United Southeast Alaska Gillnetter’s Association

Corkline-News for Southeast Gillnetters, April 21, 2014

NEWS

Top Stories:  JRPT Update…DIPAC Report…Douglas ADFG Office moves to Bill Ray Center for 18 months

2014 Spring JRPT meeting by Chris Guggenbickler (F/VMARANANTHA and USAG Board Member)

After the usual approval of the agenda, previous recommendations and minutes from the December 5 meeting, the next order of business was permit alteration requests (PAR). This is where the RPT looks at new production permitting and the criteria in approving those requests.  In the southern region a representative of each gear group from SSRAA votes as well as the regional supervisor of sportfish, commercial fish and the hatchery program coordinator.  The same goes for the northern region and NSRAA reps.

1.   SSRAA PAR for an increase of 600K green Chinook eggs to be taken at Whitman Lake, and a remote release site of 100K at Deer Mountain hatchery.  This drew considerable discussion as currently there is permitting to release these extra Chinook at Neets Bay, however elements of the department feel the increase of release will create a larger fishery and consequently more wild Chinook may be harvested in this fishery.  The problem is escapement to back Behm Chinook stocks particularly the Unuk, which has not made escapement recently.  Serious discussion about tag data/recovery and the fisheries in the area got a little heated.  Sport fish felt the problem was in the commercial fishery, although a lack of recovered tags in Neets bay cost recovery suggest that this is not the case.  Commercial fish proponents felt the problem fell with sport fish lodges along the returning corridors whose catches are not sampled.  It appears better attempts will be made in the near future to recover tags in all areas.  Ultimately this PAR did pass 6-0

2.   SSRAA PAR, this par did not increase production, but was needed as coho released in Anita are no longer reared at Whitman lake, but incubated at Burnett Inlet, reared at Neck Lake, then transported and released at Anita. Passed 6-0

3.   POWHA PAR to allow incubation at Port St. Nicholas hatchery of 20 Million chums, with release at Port Asumcion which would be a new release site.  This is an attempt to create a site where POWHA can conduct cost recovery to help subsidize the coho program which is not paying for operations currently.  There are many issues with this as it would take a constant supply of green eggs every year from another source, as there will be no brood stock collecting opportunities at Asumcion.  Currently it may not be feasible in some years for SSRAA to provide these eggs as we barely made our own summer chum egg take needs last summer, and intend to create a backup brood stock site which will require more eggs for our own needs, we simply may not have enough eggs some years.  Also it may be more cost effective to subsidize POWHA cost recovery at one of our current sites.  In the end the PAR was amended to 8M release as we felt this was a more realistic release to provide for sufficient cost recovery needs of POWHA.  Passed 6-0 as amended

4.  POWHA PAR to move 2M coho smolt release from Klawock River to Port Asumcion.  The department amended the 2M down to 250K due to the fact they wanted to start small and watch for straying before ramping up to 2M.  Passed.

5.   NSRAA PAR to increase the Gunnuk Creek PAR for the SE Cove Release from 45 to 55M chums.  These fish will be incubated at Hidden Falls.  Passed.

6.   NSRAA PAR to increase, incubated at Sawmill Creek Hatchery, 50M chums, to be released at Crawfish Inlet which would be a new release site and SHA.  This created considerable discussion as there is a nearby chum index stream at West Crawfish.  The department amended to 20M, and the vote failed.  Another motion was made to amend to 30M.  In discussion it was determined the reason for the 20M “cap” was due to a geneticist’s decision with the nearby index stream.  This motion was tabled until after lunch and the genetics lab was contacted about reasoning on 20M.  After lunch it was determined that with the index being a summer chum, and the release a fall return there would be able to go with 30M on the condition NSRAA pays for any additional straying studies needed on the summer and fall return, and evaluate.  Also NSRAA would clean up the SHA of released fish to reduce the chance of them straying. There was concern from the department the troll fleet would not be efficient enough at cleaning up the area, also one or two cost recovery seiners would not be enough to cover the entire area and cleanup would be most efficient with a fleet of nets.    As amended to 30M, passed.

