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Summary for September 7- September 11, 2009:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Washington crabbers lose bid in court

A group of commercial crab fishermen has lost a court bid to lift a state weekly catch limit imposed on Dungeness crabs. The fishermen had sought an emergency restraining order requiring the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to remove the catch limit before the commercial crab season ends Sept. 15.

– Seattle P-I

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Yukon River fishermen miss coho run 

With one of the worst fishing seasons on record behind them, fisherman had been forced for weeks to watch a strong run of silvers head up river, unable to go after them because another type of salmon run – chum – was coming in at an all-time low.

– Alaska Dispatch

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Editorial: Closing Arctic fishing sends good message

Here is an unusual fish story. And a positive one.

On Thursday, Gary Locke, the secretary of commerce, approved a plan that would prohibit commercial fishing in a huge swath of American waters in the Arctic that have never been actively fished and that nobody is much interested in fishing now.

– New York Times

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Good management requires knowing how all fish die

Recreational anglers and commercial fishermen understand you need good fishery management to make sure there will be healthy populations of fish for generations to come. And making good management decisions rests in large part on understanding the mortality of fish species – how many fish die each year as a result of natural causes and recreational and commercial fishing.

– Science Daily

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Cook Inlet report can’t find a writer

I attended Thursday's hearing on the request for $20,000 to hire someone to write the final report of the Cook Inlet Salmon Task Force, a legislative panel looking at weak runs and chronic allocation fights in the region.

Bottom line: Legislators never voted on the request.

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

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Payouts delayed after Exxon files objection

Last month we told you about a huge payout of money coming in the Exxon Valdez case. This is the interest on the U.S. Supreme Court's punitive damages award.

Since that post, Exxon Mobil Corp. filed an objection that jeopardized the payout happening quickly.

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

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Report from the fleet: Southeast

(Steve Ricci is a troller in Southeast Alaska.)

“This has been a year of low fresh prices. We are still getting $1.25 and $1.40 for 7-plus cohos. The second king opener closed at $3 per pound. Preliminary calculations show we did not catch 9,000 of our allocated kings. Poor weather is most likely the cause of this shortcoming. Managers gave us nine days to get the remaining 36,000 kings. The opener began and ended with gale force winds on the coast forcing many trollers to tie up.”

For a complete tally of Alaska salmon catches, go to:

Non-Alaskan due refunds on commercial fishing permits, licenses

Non-Alaska residents who bought commercial fishing permits and licenses from the state between 1984 and 2002 are due over $68.3 million in refunds for overpayments, plus interest, according to the first detailed accounting estimate in the 25-year old Carlson class action lawsuit against the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission. Checks could be cut sometime after July 1, 2010.

– Alaska Dispatch

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In Canada, pink salmon paying the bills

Pink salmon aren’t the “money fish” for commercial fishermen, but at least they’re helping pay the bills this season.

Irvin Figg, president of the United Fish and Allied Workers Union, part of the Canadian Auto Workers union, said fishermen have been allowed to catch almost four million pinks.

“We’ve been seeing significant amounts of pinks being caught,” he said.

– Campbell River (B.C.) Mirror

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Alaska senator accused of overfishing

The sockeye fishery Sen. Albert Kookesh and three fellow subsistence fishermen are accused of overfishing in July was on the verge of collapse less than a decade ago due to overfishing, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

– Juneau Empire

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Editorial: Cooperation on Columbia River fishery needed

This summer’s awesome returns of Chinook, coho and steelhead have temporarily alleviated some of the gruff feelings among commercial, sport, charter and guide fishermen, who in other seasons glare at one another across crowded hearing rooms like antagonistic grizzlies. All too soon, these allocation hearings will roll around again. There is little sign of a letup in the historic fights over salmon, especially Columbia spring Chinook.

– Coos Bay World

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Feds still not ready with snow crab catch allotment

Earlier this summer we touched on the subject of how this winter's Bering Sea snow crab fishery could be headed for a deep cut in the catch limit due to lack of progress under a federal stock rebuilding plan.

The possibility is partly a function of legal requirements, coupled with the results of this summer's at-sea survey of the crab population.

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

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Unalaska council supports
N. Aleutian drilling

Unalaska’s city council unanimously approved a resolution in support of the 5-year old and gas leasing program for the North Aleutian Basin Outer Continental Shelf. The program would allow oil companies to buy leases in the area in both 2011 and 2014 to explore and drill for oil and liquid natural gas. 

