Corkline-News for Southeast Gillnetters, November 18, 2014

20 Nov

Support the businesses that support you:

Icy Strait Seafoods (Juneau Plant)
Java Hus
Karluk Fisheries (Tender)
Kinematics Marine Equipment, Inc.
Kito’s Kave, Inc
Laznack Corporation, Petersburg
LFS Inc.
Madison Lumber & Supply
Milner, Howard, Mortensen and Johnson PC CPAs, Ketchikan
Murray Pacific Supply, Ketchikan and Sitks


It’s back to barging for Chieftain Metals’ Tulsequah project (11/13).  The company that’s trying to reopen the Tulsequah Chief Mine at the Canadian headwaters of Taku River has apparently abandoned plans to build a road to the mine site.

Chieftain Metals announced last month that a forthcoming update to a 2012 feasibility study no longer includes the proposed 128 kilometer road from Atlin, British Columbia. Instead, the company is going back to a plan to barge supplies and concentrated minerals to and from the mine via the salmon-rich Taku, which flows out south of Juneau.  More/KTOO Audio

Southeast communities speak out on B.C. mines (11/14). 
A growing number of municipalities in Southeast are expressing concern about the mining boom in British Columbia.

More than half a dozen mines have been proposed in B.C., and several sit in the headwaters of rivers flowing into Southeast Alaska, including the Taku, Stikine, and Unuk Rivers.

Critics are concerned the mines could affect water quality and salmon habitatMore

Transboundary group wants a voice in BC mining process (11/14).    Proposed copper mines in British Columbia have a coalition speaking out on what they say could potentially hurt salmon runs for people on both sides of the border.
Salmon navigate through their noses and that sense of smell could be in jeopardy if proposed mines are developed in British Columbia, according to Sarah O’Neal, a fisheries biologist.  More

Mount Polley Review Panel calls for written submissions (11/6).  The Mount Polley Independent Expert Engineering Investigation and Review Panel (the Review Panel) is calling for written submissions from the public and informed interest groups to provide information relating to its investigation into the breach of the tailings storage facility (TSF) at the Mount Polley Mine on Aug. 4, 2014.

The Review Panel of three geotechnical experts was established by the Mount Polley Investigation and Inquiry Regulation BC Reg. 158/2014 on Aug. 14, 2014, to investigate into and report on the breach of the Mount Polley Mine’s TSF.  More

B.C. seeks to calm mining worries in Alaska (11/7).  Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett hopes for a closer relationship with Alaska after speaking to a mining conference in Anchorage and meeting one of the new power players in U.S. resource policy.



Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett meets Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski in Anchorage Nov. 6. With a Republican majority, Murkowski is slated to take over as chair of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee next year.— Image Credit: B.C. Government Photo

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski is expected to take over next year as chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee after her Republican Party won a majority in the U.S. Senate in the Nov. 4 midterm elections. Murkowski plans to work for senate approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline to the U.S. Gulf Coast that has been held up by the former Democrat majority.

Bennett’s trip was mainly to reassure Alaska’s fishing and tourism industries about environmental controls for six proposed mines in northwest B.C. watersheds that drain to the Alaska coast. Those projects are on Alaska’s political map after the Aug. 1 tailings dam failure at Mount Polley copper-gold mine near Williams Lake.  More

Engineering firm lands $1.5-million contract to probe Mount Polley mine spill.  Critics concerned about lack of public announcement (11/7). 
The B.C. government has awarded engineering firm Klohn Crippen Berger a $1.5-million contract to help with the investigation into Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mine tailings dam collapse.

The one-year contract starts Monday, more than three months after the collapse.

The B.C. Energy and Mines Ministry, which refused The Vancouver Sun’s request for an interview, said KCB started helping out two weeks after the dam collapse.  More

Imperial Metals earnings hint at clean-up bill for Mount Polley (11/17)

Red Chris tailings review pinpoints concerns (11/18).  A 50-PAGE report done on the tailings pond design of the not-yet opened Red Chris gold and copper mine owned by Imperial Metals and located on Tahltan traditional territory outlines 22 recommendations that should be followed prior to the mine going into operation.

