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ELLSWORTH — Maine lobstermen still reeling from the fight over the required use of sinking rope groundlines on their traps are facing another battle with conservation organizations and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service (NMFS) over efforts to reduce the risk of endangered whales getting tangled up in fishing gear.

Sea otters are taking a big bite out of valuable commercial fisheries in Southeast Alaska, and they've been doing it for decades. A second report by the McDowell Group of Juneau updates the financial hit otters have inflicted on the region's fisheries since 2005.

On December 9, NOAA Administrator Dr Jane Lubchenco and Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire unveiled the Washington Shellfish Initiative, a new agreement among federal and state agencies, tribes, the shellfish industry, and the restoration community to restore and expand Washington’s shellfish resources to promote shellfish aquaculture and create family-wage jobs.

The amount of crab that’s available for harvest in the region has been set, and Bristol Bay Red King Crab is seeing big cuts.

The total allowable catch for the fishery has been set at 7.8 million pounds. That’s a 47% drop from last year’s quota.

Alaska shellfish growers, harvesters, regulators and aficionados will be gathering in Ketchikan late in October for four days of meetings and educational opportunities, capped by the second annual Alaska Shellfish Festival up at the Ted Ferry Civic Center.

"I think for anyone interested in aquaculture, it's going to be a real exciting time," said Rodger Painter, president of the Alaskan Shellfish Growers Association that has scheduled its annual meeting for Oct. 28-29 in Ketchikan.

Work is wrapping up on a new OceansAlaska mariculture research and training facility in George Inlet. The non-profit organization is hoping the new center and additional staff will provide the necessary support to expand the region’s fledgling mariculture industry.

A "massive" outbreak of paralytic shellfish poisoning in Southeast. Do not even think about harvesting these shellfish, and spread the word.

An adult man who ate cockles harvested from a beach on Annette Island on Friday, June 3, 2011, developed symptoms characteristic of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), according to a recent Alaska Department of Health and Social Services press release.

The man went to the local clinic that afternoon complaining of weakness in the arms and trouble walking; those are symptoms consistent with PSP. He was flown to a local hospital and admitted into the intensive care unit for treatment.

A fisherman hauled an extremely rare blue lobster out of the waters off P.E.I.'s North Shore Wednesday.

Blair Doucette landed the lobster in North Rustico. Only about one in four million lobsters is blue. The colour is caused by a genetic mutation.

A Pacific Northwest shellfish company that lost five clam diggers when their skiff sank in Cook Inlet issued a statement today, saying they are working with the Coast Guard and taking other steps to address the safety of their contract employees.