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Summary for March 23, 2009 - March 27, 2009:

Monday, March 23, 2009

Seattle Times probes Japanese influence aboard doomed boat

"The Japanese had a 'fish or die,' ... approach to safety concerns. I believe this will lead to the demise of the vessel at some point." – Seattle Times

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Columbia gillnet opening pushed back

The start of gillnetting for spring Chinook salmon in the Columbia River is being delayed until March 29, as the movement of fish appears behind last year's pace. – The Columbian, Vancouver

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Booth space for Kodiak’s ComFish sold out

Booth space for ComFish 2009 has sold out, said Debora King of the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce. The event, scheduled for April 23-25, will be in the new Kodiak Harbor Convention Center.

About 30 booths are scheduled — a number less than previous years, King said. The effect will be a smaller, more focused trade show, she said.– Kodiak Daily Mirror

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Alaska volcano erupting

An erupting Mount Redoubt exploded again this morning at 4:31 a.m. -- its fifth and strongest discharge yet -- sending an ash cloud to new heights, the Alaska Volcano Observatory reported.
Anchorage Daily News

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Alaska Air suspends Petersburg service

Alaska Airlines has suspended service in Petersburg until April 21 while the airport undergoes renovations.

The Alaska Department of Transportation has closed the runway to jet aircraft operations to replace several culverts.

The airline says planes will spend additional ground time at the Wrangell airport to accommodate Petersburg customers and cargo. – Kodiak Daily Mirror

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Oregon skipper jailed for crab pot thefts

The skipper of a commercial crabbing boat will serve four months in jail and pay fines and restitution after pleading guilty to multiple theft charges, the Oregon State Police said. 
Skipper Perry Kanury, 23, of Toledo, was accused last August of taking as many as 175 crab pots at the close of the Dungeness crab season that had been placed offshore by other crabbing vessels.
– The Oregonian

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Exxon Valdez foundered 20 years ago today

Today marks the 20th anniversary of one of the worst environmental disasters in history, the Exxon Valdez oil spill. 

After two decades, the memory of the spill persists for the commercial fishermen and Alaska natives whose livelihoods were destroyed by Exxon's recklessness. – San Francisco Chronicle

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Alaska volcano blasts into the sky

Mount Redoubt roared to life Sunday and Monday, blasting a column of ash and steam almost 12 miles above Cook Inlet.

The eruptions – which started Sunday night, persisted through the early hours Monday, then struck again Monday evening – canceled commercial airline flights and spurred Alaskans north of Anchorage to protect their cars and homes.  – Anchorage Daily News

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Coast Guard responds to injured crewman in Bering Sea

The Coast Guard was responding after receiving a call that a 23-year-old crew member aboard the 310-foot fishing vessel Northern Eagle, home ported in Seattle, suffered a head injury at 7:11 p.m. Monday northeast of Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

The crew member reportedly fell 15feet down an elevator shaft and suffered a head injury. 
 Two Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crews forward deployed in St. Paul Island, Alaska, launched at 7:42 p.m. Monday and were going to attempt a medevac in Bristol Bay, Alaska, which is northeast of Dutch Harbor.  – Press release

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It’s time to make commercial fishing safer

Commercial fishing is by far the country's most dangerous occupation. Taking 112 lives per 100,000 workers each year, it easily outstrips the second worst killer, logging, which kills 86.

Fishing would be less deadly if the Coast Guard could mandate safety examinations of fishing vessels before they leave the dock, but fiercely independent fishermen have resisted attempts at this. It is high time for the industry and the Coast Guard to sit down and agree on a safety program that could save lives without creating costly or cumbersome hurdles. – Boston Globe

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sitka herring derby begins

Schools of silvery herring arrived this week in Sitka.  

"It's really quite a lovely day," said fisherman Scott McAllister. "I'm enjoying my last few minutes of peace and quiet before we do battle."

Tuesday's opener was the second so far for this year's Sitka Sound herring sac roe fishery, Alaska's quickest and one of its most intense fisheries. – Juneau Empire

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Trident passes on Wrangell Seafoods deal

Here’s a letter confirming where Trident Seafoods Corp. now stands on its proposed $4.35 million purchase of troubled Wrangell Seafoods Inc.

