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Summary for July 27, 2009 - July 31, 2009:

Monday, July 27, 2009

Upper Cook Inlet closed to gillnetters

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game issued an emergency closure order for upper Cook Inlet drift gillnetters on Monday in all areas of the central district.

KTUU, Anchorage

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New harvest numbers for Alaska salmon

The Central District continues to produce the most salmon in Cook Inlet. See complete numbers for Cook Inlet and all other Alaska salmon fisheries at


Commercial fishermen protest against charter catch enforcement

There were no more than 10 protesters, but their beliefs are widely held among commercial fishermen: Charter captains and lodge owners are underreporting their clients' halibut catch, and Fish and Game needs to do a better job counting it.

Juneau Empire

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Bering Sea crabbers meet with NMFS chief

Deckboss heard that a group of concerned Bering Sea crab fishermen held something of a summit in Seattle with Jim Balsiger, head of the National Marine Fisheries Service, on Friday.

Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy, writing in his blog: Deck Boss

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Two charged with selling subsistence halibut

Anchorage United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced Friday that David Skrzynski and Jason Maroney, both of Juneau, Alaska, have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Anchorage on charges of violating the Lacey Act by selling halibut that was taken in violation of federal regulations.

The nine-count indictment names Skrzynski, 58, and Maroney, 38, as the sole defendants.

According to the nine-count indictment, Skrzynski, holds a valid Subsistence Halibut Registration Certificate (otherwise known as a "SHARC card"), which allows him to fish for halibut for subsistence purposes.

However, federal regulations prohibit the commercial sale of subsistence halibut. Maroney was the owner of Doc Waters Pub in Juneau.

The indictment alleges a continuing scheme from July 2005, to February 2008, where Skrzynski sold subsistence halibut to Maroney for resale in Doc Waters Pub.

SitNews, Ketchikan

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B.C. fish farmer says sea lice count down

The results from the joint Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform and Marine Harvest Canada sea lice monitoring program in the Broughton Archipelago indicate that sea lice levels in 2009 on juvenile pink and chum salmon migrating through the region are lower than in recent years.

North Island Gazette, B.C.

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Dramatic video shows capsizing of a tug

Four men survived the capsizing of the 42-foot tug boat North Arm Venture in B.C.’s Skookumchuck Narrows July 19.

Currents in Skookumchuck Narrows at the entrance to Sechelt Inlet can exceed 16 knots and the height of the rapids can be over 6.6 feet.

The crew of the tug was maneuvering a fuel barge into the narrows when the tide caught the tug, girded it, and, in a dramatic moment captured on video by kayakers waiting for the famous tide change waves to boil up, flipped over, throwing three men into the water and trapping one inside the overturned tug.

Two men made it to the barge. David Fusilli, one of the kayakers, rescued one man caught in the tide, towed him to the overturned tug, and when the trapped man miraculously found his way out and surfaced, towed him to the barge.

“It was a pretty intense scary moment” Fusilli said later. “I was glad   I didn’t have to go under there.”

Watch the video:


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fraser may not see predicted abundance

What was supposed to be a bountiful year for the Fraser River sockeye salmon fishery -- the height of the four-year cycle -- is beginning to look like a bust.

– Vancouver Sun

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NOAA chief wants rules protecting family fishing operations

BOSTON -- The head of the agency overseeing ocean research and fisheries says the federal government has no interest in consolidating the nation's fishing industry into the hands of a few large companies.

– Forbes

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Kenai River returns worries biologists

A dip in the return of red salmon to the Kenai River prompted biologists on Monday to close Upper Cook Inlet to commercial drift and setnet fishing -- though anglers have not yet been affected.

– Anchorage Daily News

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Palin makes appointments

As one of her last acts as governor, Sarah Palin made appointments to agencies affecting commercial fishing.

The agencies are Alaska Commercial Fishing and Agricultural Bank, Pacific Marine Fisheries Commission, and the Alaska Board of Forestry.

– Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy, writing as Deck Boss.

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Everyone should watch Cal protected area plan

The Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative creates Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that ban all or most types of recreational and commercial fishing.

– Eureka Times-Standard

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chilean salmon farms using huge amounts of antibiotics

Chile used almost 350 times more antibiotics in its farmed salmon in 2008 than Norway, its chief competitor and the largest salmon producer in the world, according to official data from both countries.

New York Times

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Bob Thorstenson Sr. dies

I'm sad to tell you that Bob Thorstenson Sr., a towering figure in the history of Alaska commercial fisheries, passed away today, according to his son, Bob Thorstenson Jr. – Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy, writing in his blog: Deck Boss

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‘Deadliest Catch’ guys say fishermen not greedy

Boat captains from the U.S. television show "Deadliest Catch," which chronicles the perils of Bering Sea crab fishing, say small commercial fishermen are unfairly blamed in the debate over declining fish populations.


