Corkline-News for Southeast Gillnetters, March 15, 2013

23 Mar

Please take a moment to thank these businesses  which have renewed their USAG Membership for 2012 or 2013 and encourage other support sector businesses to do the same

 USAG Dues.  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 $35,315,218—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.


NTSB – fatigue as a safety issue.  The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a news release stating that it recognizes National Sleep Awareness Week (3-10 March) and the seriousness of fatigue as a safety issue across all modes of transportation.  Courtesy Bryant’s Maritime Blog

Coast Guard encourages vessel examinations despite delay of mandatory compliance date (3/15).  In December, the Coast Guard and Marine Transportation Act of 2012 was signed into law. This act amended several sections made by the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010. But, what does this mean for our local fishermen?

In October, it was stated that fishermen operating beyond three nautical miles of the territorial sea baseline were required to have certified Coast Guard safety examinations prior to the start of their respective fishing seasons. This latest round of amendments to the act however, delayed implementation of these mandatory examinations until 2015.

Ken Lawrenson, the Coast Guard 17th District commercial fishing vessel safety coordinator, explained that even though these Coast Guard examinations are not yet implemented, it is strongly encouraged that fishermen still get their vessels examined prior to the 2015 cutoff date.  More

Ucore: Bokan Mine plans moving forward (3/13).  The Canadian company exploring the potential of a rare-earth mine in southern Southeast Alaska has completed the project’s scoping document, and it appears promising that Ucore will develop the Bokan Mine on Prince of Wales Island.  More/KRBD Audio

New Sealaska bill a controversial compromise (3/14).  A revised version of Sealaska Lands Legislation is back before Congress.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced the new bill, known as S.340. A similar measure has been introduced into the House by Congressman Don Young (H.R. 740).

S. 340 replaces legislation from two years ago which came under immediate fire from environmentalists, Southeast communities, and even some Sealaska shareholders who claimed it overstepped the intent of the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act — known as ANCSA.  More  COMMENTARY:  Sealaska bill takes what’s left of northern POW (3/14)

S.340 as introduced Feb 14

Senator Murkowski Issue paper:

News Release from Senate Energy Committee:

Southeast Fishermen Lobby for Stricter Salmon Habitat (3/12).  The Tongass National Forest, the nation’s largest, stretches 500 miles along the southeast panhandle.

And it’s part of one of the world’s most productive salmon fisheries.

“The economy has really transitioned to this replenishable, healthy fishery,” said Jesse Remund.

Remund fishes with his family off the southern tip of Baranof Island. He said the region has moved beyond timber. In fact, he doesn’t know anyone who works in logging anymore.

His family fishes black cod and halibut and Coho salmon.

Remund, in Washington D.C. this week, met with Democratic Congressional staffs to urge them to upgrade the protective status of some 1.9 million acres in the Tongass.  More

New Guest Worker Visa Won’t be Ready This Season (3/14).  We continue our series this week with Senator Mark Begich discussing fishing industry issues from the Boston Seafood Show. Today, he talks about the replacement for the J-1, or foreign student workers visa bill, which he calls “H-2-O.”

He introduced the legislation this week, but says it will not likely help processors this summer. That’s because it’s part of a larger piece of legislation, the new immigration reform bill, which, because of its controversial nature, will not likely sail through Congress smoothly.  More/KMXT Audio

Objections mount as FDA reviews genetically engineered salmon (3/5).  Every summer since 1979, Kim Hubert has fished for sockeye salmon in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. It’s a family business in tiny Togiak that has, from time to time, also employed his wife and three children.

Hubert and his 21-year-old daughter work the nets now. They’re small permit holders who may catch and sell thousands of salmon in their nets each year, depending on the success of the run. “We’ve got a fish camp out there, we enjoy the people and the bay and the work,” said Hubert, 58, a retired schoolteacher who lives in Eagle River. “Some years we lose a few bucks, and some years we make a few.”

They and other fishermen have been casting a wary eye on Washington, where the Food and Drug Administration is considering whether AquaBounty, a Massachusetts-based company with a lab on Prince Edward Island in Canada and growing facilities in Panama, may sell genetically engineered salmon to consumers in the United States.  More

State touts Alaska ‘marketing opportunities (3/7). As part of an initiative to promote Alaska’s key industries and economic potential, senior Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development officials will meet with mining companies, travel media, national and international seafood leaders, and the cruise industry at a series of major East Coast conferences and events this month, the department announced.

According to the DCCED statement, Commissioner Susan Bell, Economic Development Director Lorene Palmer and staff participated in a convention and trade show in Toronto put on by the Prospectors and Developers Association last weekend, hosting potential investors and mining companies in an Alaska-themed room and making a presentation on mining activities and opportunities in Alaska.  More


Petersburg.  Assembly to weigh-in against ADFG cuts (3/5).  The Petersburg Borough Assembly will join fishing groups to speak out against proposed cuts to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s budget.

