GENERAL ELECTION. Election information/absentee voting here
- Election Day – Tuesday, November 4, 2014 – Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
- Registration and Registration Updates Deadline – Sunday, October 5, 2014
- Early and In-Person Absentee, Special Needs and By-Electronic Transmission Voting Begins –
Monday, October 20, 2014
- Absentee By-Mail Application Deadline – Saturday, October 25, 2014
- Absentee by Electronic Transmission Application Deadline – Monday, November 3, 2014, 5:00 p.m. Alaska Time
The Alaska Fisheries Report (9/4) Coming up this week, What were then three candidates for Alaska governor debated fish in Kodiak last week, and even though there are now just two of them, we’ll hear from all three. Also, Senator Begich tells us about progress on the latest reauthorization of the Magnuson Stevens Act. We had help this week from KMXT’s Brianna Gibbs in Kodiak and KBBI’s Shady Grove Oliver in Homer.
Commercial fishermen say (EPA) water rules would be costly (8/31). WASHINGTON. When commercial fishing vessels unload their hauls on deck, crews usually gut their catch and put it on ice for the trip back to shore.
Then they do something that could land them in trouble under a 6-year-old law: They hose down the decks, sending the bloody mix of guts and scales into the water.
The Clean Boating Act of 2008 requires vessels to test deck-water runoff for contaminants. They also must sample seawater that is circulated into live wells for crabs and lobsters and then discharged back into the ocean, gulf or bay. More
USCG. Commercial Fishing Safety Advisory Committee to meet Sep 23-24 (9/3). Written comments due Sep 16. Topics include:
++ Status of Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Rulemaking projects resulting from requirements set forth in the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 and the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2012.
++ Presentation and discussion on safety standards by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service.
++ Subcommittee/working group sessions on (a) standards for alternative safety compliance program(s) development, and (b) training program requirements for individuals in charge of a vessel and engineer officer qualifications. More/Federal Register
USDA reaches out to small businesses in Alaska (8/8). “Look at this swiss chard, look at the color of those stems, it’s so beautiful!” says a customer at Dillingham’s small but highly appreciated Farmer’s Market last Wednesday afternoon.
“That’s called Northern Lights, and it tastes as good as it looks,” said Toni Herrmann of Warehouse Mountain Farms, busily setting out the rest of her produce. More
USCG – vessel documentation renewal fee (8/12). The US Coast Guard promulgated a rule establishing a fee of $26 for renewals of endorsements on Certificates of Documentation. The cost of renewals had previously been included in general overhead. The rule comes into effect on 10 November. 79 Fed. Reg. 47015
Moreland Named to Pacific Salmon Commission (8/12). Governor Sean Parnell announced today that the U.S. Department of State has confirmed his nomination of Stefanie Moreland as Alaska’s representative to the Pacific Salmon Commission.
Moreland was recently appointed deputy commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G). She previously served as a special assistant for fish, wildlife, ocean, and Arctic policy in the Office of the Governor, as a fisheries staffer for Senator Lisa Murkowski, and as an economist for both ADF&G and the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission. Moreland fills a vacancy created by the retirement of long-serving Pacific Salmon Commissioner David Bedford. More
Stream restoration on Kuiu Island near completion (8/13). On a remote corner of the Tongass National Forest, a six-year-long stream restoration project is wrapping up. The cost: an estimated 1.2 million dollars, funded largely from grants obtained by the Nature Conservancy. The project is intended to restore salmon streams damaged over 40 years ago on Kuiu Island. More/KFSK Audio
Stikine tributary sockeye pass landslide blockage (8/14). More than 37-thousand sockeye salmon have made it past a blockage on the Tahltan River in British Columbia this summer.
That river is a tributary of the Stikine River near Wrangell. Tahltan salmon are a big portion of the returns each year to the Stikine’s watershed. A landslide in May created a partial barrier on the Tahltan River that threatened to block king and sockeye salmon from returning to spawning grounds. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada in July was transporting some of those fish by helicopter around the blockage. More
King salmon trolling ends on slow note (8/18). After an unprecedented two extensions, the summer king salmon season for trollers in Southeast is over.
The Alaska Department of Fish & Game closed the fishery at 11:59 PM Monday, August 18 — two days later than planned. More
Southeast seine fleet catching pinks, missing chums (8/8). Southeast Alaska’s commercial salmon purse seine fleet is on track to hit or exceed pre-season forecasts for the region’s pink salmon harvest. Meanwhile, some hatchery chum salmon returns have been a disappointment.
This year’s pink salmon catch is only a fraction of last year’s record setting harvest of 89 million. As of the first week in August, the Southeast harvest was an estimated 15-16 million pinks.