The deal is off.

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

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Aquaculture explains how it will grow

It's no secret that wild fisheries on both Canadian coasts can't keep up with growing demand.
But when it comes to aquaculture -- growing seafood instead of catching it in the wild -- most Canadians only think “farmed salmon.”

Although salmon aquaculture is the major player in the Canadian aquaculture scene, a handful of new species are making a splash.

The four most promising aquaculture species are Atlantic cod, Atlantic halibut, Arctic char and sablefish. These industries forecast a combined net worth of $880 million by 2020.

– Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance press release

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Probing into death of Klamath salmon

FORTUNA -- Researchers struggling to understand an epidemic of parasites infecting the Klamath River's salmon raised questions and offered some answers at a gathering of biologists Tuesday.  

Among the findings were that significantly more young salmon died faster from the parasite called Ceratomyxa shasta during tests in the river's disease hot spots in 2008 than the year before.

Eureka Times-Standard

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Twenty years after Exxon spill, offshore drilling possible

On a day marking the 20th anniversary of the notorious Exxon Valdez oil spill, environmentalists urged lawmakers to reinstate a ban on new offshore drilling for oil and gas in vast expanses of the outer continental shelf—the land that extends off of North America's coasts under relatively shallow waters.

Scientific American

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Editorial: Cautious optimism about NOAA chief

It's not at all certain that the fishing industry has a friend, or even a real open mind, in Jane Lubchenco, President Obama's choice to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  

But there is certainly every reason for at least cautious optimism, based both on what Lubchenco has and hasn't done during her first week as the new chief of NOAA and its National Marine Fisheries Service.

Gloucester Daily Times

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Wave power developer gives up on Oregon Coast project

New Jersey-based Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) is giving up a federal permit that handed them the opportunity to set up a 200- to 400-buoy wave energy project in waters off of Newport's shores.

Newport News-Times

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Editorial: No compromise on Alaska oil shipping

They're called tractor tugs, and they live up to the name and more. They can slow a supertanker down, and then change its direction while it's still moving. Two of the five on duty in Prince William Sound, Nanuq and Tan'erliq, are even called Prince William Sound class tugs. – Anchorage Daily News

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Washington requires tugs for oil tankers

Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed a measure that requires shippers, tankers and large vessels to pay for a year-round rescue tug at Neah Bay. – Chinook Observer, Ilwaco

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Gov. Palin backing off stimulus-money pledge

Gov. Sarah Palin appears to be backing off her aggressive stance against accepting some of the federal stimulus money for Alaska, and some lawmakers are disputing whether she "rejected" any money at all.  

Juneau Daily Empire

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Editorial: Boost in fish landing tax ‘stinky’

Nearly tripling Oregon's tax on commercial fisheries is a stinky idea that deserves to be scuttled. – The Daily Astorian

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Fire extinguishers recalled 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Walter Kidde Portable Equipment Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of Kidde XL Fire Extinguishers.

About 167,000 are believed to have been sold. The pressurized cylinders in the recalled fire extinguishers could lose pressure and fail to operate. In the event of a fire, this failure could put a consumer and property at risk.

For more information, call Kidde at (888) 345-4407 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. eastern time, Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s web site at


Alaska volcano erupts again 

An erupting Mount Redoubt exploded again shortly before midnight Thursday. The ash cloud rose 32,000 feet above sea level and appeared to be moving toward Anchorage, the National Weather Service reported. – Anchorage Daily News

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Report available from controversial offshore drilling workshop 

Proceedings from a statewide workshop on offshore oil and gas development near the Aleutian Islands and Bristol Bay is now available from the Alaska Sea Grant College Program.

The proceedings stem from a March 2008 meeting in Anchorage called the North Aleutian Basin Energy-Fisheries Workshop.  The gathering became controversial when Bristol Bay community groups and environmentalists sought to characterize the meeting as pro-development.

The proceedings are available as a free PDF online at


Crescent City harbor plan gets boost 

The harbor is a step closer to replacing its inner boat basin thanks to the help of local fishermen and harbor-related businesses.
A harbor application for $5 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds got a big boost when fishermen and businesses submitted documentation showing that many jobs are dependent on the harbor, said Harbormaster Richard Young. – Crescent City Triplicate

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