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Summary for November 10 - November 14, 2008:

Monday, November 10, 2008

West Coast IFQs: Processors get 20 percent of hake

Pacific Northwest commercial fishing will undergo a major overhaul aimed at creating a more sustainable, profitable and less-wasteful harvest under a plan approved by a federal council late Friday.

The new system — scheduled to take effect in 2011 — will vest more than 100 trawl-boat owners with individual shares for dozens of different species. – Seattle Times

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Concerned about health, Brits eating more farmed salmon

Consumption by British households of Scottish farmed salmon has risen by 22 per cent over the past two years. The increase, which represents an additional 40 million meals, is a boost for an industry that has fought criticism by marine environmentalists.

Consumers seem increasingly won over by the health arguments in favour of oily fish. Scottish aquaculture, valued in excess of £400million in 2006, is now second only to the beef sector (£467million) and ahead of the sheep, pig and commercial fishing sectors. – Times of London

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Oregon wave energy park met with criticism

COOS BAY — What is so far the largest proposal for a wave energy park on the Oregon Coast met with some skeptical questions and criticism at a federal public hearing on Friday, but not nearly with the same amount of virulence that has faced another perceived threat to local livelihoods: marine reserves.

There are years to consider the impact of 200 electricity-generating wave buoys on the Oregon Coast, and less time to figure out whether and how to rope off sections of the ocean to fishing for reserves, which may explain the lesser degree of outrage so far. But plenty of questions still remain about the devices, from how they’ll affect migrating whales to commercial fishing. – Eugene Register-Guard

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Editorial: Now what, Sen. Stevens?

The conviction last month of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens only opened a can of worms; his re-election on Tuesday dropped a big, squirmy serving on the plate of the state’s congressional credibility.

The worms even come in two flavors: practical and moral. – Kodiak Daily Mirror

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Professor: What to say to an Exxon victim

Dr. Steven Picou from the University of Southern Alabama has been listening to Cordovans for the last 17 years. From what he hears, the Exxon Valdez oil spill is still playing a daily role in many lives.

“What not to say to victims is a long important list. ‘I know how you feel,’ ‘It was God’s will,’ ‘You have got to get on with your life,’ ‘You should be over that by now,’ ‘You are lucky to be alive,’ ‘You have got to be strong,’ ‘Good will come out of it,’ and ‘Time heals all wounds,’” Picou said. “Good communication as a peer listener means you stop talking, get rid of distractions, be interested and show it – tune into the other person and concentrate on the message.” – Cordova Times

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Road planned from King Cove causes uproar

COLD BAY, Alaska -- This isolated outpost, where grizzly bears outnumber people and the one-page phone book is dubbed "the yellow page," is fast emerging as a flash point in the nation's debate over drilling.

A plan to construct 45 miles of road through the virgin tundra of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge has turned into a heated battle between area residents, who say they need better access to the airport here, and environmentalists, who suspect, without concrete evidence, that the oil industry is secretly behind the effort. …

The road proposal began more than a decade ago as a strictly local concern. Aleut residents of King Cove, a nearby fishing hamlet, sought a single-lane gravel road so they could travel over land to Cold Bay's airport, the only one in the region capable of airlifting sick people to hospitals during unpredictable hurricane-force winds and blinding snows.– San Franciso Chronicle

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Seat opens on Alaska Fish Board

This statement just arrived from Jim Marcotte, executive director of the Alaska Board of Fisheries:

“Jeremiah Campbell has resigned his seat on the Alaska Board of Fisheries. Campbell concluded that the demands of his new employment responsibilities did not allow adequate time to properly serve on the board.” – Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy writing as the Highlinger for the Anchorage Daily News

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Sara in 2012?

"I'm like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I'm like, don't let me miss the open door. And if there is an open door in '12 or four years later, and if it is something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door." – Sara Palin discussing possible presidential plans for 2012 during an interview on Fox News.

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Groundfish IFQ’s now official

This is the notice from the Pacific Fishery Management Council concerning its decision of late last week:

At its meeting in San Diego last week, the Pacific Fishery Management
Council revamped West Coast commercial groundfish fishery management by adopting
a system of individual fishing quotas, or IFQs, for the shoreside trawl fishery, and a
system of structured harvest cooperatives for the at-sea whiting fishery. These two
commercial fisheries are the largest on the West Coast, with an annual dockside value
of about $61 million in recent years.

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Canadian commercial fishermen against sports guys

It didn't take long for the public to express their thoughts about what's happening to wild salmon in our communities.

