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
Obituary. Charles (Pat) Patrick Daniels (F/V ST PATRICK). July 12, 1936 – July 28, 2014
On July 28, 2014 at 10:20am Charles (Pat) Patrick Daniels, born July 12, 1936, made his final set. Those of us that loved him know the net was full. Thanks to their father and to the chagrin of their mother, Pat and his best friend and brother, Larry became commercial fisherman in 1955. They fished from Puget Sound to Bristol Bay Alaska. Pat gillnetted for nearly fifty-five years. More
Southeast Alaska Regional Planning Team, Purse Seine Task Force, And Drift Gillnet Task Force Meetings Schedule (9/19). Sitka. . . The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today the following information about the Southeast Alaska Purse Seine and Drift Gillnet Task Force meetings and the Southeast Regional Planning Team meeting.
The department holds annual meetings each year between fishery managers, researchers, aquaculture organizations, fishermen, gear group organizations, processing company representatives, and interested organizations to review the previous salmon season, to discuss topics of importance for management of the fisheries, and to plan for the following season. Task force meetings have rotated between communities to provide increased access and participation. At the request of participants, task force meetings will be held in conjunction with the Southeast Regional Planning Team (RPT) fall meeting. This year both task force meetings, as well as the RPT, will be held in Petersburg at the Borough Assembly Chambers located on the 2nd floor of the Municipal Building at 12 South Nordic.
The Drift Gillnet Task Force meeting is scheduled for December 2, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
The Purse Seine Task Force meeting is scheduled for December 3, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
The Southeast RPT meeting is scheduled for December 4, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Agendas for the seine and gillnet meetings will be developed in cooperation between the department and the Southeast Alaska Seiners Association, the United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters Association, the Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance, and the Petersburg Vessel Owners Association. Individuals with suggested topics for discussion should contact these organizations. Link
Report shows plateau in Southeast economy, population (9/18). After five years of growth, Southeast Alaska’s labor force and population leveled off in 2013, according to data released Tuesday at a regional economic development conference.
Meilani Schijvens of Rain Coast Data prepared the report and presented it at the Southeast Conference annual meeting in Wrangell. She said lack of significant growth in the region’s economy from 2012 to 2013 mirrors state trends. More Download Full Report PDF…
Pinks come in better than expected in Southeast (9/15). The summer purse seine season for pink salmon in Southeast Alaska has wrapped up and the harvest is better than expected. The state closed the season August 29. Biologists predicted a harvest of about 22 million pounds of fish but fishermen were able to catch about 32 million pounds. More
Fish and Game gives trollers more time to fish (9/12). The Southeast Alaska summer troll fishery is being extended by 10 days. That allows continued fishing through the end of this month.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game commercial fisheries biologist Pattie Skannes says all species of salmon except Chinooks can be harvested. But the fishery is mostly about cohos.
“What normally happens is the season closes by regulation on Sept. 20, unless we do an assessment of the coho run and determine that it’s strong enough to warrant extending,” she says. “So this year, that was the case. It’s been shaping up to be a very strong return.” More
Alaska Sea Grant Fishlines (September).
Texans Donate to Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit
New Boat Electrical Course
Beating the Odds Book Revised
Oliveira Makes Move to ASMI
Kenai Peninsula Setnetters Speak Out on Proposed Ban (9/17). Cook Inlet setnetting has been an integral part of the Kenai Peninsula’s economy for more than a century, employing hundreds of hard working families who spend their summers harvesting a living from the inlet’s robust salmon runs.
Not long after Alaska became a territory of the United States the people who lived along the shores of Cook Inlet learned how to reliably harvest the great salmon runs that return each summer and launched an industry around that catch. Canneries were built, merchants, boat wrights and fishing supply stores set up shop, and later mechanics, welders, truckers and others came and helped grow the economy of the Peninsula. Even as other industries like gas and oil development, tourism and sportfishing have enhanced the economy, the commercial salmon harvest remains one of the single biggest factors in the region’s economy. More
UAF to receive $1M gift (9/17). In memory of Juneau hatchery founder Ladd E. Macaulay, Douglas Island Pink and Chum is giving an endowment of more than $1 million to the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
The endowment earnings will fund a fellowship for fisheries graduate students at the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences Juneau Center. More
Opinion. Protect state’s ability to protect against spills (9/16). Twenty-five years has passed since the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and this recent anniversary reminds Alaskans — and the world — of the importance of oil spill prevention and need to improve oil spill response. Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council has worked hard since the spill to ensure that prevention and response measures are as strong as possible.