The report is the work of Klohn Crippen Berger, a firm chosen by the Tahltan Central Council but paid for by Imperial Metals.  More


Coast Guard Assists Fishing Vessel Taking On Water Near Juneau, Alaska (11/15).  The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Anacapa assisted the crew of the 36-foot fishing vessel Pot Luck after their vessel began taking on water near Juneau, Alaska, Friday evening.

A Coast Guard Anacapa crewmember successfully patched two holes found in the Pot Luck’s hull and escorted the vessel to Petersburg, Alaska.  More

Coast Guard Station Ketchikan gets two new boats (11/17).  KETCHIKAN — Two recently-acquired 45-foot boats will serve as the new “primary assets” for the U.S. Coast Guard’s Station Ketchikan.

The boats will be used for missions ranging from law and fisheries enforcement to recreational boat safety and search and rescue, according to Senior Chief Boatswain’s Mate Kevinn M. Smith, the officer in charge of the small boat station.

The new “Response Boat Mediums” — which cost about $2 million each and were built by Seattle’s Kvichak Marine Industries — are replacing two 47-foot motor lifeboats that had been in service at the station since 2000, Smith said Tuesday.  More

Safety.  Maintaining ‘stability’ (11/4).  Stability is a practice that most of us could use some improvement on, and the tragic loss of the tug Valour in 2006 underscores this point. It was a failure to comply with the conditions spelled out in the stability letter that led directly to the loss of the 135′ Maritrans tug and three crewmen off the coast of Cape Fear, N.C.

Stability letters are addressed specifically to a vessel’s master, and it’s the master who’s ultimately responsible for ensuring the vessel remains in constant compliance with the letter. In general, deck officers are primarily responsible for maintaining stability. But on a practical level it’s the engineers who carry out the various duties of opening and closing valves, pumping tanks, and monitoring their levels that keep a vessel in a stable state.  More

Safety.  Check radome for moisture (10/30).  Moisture can be a problem for radome-type radars, as Kevin Kinirons, who lives in Brick N.J., and works in the marine construction business, found out for himself.

Kinirons bought one of the first Simrad Yachting Broadband 3G radars for his 28-foot Pearson cabin cruiser in 2011. He likes it enough that he says he’d buy another one, even after dealing with a moisture problem that developed earlier this year.  More


NSRAA 2014 Season Recap and 2015 Forecast  Highlights:  2014 enhanced value, preliminary gear group allocation % and values

ADFG.  2015 Southeast Alaska Pink Salmon Harvest Forecast (11/13)

Southeast expects another big pink salmon catch in 2015 (11/17).  Fishery managers are forecasting another big harvest of pink salmon in Southeast Alaska next year. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is estimating the region’s catch in 2015 could hit 58 million pinks and is forecast to fall somewhere between 37 and 79 million humpies.  More/KFSK Audio

Korea’s Dongwon Invests in Silver Bay Seafoods (11/12).  Dongwon F&B Co., Ltd., of Seoul, Korea, owner of StarKist, a leader in the US tuna market, has acquired an equity interest in Silver Bay Seafoods LLC, an integrated processor of frozen, headed and gutted salmon based in Sitka, Alaska.

In an announcement issued from Seoul on Nov. 10, a spokesperson for Silver Bay said the cross-investment agreement includes having StarKist and Dongwon acquire a combined 12.5 percent equity interest in Silver Bay.  More

Fiscal Situation ‘Beyond Critical,’ Says Juneau Lobbyist (11/13).  With the legislative session quickly approaching, Kodiak’s governing bodies are trying to get the best picture possible for what things might look like in Juneau this year. On Monday night, the City Council heard from its lobbyist, Ray Gillespie, about what’s forecasted for the upcoming session. Gillespie said times are tough, and the biggest issue will likely be how to fund public services statewide.  More/KMXT Audio

LTE.  Petition targets setnet fishing (11/12).  By Cristy Fry.  Over the coming weeks and months, many of you in communities around the state will encounter individuals collecting signatures for a ballot initiative that seeks to ban setnet fishing for salmon in “urban areas” of Alaska.

