Corkline-News for Southeast Gillnetters, January 20, 2014

21 Jan

Please take a moment to thank these businesses  which have renewed their USAG Membership for 2013 or 2014 and encourage other support sector businesses to do the same


Haven’t paid your dues yet for 2013?  Drop a check for $300 in the mail today.  Year end notices were mailed around Thanksgiving.

Not a member yet?  Fill out and mail a membership form with your check for $300 to USAG, PO Box 20538, Juneau, AK 99802.   ADFG’s preliminary estimate is that the SE gillnet fleet grossed $29,555,255 in 2013—that means you have a valuable fishery to protect

Don’t forget, dues must be current to participate in the USAG fleet insurance program which has some major improvements this year including better rates and expanded coverage.

If you are not a member of our insurance program, contact John Long, Sea Mountain Insurance (425) 775-1410 XT 145 work and he will get you a quote.


What:  United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters (USAG) Port Meeting

When:  Saturday, February 15, 2014, 10:00AM to noon.

Where: Nordby Conference Room, Fishermen’s Terminal, Seattle

USAG Board Members Bill Auger and BJ King will provide an update on the Pacific salmon treaty, enhanced fish, Alaska legislation, USAG insurance program, and answer your questions.  Open to all S03A permit holders, crew, and significant others.  BJ King is the local contact–(206) 910-4773 cell.

SSRAA Report 1/16/14 by Chris Guggenbickler (F/V MARANANTHA, Wrangell, USAG Vice President)

Well, we just finished up a few more days of meetings in Ketchikan dealing with SSRAA business.

On Wednesday the marketing committee met and received six letters of interest from processors for cost recovery at Neets Bay.  After custom processing for many years, this “bid process” of cost recovery has generated considerable discussion at most committee and full board levels as to the timeline and method of budgeting that will be best moving forward.  We will be soliciting bids for cost recovery on Neets Bay chum this spring.

Thursday the Finance Committee met and recommended a Capital and Operating budget that will come up at the March meeting for board approval.  The Finance Committee made recommendations which I will bring up in the full board report. The Finance Committee only makes recommendations to the full board for approval.

Friday the full board met, with the first portion of the meeting going by reasonably fast, agenda, previous minutes, officers and committee assignments were predetermined and reasonably straight forward.  We did have introductions of new board members Dan Castle (seine), Brennon Eagle (gillnet) and Nick Ohmer (Chamber of Commerce).

The Production Manager reported he had met with the City the previous night and we are moving forward with the Deer Mountain facility and the City will raze the raptor center .  SSRAA will be applying for a hatchery permit at this spring RPT meeting for this facility.  Also SE Alaska experienced a fairly severe storm Tuesday which generated flooding and landslides, one landslide occurred at Neets Bay between the lake and the facility.  Fortunately the pipeline is intact and no fish were lost, although we will have some increased costs in mobilizing a large excavator, removing debris and securing the pipeline.  Staff reports were fairly brief as we had a full agenda and written reports were included in the packet.

During Finance Committee reports, recommendations came forward to the full board.  A recommendation was passed to take $75,000 from operational reserves to buy more fish food due to warm winter temperatures and higher growth and metabolism rates.  Float camps are mobilized and summer chum are transitioning to net pens in saltwater approximately a month earlier than normal.

A recommendation to create a revenue goal was passed; previously SSRAA harvested all the chums not caught in the Neets Bay THA, having either a shortfall or windfall.  Moving forward this means we will pursue more common property opportunity on fish above our cost recovery needs if there is an excess, also this will allow the Marketing Committee to come up with a number on value needed in better determining bid parameters.

We also passed a motion that the shortfall from last year come from the Neets Bay Harvest Fund.  It appears the revenue shortfall from FY13 will be about $1.92 million.  The Neets Bay Harvest Fund (NBHF) is a little different than our operating reserves ($1.9M), capital reserve ($600K).  The NBHF was created as a buffer to allow more active fishing in the bay before cost recovery is assured.  It may also be used to “buy” opportunity for gear groups.  This can happen if windfalls or grants bring the fund in excess of a needed “buffer”.  For instance last year we allowed two extra net rotations in early July and a troll harvest of 480,000 chums, while gear groups benefited from increased opportunity, we fell short on needed cost recovery and drew from this reserve.  In another instance we could “spend” excess revenue in this account to lessen the revenue goal for Neets Bay therefore taking less fish for cost recovery and creating more gear group opportunity.  After the $1.92 deduction this fund has just short of $3M in it.  We feel a minimum of $2.5 M is needed in the fund to buffer for overharvesting or revenue shortfall, while revenue in excess of that may be dedicated in opportunity in the bay.

