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Summary for May 25, 2009 - May 29, 2009:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Charter outfits sue over halibut bag limit

JUNEAU – For the second year in a row, a group of Southeast charter fishing captains and lodge owners is suing over new rules that limit halibut to one fish a day. – Anchorage Daily News

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The word from Cordova

Pacific Fishing contributor Buck Meloy sent this note on Sunday:

Mixed reviews, but with far more fish caught in three short periods than had been projected. We are already nearing the whole season harvest projection. Looks to me like the absence of 4-year-old sockeye in the Flats catch last year was a function of them yearning to be fives, because they seem to be here now.

And the counter upriver, finally in place, has been recording escapement that also exceeds projections.
King catches so far are small. My suspicion is that whatever delayed last year's sockeye also is delaying this year's kings, but I am only guessing.

Chalmers and the Coghill districts in the Sound are opening Monday, based on reports of early chum in those two places.

The lawsuit attempting to gain an injunction against the first ever gillnet fishery in Chalmers was rejected by a federal judge two days ago. The claim was that we would massacree humpback whales and make the area unpleasant for the plaintiff to visit.

Due to the PWS allocation policy, gillnetters are entitled to this remote release chum area this year, previously an exclusively seine area, due to a large harvest imbalance last year.

Pink shrimp season on, prices down

On a recent 40,000-pound delivery to Bandon Pacific Seafood, the boat’s catch prices started at 15 cents a pound for a count of 160 or better per pound, 30 cents for 114-160 shrimp per pound and 35 cents for a count less than 114.

Coos Bay World

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Opinion: Columbia salmon – What’s the judge thinking?

There's a wide belief, apparently shared by U.S. District Judge James Redden, that the Obama administration will bring more money, more water, more ideas, something, to salmon recovery on the Columbia River. 

– The Oregonian

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Canadian trawler fined $3,000

CAMPBELL RIVER, B.C. – A long-time North Island commercial trawl captain pled guilty and was fined $3,000 in Campbell River Provincial Court February 24, 2009, on a charge of illegal fishing under the Fisheries Act.

– Fisheries and Oceans Canada press release

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Halibut war: Lawyers get rich

Conflict over the federal government's plan to impose a one-fish daily bag limit on charter boat anglers in Southeast Alaska (Area 2C) is sparking an expensive legal battle.

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

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Arctic fishing plan now open for comment

NOAA’s Fisheries Service announced it will open public comment on a proposed framework to manage fishing in the Arctic waters of the United States in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.

Initially, the plan would ban commercial fishing in the far north.

“Historically, there have been no commercial fisheries in our Arctic seas,” said Doug Mecum, acting administrator of the Alaska region of NOAA’s Fisheries Service. “But with Arctic sea ice receding, more human activities may likely begin there, including increased interest in commercial fishing.”

“The new management plan sets up a framework for possible development of Arctic fisheries in the next decades,” he added. “It would ensure that we proceed carefully and do not allow commercial fishing to expand northward before we know what level of fishing the Arctic can sustain.”

The proposed plan can be found at:


Alaska Sea Grant has videos on improving salmon quality

To help both veteran fishermen and greenhorns alike, the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program has released a series of nine videos on improving salmon quality.  The videos were produced with gillnet fishermen in mind, but much of the information will be valuable to all gear types.

The videos cover topics including quality, boat setup, fishing practices, product handling, chilling, dressing and pressure bleeding, unloading product, and cleaning and sanitizing.

The videos are available free online at  Single copies of the videos on DVD are free for as long as the supply lasts. 

For more information, contact the Marine Advisory Program at 907-274-9691, or visit


Canadian fishermen seek salmon treaty money

Local fisheries advocacy groups will be lobbying the Canadian government in a meeting Wednesday to use $30 million from the American government to directly mitigate the 30 per cent reduction in Chinook salmon catch imposed on them starting this spring. – Westerly, Tofino, B.C.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Togiak herring fishery winding down

The big herring sac roe fishery at Togiak is nearly done. Fishery managers have shut down the seine fleet, and the gillnetters will finish by the end of the month. It's evident a lot of fish will be left in the water unharvested.

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

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Homer fishermen complain of high fuel prices

When commercial fishermen refuel in Kodiak, they pull up to their choice of two filling docks and pay between $2.46 per gallon of unleaded or $2.60 for diesel. Even Cordova fishermen pay less than Homer. At Shoreside Petroleum, they pay $2.44 for diesel and $2.67 for unleaded. Locally, where commercial fishermen have only one place to refuel, the cost is up to $3.04 per gallon of diesel, $2.72 for unleaded.

Homer Tribune

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Suit filed over Sacramento Delta smelt

The Pacific Legal Foundation sued the federal government on Thursday, challenging its authority to protect the Delta smelt under the federal Endangered Species Act. – Capital Press

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Halibut commercial fishermen enter bag limit lawsuit

A group representing commercial fishermen is jumping into a lawsuit over how many halibut can be caught by sport anglers on charter boats.

– Anchorage Daily News

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Feds offer low-interest loans to West Coast trollers

The closing of the 2009 commercial salmon fishing season spells economic woe for Del Norte County, but there is one small bright spot. The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that low interest disaster loans are available to small businesses that have suffered financial losses due to the closure.

Crescent City Triplicate

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Copper River escapement good

As several areas are schedule for 84-hour openings, escapement is running higher than expected on the Copper River. The Miles Lake sonar began counting on Monday, May 18. As of midnight Tuesday, a total of 97,077 salmon have been counted versus a minimum cumulative in-river goal of 69,500.

Harvest from the Monday, May 25 opening was estimated at 94,855 sockeye and 691 Chinook salmon.



Friday, May 29, 2009

Reason why processors should retain crab quotas

A big item on the agenda for the June 1-9 meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in Anchorage is management of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands crab fisheries.

One proposal the council is mulling is elimination of processor quota shares.

Steve Minor, executive director of an association of crab processing companies, is among those arguing to keep processor shares.

He's written this brief analysis of one reason why processor shares are working, and concludes: "Alaska should be extraordinarily happy."

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

Read Minor’s analysis:


Marine reserve bill clears Oregon House

The Oregon House of Representatives approved HB-3013 A on Thursday, outlining a detailed plan and timeline to complete evaluation of six potential marine reserve sites recommended by the Governor’s Ocean Policy Advisory Council.


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Drought worries Vancouver Island

Two winter droughts in a row means BC Hydro is struggling to balance fish, recreational use and power generation needs on the Campbell River system.

– Campbell River (B.C.) Mirror

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Palin announces fish appointment

Gov. Sarah Palin has announced her appointments to the Alaska Public Offices Commission, Fishermen’s Fund Advisory and Appeals Council, Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority, and State Officers Compensation Commission.

– Press release

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Obama officials looking into salmon-dam issues

Two top members of President Obama's environmental team are in the Northwest this week, listening
but pointedly not speaking about the tense conflict between salmon and hydroelectric dams in the
Columbia Basin.

– Coos Bay World

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