7.   Armstrong-Keta PAR to increase pink production from 85M to 135M with a remote release of 50M at Port Herbert, The department also wanted to reduce the increase to 20M.  This also was brought back up after lunch, and amended for a total release of 105M with a remote release of 50M at Port Herbert.

 8.   NSRAA PAR to add Crawfish Inlet as a remote release site for up to 600K Andrews creek Chinook, does not increase production.  Passed.

The next part of the meeting is where representatives from SSRAA and NSRAA discuss issues on allocation and other issues arising from enhanced fish (The Joint Regional Planning Team).  This is an allocative discussion and the department does not vote on these issues.

Our first order of business was to look at the most recent allocation data.  The 2012 data is final, and the 2013 data is preliminary awaiting settlements and final data. I will use 2013 data as it is most recent and shouldn’t change much.

Allocation guidelines:   seine: 44-49%, troll: 27-32%, gillnet 24-29%

2013 allocation, seine: 40%, troll: 24%, gillnet: 36%

2009-2013, 5yr rolling average: seine: 43%, troll: 17%, gillnet: 40%

There are many factors when looking at these figures, a couple of things to keep in mind is the more recent data is showing fleets coming closer to their ranges, we are doing our best to do this with new production and other methods which do not take from the gillnet fleets current opportunities.  I expect the seine percentage to go up next year as most likely they will not have as many pink salmon to chase.  Also it seems 2013 was a year chum were more likely to “bite” for trollers, this is not always the case.  Also enhanced coho survivals were up and the return was substantial.

Part of the 2011 Industry consensus was to allow chum troll opportunity at Hawk inlet, also the Homeshore was a Chinook access fishery when the main target turned to chum, trollers wanted to recognize this in the Management plan.  The caveat was these fisheries were allowed with a sunset clause so the effects could be evaluated, data collected and a management plan could be implemented.  The data shows 20% of the chums harvested in both fisheries were unmarked, the largest number was 59,000 at Homeshore in 2013.  I argued these were wild fish, previously harvested by other gear groups and we needed to account for this value lost or we could not support this fishery.  This created considerable discussion, although there was no conclusion I am sure we will be looking at the 2014 data closely, and will have further opportunity to comment at the RPT and Board of Fish.  Also the subject of high juvenile Chinook bycatch in this area was brought up.  It appears there is data noted of hook marked juvenile Chinook in the NOAA trawl survey.  The subject of an observer survey of this fishery was brought up.

Every spring the JRPT writes a letter to the commissioner on the recent allocation situation, we presented the percentages and some reasoning. A few other things that should help are nearly 5M new coho releases between SSRAA, NSRAA and DIPAC.  3 year olds will be returning from increases of chum production due to the 2008 industry consensus, they are releases of 12M, Neets and 10M at Kendrick/Mclean.  During this discussion a motion was made to submit a Board of Fish proposal to “reconvene the allocation task force”.  This also generated considerable discussion.  The main reason for many would be to look at the fact we are spending nearly half of the regional’s budgets and water usage on creating kings and cohoes, we are creating hatchery access fisheries for troll all over SE with unevaluated consequences and troll has never been in its range.  Now they are asking to tie us to the dock so they can have more opportunity.  Maybe there was a flaw in the assumptions used in designing the plan.  Eventually it was decided to not submit as a proposal but to write in the letter to the Commissioner about the discussion, that we are considering it, and that it will be on the agenda for the fall JRPT meeting 2014.

Lastly we submitted three placeholder proposals to the Board of Fish.  The Anita and Deep Inlet THA rotational ratios were submitted but dates and ratios are represented by XXX, also the Homeshore/Hawk Inlet proposal will leave room for further modifications.  This will give us opportunity to further evaluate fisheries and allocation to make a better decision in December.

