Corkline-News for Southeast Gillnetters (9/17/12)

17 Sep

Insurance profit sharing checks for 2010/11 were mailed @Sep 7.  If you were a member of our fleet program in 2010/11 and have not received you check, please contact us.

Please take a moment to thank these businesses which have renewed their USAG Membership for 2012 and encourage other support sector businesses to do the same:
  • Alaska Glacier Seafoods
  • Icy Strait Seafoods
  • Taku Oil
  • E.C. Phillips & Son
  • Madison Lumber & Supply
  • Milner, Howard, Palmer, and Johnson PC Cpas
  • Murray Pacific Supply
  • Schmolck Mechanical Contractors Inc
  • Sourdough Bar & Liquor
  • Harbor Way Parts
  • Icicle Seafoods
  • Petersburg Rexall Drug
  • Piston & Rudder Services Inc
  • Seattle Marine & Fishing Supply
  • Tender:  ST JUDE
  • Tender:  TOWEGO
  • Trident Seafoods
  • Sitka Sound Seafoods (North Pacific Seafoods)
  • Stikine Inn

Meeting.  The Gillnet Task Force will meet in Juneau (ADFG Commissioner’s Conference Room) December 5 (1PM to @6PM).  The RPT will meet December 6 at Juneau’s Centennial Hall (Hickel room) (9AM to 5PM).  The USAG Annual meeting will be held December 7 (details to follow).  ADFG Press Release (9/14)

USAG Dues.  Have you been waiting to pay your 2012 dues until the end of the season?  If so, it’s time to send your check for $250 to USAG, PO Box 20538, Juneau, AK 99802.   If you want to pay your 2013 dues now the membership will be $275; this is the 1st increase in many years.  Don’t forget, dues must be current to participate in the USAG fleet insurance program.

ASMI Retail Store—Jackets, Hoodies and More

Is your USCG Dockside Safety Exam up to date?  If not, read below and to schedule a dockside exam in SEAK, by contacting Mr. Scott Wilwert in Juneau at 907 463-2448 or, or Mr. Jim Paul in Ketchikan at 907 225-4496 or  Exams are free, and result in no penalties or fines if deficiencies are noted.  If you are operating outside the 3 nautical mile limit after Oct 15, remember you must show proof of compliance with safety regulations.

Alaska to get $1 million from Japan for tsunami debris cleanup (9/11). ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Japan is providing money for cleanup of debris from that country’s tsunami last year.

KTUU-TV ( ) reports that Alaska will receive $1 million from Japan. The money is part of a $6 million appropriation for the task to the U.S. and Canada.

The state’s congressional delegation praises the effort, but says more needs to be done by the U.S. government.  Link

Alaska sea otters may play unlikely role in climate change scenario (9/10).  A new study conducted by California, Washington and Alaska researchers finds that the Alaska sea otter — perhaps best known for its soft fur and ridiculous cuteness — may have surprising implications for global climate change. In the process, the study suggests that predation of plant-eating wildlife may be another key in the combat against rising carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere.

The research examined sea otters’ impact on kelp forests from Southeast Alaska to the Aleutian Islands chain far to the west over the past 40 years. Researchers found that in areas where sea otters flourished, the density of kelp — and thus, the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide that the kelp could absorb — was much higher than areas without otters.

The reason? Sea otters love to eat kelp-munching sea urchins.

“When sea otters are present, urchins seek refuge in rock crevices and subsist on kelp detritus,” the study said. “In the absence of sea otters, urchins often adopt a mobile feeding strategy of grazing on living kelp, thus reducing kelp density and kelp bed distribution.”  More  CoastAlaska Radio

Oct. 16 Deadline Looms For Commercial Vessel Dockside Exams (9/12).  Dockside safety exams for most commercial fishing vessels become mandatory in October and the US Coast Guard will be working through next spring to have all boats ready for next summer’s salmon fisheries.

Ken Lawrenson, the Coast Guard District 17 commercial fishing vessel safety coordinator, has been advising fishermen for the past two years about the approaching Oct. 16 deadline for all commercial fishing vessels that operate or fish more than three miles from the territorial sea baseline to get those mandatory dockside safety exams done.

“Exams are free and most vessels already have the safety equipment and documentation to pass a dockside safety exam,” he said.

To date 30 percent to 40 percent of some 3,200 vessels required to have these exams have done so and received their decals. More
Weather Channel.  Dramatic Rescue at Sea After 26 Hour Ordeal (9/12).  SITKA, Alaska — A fisherman who spent a night adrift in a 4-by-4 foot plastic fish bin after his boat sank off Alaska says he gave himself pep talks and sang “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” to keep his spirits up.

