Pending federal maritime legislation to exempt commercial fishing vessels from certain requirements of the Clean Water Act, which could otherwise result in substantial fines, is gaining widespread support with commercial fisheries groups.
"Onerous," was just one of the words John Renner, vice president of Cordova District Fishermen United, used to describe the situation facing commercial fishing vessel owners and operators who could otherwise be subject to fines for activities such as deck washing.
Signing up for a free commercial fishing vessel safety exam couldn’t be easier, thanks to the Pre- Examination Work Sheet from the United states Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Detachment Office. With every boat being different, their online CFR site allows user to make a check list specific to their vessel making it easier to prepare for a boat inspection.
Researchers are measuring the ways sea creatures are responding to hostile changes in the ocean. The biggest threat comes from off kilter carbon dioxide levels that are absorbed by the oceans, making them more acidic. Water samples collected this spring from the Gulf of Alaska show that acid levels are increasing more quickly and more severely than previously thought. The Gulf findings are similar to those seen in the Chukchi and Bering Seas.
NMFS has taken a reccomendation from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and tightened halibut bycatch limits for commercial groundfish fishermen in the Gulf of Alaska with plan set to start this year. The Amendment 95 plan will minize halibut bycatch for GOA groundfish fisheries which include pollock, Pacific cod, rockfish and other flatfish.
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council took a step toward to reducing halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands at its February meeting, but did not foreshadow how it might do so. The council agreed unanimously Feb. 8 to ask for another draft of a Bering Sea halibut bycatch discussion paper. Halibut is taken as bycatch in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands groundfish fisheries. There are limits on halibut bycatch, but those were set at a time of higher abundance, and do not apply to every sector.
There’s a big meeting going on in Seattle right now, that can decide whether or not to protect the home of humpback whales, octopus, puffins, seals and tons of other amazing sea life in the Bering Sea. These waters are so special that even William Shatner spoke up to urge for their protection.
By unanimous vote at a special Tuesday night meeting, the Kodiak City Council approved lobbyist Heather McCarty of Juneau to be the joint Kodiak city and borough fishery adviser. The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly will have the final say on McCarty’s position at its Thursday night meeting.
Bering Sea Crabber in pack ice, just outside of St. Paul Island’s harbor.
When I started fishing at the age of seventeen, I remember hearing stories from other fishermen about two fabled Alaskan fisheries: Bristol Bay gillnetting and Bering Sea crabbing. The huge waves, back breaking work, insanely long hours, weeks at-sea, and the crazy characters that the fisherie
Early numbers for next year's commercial fisheries are all the buzz...As of now it is looking like Alaska will get just under 19 million pounds of halibut, that could be a 3 million pound drop for the fishery. The International Pacific Halibut Commission will come up with the final catches mid January.
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.
A herring return forecast lower than the 1,000-ton threshold necessary to conduct a commercial fishery has caused the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to disallow commercial spawn-on-kelp pound fishery in Sitka’s Hoonah Sound for the 2014 season. The method of herring egg collection entails catching fish with seine gear, placing them in enclosures and harvesting their eggs from kelp fronds to be sold.
This year for the first time the expanded observer program has been covering small boats and the hook and line fleet. Besides getting data on what’s actually coming over the rails, the program has three main goals.
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).
A small bairdi tanner crab fishery has operated in Kodiak, providing a reliable supply of high quality bairdi for some discerning markets. However, this year the fishery in the Kodiak, Chignik, and South Peninsula districts will not open. ADF&G announced that although survey results in two Kodiak districts were above minimum stock size needed to open the fishery, the overall minimum GHL of 400,000 lbs. was not reached, so the fishery cannot open.
"Coho! We found coho!" were the excited cries heard from the 2013 Copper River Stewardship Program participants. They had discovered coho salmon fry in the minnow traps they had set just the day before in a small stream that crosses under the Alaganik Fisherman's boardwalk. This stream was not listed in the State of Alaska's Anadromous Waters Catalog, the tool used by the State to track all known bodies of water used by salmon, trout, and other anadromous species for spawning, migrating and rearing.
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 Kodiak city and borough fisheries work group met Monday morning to discuss the Gulf of Alaska trawl bycatch management discussion paper released last Friday by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. The paper addresses eight proposals written by industry stakeholders regarding the council's development of a catch share program for trawl groundfish, an item on the council's October agenda.
Almost a half-million dollars will be heading into five Bering Sea villages to assist in cleaning marine debris from their beaches. The Alaska Marine Stewardship Foundation has received a $210,000 grant from NOAA’s Restoration and Marine Debris Program, and has secured the same amount in matching funds from area CDQ groups. Dave Gaudet, the director of the foundation in Auke Bay, said his group has been working with villages on beach clean ups for 10 years.
Just before 1 p.m. on Friday a fire broke out at the Kodiak Fishmeal Company down on Gibson Cove Road. Fire Chief Rome Kamai said the fire was in one of the hoppers at the plant. A hopper is a piece of equipment used in the processing of fishmeal.