“Well this year certainly isn’t last year by a long shot,” said Dan Gray, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s regional salmon management coordinator. “We knew that going in. It’s an odd year. Our pre-season forecast was for 22 million fish harvest and it appears that we’re gonna be doing a little better than that but it certainly doesn’t even compare to last year.” More/KFSK Audio
State announces hefty individual insurance rate increases for 2015 (9/5). On Thursday, the Alaska Division of Insurance announced hefty insurance rate increases in 2015 for Alaskans who purchased individual plans under the Affordable Care Act. As politicians spoke out to blame the increase on one another depending on their stance on the national health care law, Alaskans face more immediate questions about how and why they may be affected. ~~~
~~~What are the increases?
In 2015, Premera Blue Cross insurance rates will increase between 35 and 40 percent, Wing-Heier said. Those plans cover roughly 7,000 Alaskans. Alaskans who chose a silver plan (the most popular) through Premera will see an increase of 37 percent.
Moda Health plans will increase between 22 and 28.8 percent, according to Wing-Heier. These plans cover roughly 8,000 Alaskans, Moda regional operations director Jason Gootee said.
Obituary. James Bentley Kallander (1954 – 2014). James Bentley Kallander, 59, of Cordova, Alaska, died Thursday, July 31, 2014. He passed following a brave three-year battle against cancer, surrounded by his family. Memorial service in Cordova Sep 7. More Condolences
Obituary. James Paul Zuanich (5/28). Jim Zuanich died unexpectedly Saturday, May 24 while hiking one of his favorite local trails, Pine and Cedar lakes. He was a proud commercial fisherman owning the purse seine vessel Marshal Tito. More
2014/2015 BOF Proposal book available on line here.
AJC. Board of Fisheries releases proposals for 2014-15 cycle (8/28). Fishermen and other stakeholders are asking the Alaska Board of Fisheries to consider 162 proposals to change subsistence, commercial, personal use and sport regulations in fisheries throughout the state during the 2014-15 meeting cycle.
The board proposal book for the upcoming meeting cycle can be downloaded from its website.
The longest meeting is likely to be the Southeast and Yakutat finfish meeting in Sitka, which is scheduled to run March 3 to Feb. 23, with 121 proposals on the table. More
BOF Agenda Change Requests Available (8/29). The Alaska Board of Fisheries (board) 2014 agenda change requests are available for review on the board’s website. Agenda change requests are submitted by the public, advisory committees, and agencies seeking regulatory change for regions and species not up for deliberation in the current meeting cycle. The board will accept an ACR as a proposal for the 2014/2015 meeting cycle if it establishes the ACR is:
· For a fishery conservation purpose or reason.
· To correct an error in a regulation.
· To correct an effect on a fishery that was unforeseen when a regulation was adopted.
The board will meet October 15–16, 2014, at the Centennial Hall Convention Center, 101 Egan Drive, Juneau Alaska beginning at 8:30 a.m. No regulatory action will be taken at this meeting. Agenda topics include: election of officers, agenda change requests, meeting organization and establishment of committees for 2014/2015 cycle, informational reports and/or administrative issues that may come before the board. A live audio stream is intended to be available on the Board of Fisheries’ website at www.boardoffisheries.adfg.alaska.gov.
The agenda and any other meeting documents, including agenda change requests, will be available prior to the meeting on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Board of Fisheries, meeting information webpage at: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.meetinginfo.
The work session is open to the public, but no oral public testimony will be taken. Written comments, due by October 1, may be mailed to: Boards Support Section, P.O. Box 115526, Juneau, AK 99811-5526, faxed.
State amplifies response to KSM mine (8/22). In comments issued Wednesday on Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell, a proposed mine in British Columbia’s transboundary Unuk River watershed, the state of Alaska asked that Canada either conduct the more in-depth review Alaskan fishermen, Native groups, tour operators and organizations have been calling for, or take another approach to address Alaskans’ concerns. More
Alaska stops short of calling for Canadian government review of worrisome B.C. mine (8/22). The Parnell administration is saying more information is needed about the threat posed to Alaska by a huge Canadian mine, but officials didn’t ask the Canadian government outright to review approvals by the pro-mining province of British Columbia.
Alaska fishing, tribal and conservation groups have been outspoken in seeking a more thorough inquiry into approval of the KSM mine by the province, calling for a Canadian federal “panel” review. They’ve won support from Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski, who have asked for the U.S. State Department to get involved in protecting Alaska interests, and from Southeast legislators. More
‘It’s a bit disconcerting’: Mount Polley mine tailings spill nearly 70% bigger than first estimated (9/4). Imperial Metals’ estimate of the size of the spill from its Mount Polley mine tailings dam collapse is nearly 70 per cent greater than the initial estimate.
The B.C. government has estimated that 10 million cubic metres of water and 4.5 million cubic meters of finely ground rock containing potentially-toxic metals was released by the collapse of the dam on Aug. 4.
