UFA Update

8 Aug


  • UFA Endorses Lisa Murkowski for Reelection to U.S. Senate
  • GET OUT AND VOTE – August 9 begins Absentee, Early Voting … Act now to vote absentee if you will not be home to vote on election day Aug. 24!
  • State Fights Federal Actions that Threaten Alaskan Jobs
  • Comment by August 27 on Steller Sea Lion Draft Bi-Op
  • Alaska fishermen circle their boats to fight mine
  • Atlantic Monthly: How Copper River Salmon Got So Famous
  • NOAA invites Comfish Community to Ocean Policy Webcast Aug 13
  • NOAA Seeks Input on Enforcement Priorities – by August 20
  • NOAA Community Profiles update meetings August 23 – Sept 27
  • Comment by November 9 on Marine Vessel Sewage Treatment Devices …
  • Laine Welch’s Fish Radio –topics from this week

1. UFA Endorses Lisa Murkowski for Reelection to U.S. Senate

United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) today announced its endorsement of Senator Lisa Murkowski for the United States Senate. UFA is a statewide organization representing 38 commercial fishing associations and hundreds of additional independent commercial fishermen from fisheries throughout the state and its offshore federal waters. The group organized a special endorsement meeting on August 5 after being approached by the Murkowski campaign for an endorsement prior to the August 24 primary.

“With this early endorsement, Alaska fishermen are recognizing Senator Murkowski’s extraordinary efforts to improve their businesses and the communities they live in”, said UFA President Arni Thomson.

UFA provided an early endorsement for Senator Murkowski in 2004 and now recognizes her strong accomplishments in her ensuing six years in office. The group recognized her work in 2005 to gain seafood country of origin and wild and farmed labeling as instrumental to thousands of fishing families throughout Alaska. She was honored as Person of the year in Alaska politics in 2007 for her help to Exxon Valdez oil spill claimants with tax treatment and retirement accounts for settlement payments. Most recently, she helped tens of thousands of Alaska fishermen by extending a moratorium on EPA vessel discharge permit requirements which would have taken effect on July 31, while the EPA study on the effects of runoff and discharges is still in progress.

“With this early endorsement, UFA recognizes the record of Senator Murkowski’s awareness and effectiveness in helping Alaska’s fishing families and businesses. She has risen in her stature in the Senate and worked successfully on our behalf on a wide variety of issues that affect thousands of our members,” said UFA President Arni Thomson.

UFA will consider other candidate endorsements at its Fall meeting scheduled for September 28-30 in Anchorage.

2. GET OUT AND VOTE – August 9 begins Absentee In Person, Early Voting, Absentee by Fax and Special Needs voting for Alaska primary August 24.

Act now to vote absentee if you will not be home to vote on election day!

Voting By-Mail and By-Fax:


Early and In-Person Absentee Voting Locations -2010 Primary Election:


Election Information:


3. State Fights Federal Actions that Threaten Alaskan Jobs

August 5, 2010, Anchorage, Alaska – The State of Alaska is taking steps to fight two recent federal government actions that threaten Alaska fisheries and jobs.

Ocean Zoning/Marine Spatial Planning:

President Obama recently signed an executive order creating a new federal bureaucracy tasked with setting ocean policy and requiring marine spatial planning – that is, ocean zoning – in all U.S. waters.

“The federal bureaucracy is too cumbersome already,” Governor Sean Parnell said. “Creating more councils, committees and approval processes won’t accomplish anything in this instance except create delay and greater obstacles to Alaska jobs and Alaska fisheries.”

The governor was responding to Executive Order 13547 http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-18169.pdf, signed by the president, which creates regional planning bodies to develop marine spatial plans for all coastal waters. Ocean zoning is of great concern to fishermen, boaters and resource developers. The policy could have significant adverse impacts on commercial use and development in the oceans and coastal zone.

“Before statehood, when a distant federal bureaucracy managed our resources, Alaskans experienced devastating economic effects,” Governor Parnell added. “In the midst of an economic downturn, the federal government should be more focused on private-sector job creation, not killing off opportunities for Alaskans.”

The governor is also concerned the marine spatial plans would include state waters and potentially even upland areas, raising significant jurisdictional issues.

Steller Sea Lions and Alaska Fisheries

In addition, the National Marine Fisheries Service has proposed closing certain Alaska mackerel and cod fisheries to protect sea lions, despite an overall increase in the Steller Sea Lion population.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is conducting an evaluation of the federal government’s recommended fishery restrictions while pushing for an independent scientific review.

The Department of Law is conducting a legal review of both of the recent federal government actions. Governor Parnell indicated the state is prepared to litigate to protect Alaskans’ livelihoods and fisheries.

