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Summary for August 17, 2009 - August 21, 2009:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Yukon chum run lowest on record

Subsistence fishermen along the Yukon River who were hoping to catch more fall chum salmon to make up for a lack of king salmon are caught in a bind. So far, this year’s fall chum run is the worst on record and state fish managers don’t know when — or if — things will turn around.

– Fairbanks daily News-Miner

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Latest Alaska harvest numbers

See the latest Alaska Fish and Game Department harvest figures at:

Coast Guard head wants tougher safety rules

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen called on Congress to pass new regulations to make the commercial fishing industry operate more safely.

– Press of Atlantic City, New Jersey

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Fish vs. farms in San Joaquin Valley

In 1931, a severe drought began that within a few years engulfed the Oklahoma panhandle and a third of the Great Plains in a "Dust Bowl." Tens of thousands of people fled the region—many traveling to California along Route 66, which John Steinbeck called "the mother road, the road of flight" in "The Grapes of Wrath."

– Wall Street Journal

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Three in skiff missing near Ketchikan

An air and sea search continued Sunday night for a skiff with three people aboard that is overdue in Ketchikan, the Coast Guard said.

- Anchorage Daily News

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Natives want pollock fishery shut down 

More than 65 first nations in Alaska and the Yukon are asking the United States’ Secretary of Commerce to ban the pollock industry’s bycatch of chinook river salmon.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Report says Chuitna coalmine would
threaten salmon

Salmon streams near a proposed coalmine on the west side of Alaska’s Cook Inlet would never fully recover from damage if the mine was developed as designed, according to reports commissioned by an environmental law firm.

Anchorage Daily News

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Fraser sockeye collapse to hurt U.S. tribe

The Fraser River sockeye salmon runs, the biggest local moneymaker for commercial fishing in good years, appear to have collapsed again in 2009. Although some hope remains that the fish may still arrive late in large enough numbers to permit a commercial fishery, the chances of that appear to be fading, said Merle Jefferson, natural resources director for Lummi Nation.

– Bellingham Herald

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Violence emerges over sport fishing on Fraser

Just before he was shot in the face with a pellet gun on Sunday afternoon, Chief Willie Charlie was urging fellow native fishermen to note identifying boat numbers in the event of altercations with sports fishers on the Fraser River.

Globe and Mail, Canada

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Opinion: Coast needs protected areas

It is understandable that some folks in the North Coast are concerned that the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) process won’t address local interests. I had the same fears when the process came to the North Central Coast region.

Henry Fastenau, diving and boating safety officer for the Bodega Marine Lab, with the University of California at Davis,  writing in the Crescent City Triplicate

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State starts looking at Yukon River quality

Here's a press release from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation about an effort to assess water quality and habitat along 550 miles of the Yukon River. This seems like important stuff considering the weak returns of not only king salmon this season, but reportedly fall chum as well.

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

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Ocean temperatures warmest on record

Ocean surface temperatures around the world were the warmest on record for the month of June, according to federal scientists, though they caution that one month doesn't necessarily imply global warming. The warmer temperatures do confirm that an ocean phenomenon known as El Niño is building in the Pacific Ocean. – Juneau Empire

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Another B.C. sockeye run in trouble

A weak sockeye salmon return to the Bulkley River means many in the Wet’suwet’en community could go without this season as approximately half the expected sockeye.


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Adak Fisheries faces a new problem

Deckboss simply doesn't have the energy to recap the long and tumultuous history of Adak Fisheries, the little fish plant on faraway Adak Island in the Aleutians.

He can only report the latest drama surrounding the operation.

– Wesley Loy, writing in his new blog: Deck Boss.

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Sea floor mapping off Oregon begins

A survey of the ocean floor off the Oregon coast is getting under way to provide detailed undersea maps that will help protect marine habitat.

