Scott Kelley is Alaska's new director of commercial fisheries as of Oct. 21, replacing Jeff Regnart, who retired at the start of October. Kelley has worked for the Department of Fish and Game for nearly 25 years, all of it in division of commercial fisheries and a since-merged research arm.

Kelley started his career with fish and game as a port sampler at Excursion Inlet, a major processing facility west of Juneau. Since then he’s held a variety of roles in Southeast Alaska, including working on stock assessments, as an area management biologist, and as a regional management coordinator.

Following the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) first successful use of a stereo camera to verify a US study, some say this technology will soon become a more conventional way to conduct marine research.

The study was conducted to help inform the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council (NPFMC) of the state of coral in the Pribilof Canyon in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska and whether it was threatened by pollock fishing in the area, before they made their decision earlier this month to continue to allow fishing there.

Salmon bycatch in the Gulf of Alaska trawl fishery has been under scrutiny since 2012, when the North Pacific Fishery Management Council proposed a revision in the Gulf trawl fishery’s management structure. The Council is slowly making headway on the issue. 

Pacific halibut and Chinook salmon are taken as prohibited species, or bycatch, by the Gulf groundfish trawl fleet, and the Council wants to provide tools for better managing the prohibited species catch.

Twenty-four years ago, U.S. District Court Judge Hezekiah Russel Holland gave his blessing to a landmark settlement that resolved criminal and civil complaints pressed by the federal and state governments against Exxon for its huge oil spill in Prince William Sound.

On Thursday, in the same Anchorage courtroom, Holland, who uses his middle name and first initial, heard attorneys tell him that the state and federal governments have no more reason to fight with the oil giant over the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster.

NOAA Fisheries is developing an Agency-wide Ecosystem-based Fishery Management policy, which outlines a set of principles to guide our actions and decisions over the long-term. The draft policy goals and framework are informed by NOAA Fisheries’ own practices and experience from that of our partners. These ideas are intended to limit neither discussion nor consideration of other potential policy goals.

NOAA Fisheries is seeking letters of public support through Oct. 23, for 10 people, including two incumbents, for two presidential appointments as U.S. commissioners to the International Pacific Halibut Commission.

Terms expire on Dec. 31 for current commissioners Don Lane of Homer and Bob Alverson, of Seattle.

A USDA bailout will send thousands of cans of Bristol Bay sockeye to school lunches and other federal food programs around the country this winter.

As the Arctic opens, several countries are eyeing what may be a virgin commercial fishery in the central Arctic Ocean. How to regulate those new potential fishing grounds was on the table for discussion at the State Department’s GLACIER conference in Anchorage last week. Several nations urged caution and the need for more science before opening the fishery.

During a Monday call with reporters, Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan says a Trade Customs Bill could help get more Alaska seafood into foreign markets.

“We’re working on, in that bill, that would dramatically increase market opportunities for our seafood. You know, Alaska is the super power of seafood, we harvest more seafood than the rest of the country combined, and that would go after the highly subsidized fishing fleets of foreign nations. And we’re encouraging the administration, in these trade agreements, to go after unfair subsidies for other fishing fleets.”

The National Marine Fisheries Service has allocated an additional 1,600 chinook salmon to be used as bycatch for the Gulf of Alaska non-pollock, non-rockfish groundfish trawl fleet.

The year-round Gulf of Alaska non-pollock, non-rockfish fishery had to shut down on May 2, having exceeded its allocation of 2,700 chinook salmon bycatch. Somewhere between 13,000 to 15,000 metric tons of groundfish would have been left in the water in the second part of the season, approximately $4.6 million in ex-vessel value and $11.3 million in first wholesale value.