But Imperial Metals has estimated the size of the spill at 10.6 million cubic metres of water, 7.3 million cubic metres of tailings and 6.5 million cubic metres of “interstitial” water. That’s enough water and material to fill nearly 9,800 Olympic-sized swimming pools. More
Officials amend disclosures in response to APOC complaints (9/4). In the latest round of the Cook Inlet fish wars, the Alaska Public Offices Commission received about 200 complaints primarily from commercial fishermen against a sportfishing advocacy group.
Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage residents with ties to Cook Inlet commercial fisheries — including United Cook Inlet Drift Association Executive Director Roland Maw — submitted the complaints to the commission Aug. 25 regarding the Kenai River Sportfishing Association’s Kenai River Classic and other outreach and lobbying of public officials regarding fisheries management.
The Alaska Public Offices Commission will hear three of those complaints, but rejected the other 198 on Aug. 27. The volume of complaints was about 10 times the amount APOC typically receives over an entire year; in 2013 the commission received 12 complaints according to its biennial report. More
Alaska commercial salmon harvest tops 146 million (9/4). Alaska’s commercial salmon catch continues to climb, reaching 146 million fish through Sept. 2.
Statewide, the total catch includes 42.9 million sockeye, 89.5 million pink salmon, 3.9 million cohos, 9.2 million chums and 477,000 kings, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s bluesheet estimate. More
Gubernatorial Candidates Talk Fish in Kodiak (8/29). The three primary candidates running for governor this year convened at Kodiak’s Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium last night for a debate focused solely on topics related to the seafood industry. Incumbent Sean Parnell, Democrat Byron Mallot and Independent candidate Bill Walker fielded dozens of questions from a media panel, audience members and even each other during the event that was broadcast around the state.
One question posed by an audience member dealt with the Fish and Game and the department’s declining budgets in recent years.
Parnell said the state is getting a pretty good return on investment when you consider it is spending about $200 million on a $6 to $10 billion industry. More/KMXT Audio Link to entire 2-hour debate is imbedded.
Alaska Gubernatorial Candidates Take on Fisheries Issues (9/3). When it comes to myriad commercial fisheries issues facing Alaska, from a declining budget to Russia’s ban on import of Alaska seafood, three candidates vying to be Alaska’s next governor had plenty to say this past week in Kodiak.
The occasion was the 2014 fisheries debate, sponsored by the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce and KMXT Kodiak public radio, featuring incumbent Gov. Sean Parnell, Independent candidate Bill Walker and Democrat Byron Mallott. (Five days after the debate, Walker and Mallott announced in Anchorage that they had combined their campaigns to a single Independent slate, with Walker running for governor and Mallott for lieutenant governor). More
AFDF Seeks Proposals for Alaska Mariculture Initiative (8/27). The Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation is seeking proposals for its Alaska mariculture initiative, an economic analysis to inform a statewide strategic plan for enhancement, aquatic farming and restoration of shellfish and marine plants. According to AFDF, the economic impact of mariculture could grow to $1 billion in Alaska by 2045, given a coordinated effort, a pubic-private partnership, and a strategic plan designed to reach this goal. The deadline for proposals is Sept. 19. More
DOT to start herbicide spraying in Southeast (8/27). The Alaska Department of Transportation plans to spray herbicides on Prince of Wales Island. It will be the first time the DOT has applied herbicides in southeast Alaska since the state eliminated public review requirements in 2013. This has some community members and environmental groups worried about chemicals leaching into nearby habitat. More/KFSK Audio
US canned salmon exports to UK rise overall, but sockeye still lags (8/12). A jump in canned salmon to the UK is a major reason for the roughly 18% rise in US exports of the packaged seafood this year through June, even though canned sockeye exports to the European nation continue to struggle.
Canned exports to the UK made up nearly half of the total 19,910 metric tons the US sent abroad this year through June, well ahead of the approximately 34% they comprised of 16,916t of total global exports in the same period last year, US National Marine Fisheries Service data show.
Overall, the US exported 9,727t of canned salmon to the UK, well up from last year’s 5,766t. More
NY Times. Relearning How to Eat Fish (8/11). On a recent weeklong cruise along the shores of southeast Alaska, the dining room menu included wild salmon, Dungeness crab and sablefish. Many of my fellow 63 passengers had neither heard of nor tasted sable.
No wonder: Almost all of this delectable, nutritious fish caught by Americans is exported, along with about one-third of all our wild catch. Instead, we dine on farmed seafood imported from countries like China, Thailand and Chile; 86 percent of the seafood we consume is imported.
