Ten fishing boats - five each from Sitka and Homer - are carrying electronic monitoring equipment as part of a pilot program to see if such tracking is more effective than having observers onboard in gathering data for fisheries management.

Longliners from the two communities have been participating in the pilot program by the Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association since early March, according to (http://bit.ly/1diMK3b) the Daily Sitka Sentinel.

The Alaska Independent Fishermen’s Marketing Association (AIFMA) applauds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its Watershed Assessment of impacts of potential large scale mining in the Bristol Bay drainages of Alaska. The Assessment is thorough, peer-reviewed, and comprehensive. It describes the risks of unavoidable, adverse, cumulative effects of potential large mines, including Pebble mine, on fish, wildlife, and subsistence, commercial and recreational fisheries in the region.

When it comes time to upgrade existing equipment or to install a new refrigeration system on your boat for the first time, there are a few important things to think about. According to Kurt Ness at Integrated Marine Systems, “There are a lot of factors to consider when exploring freezing or Refrigerated Seawater (RSW) options. Power requirements, hold capacity, vessel insulation, market demands, processors’ expectations and more.”

Lots of Tanner crab is coming out of Alaska this winter. Southeast Alaska wrapped up its best fishery in a decade with 80 crabbers hauling up one and a quarter million pounds in 11 days. At an average fishermen’s price to of $2.70/lb the Tanner fishery is worth more than $3 million to the region.

Alaska’s salmon catch set a record last year– and so did the salmon returns to Alaska hatcheries. The 2013 Alaska salmon catch was an all time high of 283 million fish and hatchery returns topped 110 million. The state’s annual Fisheries Enhancement report shows that those salmon contributed 36% to Alaska’s total salmon catch, valued at $182 million at the docks. That compares to 28% and $149 million in 2012.

After a productive second opening on Sunday afternoon (3-23-14), the Sitka sac roe herring fleet is well over halfway toward its harvest goal.

Fishermen landed an estimate 5,000 tons in Sunday’s opening, which began at 1:30 p.m. and lasted an hour and forty minutes, closing at 3:10 p.m. Sunday’s catch was just 300 tons less than the harvest in last Thursday’s season opener — and a little more than the Department of Fish & Game was aiming for.

Alaska’s salmon catch set a record last year– and so did the salmon returns to Alaska hatcheries. The 2013 Alaska salmon catch was an all time high of 283 million fish and hatchery returns topped 110 million. The state’s annual Fisheries Enhancement report shows that those salmon contributed 36% to Alaska’s total salmon catch, valued at $182 million at the docks. That compares to 28% and $149 million in 2012.

Sitka’s remunerative herring fishery goes on two-hour notice as of 8 a.m. Thursday (3-20-14). That means fishing could start as shortly as Thursday morning, depending on either exam samples taken by a Alaska Department of Fish Game find a high adequate commission of mature roe, or eggs, in a fish.

But some fishermen are apprehensive.

Seiners contend this year’s quota, during over 16,000 tons, is high. The peculiarity of a fish, in exam samples, is good. What worries them is a market.

Sitka’s Fish-to-Schools program will be easier to reproduce in other communities, thanks to a new handbook from the Sitka Conservation Society.
A Guide to Serving Local Fish in School Cafeterias was published online last week (3-14-14) by the Society. It contains everything someone needs to know to navigate the sometimes-choppy waters to get locally-caught seafood onto public school menus.

The Response to Public Comments documents for the May 2012 and April 2013 Drafts of An Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts On Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska are now available on the EPA website: www2.epa.gov/bristolbay