United Southeast Alaska Gillnetter’s Association

Corkline-News for Southeast Gillnetters, February 22, 2015

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Southeast Alaska Pilots
Tender SAVAGE (Tomi Marsh)
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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 1 month, 1 week ago at 12:04 pm.

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Corkline-News for Southeast Gillnetters, January 21, 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:  Thursday Feb 5, 2015.  5-6PM
Where: DIPAC Conference Room
Purpose.  Jim Becker is stepping down as the President of the Juneau Chapter and we need to elect a new President.  If you would like to run for office, please contact the Executive Director ASAP.  Only members whose dues are current may vote.  We will also discuss the upcoming Board of Fisheries meeting in Sitka Feb 23 – March 3; and deep draft tracklines in Lynn Canal and Stephens Passage.

The Alaska Fisheries Report (12/15) Coming up this week, President Barack Obama issued an historic executive order Tuesday that excludes the outer continental shelf of Bristol Bay from oil and gas exploration, thereby protecting vital seafood habitat. Also: How salmon may respond to climate change and a summary of the board of fisheries recent meeting in Cordova, coming up, on the Alaska Fisheries Report. We had help from APRN’s Liz Ruskin in Washington D.C., KDLG’s Dave Bendinger in Dillingham, KCHU’s Marcia Lynn in Valdez and CoastAlaska’s Ed Schoenfeld


STATE

 

BOF head Johnstone resigns (1/20). Chairman was told by Gov. Bill Walker that he was being replaced. Alaska Board of Fisheries Chairman Karl Johnstone resigned Tuesday, and a longtime Cook Inlet commercial fisheries advocate has been nominated to replace him.

Gov. Bill Walker named Roland Maw, of Kasilof, to the fish board after calling Johnstone to express his disappointment with the board’s lack of public process during a recent meeting to vet candidates for commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, according to documents released by Walker’s administration.

Johnstone’s resignation is effective Jan. 27. If confirmed by the Legislature, Maw’s term will end in 2018. Maw would be the first Cook Inlet commercial fisherman to serve on the board since 1980.   More

Chenault Respects Governor’s Decision on Johnstone (1/20)

Joint board rejects 3 commissioner applicants; only Cotten advances (1/14). Gov. Bill Walker’s temporary appointee to head the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Sam Cotten, took a big step toward keeping the job permanently following a vetting by the joint boards of fish and game Wednesday morning in Juneau.

Of four candidates, Cotten was only one who the board chose to interview, and they voted unanimously to submit his name to Walker for consideration. More

Fairbanks Daily News Miner. Fish and Game commissioner candidate list whittled to one (1/14)

Joint Board Meeting Materials

Peninsula Clarion. Cotten picked for Fish and Game head; fish board members decline to interview Maw (1/15 updated)

AJC. Cotten receives unanimous support for ADFG commissioner (1/15)

KMXT Audio. Cotten Unanimous Choice for ADF&G Commissioner (1/14)

House speaker, governor voice displeasure with rejection of commissioner candidate (1/16). Alaska House Speaker Mike Chenault and Gov. Bill Walker said Friday they were unhappy with a state Board of Fisheries decision to dismiss one of the candidates to lead the Department of Fish and Game before he’d been interviewed.

The Fish Board, in concert with the state Game Board, on Wednesday rejected three of four candidates who applied to be Fish and Game commissioner — all except for Sam Cotten, who Walker named as a temporary commissioner when he was sworn into the governor’s office in December.

One of the rejected candidates was Roland Maw, a Kenai Peninsula resident and director of a fishing industry group whose resume said he has a doctorate in forestry and wildlife management. While the Game Board voted to interview Maw, who paid for his own trip to appear in-person at a Juneau meeting, the Fish Board unanimously voted against him without discussion, and afterward, chair Karl Johnstone declined to explain why. More

Walker moves ahead on state shake-up, names commissioners and board members (1/20). Gov. Bill Walker continued his remake of state government Tuesday with a string of high-profile appointments and removals of commissioners and appointees who work in fish and game management, the justice system and taxation.

The moves amounted to an especially big shake-up for Alaska fisheries management as Walker made permanent his temporary choice of Sam Cotten for commissioner of fish and game, and said he’d appoint an antagonist of the state fish board to a vacancy created by the sudden resignation of the board’s chair. More

Hladick to Join Governor’s Cabinet (1/20
). After 14 years as Unalaska’s city manager, Chris Hladick is leaving to join the cabinet of Gov. Bill Walker.

Hladick was appointed as the new commissioner for the department of commerce, community and economic development on Tuesday.

