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

Monday, June 1, 2009

Why so many jacks in Columbia?



So what's up in the Columbia River? Here, a record number of runt-sized males are surging upstream, a biological mystery that has stunned scientists and frustrated fishermen like tribal hoop-netter Frank Sutterlict.

– Seattle Times

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Editorial: Arctic fishing ban a good call

As ice cover in Alaska's Arctic waters shrinks, it opens virgin territory for commercial fishing to exploit. Before a new "rush for fish" starts, the federal government is moving to keep commercial fishing out of Arctic waters until we know more about the ecology of the region. It's the right call.

– Anchorage Daily News

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More protests over pollock fleet salmon bycatch

Yukon River fishermen who rely on catching king salmon are again protesting that Bering Sea pollock fishermen are intercepting too many.

– Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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Few seek troll salmon loans

There are few takers so far in Crescent City for loans being offered to small businesses affected by the salmon fishery closure.

– Crescent City Triplicate

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Pollock catcher processor model in Smithsonian

The On the Water exhibition opened recently at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and includes a four-foot long cutaway model of the largest U.S. fishing vessel, the C/P Alaska Ocean.

The Alaska Ocean is a 376-foot long U.S.-flag catcher/processor vessel that participates in the Bering Sea Alaska pollock fishery and the west coast Pacific whiting fishery.

– At Sea Processors press release

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Editorial: New NOAA chief did well

We in the news business attach great significance to the questions posed by policymakers and lawyers. It thus was fascinating to read a summary of what was asked in Portland last week by NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco and White House Council on Environmental Quality chairwoman Nancy Sutley.

Daily Astorian

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Fishermen will lose jobs because of acidification

Ocean acidification, a direct result of increased CO2 emission, is set to change the Earth's marine ecosystems forever and may have a direct impact on our economy, resulting in substantial revenue declines and job losses.

– Science Daily

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Frozen is the new ‘fresh’

Pat Batten was on her way to a holiday in Puerto Vallarta in Mexico when she was inspired to quit her job as a projectionist and become a fishmonger.

National Post, Canada

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In Norway, big fish farmers ignore closed containment

There is a closed containment Atlantic salmon fish farm operating in Norway, just a little east of Bergen. And it is little surprise the developer/operator has received, little if any support, from the major fish farm companies whom call Norway home.

BYM News

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Ocean Beauty meets security standards

Ocean Beauty Seafoods is the first seafood company in the United States to conform to the Transportation Safety Administration’s new Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP).

– Ocean Beauty press release


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Judge to hear charter halibut limit case Thursday

Federal Judge Judge Rosemary M. Collyer of Washington, D.C., is scheduled to hear oral argument at 2 p.m. ET Thursday in the charter halibut case.

Lawyers for the federal government will try to defend a new regulation, to take effect Friday, that will cut the daily bag limit for charter boat anglers in Southeast Alaska (Area 2C) from two fish to one.

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

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North B.C. fishermen worry about declining catches

Recent meetings with representatives of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans regarding the salmon fishing plan for the upcoming season have left Prince Rupert city councilor and fishing industry union representative Joy Thorkelson with a grave forecast for the North Coast’s commercial fishing fleet despite hopeful news about the beginning of a recovery for wild salmon stocks.

– The Northern View, British Columbia

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Cruise ship kills humpback whale

A humpback whale that was dead after being struck by an oil tanker on its way to the oil terminal at Valdez will be towed out to a watery grave today, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Anchorage Daily News

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NOAA gives money to Smart Gear Competition

NOAA’s Fisheries Service has awarded a $364,000 grant to the World Wildlife Fund in support of the 2009 Smart Gear Competition that awards prizes for innovative gear designs which reduce fisheries bycatch.

The two-year NOAA grant to WWF will support the competition, plus extensive testing to further develop the winning designs.

– NOAA press release

More information or to submit a gear design entry:

SalmonAid this month in Oakland

A festival of food, music, and culture, SalmonAid 2009 features a lineup of musicians, sustainable seafoods, educational forums, demonstrations from First Nation’s tribes, children’s activities, films, speakers, and more. The SalmonAID Festival will take place on June 20th and 21st at Jack London Square in Oakland, Calif.

– Press release

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fuglvog of Alaska to be next NMFS chief?

President Barack Obama needed less time making a nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court than oceans and fisheries administrator Jane Lubchenco has already used mulling which of two candidates she will appoint to head the National Marine Fisheries Service.

But the pivotal choice has emerged between Arne Fuglvog, 45, an Alaskan fisherman, businessman and former fisheries council member turned senatorial aide, and Brian Rothschild, an academic at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.

Gloucester Daily Times

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Fuglvog’s appointment: Fish Wrap’s 20 second analysis

Leaving all other considerations aside, to name Arne Fuglvog as the next head of NMFS would be politically stupid for the administration.

