NMFS said it will implement a catch sharing plan for the 2014 commercial and charter halibut fisheries in Southeast Alaska and the Central Gulf of Alaska. The catch sharing plan was recommended by the North Pacific Management Council to replace the existing guideline harvest level management plan, which had been criticized for not preventing fishing overages when charter fishing had increased in the region in the late 1990s.
An unfortunate nap caused the destruction of a fishing boat and fuel spill the night of Halloween, but no injuries were reported to the crew of the crabber that crashed ashore within sight of Dutch Harbor. The crab boat Arctic Hunter ran aground outside of Unalaska last week after the captain fell asleep at the wheel, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Kodiak will not take Alaska’s halibut title for a second year. With 97 percent of the halibut quota in the central Gulf used, Homer has landed 4.39 million pounds of halibut to Kodiak’s 3.38 million. The halibut season ends Nov. 15, and just under 339,000 pounds of halibut quota remains in the central Gulf of Alaska. Statewide, 20.53 million pounds of the state’s 21.81 million-pound quota have been taken. After Homer and Kodiak, the state’s biggest halibut ports are Seward (2.74 million pounds), Dutch Harbor (1.43 million pounds) and Sitka, (1.17 million pounds).
The thousands of cargo ships that sail through Unimak Pass will soon meet nasty fall storms. As a port of refuge, Unalaska is where they will go in emergencies -- and the city's new emergency mooring buoy is where they'll tie up. But as KUCB’s Ben Matheson reports, the buoy is going to need some support of its own.
A decision by a successful salmon processor who opted to sell his business and move into the Pacific cod fishery is being hailed as a boost for Adak's economy by the Aleut Enterprise LLC and the city of Adak. Aleut Fisheries, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aleut Enterprise LLC, has signed 20-year lease with John Lowrance, president of Adak Cod Cooperative, to operate the Adak seafood processing facility.
The one-boat-at-a-time bait herring fishery around Kodiak Island opened today (Friday) at 10 a.m. The guideline harvest level in the two open districts is 99 tons for the South Afognak District and 180 tons in the Uganik District. The districts will remain open until further notice and be closed by emergency order by Fish and Game or when they reach their respective GHL. In an announcement today, Fish and Game says the Eastside District could open if there is interest in harvesting its 175 ton GHL.
Kodiak-based Coast Guard helicopter crews rescued four fishermen from a beach on Unalaska Bay near Dutch Harbor Saturday. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew hoisted the mariners from the beach and delivered them safely to emergency medical services in Dutch Harbor for evaluation Saturday. Coast Guard watchstanders at the 17th District command center in Juneau received a call from the Chaos crew Friday night, relayed through the Dutch Harbor harbormaster, reporting that the 54-foot longliner had been at anchor and adverse weather had caused the anchor line to break and forced their vessel ashore.
High winds and rough seas drove the F/V Chaos onto the rocks outside Unalaska Friday night -- and delayed a Coast Guard air rescue of the ship's crew. Coast Guard Petty Officer Sara Mooers says the Chaos' four crew members had to spend the night on the beach. They weren't airlifted to town until 9 a.m. on Saturday, after the winds died down. The Homer-based, 54-foot longliner had pulled into Unalaska Bay to ride out the storm.
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute has announced that Alaska's flatfish fishery has entered into assessment for the FAO's Responsible Fisheries Management seafood sustainability program. The Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska flatfish fisheries will be assesed against the program's conformance criteria; if successful Alaska flatfish products will be able to carry the RFM ecolabel.
The US Arctic Research Commission, along with Alaska Arctic Policy Commission, are both meeting at the Grand Aleutian Hotel in Dutch Harbor this week. The U. S. Arctic Research Commission wants to hear from local residents next week in Unalaska, in addition to the state representatives and senators flown into town as guests of the city government who will be giving testimony.
Egg takes are underway at the Solomon Gulch Hatchery, with the bulk of the goal completed through Aug, 18, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists said. A pink salmon cleanup fishery near Solomon Gulch Hatchery was anticipated upon completion of the Valdez Fishery Development association's egg take operations, biologists said.
The Kodiak salmon season might be showing signs of slowing down. Daily harvest counts declined every day this week, though are still in the high-six digits. Sunday saw over 1-million pink salmon caught, just the latest in a couple weeks of million-fish days. The catch dipped by about 40,000 on Monday to 962,500, and on Tuesday to 951,000. Wednesday’s harvest was 861,700. The humpy harvest through Wednesday was 23,358,213, far exceeding the pre-season forecast of 17-million.
As the comment period for a proposal to change the way halibut is divvied up between charter operators and commercial fishermen nears to an end, a teleconference workshop with officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries aimed at explaining the proposed halibut Catch Sharing Plan drew a dozen or so residents last week from the Homer area.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries officials held an informal audioconference presentation on Tuesday night on the proposed halibut Catch Sharing Plan. Participants had the chance to call in and ask questions. Most listened in and asked questions at the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center with a group of about 15, mostly charter captains. The format didn’t allow for the face-to-face conversation of 2011 when NOAA-National Marine Fisheries officials came to Homer and a group of about 150 fishermen made their views heard.
A brand-new warehouse has sprung up in a matter of months along Unalaska’s shoreline. Last Thursday, the building’s joint owners celebrated its completion. They’re holding it up as an example of how cooperation is key when land is limited.
There's a new Alaska reality show, courtesy of the Alaska Cam Sled. "Alaska Cam Sled is a towed imaging system that takes a lot of high-resolution pictures of the bottom of the ocean," explained Gregg Rosenkranz, a state scallop biometrician based in Kodiak.
A July 4 groundbreaking ceremony in Seldovia marks the beginning of construction for a value-added processing plant that, once built, will be leased by the city to Seldovia Wild Seafood. Jay-Brant General Contractors of Homer is the lead contractor on the 100-by-60-foot building. Participating in the event were, from left, Ronene Gain, wife of Seldovia mayor Keith Gain; Vivian Rojas, Seldovia City Council; Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna; Tim Dillon, Seldovia city manager; Michele Bieri, Seldovia Wild Seafood; Geraldine Patrick, city council; U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski; Rep.