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Summary for August 24, 2009 - August 28, 2009:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Russia catching a lot of pinks

Processors are hurting because Alaska pinks hadn’t, as of Friday, appeared as forecast. But with low supply comes higher prices. It’s the only bright spot in the equation.

So now, everyone is waiting for reports from the Russian Far East. Have the fish shown up? Will they flood the market, driving down global prices?

Other information services have offered stale information out of Russia. Here are the best numbers from Pacific Fishing’s Russia Far East correspondent, Anatoly Shcherbatyuk, as of Friday. You’ll read more in Pacific Fishing’s next issue.
Pinks: 350,000 metric tons
Chum: 20,000 metric tons
Sockeye: 30,000 to 35,000 metric tons
Coho: 400 metric tons
Chinook: 500 metric tons

These tallies come from WWF Russia.

In total, Russian fishermen have caught 422,000 metric tons so far this year, which is 112,000 metric tons more than in 2007.

But, as Anatoly cautions, the illegal – and unreported catch – often exceeds official numbers. The most recent estimates this month have the total catch being one and a half times to total reported catch.

Anatoly reports the dock price for pinks is the equivalent of 50 cents a pound, based on official exchange rates.

Prince William Sound pink fishery poor

Commercial fishermen working Prince William Sound had harvested 11.7 million pink salmon as of Friday, a significant disappointment to fishermen.

Read more in the ADF&G Blue Sheet:

Rat Island now officially ratless

After two centuries of an epic infestation, Alaska's Rat Island may finally merit a name change.  The island, 1,300 miles west of Anchorage in the Aleutian chain, appears to be pest-free for the first time since rats overran it after a Japanese sailing ship wrecked there in the late 1700s.

Anchorage Daily News

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Four saved from PWS fishing boat

Three men and a 12-year-old boy were rescued Saturday night from their foundering commercial fishing boat in Prince William Sound after losing the battle to keep it afloat.

The Nahanni, a 42-foot commercial purse seiner based in Juneau, grounded on a reef shortly before 10 p.m. and sank after taking on water one mile south of the village of Chenega Bay on Evans Island, the Coast Guard reported.

– Anchorage Daily News

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Pelican worries over future without processor

Pelican is a fishing town without a fish processor, and that means it is a town facing an uncertain future.

– Juneau Empire

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It’s official: No fishing in Arctic

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke has approved a plan to prohibit the expansion of commercial fishing in federal Arctic waters until researchers gather sufficient information on fish and the Arctic marine environment to prevent adverse impacts of commercial harvesting activity on the ecosystem.

– NOAA press release

Read more about the Arctic Fishery Management Plan:


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Canada looks at Arctic fishing ban

Canadian officials are quietly exploring a possible moratorium on large-scale commercial fishing in the Beaufort Sea, a move that would match a decision announced last week by the U.S. government, Canwest News Service has learned.

– The National Post, Canada

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Stimulus money goes to survey of
Alaska waters

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is using $5.3 million of new federal stimulus funds to survey and chart Unimak Pass and other Alaskan waters. – Pacific Fishing columnist Anne Hillman, reporting for KUCB, Unalaska

Read more:

Stimulus money goes to survey Puget Sound

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the award of a contract worth more than $1.3 million in federal stimulus dollars to Williamson and Associates of Seattle to survey the floor of Puget Sound.

Last surveyed in the mid-1930s using lead line measurements, data from the effort will support safe marine transportation and characterize marine habitats. Coastal managers can also use the information to select appropriate sites for renewable energy projects and to monitor the effects of climate change.

– NOAA press release

New panel may deal with Sacramento Delta problem

To get around Sacramento gridlock, legislators attempt to create an independent body to decide how to restore and upgrade the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

– Los Angeles Times

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Feds failing Fraser sockeye

The collapse of the Fraser River sockeye salmon run this year should be a wake-up call to the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans that its management plans are simply not working.

– Times-Colonist, Victoria, B.C.

Read more:

Global fish harvest probably won’t go higher

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says that “the maximum wild-capture fisheries potential from the world’s oceans has probably been reached.” 


Read more:


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kodiak boat picks right spot to
take on water

Crews from Aids to Navigation Team Kodiak and Air Station Kodiak responded to a grounded fishing vessel taking on water on Nymens Peninsula in Womens Bay adjacent to the Coast Guard Base in Kodiak Tuesday. 
Personnel at the Sector Anchorage Command Center received a call at 10:12 a.m. via VHF-FM channel 16 from a crewman aboard the 42-foot Kodiak-based fishing vessel Hail Mary reporting the vessel was aground and taking on water with four crew aboard.

The crew of the rescue helicopter dropped a dewatering pump to the vessel and the crew of the small boat assisted the fishing vessel crew in setting up the pump and dewatering the vessel. The fishing vessel crew located the damaged part of the hull and used plugs to patch the hole.

Russian salmon left to rot

The largest salmon run in at least a century has arrived in the Russian Far East, but nobody was happy with the abundance.

The Far East is littered with caviar and salmon. Domestic freezers are crammed. And the fish keep coming.

