STATE PRIMARY ELECTION IS AUGUST 19 (TUESDAY). Be sure to educate yourself on the candidates and issues. If you are not able to vote in person, be sure to vote absentee or early.
Here is a timeline you should be aware of:
June 19,2014. You can apply for an absentee ballot today
August 4, 2014 Early and absentee in-person voting begins at many locations throughout Alaska.
August 4, 2014 Civilian voters may begin to apply for absentee ballots by electronic transmission.
August 9, 2014 Deadline to apply for an absentee ballot by mail.
August 18, 2014 5:00 p.m. Alaska Standard Time Deadline to apply for an absentee ballot by electronic transmission.
August 19, 2014 Primary Election Day – Polls open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
August 19, 2014 Deadline for absentee by-mail ballots to be postmarked.
Advocates: Tailings dam breach a warning for Alaska (8/8). A tailings dam at Mount Polley Mine in British Columbia ruptured Monday morning, sending toxic waste into a watershed that flows into Vancouver. The breach spurred some Southeast Alaskan fishermen and Alaska Native organizations to renew calls for more extensive environmental review of British Columbian mines proposed for watersheds that flow into Alaska.
The Mount Polley breach, which Canadian news organization CBC News called “one of BC’s worst environmental disasters,” and which Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs compared to the Exxon Valdez oil spill, sent about 10 million cubic meters of tailings water — which preliminary testing indicated Thursday meets Canadian and BC drinking water standards — and 4.5 million cubic meters of fine toxic tailings into lakes and rivers in the Fraser River Watershed, according to figures from BC’s Ministry of Energy and Mines. More
Company behind Mt. Polley disaster to open mine near Southeast Alaska (8/8). After the tailings pond dam breach at Mount Polley on Monday morning, Southeast Alaskans are worried about another Imperial Metals Corporation mine already being constructed at the headwaters of the Stikine watershed, one of the largest salmon producers in the Tongass National Forest.
The Red Chris Project, an open-pit copper and gold mine, is being constructed in northwest British Columbia near the Iskut River, a major tributary of the Stikine River. The Red Chris is predicted to process almost 30,000 tons of ore per day for 28 years, according to the Imperial Metals Corporation website. More
RELATED STORIES AT BOTTOM.
KSM Mine Wins Environmental Approval From British Columbia Government (7/30). A controversial mine planned for an area northeast of Ketchikan just won environmental approval from the British Columbia government.
Toronto-based Seabridge Gold was granted what’s called an Environmental Assessment Certificate on Wednesday.
The corporation is developing the Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell prospect, near rivers that empty into the ocean in or near Southeast Alaska.
Is the Tongass key to slowing climate change? (7/30). The Tongass National Forest is in the crosshairs of environmental organizations again. Two large coalitions are pressuring the Obama administration to stop all old-growth logging, in part to fight climate change.
The Sierra Club, Alaska Wilderness League and Natural Resources Defense Council are among the groups calling for an end to old-growth clear-cutting in the Southeast Alaska forest.
EDITORIAL. Setnet initiative inappropriate for fish regs (7/31). It has been a rough couple of years for Cook Inlet fishermen.
The Kenai River guide industry has been dealt a crippling blow by the ongoing decline in returning king salmon that is deterring visitors from coming to the area for a chance at the famed fish.
The commercial setnet fishermen have been pulled out of the water and left dry so many times that it’s a wonder many of them are still in business.
Personal-use dipnet fishermen find themselves buffeted on all sides by commercial and sport fishermen angry at the intrusion and fish allocation to the relatively new user group. More
USCG – lifesaving equipment (7/30). The US Coast Guard promulgated a final rule amending its regulations for certain lifesaving equipment, including launching appliances, release mechanisms, survival craft, rescue boats, and automatic disengaging devices. This rule harmonizes the Coast Guard’s design, construction, and performance standards for this lifesaving equipment with international standards, while providing for use of qualified independent laboratories during the approval process and for production inspections of certain types of lifesaving equipment. The rule enters into effect on 29 August. 79 Fed. Reg. 44129 Courtesy Bryant’s Maritime Blog
Harvest of Alaska’s Wild Salmon Reaches Estimated 104 Million Fish (8/6). As Bristol Bay wrapped up its 2014 salmon season, with a harvest just shy of 29 million sockeyes, other fisheries in Alaska were picking up speed.
As of Aug. 6, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s preliminary salmon harvest added up to 104,772,000 salmon, including 54,005,000 humpies, 40,751,000 reds, 8,025,000 chum, 1,590,000 silver, and 401,000 Chinooks.
