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Summary for June 15, 2009 - June 19, 2009:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Dungeness crab season opens in SE Alaska

A controversial new commercial fishery for Dungeness crab in Southeast Alaska was set to start Monday after a judge denied a request to block it.

Fairbanks News-Miner

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Obama administration to build fishing task force

President Obama has issued a presidential memorandum that calls for the development of a national ocean policy and implementing strategies. The memorandum will establish an interagency task force that is to recommend within 90 days.

Huffington Post

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Yukon subsistence fishery closed for first Chinook

For the first time, the Yukon River subsistence chinook fishery will be closed as the first pulse of fish makes its way up the river. – Mike Fleagle, chairman of the Federal Subsistence Board, writing to the Fairbanks News-Miner

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Scientists downplay seafood mercury risks

A group of 561 scientists gathered in the Chinese city of Guiyang to explore issues surrounding mercury pollution, and a new survey shows that a large majority of them no longer believe traces of mercury in seafood represent a serious health risk to consumers.

– PR News Wire

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Fleet leaves Copper River

Spent my Sunday afternoon over in Whittier, where I was surprised to see the harbor packed with gillnet boats you'd normally expect to find around the Copper River on the opposite side of Prince William Sound.

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

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Check out salmon harvests in Alaska Blue Sheet

As of Friday, the Copper River fishery had harvested only 7,000 Chinook, about 4,000 chum and 533,000 sockeye.


Read the ADFG Blue Sheet:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Court says Exxon must pay interest on spill damages

A federal court ruled Monday that Exxon Mobil Corp. owes $507.5 million, plus 5.9 percent annual interest accrued since 1996, in punitive damages to plaintiffs affected by the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

– Wall Street Journal

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Noted fishing boat builder dies

A prolific boat builder, who for decades built boats for the Alaska fishing fleet, has died in the Seattle area. Dave LeClercq was 93.m


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Court: Valdez must return tanker tax money

The city of Valdez will have to return millions it has collected in taxes since it began assessing a tax on oil tankers that on Monday was found to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

– Anchorage Daily News

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UFA elects new board, committee members

The United Fishermen of Alaska announced the election of two new at-large representatives to its Board of Directors, and two new committee chairs to its Executive Committee.

Ninilchik setnetter Cheryl Sutton and Gerry Merrigan of Petersburg join incumbent at-large directors Bruce Wallace of Juneau and Bruce Schactler of Kodiak. The four were re-elected to two-year terms in an election by the individual members of UFA this May.

Bob Thorstenson, Jr., representing Southeast Alaska Seiners, was elected as UFA Marketing Chairman. Paul Shadura of Kenai represents Kenai Peninsula Fishermen’s Association and was elected Membership Chairman. Committee chairs were elected by the full UFA board at its March meeting, and serve one-year terms. UFA’s three elected officers and eight committee chairs make up UFA’s Executive Committee.

UFA’s current officers were each re-elected to continue their volunteer service, with Joe Childers as President, Chip Treinen as Vice President, and Rich Davis as Secretary.

– UFA press release

Read the PDF here:

Opinion: SE marketing plan deserves approval

By voting to pass a 1 percent assessment to fund Rainforest Wild, Southeast's Regional Seafood Development Association, Southeast fishermen have an opportunity to not only tell their story to the marketplace but also realize infrastructure and quality improvements, and conduct education and training programs for new products and methods. Doing so will also allow Southeast's RSDA to seek outside state and federal funds and funnel those dollars directly to member fishermen.

– Bob Waldrop and Beth Poole, both officials of seafood development associations,
writing in the Juneau Empire.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

B.C. hake sustainability certification near

The B.C. commercial hake trawl fishery could be days away from securing the Marine Stewardship Council's first sustainability certification for a fish stock on Canada's Pacific coast.

– Vancouver Sun

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Western Alaska Natives on fishery panel

Amid accusations that Western Alaska residents don’t have enough input into federal fishery decisions, the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council has created an advisory committee on Alaska Native and rural issues, according to the council’s latest newsletter.

