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Summary for May 4, 2009 - May 8, 2009:

Monday, May 4, 2009

Another huge mine coming closer to reality

ANCHORAGE -- Forget Pebble for a minute. There's another huge project gearing up in Southwest Alaska, and it would turn a swath of spruce- and tundra-covered land owned by Alaska Natives in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region into one of the world's largest gold mines.  – Juneau Empire

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NMFS has another go at halibut charter limits

Next summer could be the first tourist season with a limited fleet of charter vessels.  After nearly two decades of discussing it, federal fishery managers published a draft of the limited entry program for Southeast and Southcentral halibut charters. – Juneau Empire

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Letter: Writer parroted halibut sport fishing side

I am writing in response to Jeremy Maynard's April 22, article about the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Pacific Halibut Allocation Policy. It is important to remember that Mr. Maynard comes from the commercial recreational sector -- the fishing lodge and charter vessel side of the recreational fishery, which according to DFO accounts for the majority (69 per cent) of all recreationally-caught halibut.

Jake vander Heide, president of thePacific Halibut Management Association, writing in the Courier-Islander, Campbell River

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Yukon chum, coho runs to be near normal

The summer chum, fall chum, and coho salmon returns to the Yukon River are expected to be of average strength and provide harvest opportunities for all users, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s forecast issued Friday.  – Tundra Drums

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Opinion: Without more research, Alaska options limited

The Alaska Board of Fisheries regulates fisheries with the constitutionally mandated goal of maximum sustained yield. In considering hundreds of proposals each year, the singular question for me is always whether doing this will be good for the fish (or their habitat). Every other consideration is secondary.

-- Bonnie Williams of Fairbanks, has served on the Alaska Board of Fisheries since 2006, writing to the Fairbanks News-Miner

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tribes say too many fish caught in lower Columbia

Representatives of Columbia River tribes say Oregon and Washington have allowed too much non-tribal fishing of upper Columbia spring Chinook at the probable expense of tribes depending on what may be an unexpectedly low run. – Seattle Times

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Opinion: SE Alaska season will hurt Dungeness

The Alaska Board of Fisheries has decided to open commercial Dungeness fishing in the Ketchikan area on June 15th, 2009. This just happens to be when the crabs are breeding and have soft shells, this hasn't been done since the 80's because they almost WIPED the species OUT!!

– Kimberly Peters, writing in SitNews, Ketchikan

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Alaska fishing group endorses SE man for NMFS post

I've been casting around for letters in support of Arne Fuglvog's bid to head up the National Marine Fisheries Service in the Obama administration. Here's one from United Fishermen of Alaska.

-– Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy, writing in his new blog: The Highliner

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Oil drilling off British Columbia?

VANCOUVER — With just seven days left on the campaign trail, the NDP warned B.C. voters Monday that a Liberal government wants Ottawa to lift a federal moratorium on offshore exploration.

– Westcoast, Tofino, B.C.

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Marine protected area campaign arrives in N. California

It's coming. The long-awaited, and often dreaded, state program to designate marine havens for sea life is now within reach of the North Coast.

– Eureka Times-Standard

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Icicle close to paying fine for king crab catch

Icicle Seafoods Inc. could be one step closer to having to write a very big check as a penalty for some illegal king crab processing a few years ago. But the dollar figure might not be as hefty as government authorities want.

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

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Seismic worries center on Pebble Mine

In much the same way residents along the Kenai Peninsula, and across Alaska, voiced their concerns regarding the feasibility of placing the Drift River Terminal oil facility at the base of an active volcano, opponents of the proposed Pebble Mine project continue to question the practicality of locating one of the largest open-pit mineral mines in the highly seismic area near Iliamna.

– Homer Tribune

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Newport seeks to host NOAA center

The Port of Newport has emerged as a serious contender to provide the new site of homeport operations for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Marine Operations Center

– Pacific (MOC-P). – Newport News-Times

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E. Coast fishermen say dogfish hurting fisheries

An alliance of East Coast commercial, recreational and party/charter boat fishermen and associated businesses has formed Fishermen Organized for Rational Dogfish Management (FORDM) to deal with a looming crisis of an overabundance of dogfish sharks.

FORDM has requested assistance from Dr. Jane Lubchenco, newly appointed National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration head, in dealing with an out-of-balance population of highly predatory spiny dogfish that is depleting other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic fisheries.

– Press release

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Letter: Alaska fishery headed toward a crash

Sadly, while the Bering Sea pollock fishery is worth about $1 billion, I'm sure it will continue to be fished until it crashes. Then history will reveal yet another fishery that was allowed to be overfished.

-- Joe Reza, writing to the editor of the Anchorage Daily News

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

More Exxon damage money reaches claimants

The Seattle law firm handling distribution of punitive damages collected in the Exxon Valdez oil spill case say they recently made direct bank deposits totaling more than $9 million to 585 claimants.

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

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Canadian hake quota slashed

West Coast fish processors are looking at a much lower volume of hake for the upcoming season.

Alberni (B.C.) Valley Times

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Archive: They planned to dig new Alaska harbor with a-bombs

In 1958, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission had a bunch of spare nuclear devices. Next came the bright idea to use them to carve out a harbor near Kotzebue, with an underground blast 20 times the size of Hiroshima's.  The plan was not foolproof.

– Juneau Emire

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Shell pulling out of Arctic — for now

ANCHORAGE – Shell Oil announced Wednesday it has withdrawn its 2007-2009 "plan of exploration" for offshore petroleum along the north coast of Alaska. – Juneau Empire

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Zoning the ocean

The ocean is getting crowded: Fishermen are competing with offshore wind projects, oil rigs along with sand miners, recreational boaters, liquefied gas tankers and fish farmers. So a growing number of groups — including policymakers, academics, activists and industry officials — now say it's time to divvy up space in the sea.

Washington Post

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Utility chief says dam removal ‘good business’

The president of Pacific Power called a preliminary agreement to remove four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River a good business decision while in Crescent City. – Crescent City Triplicate

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Commercial fishing is most dangerous job

Last year work-related fatalities dipped 6 percent, to 5,488 (or 3.7 per 100,000 workers), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Census of Fatal Occupation Injuries report. That's the lowest fatality rate since the government started keeping track of those stats in 1992.

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Fishermen revert to old method of salmon enhancement

An old idea for helping salmon is coming back into favor with some fishermen, farmers and local officials in Oregon and northern California.  That idea is to plant salmon eggs in streams – either directly in the gravel or in perforated “hatchboxes.” – Oregon Public Broadcasting

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Alaska’s Rat Island project honored

ANCHORAGE – A project to eradicate rats and restore birds to Rat Island has received a Partners in Conservation Award for work to make the 6,681-acre island in the Aleutians free of rats. The island is part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. Restoring the island's natural habitat will benefit at least 26 species of breeding birds.  – Juneau Empire

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Alaska on lookout for invading green crab

With spring weather, experts from natural resource agencies, professors, teachers, students and citizens in Alaska are increasing their vigilance for oceanic aliens: European green crabs.
Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy, writing in his new blog: Deckboss

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