SSRAA received a letter from DIPAC welcoming a request for supplemental funding; they are open to any proposal that would provide direct benefit to the common property in the short and/or long term.  The SSRAA board passed a motion to direct staff to write a letter to DIPAC requesting $1.5 M that we would place in the Neets Bay Harvest Fund. Our goal would be to create common property opportunity in lieu of cost recovery in Neets Bay with this funding.

Also we passed a motion to add $600K to the capital expansion at Burnett Inlet.  This would allow for a larger cement pad for increased production at the facility.  This should save us money in the long run on bringing Burnett to full production as we are already pouring one pad, and while the crews are there would expand the project thus saving expense in the long run.  In this motion was also starting the summer chum brood stock expansion permitting process that I spoke of last report.

Next we had a presentation from staff on the pros/cons of taking over the Prince of Whales Hatchery Association (POWHA).  This is a complex issue, a couple of the main points are that in 2013 it was a major contributor to the troll fleet, about 8% of the coho (196,683 fish/$1.85M) This is a certainly helpful in the enhanced allocation picture as a contribution to troll.  Although the negatives are also lengthy with $5.2M in debt, deferred maintenance on a state facility and substantial capital needs along with possible political issues.  The other side of that is it is doubtful the 5 million coho permit would be reissued to SSRAA if POWHA goes bankrupt.  We voted to have staff bring a couple financial options to the table in March, one being the minimum financial aid to keep POWHA in business so they can take eggs next fall until we get a better handle on the best way to proceed.

Also a motion was supported to write a letter to DIPAC stating SSRAA supported a $500K DIPAC grant to POWHA.

We also approved a two year contract extension to John Burke as General Manager.  This will be John’s last extension and we will be forming a searching committee to start looking for a new General Manager for SSRAA, also long time R&E manager Susan Doherty has given notice that she will be leaving SSRAA at the end of this year.

As SSRAA seemed to be out of options a year ago to increase production, at least in available water, it seems many things have fallen in place whereas permitting and capital funding may be the next hurdles in increasing releases.


Fishing Vessel Update from Ken Lawrenson (1/17)

No regulation changes taking effect this year, unless the folks at HQ can get the Interim Final Rule out in the Federal Register, in which case we will see implementation of some items from the 2010 and 2012 Authorization Acts (mandatory exams for all commercial fishing vessels (CFVs) beyond 3 miles of the territorial sea baseline in 2015, regs for classification for some new CFVs > 50-ft built after July2013, etc).

On the regulatory front, and this is not a new reqt, we have seen an upswing in CFVs that are getting various “direct marketing”/processing permits from the State and going into business thinking that they can start processing fish… such as filleting salmon onboard.  Owners need to be mindful that “processing” fish carries class and other requirements, or they need to work with the CG to get an exemption.

Alaskans are represented on the Commercial Fishing Safety Advisory Committee by the following members:

Jerry Dzugan (AMSEA in Sitka)
Alan Davis (American Seafoods in Seattle)
Karen Conrad (North Pacific FV Owners Assoc in Seattle)
Jake Jacobsen (Surveyor, Crab Coop, Seattle and AK)
Mark Saldi (Fisherman, Skagway)
Torie Baker (Fisherman, SeaGrant Prof, Cordova)

Contact info is at

Hope this helps.  Let me know if you or your membership have any questions or concerns.



Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Coordinator
US Coast Guard 17th District
Juneau, Alaska
907 463-2810
907 321-4110 Cell

USCG – marijuana use prohibited (1/14).  The US Coast Guard issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin regarding its recreational and medical marijuana use policies for maritime transportation workers. The bulletin notes that marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug in the federal Controlled Substances Act. As such its use by maritime transportation workers is prohibited, even when state law allows recreational or medical use of marijuana. Medical Review Officers will not verify a drug test as negative based upon marijuana use of any type.  Courtesy Bryant’s Maritime Blog


USCG – marine casualty reporting (1/14).  The US Coast Guard seeks comments on draft guidance in the form of a Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) entitled “Title 46, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 4 Marine Casualty Reporting Procedures Guide with Associated Standard interpretations”. Comments should be submitted by 14 April. 79 Fed. Reg. 2466 Courtesy Bryant’s Maritime Blog

State, feds fight lawsuit seeking federal oversight of Cook Inlet fisheries (1/14).  The Alaska Legislature’s two Finance Subcommittees on the Department of Fish and Game held a public hearing in downtown Anchorage Tuesday to discuss a lawsuit underway in which a Southcentral driftnetters association is seeking federal oversight of Cook Inlet fisheries.

