With one council member absent, an emergency action proposal to reduce Bering Sea halibut bycatch limits for 2015 failed on a tie vote by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council Dec. 13.
The failed motion, introduced by council member Duncan Fields of Kodiak, would have lowered the 2015 Bering Sea halibut bycatch limit by 33 percent from the current limit of more than 10 million pounds allocated between the pollock and bottom trawl fleets.
Concerns over the fate of the directed halibut fishery in the Pribilof Islands prompted lengthy discussion during the December meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in Anchorage.
Council member Duncan Fields of Kodiak introduced a motion for emergency regulation to reduce the 2015 BSAI halibut bycatch allocation by 33 percent, out of concern for harvesters in areas C, D and E, saying that to avoid such emergency action would be shirking the council’s responsibility for fisheries management.
Roaring at seven knots up the U.S. side of the Stikine River, a grizzly bear of a man named Mark Galla steers our jet boat through a gauntlet of protruding logs, attempting to point out the exact point at which Alaska becomes British Columbia. Against the vastness of the surrounding wilderness, the border is invisible, almost arbitrary. Until recently, most Alaskans couldn't see it either.
The 2014 charter halibut catch exceeded the allocations in both Southeast and Southcentral despite projections last winter that the management measures would keep anglers within the limits for each area.
Salmon Beyond Borders and the United Tribal Transboundary Mining Working Group will hold public meetings in four Southeast Alaska communities Oct. 27-30 to discuss large-scale mines planned for the transboundary river region.
The presentations are scheduled for Monday, Oct. 27, at the Keet Gooshi Heen School in Sitka; Tuesday, Oct. 28, at Nolan Center in Wrangell; Wednesday, Oct. 29, at Petersburg High School in Petersburg; and Thursday, Oct. 30, at the Southeast Discovery Center in Ketchikan.
The Alaska Marine Highway System ferry Malaspina picked up an extra passenger in the waters off Vancouver Island on Saturday morning.
According to accounts from Marine Highway spokesman Jeremy Woodrow and Lt. Cmdr. Desmond James of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Malaspina rescued one of three people aboard a landing craft that overturned off the town of Campbell River.
For some southeast Alaska salmon stocks, goals for escapements — the number of fish allowed to swim free during fishing season to spawn — have changed to maximize the fish populations in those runs.
Steve Heinl and Ed Jones of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game informed the ADF&G Board of Fisheries of the changes on Wednesday. The board is holding a work session meeting in Juneau through Thursday at Centennial Hall.
Diving for sea cucumbers, geoduck clams, and sea urchins is a unique yet very lucrative fishery. Southeast holds the title for the biggest dive fisheries in Alaska. Around 70 divers have been searching the bottom of the ocean for sea cumbers since opening day on October 1st. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s dive fisheries Stock Assessment Leader Mike Donnellan in Juneau gives us the scoop.
“For cucumbers we’ve got a GHL of just over a million pounds, and that is up about 81/2 percent over the last time these areas where opened.”
n the near decade that has passed, pink shrimp, once touted as the town's saviors through the 1928 depression and later fires at processing plants, became passing mention in conversation as residents recalled shelling catches after high school.
The summer purse seine season for pink salmon in Southeast Alaska has wrapped up and the harvest is better than expected. The state closed the season August 29. Biologists predicted a harvest of about 22 million fish but fishermen were able to catch about 32 million.
A Canadian company is moving forward with plans for a new rare-earth metals mine at the end of Kendrick Bay on Prince of Wales Island, sending a team to drill and spending millions sampling rock and studying the area.
The goal of Ucore’s team is to answer questions from investors and government officials, including concerns about the mine’s environmental impact in light of the collapse of a dam holding toxic mining waste in British Columbia this past month. The breach at the Mt. Polley Mine spilled millions of gallons of waste into pristine forest and waters.
A Juneau-based scientist recently published a study that found climate change poses a serious threat to the Tongass National Forest’s snow-fed salmon streams. On the other hand, watersheds too cold for big salmon runs may become more productive.
Nature Conservancy scientist Colin Shanley, the study’s lead author, said a few degrees of warming makes a big difference for Southeast Alaska’s fish.
After an unprecedented two extensions, the summer king salmon season for trollers in Southeast is over.
The Alaska Department of Fish & Game closed the fishery at 11:59 PM Monday, August 18 — two days later than planned.
Pattie Skannes is troll management biologist for the region.
“Yeah. We don’t usually work on Saturday and Sunday. But this was one of those openings that required a little bit of attention every day. We set it for three days thinking, This is going to be easy. But it turned out to be anything but easy.”
Southeast Alaska’s commercial salmon purse seine fleet is on track to hit or exceed pre-season forecasts for the region’s pink salmon harvest. Meanwhile, some hatchery chum salmon returns have been a disappointment.
This year’s pink salmon catch is only a fraction of last year’s record setting harvest of 89 million. As of the first week in August, the Southeast harvest was an estimated 15-16 million pinks.