Monday, August 9, 2010

Salmon season holds good news

The Alaska salmon season is heading into the homestretch now, and we've seen plenty of positives this year.

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


Prices for B.C. salmon will be high

Commercial fishermen in B.C.'s Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island are celebrating their first opportunity to fish for Fraser River sockeye salmon in four years, but consumers are advised to prepare for prices to stay high.

– CBC, Canada

Gulf fishermen like BP paychecks

Though oil is no longer gushing and fishing is now deemed safe, many hired to help in the cleanup effort say the steady paychecks trump the financial risks of casting nets.

– L.A. Times

MSC defends Fraser salmon decision

Following intense criticism of the recent Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of British Columbia's (BC) Fraser River sockeye salmon fishery levelled at the NGO by three B.C. conservation groups, the MSC has prepared a point-by-point response defending the move.

– World Fishing

An end to Columbia River hatcheries?

Federal biologists sent their strongest signal to date that the Columbia River Basin's immense hatchery production – and the lucrative fishing opportunities that result from it

– could be reduced to better protect wild salmon and steelhead runs.
– The Oregonian

'Zombie' satellite to disrupt service

As many as 35,000 people in rural Alaska may lose Internet access, long-distance phone service or both for hours at a time this week because of a "zombie" satellite that has wandered off course and is expected to scramble the signals of the Bush's main telecommunications provider.

– Anchorage Daily News

Trying to count Alaska deckhands

No one really knows how many crewmembers work the fishing vessels operating in state waters. And that could be knocking the crews and their communities out of potentially millions of dollars in grants and potential fishing quotas, according to industry leaders.

– Anchorage Daily News

Trident-Icicle deal means layoffs

Deckboss on Wednesday linked to a press release about Icicle Seafoods Inc. selling the assets of its Bellingham surimi business to Trident Seafoods Corp. Funny, though, how press releases sometimes don't give us the full story.

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

Shell to begin Alaska seismic tests

Both Shell and Statoil have received approval from the National Marine Fisheries Service to conduct seismic studies in the Chukchi Sea, thanks to a new decision by a federal court.

– Pacific Fishing columnist Alexandra Gutierrez reporting for KUCB, Unalaska

Judge cited in fishing violation

The Brig is confident the person named is U.S District Judge Timothy Burgess of Anchorage.

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


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Former Sen. Ted Stevens on fatal flight

The National Transportation Safety Board says it appears that five people were killed and four survived the Alaska crash of a small plane that was believed to be carrying former Sen. Ted Stevens and former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe.

–  Anchorage Daily News

Trial set for Alaska fish commissioner

A judge has set a December trial for Alaska Fish and Game Commissioner Denby Lloyd, who is charged with driving under the influence and reckless endangerment.

– Anchorage Daily News

Catch shares harms fishing villages

Catch share programs can cause consolidation, trimming the number of vessels and stakeholders in a fishery. After all, that's a primary goal: to rein in too many boats going after too few fish. Too often, rights to the fish get bought, sold or leased away from small, fishing dependent fishing towns.

– Pacific Fishing columnist Laine Welch, writing in SitNews, Ketchikan

New owners for Dutch Harbor plant

The Harbor Crown processing plant is now the Bering Star Fisheries plant. Last week, the Siu Alaska Corporation and Copper River Seafoods teamed up to buy the six-building, seven-acre property, jointly operating as Dutch Harbor Acquisitions.

— Pacific Fishing columnist Alexandra Gutierrez, reporting for KUCB, Unalaska

Replacement crane arrives in Dutch Harbor

American President Lines' replacement crane arrived yesterday. The blue crane came in on the Korean cargo ship the Dongbang Giant, and was brought in from Taiwan.

— Pacific Fishing columnist Alexandra Gutierrez, reporting for KUCB, Unalaska

Gulf fishermen worry over premature openings

"Gulf Coast fishermen do not want to sell tainted seafood but are being forced, by the premature opening of inland and gulf waters to commercial fishing, to choose between a clean gulf or their livelihood."

– Institute for Southern Studies

Protected areas to hurt commercial fishing

Brightly colored sea urchins are plentiful this year on the rocky seabed of Southern California, but divers may soon face new restrictions on where they can collect them.

– Wall Street Journal

Good money for Canadian sockeye

Following an abundant herring fishery this spring, Vancouver Island commercial fishermen are rubbing their hands and anticipate paying down a few bills due to early sockeye salmon returns.


Sarah explains halibut fishing

“And here I am, thousands of miles away from D.C., out on a commercial fishing boat, working my butt off for my own business, merely asking the Democrat politicos and their liberal friends in the media: ‘What's the plan, man?’ And they seem to feel threatened by my question. So, I'll go back to setting my hooks and watching the halibut take the bait.

