Monday, March 21, 2011


Easterly winds across Japan have blown most of the low-level radiation from reactors at Fukushima Daiichi across the Pacific Ocean, where it should rapidly dissolve in seawater and pose little risk to marine life or commercial seafood fisheries.

– Wall Street Journal



Japan imports: Not business as usual

Deckboss asked Gunnar Knapp, a University of Alaska Anchorage economics professor and an authority on world seafood markets, to talk about potential implications of the Japan disaster for Alaska's fishing industry. Here's what he had to say.

– Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy, writing in his blog: Deckboss

Feds could ignore most dangerous job

The nation's most dangerous job could soon become more deadly. As Congress struggles to balance current and future budgets, fishing safety programs are facing cuts.

– Pacific Fishing columnist Laine Welch, writing in the Alaska Journal of Commerce

Lobbying battle over Pebble Mine

A large mining project proposed for southwest Alaska has sparked a lobbying battle between some area residents who say it would help the region's economy and others who fear environmental degradation to nearby Bristol Bay and its major salmon run.

– New York Times


Crescent City harbor repair estimate

Crescent City agencies are working to tally the dollar amount of damage from the tsunami, with the current estimate at about $12.5 million.

– Contra Costa Times

Japan food shortages overstated

But as the agriculture ministry said a few days ago, Japan has lots of food. There's plenty of produce and fresh fish, either in the supermarket or at the neighborhood greengrocer and fishmonger.

– Japan Times

Alaska salmon gains certification

The salmon fishery has, in fact, been found to measure up against United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization criteria.

– Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy, writing in his blog: Deckboss (Scroll down.)

New fishing chief a shoo-in

Cora Campbell, who once appeared to be Gov. Sean Parnell’s most controversial commissioner appointment, now appears to be headed for easy confirmation.

– Juneau Empire

Gulf of Alaska Chinook bycatch

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is making progress toward controlling the incidental capture, or bycatch, of Chinook salmon in Gulf of Alaska pollock trawl nets.

– Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy, writing in his blog: Deckboss (Scroll down)

Boats burn in Homer

Several commercial fishing boats were destroyed in a fire at Northern Enterprises Boat Yard on Friday morning.

—Anchorage Daily News


Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Regularly eating fatty fish like tuna, salmon and sardines is linked to a significant reduction in the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.

– All Health News

Frankenfish phobia

At a time when the shell of the earth has cracked and the ocean heaved a mortal wave upon a shore of vulnerable nuclear plants, a small miracle is playing out in the biggest river of the American West. Spring Chinook salmon, the alpinists of the maritime world, are following biological imperative and climbing their way up the Columbia to spawn and die.

– New York Times

Alaska eyes pavilion on Vegas strip

Alaska legislators are considering spending millions of dollars in state money to create a tourist attraction on the Las Vegas strip.

– Anchorage Daily News

Fishermen propose national fishery trust

Concerned over proposed cuts to essential fishery programs and frustrated with the lack of any plan for funding fishery research and data collection, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations sent a letter to President Obama proposing the creation of a national fishery trust fund, accompanied with a legislative draft to "begin the conversation."

– Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations

Big storm in Dutch

While Unalaska received a heavy battering this weekend, no residents were injured by the storm.

– Pacific Fishing columnist Alexandra Gutierrez, reporting for KUCB, Unalaska

B.C. halibut fight could affect federal election

It's a fish tale that could sway the outcome of a federal election, its sponsors say.

– Victoria Times Colonist

Bill would protect Alaska permits from liens

Alaska's congressional delegation has introduced in Congress the Maritime Lien Reform Act of 2011, to protect fishermen who hold Alaska commercial fishing permits.

– Alaska Dispatch

Crescent City harbor businesses open

Docks and vessels were heavily damaged during the March 11 tsunami in Crescent City, but most harbor businesses are hanging in there.

– Crescent City Triplicate

'We are not destroyed'

Crescent City Harbor was not wiped out by the tsunami. Unlike the 1964 disaster, this time every building stayed dry: the harbormaster's offices, the seafood processing plant, the giant vessel repair shop, the art galleries and the restaurants.

– Crescent City Triplicate

Disaster aid for Brookings

Gov. John Kitzhaber sent a formal request to President Obama to declare Curry County a disaster area and clear the way for federal emergency funding to help rebuild the Brookings Harbor port.

