pf home
Summary for October 13 - October 17, 2008:

Monday, October 13, 2008

 Columnist: ‘Joe Sixpack’ screwed with halibut decision

With all the noise a certain Alaskan has been making nationally about the needs and concerns of Joe Sixpack, you'd think someone might be watching out for his interests here.

But Old Joe just got rolled by the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, a collection of moneyed special interests who think the fish resources of Alaska belong to the commercial fishing industry. – Outdoors columnist Craig Medred, writing in the Anchorage Daily News

Read more:


Alaskans seek more subsistence fish on Copper River

FAIRBANKS — Frank Therrell sat at a table facing the state Board of Fisheries on Thursday night in Fairbanks as he held a frozen Copper River red salmon wrapped in white freezer paper.

The 58-year-old from Ester told the seven-member board that he has lived in Alaska since 1969, and he has been dip netting red salmon out of the Copper River at Chitina for as long as he can remember. He has five mouths to feed and “they sure do like their fish,” Therrell said.

Then he turned to the crowd of approximately 50 people at the Alpine Lodge and displayed the frozen fish.
“In case anybody doesn’t know what I’m talking about, this is it,” Therrell said.

He turned his attention back to the fish board members.

“I drive 700 miles round-trip every year hopefully trying to intercept some of these fish,” he said. “It’s up to you guys to make sure they’re there.” –, Fairbanks

Read more:


Newport may change mind over processor shares

The on-going controversy over who gets the deed to the farm in terms of the groundfish trawl fishery took another turn locally when the Port of Newport Board of Commissioners announced they would “revisit” a Sept. 23 decision to oppose allocation of harvest shares to fish processing companies under a fishing quota system proposed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC).

Port Manager Don Mann told the News-Times the commissioners realized the issue is “much larger and more complex than previously understood.” – Newport News Times

Read more:


CG refines its policy on declaring ‘marine casualty’

Suffering a marine casualty does not guarantee termination from operation. The Coast Guard evaluates each case and based on the risk to human life and the environment, makes a determination on whether the vessel may continue to operate safely with reduced capability.

In response to industry concern that reporting casualties would halt all operations Capt. Mark Hamilton, commander Sector Anchorage, captain of the Port Western Alaska, stated, "We will evaluate each case based on risk. If we can safely keep a vessel out operating we will do so. Our intention is to safeguard life and the environment while facilitating commerce."

Following a failure to appropriately report a marine casualty to the vessel's propulsion system the crew of the 162-foot Seattle-based fishing vessel U.S. Liberator was required to cease fishing and come to port arriving in Dutch Harbor. There was significant concern by the Coast Guard for the safety of the crew as the vessel was listing slightly and has no reserve propulsion should the second shaft or engine fail. – U.S. Coast Guard

Read more:


Fewer sea otters forces diet change for bald eagles

A newly published study has found that the decline of sea otters along Alaska's Aleutian Islands has forced a change in the diet of a terrestrial predator -- the bald eagle. The study demonstrates the extraordinary complexity of marine ecosystems and how far-ranging the impacts can be when there is a population shift in a keystone species like the sea otter.

The research was published in the October issue of Ecology, the journal of the Ecological Society of America.

Eagles off Alaska have now begun eating more birds in the face of fewer otters. – Medical News Today

Read more:


Tuesday, October 14, 2008 

Alaska pollock stocks are not crashing

Though a mid-water trawl survey shows that pollock biomass is down almost 50 percent, scientists say pollock stocks are not crashing.

National Marine Fisheries Services scientist Jim Ianelli is in charge the pollock stock assessment, which won't be completed and released until next month. He said groups like Greenpeace, which recently sent out a press release saying the fishery is on the brink of collapse, are overreacting.

"What Greenpeace is saying about the stock size is [in reaction to] just one of the surveys," Ianelli said. "In fact in that survey the number of fish is increased, even though the biomass is dropped there are new fish coming into the stock so it's not as doom and gloom as they picture it." – KIAL

Read more:


Willamette Chinook to get dam help

Chinook salmon that evolved to migrate up the Willamette River during a narrow winter window when they could get over Willamette Falls are one of the most genetically unique salmon in the Columbia River system.

Now federal agencies, prodded by conservation groups, are moving to remedy the impacts of 13 dams on Oregon's largest interior river system that have pushed salmon and steelhead to the brink. Their goal: reconnect struggling salmon in the degraded lower river to pristine headwaters above the dams -- while leaving the dams in place. – The Oregonian


Kodiak disappointed after North Pacific Council meet

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council met Sept. 29 through Oct. 7 in Anchorage, wrestling predominantly with halibut and crab issues.

Kodiak city councilman Terry Haines, who represented the community while advocating for crab crew issues, said the meeting was slightly disappointing in its scope.