The lawsuit, filed by the United Cook Inlet Drift Association (UCIDA) last year, challenges the validity of Amendment 12, an amendment to the federal Fishery Management Plan that allows for Alaska to regulate commercial salmon fishing in three areas of the state: The central part of Cook Inlet, the eastern part of Prince William Sound, and part of the waters off of the Alaska Peninsula and Unimak Island. Originally filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the case was later moved to Alaska.  More   Cook Inlet Fishermen Want Federal Fisheries Oversight  KSKA Audio (1/15)

Panel Will Target Tongass Plan Rewrite, Timber Transition (1/18).  The Forest Service is setting up an advisory board to help rewrite the Tongass National Forest’s management plan. It’s somewhat similar to another panel that shut down last year without completing its work.

Tongass managers have a couple big jobs ahead of them.

They’re reviewing and updating the land-management plan for the 17-million-acre forest. They’re also working on a roadmap for a transition from old-growth to young-growth timber harvests.

So, the agency has decided to recruit 15 people for an advisory committee.

Tongass Supervisor Forrest Cole says they’ll take about a year developing proposals for the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and the chief of the Forest Service.  More


Young Fishermen’s Summit. Youngbloods in the industry (1/13).  Charlie Ess, National Fisherman’s North Pacific bureau chief, takes a look at the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit, which aims to attract new blood into the industry and offer them assistance. The most recent summit took place in Anchorage in December.  Video

Silence can be deadly for Northern District salmon (1/9)By Howard Delo.  Last Friday, I explained why it is critical for as many residents of the Northern District of Cook Inlet as possible to show up at the Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) meeting to be held at the Egan Center in Anchorage from Jan. 31 to Feb. 13. That same day, the Chairman of the BOF, Karl Johnstone, had a Compass column in the Anchorage Daily News asking for and encouraging folks to do the same.

If you missed Johnstone’s article, he explained that the more public input the BOF received from all affected users concerning the various issues of fisheries management in Cook Inlet the better the board can make more informed and improved regulations to address correcting some of these issues. In our case, that means telling the BOF how the lack of returning Northern District salmon runs has impacted economic, recreational and quality of life issues in the Valley.  More

Treadwell rejects urban set net ban (1/10).  Alaska’s Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell rejected a ballot initiative proposal that aimed to ban set nets on Alaska’s non-subsistence shore areas earlier this week.

A release from Treadwell’s office cited advice from a Department of Law report as the reason for denying the proposal, saying it violated the Alaska Constitution.

“Were this type of initiative permissible, voters could continue to reallocate stocks to any fishery simply by eliminating specific gear or particular means and methods of catching fish,” states the letter from the Department of Law. “For example, the next initiative might propose to eliminate purse seining, trawling, dipnetting, or catch-and-release sport fishing in particular areas to increase harvest opportunity for other types of users. This would ‘prevent … real regulation and careful administration’ of Alaska’s salmon stocks, contrary to the purpose of the prohibition on initiative by appropriation.”  More

HB77.  Micciche to address permitting bill (1/16). A Soldotna legislator on Thursday said he has asked that a controversial permitting bill be sent to the Senate Resources Committee for further review when the Legislature reconvenes.

Sen. Peter Micciche, who held community meetings on HB77 last month, said his constituency does not support the bill in its current form.

The measure from Gov. Sean Parnell was billed as a way to improve the permitting process. But critics say it could hurt the public’s ability to participate in permitting decisions and give the Natural Resources commissioner too much power.

On Thursday, it was announced that about 30 tribes and Native communities had delivered resolutions to Parnell’s office opposing HB77.  More

Report: Fish unaffected by Tulsequah Chief mine discharge.  Third-party performed analysis of water quality (1/15).  Although significant levels of copper and zinc were found downstream from the Tulsequah Chief mine, the mine’s drainage poses a low risk to fish in the Tulsequah River, according to a third-party water quality assessment released Dec. 20. The report also stated the discharge does not affect the Taku River.