– Eugene Register Guard

Disaster aid for Morro Bay

Gov. Jerry Brown last week proclaimed a local emergency for the city of Morro Bay, one of California's coastal cities that experienced a series of "extreme tidal surges."



Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Last June, the governmental Canada General Standards Board released proposed standards for organic salmon farming. The goal: to overcome trade barriers and help develop niche markets. But will that organic sticker really mean organic-quality farmed fish, or is it just covering up some nasty production practices?

– This Magazine

Halibut prices drop

Ten days into the season, halibut prices have taken a tumble, which is typical after the buying frenzy for the first fresh deliveries. Opening prices at Homer topped $7 a pound when the fishery opened March 12. Ditto in Southeast. Halibut prices at Kodiak were at $6.50, dropped to $6 by the second deliveries and this week were at $5 to $5.75, depending on fish size. Likewise, Homer prices dipped a dollar, now at $6 and $6.50 for 20-ups. Southeast prices are at $5.50 to $6.50. Still those prices are nothing to sneeze at, but Alaska fishermen need every penny they can get in the face of big cuts to their halibut catches.

– Pacific Fishing columnist Laine Welch, reporting on Fish Radio

Tsunami cripples Japan seafood industry

The tsunami that hit"Full coverage of Japan" this month took such a huge toll on people, equipment and fish that supplies of some seafood could be cut off for a year or more.

– Reuters

Atlantic dogfish quota increases

NOAA's Fisheries Service has announced that it will propose increasing the spiny dogfish quota to 20 million pounds for 2011.

– World Fishing

Carl Tormala passes

There will be a memorial service at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 24, in Sequim Bible Church, in Sequim Wash., for Carl Tormala. Carl passed away March 19, 2011, at the age of 77. Carl was a third-generation seafarer who began his commercial fishing career on Lake Superior, chartering with his dad, and setnetting for trout. After marrying Carolyn Aho in Florida, they moved to Northwest Washington, where Carl earned a degree in fisheries biology from the UW School of Fisheries. He spent a long career fishing Puget Sound and the Washington Coast, gillnetting out of Manchester with a 36-foot Roberts named the Bountiful. Later, trawling, gillnetting, and trolling with a home-built 42-foot wood boat named the Harvester, he fished out of Sequim. Carl is survived by his wife, two sons, three daughters, and 14 grandkids. Both his sons, while pursuing other career paths, maintain a connection with the salt water and the fishing industry.

Alaska fish comish nominee gains support

Cora Campbell appears to be gaining momentum in her bid to secure confirmation as commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

– Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy, writing in his blog: Deckboss

New marine advisor in Kodiak

For those looking for answers to scientific questions about the ocean and fisheries, there's a new go-to person in Kodiak. That would be Julie Matweyou (mat-weh-you) the new Marine Advisory Program agent assigned to Kodiak.
– KMXT, Kodiak

Crescent City wrestles with tsunami funding

To begin with, this has been a long process since the 2006 tsunami. Once we were qualified for state aid, the previous board started the process of finding funding to rebuild. They did an excellent job by finding and receiving "grant" funds for the entire project.

– James Ramsey is president of the Crescent City Harbor Commission, writing in the Crescent City Triplicate

Crescent City hurting

Somewhere under the murky waters of this city's demolished harbor lay the remains of Marty Lopez's fishing business.

– Wall Street Journal

Radioactivity off shore of Japan

Radioactive materials that exceeded regulation levels have been found in seawater around the endangered Fukushima nuclear plant, but government officials offered reassurances Tuesday they will not have an immediate effect on people's health.

– Japan Times

Radiation monitor report

During a detailed analysis of four west coast RadNet air monitor filters, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified trace amounts of radioactive iodine, cesium, and tellurium consistent with the Japanese nuclear incident.


U.S. safe from radiation

American radiation experts told a state Senate panel yesterday that radiation from Japan's devastating nuclear power plant meltdown is not expected to pose a threat to the United States, including Alaska, the state closest to the emissions.

– Juneau Empire


Thursday, March 24, 2011


Alaska's most lucrative roe herring fishery is set to get underway any day at Sitka Sound, starting a circuit that each year swims its way all the way to Nome.
– Pacific Fishing columnist Laine Welch, writing in SitNews, Ketchikan


Coho return to California stream

Field biologists are reporting the largest number of endangered coho salmon returning to spawn in tributaries of the Russian River in more than a decade.