– Seattle P-I

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Akutan boulders grind up Super 8 boat

The Icy Mist was a so-called Super 8 boat, one in a rising breed of brawny, high-capacity cod catchers nearly half as wide as their 58-foot length. They look indestructible, like a knot of steel.

But not even a Super 8 boat can survive what the Icy Mist went through.

– Wesley Loy, writing in his new blog: Deck Boss.

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Plant managers, watch those high-pressure hoses

Food plant managers have been cautioned that washing down floor drains with high-pressure equipment could make it easier for Listeria monocytogenes to transfer from the outlet back onto the processing line.

Food Quality News

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Great prizes in Alaska photo contest

Pacific Fishing magazine and the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute are holding an Alaska commercial fishing photo contest – with some nice prizes.

The winner will receive two tickets for anywhere Alaska Airlines flies. Second will get a $1,000 gift certificate from Wesmar. Third place comes with a $500 gift certificate from Redden Marine Supply.

Every entrant will receive a free Plante’s Knife and Sheath, a $22.95 value.

All you have to do is go to the home page and click on the contest banner. 

Deadline is Oct. 15.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Openings restricted for Yukon chum

With the Yukon River’s fall chum salmon run still in the tank, state fisheries managers with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game began restricting fishing time Tuesday on the lower Yukon.

– Fairbanks News-Miner

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Sacramento Delta ecology ‘busted’

The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta ecosystem is busted. That view prevails on all sides of a raging fight over the delta’s coveted water supply.

– New York Times

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Lobster prices cut in half, yet consumers not buying

Even steep price cuts for Florida Keys lobster have yet to create demand among buyers, say sellers of Monroe County's most important seafood crop.

– KeysNet

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Federal study says mercury found in all fish

Here's an AP story summarizing the findings of "the most comprehensive look to date at mercury in the nation's streams. The bottom line: All tested fish had some mercury contamination, but only about a quarter showed levels above safe limits for average consumers.

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

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Tribal openings to begin on Columbia

Three weeks of tribal commercial fishing in the Bonneville, The Dalles and John Day pools of the Columbia River Gorge begin Monday.

– Vancouver (Wash.) Columbian

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Pebble developers making nice to neighbors

With development 10 years away, Anglo American is courting the people sharing Pebble’s valleys.

– Homer Tribune

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Global salmon shortage after fish farm epidemic

Marine Harvest, the world’s largest salmon farmer, expects supply to fall short of demand as Chile’s output will take as many as six years to return to levels seen before a virus ravaged its fish farms.

– Bloomberg

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Even more: Check out the September issue of Pacific Fishing for an in-depth examination of what the Chilean epidemic means for your market. The magazine is in the mail now.

Opinion: California again facing water crisis for fish

Balancing the water claims of farmers, fishermen, environmentalists, households and industrial users is about as easy as negotiating a Middle East peace agreement. Yet, this difficult compromise must be reached.

– Los Angeles Daily News

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Perhaps Yukon Chinook measures were too harsh

Fishery managers say the fishing restrictions on the Yukon River may have been harsher than they needed to be. But officials say for the first time in three years Alaska met it's treaty obligation by allowing enough king salmon to reach the Canadian border.


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Even more: Check out the September issue of Pacific Fishing for an examination of Yukon Chinook allocations. The magazine is in the mail now.

Chinook go missing from B.C.’s Clayoquot Sound

The number of Chinook salmon in Clayoquot Sound continues to decline despite enhancement and management efforts and no one really knows why.


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Research continues for cause of rogue waves

Stories of ships mysteriously sent to watery graves by sudden, giant waves have long puzzled scientists and sailors. New research by San Francisco State professor Tim Janssen suggests that changes in water depth and currents, which are common in coastal areas, may significantly increase the likelihood of these extreme waves.

– Tundra Times

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Secretary of commerce approves Arctic fishing ban

The nation's secretary of commerce has approved a plan that would prohibit an expansion of commercial fishing in the Arctic, at least until more is known about the area.

– Anchorage Daily News

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