The newest version of the Magnuson-Stevens Act out for discussion adds subsistence users and Tribal governments to the fisheries management law and has the potential to create new Community Development Quota in the Arctic, but it has not yet been made widely available to the public for review.

The act passed in 1976, which was last reauthorized in 2006 and is up for renewal this year, regulates most fisheries in American federal waters from 3 to 200 miles offshore, and authorizes the eight regional fishery management councils.

Climate change’s latest casualty appears to be fish — or more specifically, fish brains — as researchers say the carbon dioxide that’s being absorbed into the ocean is causing the scaly creatures to lose their survival instincts.

In other words, the fish are losing their minds, The Daily Mail reported.

 

Alaska's total salmon catch for 2014 is projected to be down by 47 percent from last year's record 283 million fish. State fishery managers are calling for an all-species harvest of just under 133 million salmon this year.

A pink catch of 95 million drove the record last year, and it is pinks that will bring down the numbers this summer. Pink salmon run in even/odd-year cycles. This year the catch is pegged at about 75 million, a 67 percent decrease from last summer's 226 million humpy haul.

 

Alaska’s total salmon catch for this year is projected to be down by almost half of the 2013 haul. State fishery managers are calling for an  all species harvest of just under 133 million salmon, down about 47% from last year’s record haul of 283 million fish.  Pink salmon drove the record last year and it’s pinks that will bring down the numbers. This year the pink catch is pegged at about 75 million, a 67% decrease from last summer’s take of 226 million humpies.

Responding to direction from the Board of Fisheries, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has moved forward with a new pollock test fishery in Kodiak waters, using seine gear.


At January’s Fish Board meeting here in Kodiak, board members and fishermen expressed interest in a walleye pollock test fishery with seine gear. In an announcement last week, the Kodiak Area Office of Fish and Game announced the test fishery will be conducted prior to June 9th. Given that time frame, interested fishermen need to register with the department by 5 p.m. Friday.

A fire has destroyed the main incubation building of a Petersburg fish hatchery, wiping out about 40 percent hatchery's Chinook salmon eggs and destroying about $700,000 dollars of potential catch.

David Berg, Assistant Chief with the Petersburg Volunteer Fire Department, said PVFD received the call around 2 a.m. early Tuesday for a fire at the Crystal Lake Fish Hatchery.

A resident at the hatchery, located about 18 miles south of Petersburg, said the facility's main incubation building was on fire.

As the environmental groups applaud Rio Tinto’s decision to give its 19.1% shareholding in Northern Dynasty Minerals to two local charitable foundations, this reporter is simply perplexed.

What happens if the massive Pebble Project copper/gold project near Bristol Bay in southwest Alaska never becomes a mine?

Will the Alaska Community Foundation and the Bristol Bay Native Corporation Education Foundation never see a dime from Rio Tinto’s largess?

Rio Tinto Group (RIO), the world’s second-largest mining company, donated its 19 percent stake in an Alaskan copper project that’s faced criticism from environmental groups to two charities.

Rio’s holding in the project will be divided equally between the Alaska Community Foundation and the Bristol Bay Native Corporation Education Foundation, the London-based company said today in a statement. Rio said in December it was reviewing a sale of its stake in Northern Dynasty.

Under provisions of the Pacific Salmon Treaty, the abundance index for Southeast Alaska is 2.57, which is in an all-gear harvest quota of 439,400 treaty chinook, non-Alaska-hatchery produced.

ADF&G said that the all-gear abundance-based quota represents an increase of 263,400 fish when compared with last year’s preseason quota of 176,000 fish, at an AI of 1.20. This year’s preseason troll treaty harvest allocation is 325,411 chinook, an increase of 195,549 fish when compared with last year’s 129,862 fish.

Nine names are vying for three seats on the state Board of Fisheries, including six newcomers. That gives Gov. Sean Parnell the unique opportunity to replace a majority of the seven-member Fish Board, should he choose to do so, and should the Alaska Legislature go along with it – an unlikely scenario.

“The role of protecting our nation’s oceans and waterways, including the 44,000 miles of coastline in Alaska, falls almost entirely on the men and women of our Coast Guard, and Congress must foster a level of support that reflects those needs,” said Congressman Young. “Today’s passage of H.R. 4005 not only represents a bipartisan effort to strengthen the critical mission of the Coast Guard, but also in securing the safety of our oceans and coastline during a time of global unrest.”

Fishery managers on the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers can allow new gear this summer in an effort to conserve king salmon while still permitting local harvests of chums and sockeyes.

The decision came during the Alaska Board of Fisheries weeklong meeting in Anchorage, March 17-21, to discuss statewide king and tanner crab fisheries, as well as certain out-of-cycle proposals for other salmon and groundfish fisheries throughout the state.

 

The Aleutian Islands golden king crab fleet came away empty-handed last week, after the Alaska Board of Fisheries declined to increase its quota -- rejecting both the initial request of 15 percent and the compromise proposal of 5 percent. Dillingham fish board member Fritz Johnson said the stability and health of the fishery merited at least a small increase, and proposed a 5 percent boost, which passed by a 4-3 vote.