– Pacific Fishing columnist Anne Hillman, reporting for
KUCB, Unalaska

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Feds open some records concerning Alaska Ranger sinking

Friday the National Transportation Safety Board opened to the public documents about the 2008 Alaska Ranger sinking. Included in the more than 6,800 pages are a factual report about the events of the March 23, 2008 accident, vessel inspection documents, diagrams drawn by survivors, and many others. These were used to develop a draft report on the incident which killed 5 of the 47 people on the Alaska Ranger. The draft report will not be released to the public and is currently under review by the board.

– Pacific Fishing columnist Anne Hillman reporting for KUCB, Unalaska

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Crescent City fishermen selling albacore off the docks

Tuna fever? Not quite, but Crescent City residents continue to buy fish off the docks. Tuna season lasts two to three months, during which some Crescent City fishermen not only head far out to sea, they also sell it from their boats upon returning.

– Crescent City Triplicate

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SF Bay herring closure leaves some stunned

For more than three decades, Ernie Koepf (who also writes occasionally for Pacific Fishing magazine) has spent his winters fishing for herring on San Francisco Bay. At this point, he's seen it all. "My place in the world is on San Francisco Bay in January and February," he said. "That is what defines me."

But for the first time, the state Fish and Game Commission has decided that fishermen may take no herring from San Francisco Bay this winter, effectively shutting down the bay's last commercial fishery.

– San Francisco Chronicle

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Salmon farming tainting the name of good aquaculture

A study released this week suggests half the fish the world eats is now raised on farms, presenting an opportunity for Canada to exploit a growing global hunger for seafood.

But critics say Canada is ill-prepared to cash in on the growing trend because of a fixation on farmed salmon -- a species that is expensive to raise, takes a long time to grow and is not wanted by the world's rapidly developing markets.


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Offshore fish farm set for S. California

San Diego-based Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute has plans to make a big splash in the ocean just a few miles off La Jolla.

The institute currently is pursuing government permits to build the largest offshore commercial fish farm in U.S. federal waters.

– LaJolla Light

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Low B.C. salmon runs? Blame the managers

A B.C. environmental organization says the low number of salmon returning to the province's waterways shows that not enough is being done by the government department responsible for the fish's welfare.


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Sound familiar?

This comes from the Prince Rupert (B.C.) Daily News of 25 years ago:

It's the West Coast equivalent of a Prairie farmer suffering drought followed by hail. B.C. commercial fishermen, already struggling to keep their heads above water, were going bankrupt because of the closure of the Fraser River sockeye fishery. "The whole industry was waiting on this run," said Garth Mirau, secretary-treasurer of the United Fisherman and Allied Workers Union.


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Friday, September 11, 2009

Pinks have been good to Kodiak

The pink salmon season has been good for both commercial and sport fishermen this summer

– Kodiak Daily Mirror

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Russian fishery certified by MSC

The Iturup Island pink and chum salmon fisheries have become the first in Russia to achieve Marine Stewardship Council certification for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.

These fisheries are managed by the Russian government and by J.S.C. Gidrostroy, a private company that owns and operates the fishing, processing and shipment operations for much of the salmon at Iturup Island.
– MSC press release

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Editorial: We need final Cook Inlet study report

It may well be a good idea for the Legislature to spend $20,000 on a long-overdue report from its Joint Cook Inlet Salmon Task Force – but Chair Craig Johnson went about it wrong. The South Anchorage state representative pushed a sole-source contract that would give the job to his former campaign consultant, Mark Higgins, a person who also just happens to be married to a woman on Rep. Johnson's committee staff.

– Anchorage Daily News

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Farmers claim success with Idaho sockeye

One should always avoid the temptation to say "we told you so," especially when it is warranted. Better to be magnanimous and simply let the facts speak for themselves.

Fact: Sockeye salmon are returning to Idaho in record numbers. Already more than 1,200 have passed through Lower Granite Dam, the last obstacle before their traditional home in Redfish Lake.
– Ag Weekly, Idaho

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Opinion: NOAA privatizing the ocean

The Tyee, an online magazine from British Columbia, has an article on privatizing the rivers in B.C. Sound crazy? Think privatizing all the ocean’s fish like NOAA wants to do.

– John Enge, writing in Tundra Drums

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Prince William Sound focus of herring study

Juvenile herring are the focus of a four-year, $6.8 million research program approved last week by the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council.

– Cordova Times

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NY Times considers fishwich shortage

Here's a curious New York Times that aspires to solve the "eternal mystery" of what goes into a McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwich but ultimately leaves readers seriously uniformed.

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

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West Coast trawlers nervous about individual quotas

The West Coast groundfish fleet has struggled to stay afloat during major cutbacks to reverse long-standing problems with overfishing and to protect the seafloor from damage caused by bottom trawling gear.

– Coos Bay World

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