Corkline-News for Southeast Gillnetters, December 7, 2014

8 Dec

Support the businesses that support you:

Icy Strait Seafoods (Juneau Plant)
NC Machinery Co
The Permit Master
Petersburg Rexall Drug
Piston & Rudder Services Inc, Petersburg
Precision BoatWorks, Sitka
Sea to Shore Seafood Company, Petersburg

The Alaska Fisheries Report (12/4) Coming up this week, about 50 crew members aboard a South Korean factory trawler are feared lost after their ship went down in the Bering Sea; a new test fishery opened up in Cook Inlet this week, and the IPHC says recruitment of halibut appears to be up a bit. All that, and the former FV Shaman couldn’t muster the magic to keep its liquor license. We had help from KFSK’s Joe Viechnicki in Petersburg, KBBI’s Shady Grove Oliver in Homer, and APRN’s Liz Rushkin.


RPT Meeting 12/4/14 Petersburg  by Chris Guggenbickler (SSRAA and USAG Boards).

The Regional Planning Team (RPT) met in Petersburg following the gillnet and seine task force meetings.

A Permit Alteration Request (PAR) was approved by the Southern Southeast RPT to release an additional 6 million summer chum at Burnett Inlet.  The first release will be this coming spring, and the returning adults will be used to create a buffer in potential summer chum egg take shortfalls at Neets or increases in future production.

The Northern Southeast RPT approved a PAR to release up to 200K Chinook at Gunnuk creek.  The returning adults will create commercial and sport opportunity as well as a cleanup fishery at the mouth of the crick for the residents of Kake.

The Northern Southeast RPT approved a par to exchange Hidden Falls chum for Medvejie chum for release at Deep Inlet in the event of a brood stock shortfall. 

The Joint RPT approve a motion to form a group to look into possible discrepancies in assessing allocation values to refine data for a more accurate model.  It appears we may be under valuing troll caught kings and coho, and overvaluing chums harvested in the North.  We are not sure if this will make a significant difference in overall percentages, if so it may change the way we calculate enhanced values.

Next the Joint RPT went through board of fish proposals pertaining to enhanced fish.

We support proposals 183,186,187 and 190; these proposals were submitted jointly between USAG/SEAS and deal with rotational schedules at Anita Bay, Deep Inlet, SE Cove, and the Amalga fishery.

We also supported proposal 225 which is for troll opportunity in district 12/14 as was conducted in the past three years.  This fishery will continue to be sampled and there is a sunset clause of 12/2017.

We opposed proposals 193,199 and 200, these proposals all deal with closing portions of Chatham Straits and would curtail seine opportunity on returning Hidden Falls chum.

We supported proposals 177,178,179,184 and 189 which were submitted by NSRAA, SSRAA and ADF&G and all deal with housekeeping in terminal harvest areas.

We opposed proposals 175 and 176 which deal with opening up the allocation plan.

Southeast Alaska Salmon – 2014 Season Summary   (PDF 1,165 kB)

DOT says spraying still planned for Thorne Bay next year (12/2).  An official with the Alaska Department of Transportation says the agency still plans to spray herbicide for weed control along a section of state-owned road on Prince of Wales Island next year.  More

Fisheries Stakeholders Offer Priorities to Alaska’s Incoming Governor (11/26).  [Note:  Petersburg Mayor and SE Gillnetter Mark Jensen served on the fish team—thanks Mark].  A fisheries transition team for incoming Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has concluded that priorities for the new administration should include science before politics and conservation, plus a move back to localized fisheries.

There is a strong need to return ownership and participation in our fisheries to Alaska’s coastal communities, said Norm Van Vactor, who chaired the transitional fisheries committee. Van Vactor, a fisheries industry veteran, is the chief executive officer of the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp., in Dillingham.

The team of 25 people with commercial, sport, subsistence and science ties to Alaska’s fisheries began their discussions this past weekend “by leaving the allocation issue on the table and working on other stuff we could find resolution to,” Van Vactor said. The session worked well, said Van Vactor and Carol Ann Woody, an aquatic ecologist at the Center for Science in Public Participation of Anchorage, another member of the transition panel. Leaving the allocation issue at the door helped people focus on the larger state issues, Woody said.