During the NSRAA Par presentation Steve Reifenstuhl, general manager of NSRAA thanked Eric Prestegard and DIPAC for opportunities created from excess revenues.  I also would like to take this opportunity to thank the DIPAC board for contributing in excess of $5.5M in the last two years back in to opportunity for the fleets.  This has helped create net opportunity at Deep Inlet for two years, will help offset costs for SE cove, will help create net and troll opportunity at Neets Bay and help offset shortfalls at POWHA which creates 5M coho which improve troll allocation.

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Recap of DIPAC Spring Board Meeting by Lars Stangeland (F/V VALHALLA and USAG rep to DIPAC Board)

DIPAC’s spring meeting was on March 29th. Here are some of the highlights.

Both the FY15 Operating Budget of $4,841,421 and FY15 Capitol Improvement Budget of $762,200 were approved. Last winter DIPAC created an unencumbered funds policy listing their priorities for dealing with the excess funds. There was a motion to approve this policy as presented, and the policy was approved, knowing that it would be revisited next fall for more discussion and possible changes. The priorities are as follows:

Priority one shall be for programs or projects that provide direct and immediate benefits to the common property salmon fishery. For example, revenue sharing with other aquaculture associations in order to offset their cost recovery needs and create more harvest opportunity for common property commercial fleets.

The second priority shall be for programs or projects that provide for lasting, long term benefits to the common property salmon fishery by means of new production, improvement in fisheries management or better understanding of the salmon resource through research and education. Examples include, funding of other hatchery programs, funding assistance for salmon research, and funding support for fisheries educational programs.

The third priority is for projects or programs that provide indirect benefits to the common property fishery through economic development. Examples include funding for a commercial fishing dock or a common property sport fishing access site.

The next order of business that took up a large part of the meeting was addressing the thirteen funding requests submitted to DIPAC. Of the thirteen eight were approved and will be funded, they are:

1.     NSRAA – 100% Deep Inlet cost recovery, 30% of Hidden Falls cost recovery, development costs of new enhancement programs, and replace shortfall from 2013 Deep Inlet cost recovery – $2.5 million.

2.     SSRAA – Replacement funds for Neets Bay cost recovery fund and POWHA hatchery operations – $2 million.

3.     ADF&G – Fund enhanced / wild interaction study – $2 million.

4.     USFS – Fund fish- pass work on Davidson Creek – $98,000.

5.     Pacific Salmon Treaty Coalition – Research and lobby work for New Treaty Annex – $15,000.

6.     Chinook Futures Coalition – Delist Snake River fall Chinook salmon from ESA listing – $100,000.

7.     DIPAC Scholarship Committee – Fund Fellowship Program – $1,075,000.

8.     Juneau School District – Fund High School Hatchery Tech Program – $23,085.

The remaining five requests were not approved or were sent back to committee for more discussion:

1.     Juneau Economic Development Council – Fund “STEM” Program and fund Ocean Cluster and Research & Development Cluster – $100,000.

2.     ADF&G Sport Fish Division – Land purchase for additional sport fish access near Macaulay Hatchery – $50,000 – $87,500.

3.     Haines Borough Alaska – New commercial drive down float $6,000,000 or any number lower.  This request was referred  back to committee

4.     Juneau Whale Project – Bronze whale sculpture for downtown – a $250 -$ 50,000.

5.     Sitka High School Class of ’71 – Bronze sculpture for Sitka Harbor – $10,000

The remaining balance of $4.6 million was put into the reserve fund. This will ensure DIPAC has the revenue to deal with upcoming water issues with the Salmon Creek dam and pipeline, the source of the hatchery’s water.  Both the dam and upper pipe section are over one hundred years old.