The creaking Russian infrastructure couldn’t keep up with the catch.

Pink and sockeye were simply left to rot because of a lack of railcars. On Sakhalin, Russian sockeye fishermen received 14 cents a pound – if they could find a buyer.

As much product as possible is being taken to Korea and China by vessels.

– Pacific Fishing correspondent Anatoly Shcherbatyuk

Another fish farm clears hurdle for Johnstone Strait

A proposed new fish farm in Johnstone Strait has won a qualified approval from the Strathcona Regional District, which takes in the midsection of Vancouver Island and a stretch of the mainland north of Powell River. But the Gunner Point farm still requires key permits from the province, and opponents want the government to kill the project.

– Globe and Mail, Canada

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Harbor Crown Seafoods stumbles

I'd been hearing for months how a relatively new Dutch Harbor processing company, Harbor Crown Seafoods Inc., was really struggling financially.

Tuesday, on a visit to the state courthouse in Anchorage, I found hard proof.

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

Read more:


Another blow for struggling Alaska fishing town

The collapse of the city of Pelican's water flume last week is the latest in a flood of bad news to hit this beleaguered fishing port.  Pelican Seafoods, the city's first reason for existence, had been closed since last summer and is scheduled for foreclosure Sept. 15.

– Juneau Empire

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Coast Guard takes ailing fisherman to Oregon hospital

The Coast Guard said one of its rescue helicopters plucked a 30-year-old fisherman off a boat about 60 miles off the Oregon coast after the man developed trouble breathing.

– Coos Bay World

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Enviros ask feds to stop Pebble Mine

Trout Unlimited and nearly 300 other groups have asked the Interior secretary to undo the Bush administration's "wrong-headed decisions" and prevent the Bristol Bay watershed from being turned into an industrial mining site.

– Fairbanks News-Miner

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Hooray for Hollywood

Ted Danson, Glenn Close, Anne Heche, Lauren Hutton, Kate Walsh, and many more celebrities chatted with our Hollywood correspondent on the red carpet to talk about what they're doing to help save the planet.

– Mother Nature Network

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Coast Guard begins Nome health campaign

Coast Guard, U.S. Air Force, Army National Guard, Air National Guard and U.S. Public Health Services personnel have deployed to Nome beginning a 20 day initiative to provide medical, dental, optometry, boating safety awareness and other community services to more than eight boroughs throughout Northern Alaska, and to determine operational effectiveness and overall capabilities of assets.

– Coast Guard press release

Read more:

China fish processing industry improving

China’s fish processing industry has made considerable progress in boosting its traceability procedures but must improve further if it wants to meet new EU regulations due to come into force next year.

– Food Production Daily

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Seattle agrees to reduce sewage into the sound

The City of Seattle and King County have agreed to increase their efforts to protect Puget Sound from wastewater overflows during severe rainstorms, according to compliance orders issued today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"We know that sewer overflows regularly deliver harmful pollution to Puget Sound," said Michelle Pirzadeh, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator in Seattle. "What we are requiring of the city and county is clear: They must take steps to reduce the volume and frequency of overflows. We must make sure our treatment plants are doing their best to reduce the amount of untreated wastewater entering Puget Sound waters."

– EPA press release

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Hope draining fast for late Fraser run

There’s little hope more of the forecast run of 10.5 million Fraser sockeye will materialize.

"The migration through Juan de Fuca Strait has virtually dried up to zero," said Department of Fisheries and Oceans area director and Fraser panel chair Barry Rosenberger.


Read more:


Pinks showing up in B.C.

Pink salmon are returning to the Campbell and Quinsam Rivers in record numbers.

Dave Ewart, Quinsam Hatchery manager, said so far this year 440,000 pink salmon have gone through the hatchery’s counting fence.

– Campbell River (B.C.) Mirror

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Canadians search for U.S. woman off fishing boat

Search and rescue officials in British Columbia were scouring the waters between Vancouver Island and the mainland – near Johnstone Strait – for a missing American.

The missing woman was last seen on a U.S. commercial fishing vessel Thursday morning.

– Canadian Press

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New fish farm livestock: Frankenfish

By furnishing fish with genes from other organisms, so-called transgenes, researchers have succeeded in producing fish that grow considerably faster or are more resistant to diseases.

Fast growing transgenic fish can revolutionize commercial fish farming and relieve the pressure on overexploited fish stocks.

But what happens in the natural environment if transgenic fish escape? Researchers at the University of Gothenburg have studied transgenic fish on behalf of the EU and are urging caution.

– Science Daily

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Peeing over the rail should be banned

Urinating off the side of commercial fishing boats should be banned, according to a new Western Australia government code to help fishers deal with man overboard incidents.


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Who’s to pay after Pebble pollutes?

Pebble mining operations present a huge risk to our villages that the investors are placing on the backs of the residents of Bristol Bay. There is no Pebble or state financial plan in place that will compensate our people in the event of a worst-case scenario like an earthquake, inordinate amount of rain, leaks in impoundments that hold material from mining and other unforeseen problems that could occur.

Nels Anderson Jr., a resident of Dillingham, writing in the Bristol Bay Times

Read more:

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