The measure directly targets setnet fishing in Cook Inlet.

The people collecting these signatures will ask you if you would like to sign a petition to “save king salmon.”

That is disingenuous and very dishonest. They are collecting signatures to eliminate a way of life and an economic life-blood of Cook Inlet. Please don’t be fooled.  More

Alaska Sea Grant Fishlines (November)

APOC recommends changes to Kenai River Classic disclosures (11/6).  Public officials may need to disclose their participation in the Kenai River Classic in the future under a recent decision by the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

The commission discussed Kenai River Classic participation during an Oct. 21 meeting in Anchorage where it addressed three complaints against public officials related to past participation in the event.

Those complaints were filed against Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Cora Campbell, Department of Natural Resources Deputy Commissioner Ed Fogels and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell.  More

Hatchery rebuild progressing, minimal impact anticipated (10/30).  With a crew working six days a week, construction at the Crystal Lake Hatchery facility is moving along on schedule.  NMFS proposes to amend the Capital Construction Fund (CCF) regulations to eliminate provisions that no longer meet the needs of CCF participants, and to simplify and clarify the regulations to better implement the purposes of the underlying statute. These amendments would eliminate the minimum cost and maximum allowable completion time for reconstruction projects, requirements for minimum annual deposits and the requirement that any vessel acquired with CCF funds must be reconstructed, regardless of vessel condition. The new regulations would also add a restriction that the CCF program (program) would not allow withdrawals of funds for projects that increase harvesting capacity.

“We’re basically on schedule, which is a little bit surprising for a construction project,” Bill Gass said with a laugh. Gass is the production manager for Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (SSRAA), which is contracted to operate the Crystal Lake facility by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Sport Fish Division.  More

November Alaska Economic Trends.  November Trends, is our annual seafood harvesting employment issue. Jobs were up in 2013, reaching a level last attained in 2000. This issue also looks at the seafood processing industry and a select group of its higher-paying occupations. Finally, Trends profiles Alaska’s CDQ groups, or Community Development Quota groups, six corporations that help manage catches and revenue for 65 Western Alaska villages.

Outlook Upbeat for Alaska Seafood Harvesters, Processors (11/4).  A new labor report on employment in Alaska’s seafood industry says the harvesting sector in 2013 averaged monthly employment growth not seen since 2000, and predicts continued grow in the processing sector through 2022.

The November edition of Alaska Trends, focused on seafood harvesting and processing jobs, also notes that the six community development quota groups tasked with boosting the economy of 65 villages in Western Alaska had gross revenues of $318 million in 2013, from a variety of sources that included fishing, processing, quota royalties, program revenue, and investment income, and combined net assets for 2013 amounted to $899 million.  More

Faced With Min. Wage Hike, Seafood Plants See Room to Cut (11/5).  Alaska’s minimum wage initiative flew mostly under the radar this fall, overshadowed by high-profile Congressional races. But ballot measure three proposes a big change to state’s minimum wage structure — increasing it by two dollars over the next two years, to $9.75 an hour. After that, it would be adjusted for inflation.

In Unalaska, at least 83 percent of voters supported that plan. The seafood industry — which is the biggest source of minimum wage jobs in Unalaska — didn’t expect anything less.

Leading up to the election, they were already considering ways to scale back their workforce.  More

Homer News. Seawatch.  Study looks at potential of buyback in Bristol Bay (11/5).  The Bristol Bay salmon fishery is one step closer to a potential buyback program with the release of a report by Northern Economics, commissioned by the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, exploring various possible scenarios and structures of a buyback.  More

Stutes Given House Fisheries Chair (11/7).  The Alaska State House of Representatives met last night to sort out leadership and committee chairmanships. Mike Chenault of Nikiski will serve an unprecidented fourth term as Speaker. 

Kodiak’s representative-elect Louise Stutes has been gtiven the chairmanship of the House Fisheries Special Committee.