State fisheries officials said that compared with the harvest of 141,721,314 salmon harvested statewide through Aug. 2, 2013, including 93,605,809 humpies, 28,300,079 sockeye, 17,590,441 chum, 1,922,216 silver and 302,769 king. More
Gillnet fishery mixed bag around Petersburg (7/24). Commercial salmon gillnet fishing around Petersburg and Wrangell has been somewhat of a mixed bag in the early season with some strong runs of sockeye and coho boosting catches.
The king salmon return to the Stikine River near Wrangell has played out as fishery managers expected this year. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s area management biologist Troy Thynes said the latest in-season forecast in mid July puts the Stikine king run at 26,000 fish, same as the pre-season forecast. “So not a great return of king salmon to the Stikine River but I guess about what we expected it to be. So, we always hope that the forecasts were low and we were gonna get more fish than we expected.” More/KFSK Audio
Stiff penalties for out-of-season fishing (8/6). Two fishermen recently learned that commercial trolling out of season – even by a single day – can be expensive.
The captain and crewman of the fishing vessel Chief Joseph pleaded guilty in a Sitka courtroom on July 29 to charges of fishing during closed season and unlawful possession of fish. Judge Leonard Devaney sent the vessel owner — 49-year-old Jeffrey Angelo of Samoa, California — to jail for five days and ordered him to pay over $6,000 in fines. The crewman, Alec Hurst, received a suspended jail sentence and a $1,500 fine. Alaska Trooper Sgt. Aaron Frenzel said that cases of pre-season fishing such as this are relatively rare. More/KCAW Audio
Senators push for fish research in Juneau (8/5). With recent vacancies in the Pacific Northwest Research Station, Alaska’s senators and U.S. Forest Service officials are pushing for a fish habitat scientist to be brought to Juneau.
“It only makes sense that fisheries research in Alaska should be conducted by staff in Alaska, not from a remote office located in another state,” Sen. Mark Begich wrote to U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell in July. “Further, the U.S. Forest Service has a number of pressing issues and initiatives that justify an Alaska-based fisheries position.” More
Former Pebble Partnership Employee Named Fisheries Advisor to Governor Parnell (7/28). The campaign manager for U.S. Senate Candidate Dan Sullivan has been picked to be the new fisheries advisory to Alaska Governor Sean Parnell. Late last year Dan Sullivan named Ben Mohr as campaign manager. Mohr has left the campaign to accept a job as Alaska Governor Sean Parnell’s fisheries policy advisor. More/KDLG Audio
Alaska gov asks feds to buy surplus canned salmon (7/25). Gov. Sean Parnell has asked a federal agency to buy about 1 million cases of canned pink salmon to ease a glut that has weighed down prices for Alaska fishermen this year.
Parnell made the request in a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week. He wants the USDA to purchase $37 million worth of canned pink salmon under a federal law that allows for buying surplus food from farmers and donating it to food banks or other programs. More
OPINION: ‘Fisher’ falls short of creating gender equality in fishing industry (7/25). In this week’s report on Alaska’s fishing industry, fish columnist Laine Welch offered an off-the-dock response by those in the fishing industry about the use of the term “fisher” instead of fisherman.
The verdict: a big thumbs down from fishermen of both genders, who say they resent being renamed because of their sex by bureaucrats. The question is, will anyone listen or will the term “fisherman” fade away in a flurry of well-intended-but -off-base political correctness? More
Don’t bash seafood imports when supporting American fish (8/1). We have seen several examples lately of attacks on imported fish, from individuals and groups, including author Paul Greenberg, who suggest that eating so much imported seafood is a bad thing.
We disagree. More/John Sackton Video
Virginia Mason First Hospital to Receive Marine Stewardship Council Certification (7/24). Virginia Mason announced today it is the first hospital in the United States to earn Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for its commitment to serving seafood grown and harvested by certified, environmentally sustainable methods.
“MSC is pleased to be part of Virginia Mason’s commitment to implementing green business practices to support a healthy environment and community,” said Geoff Bolan, region commerical director, Americas. “We hope today’s announcement will serve as an inspiration for other medical centers nationwide to follow Virginia Mason’s bold environmental initiatives in the health care industry.” More
Southeast crabbers hauling in big Dungeness catch (7/25). It’s been a big summer season for commercial Dungeness crabbing in Southeast Alaska with a big harvest, a high price and a bump in crab boat numbers in the Panhandle.
