are among the groups calling for an end to old-growth clear-cutting in the Southeast Alaska forest.

At the same time, 60 organizations acting as the Federal Forest Carbon Coalition are calling for changes in forest management to address what they call “the climate crisis.”  More/KTOO Audio

EDITORIAL.  Setnet initiative inappropriate for fish regs (7/31).  It has been a rough couple of years for Cook Inlet fishermen.

The Kenai River guide industry has been dealt a crippling blow by the ongoing decline in returning king salmon that is deterring visitors from coming to the area for a chance at the famed fish.

The commercial setnet fishermen have been pulled out of the water and left dry so many times that it’s a wonder many of them are still in business.

Personal-use dipnet fishermen find themselves buffeted on all sides by commercial and sport fishermen angry at the intrusion and fish allocation to the relatively new user group.  More

USCG – lifesaving equipment (7/30) The US Coast Guard promulgated a final rule amending its regulations for certain lifesaving equipment, including launching appliances, release mechanisms, survival craft, rescue boats, and automatic disengaging devices. This rule harmonizes the Coast Guard’s design, construction, and performance standards for this lifesaving equipment with international standards, while providing for use of qualified independent laboratories during the approval process and for production inspections of certain types of lifesaving equipment. The rule enters into effect on 29 August. 79 Fed. Reg. 44129   Courtesy Bryant’s Maritime Blog

Harvest of Alaska’s Wild Salmon Reaches Estimated 104 Million Fish (8/6).  As Bristol Bay wrapped up its 2014 salmon season, with a harvest just shy of 29 million sockeyes, other fisheries in Alaska were picking up speed.

As of Aug. 6, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s preliminary salmon harvest added up to 104,772,000 salmon, including 54,005,000 humpies, 40,751,000 reds, 8,025,000 chum, 1,590,000 silver, and 401,000 Chinooks.

State fisheries officials said that compared with the harvest of 141,721,314 salmon harvested statewide through Aug. 2, 2013, including 93,605,809 humpies, 28,300,079 sockeye, 17,590,441 chum, 1,922,216 silver and 302,769 king.  More

Gillnet fishery mixed bag around Petersburg (7/24).  Commercial salmon gillnet fishing around Petersburg and Wrangell has been somewhat of a mixed bag in the early season with some strong runs of sockeye and coho boosting catches.

23GILLNETweb  AUDIO

The king salmon return to the Stikine River near Wrangell has played out as fishery managers expected this year. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s area management biologist Troy Thynes said the latest in-season forecast in mid July puts the Stikine king run at 26,000 fish, same as the pre-season forecast. “So not a great return of king salmon to the Stikine River but I guess about what we expected it to be. So, we always hope that the forecasts were low and we were gonna get more fish than we expected.”  More/KFSK Audio

Stiff penalties for out-of-season fishing (8/6).  Two fishermen recently learned that commercial trolling out of season – even by a single day – can be expensive.

The captain and crewman of the fishing vessel Chief Joseph pleaded guilty in a Sitka courtroom on July 29 to charges of fishing during closed season and unlawful possession of fish. Judge Leonard Devaney sent the vessel owner — 49-year-old Jeffrey Angelo of Samoa, California — to jail for five days and ordered him to pay over $6,000 in fines. The crewman, Alec Hurst, received a suspended jail sentence and a $1,500 fine. Alaska Trooper Sgt. Aaron Frenzel said that cases of pre-season fishing such as this are relatively rare.  More/KCAW Audio

Senators push for fish research in Juneau (8/5).  With recent vacancies in the Pacific Northwest Research Station, Alaska’s senators and U.S. Forest Service officials are pushing for a fish habitat scientist to be brought to Juneau.

“It only makes sense that fisheries research in Alaska should be conducted by staff in Alaska, not from a remote office located in another state,” Sen. Mark Begich wrote to U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell in July. “Further, the U.S. Forest Service has a number of pressing issues and initiatives that justify an Alaska-based fisheries position.”  More

Former Pebble Partnership Employee Named Fisheries Advisor to Governor Parnell (7/28).  The campaign manager for U.S. Senate Candidate Dan Sullivan has been picked to be the new fisheries advisory to Alaska Governor Sean Parnell. Late last year Dan Sullivan named Ben Mohr as campaign manager. Mohr has left the campaign to accept a job as Alaska Governor Sean Parnell’s fisheries policy advisor.  More/KDLG Audio

Alaska gov asks feds to buy surplus canned salmon (7/25).  Gov. Sean Parnell has asked a federal agency to buy about 1 million cases of canned pink salmon to ease a glut that has weighed down prices for Alaska fishermen this year.

Parnell made the request in a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week. He wants the USDA to purchase $37 million worth of canned pink salmon under a federal law that allows for buying surplus food from farmers and donating it to food banks or other programs.  More

OPINION: ‘Fisher’ falls short of creating gender equality in fishing industry (7/25).  In this week’s report on Alaska’s fishing industry, fish columnist Laine Welch offered an off-the-dock response by those in the fishing industry about the use of the term “fisher” instead of fisherman.