His fellow crewmember managed to get into a survival suit and washed ashore on a beach after his own night afloat.

A Coast Guard helicopter hoisted Ryan Harris, 19, of Sitka, from his plastic “lifeboat” on Saturday, more than 24 hours after the boat sank on Friday, the Daily Sitka Sentinel ( reported Monday.

Two hours before Harris’ rescue, crewmate Stonie “Mac” Huffman of Sitka was rescued from a beach about 25 miles northwest of Sitka. Harris told the newspaper he’s happy both he and his buddy survived after their 28-foot aluminum boat got hit by big waves and overturned.  More/Video

Seafood Still Alaska’s Top Export (9/13).  A small gathering of staff from the Chamber of Commerce learned about the value of Alaska’s exports during lunch at the Harbor Room of the Kodiak Inn. Greg Wolf is the executive Director for World Trade Center Alaska and said last year Alaska earned $5.2 billion from worldwide exports. He said the dollar amount ranks Alaska 40th among the 50 states for exports, but when you factor in Alaska’s small population Alaska’s export value is bumped up to 4th in the nation.

Wolf said exports provide roughly 25,000 direct and indirect jobs, with the leading export product being seafood, which makes up 47 percent of all exports. While that may come as no surprise to most, the second largest export is minerals at 35 percent, which is more than five times the export value of energy at six percent. Precious metals were five percent in exports followed by forest products at two percent and fish meal worth one percent.  More

Changes to J-1 Visa Affect Alaska Fisheries(8/30).   Listen to audio |  Download audio (4:12).  Changes to the U.S. J-1 Visa program have prompted some fisheries around the state to begin looking elsewhere for summer workers. KDLG’s Ariel Van Cleave explains.

Feds won’t take over Chatham fisheries, at least for now (9/7).  Angoon’s village Native corporation sent the federal government an unusual request in May of 2010.

Kootznoowoo Inc. filed a petition asking for extraterritorial jurisdiction. That would allow the feds to stop or limit salmon fishing in state-managed waters near Angoon on western Admiralty Island.

The petition said commercial seiners in the Chatham Strait area were taking too many sockeye salmon, reducing the run of fish in an important subsistence harvest. The corporation claimed the state had failed to manage for the subsistence priority required under federal law.

The feds recently said “no,” to the petition. Instead, they deferred action for three years to allow for a negotiated solution.  More/KCAW Audio  Letter:  Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior on Kootznoowoo Petition for Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (8/23)

Outside commercial fishermen get even more cash for fishing Alaska waters (8/31).  It looks like 4,471 Outside commercial fishermen from places like Washington state and California will cash checks this fall courtesy of the State of Alaska. The amount these fishermen will get ranges from a few dollars to more than $63,000. All told, the fishermen will split their share of a $33.5 million settlement, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled.

The state has no plans to appeal.

The Carlson case springs from Alaska’s attempt to try to support local over Outside fishermen, and the debate over who should control of Alaska’s fisheries. It’s a debate that has raged since territorial days, and was a main impetus behind Alaska becoming a state.  More  Final Judgment Order-Carlson Case (8/31)

In honor of an Alaska fisherman, a memorial that floats (9/2).  After popular fisherman and father of three daughters, Richard Boyce, slipped off his gillnetter and drowned on the Fourth of July, his friends wanted to do something positive and honor his memory. So they decided to provide flotation devices in the form of inflatable suspenders for the rubber rain pants of every fisherman in the Haines fleet — about 176 skippers and deckhands.

Really, one person, Randa Szymanski, spearheaded the effort, with guidance from her fisherman husband and his buddies on what would and would not work. Good intentions won’t save lives.

When it comes to life jackets, fishermen are not fans. Even fishermen who can’t swim well, which is more than you’d think. Richard wasn’t wearing a life jacket or float coat, and most fishermen don’t, except in an emergency brought on by a storm or, say, an engine fire. Gillnets like to grab and hold buckles and fasteners as they are reeled in and out, potentially dragging the wearer to his or her death or serious injury.