Clearly the Alaska State Legislature has also been mulling over these same issues with the introduction of House Bill 325.
HB 325 was introduced this past February by Rep. Cathy Muñoz (R-Juneau), and supported by Reps. Paul Seaton (R-Homer), Peggy Wilson (R-Wrangell), Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks) and Sam Kito III (D-Juneau).
The bill would amend state law and bring the state’s oil spill prevention and response fund into the 21st century. The amendments proposed by the bill would largely fill the current budget gap faced by the Spill Prevention and Response Division in the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. More
PSG. Drive down dock should be ready for February crabbers (9/17). Construction of the $9.4 million drive down dock in Petersburg will continue through the end of the year. The public dock will allow everyone an alternative way to reach their boats. More/KFSK Audio
Governor Moves Toward Acknowledging Tribal Sovereignty (9/18). Until recently, Governor Sean Parnell, like his two Republican predecessors, and Governor Wally Hickel before them, used lawsuits, legislative initiatives and policies to dispute or diminish tribal authorities on several fronts. But now, the Parnell administration is taking a step toward acknowledging tribal sovereignty. KMXT Audio
Small Boat Alert (9/16). If your fishing boat is less than 79 feet then starting Dec. 19, it looks like you will have to start complying with the EPA’s Small Vessel General Permit for Discharges Incidental to the Normal Operation of Vessels Less than 79 Feet. That’s the whole title; the shortened version is sVGP. It’s designed to reduce incidental discharges for boats operating within three miles of the coastline and in the Great Lakes.
The sVGP will cover commercial fishing boats and workboats but not recreation or military boats.
Operators of about 68,000 commercial fishing boats will have to obtain the sVGP. Besides getting the permit, having annual inspections and keeping paper work current, a boat owner must use —unless technically infeasible — “environmentally acceptable lubricants in all machinery and equipment, including but not limited to stern tubes, wires, and two-stroke engines where discharges of oil to surrounding waters are likely to occur.”
You’ll also have to keep seals and equipment maintained. If you don’t have a Coast Guard approved bilge oily-water separator, you’ll need to put oil-absorbent material in the bilge to remove oil before pumping out the bilge.
There are numerous other rules to follow regarding such things as pumping fish holds at a dock, gray water discharges, hull maintenance, deck wash down, and solid and liquid waste management. ~~~~
~~~~ Like most regulations, there are many pages to the sVGP. To make things easier, Marpol, a training company in Middletown, Calif., will offer an online training course to explain in detail how to comply with the sVGP. The course begins in mid-October and costs $35. You will be able to reach the site online at svgp.us. In the meantime, you can find out more at www.marpoltraining.com or (415) 354-42128. More
EPA Small Vessel General Permit (9/10). This page contains information on EPA’s Small Vessel General Permit (sVGP). The EPA published the sVGP on September 10, 2014 to provide NPDES permit coverage for discharges from non-military, non-recreational vessels less than 79 feet (i.e., small vessels”) operating in a capacity as a means of transportation. The EPA estimates that the final sVGP will affect approximately 115,000 to 138,000 vessels. All discharges incidental to the normal operation of these vessels are eligible for coverage under this permit beginning December 19, 2014 when the NPDES permit requirement for these discharges goes into effect. The sVGP is designed to be an easily implemented permit with common sense best management practices that will reduce environmental pollution. (The Vessel General Permit, i.e., the VGP, provides NPDES permit coverage for ballast water and for other discharges incidental to the normal operation of commercial vessels greater than 79 feet in length.) More
EPA will be hosting a free webinar about the sVGP on September 23, 2014. For more information about the webinar and to register, click here
NOTE: Both the U.S. Senate and House have bills to provide a permanent exemption for fishing vessels 79 feet and less in length, however, none of the bills have passed both bodies and there is little time left in the legislative year. There is also discussion of getting another moratorium.
