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Summary for February 2, 2009 - February 6, 2009:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Still no agreement on Columbia Chinook split

Sport and commercial fishermen will have to wait a while longer before spring Chinook seasons are announced.

A decision by Oregon and Washington fish managers was scheduled for Thursday, but an impasse on how to divide the catch between sports and commercial fish postponed it. – Longview Daily News

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Depressed? Eat salmon

Mike Genevie was the kind of guy who always came ready with a  joke. But when his relationship with his girlfriend went sour, his sunny outlook on life turned overcast.

Fortunately, there are plenty of do-it-yourself ways to boost your body's own feel-good forces: Stack the deck with seafood.

Why it works: Two types of omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in seafood — eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). 

Do this: Eat cold-water fish (salmon or mackerel) at least twice a week. – MSNBC

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Editorial: Keep traditional fishing jobs

Development debates often hinge on jobs vs. the environment, or jobs vs. quality of life. The wave energy issue seems to hinge instead on jobs vs. jobs. Specifically, new manufacturing jobs vs. old fishing jobs.

The situation calls to mind the proverbial bird in the hand. Sacrificing traditional livelihoods for the pursuit of an unproved new industry is a poor tradeoff. – Coos Bay World

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Fishermen selling in farmers markets

PORTSMOUTH — Residents of New Hampshire's Seacoast can now purchase local and sustainably caught shrimp and lobster direct from local fishermen at winter farmers markets.

With shrimp and lobster prices at near 20-year lows, this is a boost that local fishermen could use.
– New Hampshire Seacoast Online

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Apparent suicide victim named

I just got off the phone with state Trooper Thomas Lowy in Dutch Harbor, who identified the crewman who evidently committed suicide by jumping off the commercial fishing vessel Arctic Fox into the frigid Bering Sea.

The victim was Michael Leo Beaulieu, age 40. His commercial fishing license lists his address as Frisco, Colo., but he might have been somewhat transient, Lowy said.

The owner of the Arctic Fox is from Reedsport, Ore. The vessel is a 58-foot seiner rigged to catch Pacific cod using traps known as pots. – Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy, writing as The Highliner for the Anchorage Daily News

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Biologists working to protect Taku from mine

The Taku River teems with fish and is worth millions each year to local fishermen, but state biologists had to jump through legal hoops to deem it an "important habitat." 

Those two little words change how Department of Natural Resources officials must look at a mine company's proposal to haul a hoverbarge down the Taku year-round using amphibious vehicles. -- Juneau Empire

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Huge fish farm proposed off San Diego

Five miles west of Mission Beach, scientists hope to build a floating ranch for millions of fish that would eventually land on dinner plates across the country.  

Aquaculture specialists at the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute in San Diego could pioneer an era of marine food production in the United States, which relies heavily on imports to meet a growing appetite for seafood. Their project would be the first of its kind in federal waters – widely seen as a prime zone for expanding aquaculture.
San Diego Union-Tribune

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Weirs in the Skeena River?

VANCOUVER -- Could the future of salmon fishing on the West Coast lie in reviving a harvesting method that the government, in order to save salmon, effectively outlawed about 100 years ago?
Consultants Greg Taylor and Janice Dickie think so, and make that argument in a new report that examines the situation on the Skeena River where many wild stocks are in serious trouble. 

The researchers, who run Fish First Consulting on Salt Spring Island, state that weirs, which were used by first nations on the Skeena from before European contact until 1904, need to make a comeback if wild salmon are to survive. – Globe and Mail, Toronto

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B.C. fish farm champion gets ministry      

Nanaimo-Parksville MLA Ron Cantelon has been appointed Minister of Agriculture and Lands.
Premier Gordon Campbell appointed Cantelon to his first cabinet position Friday afternoon, to replace Comox Valley MLA Stan Hagen, who died suddenly on Jan. 20.

Elected to the legislature in 2005, Cantelon has established himself as a passionate defender of coastal salmon farming, which will now be part of his ministerial duties. – Surrey (B.C.) Leader

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Sea Grant offers first aid at sea course

Washington Sea Grant, Jefferson Education Center and Washington State University Jefferson County Extension are co-sponsoring a Coast Guard-approved first aid at sea course in Port Hadlock March 16.

Designed for commercial fishermen and recreational boaters, the course is scheduled for Monday, March 16, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the Spruce Room at WSU Jefferson County Extension, 201 W. Patison, Port Hadlock. Topics include CPR, safety, patient assessment, shock, trauma, burns, fractures, choking, severed limbs, hypothermia, cold-water near-drowning, immobilization, backboards, first aid kits and more.

The fee is $80. Space is limited, so pre-registration is advised. To register or for more information, contact Sarah Fisken, (206) 543-1225, or Matt Lyons, (360) 379-4034.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Raft from doomed vessel tested

A raft that could have been used by crew members of the ill-fated Katmai partially inflated Tuesday during a test by investigators looking into the cause of the Seattle-owned fishing boat's sinking last year, which claimed the lives of seven men.

But the test didn't answer whether or not the raft actually was inflated, even partially, at the time of the sinking, Coast Guard Cmdr. Rob McLellan said. – Seattle P-I

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Yukon fish failures leave village hurting

Three years ago, Seattle seafood consultant Jon Rowley was drawn to the Yukon River delta by salmon — silver Chinook endowed with prodigious amounts of oil that help them swim some 2,000 miles across Alaska to distant Canadian spawning grounds.

With proper handling and marketing, Rowley figured that these fish could gain the same type of celebrity status as the Copper River salmon he began promoting back in the 1980s.