It’s a wide-ranging job that regulates everything from alcohol — and now, legal marijuana — to consumer energy projects. More

Habitat Director Out, As Walker Administration Shifts Approach To Permitting (1/12). The Habitat Division was all set to release its first batch of revisions in December. They were overhauling plans for the McNeil River refuge, a popular grizzly viewing destination, and for Potter Marsh in Anchorage and the Mendenhall Wetlands in Juneau. But when Republican Sean Parnell lost his reelection bid for governor, all of that was put on hold.

The new Fish and Game commissioner, Sam Cotten, says there were concerns that the management overhaul would reduce the level of public involvement. He says he wants Alaskans to have a greater role in land management decisions. More/APRN Audio

Former ADF&G Commissioner Cora Campbell takes top job at Siu Alaska Corporation

(1/12). Siu Alaska Corporation (Siu) announces that former ADF&G Commissioner Cora Campbell has been selected and hired as its new Chief Executive Officer. Campbell will replace retiring CEO John Eckels who has led Siu from its beginnings six years ago. More

ADFG Appoints Deputy Commissioner (1/13).
Acting Commissioner Sam Cotten is pleased to announce the appointment of Charles O. Swanton as Deputy Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Swanton has been Director of the Division of Sport Fish since 2007. Governor Walker has also nominated Mr. Swanton as the State of Alaska’s Commissioner for the Pacific Salmon Commission, which is a presidential appointment. More Fish and Game Sportfish director gets a new job (1/13)
Transition committees release recommendations for Alaska’s future (1/20). The administration of new Alaska Gov. Bill Walker released 17 transition reports Tuesday, packed with proposed priorities for the governor’s four-year term. The recommendations deal with everything from how to manage state savings to tribal governance and paying the unfunded debts of the state’s retirement systems.

The recommendations, from 17 different committees, may provide a preview of some of the subjects Walker will touch on his first State of the State and State of the Budget speeches he’ll deliver Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

The reports, available online here, took shape during a weekend session in Anchorage on Nov. 22-23 that brought together more than 250 people from across the state, meeting in small groups to try and reach consensus on the most important tasks facing the new administration. Some of the goals are specific. Others are general statements of philosophy. More

Fisheries Report                 Subsistence Report

Medred fell overboard accusing commercial fishermen of not contributing (1/19). Craig Medred’s Dec. 30, 2014, opinion piece “Oil pays the way while extraction giants like fishing and mining skate” was just more of the deceptive bravado and vindictive rhetoric that appears to be his trademark. I can easily buy into Medred’s first few paragraphs pointing out that Alaskans have not let wisdom get in the way of mitigating inevitable declining oil revenues, but the apples vs. oranges comparison of tax rates, royalties and revenues scapegoat commercial fishing in particular and obscure economic realities while further politicizing complex issues. More

 

Petersburg’s new drive down dock takes shape (1/20). It was a big milestone Friday for the drive down dock project on the Petersburg waterfront. Tamico, the contracting company building the new dock, lowered a 140-foot transfer bridge into place. That bridge will allow vehicles to drive onto a new 180-foot float still being assembled two miles south of town in Scow Bay. More/KFSK Audio
Alaska writer historian Roppel dies at 76 (1/14). Patricia Roppel, a Wrangell woman who wrote 13 books and more than 100 articles, many about the history of Southeast Alaska, has died.

Her daughter, Cindy Baird, tells The Associated Press that Roppel died of cancer Jan. 6, 2015, in Bellevue, Washington. She was 76.

A Washington state native, Roppel moved to Alaska in 1959. She taught home economics in Ketchikan from 1959 to 1965, the same year she published her first article. More NOTE from Bob King: She wrote the classic book Salmon from Kodiak, a history of Alaska Fish Hatcheries and numerous articles, many on commercial fishing related matters. 


Copper River interested in buying Icicle in full (1/15
). Copper River Seafoods plans to throw its hat in the ring in the Icicle Seafoods sale process that began this week, as Pacific Seafood Group is also being seen as a frontrunner.

This would bring Icicle’s salmon farms’ original owner Rodger May back to his roots with Smoki Foods and its subsidiary American Gold Seafood, which Icicle, under the ownership of private equity Paine & Partners, acquired from May in 2007 and 2008, respectively.

May, now the second largest shareholder in Copper River and the owner of Northwest Fish Company, said he debating the prospect of returning to the salmon farming business. More
Empire Editorial: King salmon research is worth preserving (1/14). “Alaska’s long-lived monarch — the king salmon — has fallen from its throne.”