The National Transportation Safety Board Releases New Report of Maritime Accidents (9/18). A new report was released last week that contains a summary and the probable cause of 21 marine accidents. The national Transportation Safety Board is hoping the report will be an eye opener.
The National Transportation Safety Board released “Safer Seas 2013: Lessons Learned from marine Accident investigations” last week. The report includes a compilation of accident investigations that were published in 2013, organized by vessel type with links to the more detailed accident reports. More/KDLG Audio
Federal judge upholds decision to transfer salmon control to Alaska (9/11). A federal judge ruled Sept. 4 to uphold the federal decision to remove Cook Inlet from the salmon fishery management plan.
Alaska has managed salmon since statehood, and the National Marine Fisheries Service removed Cook Inlet salmon from the federal fishery management plan, or FMP, after the North Pacific Fishery Management Council unanimously voted in December 2011 to officially delegate that authority to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. More
Alaska-made film takes aim at salmon farming (9/5). Sara Pozonsky, a lifelong Alaska fisherman and owner of Wild Alaskan Salmon Company, believes salmon farms are a perilously overlooked environmental catastrophe. And she’s launched an advocacy effort to help nudge the issue into the spotlight.
Pozonsky, Tracie Donahue, and Shad Selby recently co-directed and released “A Fishy Tale,” an hour-long documentary about Pozonsky’s efforts to encourage legislation that would keep Americans more informed about the fish they’re consuming. The film follows Pozonsky as she asks people on the street what they think about eating farmed salmon, visits a British Columbia community impacted by fish farming, confronts the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration about their support of fish farms, rallies for awareness in Washington, D.C., and interviews U.S. Rep. Don Young about his efforts to protect wild salmon fisheries in Alaska. More
Mount Polley tailings spill effects could last for decades (9/14). Next spring, the sockeye eggs that are now being laid in spawning beds throughout the Fraser River system will hatch and the young fish – by the hundreds of millions – will migrate into lakes to rear.
And that, at least in one lake, could be a disaster.
Quesnel Lake, into which 24 million cubic metres of water and mine tailings flushed when the Mount Polley tailings dam burst, is one of the biggest and most important sockeye nurseries in the province. More
Senator hopes to hold BC mine hearing after election (9/18). Alaska Senator Mark Begich says he hopes to hold a Senate committee hearing on proposed mines in British Columbia across the border from Southeast Alaska. Begich and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry this summer seeking greater scrutiny of the Canadian mines following a tailings dam failure at Mt. Polley August 4th. More/KFSK Audio
Despite embargo, salmon caviar grows on everyone — but us! (9/15). When Alaskans fish for salmon, most are hoping to bring home those gorgeous — not to mention delicious — red fillets for the barbecue, freezer, or canning jar. When the fish are cleaned, the long skeins of pink or red eggs often go overboard with everything else.
Not so in the commercial fishing industry, where salmon eggs — or roe — have become big business. Russia’s embargo of American seafood has been a setback to Alaska’s caviar industry, but demand for the product is growing elsewhere. More/KCAW Audio
Seafood businesses agree codes on consistent environmental labelling and sourcing (9/16). The Sustainable Seafood Coalition (SSC), a coalition of major seafood suppliers, brands, supermarkets and restaurants has agreed and published two codes of conduct guiding their environmental labelling and sourcing policies. One code is designed to give consumers certainty about what environmental claims on fish and seafood mean, while the second will ensure coalition members source their fish and seafood products responsibly.
By signing the labelling code, businesses commit to all voluntary environmental claims like ‘sustainably sourced’ and ‘responsibly sourced’ made on their own-brand seafood being consistent, clear and accurate. Read the labelling code here. More
North American sockeye supply still high for 2014 despite dashed hopes on Fraser run (9/12). Despite lower-than-anticipated catches from the Fraser River sockeye run this year, the overall supply of sockeye is much higher than anticipated.
The total Alaska sockeye harvest was 43.5 million fish, according to Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s statewide total on Sept. 11, which is 29.4% higher than the overall forecast for the year of 33.6 million fish.
