For longline sable fishers in the Gulf of Alaska, there are few omens of doom more chilling than the enormous shadow of a whale approaching their boat. That’s because in the past several years, male sperm whales, the lone wolves of the ocean, have been behaving strangely. They have been teaming up to hunt fish right off fishers’ hooks, and every year more whales are coming to eat from the fishing line buffet, leading some scientists to speculate that they’re somehow communicating about the richness of the hunting ground and sharing tips.
Federal regulators on Thursday approved a genetically engineered salmon as fit for consumption, making it the first genetically altered animal to be cleared for American supermarkets and dinner tables.
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The approval by the Food and Drug Administration caps a long struggle for AquaBounty Technologies, a small company that first approached the F.D.A. about approval in the 1990s. The agency made its initial determination that the fish would be safe to eat and for the environment more than five years ago.
A new study says levels of toxins responsible for paralytic shellfish poisoning are well above the Food and Drug Administration’s limit in the Haines area. One researcher says further testing of commercial crab and shrimp from the area could kill the region’s fisheries.
Because of Alaska’s budget crisis, state agencies cut spending this year and are planning additional reductions in the next few years. For the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, those cuts have meant less monitoring of fish runs, a change that will lead to more conservative management and less fishing opportunity.
Coming up this week, there are even more options on the table regarding Gulf of Alaska bycatch after the North Pacific Council met; we have a new director of the commercial fisheries division, and once again proof that you shouldn't mess with the Lacey Act. Help from KSKA's Ellen Lockyer AND Monica Gokey in Anchorage, and KDLG's Molly Dischner in Dillingham.
Scott Kelley is Alaska's new director of commercial fisheries as of Oct. 21, replacing Jeff Regnart, who retired at the start of October. Kelley has worked for the Department of Fish and Game for nearly 25 years, all of it in division of commercial fisheries and a since-merged research arm.
Kelley started his career with fish and game as a port sampler at Excursion Inlet, a major processing facility west of Juneau. Since then he’s held a variety of roles in Southeast Alaska, including working on stock assessments, as an area management biologist, and as a regional management coordinator.
NOAA Fisheries is developing an Agency-wide Ecosystem-based Fishery Management policy, which outlines a set of principles to guide our actions and decisions over the long-term. The draft policy goals and framework are informed by NOAA Fisheries’ own practices and experience from that of our partners. These ideas are intended to limit neither discussion nor consideration of other potential policy goals.
NOAA Fisheries is seeking letters of public support through Oct. 23, for 10 people, including two incumbents, for two presidential appointments as U.S. commissioners to the International Pacific Halibut Commission.
Terms expire on Dec. 31 for current commissioners Don Lane of Homer and Bob Alverson, of Seattle.
The iconic Alaska chinook salmon has unequaled world-renown for big fish tales.
The largest fish on record, a 97-pounder pulled from the Kenai River in 1985, changed the focus of the Alaska fishing economy, bringing in waves of fish tourists and seeding the politically influential guided angler industry.
Since then, the chinook, or king, salmon across the state have been getting smaller, researchers have found.
Trolling for salmon is a big business for many fishermen in Southeast Alaska. But this summer was a bit unusual. More effort was put into catching Chum salmon than Coho and fishermen only had one shot at Kings.
SeaShare, the Seattle-based non-profit dedicated to distribution of high quality seafood to food banks nationwide, has received a donation of 450,000 portions of oven ready pollock and hake from the At-Sea Processors Association.
SeaShare’s Mary Harmon said Aug. 25 that the APA rallied once again to generate its annual donation of the lightly breaded four-ounce portions.
Deliveries of wild Alaska salmon to processors reached nearly 236 million fish as of Aug. 25, exceeding the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s forecast by more than 15 million fish, and the pink salmon forecast alone by upwards of 26 million fish.
The humpy harvest alone stood at 166.6 million fish. Processors had also received some 503,000 kings, 13.7 million chums, 2.4 million silvers and 52.6 million reds.
Southeast Alaska’s commercial pink salmon catch has reached 25 million fish by the third week in August. That’s well short of the pre-season forecast and nowhere near the record setting run from two years ago.
While pink returns elsewhere in the state have been strong, Southeast pink numbers this summer have fishery managers scratching their heads.
With the bulk of the sockeye season over, biologists and fishermen have continued to notice smaller than average weight for one of Alaska’s most valuable exports.
Workers statewide from offices of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, or ADFG, noticed an early in-season trend of smaller-than-average fish. Throughout the state’s early season salmon fisheries, particularly sockeye and chum, fish were coming in shorter and lighter for their age.
Alaska’s wild salmon harvests rose to more than 211 million fish through Aug. 18, as the humpy harvest alone climbed to 143.6 million, exceeding the forecast of 140 million pinks.
That was an overall estimated catch increase of 35.7 million fish over the last week, including 33.2 million pink salmon. The preliminary Alaska commercial salmon harvest report is updated daily during the salmon season by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
During a Monday call with reporters, Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan says a Trade Customs Bill could help get more Alaska seafood into foreign markets.
“We’re working on, in that bill, that would dramatically increase market opportunities for our seafood. You know, Alaska is the super power of seafood, we harvest more seafood than the rest of the country combined, and that would go after the highly subsidized fishing fleets of foreign nations. And we’re encouraging the administration, in these trade agreements, to go after unfair subsidies for other fishing fleets.”