The inflatable suspenders, made by a company called Stormy Seas, seem to be a good compromise. They’re flat, and rather than add a bulky layer, they simply replace the elastic suspenders already on fishing pants. They arrived last week, and Randa has been handing them out on the dock. She said there was enough money donated (about $30,000) to give each boat a throw buoy by Taylortec, too. The real question, is will they wear them?  More

Rapid re-colonization of river after extreme flood event (9/3).  After being virtually wiped out during a flood in 2005 in Wolf Point Creek, Alaska, salmon, meiofauna and most macroinvertebrates all re-colonized within two years, according to research published by University of Birmingham environmental scientists in the journal Nature Climate Change today.  More

Summer seining wrapped-up (9/7).  Southeast seine crews have been swapping their nets for bait sheds as they shift from summer salmon fishing to fall longlining for halibut and blackcod. The fleet’s total pink salmon catch was less than half of last years but somewhat higher than projections. It was a good year for summer chum and prices remained high for both species. Matt Lichtenstein checked in with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for a seine season summary.  KFSK Audio

Nutritional Alaskan Foods in Schools.  The Nutritional Alaskan Foods in Schools is a pilot program meant to encourage every Alaskan school district to purchase nutritious Alaska Grown produce, seafood, or aquatic protein. The Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, Division of Community and Regional Affairs (DCCED, DCRA) will administer the allocation and distribute the money to school districts.

Three million dollars has been appropriated for use in this program in FY13.

  • Fifty-three percent (53%) of the funding will be allocated according to the 2011-2012 school year Average Daily Membership of each school district.
  • Forty-seven percent (47%) of the funding will be allocated according to the 2011-2012 School District Cost Factor.The sum of these two amounts equals the total funding available to each school district for reimbursement of purchases under this program. Click here for the list of school districts and the allocation amount.  More

Alaska Seafood’s Quick Reference Guide Goes Mobile (9/7). The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) has released its Alaska Seafood Species Quick Reference Guide in a convenient and easy-to-navigate mobile format.

The mobile app will contain all of the information that’s available to users of the institute’s familiar spiral-bound flipbook. The mobile guide also spotlights each Alaska seafood species in a quick summary that describes its flavor and texture, average size, nutritional facts, and availability.

“Like its physical predecessor, the mobile version of the Alaska Seafood Species Quick Reference Guide contains valuable information about culinary preparations, harvesting, and sustainability,” said Larry Andrews, Juneau, Alaska-based ASMI’s retail marketing director.

The mobile Alaska Seafood Species Quick Reference Guide is part of Alaska Seafood U, ASMI’s free interactive, web-based training program designed for seafood counter employees, chefs, food buyers, and other members of the industry.

Click here to download the Alaska Seafood Species Mobile Quick Reference Guide to your mobile device.

Click here for ASMI’s complete retail educational materials, including Alaska Seafood U.

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) is a partnership of the State of Alaska and the Alaska seafood industry. ASMI works to promote the benefits of wild and sustainable Alaska seafood and offer seafood industry education.  Link

Pacific Salmon Commission – Transboundary Panel (8/29)

Governor Parnell nominated James Becker, Rod Brown, Arnold Enge, Gary Gray, and Dale Kelly to the Transboundary Panel of the Pacific Salmon Commission. The panel supports the Pacific Salmon Treaty, signed by the United States and Canada in 1985 to protect salmon stocks by providing information and recommendations to the Pacific Salmon Commission on management of in-river and terminal fisheries for salmon originating in the Alsek, Taku, and Stikine Rivers in Southeast Alaska and Northern British Columbia. The governor’s nominations are subject to final appointment by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

Becker, of Douglas, has been a commercial fisherman for more than 35 years and is a lifetime resident of the Juneau area. He is a board member of United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters Association and serves as the chair of the City and Borough of Juneau Fisheries Development Committee. Becker was first appointed to the panel in 2000.

Brown, of Wrangell, is a retired biology, marine biology, math and photography teacher. He fished commercially during the summers and is an avid sport fisherman who has lived in Wrangell since 1969. He was first appointed to the panel in 2005.

Enge is a longtime Petersburg resident who commercially fishes for salmon, herring and halibut. He serves as vice-chair of the Petersburg Fish and Game Advisory Committee. Enge was first appointed to the panel in 2000.

Gray, of Yakutat, owns and operates Alsek River Lodge and provides guide services for hunters and fishermen in the Yakutat area. He fished as a commercial setnetter for 15 years and serves as a member of the Yakutat Fish and Game Advisory Committee. Gray was first appointed to the panel in 2006.

Kelley, of Juneau, has served as executive director of the Alaska Trollers Association since 1989. She has also served on the board of the United Fishermen of Alaska, and as a commissioner of the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. Additionally, she was an alternate member of the Pacific Salmon Commission’s Northern Panel for three years.  More

Juneau Mayor Requests Long-Term Plan For Tulsequah Chief Mine Water Treatment (8/22).  Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho is asking Canadian environmental officials to come up with a plan to treat Acid Rock Drainage from the Tulsequah Chief Mine at the headwaters of the Taku River.

