Voters could be asked to decide whether to ban setnets in certain parts of Alaska under a court decision made Wednesday.
The Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance, or AFCA, filed a ballot initiative petition in November seeking to ask voters whether to ban setnets in urban parts of the state, which would primarily impact Upper Cook Inlet setnetters.
With recent culinary trends pointing to a heightened interest in domestic seafood sources, it’s worth noting that Alaska’s pristine Prince William Sound, home to more than 570 drift and set gillnet permit holders, is one of our country’s premier yet best kept secrets when it comes seafood resources.
The world’s biggest sockeye salmon run is expected to surge into Bristol Bay any day, where a catch of about 17 million reds is projected. Elsewhere, the annual summer troll fishery in Southeast Alaska kicks off on July first with a target of just over 166,000 chinook salmon.
Lots of crab fisheries are underway each summer — dungeness fishing began on June 15 in Southeast where a harvest of 2.25 million pounds is expected. The region’s golden king crab fishery will close on July 10, with a catch of about 234,000 pounds.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found that Alaska seafood is safe from Fukushima radiation, but a citizen's group plans to conduct a separate study of the water in lower Cook Inlet using a crowdsource funding site.
"The (FDA) results confirm information from federal, state and international agencies that seafood in the North Pacific and Alaska waters poses no radiation related health concerns to those who consume it," said a statement released by state health and environmental officials.
A judge ruled Wednesday that a commercial fishing group should pay part of the State's cost for the lawsuit regarding management of the Cook Inlet salmon fisheries in 2013.
Alaska Superior Court Judge Andrew Guidi issued an order asking Cook Inlet Fisherman's Fund to pay the state Department of Law $12,924. That amount was 20 percent of what the state spent defending itself in the fisheries management lawsuit, according to a Department of Law memo filed with the court June 18.
Ramped up testing this summer shows Alaska fish is free of all signs of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear meltdown three years ago. State veterinarian Bob Gerlach -
The results of the testing of the Alaska fish that were just collected look very good. There is no detection of any radiation that would have originated from Fukushima. That was very good news.
Peak harvests may be over for the Copper River District, but that run is way ahead of the forecast, and the catch just keeps on growing for major fishing districts within and for Prince William Sound overall.
As of June 24, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's preliminary Alaska commercial salmon harvest blue sheet showed 2,926 salmon of all species taken in Prince William Sound, including 2.1 million sockeye, 561,000 chum, 198,000 pink, 15,000 coho and 10,000 king salmon.
Copper River's drift fishery has peaked, with a harvest of 1.4 million salmon, the bulk of them sockeyes, and most of the fleet has moved to the Coghill and Eshamy districts, as the fishery continues through July.
While the weather overall for the season has been really good, the last period brought winds of up to 50 knots and a fair amount of rain, and some harvesters came in early, said Jeremy Botz, a biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's office in Cordova.
Copper River sockeye prices started lower than last year and have since dropped significantly.
The grounds price for sockeye started off at $3.50 when the Copper River fishery opened on May 15, which was lower than last year’s price, Jeremy Botz, with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Cordova, toldUndercurrent News.
That price did go up a bit in the second opener, he said, but has likely since dropped off as usual, considering the drop in the Seattle prices.
Remotely operated vehicles will be plying Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska this summer, measuring acid levels. The float and glider vehicles are the latest technology deployed through a long running monitoring project overseen by University of Alaska Fairbanks Ocean Acidification Research Center Director Jeremy Mathis.
A federal judge heard oral argument yesterday in the lawsuit regarding whether or not Cook Inlet should be in a federal salmon management plan.
Alaska has managed its own salmon since statehood, and neither party is questioning that. But the United Cook Inlet Drift Association and Cook Inlet Fishermen’s Fund, who brought the lawsuit forward in February 2013, want federal oversight of salmon management — and believes that is what congress has intended in its regulations of fish in federal waters.
The National Marine Fisheries Service and other entities have reached a decision on a regional split of the $20.8 million in federal aid for fisheries disasters, but how to spend that money is still being decided.
Cook Inlet fishers, businesses and other organizations will receive $11.1 million in federal fisheries disaster aid for the poor salmon runs in 2012, according to NMFS spokeswoman Julie Speegle. Those in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region will receive $9.6 million, she wrote in a May 23 email.
Major fishing ports and harbors critical to Alaska's economy are in the midst of designing, construction and fund sourcing in the spring of 2014, to meet needs ranging from float replacements to strengthening breakwaters.
With steady fishing vessel traffic from the Kenai Peninsula to Homer, Seward, Dutch Harbor, Sitka and Wrangell, planning, bidding and finding construction funds is an ongoing process, harbormasters said.
Oral argument in the lawsuit over 2013 Cook Inlet commercial fisheries management was scheduled for later this month at a trial setting conference in Anchorage on Friday.
The Cook Inlet Fishermen’s Fund, or CIFF, sued the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in July 2013, asserting that fisheries managers did not follow Cook Inlet salmon management plans appropriately in 2013, causing harm to commercial fishermen there.
Just as the 2014 salmon season gets started, a lawsuit about 2013 management is also gearing up.
A trial setting conference was held today in Anchorage for the Cook Inlet Fisherman’s Fund lawsuit regarding 2013 Cook Inlet commercial salmon fisheries management.
The Fisherman’s Fund, or CIFF, sued the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in July 2013, asserting that fisheries managers did not follow Cook Inlet salmon management plans appropriately in 2013, causing harm to commercial fishermen there.
The summer cookout season is heralded each spring by the arrival of the first Copper River salmon from Alaska.
An Alaska Air Cargo plane from Cordova touched down Friday morning and the pilots emerged with a 48-pound king salmon. They carried it down a red carpet and delivered it to three chefs for a ceremonial cook-off at Sea-Tac Airport.
Resources for All Alaskans, a group formed to combat a proposed initiative to ban commercial setnet fishing in certain parts of the state, met in Kenai to talk strategy with several local fishing groups after being dealt a blow when an Alaska Superior Court judge ruled that it could not intervene in a lawsuit over the initiative.
Between the sprawling dipnet fisheries at the mouths of the Kenai and Kasilof rivers, commercial set and driftnetting fleets and the sportfishing pressure on Kenai Peninsula rivers and lakes — enforcement of fisheries regulations can be a daunting task for the 11 wildlife troopers stationed between Anchor Point, Soldotna and Seward.