Last winter Yakutat Regional Aquaculture Association (YRAA) sent a letter to DIPAC and also came to a production meeting requesting ten million eyed summer chum eggs to get their show started. DIPAC sent YRAA a letter indicating its willingness to supply the chum eggs for a period of up to four years provided that:

1.     YRAA receives written approval from ADF&G to release DIPAC chums in Yakutat.

2.     Identifies and secures a feasible hatchery site and adequate water supply.

3.     Produces a completed hatchery design that includes incubation, thermal marking capabilities, fish ladder, brood stock and egg take facilities sufficient to support a self-sustaining program.

4.     YRAA receives hatchery permit from ADF&G to operate in the Yakutat area.

Successful completion of these conditions would constitute a situation under which the two parties can get together and finalize an agreement for providing eggs to YRAA.

Haines Sportsman’s Association, INC. sent a letter requesting DIPAC to take over management, funding, and operation of the king salmon incubator located on Big Boulder Creek near Haines and reinstate the net pen program in Lutak Inlet. Norm Hughes will be doing some fact finding and will bring that info back to the production committee next fall.

Wild Pacific Salmon Education Association sent DIPAC a letter requesting limited physical access to the Sheep Creek facility to determine suitability and general state of readiness of the site for use as a facility to enhance pink salmon. Comments and concerns will be forwarded to the production committee for review before the December board meeting.

The Governance, Membership and Nominating Committee met on March 17th. The committee forwarded three motions to the board for consideration at the spring meeting

1.  Motion to approve Chris McDowell for a troll board seat.  Chris sent DIPAC a letter stating his interest in the troll seat along with a long list of relevant fishing, work and board experience. Looks like a good fit. The motion passed unanimously.

2.  Motion to adopt a policy for board travel to annual meetings. This motion was approved.

3.  Motion to reappoint current slate of officers. Sandy Williams will be stepping down as president.

Other information about forecasts, releases, harvests, ponding, and employment opportunities (hey – you never know), can be found on the DIPAC website at www.dipac.net .

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Alaska Department of Fish and Game Douglas Regional Office Move (4/17)

(Juneau) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) Douglas Regional Office is temporarily moving. The ADF&G office located at 802 3rd Street on Douglas Island is being renovated during the next 18 months. The office will move for the duration of the construction to the Bill Ray Center at 1008 F Street, directly across the street from the Goldbelt Building on W. 10th Street.

The move will begin on April 21. Public service counters at 802 3rd Street in Douglas will be operating minimally during the week of April 21-25 during the transition. Public service counters will be open for business at the Bill Ray Center starting April 28. All services previously available at the Douglas Regional Office will be available at the Bill Ray Center. The public service area in this new location is situated inside the front door to the left.

All phone numbers for Fish and Game will remain the same. If you have any questions regarding the move, you may call:

  • Division of Sport Fish: (907) 465-4270
  • Division of Commercial Fisheries: (907) 465-4250
  • Division of Wildlife Conservation: (907) 465-4265

We apologize for any inconvenience this causes and will ensure the needs of the public continue to be met at this temporary location.

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

USAG Dues

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

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

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

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

CALENDAR.
2014
Sep 23-25
.  UFA Board Meeting, Anchorage

2015

Feb 23-Mar3.   BOF SE Finfish, Sitka

Posted 1 day, 7 hours ago at 7:22 am.

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Corkline-News for Southeast Gillnetters, March 20, 2014

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

USAG Dues.

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

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

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

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

NEWS

HATCHERY NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SSRAA Spawning News (Feb 2014)

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

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

DIPAC

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

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

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

DIPAC Scholarship Program for 2014 – Information and Application

FEDERAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STATE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MARKETING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CALENDAR.
2014
Mar 29. 
DIPAC Board Meeting, Juneau
Apr 8.  Regional Planning Team (RPT), Juneau
Apr 10Proposals due for 2015 BOF SE Finfish
Sep 23-25.  UFA Board Meeting, Anchorage

2015

Feb 23-Mar3.   BOF SE Finfish, Sitka

Posted 1 month ago at 8:34 am.

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