Botelho has joined the growing sentiment on the Alaska side of the salmon-rich river that mine owner Chieftain Metals will not be able to remedy the 60-year-old problem.

“What is the long-term plan, recognizing that there may not be a mine in operation?” Mayor Bruce Botelho asked in a recent letter to Canadian Minister of Environment Peter Kent.  More

My turn: Is an operating mine needed to clean up the Tulsequah Chief site? (8/20).   When Chieftain Metals began operating a water treatment plant at its Tulsequah Chief site some observers thought that the acid mine drainage problem was solved, while others noted concerns about the company’s finances and ability to operate the plant effectively. Unfortunately those concerns have been realized.

The Tulsequah Chief mine was operated by Cominco in the 1950’s. The mine site is on the Tulsequah River, the main tributary to the Taku River, upriver of prime salmon spawning and rearing habitat, including Flannigan Slough. When metal prices dropped Cominco abandoned the site without undertaking any decommissioning or pollution control. As the current owner of the Tulsequah Chief site, Chieftain is responsible for remediating the historic acid mine drainage. A series of cleanup orders from the British Columbia and Canadian governments, as well as government permits, require that the pollution be halted.  More

Up to 98 percent hatchery fish in wild stock streams? (8/31).  The existence of interactions between hatchery fish and wild stock salmon in Prince William Sound was established in the late 1990s after hatcheries started marking eggs for better traceability, making straying samples possible. As a preventive move to conserve renewable resources, the state of Alaska set a 2 percent threshold for hatchery salmon straying in the sound.

A three year study by the state Department of Fish and Game released in 2010, revealed a much more wide-spread phenomena, with up to 98 percent of hatchery fish in wild-stock streams. The question of the genetic impact of such a blend and potential interbreeding, however, remained unexplored for years, despite numerous calls from experts, NGOs and the Marine Stewardship Council.

In May the Department of Fish and Game announced it was looking for research entities to submit proposals to carry out a scientific study on the impact of hatchery and wild salmons in Prince William Sound and Southeast Alaska. The Cordova-based science center (PWSSC), won the project against many competitors including universities around the country as well as private and public consulting companies.  More

Seafood buyers talk certification, mining with ASMI (8/24).  A customer advisory panel of major buyers of wild seafood has told the state’s key seafood marketing entity that they trust the Alaska brand, but are concerned about certification issues and fear the Pebble mine could devalue Alaska seafood.

The comments from some major buyers of Alaska seafood, as well as processors, came during a customer advisory panel session hosted by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute Aug. 15-16 in Girdwood.

The event was initially scheduled for Kodiak, but when weather conditions prevented flights carrying most of the group from reaching the island in time, they reconvened at Girdwood. Scott Miller of the McDowell Group in Juneau was the facilitator for the meeting.

Major topics up for discussion included seafood certification, the Pebble mine, understanding consumers and consumer priorities, key trends and evolving issues, and allocation of ASMI resources.  More

Begich Says $50-Million Seafood Promotion has Broad Support (8/28).  A new national plan to promote American seafood abroad was announced on Friday by Alaska Senator Mark Begich. He says growth in sales could be better, and thinks a national marketing council – funded with $50-million per year – would increase sales.

He says the plan has been in the works for some time. It calls for 80-percent of the $50 million to be split evenly among five regional marketing boards, with the rest distributed based on seafood production. He said he envisions a public-private funding partnership at first, but a sustainable funding source must be identified.

The proposal was drafted by a nationwide coalition and is supported by 75 fishing groups and others from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico, which Begich says is significant.

He says the program will be introduced next month when the Senate reconvenes. KMXT Audio                Sen Begich Press Release (8/24)

NIOSH Takes Alaska Lessons to East Coast Fishermen (8/22).  When NIOSH started investigating injuries to Alaskan seiners a few years ago, they found a common theme. Researchers were able to trace countless instances of crushing, amputation, and drowning back to getting tangled up in the net.  More/KUCB Audio

Alaska Sustainable Salmon Fund (AKSSF) Proposals Due Sep 19.  Deadline for calls for proposals (CFP) for the ALASKA SUSTAINABLE SALMON FUND (AKSSF) for the approximately $8 million dollars in available funding. Proposals must be submitted through our website which contains all required forms and templates. Notification letters (i.e., funding decision letters) will be sent to applicants by December 21, 2012. Proponents must contribute a 35% non-federal match. Projects must be completed by November 30, 2015. Projects must directly relate to one of the following authorized uses conservation of salmon or steelhead populations listed as threatened or endangered; maintaining salmon or steelhead populations necessary for subsistence fishing; or conservation of salmon or steelhead habitat. Projects must directly relate to one or more high priority objectives (provided below) in the respective AKSSF region. Southeast Region, Central Region, Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (AYK) Region, Westward Region, Cross-regional. Webinar will be held on August 21 from 9 to 11am both days to help applicants understand the proposal development and project selection processes. These workshops are a great opportunity to get your questions answered while learning how to avoid common proposal pitfalls. If you are interested in participating, please contact Cecelia Curtis or call 907-465-4181. For more information, contact Peter Bangs, AKSSF Program Manager, at 907-465-8154, Fax 907-465-2332 or email or go to

