Corkline-News for Southeast Gillnetters (4/10/12)

11 Apr

New Phone Number.  We have changed our number to (253) 237-3099.  This is a Google Voice number; if I do not answer you can leave a voice message which will be emailed to me.

Save the date.  USAG Juneau port meeting Monday April 30 at DIPAC, 7PM

Alaska Marine Mammal Observer Program (AMMOP) in Areas 6 & 8.  Public Meetings – Petersburg: May 24, Wrangell: May 23

Is your USCG Dockside Safety Exam up to date?  If not:  to scheduling a dockside exam in SEAK, contact either 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.  Auke Bay Lab.  Genetics Program

ADF&G Announces 2012 Southeast Alaska Chinook Salmon Harvest Quota (Press Release: March 29, 2012).  Contact: Gordy Williams, Special Assistant, (907) 465-6143

(Juneau) – Under provisions of the Pacific Salmon Treaty, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) announces that the Chinook salmon all-gear harvest quota for Southeast Alaska in 2012 is 266,800 fish. This compares with allowable Chinook all-gear harvest levels of 294,800 in 2011 and 221,800 in 2010.

The annual all-gear quota for Southeast Alaska is determined by the Chinook Technical Committee of the Pacific Salmon Commission. The quota is based on the forecast of aggregate abundance of Pacific Coast Chinook salmon stocks subject to management under the treaty. Most Chinook salmon produced in Alaska hatcheries may be harvested in addition to the annual treaty limit.

The annual Chinook harvest in Southeast is allocated to sport, commercial troll, and commercial net fisheries under management plans specified by the Alaska Board of Fisheries. Information on those allocations and the regulations that will be in place for the 2012 season can be found in news releases from the ADF&G Sport Fish and Commercial Fisheries Divisions. Links to those releases are below:

Former judge likely to keep his Alaska Board of Fisheries seat (4/10).  JUNEAU — Retired Superior Court Judge Karl Johnstone’s reappointment to the Alaska Board of Fisheries advanced through his last confirmation hearing Monday with questions about his residency still an issue but apparently not serious enough to cause much trouble.

Johnstone acknowledged collecting a travel allowance and having his hotel bill paid by the state during Fish Board meetings in Anchorage — even though it’s his official residence.

“I am a resident — just because I have a winter home doesn’t change that,” Johnstone testified to the Senate Resources Committee by telephone, without identifying his current location.

Johnstone received overwhelming praise from witnesses at the hearing. They said he was a good listener, a hard worker and a judicious chairman on the fish board, which decides contentious allocation issues among competing groups. Most of the praise came from advocates of sportfish or guide organizations or services.

Only a couple of witnesses complained about him. One, George Pierce of Kasilof, said Johnstone represented sportfishing interests above others on the board.  More  NOTE:  Mr Johnstone was confirmed today 4/10 by a vote of 44-13.  Four SE legislators voted against him:  Senator Stedman, Rep Johansen, Rep Thomas, and Rep Peggy Wilson.

Unalaska candidate vies for Board of Fish (3/30).  Unalaska city natural resources analyst Frank Kelty is a candidate for the Alaska Board of Fisheries. Two seats are expiring June 30, now held by Karl Johnstone, of Anchorage, and Mike Smith, of Fairbanks.

Kelty said Monday he was expecting word soon from Gov. Sean Parnell on whether the two incumbents would be reappointed, or it the governor would choose somebody new.

Kelty is a former Unalaska mayor and seafood plant crab manager, most recently at Alyeska Seafoods. He said he submitted an application a few months ago, and was then interviewed for the position by a state official.

Support for his candidacy is widespread, he said, with endorsements from the city of Unalaska, the Aleutians East Borough, Trident Seafoods, Icicle Seafoods, Peter Pan Seafoods, the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Community Development Association, and the Pacific Seafood Processors Association.

The Unalaska Native Fisherman’s Association, representing Unalaska small boat fishermen, also endorsed his candidacy.

“Frank has a proven record of accomplishment in both the public and private sector,” said UNFA Vice President Dustan Dickerson, in a March 1 letter to Jason Hooley, director of state boards and commissions in Juneau.  More

State Board Appointments Announced (3/31).  Governor Sean Parnell today announced appointments to various boards and commissions. The governor appointed Dale Anderson to the University of Alaska Board of Regents, reappointed Janis Wilson to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, appointed Orville Huntington and reappointed Karl Johnstone to the Board of Fisheries, appointed Robert Mumford and reappointed Teresa Sager Albaugh to the Board of Game.~~~~~

Board of Fisheries

The Board of Fisheries is responsible for conservation and development of the state’s fishery resources. This involves setting seasons, bag limits, methods and means for the state’s subsistence, commercial, sport, guided sport, and personal use fisheries, and it also involves setting policy and direction for the management of the state’s fishery resources. The board is charged with making allocative decisions, and the Department of Fish and Game is responsible for management based on those decisions.

