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Summary for March 9, 2009 - March 13, 2009:

Monday, March 9, 2009

South Carolina shrimpers to get advice from Alaskans

PETERSBURG, Alaska – While Americans consume ever-increasing quantities of imported farmed shrimp, shrimp fishermen in places like South Carolina – who have for generations relied on wild shrimp harvests – are finding themselves locked out of markets and undercut in price.

Later this month, six shrimp fishermen from South Carolina will come to Alaska to take part in a unique exchange with Alaska fishermen, biologists, and fisheries business experts. The March 18-22 event in Juneau and Petersburg is aimed at showing South Carolina fishermen how Alaska's fisheries work, and sharing with them strategies to improve their bottom line.

Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy, writing as The Highliner for the Anchorage Daily News

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Cod aquaculture to expand in Canada

Cooke Aquaculture Inc. is hoping it can apply what it has learned studying cod farming in New Brunswick to create a commercial-size operation off the south coast of Newfoundland.

With the help of $3.5 million in government support, the Blacks Harbour-based company will spend $8.5 million over the next four years on setting up a demonstration farm. -- Telegraph-Journal, New Brunswick

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To the editor: Save money by tearing down Klamath dams

Believe it or not, the PacifiCorp rate hike proposed in the Oregon Legislature for the Klamath dam removal is the best way to save ratepayers money.

Engineering estimates so far suggest federally mandated fish ladders and water quality improvements would cost the company millions of dollars more than dam removal, making Senate Bill 76 the cheapest and most prudent solution. – Erica Terence of Somes Bar, Calif., writing to the Coos Bay World

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Fed plan for Columbia Basin flawed, judge says

PORTLAND, Ore. — A U.S. District Court judge says a federal plan meant to balance energy and utility needs in the Columbia Basin with salmon and steelhead restoration remains flawed.

Judge James A. Redden heard arguments Friday in a decades-long dispute over how to meet the needs of endangered and threatened fish as well as operate the hydropower dams. - Seattle Times

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Put your name where your mouth is!

Alexandra Morton, the biologist who’s doing a hell of a job fighting fish farms in British Columbia, just won’t let up.

Here’s the point: Until Morton came along, fishermen’s complaints about salmon net pens were viewed as mere economic bellyaching – welfare queens griping about a cut in pay.

But Morton, working with little support over the years, has proved B.C. open-net salmon farming is hurting the environment far beyond the confines of its floating feedlots.

The information makes the issue everyone’s problem, not one just a few recalcitrant fishermen.

Most recently, Morton went to court, which found that the Canadian government, rather than the province of British Columbia, must regulate floating salmon farms.

Now, she’s pushing on the federal fisheries minister, Gail Shea. Below is a letter Morton has sent to Shea and Gordon Campbell, B.C. premier. You can sign it, even if you’re not a Canadian citizen. You needn’t even be an active fisherman.

If you like, click on the link at the bottom of the letter. And, if you feel the urge, send Fish Wrap to others who might feel the same as you.

Don McManman, editor

To: The Fisheries Minister The Honorable Gail Shea and
     Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia

Wild salmon are the backbone of the B.C. Coast. On February 9, 2009, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that salmon farms are a fishery and a federal responsibility.

The science is in. The feedlot fishery is damaging wild salmon stocks worldwide
(Ford and Myers 2008). Fraser sockeye and all southcoast B.C. salmon and steelhead are now at risk as a result of the Provincial policy of allowing the feedlot fishery to use Canada's most valuable wild salmon habitat.

We the undersigned demand that Fisheries and Oceans Canada
apply the Fisheries Act to this industry and immediately:

− Place observers during feedlot salmon harvest to assess unlawful bycatch.

− Examine feedlot salmon as they are cleaned for presence of wild fish in their
   digestive tract.

− License vessels transporting aquaculture salmon like all other commercial
   fishing vessels.

−  As per Pacific Fishery Regulation "Prohibited Fishing Methods," ban grow lights on fish feedlots to end wild prey species attraction into the pens.

− Remove the marine feedlot industry from wild salmon migration routes.

To sign, click on this link:


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pacific fishing groups call for salmon czar

Could there be a new big fish coming to the pond that is our nation’s capitol?
Commercial and recreational fishermen are urging President Obama to create a new position in his administration: salmon director.

More than 75 fishing organizations from six Pacific states -– California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada and Alaska –- signed a letter sent Monday to Obama asking for the new post.—LA Times

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DH Ports to begin cold storage construction

UNALASKA, AK -- DH Ports has partnered with Kloosterboer, a Dutch company that specializes in modern cold storage facilities, to begin construction of a new cold storage building on March 15. DH Ports Vice President Per Brautaset says the facility aims to raise the value of fisheries products from all types of vessels and processors.

"The facility here will be somewhat unique in that we have the ability to develop it specifically for the needs of fishing vessels, large and small, here in Dutch Harbor, which is long overdue in our opinion." – KUCB News, Unalaska

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Marine Harvest Canada appeals court decision on farmed salmon

B.C.'s biggest producer of farmed salmon announced Monday it has launched an appeal of a landmark B.C. Supreme Court decision that found the federal government -- not the province -- has exclusive jurisdiction over the management of salmon farming.

Clare Backman, director of environmental relations for Marine Harvest Canada, argued that the court failed to recognize that farmed salmon are the property of the company and should not be characterized as a "fishery" to be managed by Ottawa.—Vancouver Sun

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Icy Mist salvage project involves a hefty amount of cod

Remember the Icy Mist? That’s the boat that ran aground on Akutan Island last week (The Highliner, Feb. 25).