Those words were published just over a year ago in this newspaper as part of a multipart series on the demise of the king salmon in Alaska’s oceans and rivers. Researchers, scientists, experts, commercial and sport fishermen, guides, subsistence users and policy-makers all sang a similar tune: Alaska’s king salmon aren’t what they used to be.

It’s our instinct to ask “Why?” More

Sitka processor sells ownership stake to Starkist (1/15). Sitka-based Silver Bay Seafoods has sold a twelve percent stake to Dongwon, the Korean owners of Starkist Tuna.

The news of the sale has been public since November, but Silver Bay CEO Rich Riggs added details during a presentation to the Sitka Chamber of Commerce today (Wed 1-14-15). More
Petersburg fishing industry organization hires new director (1/14). A home-grown commercial fisherman is the newest director of Petersburg’s fishing industry organization.

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26-year-old Megan O’Neil started work as director of the Petersburg Vessel Owners Association on January 1st. She takes over from Brian Lynch, who stepped down in December after two years on the job. The PVOA has 70 vessel owners and around 30 businesses in its membership. The group advocates for the local commercial fishing fleet on local, state, federal and international fishery management issues. More/KFSK Audio
Strong king numbers outside Sitka boost winter troll catch (1/14). Southeast Alaska salmon trollers are having a strong winter season, thanks to good catches on the outer coast outside of Sitka.

The winter season started October 11th and the catch of Chinook had topped 24,000 fish by the second week in January. Grant Hagerman, Fish and Game’s assistant troll biologist for Southeast, said the catch is almost double last year’s total at the same time. “Looking back it’s the highest fall catch we’ve seen for 20 years, basically, since the 93-94 winter season, so it’s pretty significant,” he said. More

FEDERAL

Eyak’s sinking leaves Port Alexander isolated (1/20). Four people and a dog are safe today after being plucked from their sinking boat 16 miles south of Sitka.

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(Photo courtesy of Jake Denherder.)

The loss of the fishing tender Eyak is more than a personal loss for captain and boat owner David Castle, who lived aboard the boat with his dog, Olive. For years, the Eyak has been the main way to get mail, fuel and freight to Port Alexander, a small community of 45 people at the southern tip of Baranof Island.

“It means a whole bunch,” said Debra Gifford, Port Alexander’s mayor. “It changes things drastically here having that service available.” More

KCAW. Four rescued as F/V Eyak sinks near Sitka (1/19)

KTUU. Four people rescued from sinking fishing vessel near Sitka (1/19)

Coast Guard responds to 80-foot sunken vessel near Sitka, Alaska (1/19)

Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils to Hold Meetings Statewide (1/7). The 10 Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils will meet February through March 2015 to discuss subsistence wildlife issues and review proposals to change Federal subsistence hunting and trapping regulations for 2016-2018, as well as other issues affecting subsistence in their regions. The public is encouraged to participate in these meetings in person or by teleconference. More Note: Most, but not all, are listed in the calendar below.
Murkowski Welcomes New Staff Members to Capitol Hill Office (1/9). Senator Lisa Murkowski today announced a number of new hires to her personal office staff in Washington, D.C. The new hires include Ephraim Froehlich, Garrett Boyle, Phillip Dodd, and U.S. Air Force Major Taona Enriquez; they fill vacancies created by recent departures among her staff. The senator also announced that she is promoting her Legislative Director Kate Williams to become her Deputy Chief of Staff. More

My Turn: Tongass Advisory Committee fails tourism (1/13). The battle over the Tongass continues as the 15-member Tongass Advisory Committee (TAC) prepares for its next meeting Jan. 20 in Juneau. The TAC was created to quickly and locally address the future of the Tongass in response to the 2010 “Transition Framework,” a directive focused on the reality that large-scale clearcut logging of Tongass old growth is unsustainable in the long term. The TAC is supposed to recommend a realistic, economically viable path forward, which according to its charter includes not only timber but “the unique and equally important resource values … (of) tourism, recreation, fishing, [and] subsistence.”

The TAC, however, has only a single commercial fisherman and no representatives from the tourism industry. More

NOAA. 2015 MMPA Authorization Certificate (1/15)

MARKETING

Fish 2.0’s Call to Action for Seafood Entrepreneurs and Investors (1/15). Everybody, it seems, wants their seafood sustainable. That growing demand is spurring investor interest in aquaculture, seafood supply chains and technology solutions that address the shortage of affordable, tasty protein that does not deplete already-stressed fisheries. More
Bipartisan Group Introduce Bills to Ban GE Salmon and Require Product Labeling (1/16). In their continued fight against genetically engineered (GE) fish, this week Alaskan Congressman Don Young and Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA), Walter B. Jones (R-NC), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), and Jared Huffman (D-CA) introduced two pieces of legislation intended to prevent GE fish from making its way onto the nation’s dinner plates and spreading into the nation’s oceans. More

Lawmakers cracking down on seafood imports (1/20). Seafood imports could be facing new, more stringent regulations.

