Although there's plenty of fish in the water, the Bering Sea's biggest fishery won't get too much bigger in 2015.

The federal board charged with setting catch limits agreed to put 3 percent more pollock -- or 1.31 million metric tons -- up for harvest next year.

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Bristol Bay, AK — Yesterday, President Obama took action authorized by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to protect Bristol Bay from all future oil and gas drilling.

Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) released the following statement regarding the measure:

Senator Lisa Murkowski today succeeded in brokering a bipartisan agreement to block a costly and redundant EPA regulation on Alaska’s commercial fishing fleet and commercial vessels under 79 feet that would have hurt fishermen and coastal communities. Today’s unanimous U.S. Senate vote comes just weeks after Murkowski introduced a bill with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) to extend the current moratorium and co-sponsored efforts establish a permanent exemption. Since then, she has been engaged in continuous negotiations with Senators to reach a workable solution.

The federal government’s Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) budget for fiscal year 2015 includes several provisions written and advanced by Senator Lisa Murkowski. Among them are items to support Alaska’s world class fisheries, improve Arctic navigation, and protect the state’s coastline from the continued debris related to the 2011 Japanese tsunami. The CJS budget is a smaller portion of the omnibus agreement to fund the federal government next year.

U.S. Senator Mark Begich’s Coast Guard Authorization Act (CGAA) passed the Senate by unanimous consent today. The bill will strengthen and modernize the multi-mission service so essential to the nation’s maritime commerce, border security, and the safety of lives at sea. It also includes key provisions to address Alaska’s needs -- including an extended waiver from EPA regulations for small boat operators.

As the 113th Congress nears its close, U.S. Senator Mark Begich has introduced legislation to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), the primary federal law that governs marine fisheries management in U.S. waters. The bill is essentially the same as the second MSA discussion draft released by released Begich’s Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard on July 21, and is intended to put the text on the record for future consideration.

President Obama just took action to protect one of Alaska's most powerful economic engines and one of America’s greatest national treasures: Bristol Bay.

Today the President took action to protect one of America's greatest natural treasures by signing a Presidential Memorandum to protect Bristol Bay. One of Alaska's most powerful economic engines, and home to one of the world's largest wild salmon runs, Bristol Bay has helped sustain Alaska Native communities for centuries. And every year, the region provides 40 percent of America’s wild-caught seafood, supporting $2 billion in commercial fishing.

Aspelund says BBRSDA will probably take another survey of its members before commissioning a second study.

The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association may commission a second, more in depth study on the idea of reducing the size of the drift fleet in the Bay through a buy back, but will hear first from the fleet before moving forward.

The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council passed measures on Thursday for the 2015 charter halibut fisheries in Gulf of Alaska sections 2C and 3A.

The changes reflect the decline in halibut stock over the last decade and attempt to take pressure off the species. In 2013 and 2014, both area 2C and area 3A exceeded their allocations for halibut.

Americans eat more seafood than just about anyone else. Most of it is imported from abroad. And a lot of it — perhaps 25 percent of wild-caught seafood imports, according to fisheries experts — is illegally caught.

The White House is now drafting recommendations on what to do about that. Fisheries experts say they hope the administration will devote more resources to fight seafood piracy.

Just before dawn on Feb. 22, 1901, Capt. Frederick Jordan was fighting heavy fog as he steered the SS City of Rio de Janeiro steamship toward Golden Gate Strait in the San Francisco Bay. Experience prompted him to drop anchor the night before and wait out the weather. But that morning, he resumed course to San Francisco’s port — and the 345-foot steamer struck sharp rocks near Fort Point, at the strait’s southern end.

A struggle in Alaska over shrinking supplies of halibut is threatening the iconic centerpiece fish in favor of cheaper exports, fast-food fillets and fish sticks.

If expected cuts are made in January, halibut fishing could be over in the Bering Sea west of Alaska, the source of one-sixth of halibut caught in the United States. That catch includes most of the frozen supply that sustains restaurants, food-service companies and retail stores nationwide, such as Costco and Whole Foods.

Seattle seafood company Trident Seafood Corporation has signed a letter of intent to buy the assets of Kodiak's Western Alaska Fisheries. The transaction will be finalized Dec. 31, 2014.

Trident controls harvesting, processing, and marketing. Western Alaska Fisheries assets include a Kodiak processing plant for cod, salmon, and pollock among other species.

Pacific halibut fishermen could have a reduced catch next year if the International Pacific Halibut Commission opts to go with the “blue-line” projection released Dec. 2, but Alaskan fishermen in some areas may see a slightly higher quota than in 2014.

The Bering Sea red king crab fleet finished catching 10 million pounds of quota last week — and they’re facing some lackluster prices as the crab goes to market. It could be due to higher catch limits in Alaska and Russia.

Alaskans know that Bristol Bay is all about wild salmon. For thousands of years the people of Bristol Bay have thrived on this bounty and for more than 130 years, it has supported a major sustainable commercial fishery that supplies the world. Bristol Bay produces 50 percent of the world’s sockeye salmon, making the region of true global importance.

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.

NOAA Fisheries is publishing a final rule to implement Steller sea lion protection measures for fisheries in the Aleutian Islands, effective December 26, 2014.

Steller sea lions that primarily occur west of 144 degrees W longitude in Alaska are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Atka mackerel, Pacific cod, and pollock are the primary prey species for Steller sea lions in the Aleutian Islands. Fisheries for these three species also provide a living for fishermen and communities in the Aleutian Islands.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is conducting a test fishery for walleye pollock using seine gear that starts today and runs through February.

It's the time of year when Alaska's fishery meetings kick into high gear, with five set for this week alone.

The industry will get a first glimpse of potential 2015 halibut catches when the International Pacific Halibut Commission convenes Dec. 2-3 in Seattle. It's been a wait-and-see attitude among fish circles: Will Alaska's catch limits again be reduced, down already 70 percent over a decade? Or has the Pacific halibut stock started to rebound as some of the science indicates? Tune into the IPHC meetings live via webinar at www.iphc.int.

A Pond Inlet, Nunavut, hunter is recovering at home after his snowmobile fell through thin ice, plunging him into frigid water and forcing him to walk five hours back to town in wet clothes in below-freezing temperatures.

Laimiki Pewatualuk was hunting several kilometres from Pond Inlet last Wednesday when thin ice beneath him suddenly gave way, submerging the hunter and his snowmobile in the water below.

"I brought all the necessary emergency supplies, such as a SPOT [GPS tracking] device and a flashlight," Pewatualuk said in Inuktitut. "My CB radio went down with the snowmobile."

Veteran fish harvester Sam Cotten, who served two terms on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, and 16 years in the Alaska Legislature, was named Dec. 1 as acting commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

"It was an honor to be asked, and I'm pleased to respond to the governor's request to take on the responsibilities as acting commissioner, said Cotten, after the appointment was announced in Juneau by Gov. Bill Walker.

South Korean officials expressed fear of a huge death toll after rescuers Monday failed to find any of the more than 50 fishermen missing after their vessel sank amid high waves in frigid waters of the western Bering Sea.

One Korean crew member was confirmed dead and 52 others remain missing. Eight people made it into a lifeboat, including the one who later died. A nearby fishing vessel rescued them.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plans to designate much of Alaska’s northern coastline as critical habitat for ringed seals have led the state’s senior U.S. senator to blast the proposal’s “Texas-sized” area.

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute Opens Public Consultation on the Alaska Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) Conformance Criteria, (Version 1.2), September 2011

The 60-Day Public Comment Period is now open through Monday, February 3rd!

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.