– Bristol Bay Times

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Learn direct-marketing tips from farmers

Over the past 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture -- programs in which consumers buy shares in a local farm to receive shipments of fresh produce -- has proven popular, with about 12,500 farms across the country offering farm-to-home services today. Now, the CSA model has made the evolutionary leap from land to sea. Nearly 1,000 Boston-area residents this month will receive their first batch of wild-caught fish through the Gloucester-based Cape Ann Fresh Catch Community Supported Fishery program.

– Wall Street Journal

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Juan de Fuca Strait emergency tug OK’d

The Washington State Department of Ecology has extended its contract agreement with Crowley Maritime Corp. to station a state-funded emergency response tug at Neah Bay for another full year of service beginning July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010.

– Marine Log

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Idaho doesn’t like spring Chinook management

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission is planning to write letters to its counterparts in Oregon and Washington to complain about the way those states manage spring Chinook fisheries in the lower Columbia River.

– Tri-City Herald, Kennewick, Wash.

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Federal aid going to fish farmers

The United States is about to spend $50 million on fish food.

The money included in the federal stimulus package is intended to help keep afloat an aquaculture industry already struggling from foreign competition after feed prices jumped 50 percent last year.


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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Aleutians falling out of love with fed minerals service

The U.S. Minerals Management Service for years has counted on a remote local government, the Aleutians East Borough, as a key supporter of the offshore oil and gas lease sale proposed for the North Aleutian basin in 2011. Lately, however, the borough's relationship with MMS has become strained.

Anchorage Daily News

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Little-known Alaska crab fishery opens

When it comes to Alaska crab, the glory fisheries are the big king and Tanner crab harvests of the Bering Sea. But the state has lots of smaller crab fisheries in other regions, and they operate in relative obscurity year after year with no reality TV show to record the action.

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

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Purse seines on the Columbia?

Washington fishery biologists will begin researching alternatives to gillnetting in August and September, testing commercial gear that hasn’t been used in the Columbia River in 50 years. Initial testing will begin with modified beach seines, modified purse seines and a Merwin trap.

Vancouver (Wash.) Columbian

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Cal Fish and Game using pit tags on salmon

California's Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is employing new computerised technology to track 8 million baby fall-run Chinook salmon raised in Central Valley hatcheries.


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Enviros call for removal of five B.C. salmon net pens

Five open net-cage salmon farms must be permanently removed from a salmon migration route in the northern Georgia Strait in order to protect thousands of juvenile salmon from sea lice and other potentially fatal diseases, the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform said.


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Climate change study: Alaska warming fast

A new White House climate change report devotes a chapter to Alaska, where temperatures have risen twice at twice the rate of the rest of the country in the last half-century. – Juneau Empire

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Coast Guard relieves cutter’s skipper

Coast Guard officials announced that Senior Chief Petty Officer James Madsen was temporarily relieved Thursday of command of the Cutter Elderberry, based in Petersburg, for "loss of confidence in the ability to command."

– Juneau Empire

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Oregon marine reserve plan needs only governor’s signature

All that's preventing Oregon from setting up the state's first two fishing-free marine reserves off the coast is Gov. Ted Kulongoski's signature.

– Coos Bay World

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New York Times: Leave fish act alone

Sen. Charles Schumer has introduced a bill called The Flexibility in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act. Flexibility, in this case, means bending to the will of fishermen who want to keep vacuuming up depleted fish populations before they have a chance to recover.

– New York Times

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Cordova honors longtime fishermen

Longtime Cordova fishermen Gus Arvidson and Phil Lian were honored during the Cordova District Fishermen United’s Senior Salmon Day, held on Main Street on June 10.

– Cordova Times

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Ocean acidification could harm shellfish growers

Changes in ocean chemistry — a consequence of increased carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from human industrial activity — could cause U.S. shellfish revenues to drop significantly in the next 50 years, according to a new study by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).


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