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.
Forrest Bowers, from Fish and Game's division of commercial fisheries, says there are fewer proposals this year than in 2012, when the board last took up Bristol Bay fisheries.
The board considers changes to each region on a three-year cycle. Proposals are submitted by members of the public, regional advisory committees and other organizations. For this winter’s meeting, they were due last spring.
This year, the largest chunk of the proposals - 24 - target district-specific management plans and regulations for Bristol Bay’s commercial salmon fishery.
This summer, just as they have done for generations, setnetters are working the shores of the western Kenai Peninsula, stringing out nets and hauling in hundreds of thousands of fish from the abundant sockeye salmon runs of Southcentral Alaska.
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has launched a new global fund for supporting critical fishery science research and projects aimed at strengthening knowledge and global capacity to assist small scale and developing world fisheries in their journey to achieving MSC certification.
In another hurdle for Royal Dutch Shell’s Arctic drilling program, an ice-handling vessel playing a key role in the operation has returned to Dutch Harbor after a gash was discovered in its hull.
The Fennica, a 380-foot Finnish vessel, was damaged Friday as it headed for the drilling grounds in the Chukchi Sea off the northwest Alaska coast, with a state-certified marine harbor pilot on board handling it. The vessel is one of 29 Shell plans to send to the area this summer.
A decision by the Pacific Salmon Commission to cap this summer's Alaska harvest of king salmon at 237,000 fish, down from 440,000 fish a year ago, is prompting outrage from the Alaska Trollers Association.
"This year's quota shines a bright light on a treaty agreement that is not working for Southeast Chinook fishermen and communities," said Dale Kelley, executive director of the Alaska Trollers Association.
Staff of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council have begun working on a discussion paper for the council’s October meeting, exploring ways to index Bering Sea and Aleutian Island halibut prohibited species catch limits to a metric of halibut biomass.
There are less than two weeks to go before the traditional start of the summer king salmon trolling season, on July 1st — but fishermen in Southeast don’t know yet how many kings they’ll be allowed to catch. That’s because representatives on the Pacific Salmon Commission are deadlocked: they can’t agree how many king salmon are out there.
KDLG's Molly Dischner has June 8's Bristol Bay Fisheries Report. Tonight fisheries analyst Andy Wink talks about the market for sockeye salmon, we hear about the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association's annual meeting in Dillingham, and we check in on the new halibut bycatch caps set in Sitka Sunday evening.
The Bering Sea is a tough, unforgiving environment. As Alaska Native peoples we have survived and flourished for thousands of years by sustainably harvesting this sea’s bounty, including the noble Pacific halibut. Our home, the island of Saint Paul in the Pribilof Islands, is located in the central Bering Sea in the heart of the nation’s richest commercial fisheries.
In Sunday’s guest column, the Central Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association referred to trawl fishing as a grave threat and an “environmentally disastrous policy” that has devastated their halibut fishery and “plundered the Bering Sea.”
In two unanimous decisions, the Alaska Supreme Court on Friday came down solidly on the side of a group fighting the proposed Pebble mine, backing efforts by two Alaska icons, former first lady Bella Hammond and state constitutional convention delegate Vic Fischer, to give the public a voice in mineral exploration.
As a fishery scientist who has worked for more than 20 years with trawl fishermen to reduce salmon, crab and halibut bycatch, I find the recent rhetoric around proposed North Pacific Fisheries Management Council changes to the Bering Sea halibut bycatch cap very frustrating. In particular, I hear media campaigns underwritten by environmental NGOs claiming, “It’s been 20 years since the halibut bycatch cap was last reduced,” implying that this has created a conservation issue.
Today, the Alaska Supreme Court issued an opinion that protects Alaskan’s right to know about — and to have a say in — how their resources are used. The Court ruled the Alaska Constitution requires the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to provide public notice and to evaluate whether exploration activities for the proposed Pebble Mine are in the public interest. The Court said it best: “The state must know how it should act before it acts.”
The Marine Stewardship Council will facilitate mediation for the salmon processors who disagree about who can participate in the client group that has the council’s sustainability certification. Back in April, ten of Alaska’s major salmon buyers asked to rejoin the label they dropped in 2012, saying it will help them tap back into picky European markets.
President Barack Obama’s administration gave an early promise to stop Rep. Don Young’s changes to national fishing laws before the bill has even seen the light of a full House discussion.
The Magnuson-Stevens Act, or MSA, governs all fisheries in the federal waters from three to 200 miles off the U.S. coast, and authorizes eight regional fishery management councils, including the North Pacific Fishery Management Council that oversees fishing in the waters off the Alaska coast. It was first passed in 1976 and most recently reauthorized and amended in 2006.
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will spend the first four days of its weeklong meeting in Sitka beginning June 3 deciding on a series of deep cuts in the halibut bycatch allocation for the Bering Sea groundfish bottom-trawl fleet, but it may do so without a majority of the votes on the final decision coming from the Alaska delegation.
Gov. Bill Walker’s office announced on May 20 that Robert Mumford has been appointed to the vacant seat on the Alaska Board of Fisheries.
“I am pleased to announce Bob Mumford as my appointee to the Board of Fish,” Walker said. “His vast range of experience in multiple fields — as a commercial pilot, hunting instructor and fish and game State Trooper — has taken him all over the state.”