“It was disappointing for any of us who came for anything but the charter halibut issue, because nobody got to do much work on anything but the charter halibut,” Haines said. – Kodiak Daily Mirror

Read more:


Olympia politics: Part I

Here is a message making the rounds in Washington state concerning the race between Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat, and Republican challenger Dino Rossi.

“Dino Rossi’s position on commercial fishing is a carbon copy of the authors of Initiative 640, which would have eliminated commercial fishing in Washington State.  Anyone considering voting for Rossi should be aware of this.  He is an avid sport fisherman, and utilizes the mantra of “selective fishing practices” to create the impression that our commercial salmon fisheries are hugely destructive to the resource, and to the detriment of additional opportunity for sport fishers.  He quotes old rhetoric regarding ghost nets killing massive quantities of marine life and, while he insists he won’t raise taxes, somehow he plans on funding $6 million for cleanup of Puget Sound.”

Decide for yourself at:


Olympia Politics: Part II

We decided to see what Rossi had to say. Here is a response from Casey Bowman, who’s working on the Rossi campaign:

“Dino is an avid fisherman.  Dino also has members of his family who have worked in the commercial fishing industry in Alaska. His vision for Washington is to increase the number of fish for everyone, and that includes commercial fishing. 
“He has never expressed any intent to eliminate commercial fishing.  What he has proposed is calling an emergency salmon summit once he is governor and calling all parties – the commercial interests, the sports fishing interests, and the tribal interests to the table to find the best way forward and answer questions that will ensure salmon are here for all of us to enjoy.”


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Most fatal fishing accidents are in Western Alaska

Seventy-five percent of fatal falls from fishing boats in Alaska happen in the western region, an area including Bristol Bay and the Aleutians, because many fishermen don't wearing personal flotation devices.

Researchers from the Center for Disease Control want to know what would change that. They're distributing 200 high-tech, work-oriented PFDs to crab, longline, trawl, and salmon fishermen and asking them to evaluate the products. – Pacific Fishing columnist Anne Hillman reporting on KIAL

Read more:


Alaska salmon harvest ‘mixed bag’

"It was a mixed bag across the state," said Mike Plotnick, in the commercial fisheries division of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, noting that while king runs were disappointing, the sockeye, silver and chum runs came in strong.

The overall harvest ranked 17th highest since statehood, and the numbers are still coming in, said Plotnick.

Fish tickets are still coming in to state fisheries officials and preliminary price information, average weights and poundage won't be released until November.

Still, it is significant to note that eight of the top 20 harvests overall have occurred in this century, Plotnick said. – Juneau Empire

Read more:

We have a full wrap on the Alaska commercial salmon fisheries in the next issue of Pacific Fishing.


New dock coming to Kake

KAKE – The Southeast Alaska village of Kake received $2 million in federal funds Tuesday to assist in building a multi-purpose dock. The dock will serve commercial, fishing and tourism needs.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Benjamin Erulkar presented the money, which was provided by the Economic Development Administration – Capital City Weekly


Another attack on Skeena commercial fishing

Prince George, B.C.- There are a number of things that have contributed to the decline of the Skeena sockeye population, including changing oceanic temperatures .  That’s the word from Greg Knox of the Skeena Wild Conservation Trust. 

Knox says another of the challenges is netting, which catches not only the healthy strong runs, but those that are from smaller endangered runs. Three of the five sub categories of Skeena sockeye are in serious trouble. – Opinion250 News

Read more:

King crab: Will processors pay higher prices?

Alaska's famous crab fleet returns to the icy waters of the Bering Sea to bait and set their pots as Discovery Channel cameramen follow their every move.

The "Deadliest Catch" should continue to garner high ratings on cable TV, but seafood buyers around the world will be keeping a close eye on the actual Alaska crab harvest. The plot will thicken when buyers are paying up to $2 more per pound than they did last year.

With crab, it's all about supply, one industry analyst told me recently. So, despite the economic slump the United States is currently mired in, crab prices should remain high because of strong demand overseas. – Seafood

Read more:


Thursday, October 16, 2008

United Fishermen release political endorsements

The board of United Fishermen of Alaska, the state’s top commercial fishing group, announced endorsements for national and state offices up for grabs in the Nov. 4 election.

In general, we see that UFA favors lots of incumbents, including embattled U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, who is standing trial on federal charges of making false statements on financial disclosure forms.

The Highliner also notes that UFA makes no endorsement in the tight race for Alaska’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. That race pits incumbent Republican Don Young against Democrat Ethan Berkowitz. – Pacific Fishing columnist writing as The Highliner for the Anchorage Daily News

The endorsements:


Group wants to kick fishermen off Columbia channel

A fisheries advisories group is meeting Wednesday in Portland to discuss a long-term plan to divide the catch from sport and commercial fisheries on the lower Columbia River. 