The overarching message from the panel included a fish first clear policy, with science based management, and funding within the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for fisheries science. The panel supported reinstating the state’s coastal zone management program with an emphasis on habitat, and de facto water reservation for fish – a guarantee for in-stream flows, with a burden of proof on developers to show that their projects don’t harm fish.  More

Governor Walker Transition
For Walker, Parnell’s budget a placeholder (12/7)
State applies drastic cuts to oil price forecast, reflecting world market (12/6)
Petersburg Mayor advises new governor (12/4)
Gov. Walker names former running mate Fleener as Arctic adviser (12/4)
On first day in office, Walker names more cabinet members (12/1)—Acting ADFG Commissioner
Alaska Gubernatorial Inauguration Ceremony Audio (12/1)

Southeast gillnet and purse seine task forces meet in Petersburg (12/4).  The Southeast Alaska Drift Gillnet and Purse Seine task forces met in Petersburg on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, to review the 2014 season and discuss the 2015 season.

On Tuesday, Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) biologists from districts around Southeast presented a review of the 2014 season for various salmon species harvested by gillnetters.

Justin Breese, ADFG biologist from Ketchikan, reported District 1, Tree Point, had an above average harvest for cohos and pink salmon and a below average harvest for sockeyes and chums. Breese noted that participation in the district was low this year, in line with a decade-long trend.  More  NOTE:  We will let you know when presentations from the Gillnet Task Force meeting are posted on our website.

2015 Stikine and Taku Rivers King Salmon Forecast (12/4).  Sitka. . . The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today the following information concerning the preseason forecast for king salmon returning to the Stikine and Taku Rivers in 2015.

The 2015 preseason terminal run size forecast for large Stikine River king salmon is 30,200 fish. The resulting U.S. Allowable Catch (AC) is 210 large Stikine Kings. An AC of 210 fish is not large enough to allow for directed commercial fisheries. Inseason terminal run size estimates will be produced starting late May of 2015. Inseason estimates may result in a higher AC that may allow implementation of directed commercial fisheries.  More

Opinion.  While it may not be required, public disclosure is the best practice (11/22). This past week, the Alaska Public Offices Commission held a hearing to address, among other things, an appeal of a decision involving an Alaska Department of Fish and Game official.

The initial complaint claimed that Kelly Hepler should have filed a public disclosure for gifts he received from the Kenai River Sportfishing Association for his participation in the Kenai River Classic.  More

Controversial Bristol Bay salmon permit buyback program support falters at PME (11/25).  Bristol Bay salmon fishermen’s 81% support of studying the economic impact of a drift gillnet buyback program in Bristol Bay broke down into a general sense of opposition during a Pacific Marine Expo discussion on the program last week.

Fishermen and regulators criticized the potential program’s cost, whether it is even necessary and the uncertainty of its ability to improve the fishery.

“I think we should look into other ways [of reducing the fleet size],” one drift gillnet fishermen at the Pacific Marine Expo told Undercurrent, echoing sentiments expressed in a show of hands at the meeting, when roughly 2/3 of attendees supported fleet consolidation while only 1/3 supported the buyback.  More


One fishing vessel safe, another aground in weekend mishaps (12/2).  A troller is safely moored in Sitka after receiving assistance from a good Samaritan vessel and the Coast Guard over the weekend.


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The Northern Exposure went adrift in Peril Straits. The Coast Guard says no one was aboard at the time. (USCG photo)

Another boat’s future is uncertain, as it remains grounded on a rocky beach in Peril Strait.  More

Sealaska Lands Bill moving forward (12/3).  A long-awaited land selection agreement for Sealaska Corp. is among a package of public land bills that are now slated to move quickly through Congress. A deal to attach the package to the must-pass defense bill was announced early Wednesday morning.

The bill would turn about 70,000 acres of the Tongass National Forest over to Sealaska for logging and development. Sealaska is the regional Native corporation for Southeast Alaska.  More

Empire Editorial: Sealaska land deal should move forward (12/7).  It’s time for the federal government to fulfill its promise.

On Dec. 17, 1971, President Nixon signed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act into law.

ANCSA, as it was known, called for the distribution of 40 million acres to Native villages and regional corporations created by the act.