The head of British Columbia’s government has pledged to spur mining development in the western Canadian province, and that has fishermen in Southeast Alaska nervous. A group from Southeast flew to Washington D.C. this week to see how it can raise its voice in Canada.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark is making good on a promise to break ground on eight new mines and expand nine others by next year. The increased activity has already brought more than 2,000 jobs to B.C.

The redistricting process has a greater impact on state legislative races in Alaska than it does congressional races.

Alaska, with an estimated population of about 735,000 people, has just one congressman.

Alaska voters amended the state constitution in 1998 to change the composition and powers of the redistricting board.

The 2014 Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery is over.

The 48 permit holders caught the last remaining fish in this year’s harvest limit — and then some — in a wild 45-minute opener Saturday afternoon right in front of downtown Sitka.

The preliminary estimate from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game for Saturday’s harvest is just shy of 4,000 tons, bringing this year’s total catch to 17,200 tons — about 900 tons more than the guideline harvest level.

A couple of U.S. Senators have introduced legislation that would limit the ability of the EPA to preemptively veto the issuance of permits under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. If approved it might impact the EPA’s actions in regards to the proposed Pebble Mine.

Kodiak will be the first Alaska town to meet Eileen Sobeck, the newly named head of NOAA Fisheries, often called the National Marine Fisheries Service. Her visit comes in response to a ComFish invitation from the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce. Accompanying her will be Senator Mark Begich. "She is anxious to come to Alaska to learn more about AK specific issues – and we’ve had meetings and phone calls and she made it clear she wanted to come here and wanted to know the right kind of event. And ComFish is a perfect event, I believe, for her to really get a good sense of fishery issues.

A comprehensive guide has been released that outlines many of the available jobs in the Bristol Bay region in the fisheries, seafood processing and maritime trades. The new career guide was prepared by the Bristol Bay Native Association. It was released during the recent economic summit of the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference.

Much of guide was written by Pennelope Goforth from Anchorage. She says the guide was created with input and consultation of many of the large seafood processors that operate in the Bristol Bay region including Icicle and Trident Seafood’s.

Alaska’s salmon catch of 273 million salmon set a record last year– and so did the number of salmon returning home to state hatcheries. The 2013 Fisheries Enhancement Report by the AK Dept. of Fish and Game shows that a return of 112 million hatchery reared salmon contributed 36 percent to the state’s total salmon harvest. The breakdown by species was 63% for chum salmon, 38% for pinks, 23% for Chinook salmon, 22% for cohos and 5% of Alaska’s sockeye salmon catch can be credited to hatchery returns.

The American Maritime Partnership (AMP), the voice of the domestic maritime industry, on Thursday joined with the Transportation Institute, along with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska), to highlight new data from a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers that shows Alaska ranks third in the nation in per capita maritime jobs.

Ten fishing boats - five each from Sitka and Homer - are carrying electronic monitoring equipment as part of a pilot program to see if such tracking is more effective than having observers onboard in gathering data for fisheries management.

Longliners from the two communities have been participating in the pilot program by the Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association since early March, according to (http://bit.ly/1diMK3b) the Daily Sitka Sentinel.

A new report from the international ocean conservation organization Oceana says the Gulf of Alaska flatfish trawl fishery annually throw overboard 34 million pounds or 35 percent of its harvest.
"In the Gulf of Alaska, a few dozen bottom trawl vessels discard more than the rest of the fisheries in the region combined," write the fisheries scientists contributing to the report "Wasted Catch," released March 20.

An ammonia leak cleared out part of the UniSea complex late Saturday night.

Deputy police chief Mike Holman says a cracked valve appears to have caused the leak at the G2 plant, shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday morning.

He says UniSea workers were being evacuated from the building by the time public safety officers in the area noticed what was going on. Those officers and others helped evacuate the rest of the workers and had others shelter in place.

The Alaska Independent Fishermen’s Marketing Association (AIFMA) applauds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its Watershed Assessment of impacts of potential large scale mining in the Bristol Bay drainages of Alaska. The Assessment is thorough, peer-reviewed, and comprehensive. It describes the risks of unavoidable, adverse, cumulative effects of potential large mines, including Pebble mine, on fish, wildlife, and subsistence, commercial and recreational fisheries in the region.

When it comes time to upgrade existing equipment or to install a new refrigeration system on your boat for the first time, there are a few important things to think about. According to Kurt Ness at Integrated Marine Systems, “There are a lot of factors to consider when exploring freezing or Refrigerated Seawater (RSW) options. Power requirements, hold capacity, vessel insulation, market demands, processors’ expectations and more.”

“Our emerald isle with its hundreds of miles of coast line is being blackened. Our livelihood and environment is being threatened. Our wildlife is being destroyed. Our surrounding waters and hard work have made Kodiak the largest fishing port in the nation there needs to be a huge effort to clean it up. This community lives by fish and our salmon fishing is about to start. Exxon needs to demonstrate an attitude that excludes and affinity for our environment a love for our land and sea, and respect for Alaskan citizens.”