But this winter it's the fishermen, not the fish, that have Rowley's attention.
Seattle Times

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Navy quiet about range off Oregon

Last Friday, a public hearing was held at the Hatfield Marine Science Center In Newport to garner public comment on the U.S. Navy's expanded use of its Northwest Training Range Complex off the Oregon coast, and specifically on its draft environmental impact statement and overseas environmental impact statement.

Unfortunately, limited publicity about the meeting resulted in relatively light attendance, and many who were there indicated that they had just learned of the meeting --- the only one to be held in Oregon -- and the thousand-plus-page environmental documents. – Richard Cameron of Depoe Bay writing in

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Activists: Obama cabinet nominee likes fish farms     

A Washington, D.C., advocacy group called Food & Water Watch is opposing President Obama’s choice for commerce secretary, New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg, on grounds he favors offshore fish farming.
– Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy writing as The Highliner for the Anchorage Daily News

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Surprise! Feds permit Oregon wave energy part

COOS BAY — The announcement came as a surprise to everyone.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s order issuing a preliminary permit for a 200- to 400-buoy wave energy project off of Newport shocked Ocean Power Technologies leaders as well as the public.
Coos Bay World


Thursday, February 5, 2009

CDQ fishing companies seek tax relief

Commercial fishing companies that harvest seafood on behalf of Western Alaska villages might collectively owe tens of millions of dollars in back taxes for business activities beyond the scope of their nonprofit status.

Executives for the six companies are asking members of the Alaska congressional delegation to sponsor legislation to block taxes on their Bering Sea fishing income. The outcome could affect how much economic development money is available for villages and the pace at which the companies are gradually taking over key parts of Alaska's huge fishing industry. – Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy writing in the Anchorage Daily News

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Another war declared on Columbia gillnetters

The Coastal Conservation Association is calling for an end to night-hours gillnetting in the lower Columbia River.

Ed Wickersham, chairman of the Government Relations Committee of CCA-Washington, told the Columbia River Compact last week that the old arguments for commercial fishing at night are no longer valid. – The (Vancouver) Columbian

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Gourmet magazine: Salmon situation grim

Much of what follows will be bad news, so let’s begin on an uplifting note: Wild salmon from Alaska is one of the most sustainable seafood choices you can make.
But make it while you still can.

Three commercial fishermen, from California, Washington, and Alaska discussed the state of West Coast salmon at the Seafood Summit last weekend in San Diego. The situation is grim, to say the least. –

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Closed-system salmon farm creates some excitement     

The development of a new closed-containment salmon farm has New Democrats excited about the future of the aquaculture industry in British Columbia, and disappointed that the Liberals don't see it.

Skeena MLA and fisheries critic Robin Austin is upset that 2009 has arrived without any move from the provincial government to migrate salmon aquaculture operations from open net-cage farms to closed-containment technology, even though the technology is now available.
Prince Rupert Daily News

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Navy quietly seeks test range expansion off Oregon

You may not realize it, but the Navy has been conducting warfare training exercises off the coast of Oregon, Washington and Northern California for decades, firing missiles and machine guns, dropping bombs and practicing crucial sonar detection of submarines.

Now, the Navy's Northwest region wants to expand those operations, including adding a dummy minefield-avoidance training course, scheduling hundreds more training flights and warfare simulations over land and sea, and increasing the use of sonar -- a potential threat to endangered and threatened whales and other marine mammals. – The Oregonian

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Friday, February 6, 2009

North Pacific council bars Arctic fishing

Federal fisheries managers have voted to bar all commercial fishing in U.S. waters from north of the Bering Strait and east to the Canadian border in light of the rapid climate changes that are transforming the Arctic.  

In a unanimous vote yesterday, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council ruled that scientists and policymakers need to better assess how global warming is affecting the region before allowing fishing on stocks such as Arctic cod, saffron cod and snow crab. – Washington Post

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Lawsuit seeks more water for Cal fish

Conservation and fishermen's groups filed a lawsuit Wednesday in California Superior Court seeking to force state and regional water boards to implement existing clean water laws in the wild rivers and streams of the state's North Coast region.

The groups argue that only cleaner waters will enable the recovery of endangered salmon species. – Environmental News Service

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State chooses salmon over smelt  

California's state and federal water managers on Thursday took drastic emergency steps to begin reducing freshwater flows in the Delta to save scarce supplies during the worsening drought. In effect, they are making an unprecedented choice to protect one declining fish species over another – salmon over smelt. – Sacramento Bee

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B.C. Natives sue over salmon farms      

A First Nations community down the coast has decided to take the B.C. provincial government to court over its allowance of open-net fish farms in its area.  

The Kwciksutaineuk/Ah-Kwa-Mish First Nation (KAFN) launched a class-action lawsuit against the government at the B.C. Supreme Court over its regulation of the controversial farming of Atlantic salmon in the Broughton Archipelago, near Alert Bay. – Prince Rupert Daily News

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The toll of poor fisheries management

It is the last evening of the marine ecology course my wife and I teach each year at a field station in Bahía de Los Ángeles, a small fishing village on the Gulf of California. We’ve invited four local fishermen to join us for dinner, and they sit now in plastic chairs on our patio — the guests of honor, with a dozen college kids gathered before them like disciples. 

The eldest of the fishermen, Memo, rubs his grizzled chin in somber recollection, for one of our students has just asked a pointed and painful question: Which species have disappeared in his lifetime? – Aaron E. Hirsh, a biologist who has published in the areas of evolutionary genomics, the population genetics of infectious disease and mathematical models of evolution, writing in the New York Times

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