That huge extra supply is even more significant when considering the initial 33.6m estimate was already going to be 14% up over last year’s harvest.
Included within that is the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon harvest of 28.8 million fish, which is significantly higher than the 20-year average of 24 million fish. More
North Pacific hires new COO from Trident (9/18). North Pacific Seafoods has hired John Garner, from Trident Seafoods, to serve as Chief Operating Officer (COO).
“John’s experience and industry knowledge will be great assets to the ongoing success of North Pacific Seafoods,” Masayuki Yano, President & CEO of NPSI, said. “We look forward to strengthening and expanding our seafood operations in Alaska with John’s involvement and leadership.”
Garner’s has held management of operations and sales positions at Trident. He was also a founding partner of Norquest Seafoods. Garner started in the Alaskan seafood industry as a commercial fisherman, and was instrumental in work he performed as a Commissioner of the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission and as a member of the Alaska Board of Fisheries.
Like Trident, NPSI is a processing company with Seattle offices operations in Alaska. It has five shore-based plants in Alaska. Link
Wesley Loy Named Editor of “Pacific Fishing” Magazine (9/15). A highly regarded Alaska based journalist has been chosen as the new editor of “Pacific Fishing” magazine. KDLG Audio
Unusual North Pacific warmth jostles marine food chain (Sep). Scientists across NOAA Fisheries are watching a persistent expanse of exceptionally warm water spanning the Gulf of Alaska that could send reverberations through the marine food web. The warm expanse appeared about a year ago and the longer it lingers, the greater potential it has to affect ocean life from jellyfish to salmon, researchers say.
“Right now it’s super warm all the way across the Pacific to Japan,” said Bill Peterson, an oceanographer with NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Newport, Ore., who has linked certain ocean indicators to salmon returns. “For a scientist it’s a very interesting time because when you see something like this that’s totally new you have opportunities to learn things you were never expecting.”
Not since records began has the region of the North Pacific Ocean been so warm for so long. The warm expanse has been characterized by sea surface temperatures as much as three degrees C (about 5.4 degrees F) higher than average, lasting for months, and appears on large- scale temperature maps as a red-orange mass of warm water many hundreds of miles across. Nick Bond of the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Oceanat the University of Washington earlier this summer nicknamed it ” the blob.” More/Multimedia
Unusual species in Alaska waters indicate parts of Pacific warming dramatically (9/14). A giant hotspot in the North Pacific Ocean may help explain why a massive ocean sunfish was spotted in Prince William Sound this month and a skipjack tuna was caught in a gillnet weeks earlier near the mouth of the Copper River, scientists say. More
Warmer Temperatures in Gulf of Alaska Could Have Effects on Fisheries (9/18). Temperatures in the waters of the Gulf of Alaska have been as high as five degrees Fahrenheit above average. Although fluctuation does occur naturally with the seasons, this particular increase is attributed to other factors.
El Nino is characterized by unusually warm temperatures in the equatorial Pacific. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts there’s a 65 percent chance of El Nino emerging in fall and early winter.
Research fishery biology with NOAA fisheries Joe Orsi says it’s a normal and natural occurrence to see changing water temperatures. More/KDLG Audio
Poor Alaskan Chum Salmon Run Causing Market Uncertainty (9/18). US – The chum salmon run in Alaska has been poor so far this year, reports Rob Reierson in the 3-Minute Market Insight from Tradex Foods. Videoants in Alaska. Link
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
Sep 23. EPA will be hosting a free webinar about the small vessel general permit (sVGP) on September 23, 2014. This affects boats 79 ft and smaller. For more information about the webinar and to register, click here
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 1. ASMI All Hands, Anchorage (Marriott)
Oct 1. Comments due on BOF ACR
Dec 2. Drift Gillnet Task Force, PSG
Dec 3. USAG Annual Board Meeting, PSG
Dec 3. Seine Task Force, PSG
Dec 4. Joint RPT, PSG
Dec 19. EPA Small Vessel Discharge Permit goes into effect (Unless Congress acts)
Feb 23-Mar3. BOF SE Finfish, Sitka