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.

In 2005, Royal Dutch Shell, then the fourth-largest company on Earth, bought a drill rig that was both tall, rising almost 250 feet above the waterline, and unusually round. The hull of the Kulluk, as the rig was called, was made of 1.5-inch-thick steel and rounded to better prevent its being crushed. A 12-point anchor system could keep it locked in place above an oil well for a full day in 18-foot seas or in moving sea ice that was four feet thick.

Just over 10 years ago, a ship carrying soybeans went aground in Makushin Bay on Unalaska Island in the Aleutian Chain during a big storm.

Air Station Kodiak responded with a Jayhawk helicopter along with the cutter Alex Haley. Through the wind and squalls and approaching darkness, the Coast Guard worked to get the crew of the Selendang Ayu off the boat.

Oil is us. Face it.

Alaskans went all-in long ago on the idea we could live off the fat of one natural resource, and once again it appears we're about to pay the price. Wiser folks might have figured things out when oil prices tanked in the mid-80s and many walked away from their mortgages and fled the state.

Celebrated seafood bash adds a new category to its annual new products competition for inventions 'Beyond the Plate'
Alaska seafood innovators are getting serious about 'head to tail/inside and out' usages of fish parts, and they see gold in all that gurry that ends up on cutting line floors.

That word ergonomics can be hard to get your head around.

“It sounds like economics or something that doesn’t affect people so much. It’s hard to understand,” says Dugan.

Each season, with the same regularity as the swallows returning to Capistrano, the trampers arrive back in Western Alaska to haul away the sea’s mother lode. Kind of a sea gypsy, a tramper is a ship that wanders around the oceans of the world, without a schedule, searching for and collecting goods until her holds are full. Trampers are small compared to other deep-sea ships, averaging around 500 feet in length. While there is no argument that fish are valuable, they are not economic equals to oil or some of the other high-volume bulk commodities shipped over the globe.


Seeking captivating short films about food, farming, and sustainability.
Spark action. Inspire change.

Just before dawn on Feb. 22, 1901, Capt. Frederick Jordan was fighting heavy fog as he steered the SS City of Rio de Janeiro steamship toward Golden Gate Strait in the San Francisco Bay. Experience prompted him to drop anchor the night before and wait out the weather. But that morning, he resumed course to San Francisco’s port — and the 345-foot steamer struck sharp rocks near Fort Point, at the strait’s southern end.

A Pond Inlet, Nunavut, hunter is recovering at home after his snowmobile fell through thin ice, plunging him into frigid water and forcing him to walk five hours back to town in wet clothes in below-freezing temperatures.

Laimiki Pewatualuk was hunting several kilometres from Pond Inlet last Wednesday when thin ice beneath him suddenly gave way, submerging the hunter and his snowmobile in the water below.

"I brought all the necessary emergency supplies, such as a SPOT [GPS tracking] device and a flashlight," Pewatualuk said in Inuktitut. "My CB radio went down with the snowmobile."

They bear an uncanny resemblance to a two-liter bottle of orange soda with a short antenna, and researchers are asking commercial and recreational fishermen, as well as coastal residents, visitors and beachcombers, to keep a weather eye out for them.

Illicit fishing goes on every day at an industrial scale. But large commercial fishers are about to get a new set of overseers: conservationists—and soon the general public—armed with space-based reconnaissance of the global fleet.

There's a 58 percent chance that Alaska could experience an El Niño winter but Southeast will see the biggest difference.

Alaska is definitely seeing some strange weather. Super typhoon Nuri warmed up parts of Alaska while forcing cold winds to really hit the Midwest. There’s a chance that Alaska could see another bout of warm winter weather. KDLG’s Thea Card reports.

A great piece of writing from Fairbanks. How come we never heard of Ned Rozell before now? -Ed.

When Mario Gandolfo went for a walk along the Pacific Ocean shoreline in Nome, Alaska on Nov. 4, he was looking for sea glass. But he found something quite different: A World War II military dog tag washed into his hand.

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute is hosting its annual Alaska Fishing Families Photo Contest this fall. ASMI is inviting all photographers to enter photos that share the uniqueness of Alaska’s fisheries.

Recreational fishermen prize large trophy fish. Commercial fishing gear targets big fish. After all, larger fish feed the egos of humans as well as their bellies.

A new compilation of research from around the world now shows that big, old, fat, fertile, female fish – known as BOFFFFs to scientists – are essential for ensuring that fishery stocks remain sustainable.


A woman from Togiak is facing drug charges for allegedly smoking oxycodone at the Kanakanak Hospital in Dillingham. Last Thursday afternoon the Dillingham Police Department was asked to investigate a report that a pregnant woman and another woman, who had just given birth, were smoking oxycodone in the delivery/OB room at the Kanakanak Hospital.