Former Kodiak Representative Gabrielle LeDoux, now of Anchorage, will serve as chair of the Judiciary Committee. Link

Alaskans Appointed to Fish Commission (11/6).  Six Alaskans nominated by Governor Sean Parnell were appointed by the U.S. secretary of state to serve on a panel for the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission. The panel serves as a forum for promoting the conservation of anadromous stocks and ecologically related species in the North Pacific Ocean; and advises the U.S. Section of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission on living marine resource conservation and high seas fishery enforcement issues….Art Nelson…Dale Kelley… Andrew Bassich… Steve Reifenstuhl… Robert Ruffner… John Jensen.  More


Fishermen get hands-on with marketing their harvest (11/13).  From Sitka to Kodiak, small, independent commercial fishermen are taking an increasingly hands-on role in marketing their own fish.

Rhonda Hubbard and her husband Jim of Seward started selling and processing their own fish more than two decades ago. Since then, she’s seen more fishermen do the same.

Hubbard said that the markets many of those fishermen reach, like farmers’ markets in the Lower 48 and other small sales opportunities, are niches that traditional processors often can’t fill.  More

Workshop Focuses on Quality Seafood (11/17).  A handful of organizations are teaming up to ensure folks employed by the seafood industry are putting out the best possible products. Kodiak’s Seafood and Marine Science Center hosted the first ever Seafood Processing Quality Control Training Program this week and last, which is sponsored by Icicle Seafoods and supported by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, or ASMI.

Two different examples of canned salmon sit on a table in the pilot processing plant at the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center. Participants of the Seafood Processing Quality Control Training Program has to determine the quality of samples and whether or not certain ones were spoiled. In this case, the quality product is on the right, while the salmon containing spoilage is on the left. Brianna Gibbs/Photo

KMXT’s Brianna Gibbs stopped by the center on Friday and filed this report.  KMXT Audio

AFDF Fall Newsletter (11/6)

Saltonstall Kennedy Funding Opportunity.  Apps due 12/15.  The objective of the Saltonstall Kennedy (S-K) Grant Program is to address the needs of fishing communities in optimizing economic benefits by building and maintaining sustainable fisheries and practices, dealing with the impacts of conservation and management measures, and increasing other opportunities to keep working waterfronts viable. NMFS seeks applications that demonstrate direct benefits to U.S. fishing industries and encourages proposals that involve fishing community participation. S-K grant applications are due by 11:59 PM EST 12/15/2014. NEW!

For more information see Click on the blue “Application Package” tab and then download the application package: “Alaska Applications Saltonstall Kennedy 2014/2015”.

‘Organic’ fish labeling? Why it’s a bad idea. (10/31).  The United States government is poised to release regulations that allow fish farmed in the open ocean to be labeled “organic.” This is a bad idea. Farming fish at sea can never meet the high bar of integrity that is integral to all organic systems of production. Center for Food Safety’s new Report: Like Water and Oil: Ocean-Based Fish Farming and Organic Don’t Mix details, with scientific rigor, the four main reasons why that is so, explained below:  More

Americans ate more salmon than tuna last year (11/3).  U.S. consumer’s favored salmon in 2013, with per capita consumption surging by 34 percent for this mainstay offering of Seattle-based seafood processors.

That was enough for salmon — both wild and farm-raised offerings — to push past tuna and claim the No. 2 spot on the list of the nation’s most-consumed seafood.

In 2013, salmon consumption was topped only by shrimp, according to an analysis by the National Fisheries Institute based on information from NOAA Fisheries.  More

Low Chum Inventories Creating Price Volatility (11/4).  US – The chum salmon fishery is well underway but verylow inventories is causing price volatility, reports Rob Reierson in the 3-Minute Market Insight from Tradex Foods, Monday 3 November. Video

MSC Updates
Alaska salmon – Surveillance visit scheduled
Alaska salmon (Prince William Sound) – Site visits scheduled