According to a situation report from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, salvage outfit Magone Marine Services is making plans to pull the boat off the boulder-strewn beach.

The first step, the DEC report says, will be removing 135,000 pounds of Pacific cod.--Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy, writing as The Highliner for the Anchorage Daily News

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Palin nominates Anchorage fisherman for Fishery Council

Gov. Sarah Palin intends to replace a member of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

Palin nominated Dan Hull, an Anchorage resident who fishes commercially for salmon and halibut out of Cordova, to replace Gerry Merrigan of Petersburg. - Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy, writing as The Highliner for the Anchorage Daily News

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New report describes persistence of Exxon Valdez oil

The “stunning” legacy of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska is the persistence of oil along the beaches of Prince William Sound that in places is “nearly as toxic as it was the first few weeks after the spill,” says a new report from the group charged with monitoring the cleanup.

The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council said surveys even 14 years after the spill found an estimated 21,000 gallons of crude oil lingering below the surface of beaches — some of it more than 450 miles away from the spill, on the Kenai Peninsula and the Katmai coast.—LA Times

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Seattle fishermen to help with historic Fishermen’s Terminal

Fishermen's Terminal has been a Seattle fixture for nearly 100 years, but bringing it into the next century won't be easy.

It's showing its age and Seattle’s fishing fleet is being asked to help patch it up.—KING5

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Oregon dive bay clam fishery permits to be awarded April 6

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will award one coast-wide and one south coast dive bay clam permit on April 6. – Newport News

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Northwest hake harvest slashed

A federal fishery council on Tuesday approved a 42 percent cut in the annual whiting harvest off Northwest coasts, an action spurred by surveys showing a long, steep decline in the ocean-spawning stocks of one of the region's most important commercial species. – Seattle Times

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Trident given OK to buy Wrangell Seafoods

Looks like Trident’s processing empire in Alaska is growing again.

An Anchorage bankruptcy judge this week signaled he’ll approve the sale of financially troubled Wrangell Seafoods Inc. to Seattle-based Trident Seafoods Corp. for $4.35 million. – Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy writing as The Highliner for the Anchorage Daily News

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Search suspended for victim of rouge wave

The search for a fisherman reported missing early Wednesday morning after reportedly falling overboard about 16 miles out to sea has been suspended.

David Burns Morgan, 48, of Eureka fell overboard at about 10:45 p.m. Tuesday, reportedly after a rogue wave hit the trawler Stormbringer. The captain, Carroll Johnson, apparently threw a life ring to Morgan but the deckhand was unresponsive. – Eureka Times-Standard

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Oregon offers bay-clam dive fisheries

(This item was unavailable to some Fish Wrap readers yesterday.)

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will award one coast wide and one south coast dive bay clam permit on April 6.

“The commercial dive bay clam fishery in Oregon is limited to 15 permits -- 10 coast-wide permits and five south coast permits,” said DeAnna Erickson, license service manager for ODFW. “If the number of permits falls below 15, we hold a lottery to bring the number back up to 15. Currently there is one coast wide and one south coast permit available.” – Newport News Times

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California salmon protection laws already on books

California has most of the laws and regulations it needs to protect dwindling salmon populations. What it lacks is money and willpower to do it, a panel of legal and fishery experts told legislators. – McClatchy News Service

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Again, ban on West Coast salmon troll fishery

The grim reality of a devastated salmon fishery hit home Thursday when the Pacific Fishery Management Council agreed to another ban on commercial fishing of Chinook in California and Oregon.

It is the second straight year that the sea salts who make their living off the fabled fall run of Sacramento River king salmon will be grounded.
None of the three options approved by the 14-member panel made up of fishing interests, tribal representatives and conservation groups from California, Oregon and Washington included any commercial fishing in the two states. – San Francisco Chronicle

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Had an encounter with a Steller sea lion?

A fisheries extension agent with the University of Alaska is asking fishermen to send him stories, anecdotes and observations of Steller sea lion behaviors.
Terry Johnson is writing a book on Stellers and wants to include fishermen's perspectives, whether humorous, interesting or tragic.

He's also interested in fishermen's experiences with sea lion scientists, managers and regulation makers. 

Contact Terry at:


Fish farms or farm irrigation?

South-central Idaho groundwater users are headed for a showdown with the world's largest producer of rainbow trout.

Hundreds of groundwater users in the region face a Monday, deadline to either provide replacement water to Clear Springs Foods of Buhl, Idaho, or have their pumps shut down. – Capital Press

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Obama administration to review off-shore leases

WASHINGTON -- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said this week that the waters off the Atlantic coast hold some of the country's greatest wind energy potential, and he promised to move aggressively to develop plans to exploit the resource.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Salazar also said he wants to review objections to oil and gas leasing in Alaska's Bristol Bay and the Chukchi Sea, where environmentalists argue that the threat to fisheries and polar bears has not been adequately examined, and off Virginia, where the governor has raised concerns. – Anchorage Daily News

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Missing man’s wife praises skipper

The wife of missing fisherman David Burns Morgan said Thursday that she doesn't blame the skipper of the vessel for the accident that on Tuesday sent her husband overboard 16 miles out to sea.

Morgan's wife of 25 years, Susan, said she knows skipper Carroll Johnson did everything he could to retrieve longtime crewman David Morgan, but that the incident happened quickly. …

While the Sheriff's Office initially reported in a press release Wednesday that Johnson and deckhand Ryan Roe offloaded their catch before reporting Morgan missing to the U.S. Coast Guard, on Thursday, the office corrected that information. -- Eureka Times-Standard

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