Almost 43 years since Nixon put pen to paper, many Native groups are still waiting for their land. Among them is Sealaska, the regional Native corporation for Southeast Alaska.  More

Safety Zone.  Let there be light (11/20). Genesis 1:3: “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” So it is with navigation lights that tell us what your vessel is, how big it is and what it’s doing so we can maneuver accordingly.

I always hate the lights and shape sections on rules of the road tests. Sometimes the questions on lights and shapes are so bizarre that you can go an entire career and never see some of them. But you need a 90% passing grade or it’s sudden death.  More  

Senators Seek to Extend Deckwash Exemption (11/20).  A pair of coastal senators — including Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski — are racing against the clock to extend an environmental exemption for small-boat fishermen.

Right now, vessel operators aren’t required to hold permits for spilling bilge water or deckwash if their boats are less than 79 feet long. But that waiver is set to expire next month. Legislation that would have made it permanent has stalled out in Congress.  More

Murkowski, Rubio Introduce Bill Extending Discharge Moratorium for Fishing Fleet (11/19)
Introduced by Senator Boxer (11/20) S.2963 – A bill to remove a limitation on a prohibition relating to permits for discharges incidental to normal operation of vessels.

Exemption proposed for deck runoff rules (11/25)

USCG – suspicious UAS activity (11/25).  The US Coast Guard posted a briefing [located at ] regarding unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and suspicious activity reporting. Use of UAS has expanded and most use is innocuous, but also presents the possibility of surveillance of critical infrastructure, including vessels and waterfront facilities. Suspicious UAS activity in the maritime environment should be reported to the National Response Center.  Courtesy Bryant’s Maritime Blog

NOAA – nautical chart catalog format (11/28).  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has transitioned to a print-on-demand digital format for its nautical charts. The chart catalogs have been transformed into letter-sized documents. It will consider making the front page of the large-format chart catalog if sufficient demand exists. Comments on this topic are due by 30 April 2015. 79 Fed. Reg. 70854   Courtesy Bryant’s Maritime Blog


ASMI Marketing Update (11/28)

The Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative, Part 1 (10/30).  In the late 1980’s, environmental groups and private firms intervened in the marketplace to promote healthy oceans and sustainable fisheries. Thirty years later, there are a wide range of standards and little transparency … resulting in market chaos. The GSSI is an effort to create a global benchmark and level playing field, similar to global food safety standardsVideo (3min 21 sec)

What Does Mad Cow Disease Have To Do With Seafood Sustainability.? (11/24).  During the 1990’s nearly every country was impacted by food safety issues. From this crisis, a single global benchmark for food safety was developed. Isn’t that what we need for seafood sustainability and healthy oceans?  Video (3min 25 sec)

Salmon advocacy group passing out free books detailing the decline of salmon runs (11/22).   Imagine you’ve got a friend who really wants you to read a book, who keeps offering you a copy and even buys you a cup of coffee if you’ll give the book a chance.

That’s kind of what the salmon advocacy group The Salmon Project is doing with 1,250 copies of the book “King of Fish: The Thousand-Year Run of Salmon.” The book, written by University of Washington geomorphology professor David Montgomery, details the decline of salmon runs in England and the Eastern U.S. The Salmon Project hopes the book will spawn more interest in salmon conservation.  More

Silver Bay shareholder meeting zeroes in on value added future (11/24).  Bristol Bay newcomer Silver Bay Seafoods — in which Korean giant Dongwon recently acquired a 12.5% share — is now eyeing a much more diversified slate of product offerings, sources that attended the company’s shareholder meeting last Wednesday in Seattle told Undercurrent News.

“We are going in a new and exciting direction that will more fully compliment what the market desires,” Larry Christensen, a Silver Bay fisherman that attended the meeting told Undercurrent. “So as we mature, we will be able to supply the expanding, various market demands.”  More

BBRSDA.  Fall 2014 Sockeye Market Analysis.  The BBRSDA is tasked with increasing the value of Bristol Bay sockeye and has contracted with McDowell Group, Inc. to produce bi-annual sockeye market reports. These reports provide Bristol Bay fishermen with a comprehensive understanding of current market conditions for sockeye, and contextualize these findings against the broader salmon market.