– Peace FM Online

Alaska salmon harvests good

At Norton Sound, fishermen are seeing the best chum salmon run in 25 years. At Kotzebue, the chum catches are tracking the best in 15 years. Upper Cook Inlet fishermen hauled in a huge 2.7 million sockeye harvest, 800,000 more than projected. Those hard-to-predict pink salmon are making good appearances throughout Southeast Alaska. Seymour Canal near Juneau had its first pink opener in more than 20 years.  Prince William Sound fishermen are setting some harvest records for pinks, and returns to hatcheries are double the forecast. And get this:  Fishing for pink salmon is hot on the Nushagak at Bristol Bay! About 60 boats and 30-40 setnetters are targeting humpies and have so far pulled in more than 1 million fish, along with 60,000 cohos. Fish managers said there has not been a directed pink and coho salmon fishery for so long, there aren’t even numbers to compare the catches to. In other Alaska  salmon fisheries:  Copper River catches of both sockeyes and kings fell way short of projections. At Kodiak, all salmon harvests are below average and below forecasts, and catches are lackluster at Chignik and along the Alaska Peninsula. The statewide, all species harvest is pegged at 138 million salmon, 15 percent fewer fish than in 2009.

– Pacific Fishing columnist Laine Welch reporting for Fish Radio


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Catch shares OK’d for groundfish fleet

NOAA's Fisheries Service on Tuesday approved a new approach to managing the harvest of certain West Coast fish that it says will lessen competition among fishermen and reduce overfishing.

– San Francisco Chronicle


Gold king crab fishery starts Sunday

The golden king crab fishery begins on Aug. 15, signaling the start of fall crab seasons in the Bering Sea. Only five or six boats go after golden kings, in waters off the Aleutian Islands. The deep water crabs are one of Alaska’s most stable fisheries, yielding about six million pounds each year for the past decade. Last year goldens averaged $1.96 per pound, making the fishery worth about $11 million at the docks. Prices should be higher this season.

– Pacific Fishing columnist Laine Welch, reporting on Fish Radio

Fish exec killed in Stevens crash

Among the four others who died with former Sen. Ted Stevens in the Dillingham plane crash was Bill Phillips, a Bethesda, Md., lawyer and lobbyist and the senator's former chief of staff. Phillips was well-known in Alaska commercial fishing circles as the long-time owner of the Bering Sea pollock processing ship Excellence.

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

Sen. Stevens remembered

This is an especially sad day for the Alaska Region of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, where we have worked in cooperation with former Sen. Ted Stevens to make Alaska's fisheries among the best managed in the world.

Senator Stevens was distinguished as a champion of sustainable ocean policy and influenced nearly every marine environmental and resource management law in the U.S. Senate over the past four decades. Alaska waters were often the test bed of revolutionary new ways of science-based fishery management and resource allocations that promoted safety and incentives for sustainability.

Sen. Stevens was a tireless advocate for U.S. fisheries and marine science. He was instrumental in promoting the new Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Juneau which replaced the aging Auke Bay Lab. This laboratory honors his legacy with the name, the Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute.

Our deepest, most heartfelt thoughts are with his family during this time of loss.

Jim Balsiger
Regional Administrator
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
Alaska Region

An explanation

Several Fish Wrap readers wondered about the timing of Tuesday’s Fish Wrap and confirmation of the death of former Sen. Ted Stevens.

The actual Fish Wrap item said only that Sen. Stevens was on an aircraft that had crashed and that there were several fatalities. That is the version you saw on the Pacific Fishing website.

Shortly after the item was posted, several sources – including his family – confirmed that Sen. Stevens had died. We had such confirmation before we sent out Tuesday’s e-mail.

That is why the e-mail subject line said the senator had died.

Don McManman

Great whites return in the Pacific

It might come as unwelcome news to swimmers and surfers, but great white sharks appear to be mounting a comeback off California.


Fraser rebound to confound commission

To make the tough job of managing and protecting our salmon resource even more confusing, sockeye salmon seem to be making a comeback in the very summer when the federally appointed Cohen Commission is studying their disappearance.


Russian River sport sockeye fishery closed

The worst return of red salmon to the Russian River in 33 years has convinced Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists to shutter the popular sport fishery the rest of the season and try to unravel how one of Alaska's most consistent fisheries suddenly went belly up.

– Anchorage Daily News

B.C. stocks threatened by drought

Drought gripping northern B.C. is drying up streams and putting fish stocks at risk, according to the province's environment minister.