That’s a turnaround from last year’s summer season, which was shortened by one week for the first time ever, due to low catches. It’s not the case this year. The fleet will have a full two-month summer season and is already close to surpassing the 2013 catch for the combined summer and fall seasons. More
Canadians transport salmon around Stikine tributary slide (7/22). Fishery managers in Canada this summer are moving salmon by helicopter around a landslide that’s partially blocked a major tributary of the Stikine River across the border from Southeast Alaska. The May slide created a barrier for Chinook and sockeye salmon returning to the Tahltan River to spawn. More/KFSK Audio
A wake-up call in Alaska about ocean acidification and coastal communities (7/29). A new study shows, for the first time, that ocean acidification is driving changes in waters vital to Alaska’s commercial fisheries and traditional subsistence way of life. More
NOAA PR (7/29)
Newsweek. So Long, Seafood! Ocean Acidification Projected to Slam Alaskan Fisheries (7/29)
Study says shellfish could be doomed (7/30)
My Turn: A wake-up call in Alaska’s waters (7/30)
Paper: Ocean Acidification Risk Assessment for Alaska’s Fishery Sector
What seafood guzzles the most gas? (7/24). Most of us don’t think about fuel when we eat seafood. But diesel is the single largest expense for the fishing industry and its biggest source of greenhouse gases. Not all fish have the same carbon finprint, however, and a new study reveals which ones take the most fuel to catch.
Robert Parker, a Ph.D. student at the University of Tasmania, Hobart, in Australia, and Peter Tyedmers, an ecological economist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, analyzed more than 1600 records of fuel use by fishing fleets worldwide. They added up the fuel required to catch and bring various types of fish and seafood to port, which they reported online this month in Fish and Fisheries. ~~ North American salmon: 886 liters/metric ton~~~ More
Propulsion Choices for Lower Emissions (7/23). EPA emissions regulations are keeping a lot of engine manufacturers busy as they enhance various existing product lines for fishing applications, while also developing new technologies for after treatment options, in advance of the looming Tier 4 requirements. Meanwhile power generation companies are also working hard to keep pace with today’s commercial fishing customer needs.
“Tier 4 is a phased-in emissions regulation and it depends on the engine horsepower,” says Geoff Conrad, Director, Marine Business, Cummins Northwest. “The EPA is trying to “emissionize” the bigger engines first because they are the biggest contributors to the emissions issues. It starts with what they call the EPA Tier 4 in 2016, with the balance of engines being done in 2017. This is only for engines above 805 HP or 600 kW.” More
UAS Fisheries Technology program expands (8/6). Today’s morning interview is with University of Alaska Southeast faculty member Joel Markis, assistant professor of fisheries technology. Marcus discusses the fisheries technology program — moved last year from Ketchikan to Sitka — and a recent $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor designed to expand the program statewide. KCAW Audio
Mount Polley BC Mine Tailings Failure (Beginning 8/4)
- Aug 5 2014 Imperial http://www.imperialmetals.com/s/News_2014.asp?ReportID=667967
- Aug 4 2014 Imperial http://www.imperialmetals.com/s/News_2014.asp?ReportID=667962
- Aug 5 2014 Vancouver Sun Stephen Hume: Blame the provincial government for the toxic mine spill http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/editorials/Stephen+Hume+Blame+provincial+government+toxic+mine/10092385/story.html
- Aug 5 2014. KTOO. Is the Mine Tailings Dam Failure in B.C. a Warning for Alaska? http://www.alaskapublic.org/2014/08/05/bc-mines-tailings-dam-break-could-impact-southeast-salmon/
- Aug 5 2014. Russ George. http://russgeorge.net/2014/08/05/quesnel-lake-spill-science/
- Aug 6 2014 Vancouver Sun Spilled waste water at Mount Polley mine had failed health guidelines, state of emergency declared
- Aug 6 2014 You tube Town Hall Likely https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_qyBr9py0c
- Aug 6, 2014. Cordova Times. Toxic mine wastes dumped into Fraser River watershed – http://www.thecordovatimes.com/article/1432dam-failure-toxic-mine-wastes-dumped-into#sthash.3kkLYz1V.dpuf
Welcome New Business Members Kito’s Kave and the Java Hus in Petersburg.
Aug 18. BOF ACR’s due
Sep 26-28. UFA Board Meeting, Anchorage Date Change
Feb 23-Mar3. BOF SE Finfish, Sitka