Petersburg Vessel Owners Association Director Brian Lynch told the assembly on Monday that a House Finance Subcommittee had recommended a 550 thousand dollar reduction from the Governor’s proposed budget for the Commercial Fisheries Division in Southeast. At a minimum, he said the decrease would impact port sampling programs which are used to help manage the region’s salmon fisheries. Lynch, who is a retired, state fishery manager, said spring king salmon trolling is especially at risk since it’s highly dependent on port sampling data.  More

House Fish and Game Finance Subcommittee Recommends $1M Cut to ADFG Budget (2/28).  Proposed cuts include $550K hit for Southeast.  Video of hearing  Written recommendation
SE Industry letters attached.   We are following this closely as it moves to the Senate.

Swanson: Seaton’s bill takes on invasive specie threat in needed wake-up call (3/6).  Hats off to Representative Paul Seaton of Homer.

Seaton has introduced legislation, House Bill 89, that directs the state Department of Fish and Game to set up a rapid response plan to deal with incipient aquatic invasions. Other state agencies with responsibilities for the health of state waters would be drawn in, as well. Seaton’s measure also establishes an aquatic invasive species fund.

Aquatic invasive species are a well-known problem in Alaska, and it’s high time for such action here, in perhaps the most marine and freshwater-dependent state in the country. Once introduced, aquatic invaders are difficult to eradicate, and can have a permanent effect on the environment including catastrophic damage to local fisheries.  More

Homer News Seawatch.  2013 salmon numbers look good because of pinks (3/6).  The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has released an extensive look at the salmon season just passed mixed with a peek at the one coming up.

The state is predicting a bumper salmon crop next year in terms of numbers, with a total catch expected to be about 179 million fish, an increase of 30 percent over the 2012 season catch of 127 million fish. However, that number is driven by an expected odd-year jump in low-value pink salmon harvest expected to reach 118 million fish, compared to the 2012 catch of 68 million pinks.

Nearly half of the pink harvest should take place in Southeast, where ADF&G predicts a catch of 54 million fish. That compares to a 2012 pink harvest of 21.3 million fish.

Prince William Sound is looking at a potential harvest of 38.3 million pinks, up from 27.2 million in 2012, but the vast majority of those, 33.6 million fish, are expected to come from hatchery production.  More

Man cited for selling sport-caught salmon (3/12).  Alaska Wildlife Troopers this weekend caught a man selling sport-caught salmon at the Southeast Artisans Flea Market, a business in the Nugget Mall complex.

Troopers say they received a tip that local resident Christopher C. Ruiz, 24, was selling sport-caught fish, and they went undercover on Sunday to purchase some.

Lt. Steve Hall, the trooper in command of the Southeast region, said Ruiz sold them jarred Chum and King salmon. It cost $8 for a small jar.  More

My Turn: For whom is the governor working? Not the people (2/27).  This year, the Governor’s Office has introduced a number of contentious bills and proposals, including billion dollar giveaways, drastic changes to water regulation and protection and citizen initiative reversals. In the face of these contentious issues, I’ve asked myself “Who is this administration working for? Me? My family and fellow Alaskans?”  More

Chinook fund bill debated (2/27).  After some discussion about broadening a bill before the House Fisheries Committee that would create an endowment fund to support research into Chinook salmon, legislators decided Tuesday to keep the proposed fund focused on Alaska’s state fish.

Bethel Democratic Rep. Bob Herron, the sponsor of House Bill 49, described Chinook salmon — often known, especially outside Alaska, as “king salmon” — as “a canary in the coal mine” for impacts to wild salmon stocks.

“Usually, it’s the species that tells us that there are issues within its life environment, and the other salmon species may follow unless we do something about it,” said Herron.

H.B. 49 would create an endowment fund within the Alaska Department of Revenue, as well as a grant account within the general fund from which the Legislature could appropriate money to the Chinook endowment.  More  HB49 including support documents  Video of HFSH Committee (2/26)

Allegations of a “War on Salmon” (2/27).   Listen to audio |  Download audio (3:41) .  A well known environmental activist is accusing the administration of Alaska Governor Sean Parnell of waging a “war on salmon”.

Court Agrees State of Alaska Not Protecting Chuitna Salmon (2/28).  In a decision issued February 25, 2013, the Alaska Superior Court ruled that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) violated its own rules by denying Alaskans’ their right to keep water in streams to protect wild salmon runs. The decision in Chuitna Citizens Coalition vs. Dan Sullivan, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, takes on special importance as the Alaska legislature considers bills introduced by Governor Parnell (HB 77/SB 26) which will strip Alaskans of their right to protect “instream flows,” which are designed to ensure salmon have enough water to survive before other out-of-stream uses are permitted.  More

ADFG.  Consideration of hatchery projects as a means of mitigating impacts of declining Chinook salmon runs (Feb 2013).