– Victoria Times Colonist


Opinion: Gulf spill not all that bad

Could it possibly be that the Deepwater Horizon leak may prove to be not the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history, just the most over-hyped?

– Vancouver Sun


Thursday, August 12, 2010

NOAA Enforcement

As a follow-up from NOAA's National Enforcement Summit held on Aug. 3, fishermen, stakeholders, and the general public are encouraged to comment on NOAA's enforcement priorities and the Summit, through the Summit's website.

– NOAA press release


Salmon prices in W. Alaska

In a written statement to media, Coastal Villages Seafoods announced the following price changes for CVS certified fishermen effective with the Aug. 6 openers in W4/W5 and W1B: Coho - $1/lb; Chum - $2/lb; Sockeye - $2/lb; King - $2/lb.

– Tundra Drums

Seining on the Columbia

Starting this week, fishery managers from Washington and Oregon will test five types of alternative commercial fishing gear on the lower Columbia River.

– Seattle P-I

Sockeye harvest on the Fraser

The sound of nets being ratcheted out of the Fraser River and big healthy salmon flopping into boats was music to the ears of commercial fishermen.

– Peace Arch News

Double standard for B.C. Natives?

Federal fisheries officers are using a double standard for aboriginal and non-aboriginal fishermen, says a Nanaimo fish buyer.


Oregon gets new head fish cop

Oregon State Police Superintendent Timothy McLain announced the appointment of a veteran OSP lieutenant as the Department's next director of the OSP Fish & Wildlife Division.

– KTVL, Medford

Sockeye returning to Idaho

The era of Lonesome Larry – the sole sockeye salmon to return to Idaho in 1992 – may be history. Between 1,300 and 1,500 are expected this year, which could be the most on record since 1956, when 1,381 came back.

– Bellingham Herald

Catch tagged crab, make money

There are still about 2,200 tagged crabs out there that are worth $20 each, and each tag that you turn in earns a shot at a $1,000 drawing.

– Salem Statesman Journal

Letter: Farmers’ organic claims false

Among the many practices that should be considered antithetical to the spirit and intent of organic certification, the fish farm industry in B.C. relies on the application of the agricultural drug Slice to their "salmon feedlots" in order to address chronic sea lice outbreaks.

– Chris Genovali, executive director of Raincoast Conservation, writing in The Vancouver Sun


Ediorial: Hatchery funding ban goes too far

Salmon policy is huge – hatcheries alone cost nearly $80 million a year – and the Northwest's legacy of wild salmon, and generations of lives built around salmon, is at stake.

– The Oregonian


Friday, August 13, 2010

Protecting lampreys

Lamprey. It swims with salmon up and down the Columbia River during its life cycle, but it's uglier, older, slower and not so popular as Chinook or sockeye, or even steelhead.

– The Oregonian

NOAA gagging scientists?

Scientists at NOAA found themselves squelched during the Bush administration. Now, scientists are raising similar concerns about the Obama team, from which they expected support.

–, Seattle

Ocean conditions credited for sockeye

Fisheries and Oceans Canada says exceptionally high ocean survival rates caused the Somass sockeye run to be almost double the 600,000 fish originally predicted.

– Westcoaster, Vancouver Island, B.C.

Pebble foes try unusual tactic

The opponents of Pebble, the giant copper and gold prospect in Southwest Alaska, have asked the federal Environmental Protection Agency to invoke its potent and rarely used power to block the potential mine.

– Anchorage Daily News

CG plucks crewman off fishing vessel

The Coast Guard rescued an injured crewman 160 nautical miles off shore from Westport, Wash., at approximately 8:00 a.m. Thursday.

– Coast Guard press release

Akutan explores geothermal power

The city of Akutan is in hot water, but that's a good thing. The first of two geothermal energy exploration wells has produced water in excess of 360 degrees F.

– SitNews, Ketchikan

Letter: No simple reason for Chinook decline

The smoking gun in the declining salmon runs is not the lack of or too much regulation on the sport fisheries or even the commercial or subsistence fisheries for kings on the Kenai or Kasilof or any other king runs.

– Dave Kaffke of Ninilchik, writing in the (Kenai) Peninsula Clarion

Taku needs two-nation care

As Southeast Alaska's top salmon producer, the transboundary Taku River is a vital economic, cultural and recreational resource. However, since the large majority of the salmon-spawning habitat is in the upper Taku in British Columbia, Alaskan fisheries are dependent on good stewardship from Canadian managers.

– Chris Zimmer, the Alaska Campaign director with Rivers Without Borders, writing in the Juneau Empire








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