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Summary for March 16, 2009 - March 20, 2009:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Editorial: West Coast trollers patiently wait

First it was a one-year ban, and now it's likely to be a second year with virtually no salmon fishing in California's ocean waters.

This losing streak may continue if a predicted bare minimum of returning fish don't swim up the Sacramento River this fall.
The affected interest groups -- commercial fishermen, sports and environmental groups, plus government agencies -- are showing remarkable patience and discipline in going along with a costly, job-killing timeout. It's a united front built on the hope that once-plentiful stocks will return.
San Francisco Chronicle

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New Alaska skate fishery to open

A new commercial fishery for longnose and big skates is set to open March 21 in Prince William Sound.
Bob Berceli, a biologist with the state Department of Fish and Game in Cordova, tells me 23 boat owners registered for the fishery by the deadline. Among them are some pretty serious fishermen out of Homer, including some Russian Old Believers, Berceli said.

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

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Run made to change Oregon ocean policy group

Somebody stirred up a tempest when introducing House Bill 3013 this month.

It would undo a lot of the revisions to the Ocean Policy Advisory Council put in place in 2003 — and put much of the control over OPAC squarely in the governor’s corner.

“Hopefully, it won’t see the light of day,” said Rep. Wayne Krieger, R-Gold Beach. – Coos Bay World

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Alaskan sentenced for killing sea mammals

A 41-year-old Craig man will serve more than three years in prison for violating the Lacey and the Marine Mammal Protection acts.

Christopher R. Rowland also was fined $5,000 when he was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Anchorage.—Juneau Empire

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Exxon Valdez money helps Kodiak

The U.S. Supreme Court recently whittled punitive damage awards to fishermen and other Exxon Valdez oil spill (EVOS) litigants. Despite the shortfall, Kodiak has benefited in many ways from settlement money. – Kodiak Daily Mirror

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Alaska sport guides can’t fish

Saltwater guides and their crews will have to keep their lines out of the water again this summer.  

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has reissued an emergency order, effective May 23 through Sept. 1, prohibiting commercial saltwater sport fishing guides and their crews from fishing their own rods or retaining their bag limits while fishing paying clients in most of Southcentral's saltwaters.
– Kenai Peninsula Clarion

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Klamath River management ‘recreational genocide’

Over the past many months, new threats to the Klamath River salmon populations have prompted decisive action by the Karuk Tribe in California.

Leaf Hillman, Vice-Chairman for the Tribe, said last week that the recent attacks upon their ancestral fishing grounds are “nothing more than recreational genocide.”

Dams, drought, developmental expansion and environmental contaminations have plagued the local rivers and experts have said that California may be faced with the worst fisheries collapse in history.
Native Times

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Dutch Harbor cold storage construction begins

The new cold storage facility on Ballyhoo road is entering the next stage of construction. Dutch Harbor Ports is now partnering with Kloosterboer, a Dutch company that specializes in modern cold storage facilities, and they started construction of the cold storage building on March 15. – Pacific Fishing columnist Anne Hillman, reporting for KUCB.

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Editorial: Obama should name a ‘king fish’

Good ideas have a way of eventually prevailing over short-term politics. Such deserves to be the case for a proposal to unite Pacific salmon recovery under the oversight of a new federal salmon director.

Although this person probably will inevitably be dubbed the salmon czar, calling him or her "king fish" offers better opportunities for amusement.– Daily Astorian

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New tracking tags will change fish management

Until recently, scientists provided fishery managers only such limited data as stock counts and catch estimates, said Charles Greene, Cornell professor of ocean sciences and lead author of the study published in the March issue of the journal Oceanography.

But new advances in miniature sensors and fish-tracking tags, ocean observing systems and computer models are providing much more insight into environmental changes and how fish are responding behaviorally and biologically to such changes, thereby enabling better modeling to predict fish populations.

As a result, researchers are making more informed recommendations for strategies to address falling fish populations. – Innovations Report

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Alaska salmon catch expected better than last year

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announces that the statewide commercial salmon harvest in 2009 is projected to total 174.8 million salmon of all species.  This is an increase compared to 2008, with nearly all of this increase expected to come from improved pink salmon catches.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game

See the (PDF) report at


Judges say NW hatcheries OK, endangered label stays

A federal appeals court upheld the federal government's discretion to use salmon raised in hatcheries to bolster wild runs, but not as a substitute that would lift Endangered Species Act protections.

