A federal agency announced plans Thursday for a more intense investigation into what caused the deaths of 30 large whales in the western Gulf of Alaska since May.

NOAA Fisheries declared the deaths an "unusual mortality event," triggering a new-level investigation that brings with it access to additional resources. The agency said the deaths are about three times the historical average for the region.

One of the quietest places in Alaska was temporarily home to a few hardy people when the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock. An archaeologist has fleshed out what life might have been like during a winter on St. Matthew Island in the 1600s.

In some ways, St. Matthew, more than 200 miles from the nearest Alaska settlement (the village of Mekoryuk) is a great place to live: lush with plantlife (some of it edible); miles of coastline offering access to seabirds, their eggs, walrus, seals and fish; ample fresh water in lakes and streams.

Authorities want to talk to a man who donned a fairly realistic bear costume — head and all — and wore it when harassing a bear and two sows trying to feed on pink salmon in an Alaska river.

The incident happened Monday on the Chilkoot River near Haines, said Alaska Fish and Game Assistant Area Management Biologist Mark Sogge.

It wasn’t immediately known what the man was trying to accomplish.

When Anita and Robert Shane quit smoking, they needed something to do with their hands.

The pair lives at the decommissioned Port Bailey cannery on Kodiak Island, which saw 100-plus workers a year during its heyday in the 20th century. The cannery was also the source of their stress and what led them to smoking.

These robots are 18 feet tall. Each one has a bright orange wing of carbon fiber sticking up from a floating platform. At sea, they look like oversized windsurfers.

Using the wind for propulsion, and solar panels for their electronics, they’ve been traveling thousands of miles in the Bering Sea all by themselves.

It’s almost like they have minds of their own.

But these robots are working for good, not evil--we think.

A bill that would allow the killing of sea lions along the Columbia River because they’re eating all the fish is moving ahead in Congress. It’s sponsored by Republican Congresswoman Jaime Herrera-Butler, who testified yesterday before a House Natural Resources subcommittee.

This Spring around 24-hundred barking sea lions were counted in and around Astoria, shattering the previous years record by nearly a thousand.

The bill authorizes permits to be issued for the lethal take of no more than 10 sea lions per year for each entity that gets a permit.

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has launched a new global fund for supporting critical fishery science research and projects aimed at strengthening knowledge and global capacity to assist small scale and developing world fisheries in their journey to achieving MSC certification.

Fisherman/photographer Chris Miller is sending photos from the F/V Icy Bay via satphone to the folks at Bristol Bay Sockeye. These are some great photos of the Bristol Bay season unfolding.

A massive cleanup effort is getting underway in Alaska, with tons of marine debris — some likely sent to sea by the 2011 tsunami in Japan — set to be airlifted from rocky beaches and taken by barge for recycling and disposal in the Pacific Northwest.

Witnesses said the young man, whose name and hometown have not been released, was yelling and screaming, and attempted to untie several boats in a line near the southeast end of the harbor.

Police officer Tanner Lowery arrived at the harbor, and attempted to apprehend the man, which no one else at the scene had been able to do. Witnesses said the man jumped off the bow of the boat to avoid the officer.

Four people are safe after their fishing tender sank off Cape Fairweather early Wednesday morning (6-10-15).

A helicopter from Air Station Sitka hoisted the crew of the 80-foot tender, just as the vessel rolled and sank in six-foot seas near Lituya Bay.

The Kupreanof was en route from Petersburg to Bristol Bay to tender salmon when it ran into trouble at about 3:45 AM in an area known as the Fairweather grounds, about 110 miles northwest of Sitka.

Ronald Johansen, 22, was out camping with his brother and cousin in Chagvan Bay last week. After bagging some geese, Johansen set out alone by skiff Friday afternoon to return home to Goodnews Bay. The other two were to follow in a separate boat later. Johansen's trip should’ve taken an hour and half, and the waters outside the sand bars were calm as he set out.

Those conditions, he said in a KDLG interview Tuesday, changed quickly.

While studying Chinook salmon in the Bering Sea, researchers have found themselves in the wake of an unlikely killer.

Andrew Seitz is a researcher at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, who has spent the past several years studying Chinook salmon. He said the first sign of foul play came from satellite tags used in his research this winter. The tags gather behavior and migration data for the salmon, taking temperature and depth readings every two minutes — then relaying them to researchers by satellite later on.

Climate researchers say a giant mass of warm water in the Pacific Ocean may be responsible for unusual sightings of marine life in the North Pacific while also influencing North American weather patterns.

This weekend marks the 25th anniversary of Juneau’s Blessing of the Fleet. The annual tradition honors those who participate in one of the state’s largest industries.
It’s held at the Alaska Commercial Fishermen’s Memorial on the downtown waterfront. Five names have been added to the memorial’s granite wall this year, bringing the count to 203 men and women.

A terrific video from Ray Hilborn, produced by Steve Minor. CHeck it out and pass it along.

The Alaska Board of Fisheries system -- to paraphrase Winston Churchill -- is the worst way to regulate fisheries, except for all the others.

Winner of Best International Feature Documentary at the 2014 Galway Film Festival and Best of Fest selection at the 2015 Palm Springs International Film Festival, The Breach will begin a 12 city national tour, and be available on all major VOD platforms (including Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, iTunes, Sony PlayStation, Vudu and Xbox Video) via FilmBuff, starting April 21.

After an odd Alaska winter of record-warm temperatures and pouring rain instead of snow, will summer be weird as well?

While scientists say more such winters can be expected in Alaska in the long term as the climate heats up, predicting what will happen in the short term is iffy. Still, resource managers are making some contingency plans for a challenging summer, and scientists have some advice in case the next few months are as unusual as the last few.

AS THE SUN was setting on August 18th 2003, the night fishermen of Hahaya village eased their wooden pirogues off the jagged lava rocks and slid into the water. The ocean off the western coast of Grande Comore was calm and as the half-moon rose, they could see the volcano of Karthala silhouetted against the darkening sky. A few hundred metres offshore, one of the fishermen, a veteran of decades of nights on the dark water, laid his paddles across the boat and prepared a line.

SITKA -- When the Kathleen Jo pulls out of her stall at noon, I am there to see them off.

My 5-year-old shipmate waves wildly through the starboard window. I wave back. When they turn the corner for the breakwater, I begin the trek to Old Thomsen Harbor.

...and the next minute you're riding a tsunami, 80 feet above the surrounding forest.

Always worth revisiting, this is one of the most unbelievable stories to ever come out of the Alaskan fishing industry.

Alaska salmon fisheries today are the largest wild salmon fisheries in the world. But how they got there is a story of the birth of the seafood sustainability movement. This is that story.

More than 3 million years ago, the Arctic became a fish highway as species from the north Pacific Ocean spread through the Bering Strait and into the Arctic Ocean and then into the north Atlantic Ocean.

Now it's beginning to happen again.

Most of the seafood Americans eat comes from abroad. And a lot of that is caught illegally — by vessels that ignore catch limits, or that fish in areas off-limits to fishing.

No one knows how much of it is illegal, because the oceans are too big to patrol. Or at least, they were. Now environmental groups have harnessed satellite technology to watch pirate fishing vessels from space — and they've already caught some of them.

So, you think setnetters have it easy?

The gradual warming of the Arctic Ocean over the next century will weaken a natural barrier that has separated fish from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for millions of years, leading to a mixing of species that could make life difficult in fishing communities from Alaska to Norway.

The St. Nicholas was taking on water about 60 miles southeast of Kodiak when the Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk arrived just before 9 a.m., the agency said in a news release. The crew had asked for help when their pumps were unable to keep up with the flooding in 25 mph winds.