Huntington, of Huslia, works as the wildlife and parks director for the Tanana Chiefs Conference. Prior to that, he served for 14 years as a refuge information technician at the Koyukuk/Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge Complex and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Huntington has also worked as a fire fighter, fisherman, and in the Laborer’s and Carpenter’s Union. Huntington holds a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He grew up living and still lives a traditional Native subsistence way of life in the village of Huslia. He serves on the Alaska Federation of Natives board of directors as a representative of Interior villages.

Johnstone, of Anchorage, is a retired Superior Court judge who served on the bench from 1979 to 1996, including service as the presiding judge of the Third Judicial District for the last four years of his career. He has enjoyed sport fishing and also worked as a commercial fisherman for salmon in Bristol Bay and herring in southeast Alaska. Johnstone, first appointed in December 2008, is the current chair of the board.  More

Board of Fisheries Confirmation Hearing HFSH (4/5).  Video (86 minutes)

Subsistence panel says Angoon petition goes too far too fast (3/23).  A regional group advising the Federal Subsistence Board says it should wait before considering a petition to change management of some fisheries near Angoon.

The Southeast Alaska Subsistence Regional Advisory Council made its recommendation during a meeting in Juneau today (Friday).

Kootznoowoo Incorporated petitioned the statewide subsistence board to push for a federal takeover of the purse seine fishery in northern Chatham Strait. The village Native corporation said that would increase subsistence sockeye salmon harvests.

The Regional Advisory Council recommended trying out other methods of boosting the catch first. Bertrand Adams Sr. of Yakutat chairs the council.

“We found that it would be very difficult to extend extraterritorial jurisdiction in the areas that Angoon is concerned about, because it was not only going to affect those areas, but other areas as well, such as Kake and Hoonah,” said Adams. The council recommended waiting three years before deciding on Kootznoowoo’s petition. That would give state, federal, commercial fishing and Angoon leaders time to find an alternative solution.  More   KTOO Audio

The Alaska House Approves a Bill to Help Commercial Fishermen (4/5).   Listen to audio |  Download audio (1:25).  The Alaska House of Representatives voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of a bill that could help the commercial fishing industry in Alaska.

Joint Board of Fisheries and Game – Call for Proposals (Due Nov 30).  The Joint Board of Fisheries and Game is accepting proposed changes to regulations pertaining to local fish and game advisory committees and subsistence uses to be considered at a regulatory meeting scheduled for October 2013. The following regulations of Title 5, under the Alaska Administrative Code, will be considered:   More

Salmon bacon strikes again (4/6).  Alligator was something Fred West had never had the chance to try — that was until he was sent to the Boston International Seafood Show last month.

“It was tasty,” he said.

West’s trip to Boston was the result of his Tustumena Smokehouse receiving the Alaska Symphony of Seafood new products contest grand prize award in February for their Kylee’s Alaskan Salmon Bacon. The product is free of hormones, steroids, gluten and other chemicals — making it edible for those, including his granddaughter Kylee, who normally can not consume bacon because of allergic reactions.

West said being at the event, which took place from March 10 to 12, was unlike anything he had ever experienced before. He said the floor was the size of four football fields.  More

Auke Creek Salmon Research: 2011 Was a Big Year

Figure 1.  Auke Creek Weir near Juneau, Alaska.  The weir is operated by John Joyce (upper holding pen) with help from Jesse Echave (in stream recording counts), Scott Vulstek (middle holding pen), and Andrew Eller (lower right).

The Genetics Program at ABL includes science operations at Little Port Walter Marine Station, Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute, and Auke Creek Weir and Research Station. Auke Creek is a 400-m stream that connects the Auke Lake watershed with Auke Bay, an estuarine embayment near Lynn Canal, Southeast Alaska. The stream is on the road system close to Juneau, Alaska.

Each year, thousands of salmon and trout pass through Auke Creek where for over 30 years the National Marine Fisheries Service has operated a counting weir to track both upstream and downstream migration. The year 2011 was a busy year at Auke Creek. In the spring, in addition to other trout and salmon species, 31,000 pink salmon fry, 10,500 coho salmon smolts, and over 32,000 sockeye salmon smolts were counted and sampled at the weir. The coho smolt migration count is the highest we have observed in 30 years of direct monitoring.

