Incidental catch of halibut in directed groundfish fisheries is likely to be the hot topic Jan. 26-30 when the International Pacific Halibut Commission holds its 91st annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.

NMFS issues a proposed rule to implement cost recovery fee programs for the Western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program for groundfish and halibut, and three limited access privilege programs: The American Fisheries Act (AFA), Aleutian Islands Pollock, and Amendment 80 Programs.

The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 called for fishing boats to meet survey and classification requirements if they are 50 feet and over, operate outside of three miles and are built after July 1, 2013. The regulation has been called a huge cultural change.

Critics said the fishing industry had virtually "no input" in the law, and making matters worse has been the lack of guidelines describing a classed boat from any of the possible classification societies: American Bureau of Shipping, DNV GL (previously Det Norske Veritas), Lloyd's Register, Bureau Veritas or Germanischer Lloyd.

After a motion failed at the North Pacific Fishery Management Council by a single vote with an Alaska delegate absent, another effort is underway to reduce halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea in the face of rapidly sinking catch limits for the directed fisheries.

For those of us who live by the sea, a drop in the price of oil is a joy indeed. I doubt if our Saudi allies and the rest of OPEC are going to not take action as oil reaches $50 a barrel, but for those of us who remember the price a decade ago when I could fill the old Stormbird's tanks for $800 -- last year, filling the same tanks cost $5,200, and last month it came down to $4,881.

The iconic Alaska king salmon are returning in lesser number, younger and consequently smaller, and with a skewed gender ratio across most of our state.

How should we react? What does it say about how we react to an issue where passions and emotions run high? The recent op-ed from Joe Connors is very disappointing and everyone in our community needs to know why and to know we can and should do better than this.

It's that time of year again. Top 10 lists for everything. Trust me. For some of them, I can't figure out how they came up with a top one, much less 10. I was going to piggyback on this cliche and give you my top 10 Alaska stories for 2014, but then I got a grip on myself.

You're welcome. I decided instead to look ahead at what will be a giant war in Alaska in the upcoming year. I figured maybe we needed to start rallying the troops to battle.

NOAA Fisheries is being asked by the state of Alaska and representatives of the Pribilof Island community of Saint Paul to institute emergency action to lower halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea groundfish fisheries.

The request to Assistant Administrator of NOAA Fisheries Eileen Sobeck came in late December from Central Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association, the city of Saint Paul, the Tribal government of Saint Paul and Tanadguix Corp., an Alaska Native village corporation.

The waters around the Aleutian Islands support a dizzying range of wildlife -- and major industries right along with it. Right now, the government’s job is to help find a balance.

A federal fisheries decision that put commercial harvesters back into waters put off limits four years ago to reduce competition between them and Steller sea lions hungering for the same fish has prompted another federal lawsuit.