Despite the overwhelming popularity of shrimp among Americans, none was served on the trip. A naturalist who lectured on board cautioned that almost all the shrimp reaching American tables is imported, half of it farmed in Asia — mostly under conditions that would ruin even the most voracious appetite. More
Russian bans add to uncertain picture for salmon prices (8/13). Alaska’s commercial fishermen have hauled in more than 125 million salmon this year, but the prices for those fish are still in limbo.
Fishermen have landed about 72.5 million pinks, 41.7 million sockeye, 2.1 million coho, 8.4 million chums and 413,000 kings, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s bluesheet estimate Aug. 13.
Russia’s recent ban on imports from the United States, Canada, Norway and other countries could affect the price for Alaska salmon, however.
The country is not allowing food imports, including seafood, in response to the economic sanctions other countries instituted after a Malaysian Airlines flight was downed over eastern Ukraine. More
Opinion. Russia’s seafood import ban, bogus labeling hurt Alaska fishing industry (9/2). Most of you have heard about the Russian prohibition on the importation of seafood products from the United States, the EU, Canada and others. This is a big deal, with a lot of unknown consequences, and will have a significant impact on the U.S. seafood industry. A lot of salmon roe from Alaska goes (or has gone) to Russia during the past several years. Closure of the market will mean oversupply in the remaining accessible markets, which will mean reductions in the value of our roe products. The impacts are not isolated to Alaska: Currently, 1,000 metric tons of West Coast hake (a type of white fish), previously destined to Russia, are sitting in cold storage with prices falling.
What is particularly grating is that this is a one-sided affair, and Russia is allowed to continue its destabilizing actions in the U.S., EU and other countries in which Russian companies are currently selling seafood. Millions of pounds of red king, golden king, and snow crab are illegally harvested in Russia every year and, in essence (using mislabeling and other techniques), smuggled into the United States. The McDowell Group has estimated the Alaska crab industry has lost $500 million in the last several years due to this activity. More
Murkowski Helps Convince Administration to Buy Millions in Alaska Pink Salmon for Americans in Need (9/3). Just more than a month after Senator Lisa Murkowski urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to consider Governor Sean Parnell’s proposal to use existing federal funds to buy extra Alaska canned pink salmon for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has agreed to purchase up to $13 million worth. This news is welcomed by Alaska’s seafood industry, which has been burdened by a glut of pink salmon from last year’s record harvest, and boosts the nutrition options for low-income Americans facing the lingering recession. More
Juneau Empire (9/3) KDLG Audio (9/3)
California blue whales rebound from whaling, first of their kin to do so (9/5). The number of California blue whales has rebounded to near historical levels, according to new research by the University of Washington, and while the number of blue whales struck by ships is likely above allowable U.S. limits, such strikes do not immediately threaten that recovery.
This is the only population of blue whales known to have recovered from whaling – blue whales as a species having been hunted nearly to extinction.
Blue whales – nearly 100 feet in length and weighing 190 tons as adults – are the largest animals on earth. And they are the heaviest ever, weighing more than twice as much as the largest known dinosaur, the Argentinosaurus. They are an icon of the conservation movement and many people want to minimize harm to them, according to Trevor Branch, UW assistant professor of aquatic and fishery sciences. More
New Seine Skiff Based on Tug Boat Design (8/20). In June, 2014, Seattle-based Snow Boat Company delivered a new 24-foot by 13-foot seine skiff to King Cove, Alaska for the area M salmon fishery. The boat is one of the largest seine skiffs in Alaska, and almost begs not to be considered a skiff due to the size and power.
Over the years, the rails on seine skiffs have been getting higher, thus creating a need for a higher tow post. This height can lead to instability and poor towing characteristics. Bringing the tow point down was the primary goal in the new design. More
Researcher: Some rivers’ salmon at risk (8/22). A Juneau-based scientist recently published a study that found climate change poses a serious threat to the Tongass National Forest’s snow-fed salmon streams. On the other hand, watersheds too cold for big salmon runs may become more productive.
Nature Conservancy scientist Colin Shanley, the study’s lead author, said a few degrees of warming makes a big difference for Southeast Alaska’s fish. More
Welcome New Business Members Kito’s Kave and the Java Hus in Petersburg.
Sep 16-18. SE Conference, Wrangell
Sep 23-24. Commercial Fishing Safety Advisory Committee, Providence RI Comments due Sep 16
Sep 26. UFA 40th Anniversary Dinner, Anchorage Captain Cook
Sep 26-28. UFA Board Meeting, Anchorage Date Change
Sep 29-Oct 1. ASMI All Hands, Anchorage (Marriott)
Oct 1. Comments due on BOF ACR
Dec 1 (Week of, exact dates TBD). Gillnet & Seine Task Forces, JRPT, USAG Annual Board Meeting, Petersburg
Feb 23-Mar3. BOF SE Finfish, Sitka