The reports also feature commentary from buyers regarding consumer demand for Bristol Bay sockeye, and discussions of how supply chain participants – including fishermen – can increase the value of Bristol Bay sockeye. It analyzes the value of Bristol Bay sockeye throughout the supply chain, compares it to other sockeye fisheries, and discusses issues facing key market segments.  Fall 2014 Sockeye Market Analysis (PDF)


Alaskans fear environmental, industrial threats from mines in northwest  B.C (12/5).  VICTORIA – British Columbia’s ambition of opening new mines in the province’s north has raised fears in neighbouring Alaska where environmental and aboriginal groups say the unchecked development threatens their salmon and tourism industries.

Tribal leaders and salmon-protection advocates gathered at a Bureau of Indian Affairs conference in Anchorage Tuesday, and high on the agenda was the impact of B.C. mineral developments on the multibillion-dollar Alaskan industries.  More


Performance of salmon fishery portfolios across western North America.  Summary:

    1. Quantifying the variability in the delivery of ecosystem services across the landscape can be used to set appropriate management targets, evaluate resilience and target conservation efforts. Ecosystem functions and services may exhibit portfolio-type dynamics, whereby diversity within lower levels promotes stability at more aggregated levels. Portfolio theory provides a framework to characterize the relative performance among ecosystems and the processes that drive differences in performance.
    2. We assessed Pacific salmon Oncorhynchus spp. portfolio performance across their native latitudinal range focusing on the reliability of salmon returns as a metric with which to assess the function of salmon ecosystems and their services to humans.
    3. We used the Sharpe ratio (e.g. the size of the total salmon return to the portfolio relative to its variability (risk)) to evaluate the performance of Chinook and sockeye salmon portfolios across the west coast of North America. We evaluated the effects on portfolio performance from the variance of and covariance among salmon returns within each portfolio, and the association between portfolio performance and watershed attributes.
    4. We found a positive latitudinal trend in the risk-adjusted performance of Chinook and sockeye salmon portfolios that also correlated negatively with anthropogenic impact on watersheds (e.g. dams and land-use change). High-latitude Chinook salmon portfolios were on average 2·5 times more reliable, and their portfolio risk was mainly due to low variance in the individual assets. Sockeye salmon portfolios were also more reliable at higher latitudes, but sources of risk varied among the highest performing portfolios.
    5. Synthesis and applications. Portfolio theory provides a straightforward method for characterizing the resilience of salmon ecosystems and their services. Natural variability in portfolio performance among undeveloped watersheds provides a benchmark for restoration efforts. Locally and regionally, assessing the sources of portfolio risk can guide actions to maintain existing resilience (protect habitat and disturbance regimes that maintain response diversity; employ harvest strategies sensitive to different portfolio components) or improve restoration activities. Improving our understanding of portfolio reliability may allow for management of

Record North Pacific temperatures threatening B.C. marine species (11/21).  The North Pacific Ocean is setting record high temperatures this year and raising concerns about the potential impact on cold water marine species along the B.C. coast, including salmon.

Ocean surface temperatures around the world this year reached the highest temperature ever recorded, due in large part to the normally chilly North Pacific, which was three to four degrees above average — far beyond any recorded value.  Morenatural resources that is robust to ongoing environmental change.  Link

What Determines the Color of Fish Flesh? (11/24).  Q. Why do some fish have white flesh, like flounder and tilapia, while others have red or orange flesh, like tuna and salmon?

A. The difference frequently has to do with a protein called myoglobin that stores oxygen for muscles and also acts as a pigment, said Keith G. Tidball, senior extension associate in the department of natural resources at Cornell University.  More


Dec 17.  SSRAA Board, Ketchikan

Dec 19.  EPA Small Vessel Discharge Permit goes into effect (Unless Congress acts)


Jan 7.  Comments due BOF Southeast and Yakutat Crab, Shrimp, and Misc. Shellfish

Jan 23.  Applications due for federal subsistence RAC’s

Feb 9.  Comments due BOF Southeast and Yakutat Finfish 

Feb 17-19.  UFA Board, Juneau

Feb 23-Mar 3.   BOF SE Finfish, Sitka

Mar 11-12.  NSRAA Board, Sitka

Mar 13.  SSRAA Board, Ketchikan