ADFG.  Special Publication 13-03.  Run Forecasts and Harvest Projections for 201 Alaska Salmon Fisheries and Review of the 2012 Season (Feb 2013)

Cruise industry wins wastewater mixing zones (2/19).  The Alaska State Senate passed the governor’s controversial cruise ship wastewater legislation Tuesday morning. Proponents of the bill enjoyed a solid win with 15 out of 20 votes.

The bill was sent to Gov. Sean Parnell’s desk for his signature.

House Bill 80 eliminates a water quality criterion in the 2006 citizens initiative on cruise industry taxes and water quality that requires large passenger vessels to meet state standards at the point of discharge — measured where the effluent leaves the ship.

With the requirement removed, the Alaska Department of Conservation can write permits for cruise ships that allow for mixing zones in the marine environment in which to dilute discharged wastewater.  More

Parnell bill to streamline permitting moving in Juneau (2/21).  Gov. Sean Parnell’s bill to streamline state permitting procedures is moving rapidly through legislative committees in Juneau.

This is the second year Parnell has sought changes. Last year the governor proposed, and lawmakers approved, House Bill 361, which made some of the most important changes the governor had wanted.

This year’s changes, in House Bill 77 and Senate Bill 26, involve additional streamlining steps proposed by the state Division of Land and Water Management. HB 77 is now in the House Rules Committee, while SB 26 is in the Senate Finance Committee.

Some of the most important changes include:  ~~~

• Reserves the rights to apply for in-stream water flow reservations to agencies and municipalities, and eliminates the ability of private or non-government entities to apply for the water reservations.

• Reserves the right to file appeals of state Best Interest Findings to those who have an interest or will be harmed by a proposed action, and to file other types of appeals.

The water reservation exclusion of private parties has caused the most criticism of the bills to date. One of the two successful amendments in the House Resources Committee, offered by Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, gives 35 people with pending water reservation applications one year from the bill’s passage to pick a qualified entity to continue their request. Several of the pending applications could impact plans for development of the Pebble mine project.

Seaton warned that bill could also prompt new “extended jurisdiction” claims by federal agencies in response to Native tribes seeking protection of subsistence resources.  More

NSRAA Spring Meeting Packet

Agenda – Spring 2013 (pdf file) – Preliminary

Board Book – Spring 2013 (pdf file) – This is the first time we’ve posted our entire board book online. The file is 4.4 MB, so be patient while it loads.

2012 Recap / 2013 Forecast / Allocation Update (presented at Fall 2012 meeting)

Scroll down for presentations


Chefs Wanted for 2013 Great Alaska Seafood Cook Off (3/8).  The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute is looking to crown the next king or queen of Alaska seafood. The institute is hosting the Great Alaska Seafood Cook-Off May 8 in Anchorage and inviting chefs from around the state to enter the competition to compete head-to-head for the honor of representing Alaska this August at the Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans.

The call for entries begins today and will be collected until April 5. A panel of judges will choose the six winning chefs that will advance to the live competition in May.  Any professional chef is invited to enter the contest.  More

Governor Promotes Alaska Seafood in Boston (3/11).  Boston, Mass. – Governor Sean Parnell is promoting Alaska seafood during a trip to Boston this week. With more than 19,000 attendees expected, including more than 30 Alaska seafood companies, the Boston Seafood Show is one of the largest seafood exhibitions in North America. The event is being held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

“Alaska’s seafood industry is a crucial part of our state’s economy,” Governor Parnell said. “It’s a pleasure to celebrate and promote one of Alaska’s greatest natural resources – our salmon. The Boston Seafood Show is a fantastic venue for us to tout our message of wild, healthy, and sustainably-harvested Alaskan seafood.”

The governor and representatives from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) today met with representatives of key Alaska seafood buyers including Darden Restaurants, Costco, Long John Silver’s restaurants and Captain D’s restaurants.

Tonight, Governor Parnell will attend an Alaska-themed reception hosted by ASMI and sponsored by Alaska’s major seafood processors. Approximately 900 customers and clients of Alaska seafood products are expected to attend.  Link

Begich Announces Two Bills to Strengthen Nation’s Seafood Industry (3/12).  Takes on Seafood Bandits, Addresses Alaska’s Unique Workforce Needs.

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich introduced today two bills to strengthen the nation’s seafood industry by addressing workforce needs within the industry and cracking down on the problem of mislabeled and fraudulent seafood on the market.

Begich, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, and the Coast Guard, announced the bills the same day he stopped by the International Boston Seafood Show where he visited with Alaskans displaying their famous seafood products at the world renowned show.  More  KMXT Radio (3/13)

Time to move fish farms onto land? Federal report says it should be explored (with video) (3/8).  Canada should support the development and expansion of closed containment salmon farming and explore transitioning the aquaculture industry away from ocean-based net pens, according to a committee report tabled in the House of Commons Thursday.