The verdict: a big thumbs down from fishermen of both genders, who say they resent being renamed because of their sex by bureaucrats. The question is, will anyone listen or will the term “fisherman” fade away in a flurry of well-intended-but -off-base political correctness?  More

Don’t bash seafood imports when supporting American fish (8/1).  We have seen several examples lately of attacks on imported fish, from individuals and groups, including author Paul Greenberg, who suggest that eating so much imported seafood is a bad thing.

We disagree.  More/John Sackton Video

Virginia Mason First Hospital to Receive Marine Stewardship Council Certification (7/24).  Virginia Mason announced today it is the first hospital in the United States to earn Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for its commitment to serving seafood grown and harvested by certified, environmentally sustainable methods.

“MSC is pleased to be part of Virginia Mason’s commitment to implementing green business practices to support a healthy environment and community,” said Geoff Bolan, region commerical director, Americas. “We hope today’s announcement will serve as an inspiration for other medical centers nationwide to follow Virginia Mason’s bold environmental initiatives in the health care industry.”  More

Southeast crabbers hauling in big Dungeness catch (7/25).  It’s been a big summer season for commercial Dungeness crabbing in Southeast Alaska with a big harvest, a high price and a bump in crab boat numbers in the Panhandle.

That’s a turnaround from last year’s summer season, which was shortened by one week for the first time ever, due to low catches. It’s not the case this year. The fleet will have a full two-month summer season and is already close to surpassing the 2013 catch for the combined summer and fall seasons.  More

Canadians transport salmon around Stikine tributary slide (7/22).  Fishery managers in Canada this summer are moving salmon by helicopter around a landslide that’s partially blocked a major tributary of the Stikine River across the border from Southeast Alaska. The May slide created a barrier for Chinook and sockeye salmon returning to the Tahltan River to spawn.  More/KFSK Audio

A wake-up call in Alaska about ocean acidification and coastal communities (7/29).  A new study shows, for the first time, that ocean acidification is driving changes in waters vital to Alaska’s commercial fisheries and traditional subsistence way of life.  More

NOAA PR (7/29)
Newsweek.  So Long, Seafood! Ocean Acidification Projected to Slam Alaskan Fisheries (7/29)
Study says shellfish could be doomed (7/30)
My Turn: A wake-up call in Alaska’s waters (7/30)
Paper:  Ocean Acidification Risk Assessment for Alaska’s Fishery Sector

What seafood guzzles the most gas? (7/24).  Most of us don’t think about fuel when we eat seafood. But diesel is the single largest expense for the fishing industry and its biggest source of greenhouse gases. Not all fish have the same carbon finprint, however, and a new study reveals which ones take the most fuel to catch.

Robert Parker, a Ph.D. student at the University of Tasmania, Hobart, in Australia, and Peter Tyedmers, an ecological economist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, analyzed more than 1600 records of fuel use by fishing fleets worldwide. They added up the fuel required to catch and bring various types of fish and seafood to port, which they reported online this month in Fish and Fisheries. ~~ North American salmon: 886 liters/metric ton~~~ More

Propulsion Choices for Lower Emissions (7/23)
.  EPA emissions regulations are keeping a lot of engine manufacturers busy as they enhance various existing product lines for fishing applications, while also developing new technologies for after treatment options, in advance of the looming Tier 4 requirements. Meanwhile power generation companies are also working hard to keep pace with today’s commercial fishing customer needs.

“Tier 4 is a phased-in emissions regulation and it depends on the engine horsepower,” says Geoff Conrad, Director, Marine Business, Cummins Northwest. “The EPA is trying to “emissionize” the bigger engines first because they are the biggest contributors to the emissions issues. It starts with what they call the EPA Tier 4 in 2016, with the balance of engines being done in 2017. This is only for engines above 805 HP or 600 kW.”  More

UAS Fisheries Technology program expands (8/6).  Today’s morning interview is with University of Alaska Southeast faculty member Joel Markis, assistant professor of fisheries technology. Marcus discusses the fisheries technology program — moved last year from Ketchikan to Sitka — and a recent $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor designed to expand the program statewide.  KCAW Audio

Mount Polley BC Mine Tailings Failure (Beginning 8/4)

Welcome New Business Members Kito’s Kave and the Java Hus in Petersburg.

ADFGSoutheast Fish Counts  Southeast Harvest

CALENDAR.
2014

Aug 18.  BOF ACR’s due

Aug 19.  Alaska Primary Election   Absentee Voting

Sep 26-28.  UFA Board Meeting, Anchorage Date Change

Nov 4Alaska General Election  Absentee Voting

2015

Feb 23-Mar3.   BOF SE Finfish, Sitka

Posted 1 month, 1 week ago at 11:28 am.

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