A new food safety bill introduced Tuesday in the Senate would tighten restrictions on foreign seafood that is exported to the U.S. More
Plumeting Exchange Rates Causing Unpredictable Seafood Market (1/20). Plumeting exchange rates are causing unpredictable seafood market trends, reports Kyla Ganton in the Tradex Foods 3-Minute Market Insight. Video

Wal-Mart ratchets up sustainability expectations (1/13). ORLANDO, Fla. — With both Wal-Mart and Whole Foods moving aggressively to measure sustainability of their suppliers, Jeff Dlott believes meeting expectations of buyers can be both a requirement for doing business and a market opportunity for produce marketers.

“Don’t kill the messenger, but sustainability is becoming a requirement in major markets,” said Dlott, president and CEO of SureHarvest, Soquel, Calif., at a workshop at the 2015 Potato Expo on Jan. 8. More

Uncertainty reigns over coming impacts from US Foods-Sysco merger (1/16). The pending merger between Sysco and US Foods — still reportedly on hold over the US Federal Trade Commission’s anti-trust concerns — is causing some confusion in the seafood industry over what to expect.

The merged entity would reportedly have 27% market share, up from the 18% Sysco says it has, but this number seems uncertain now given the possible $5bn asset sell off to Performance Food Group the New York Post reported recently. This, however, has come under scrutiny by the Minnesota attorney general, who questioned whether it would bring the company into anti-trust law compliance. More

MINING ISSUES

Mount Polley mine on track for restart (1/18). Beleaguered Imperial Metals (TSX:III), whose Mount Polley mine in central British Columbia breached a tailings pond last summer, has submitted a plan to restart the copper and gold mine.

Local media outlet the Williams Lake Tribune reported last Thursday that the company has submitted the restart plan to the provincial government, which along with Imperial Metals has faced criticism over the breach that sent millions of cubic metres of water and tailings into local creeks and nearby Quesnel Lake. More

Report into Mount Polley disaster due soon (1/16). We should be seeing the report on the massive Mount Polley tailings pond breach soon.

Energy and Mines minister Bill Bennett says the report will be released to the province and First Nations groups in the Williams Lake area first.

“I am hopeful to release the report to the public very very quickly after that.”

Bennett is insisting that this report will have some teeth. More

 

 

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY

Fishing industry could lose up to $41 billion due to climate change (1/16). Climate change is already having a severe impact on the atmosphere and oceans around the world. These changes are also impacting specific economic sectors including the fishing and aquaculture industries. According to a recent report by the European Climate Foundation, the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and the University of Cambridge, the fishing industry is projected to lose tens-of-billions as the world continues to heat up. More

ADFG launches study on hatchery impacts on wild salmon (1/15). Hatchery salmon and their potential impact on wild populations have been a sticking point in ongoing discussions about seafood sustainability, and a multi-year research project undertaken by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is looking at better understanding the issue.

More than 40 scientists, fishermen, and others interested in the science gathered in Anchorage Dec. 12 for a daylong update on the research progress so far.

ADFG’s study, which is being conducted with the Prince William Sound Science Center, the Sitka Science Center and other contractors, is focused on pink and chum salmon in Prince William Sound and Southeast Alaska. More

Research finds woody debris benefits fish. Adding logs and other woody debris to rivers and streams is one of the oldest and most common measures to improve fish habitat. But debates continue over how much benefit logjams and other wood structures provide for fish and how much wood is natural or needed in a given river system.

A comprehensive research review by scientists from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center provides new clarity on the question. Large wood such as logs and root wads has always played a natural role in most river systems, the review found, and most studies have concluded that wood placed in rivers remains stable, improves habitat conditions and increases fish numbers – particularly for salmon and trout. More

 

CALENDAR. 2015

Jan 23. Applications due for federal subsistence RAC’s

Feb 9. Comments due BOF Southeast and Yakutat Finfish

Feb 17. Alaska Symphony of Seafood, Juneau, Rockwell Ballroom 6PM

Feb 18-20. UFA Board, Juneau

Feb 23-Mar 3. BOF SE Finfish, Sitka

Mar 11-12. NSRAA Board, Sitka

Mar 13. SSRAA Board, Ketchikan

Mar 17-19. SE RAC, Sitka

Apr 4. DIPAC Board Meeting, Juneau

Posted 2 months ago at 2:30 pm.

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