Pediatrician Encourages Parents to Make a Resolution to Eat Fish Once or Twice a Week to Improve Health (11/4).  As part of a 12-month resolution challenge designed to help families eat nutritious foods and become physically active, Dr. Marta Katalenas, an Austin, TXpediatrician, recommends eating fish once or twice a week, beginning in November. By eating meals consisting of fish on a weekly basis, families can prevent certain diseases and chronic illnesses.  More

Scientists Challenge Seafood Ecolabeling & Sustainability Standards (11/6).  Senior scientists and fishery managers from leading fishing nations concluded three days of talks on the status of fisheries and sustainability of seafood at the fourth annual Science and Sustainability Forum (SSF) which called for the re-evaluation of seafood ecolabelling guidelines that many say are being misapplied particularly in small scale fisheries and coastal communities. A major concern is that ecolabelling is creating market barriers for coastal fisheries and communities.

“What we have seen is that many of these [ecolabelling] schemes are eliminating access of small scale fisheries particularly in developing states to international markets,” said Fabio Hazin, Chair of the UN Food & Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Committee on Fisheries. “This is a very worrying trend and we have to come up with a solution for that.”    More


Warming Pacific Drives Global Temperatures (11/15).  record global surface temperatures this year and the abortive El Nino Pacific Ocean warming event and may also spell the end of the global warming pause, according to two leading climate scientists.

US space agency NASA and other organisations have reported record global average surface temperatures over the last six months or so and these are believed to be connected to a warming in the sea surface temperature (SST) of the Pacific Ocean, especially in the north, according to Axel Timmermann of the University of Hawaii and Kevin Trenberth of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research.   More

Virus may be cause of epidemic killing millions of sea stars (11/17). SEATTLE — Grisly sea star deaths are continuing to litter the tidelands along the West Coast with decaying, ghostly goo, but scientists now believe they, at least, may have identified a potential culprit.

New evidence suggests a mysterious wasting disease killing sea stars by the millions may be the result of a waterborne virus that has been found in starfish since at least the 1940s, according to research published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  More

Study offers solution for stormwater threat to salmon (11/18).  Stormwater runoff that results from everyday activities – oils from leaky cars, pesticides from lawns and other pollutants – killed fish within four hours in a recent study. The salmon were fine when the same water was filtered through a simple mixture of gravel, sand and compost.  More

Study says natural factors, not humans, behind West Coast warming (11/4).  SEATTLE — When scientists on a boat in the Gulf of Alaska pulled their net in August, they saw something stunning: a live ocean sunfish.

Mostly found in the tropics or temperate waters, these giant 6-foot-long snub-bodied creatures are incredibly rare in Alaska. And that was just the start.

Four days later, one of the same researchers saw a warm-water blue shark circling near another sunfish. Days after that, the boat hauled up yet another living sunfish.  More

170,000 fish in hand.  A look inside DIPAC’s coho, Chinook tagging process (11/7).  As you read this sentence, a Douglas Island Pink and Chum hatchery worker likely has one of one million young Chinook salmon in hand.

Every year, DIPAC hatchery workers spend weeks handling tens of thousands of Chinook and coho salmon individually, clipping their adipose fins as a sign they come from a hatchery and tagging them with a one millimeter long coded stainless steel wire.

According to rates determined by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 10 percent of the hatchery’s Chinook salmon are tagged; seven percent of its coho salmon are tagged, said DIPAC Director of Operations Rick Focht.  More

Bigger fish.  DIPAC’s average coho size increases by 50 percent (11/7).  If you fish from the dock in front of the Juneau Empire building, you may have noticed the coho are getting bigger.

