Changes effective Dec. 1 in the Pacific halibut and sablefish fisheries in the Bering Sea/ Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska will require owners of catcher vessel sector individual fishing quota to be on board, rather than a hired skipper.
The IFQ program had allowed initial recipients of catcher vessel halibut and sablefish quota share to hire a vessel master to harvest the annual allocation of IFQ derived from the quota share.
The Association of Village Council Presidents and the Tanana Chiefs Conference are petitioning for emergency changes to bycatch regulations in the Bering Sea.
The current Bering Sea chinook, or king, bycatch cap has two parts: a lower number that is the performance standard of 47,591 and a higher number, the hard cap of 60,000. By joining incentive plan agreements, or IPAs, pollock vessels receive a prorated share of the cap of 60,000. Any vessel that does not join an IPA receives a prorated share of the lower cap.
Sullivan was able to reshuffle a packed travel schedule to fit in the fisheries event, said Ben Sparks, campaign manager. Sullivan initially was going to be in Bethel on a multi-day swing through Southwest Alaska during the time of the Kodiak event. “Dan recognizes the importance of Alaska's fisheries, and our campaign has rescheduled our southwest swing to ensure that Dan could make the debate. He looks forward to a healthy exchange of ideas with Mark Begich on the future of Alaska's fisheries, and is excited to attend the debate in Kodiak," his campaign said in a prepared statement.
When Alaskans fish for salmon, most are hoping to bring home those gorgeous — not to mention delicious — red fillets for the barbecue, freezer, or canning jar. When the fish are cleaned, the long skeins of pink or red eggs often go overboard with everything else.
Not so in the commercial fishing industry, where salmon eggs — or roe — have become big business. Russia’s embargo of American seafood has been a setback to Alaska’s caviar industry, but demand for the product is growing elsewhere.
For the past couple of years the City of Dillingham was much larger than it is today. That’s because the city successfully annexed much of Nushagak Bay into the city limits. However, earlier this year a judge in Dillingham reversed the annexation and basically ordered the process to start again. KDLG’s Mike Mason reports.
The Cook Inlet drift fleet is largely done fishing for the summer, with a catch of more than 2 million salmon.
Through Aug. 12, when fishing had ended in most areas, the fleet had landed 1.4 million sockeyes, 402,138 pinks, 65,678 silvers and 107,299 chums according to call-in estimates provided by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
United Cook Inlet Drift Association Executive Director Roland Maw said the average drifter caught about 18,000 pounds of sockeye. Most fishermen saw lower catch per unit effort, or CPUE, this summer.
Scientists across NOAA Fisheries are watching a persistent expanse of exceptionally warm water spanning the Gulf of Alaska that could send reverberations through the marine food web. The warm expanse appeared about a year ago and the longer it lingers, the greater potential it has to affect ocean life from jellyfish to salmon, researchers say.
A U.S. House subcommittee today considered a bill aimed at creating a deepwater dock at Point Spencer, a narrow curlicue of land on the Bering Strait, just south of the Arctic Circle. Alaska Congressman Don Young says his bill would divide the 2,000 acre spit among the Coast Guard, the state and the Bering Strait Native Corp., creating a partnership to build a port.
“I want to move this legislation. I think it’s badly needed for Alaska and the nation,” Young said. “And of course it will help Bering Straits out. There’s no doubt about that.”
Federal fisheries managers have proposed a new rule requiring West Coast commercial fishermen who unroll long lines of baited hooks on the ocean bottom also put out long lines of fluttering plastic to scare off seabirds trying to steal the bait.
The proposed rule published Tuesday in the Federal Register is designed to protect the endangered short-tailed albatross, which once numbered in the millions but is down to about 1,200 individuals.
The state of Alaska, the University of Alaska and representatives from Alaskan fisheries, seafood and marine industries created a plan to increase the number of in state residents working in maritime careers.
A federal judge ruled Thursday to uphold the federal decision to remove Cook Inlet from the salmon fishery management plan.
Alaska has managed salmon since statehood, and the National Marine Fisheries Service removed Cook Inlet salmon from the federal fishery management plan, or FMP, after the North Pacific Fishery Management Council unanimously voted in December 2011 to officially delegate that authority to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Earlier this year, the North Pacific Research Board held its annual Alaska Marine Science Symposium. The event featured research on many different topics, including bycatch. This is the term for unwanted or protected species that are swept up along with a fisherman’s regular catch. Areas such as the Bering Sea have hard limits on the amount of bycatch fishermen may collect, and if they reach the limit, they can’t continue fishing there.
NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) is announcing $4.7 million in grants through the Species Recovery Grant Program. This grant money will fund continuing multi-year awards as well as new awards for fiscal year 2014.
Four new awards funded in fiscal year 2014 will assist three coastal states and one federally recognized tribe with conservation projects designed to recover marine species listed under the Endangered Species Act. There are eleven multi-year state awards and two multi-year tribal awards that will continue in FY14, the second year of these grants.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has agreed to purchase $13 million of canned pink salmon from the state of Alaska. The move comes at the urging of Senator Lisa Murkowski, who says a strong 2013 harvest led to an excess of pinks, and having USDA purchase the surplus cans from state companies would help prevent a drop in the price paid to fishermen. Tyson Fick, spokesman for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, says the purchase, which will provide cans to The Emergency Food Assistance program, was an excellent idea.
The nation’s most influential sustainable-seafood group believes a host of once-troubled West Coast bottom fish are now recovering so well that consumers should seek them out at restaurants and markets.
Marine scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium said Tuesday that government regulators and fishermen had made such strides in how they manage and catch 21 species of rockfish, flounder, lingcod and sole that it listed all among the “good” or “best” seafood choices in the new edition of its popular guide.
At its August meeting, the Dillingham city council voted to move forward with a draft petition to annex the waters of the Nushagak commercial fishing district. The vote was not unanimous; councilman Tracy Hightower cast the lone dissenting vote.
The 194-page draft petition, which will likely be filed with the Local Boundary Commission, looks very similar to the petition drawn up in 2010. The boundaries for annexation are the same. The proposed tax rate of 2.5 percent has not changed. And already a few "Ax the Tax" signs have popped up around town.
Political group Bristol Bay Forever is sponsoring a ballot measure that would put additional environmental protections on the area known as the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve. The area, consisting of 36,000 square miles of land and rivers in Southwest Alaska, was established in 1972 as a way to protect the local salmon populations from the effects of oil and gas development. For any oil or gas company to get surface entry rights, they need to obtain a legislative declaration that says their activities won’t harm the fish.