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Summary for October 12 - October 16, 2009:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Coast Guard rescues fisherman from Sitka Sound

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka hoisted a 68-year old man from Sitka Sound after his 36-foot fishing vessel Rascal reportedly started taking on water and sank about 9 p.m. Saturday.

Coast Guard

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Opinion: Klamath deal not broad enough

Newspapers across Oregon last week ran headlines announcing that a deal had been struck to remove four dams from the Klamath River. Unfortunately, many of these stories missed key facts.

– Medford Mail Tribune

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Opinion: With no logging, can SE diversify economy?

As a lifelong Southeast Alaskan, I have become increasingly concerned about a gap between the Southeast Conference's goals for our economy and the true needs of our region. The group recently announced that it is looking to hire a chief for its new Timber Industry Economic Revitalization Program. The position and the program are worrisome because they focus on increasing logging when even the State's economists say it's not our economic future.

– Mark Sallee, a commercial fisherman, harvest diver and owner/operator of Mobile Dimension sawmill, writing in the Juneau Empire

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More on Tanner bycatch

Here's an update on that photographic evidence of appalling bairdi Tanner crab bycatch in the Gulf of Alaska.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council late Thursday voted to analyze options to possibly close important crab waters off Kodiak. – Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy, writing in his blog: Deckboss


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The latest dark horse for NMFS helm

He's also the latest somebody I've heard the Obama administration is considering for administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service.

As Deckboss readers know, the Obama camp seems to be having a heck of a time filling the position, which Bush appointee and Alaskan Jim Balsiger continues to anchor.

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

(Fish Wrap note: At the Marine Conservation Biology Institute’s website, check out who’s on its staff and board of directors. We couldn’t find a single one with any direct experience in commercial fishing, either as a fisherman or a regulator.)

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sea lice infestation! Then why so many pinks?

Well, well, well, turns out that all the claims about sea lice virtually decimating our salmon stocks seem to be just a wee bit exaggerated, eh? What a surprise! Lo and behold, besides the massive return of pink salmon in the “doomed” Broughton Archipelago, once again, someone has finally done a thorough job of linking the financing of the various eco-doomsayers with the Alaska seafood people who embarked long ago on a planned economic attack on farmed salmon for the benefit of their market share.


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Lost fishing vessel leaking fuel

Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Sitka and state agencies were monitoring where the 36-foot fishing vessel Rascal sank near St. Lazaria Island Monday after it reportedly grounded Saturday evening for potential environmental hazards.

An Air Station Sitka helicopter crew observed a light rainbow sheen about 500 yards wide and about two miles long indicating diesel fuel from the Rascal that was moving toward Cape Edgecumbe.  The Rascal is completely sunk in the water and does not pose a navigational hazard.

– Coast Guard

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Study: Blame killer whales for Alaska sea lion deaths

We've long heard the theory that marauding killer whales might be largely responsible for the Steller sea lion's endangered status, not lack of food or some other cause. Now comes some intriguing new science from Oregon State University to bolster the theory.

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

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Study: Blame El Niño for Cal seal, sea lion deaths

Dead seals and sea lions  — possible victims of starvation caused by El Niño conditions — are littering the beaches of California and Oregon. Yearlings and new pups have been dying by the thousands from Chile to Oregon, wildlife officials reported.

– Crescent City Triplicate

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Nobel prize winner’s work helped Alaska fisheries

The first woman to win a Nobel Prize in economics also has bolstered the credibility of Alaskans who worked for decades to instill the concept of public ownership of the state's natural resources.

– Anchorage Daily News

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Northern B.C. river rehabilitated for salmon

Salmon habitat at Falls River has been improved with hopes that fish will once again spawn at the location, roughly 50 kilometres southeast of Prince Rupert. B.C. Hydro worked in consultation with local First Nations and federal and provincial agencies to add 100 cubic metres (m³) of gravel to the river bed just downstream of the Falls River Dam.

–, Canada

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dutch Harbor fish to be in the Louvre

Parisians are getting hearburn over a plan to allow McDonald’s in the Carrousel du Louvre, an underground shopping mall that lies under the main entrance of the museum.

McDonald's plans – which presumably include its Fillet-O-Fish sandwich, made from Bering Sea pollock – seem to have caused more media attention abroad than in France, but for some French outlets, the idea of combining fast food and ancient art is stomach churning.


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Thursday, October 15, 2009


Albacore/salmon mini-canneries on the radio

You’ve heard of micro-breweries. How about "micro-canneries?" They specialize in locally-caught, hand-packed albacore and salmon. A growing number of commercial fishing families are choosing to can their catch themselves.

– Northwest Public Radio Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

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Natives blister officials over Yukon fishery

Outraged fishermen lashed out at state fishery managers on Monday, telling them at a House Resources Committee meeting that they mismanaged struggling salmon stocks on the Yukon River at the expense of rural Alaskans. John White, former chair of the state Board of Fisheries, said their decisions showed “antagonistic disregard for the people of Western Alaska."