For more than 20 years, Douglas Island Pink and Chum used the same coho stock, said Director of Operations Rick Focht.  More




Dec 2.  Drift Gillnet Task Force, PSG  SEE AGENDA BELOW

Dec 3.  USAG Annual Board Meeting, PSG

Dec 3.  Seine Task Force, PSG

Dec 4.  Joint RPT, PSG

Dec 6.  DIPAC Board, Juneau

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 23-Mar3.   BOF SE Finfish, Sitka

Mar 11-12.  NSRAA Board, Sitka


Southeast Alaska Drift Gillnet Task Force Agenda

Borough Assembly Chambers, Petersburg, Alaska

December 2, 2014, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

Introduction of meeting participants, distribute meeting materials, and review agenda – Dan Gray (ADF&G) and Tom Gemmell (USAG)

B.  Review of 2014 season and 2015 season outlook

2014 Gillnet Fishery Harvest and Value– Handouts

Justin Breese – Tree Point

Tom Kowalske – Prince of Wales and Stikine

Dave Harris – Taku/Snettisham

Randy Bachman – Lynn Canal

Andy Piston – 2014 escapement review

C.  Hatchery Operators Summaries and Forecasts

DIPAC – Eric Prestegard 

NSRAA – Steve Reifenstuhl 

SSRAA – John Burke

D.  Discussion Topics

  1. ADFG involvement/funding in evaluating AK/BC mine reviews. (Kyle Moselle, staff).
    1. Overview, Mount Polley tailings dam breach – what is state doing?  
    2. Overview of Unuk River stocks and potential KSM Mine impacts
    3. Tulsequah Chief Mine (Taku); baseline water quality
    4. Galore Creek Mine (Stikine)
    5. Red Chris Mine beginning production
    6. Bokan Mine
  2. Chinook research program (Lowell Fair).
  3. Icy Strait/Lisianski/Chatham/Amalga sockeye genetic sampling program update (Sara Gilk-Baumer).
  4. Icy Strait/Lisianski purse seine fishery; sockeye harvest and genetic results; Chilkat and Chilkoot. Sampling program issues (Dave G, Randy, Sara, Anne Reynolds).
  5. Genetic analysis, capacity & ability to handle demands, status of funding and laboratory capacity, status of sockeye baseline studies (Sara).
  6. Kootznoowoo concerns, update on extended jurisdiction, ADFG cooperation, 2014 subsistence harvest and escapement, Kanalku modifications, appropriation, collection of sockeye genetics – harvest in Lisianski Inlet,  Icy Strait, Chatham and Lynn Canal (Dave H, Sara).
  7. Use of 90 mesh nets to explore whether sockeye may be running deep into the Stikine. Discussion of impacts of increasing gillnets from 60 to 80/90 meshes deep (Troy, all).
  8. Kashevarof or Whale Pass Midweeks, or extra opportunity on Neck Lake coho. District 6&8 coho fishery (Troy). 
  9. McDonald Lake update, escapement, sentinel project (Andy).
  10. Coho index stream escapements, run strength, and extended season (Andy).
  11. Pink escapements–problem areas (e.g. Taku, Chilkoot) (Andy, Randy, Dave H).
  12. Skeena River issues (Scott W).
  13. Department budget update for FY2015 and FY2016 (Lowell).
    1. What was cut in past three FY?
    2. What has been added in past three FY?
    3. What are trends and forecast for Treaty funds?
  14. ADFG personnel changes and replacements – Is the Treaty team ready? (Lowell)
  15. Anadromous Waters Catalog (Dan G).
  16. Adding latitude/longitude to regulations and EO announcements (e.g. issues in 2014 with Little Island Light) (Dan G, Randy).
  17. Stikine king harvest in spring hatchery access troll fisheries, hatchery percentage per week, comparison with historical allocation of this run (Troy). 
  18. Opening District 11C below Midway Island on a regular basis, beginning the 1st week of the gillnet season (Dave H).
  19. Snettisham wild/hatchery harvest strategy (Dave H).
  20. Amalga Harbor purse seine fishery, sockeye harvest, 2012-14 (Dave H).
  21. District 8 spring troll and gillnet openings (Troy).
  22. Stikine subsistence fishery, FSB increase of subsistence sockeye harvest (Troy).
  23. Taku and Stikine Chinook spring opening (Troy, Dave H). 
  24. Troll and Gillnet Coho extensions, additional gillnet opportunities (Troy).
  25. Discussion about cruise ship corridors (Kathy Hansen).

E.  Future Task Force Meetings

  1. Set next meeting time and place (Sitka).

F.  Adjourn