Friday marked the release of $7.5 million in federal disaster assistance for commercial fishermen affected by the 2012 failure of the Chinook salmon in the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers and Cook Inlet. Both US Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich welcomed the news and spoke in support of the decision.
For some southeast Alaska salmon stocks, goals for escapements — the number of fish allowed to swim free during fishing season to spawn — have changed to maximize the fish populations in those runs.
Steve Heinl and Ed Jones of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game informed the ADF&G Board of Fisheries of the changes on Wednesday. The board is holding a work session meeting in Juneau through Thursday at Centennial Hall.
How do you solve a problem like bycatch in the Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries?
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council devoted hours of its fall meeting in Anchorage to that question, finally emerging with a motion calling for analysis of a number of alternatives and options.
The three alternatives to be considered include taking no action, a trawl bycatch management program for the Western Gulf, Central Gulf and West Yakutat area, and an alternative with a community fisheries association allocation or adaptive management program.
NOAA and American Seafoods Company (ASC) this week agreed to settle three civil enforcement cases involving flow scales on board the ASC’s fishing vessels. The cases relate to events that occurred during 2007, 2008, 2011, and 2012 in the Alaska pollock fishery. Pursuant to the settlement, ASC agreed to pay a combined civil penalty of $1.75 million.
The cases charged that personnel aboard the ASC’s catcher-processor vessels American Dynasty, Ocean Rover and Northern Eagle violated the Magnuson Stevens Act and the American Fisheries Act by causing the flow scales to weigh inaccurately.
A ballot measure to protect salmon in Southwest hasn’t grabbed as many headlines as pot and campaign politics. Ballot Measure 4, sponsored by the group Bristol Bay Forever, asks voters to give the Alaska legislature final say on any large oil, gas and mining projects in the 36,000 square miles of the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve.
The initiative does three significant things to the existing reserve, said Dick Mylius, a former state director for the Division of Mining, Land, and Water.
After a year's absence, Unalaska now has somebody working at the Marine Advisory Program and at the Interior-Aleutians Campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. And they're the same person. Melissa "Missy" Good started work last week in the hybrid position
"Right now my plate's pretty open. I want to see what the community wants," said Good, who worked locally as the assistant area shellfish management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for the past 3-and-a-half years.
Summer 2014 represented a different kind of summer for Alaska fishermen. While commercial halibut fishermen have had their catch limits reduced for a number of years, this year the reductions hit charter fishermen in Southcentral Alaska as well. Anyone who went out on a charter boat out of Homer, Whittier, Seward or Kodiak knows that this year, fishermen could only keep one halibut of any size, and the second halibut had to be smaller than 29 inches.
Changes to the observer program and discussion of a possible Gulf of Alaska rationalization program are back on the menu at the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s October meeting.
The council, which will meet Oct. 8-14 in Anchorage, will also approve crab fishery catches, take final action on Pacific cod fishery for the Community Development Quota, or CDQ, fleet and take action on Bering Sea crab fishery provisions.
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has launched its updated standard for sustainable fishing, which is claimed to reflect the most up-to-date understanding of fishery science and management.
The updated standard, Version 2.0 of the MSC’s Fisheries Certification Requirements, was developed over the past two years and involved a year-long consultation with fishing industry experts, scientists, NGOs and MSC’s wide network of partners.
A sharp, wide-ranging debate on Alaska fisheries Wednesday evening saw organizers and Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich put Republican challenger Dan Sullivan on the defensive over his pro-development record, with Sullivan delivering some targeted shots of his own to keep Begich from getting too comfortable.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is on a salmon-buying binge. It usually spends $6 million a year buying pink salmon. This summer, it is spending a total $39 million.
That's a relief for fishermen who caught pink salmon in record quantities back in 2013. A year-and-a-half's worth of pink salmon was caught in that year, and now millions of cans from that year are still sitting in warehouses.
he legal showdown between the Environmental Protection Agency and the group behind the giant Pebble mining prospect near Bristol Bay is coming to a head, with the first oral arguments in one case set for Friday morning in Anchorage and the recent filing of a second lawsuit that claims the agency illegally colluded with mine foes.
Both cases, under the purview of Alaska federal District Court Judge H. Russel Holland, were filed by Pebble Partnership, owned by Northern Dynasty Minerals
Alaska’s Congressional Delegation and their colleagues from Washington State are pushing the Food and Drug Administration to change the market name for pollock and clearly differentiate it from inferior fish harvested in Russia.
Cook Inlet setnetting has been an integral part of the Kenai Peninsula’s economy for more than a century, employing hundreds of hard working families who spend their summers harvesting a living from the inlet’s robust salmon runs.
The Alaska Public Offices Commission received and rejected 14 complaints regarding lobbying at Upper Cook Inlet Board of Fisheries meetings.
Alaska’s Board of Fisheries is responsible for making certain fisheries management policy decisions for the state, including setting seasons and bag limits for fisheries along with methods and means for taking fish, and making allocative decisions between user groups.
A new report was released last week that contains a summary and the probable cause of 21 marine accidents. The national Transportation Safety Board is hoping the report will be an eye opener.
The National Transportation Safety Board released “Safer Seas 2013: Lessons Learned from marine Accident investigations” last week. The report includes a compilation of accident investigations that were published in 2013, organized by vessel type with links to the more detailed accident reports.
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.