Moreland Named Senior Advisor for Fisheries, Oceans and Arctic Policy (8/22). Governor Sean Parnell today named Stefanie Moreland to the position of senior advisor for fisheries, oceans and Arctic policy. Moreland currently serves as a legislative assistant for Senator Lisa Murkowski in the areas of fisheries, oceans and the Arctic. She has also held several positions in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, including federal fisheries coordinator and manager of the Extended Jurisdiction Program.

“Stefanie’s knowledge of Alaska’s diverse fisheries and understanding of Arctic issues, and her broad experience at both the state and federal level will be a great asset to my office and the state,” Governor Parnell said.

Moreland will be an advisor and coordinator on Alaska fisheries policy between the Office of the Governor and other state and federal agencies. She will also interface and coordinate with state and federal agencies on Arctic policy matters. Moreland received a bachelor’s degree in natural resources and environmental studies from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in resource and applied economics from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

“I’m honored to have this opportunity to return to Alaska and serve the governor,” Moreland said. “I particularly look forward to helping ensure that state interests inform the major federal initiatives underway in the Arctic and waters off Alaska.”

Moreland will begin her duties on September 17. She will be based in Juneau. Link

66th field season underway in world’s longest-running effort to monitor salmon (8/21).  When the University of Washington launched its Alaska Salmon Program 66 years ago, researchers were tasked with determining why Alaska’s sockeye salmon catches had declined over two decades from 22 million fish per year to 10 million.

The work was undertaken at a time when the fundamental biology of salmon was poorly known and there were no long-term studies integrating salmon and their ecosystems in a holistic manner, Thomas P. Quinn, UW professor of aquatic and fishery sciences wrote in a history of the program and the five field camps UW established.  More

Validity of MSC certification confirmed (8/22).  Research from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has confirmed that fish stocks certified sustainable and carrying the eco-label are healthy and well-managed to ensure continuing sustainability.

The first comprehensive analysis of MSC-certified fisheries was detailed in the research paper Ecolabel Conveys Reliable Information on Fish Stock Health to Seafood Consumers, published today in the scientific journal Plos One. Led by the MSC and co-authored by independent scientists from universities worldwide, the study compares catch data, fishing mortality rates and population levels for 45 MSC-certified stocks and 177 uncertified stocks. The data relating to stocks targeted by non-MSC certified fisheries was sourced from the public RAM Legacy Stock Assessment Database.

The study found that the majority of MSC-certified fisheries are maintaining stocks at high levels and fish stocks targeted by MSC-certified fisheries have increased in abundance at a faster rate than non-certified over the last 10 years. The research also indicates no stocks targeted by MSC-certified fisheries are overfished and a small group of stocks targeted by certified fisheries are depleted but those stocks have strict plans in place to reduce catches and rebuild to desired levels.  More

ASMI Customers Bullish on Independent Certification (8/22).  The state agency charged with promoting Alaska’s abundance of wild seafood drew kudos from major customers this past week for success in establishing the Alaska brand and for seeking independent certification of sustainable fisheries. The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute last year hired Ireland based Global Trust to assess Alaska’s wild fisheries in salmon, halibut/black cod, groundfish, Pollock and crab against the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization code of conduct for responsible fisheries.

The move away from the Marine Stewardship Council’s certification program, ASMI officials said, was an effort to find a more cost effective way to provide third party assurance that Alaska fisheries are well-managed and sustainable. The move came after major processors withdrew their financial support for MSC certification with the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation serving as the client for certification.  More

Salmon Habitat in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest To Be Restored (9/13).  JUNEAU, Alaska — The USDA Forest Service Alaska Region, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) have formed a $1 million partnership to enhance wild salmon habitat by restoring four Tongass National Forest watersheds in 2013.

This partnership will accelerate restoration of priority salmon-bearing streams in Southeast Alaska including: Twelvemile Creek, Staney Creek, Luck Lake/ Eagle Creek on Prince of Wales Island; and Saginaw Creek on Kuiu Island. It will also provide cooperative opportunities for a wide variety of partners and will provide jobs to support rural community economies.  More