A high-tech, environmentally friendly land-based industry could be a significant economic driver in rural and first nations communities, according to the report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.

But while the report promotes closed containment systems as a technology of the future, it leaves the door open to the continued growth of the existing ocean-based salmon farming industry, dismissing evidence of environmental damage caused by open net-pen fish farms as “inconclusive.”  More

Economist is Optimistic About Long Term Outlook for Alaska Salmon Markets (3/27).  A veteran fisheries economist says there are many reasons for optimism about the economic future of Alaska wild salmon.

Gunnar Knapp of the University of Alaska’s Institute of Social and Economic Research told Alaska legislators in the House Fisheries recently that the global demand for salmon is likely to keep growing because of growing populations, growing incomes, the health benefits of salmon and new product forms that appeal to a broader range of consumers. And wild salmon, said Knapp are in limited supply, so there is potential for niche market differentiation.

There are also potential limits, said Knapp, to the growth of farmed salmon production due to potential for disease problems and limits to fish oil and fish meal feed sources.  More

Gunnar Knapp.  Trends in Alaska and World Salmon Markets (2/27).  Gunnar Knapp, ISER director and professor of economics, recently talked to the Alaska Legislature about trends in Alaska and world salmon markets. Read his presentation to learn about how salmon markets are changing, what’s driving the changes, and what the future might hold. – Presentation

NY times.  Educated Consumers Inform the Industry (3/3).  I landed my first job as commercial fisherman in 1995. We spent the season gillnetting in a small skiff for Sockeye salmon near the mouth of the Kvichak River in Bristol Bay, Alaska. At age 19, I came for the adventure and allure of quick but hard-earned money. We landed an average amount of fish that year but the following season and subsequent decade proved to be a bust. The mighty Kvichak Sockeye run had collapsed and it was unclear exactly why.  More

My fantasy stint on ‘Top Chef’ in Juneau with Padma oh-so-near (2/19).  Editor’s Note: Clint Farr spent nine days working as a production assistant during the filming of Bravo’s “Top Chef” season finale. Until Juneau, Alaska, was mentioned in the show Jan. 30, Farr was contractually obliged not to speak about the project. Now that’s he’s “unleashed,” he’s shared some of his thoughts on the experience.  More

Josh Valentine and Padma Lakshmi of the hit cooking show “Top Chef” in Juneau, Alaska. Courtesy Bravo TV


Apr 10.  Joint RPT, Sitka NSRAA Office (Agenda below)


Draft Agenda

Southern, Northern, & Joint Southeast Regional Planning Team Meetings

April 10, 2013

NSRAA Office

1308 Sawmill Creek Road

Sitka, Alaska 99835

Wednesday April 11 – SNJ-RPT Meeting,

NSRAA Board Room (9:00 am until 5 pm if necessary)

1.0  Call to Order

2.0  Introductions/ Public comment

3.0  Amend and/or approve agenda

4.0  Review recommendations from December 5 meeting in Juneau.

5.0  Approve Minutes from December 5 meeting in Juneau.

6.0 Action Items:

Southern Southeast Regional Planning Team (SSERPT)      

6.1– SSRAA: move fall chum salmon broodstock program from Neets Bay Hatchery to Burnett Inlet hatchery. Permitted capacity would increase by 6 million chum salmon eggs.

Northern Southeast Regional Planning Team (NSERPT)

6.2– NSRAA: add Medvejie Creek Hatchery coho salmon rearing sites to Hidden Falls Hatchery permit (no increase in capacity).

6.3– Sitka Sound Science Center: increase permitted capacity of chum salmon from 10 million to 12 million eggs (additional capacity to be released from hatchery).

6.4– Armstrong Keta-Inc.: increase permitted capacity of pink salmon at Port Armstrong Hatchery from 85 million to 135 million eggs and add Port Lucy as a release site.

Joint Southeast Regional Planning Team (JSERPT)

6.5– Update on the current state of enhanced salmon allocation (Flip Pryor).

6.6– JSERPT allocation comment to commissioner (to include Hidden Falls THA tax assessment).

6.7– Finalize guidelines for addressing Southeast enhanced salmon allocation by the JSERPT.

7.0-         Information and Discussion Items:

7.2– SSRAA Whitman Lake Hatchery plumbing related salmon shuffle.

7.3– SSSC salmon straying update.

7.4– High seas production potential (the ratio of mouths to groceries) (Leon Shaul).

8.0 Additional Business

9.0 Next Meeting Date (Wednesday December 4 or 11 in Ketchikan, by traditional rotation, or with Task Force Meetings?)

10.0 Adjourn