Scientists from Palmer Environmental Consulting Group, Core6 Environmental Ltd. and Triton Environmental Consultants, firms based in British Columbia, performed a study of the water quality at four sites in the Tulsequah River, where the mine is located near the confluence of the Taku River in British Columbia about 40 miles north of Juneau.  More  Contact me by email if you a copy of the actual report

Fish funding, bills await Legislature as session convenes (1/16).  The Alaska State Legislature will be tasked with discussing several fisheries issues when it resumes its work in Juneau Jan. 21.

Budgets for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, will top the agenda in a declining revenue environment, and fisheries research and management funding will be part of that discussion.

In 2012, Gov. Sean Parnell announced that he was seeking $30 million for a chinook salmon research initiative over five years. The Legislature appropriated $7.5 million of Parnell’s requested $10 million for the current fiscal year 2014. This year, the governor’s proposed budget calls for $10 million for the second phase of the initiative.  More

Delta Western merges with Anchorage distributor (1/9).  Two major petroleum distributors in Alaska merged at the start of this year.

Delta Western, Incorporated is one of the petroleum, fuel, and oil distributors in the Wrangell area.

It’s a large distributor throughout Southeast Alaska, Western Alaska and Bristol Bay, and the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands.

As of January 1st, 2014, it merged with Inlet Petroleum Company, a distributor based in Anchorage.  More/KSTK Audio


Murkowski Food Advocacy Effort Builds Momentum, Expands to $20 Million Alaska Salmon Purchase (1/17)

Department of Agriculture Purchases Canned Pink Salmon for Food Banks Nationwide

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After successfully encouraging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expand its efforts to provide more produce to food banks and affiliates nationwide last week, Senator Lisa Murkowski was able to help convince Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to use $20 million in existing funds to also purchase Alaska canned pink salmon for Americans in need.

Murkowski was the lead Republican on a bipartisan August letter (attached) with over 20 of her Senate colleagues recommending more be done by the USDA in light of increased need across the country through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) – leading to last week’s $126 million purchase of fruits and vegetables.

“When I initially encouraged Secretary Vilsack to consider using TEFAP funds to help provide healthy food for Americans in need, my goal was to ensure that food banks and their partners would have greater access to a wide variety of healthy foods,” said Murkowski.  “Every Alaskan knows that our salmon is brain food and full of protein, so I suggested the Department of Agriculture consider our nutritious and delicious salmon for food banks nationwide experiencing high levels of need.”

A recent survey of 250 Fairbanksans served by the Fairbanks Community Food Bank revealed that of those who received food boxes: 25% can’t find work; 20% are disabled; 20% are working poor; 8% are military; 7% were laid off; 6% are students; 5% are sick or had an accident, and 6% had unexpected situations or emergencies.

Senator Lisa Murkowski is a strong supporter of the Food Bank of Alaska and its affiliate network, having visited several branches in recent months to pitch in as well as hearing more about their day-to-day challenges.  USDA Press Release (1/15)     14.01.17.TEFAP.pdf
KTUU Story

Short Taglines on Brailers in Bristol Bay May Negatively Impact Salmon Quality (1/8)The Board of Directors for the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association will meet Friday and Saturday in Seattle to consider several proposals submitted for possible funding this year. As KDLG’s Mike Mason reports, one of the proposals seeks to offer up a simple solution to a problem that might be impacting the quality of sockeye harvested in Bristol Bay.  KDLG Audio

Commercial fishing film festival celebrates third year (1/15).  There’s a big mix of commercial fishing footage in Alaska and elsewhere, from the historical to the hysterical online this week for the Third Annual Commercial Fishing Film Festival.

The collection of fishing movies from around the globe is being broadcast online this week through January 18. Viewers can vote for their favorites and upload their own video for next year. It’s the creation of Juneau fisherman and writer David Clark, who has a commercial fishing website. Joe Viechnicki spoke with Clark about the latest installment.  More/KFSK Audio and link to videos

Video of the weekA Glimpse of Gillnetting in Southeast 


Jan 17.
  SSRAA Board meeting, KTN
Jan 21. 
Legislature convenes, JNU
Feb 10-14.  Pacific Salmon Commission, Vancouver BC
Feb 21.  USAG Port Meeting, Seattle
Mar 4-5.  NSRAA, PSG
Mar 6-7.  SSRAA, KTN
Mar 29. 
DIPAC Board Meeting, Juneau
Apr 8.  Regional Planning Team (RPT), Juneau
Apr 10Proposals due for 2015 BOF SE Finfish

Feb 23-Mar 3.   BOF SE Finfish, Sitka