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Canada dislikes Alaska arctic fishing ban

The most immediate threat to Canada's territorial claims in the North is not military. It is a proposed U.S. ban on fishing in a part of the Beaufort Sea claimed by both countries – a move that could force Ottawa to back up its aggressive stand on Arctic sovereignty or risk weakening its position in future disputes over who's in charge in the North.

Globe and Mail, Canada

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Drillers pay fishermen not to fish

Now here's an intriguing concept for commercial fishermen facing the prospect of sharing Bristol Bay waters with oil and gas explorers following a possible federal offshore lease sale in 2011.

Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy, writing in his blog: Deck Boss

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Research vessels  steam into Bering Sea

Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ship Fairweather passed through Unalaska on it's way to the Eastern Bering Sea. The ship stopped for several days in port. The ship is working on mapping the seafloor of the ocean to look at the composition of the bottom relative to the populations of fish that live there.

Pacific Fishing columnist Anne Hillman, reporting for KUCB radio in Unalaska.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Anti-Pebble coalition goes to court

Alaska Natives, a former governor’s widow and a delegate to Alaska’s constitutional convention sue the state of Alaska in an effort to kill exploration and water-use permits for the planned Pebble copper and gold mine in headwaters of fish-rich Bristol Bay.

– Anchorage Daily News

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Seattle sushi bar going all sustainable

On Aug. 15, Mashiko will be reborn as Seattle’s first fully sustainable sushi restaurant. Which is to say that Hajime Sato will just say no to endangered fish and other seafood caught or raised using nonsustainable practices.

– Seattle Times

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Fishermen, environmentalists square off over California marine reserves

Aiming to create a patchwork of marine protected areas (MPAs) – places where little to no fishing, be it recreational or commercial, is allowed– along the entire coast of California, the process is, depending on whom you ask, either a crucial power play in the name of preservation that will protect our underwater worlds for generations to come, or a brutal aquatic land grab that threatens to deliver a death blow to our state’s already embattled fishing heritage.

– Santa Barbara Independent

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USDA catfish inspections draw support

Three of the nation’s largest food safety watchdog groups and a U.S. congressman voice their support for USDA inspections for domestic and imported catfish species, as mandated by the 2008 Farm Bill.

– Business Wire

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Next month is for lobsters

Maine Gov. John Baldacci has declared August to be Maine Lobster Month.

– Associated Press

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Massachusetts lawmaker aims to end striped bass fishery

State Rep. Matthew Patrick, D-Barnstable, is proposing to end commercial fishing for Atlantic striped bass in Massachusetts through House Bill 796 in the current state legislative session. Patrick, who filed this bill on behalf of the South Portland, Maine-based Stripers Forever, said fewer than 30 people fish commercially for Atlantic striped bass in this $24 million fishery in Massachusetts.

– The Nantucket Independent

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India, Russia strike seafood export deal

India and the Russian Federation have reached a new administrative arrangement on shipping and export of fish and seafood products from India.

– The Hindu

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Friday, July 31, 2009

Worm co-authors new fish study, and backs off a bit on the doom

When a study two years ago warned that commercial fisheries could be wiped out in 40 years, University of Washington biologist Ray Hilborn got out his flamethrower and blasted what he called a "mind-boggling stupid" conclusion. Now a new and somewhat more hopeful study is out.

– Seattle Times

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Balsiger remains atop NMFS

Turning away from the only two candidates to be interviewed, the Obama administration has apparently decided to reopen the search for the nation’s top fisheries administrator.

– Gloucester Times

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A look at the Monterey Abalone Co.

Tourists and seagulls are drawn to Municipal Wharf No. 2 on California’s Monterey Bay — both for the seafood. While picturesque, it’s a working pier: fishermen dangle lines over the side; wholesale distributors load refrigerated vans with local sardines and squid. And then there is fresh abalone.

– New York Times

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Why Washington state still has gillnets

I worked so hard for passage of two different initiatives that would have curbed commercial harvest here in Washington state. They were both defeated. That’s because, in my opinion, the average voter looks on commercial fishermen as one of the last great adventurers. He’s the cowboy of yesteryear and at least one popular TV series bolsters that image.

– The Othello Outlook

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A farewell to Icicle Seafoods founder Bob Thorstenson Sr.

His vision led the company and the Alaska seafood industry into new markets, new products and led to a major shift from a policy of ‘outside’ resource extraction that had plagued the Alaska seafood industry to a cooperative policy of sharing the profits with the fishermen and employees.

– Petersburg Pilot

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August gillnet seasons adopted for Columbia

Washington and Oregon officials have adopted eight nights of gillnetting for salmon and sturgeon in the lower Columbia River in August.

– The Columbian


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