– Tundra Drums

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Schwarzenegger still pushing California canal

“Schwarzenegger is pressuring the Legislature to approve his obscenely expensive water bond at a time when California is in its greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. While the budget for heath care for children, teachers and game wardens has been slashed, Schwarzenegger is pushing for the approval of a canal boondoggle that would cost from $23 billion to $53.8 billion.

– Dan Bacher, writing about the California governor’s demand to build a periphreral canal that would remove water from the Sacramento Delta

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CG medevac fisherman near Kodiak

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew from Air Station Kodiak medevaced a man off the 60-foot fishing vessel Outer Limits 75 miles southwest of Kodiak in Moser Bay after it was reported that he was severely dehydrated Tuesday. 

The captain of the Outer Limits reported at 10:10 a.m. that Brett Miller, 46, was suffering severe dehydration and was unable to eat or drink.

Coast Guard District Seventeen Command Center in Juneau diverted a training flight from Air Station Kodiak in the area of Moser Bay to pick up Miller at 10:50 a.m. arriving on scene at 12:07 p.m. and safely hoisted Miller. 

"The hardest part was our transit to the vessel and back with bad visibility," said Lt. Cmdr. Jason Dorval, MH-60 Jayhawk pilot Air Station Kodiak. "Once we were on scene we had one quarter to one half of a mile visibility with a 100-foot ceiling.

The MH-60 rescue helicopter crew landed in Kodiak at 1:50 p.m. and transported Miller to local emergency medical services.
– Coast Guard           

Earthquakes rattle Aleutians

The Fox Islands group, home to Unalaska and Nikolski, has been rocked by about 80 earthquakes since Monday night. A magnitude 6.4 earthquake shook the region around 9:37 p.m. Monday and set off a long series of much smaller aftershocks, many with unknown strengths.

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

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Editorial: Drill, baby, drill? Let’s not

In welcome contrast to former GOP Alaska ex-governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's mindless mantra of "Drill, baby, drill," NOAA now wants a much more cautious approach to developing potential fossil fuels in sensitive marine ecosystems.

– The Daily Astorian

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Fishermen weary of protected dogfish

The sea air isn’t all that’s salty when fishermen in the Cape Cod town of Chatham talk about the hated spiny dogfish. Fishermen consider the small shark, renowned for its stunning appetite, the vermin of the ocean. They say the once-threatened dogfish has rebounded under federal protections to an insatiable mass that’s devouring more valuable and scarce fish that regulators are trying to restore, such as cod, while it destroys nets, steals bait and eats catch right off their hooks.

– Coos Bay World

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Bering Sea crab season open

The major Bering Sea king and Tanner crab fisheries opened Thursday, with the main quarry initially being those giant Bristol Bay red king crab. The total allowable catch this season is 16 million pounds of red kings, down almost 22 percent from last season.

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

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Coast Guard reports on Bering Sea assignments

As vessels travel through the Bering Sea they encounter fierce hurricane-like storms that travel south from the Arctic creating seas rising higher then three story buildings and wind squalls greater than 70 mph. With the massive distances of occasionally more then 1,000 miles between the mainland of Alaska and the western most island of the Aleutians, personnel from Air Station Kodiak are often called upon to fly through such conditions.

– The Alaska Report

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B.C. fishermen may turn to bankruptcy

Prince Rupert city councillor and United Fishermen and Allied Worker’s Union representative Joy Thorkelson says she is concerned many in the North Coast fishing fleet will have to turn to bankruptcy following a dismal season for the commercial fishery, particularly those who make their money as gillnetters.

– The Northern View, British Columbia

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California wants sustainability proof

The recently passed bill by the state of California on Sustainable Seafood Labeling (SSL) will provide consumers an opportunity to identify where the seafood is sourced and how it is produced. Under the new law, the state's Ocean Protection Council will develop standards for what constitutes sustainable fishing practices and initiate labelling for seafood that meets these standards.

– Toboc Trade News

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Dutch recycles dumped nets

The city recently shipped 180,000 pounds, or 90 tons, of old fishing nets off the island for recycling. Working with the company Korea Express USA, the city paid to ship the nets to Seattle where the company will sort them and pay to send them to Korea to make new products.

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

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NOAA says Alaska spotted seals not endangered

NOAA’s Fisheries Service announced that two of three populations totaling more than 200,000 spotted seals in and near Alaska are not currently in danger of extinction or likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future.


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Letter: No Alaskan subsistence management

In my 20-plus years of work as a fisheries biologist with the state Fish & Game's Division of Commercial Fisheries, and then 8 years with the U.S. Forest Service, I can sympathize with Sen. Albert Kookesh and his co-defendants accused of subsistence fishing violations. There has been little acceptance and active management for a subsistence priority in recent years.

– Ben Van Allen, who spent nearly 30 years working for the Alaska Department of Fish & Game and the U.S. Forest Service, writing in the Juneau Empire

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Restoring an ailing California river

For the first time in 60 years, water will flow through two long stretches of the San Joaquin River in California, a waterway that has been transformed — and often run dry — by engineering and agricultural, industrial and urban development.

–New York Times

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