It would mean the top three people in national fisheries management would come from the North Pacific: Gary Locke of Seattle as commerce secretary, Jane Lubchenko of Oregon as NOAA chief – and Fuglvog of Alaska.

The geography is all wrong. Politicians always look for a broad geographic base, and aside from square miles, Alaska and the Pacific Northwest are not broad.

Beyond that aren't a hell of a lot of electoral votes from Alaska, Washington, and Oregon.

Also, what will a Fuglvog appointment say to fishermen from other coasts, especially those in New England, who already feel pretty put-upon just now because the fisheries council back there is changing the entire management regimen to mirror Alaska’s?

Not only that, but the put-upon Northeast fishermen are represented by Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Barney Frank – all Massachusetts Democrats and all holding leadership positions on Capital Hill. Kennedy and Frank have both been really protective of their fishing constituents.

We just can't see Obama shutting the door on such Democratic heavyweights while giving a plum to Alaska, which is filled with Republicans.


Anglers’ group becoming political force

Two years ago, Gary Loomis, the Woodland-based graphite fishing rod guru, brought the Coastal Conservation Association to the Pacific Northwest. …

"We're getting a little bit more clout in Olympia and Salem," Loomis said. "For years, we've had commercial fishermen running them" on fishery issues. – Vancouver (Wash.) Columbian

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Homer believes competition will drive down diesel price

A war of words last month over alleged price gouging by Petro Marine Services, the only fuel company that services the Homer Harbor has been followed by a reduction in prices for unleaded and diesel
marine fuel.

Meanwhile, said Homer City Manager Walt Wrede, the city is in talks about the possibility of another company opening a third fuel dock at the harbor.

Homer News

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How about salmon commodity price supports?

The salmon price outlook is OK this season, in remarkable defiance of the global recession. Fish buyers have sorted out credit for the season's pack and should be operating to capacity. We might even see small grounds price rises in some species, reflecting good sales and problems in Chilean farmed Coho production.

Or not.

Former economist Phil Lansing, a salmon fisherman who lives in Boise,
writing in the Anchorage Daily News

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We screwed up

Yesterday, we reported a humpback whale had died after being struck by a cruise ship. It actually was struck by an oil tanker. The whale was discovered when the vessel arrived in Valdez. The carcass was to be towed into deep water.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Judge upholds one-halibut charter bag limit

Judge Rosemary Collyer of the Washington, D.C. U.S. District Court ruled Thursday against a preliminary injunction that would have allowed charter boat clients in Area 2C to continue keeping two halibut per day despite fishery managers’ objections. The new one halibut per day rule will take effect as scheduled tomorrow.

There are four standards for granting a preliminary injunction, including irreparable harm and a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of the case. The judge ruled that the plaintiffs did not meet the standards.

Judge Collyer has not yet set a date for when she will hear the merits of the lawsuit brought by the Charter Halibut Task Force (CHTF), but has directed the involved parties to propose a timeline for submitting documentation and scheduling the trial. The trial on the merits of the case will likely commence in July.

Halibut Coalition members intervening in the lawsuit include commercial fishermen, the Southeast coastal communities of Pelican and Port Alexander, processing sector members, subsistence fishermen, and the Hoonah Indian Association. All of the interveners support the federal managers’ decision to restrict charter clientele to retaining one halibut per day.

In order for all harvesters – subsistence, unguided sport, commercial and charter – to benefit from the halibut resource in the future, the charter fleet must begin sharing in the conservation burden now. The one halibut per day rule will force the charter fleet to stay closer to its allotted GHL, leaving more fish in the water to help rebuild the depleted stocks.

– Halibut Coalition press release


Feds seek new water protections for Cal salmon

Federal regulators prescribed sweeping changes Thursday to the dams, reservoirs and pumps that supply water to two-thirds of California in an effort to restore a salmon population whose steep decline has sounded an environmental alarm and led to the cancellation of two consecutive commercial fishing seasons.

San Francisco Chronicle

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Bristol Bay fishery at 125th anniversary

As Alaskans mark the 50th anniversary of statehood this year, the commercial fishermen of Bristol Bay set sail on their 125th season on June 7. They do so in much more comfort and with better gear than the pioneering fishermen of the Bay.  

Tim Troll, executive director of the Nushagak-Mulchatna / Wood-Tikchik Land Trust based in Dillingham, writing in the Bristol Bay Times

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Yukon fishermen vow to catch Chinook

Fishermen on the lower Yukon River will get the king salmon they need to feed their families, even if it means getting a ticket or going to jail, two Alaska Native leaders said.

Capital Press


Yukon fish cops vow to stop them

With the king salmon fishery on the Yukon River facing another bad season, state and federal managers say subsistence fishermen should expect an unprecedented enforcement effort this summer.

Tundra Drums

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