Governor Parnell Press Release:


Ocean Policy Task Force:


See next item for Steeler Sea Lion links…

4. Comment by August 27 on Steller Sea Lion Draft Bi-Op


AK Journal of Commerce: Federal scientists say fishery closures needed for sea lions


NOAA: More Actions Needed to Help Western Steller Sea Lion Recover


5. Alaska Fishermen Circle their Boats to Fight Mine

The project at the headwaters above Bristol Bay would be the largest open-pit mine in North America. The area is home to enormous salmon runs and majestic scenery – and billions of dollars in minerals …

Reporting from Dillingham, Alaska — It is an unfortunate coincidence of geography that this lush region of wild rivers, grassy tundra and windy sea is home to two competing treasures of almost unimaginable value: the world’s largest sockeye salmon run, supporting a fishery worth $440 million a year; and in the hills behind it, a massive deposit of copper, molybdemum and gold worth at least $300 billion.

With that much money at stake, preventing the construction of what could be the largest open-pit mine in North America — at headwaters above Bristol Bay — seems an impossible task.


6. Atlantic Monthly: How Copper River Salmon Got So Famous

Fishermen working the waters of Alaska’s Copper River district claim that their salmon are the best in the world. Fishermen from other parts of the state insist that their fish are equally good and that Copper River’s reputation is founded more on well-executed PR than intrinsic quality. Discretion is the better part of valor, particularly in matters related to regional food loyalties, and I’ve had marvelous salmon from several parts of Alaska.

The experience is made all the more enjoyable by knowing that all Alaskan salmon is sustainably managed and wild, unlike environmentally damaging (and off-tasting) farmed salmon.

But there is a valuable lesson for other fishermen and fish eaters from Copper River…


7. NOAA invites Comfish Community to Ocean Policy Webcast Aug 13

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is pleased to offer the commercial fishing community an online briefing about President Obama’s new National Policy for the Stewardship of the Oceans, Coasts, and Great Lakes. This national policy offers a unified vision and brings a fresh approach to preserving our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes and their abundant natural resources on which Americans rely.

Healthy oceans matter to our nation’s economy, our security, our health, and the American way of life. They matter to virtually every American who drinks clean water, consumes fresh seafood, vacations along our shores or makes a living off the sea’s bounty.


An online constituent briefing will be conducted to introduce the new National Ocean Policy, with a question-and-answer session to follow.


Sam Rauch, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs for NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service
Jennifer Lukens, NOAA Office of Policy


August 13th 2:00-2:50pm EDT (10:00 AM Alaska )



http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103604281757&s=1614&e=001rfRyv2AiDOGHbGJTS-RtelJ4IrA5ZLkpFjP_BRUqjTUA_kVG48hyCm6aTK841-kcLj474xOEuMJQIm0TcchLdgnd6dgIz9YdfuDLiRid8GaW8LbC1rlxBS7CJg8CISS0XMbrqPoEkcMivt_0IKK9X0SuQ_VV75nz2IaDnbsgujaE-56EsDicgHvtCHootrt0 Use this passcode to access the online briefing: OCEANPOLICY2 (Use all caps when entering the code)


To access the audio, call toll free 888-790-3107 and use this passcode: OCEANPOLICY2 (You will be prompted to give this code verbally).

NOTE. You may be required to download software to access the online briefing.

8. NOAA Seeks Input on Enforcement Priorities – by August 20

Follow-on from summit seeks solutions for achieving compliance, consistency, transparency

Fishermen, stakeholders, and the general public still have two weeks to comment on NOAA’s enforcement priorities and the agency’s National Enforcement Summit held in Washington earlier this week, through the summit’s website.

Materials from the one day facilitated summit, including a fully captioned recording of the summit’s webcast are now online at the summit website —


http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103604623533&s=1614&e=001xebYkACeax5VqBy-NRAUm_GsusqfNRuyeA_JAdjvrT8oSLkDfBUZoSxyJniHooJjd8CFjzleoxw_hsyu3eKoAQFiaXETN7i1qMbJxl0imJc5lkTZd9jISTliU4v8KX_7Op4NRvJB6CE= — along with all agency and stakeholder presentations.

NOAA is seeking additional input from interested stakeholders and the public by providing an opportunity for them to respond to the same questions asked of summit participants, and requesting feedback on the effectiveness of the webcast and design of the summit. Comments will be open for the next two weeks, closing on August 20.

“We cannot meet our nation’s economic, social, and environmental needs without a strong, trusted, enforcement program,” Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, told summit participants. “Effective enforcement – in addition to state-of-the-art science and innovative management programs – is essential to ensuring sustainable fisheries, healthy populations of marine mammals and endangered species, vibrant coastal communities and stable economies.”