– California Sea Grant

Tidal power boosters eye Cook Inlet

As the liquefied natural gas plant in Nikiski prepares for its final shipments, a tidal power company is preparing to begin collecting environmental data in the same area.

– Peninsula Clarion

Budget cuts could doom Alaska fish lab

Seafood byproduct research at the Fisheries Industrial Technology Center (FITC) on Kodiak's Near Island could be in trouble if President Barack Obama's budget proposal for the coming fiscal year comes to fruition.

– Kodiak Daily Mirror

Canada watches food imports from Japan

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said it is stepping up vigilance at the border to keep any Japanese food contaminated with radiation out of Canada, but it would be premature to block outright milk products and produce originating in the area where Japanese reactors are leaking radiation.

– Vancouver Sun

Starting over in Crescent City Harbor

Fishermen who spent thousands of hours and dollars maintaining their boats saw their efforts wash away in the surges of the March 11 tsunami that sank their vessels.

– Crescent City Triplicate

Mercury in fish doesn't harm heart

In an unusual health study, researchers analyzing toxin levels in tens of thousands of toenail clippings determined that mercury from eating fish does not raise the risk of heart disease or stroke.

– Seattle Times

Letter: Halibut price too high

Editor: I read with interest the article about halibut prices falling, and Laine Welch says the price needs to be as high as possible for the fisherman to make up for lost quota. As someone who worked on boats in the '70s and saw firsthand the many challenges faced by commercial fisherman every day, I have empathy for the fisherman. But with pricing very high, the end users are reluctant to buy fish. The price will be higher than last year, but the early opening prices actually stalled sales in many markets. Too many customers said, "Call me when the price drops." This sentiment is reflected daily in speaking with customers around the country. The price of many fish varieties is too high for sustained consumer interest and confidence. The halibut fishery, when managed as in years past, was one of the most stable fisheries in the Northwest, but with the new quota cuts and higher prices, the interest on the street is not there. 
Peter Lassen
Sales manager
Marinelli Shellfish


Friday, March 25, 2011


The detection of cobalt, iodine and cesium in the sea near the stricken Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant north of Tokyo this week hurt fish sales in the world's second-biggest seafood market.

– San Francisco Chronicle


Tsunami? Head for deep water

A major tsunami may be only a few feet high in deep water, but can grow to a towering 30 feet or more at the coast.

– Eureka Times Standard


Time to fight against Columbia ban

I don't know how you feel about this issue but I think that the non-fishing public would be the biggest losers if this bill was enacted. If you agree, I hope you will share this article with anyone who you think might be interested in this issue – restaurateurs, fish dealers, fish lovers – and get them to contact the state senators in Oregon and voice their opposition to this bill.

– Robert Sudar

Russia says its fish radiation-free

Radiation has not affected the main fishing zones – the Sea of   Okhotsk – the catch area of Alaska pollack and herring. Radioactive clouds also will not reach the Russian waters of the Bering Sea.

– ITAR TASS, Russia

MSC certification sells product

"Right from the start of the season in December, we were made aware a significant amount of product went right into the certified, sustainable marketplace, for lack of a better word. Usually it takes a while to develop that interest."

– KUOW, Seattle

Alaska biologist dies

Jay Ginter, a highly regarded former supervisory biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service in Juneau, has passed away.

– Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy, writing in his blog: Deckboss

Pacific Seafoods to teach English

Pacific Seafoods Kodiak is bringing English as a second language (ESL) classes into the workplace by partnering with Kodiak College.

– Kodiak Daily Mirror

Questions over Alaska fish commish

Questions over the relative experience of Governor Parnell's choice to lead the Alaska Department of Fish and Game arose during a Senate committee hearing.

– KMXT, Kodiak

Alaska Fisheries Report now 25

This show marks our 25th anniversary. This week, the Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery could kick off any minute now, the Fishing Company of Alaska has suddenly ceased operations, and can catch shares work if they're given to communities to divvy up among their fishermen? (Scroll down)

Salmon farmer sues environmentalist

The second-largest salmon farming company in B.C is suing an anti-fish farming organization, claiming defamation, following a series of website advertisements and public statements that compared salmon farming to cancer.

– Victoria Times Colonist

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