The data we collected included size and age sampling that provides information both to long-term monitoring studies and local area management plans. In fall 2011, in addition to char, trout, coho, and sockeye adults, there was a return of 27,000 adult pink salmon to the weir, which were counted and sampled with each fish being handled at least once (on the upstream migration) and sometimes twice (when they completed spawning and died). The total 27,000 fish is the second highest total for adult pink salmon during the more than 30 year time series and is almost three times the long-term average return for Auke Creek pink salmon of 9,891.

The Auke Creek Weir and Research Station is a critical resource and the only weir in the state of Alaska, and one of very few on the West Coast that tracks both juvenile fish outmigration and adult returns, thus providing a very valuable data set for correlating weather and population productivity information over extended time periods. In addition, it has formed the major experimental support for a myriad of graduate research work, enhancement technology development, and long-term genetic studies of the variety of anadromous fish that reside there.

The weir is operated by John Joyce with help from Jesse Echave, Scott Vulstek, and Andrew Eller (Fig. 1). In addition to his studies regarding the effects of climate change on coho salmon, John also has collaborations with researchers at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks to study supplementation effects in sockeye salmon, the University of Alaska-Southeast to study the effects of climate change on fish migration, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to monitor salmon productivity.

By Jeff Guyon and John Joyce Link

International Workshop on Explanations for the High Abundance of Pink and Chum Salmon and Future Trends

On 30-31 October, several ABL scientists attended the International Workshop on Explanations for the High Abundance of Pink and Chum Salmon and Future Trends hosted by the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC) in Nanaimo, British Columbia. This workshop brought together scientists from around the Pacific Rim (Korea, Japan, Russia, Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon) to review the status and discuss the future trends of pink and chum salmon abundance.

At the workshop, there were 38 oral and poster presentations. Oral presentations by ABL scientists included: “Why are pink and chum salmon so abundant in the Gulf of Alaska?” by William Heard and Alex Wertheimer; “Do Asian pink salmon affect survival of Bristol Bay sockeye salmon?” by Alex Wertheimer and Edward Farley; and “Recent harvest trends of pink and chum salmon in Southeast Alaska: Can marine ecosystem indicators be used as predictive tools for management?” by Joe Orsi, Emily Fergusson, and Molly Sturdevant.

The workshop followed the NPAFC annual meeting (also in Nanaimo) that was attended by ABL’s Ed Farley, Jeff Guyon, and Bill Heard. Many concepts were shared at the workshop, with one being that a cohort of salmon needs favorable conditions during both nearshore periods (early marine growth) and later ocean periods (winter feeding conditions) to foster high survival. Another concept was that decadal global climate change can override micro-ecosystem conditions, such as favorable early marine growth, particularly in terms of salmon exceeding temperature tolerances during their early ocean residence period in their southern ranges. Finally, the concept that stocks on a coast-wide basis do respond to localized freshwater/marine conditions was evidenced by the clustering of similar ocean survivals of some stock groups over discrete regions. The Workshop Proceedings will be published in the NPAFC Technical Report Series in early 2012.

By Joe Orsi, Ed Farley, and Bill Heard

Voting Period for Fishing Capacity Reduction Program for the Southeast Alaska Purse Seine Salmon Fishery.  NOAA Fisheries has issued a notice to inform interested persons of the voting period for the fishing capacity reduction program referendum for the Southeast Alaska Purse Seine Salmon Fishery. The referendum voting period started March 30, 2012 and will end on April 30, 2012. Any votes not received by NOAA Fisheries by 5 p.m. on April 30, 2012, will not be counted. Read more




Apr 11.   Southeast Joint Regional Planning Team (Hatcheries), Juneau

Apr 17-19Coastal Temperate Rainforests: Integrating Science, Resource Management, and Communities, Juneau Centennial Hall

April 30.  USAG Port Meeting, Juneau

May 5Alaska Fishermen’s Memorial in Juneau and Blessing of the Fleet (10AM at the Memorial)

May 14-15ASMI Board Meeting, Anchorage

May 23Alaska Marine Mammal Observer Program (AMMOP) in Areas 6 & 8.  Public Meeting Wrangell: May 23

May 24.   Alaska Marine Mammal Observer Program (AMMOP) in Areas 6 & 8.  Public Meeting Petersburg: May 24,

Nov 30Joint BOF/BOG proposals due on changes to local fish and game advisory committees, advisory committee closures, and subsistence uses

May 12-14.  Second PICES/ICES/IOC Symposium on “Effects of climate change on the world’s oceans” as one of the official events related to Ocean Expo-2012, Yeosu, Korea