More than 80 representatives of the commercial and recreational fishing industries, non-governmental organizations, state and federal enforcement agencies, and NOAA came together Tuesday, August 3 in Washington, D.C., to focus on how NOAA can better ensure effective marine resource management and conservation through consistent and transparent enforcement.

Dr. Lubchenco called for the summit as part of her response to the Jan. 21 Inspector General’s report on NOAA’s past enforcement policies and practices. The one-day event included presentations on achieving compliance; consistency, transparency and communications; and establishing a process to set enforcement priorities.

A summary of the summit and the comments received will be posted within the next month. NOAA will look toward incorporating and implementing some of the more universal recommendations made at the summit, as well as taking a hard look at the creative and fresh ideas that emerged.

NOAA retained a neutral third party, the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution (Udall Institute), to facilitate the summit and compile the recommendations from participants into the aforementioned pending summary.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.Visit us at



or on Facebook at



9. NOAA Community Profiles update meetings August 23 – Sept 27

We are having six community meetings to brainstorm how we should revise the North Pacific Fisheries Community Profiles that the Alaska Fisheries Science Center published in 2005. The meeting dates are as follows:

  • Anchorage – August 23
  • Unalaska/Dutch Harbor – August 25
  • Bethel – August 31
  • Nome – September 10
  • Petersburg – September 13
  • Kodiak – September 27

The goal of our community meetings is to help create a revised template for the community profiles, increase input of communities and the fishing industry into the profiles, facilitate a greater understanding of the relationship between communities and fisheries in the fisheries management process, increase the utility of the profiles, and build ongoing relationships between the Alaska Fisheries Science Center and local communities like yours. We would really like to get advice from as many people as possible on how we should update our community profiles.

The community profiles were originally published with the goal of bringing together existing information about fishing communities in Alaska. One of the most important ways these profiles influence policy is when they are used in social impact assessments for new fisheries regulations. Folks contracted to write up social impact assessments or folks at the NOAA Alaska regional office in Juneau or the North Pacific Fishery Management Council go to these community profiles to find out about communities that might be impacted by a proposed fisheries management decision. Because of that, we as the authors of the profiles want to make sure that communities are adequately and appropriately represented in them so that they can be adequately considered in social impact assessments. By revising the template of the community profiles and making them more comprehensive in how they represent Alaskan fishing communities, social and economic impact assessments will be able to analyze the impacts of fisheries management decisions on local communities in a more holistic way. Helping us revise the profiles now can only help communities be better represented when it comes to deciding how they might be impacted by a decision in the future.

If you would like to view the community profile written about your community, you can find it online at


10. Comment by November 9 on Marine Vessel Sewage Treatment Devices

This action notifies the public that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or “the Agency”) has received a petition for rulemaking from Friends of the Earth (FOE) and another separate request for rulemaking under section 312 of the Clean Water Act (CWA). In general these rulemaking-related requests ask EPA to revise its regulations establishing performance standards for vessel sewage treatment devices under the CWA. The rulemaking petition from FOE also requests that EPA establish monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting requirements under the CWA to ensure compliance with the performance standards. EPA has not made a decision on whether to grant or deny the

rulemaking requests, nor is the Agency proposing any changes to the performance standards or other provisions of its regulations at this time. Rather, the purpose of today’s Notice is simply to make the public aware of the issues raised in the requests for rulemaking and to obtain the public’s input, in the form of comment and relevant information, to help EPA determine appropriate action in response to each of these requests. In particular, EPA seeks input regarding: The universe of vessels operating on navigable waters that use sewage treatment devices; technical information on the performance, effectiveness and costs of vessel sewage treatment devices, including performance testing data; suggestions on what, if any, changes to the performance standards might be appropriate; and information on monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting approaches for vessel sewage discharges….

DATES: Comments must be received on or before November 9, 2010.

Federal Register Notice July 12:


11. Laine Welch’s Fish Radio –topics from this week

  • 8/6/10 Good eco-record trumps distance for AK seafood buyers
  • 8/5/10 Sockeye salmon updates
  • 8/4/10 AK seafood processors put people to work
  • 8/3/10 EPA director, Senator Murkowski say no tradeoffs at Pebble Mine???
  • 8/2/10 Frozen salmon better for the planet than fresh or farmed


The next UFA board of Directors meeting will be held September 28-30 at the Clarion Suites in Downtown Anchorage, 1110 West 8th Ave. UFA board meetings are open to members and invited guests.

UFA dues for Alaska commercial fishing permit holders are $150 and we also welcome crew/supporter nonvoting members at $50 per year.

To support UFA by becoming a member see


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