Lower Cook Inlet finfish issues are on the agenda for the Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting Dec. 8-11 in Anchorage, with live audio of the meeting to be available at www.boardoffisheries.adfg.alaska.gov During the four-day public meeting at the Egan Civic and Convention Center, the board will consider 45 proposals regarding the Lower Cook Inlet region submitted by the general public, fishing organizations, local fish and game advisory committees, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Alaska fisheries biologist John Hilsinger has been named the new science advisor for the Aleutian King Crab Research Foundation. Hilsinger — the former interim executive director at the North Pacific Research Board — is taking over for Denby Lloyd, the former Alaska Department of Fish and Game commisioner who helped start the foundation. Lloyd also recently left his post as the fisheries consultant for the City of Kodiak and the Kodiak Island Borough to serve as the executive director at the North Pacific Research Board.
Last week representatives of Alaska’s oil and gas, mining, forest products, tourism and fisheries industries gathered in Anchorage for the annual Resource Development Council conference. As part of the conference they heard from 2 powerful members of the U.S. Senate. KDLG’s Mike Mason listened in and filed this report.
The Board of Fisheries will discuss an emergency petition regarding the Atka mackerel fishery in the Aleutian Islands next week. The Adak Community Development Corp. has asked the board to repeal the new Atka mackerel purse seine fishery created in October at the statewide Pacific cod meeting. Adak Community Development Corp. President Rick Koso petitioned the board for the repeal in a Nov. 6 letter.
Alaska’s congressional delegation is pushing for disaster funds related to 2012’s low Chinook runs on the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers. Twenty-two new lawmakers are now included on a letter of support for $150 million in relief to be spread across other national fishery disasters. The group now includes prominent East Coast senators like Charles Schumer and Marco Rubio. A total of 38 senators and house members are listed.
Kerry Coughlin, America's regional director for the MSC, has resigned. She will be leaving her positon at the end of November to "pursue new opportunities" and will continue to work with MSC on a consulting basis, according to an email sent to Tom Seaman, Editor of Undercurrent News. The MSC is advertising her positon on their website, in a job posting prepared in October of this year. The deadline for applying is Nov. 25th. Interviews will be held in Washington DC on December 4th and 5th.
Farm-raised fish is one of the few types of food not currently available at the grocery store with a U.S. Department of Agriculture organic label on it, but the agency shouldn’t be in too much of a rush to rectify that, a handful of organic and consumer advocacy groups warn.
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski spoke about the subsistence challenges facing the Alaska Native people during a lengthy speech on the last day of the recent Alaska Federation of Natives convention. KDLG’s Mike Mason listened in and filed this report.
Proposed rule to implement Amendment 99 to the FMP for the Groundfish of the BSAI to enable the holders of LLP licenses authorizing a designated vessel to catch and process Pacific cod in the BSAI hook-and-line fisheries to use newly built or existing vessels that are not eligible under current vessel length and capacity restrictions. Comment period through November 25, 2013.
President Jerry McCune says the board will work on priorities for legislative and government-agency action. “We’re always looking for little tweaks in the (state) Division of Investments or things that would be more helpful to fishermen for their loans, especially with a lot of young folks getting online now,” McCune says. “That was one of the reasons we fought so hard to up the (loan) limit for permits to $200,000, because prices nowadays are a lot higher today than when it started out.”
Moe Zamarron, director of public works, convened representatives of Cordova's seafood processing industry earlier this week to lay out a new plan to bring Cordova into compliance with EPA's new LT2 law. "This is a new law and how the city reaches compliance will affect you and require your participation so that is why we have asked you to be here today," Zamarron told the attendees. "It is very important that you let your leadership know this is not something we have a choice about and that it is coming."
Critics of EPA's controversial draft assessment of the potential impacts of the planned Pebble Mine in Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed are seeking to kill the study before it is finalized because they fear it could jeopardize efforts to develop both the Pebble Mine as well as other mining activity on a significant swath of state land in the region.
The USDA reported record sales by agricultural and fishery co-ops in 2012. According to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack farmer, rancher and fishery cooperatives set records for sales, income and assets in 2012, buoyed by strong prices for grain, farm supplies and many other agricultural commodities. The USDA said ag and fishery co-op sales totaled $235 billion in 2012, up 8.3 percent compared with 2011 figures. Additionally, record next income was up 13 percent to $6.1 billion.
The Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers have thanked a number of Alaskan and Washington state representatives for their efforts in expediting the start to the 2013/14 king crab season in the midst of the recent government shutdown.
A new “super salmon” is expected to be approved for sale in the US within the next few weeks, reigniting a heated debate over genetically-modified food. The salmon would be the first GM animal ever approved for human consumption, and has been under development in Massachusetts for 18 years. It is expected to be cleared for sale soon by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and now American supermarkets are coming under increasing pressure to refuse to stock the fish.
Commercial fishing for Bristol Bay red king crab is officially under way, but on opening day, Oct. 15, most of the boats were unable to leave the port of Dutch Harbor, for lack of required federal permits. The multi-million dollar fishery was stalled by the partial federal government shutdown, with members of Congress unable to agree on how to deal with the nation's debt limit and Affordable Care Act.
Long-time Alaska fisheries journalist Bob Tkacz recently attended the second annual World Congress of Mariculture and Fisheries in Hangzhou, China. The theme this year is “promoting sustainable fishery development.” “The way these kind of events work here, the first one is usually kind of a dry run or dress rehearsal.