The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco included the last of a series of lawsuits on behalf of a coalition of builders, farmers and property rights advocates to remove restrictions on development and agriculture that protect salmon. – Coos Bay World

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Alaska fishermen fought Big Oil before Exxon Valdez

The commercial fishermen of Cordova battled big oil companies long before the Exxon Valdez oil spill tainted Prince William Sound and disrupted their way of life. The struggle is documented in a 1985 doctoral thesis by James Payne titled “Our Way of Life is threatened and Nobody Seems to Give a Damn.” – Kodiak Daily Mirror

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Suit filed to have feds manage Alaska fisheries

A 19-page lawsuit seeks a federal takeover of Alaska’s salmon fisheries.

The plaintiff is Herbert T. Jensen, who identifies himself in the suit as a salmon purse seiner and drift gillnetter living in Cordova.

The suit alleges that state officials are violating federal law in the way they’re managing the state’s salmon fisheries.

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

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Alaska Ship Supply to consolidate in Dutch Harbor store

Alaska Ship Supply is moving its various departments of marine supply, clothing, home appliances, and grocery to the old Alaska Commercial building on Salmon Way in Dutch Harbor.

 “We finally closed on the building purchase in early March,” announced Alaska Ship Supply president Larry Soriano, “it took a while, but we got it done.” 

After several months of a planned remodel of freshening up and resetting the store, Alaska Ship plans to open for business to the public by late spring.  After the move, the present Alaska Ship building will be converted into a combination warehouse and office building in support of the DH Ports cold storage facility being built on the adjacent property


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Seiners look to bigger catch in Southeast this year

Southeast seiners can look forward to a bigger haul of pinks this year, if state fish biologists' annual forecast is on the mark.  

This summer's commercial salmon season overall could be 11th largest salmon season since 1960, an increase due mostly to Southeast pinks. – Juneau Empire

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To the editor: Locals can build better salmon farms

The website for Friends of Port Mouton shows a grim-faced Nova Scotia fisherman holding a fish farm protest sign.

The caption reads, “Something’s wrong when you have to fight like this
just to keep your friggin’ harbour.”

He’s right. – Alexandra Morton, writing to the editor of the Westcoaster, Tofino, B.C.

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Report addresses failure of Sacramento run

The collapse of Sacramento River salmon stocks this year and last, which sharply cut fishing along the West Coast, is mainly attributed to poor conditions for young fish at sea in a report by state and federal biologists released Wednesday. – Eureka Times-Standard

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Opinion: Without salmon, fishing still big in Oregon

Once again the news on the status of salmon stocks along the West Coast doesn't show much promise for a salmon season this year. In spite of this, the fishing industry remains an economic driver for jobs, and incomes along the coast. – Ralph Brown of Brookings (Ore.), writing in the Coos Bay World

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Study to examine various uses of Oregon’s offshore grounds

Protecting prime fishing grounds from encroachment by wave energy facilities and other proposed new ocean uses – while maintaining the confidentiality of the related information –  is at the heart of a spatial mapping effort that's part of a larger push to revise Oregon's Territorial Sea Plan to encompass “ocean energy conversion and development.” – Newsport News-Times

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Trident doesn’t like Wrangell deal

Looks like Trident Seafoods Corp. might not be buying Wrangell Seafoods Inc. after all.

Trident objects to a National Labor Relations Board position that any new owner be subject to a "successor collective bargaining obligation." – Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy, writing as The Highliner for Anchorage Daily News

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ADFG pulls observers from opilio fleet

With 20 percent of the opilio crab total allowable catch still in the water, crab fisheries observers are being pulled from the field early. – Pacific Fishing columnist Anne Hillman, writing for KUBC, Unalaska

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Opinion: Columbia River fishing plan fair

About a year ago I was considering starting a local fishing organization to help maintain fairness to all fishermen who fish on the Columbia River.

Last year the lower river fishermen below the mouth of the Willamette River did not feel they got their fair share of spring Chinook. Many fishermen including myself felt the decisions made by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife were based on politics and pressure from the majority, not scientific data. – Bob Bingham, recently appointed to the Columbia River Recreational Fishing Advisory Group for a three-year term, writing in The Daily Astorian

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Alaska governor refuses federal stimulus money

It's up to the Alaska Legislature to request hundreds of millions of dollars in federal stimulus funds from the federal government.

Gov. Sarah Palin said Thursday that she would accept only 69 percent of the estimated $930 million dollars that could flow to the state, including $514 million for capital projects and $128 million for a hike in Medicaid reimbursement. – Juneau Empire

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Activists: Boycott of Canadian seafood working

In an effort to bring an end to Canada's commercial seal hunt, American animal rights activists have instituted a boycott on Canadian seafood products they claim has cost the Canadian economy hundreds of millions of dollars since 2005. – Embassy magazine, Canada

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