Our letters and other news

24 Jul

Mining / Transbondary. Constantine Metal Resources Ltd. is pleased to report the first round of assay results for a 10,000-meter drill program currently underway at its Palmer Joint Venture Project, Alaska(“Palmer” or the “Project”). Wide intervals of silver-gold-zinc-lead-barite mineralization have been intersected in the first two drill holes located 150 meters along strike to the southeast from the AG Zone discovery, increasing the total strike length to 350 meters.

Imperial Metals, owners of Mt. Polley Mine and Red Chris mine near Wrangell says their copper and gold production is down over 30% as the workers at Mt. Polley have been on an over 7 week strike.

The same company was just ordered by B.C.’s Labour Relations Board to pay back wages to some workers they laid off from Mt. Polley Mine. The company is under severe financial hardship, which will make it nearly impossible for them to ensure the full financial securities for mine clean-up and any closures, leaving the public, taxpayers, communities downstream with potentially hundreds of millions in liability and true clean-up costs along with increased risks to our shared waterways.

Salmon / Seafood. Operators of fish hatcheries in Southeast Alaska are a little puzzled with early returns of chum salmon this summer. The numbers of four-year-old dog salmon are not living up to expectations, while younger and older fish are making up a bigger portion of this season’s catches.

Click HERE for Fish and Game’s ‘blue sheet’ that summarizes our commercial salmon fisheries –updated each Friday during the season.

SSRAA’s Chum Common Property Update from July 16:  The more “outside” returns to Kendrick and Nakat should just be moving into the peak week of the return, and continue at some level into early August.  The more “inside” runs, Neets and Anita, should peak at about the 25th of July or a few days later and remain strong into early August.   Continues…

DIPAC’s update: The gillnet chum catch numbers are falling below forecast for both Lynn Canal and Taku Inlet through the fifth opener of the season. Sample information from the 7/15 gillnet opener is as follows: Lynn Canal – average weight of 7.6 pounds and a sex ratio of 41% male and 59% female. The age comp was 0% – 6’s, 31% – 5’s, 40% – 4’s and 29% – 3’s. Taku Inlet – average weight of 8.3 pounds and a sex ratio of 41% male and 59% female. The age comp was 0% – 6’s, 53% – 5’s, 33% – 4’s and 14% – 3’s and MORE.

Earlier this month, the U.S. House passed a revision of the Magnuson Stevens Act sponsored by Alaska Congressman Don Young. The original 1976 Magnuson Stevens is almost universally praised. It’s the law that keeps foreign fishing fleets off America’s shores and established regional management councils to rebuild fish stocks and ensure sustainable harvests. But Young’s renewal of the law is not without controversy.

Whales. For a few hours Tuesday, a reported giant squid sighting in Lynn Canal excited marine researchers. But, after some investigation, it was determined the alleged squid was, in fact, a decomposing whale.

Marketing. Trump’s trade war now includes tariffs on seafood going to and from China. China is Alaska’s biggest seafood buyer purchasing 54 percent of Alaska seafood exports last year valued at $1.3 billion. On July 6 a 25 percent tariff went into effect on U.S. imports to China, including all Alaska salmon, pollock, cod, herring, flatfish, Dungeness crab, sablefish, geoduck clams and more. Then on July 11, Trump added a 10 percent tariff on all seafood sent from China to the US. Sackton called the 10 percent tariff “a $275-million-dollar direct tax on Americans.” More here.

USAG. While you have been busy catching salmon, USAG has been busy writing letters to support your business and our industry. Letters such as:

  • The Board of Fisheries had an emergency meeting July 17 to discuss if submitted petitions were emergencies and needed attention. One petition that concerned us was to challenge the Valdez Fisheries Development Association, a Valdez-based salmon hatchery, to increase its production of pink salmon brood stock.  Filed by the Kenai River Sportfish Association and other sportfish groups, the petition seeks to reverse a permit approved over two years ago by that region’s Regional Planning Team and the F&G Commissioner at the Board of Fish level. If passed it would set a new precedent as there is already a process in place for permitting hatchery releases.  In a joint letter we wrote with Southeast Alaska Seiners (SEAS), we reminded the board they already voted this was not an emergency and that the existing public processes to change hatchery production with Regional Planning Teams works very well. It was voted down again last week. A more in depth evaluation of statewide hatchery programs will occur this October at the Board of Fisheries and at each Regional Planning Team meeting. As so much of our fleet’s value come from enhanced fish this is very concerning; we will continue to keep a close eye on the Board’s position. Hatchery associations throughout the state have grouped together and hired personnel to fight this campaign against enhanced fish.
  • We’ve supported the Pacific Salmon Commission process and its panels with numerous letters of appreciation (one with SEAS and Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance (SEAFA) for those serving on the commission and working on fair salmon treaty negotiations.
  • We wrote ADF&G with SEAS, SEAFA and Petersburg Vessel Owners about the 2016 pink salmon disaster relief money to request that we be involved in developing the criteria that will guide the funding request and disbursements. (Gillnetters catch about 5% of pinks in southeast and we’d like to see that amount benefit our fleet. We hope to hear more about this soon.)

So while you are out fishing, support your business by supporting USAG by paying online with your phone–because fish politics continue even when the salmon are running.

If you are already a current member, THANK YOU!!
-Cynthia Wallesz

Executive Director
United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters
PO Box 2196
Petersburg, AK 99833
(208) 995-7400 (cell)
ph: (253) 237-3099 Google Voice