It’s part of an on-going process that is both complex and contentious. The advisory group is made up of fish and wildlife officials from Oregon and Washington, as well as private citizens.– OPB News


New canned pink product tested

A steady flow of twenty-somethings wearing jeans and backpacks entered a room that smelled slightly of fish. They sat down in front of paper plates holding three helpings of pink salmon. The crowd-mostly college students-had responded to a sign outside: "Do you like to eat fish?"

About 120 people sat down that day at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to rate Alaska pink salmon on such features as saltiness, texture, fattiness, and fish flavor. Perhaps lured by the reward of a few cookies, those fish tasters were helping Trina Lapis earn her degree.

Lapis is a master's student in seafood science and nutrition at UAF who wanted to answer a question: Can fish processors make pink salmon more attractive to consumers by boosting its oil level? – SitNews, Ketchikan

Read more:


Man arrested for stealing crab pots

Perry Kanuary, of Toledo, Ore., was arrested and booked into the Lincoln County Jail last month and has been charged with multiple counts of Theft 1, Aggravated Theft, Criminal Mischief and Waste of Crab, as a result of his involvement in an Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division case, which has led to the recovery of 176 crab pots that had been stolen in the Newport area during the last year and a half, officials say. – Newport News Times

Read more:


Who’s to dredge Crescent City channel?

Gridlock in Washington became a hometown issue when federal and local officials met at a special meeting of the harbor board to explain what the Army Corps of Engineers could — and couldn't — do to get dredging under way in the harbor's compromised federal channel.
Its dredging is several years overdue and sorely needed, explained Harbormaster Richard Young during an opening presentation. Portions of the channel are as shallow as 2 feet deep, a fact he illustrated with photographs of harbor workers wading in the middle of the harbor. – Crescent City Triplicate

Read more:


Friday, October 17, 2008

Palin nominates salmon commission members

Gov. Sarah Palin has announced her nominations and appointments to two panels that support the Pacific Salmon Commission. The commission was established by a 1985 U.S.-Canada treaty for managing salmon originating in Southeast Alaska/Northern British Columbia rivers.

Palin nominated Dale Kelley, and renominated James Becker, Rod Brown, Arnold Enge and Gary Gray to the Pacific Salmon Commission’s Transboundary Panel. – Seward Phoenix Log, AK
Read more:


Another report: Arctic warming

WASHINGTON -- Autumn temperatures in the Arctic are at record levels, the Arctic Ocean is getting warmer and less salty as sea ice melts, and reindeer herds appear to be declining, researchers reported Thursday.

"Obviously, the planet is interconnected, so what happens in the Arctic does matter" to the rest of the world, Jackie Richter-Menge of the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, N.H., said in releasing the third annual Arctic Report Card. – Anchorage Daily News

Read more:


Boat engine troubleshooting classes

Washington Sea Grant, Jefferson Education Center, WSU Jefferson County Extension and the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding will conduct a four-evening Boat Engine Troubleshooting and Maintenance Workshop in December for commercial fishermen and recreational boaters.

Participants will learn to troubleshoot problems in the fuel, lubrication, electrical, cooling, exhaust and drive systems of diesel and gas inboards, stern drives and outboards (two-cycle and four-stroke). The workshop will also teach proper maintenance techniques to prevent the most common problems.

Classes run 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 8, 9, 10, 11 at the  Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding, 42 Water St. (across from the Ajax Café), Port Hadlock, Wash. The fee for the workshop is $100. Space is limited, so pre-registration is advised. For more information, contact Sarah Fisken, Washington Sea Grant, at 206-543-1225.


Poor fisheries management costs the world

Economic losses in marine fisheries resulting from poor management, inefficiencies, and overfishing add up to a staggering $50 billion per year, according to a new World Bank-FAO report released. Taken over the last three decades, these losses total over $2 trillion, a figure roughly equivalent to the GDP of Italy.

“Sunken Billions: The Economic Justification for Fisheries Reform,” a joint study by the two agencies, also argues that well-managed marine fisheries could turn most of these losses into sustainable economic benefits for millions of fishers and coastal communities. – United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization press release

Read more:


Rush is on for wave and tidal generators

Dozens of companies, from oil giant ChevronCorp. to smaller firms like Ocean Power Technologies Inc., have invested in or are evaluating the potential of technology designed to harness electrical energy from waves, tides and currents.

Ocean Power, of Pennington, N.J., and Verdant Power Inc., of New York, are among the firms that already have built or plan to build wave- and tidal-power stations in oceans or adjacent waters. Others, such as Chevron, are seeking government approval to study the feasibility of such projects. All are in a race to harness what some scientists contend is among the nation's largest unexploited sources of renewable energy.

"Chevron is monitoring ocean-energy technology and considering how it might be integrated into our operations," says Kim Copelin, a spokeswoman for the San Ramon, Calif., company, which is seeking a permit from the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission to start researching a possible tidal-power project in Alaska's Cook Inlet. – Wall Street Journal