A public meeting held by the Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (PFRCC) on Queen Charlotte Island began with an introduction by Reynold Russ, Chief Iljuuwaas, in Masset.

"It's wonderful to see you here," Chief Iljuuwaas said by way of introduction, "but it's a little late. I see there's nothing on the information board about the sport fishing industry and we have to deal with that. Fishing was my life and always has been; there were about 60 trollers and about 25 seine boats working out of here and there were times when I couldn't get a deckhand because everyone was fishing. Nobody is now fishing.”– Queen Charlotte Islands

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Exxon Valdez money near

After a nearly 20-year wait, thousands of commercial fishermen and other plaintiffs are on the brink of collecting punitive damages for the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989.
The checks won't be anything like the blockbuster payments many hoped for after a federal jury awarded them $5 billion -- an amount the U.S. Supreme Court this summer cut by 90 percent.

Still, dozens of fishermen can expect checks for more than $100,000. And a few will range up to around $400,000. – Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy, writing in the Anchorage Daily News


Pollock season closes for 2008

The pollock fishery has closed for the year. All together, the sectors caught 99 percent of the quota leaving only 8,100 metric tons of B-season quota on the table. NOAA Fisheries in-season manager Josh Keaton says this indicates good things about the fishery. – Pacific Fishing columnist Anne Hillman, writing for KUCB, Dutch Harbor


Alaska pollock fishery faces cut

We’re almost sure to see a big cut in the Bering Sea pollock catch next year.
How do I know?

Because I’ve taken a look at the government’s latest stock assessment, which recommends an Acceptable Biological Catch of 815,000 metric tons. That’s the lowest ABC in over three decades.– Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy, writing as The Highliner for the Anchorage Daily News


Funding for West Coast salmon projects in jeopardy

A $165-million endowment established by the governments of Canada and the United States to fund key salmon projects on the West Coast has been so badly battered by the economic downturn there may be no grant money available for 2009.

Over the past few months, the overall value of the endowment, which consists of two separate funds managed jointly as a master trust by the Pacific Salmon Commission, has fallen by more than $35 million. – The Globe and Mail


Acidic ocean would harm many species

WASHINGTON -- Corals, lobsters, clams and many other ocean creatures -- including some at the bottom of the food chain -- may be unable to withstand the increasing acidity of the oceans brought on by growing global-warming pollution, according to a report Tuesday from the advocacy group Oceana.

Based on scientific findings of the past several years, Oceana's report "Acid Test" examines the far-reaching consequences of the accumulation of heat-trapping gases, particularly carbon dioxide, in the world's oceans. – Miami Herald

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Alaska salmon fishery recertified as sustainable

Alaska’s commercial salmon fishery has been recertified as sustainable under Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standards for sustainably-managed fisheries, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) announced today.  This renews the certification Alaska salmon was initially granted in 2000, when it was the first U.S. fishery to get this significant designation.  – ADF&G press release


Fisheries meeting Monday in Vancouver, WA

OLYMPIA - A bi-state fisheries advisory group will meet Monday, Nov. 17 in Vancouver, WA to develop a recommendation on a catch-sharing plan for sport and commercial fisheries on the lower Columbia River.

Created by fish and wildlife commissions in Washington and Oregon, the Columbia River Fish Working Group will meet from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's Region 5 Office, 2108 S.E. Grand Blvd.

The meeting is open to the public, although no public testimony will be taken during the group's deliberations. – Chinook Observer


Environmental advice for Obama: end overfishing

WASHINGTON - U.S. President-elect Barack Obama could protect ocean wildlife and save jobs in commercial fisheries by ending widespread overfishing, environmental and economic leaders and scientists reported on Thursday.

About 70 percent of the world's fisheries are over-exploited or have already crashed, the report said. If this long-term trend continues, scientists have predicted that all current salt-water fish and seafood species will collapse by 2048.

The report said this could be remedied by instituting a system known as catch shares, where the total amount of fish allowed to be taken in a given fishery is capped and fishermen are given a share of the fishery's quota. – Reuters


Feds, PacifiCorp reach accord to remove 4 Klamath River dams

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The Bush administration today announced a nonbinding agreement with PacifiCorp that details how the utility can turn over control of four Klamath River hydroelectric dams so they can be removed to help struggling salmon.

While not a final answer, the deal reached in Sacramento, Calif., represents a milestone toward what would become the biggest dam removal project in U.S. history.

It also helps resolve issues at the root of the 2001 shut-off of irrigation to thousands of acres of farmland under enforcement by U.S. marshals and the 2002 deaths of 70,000 adult salmon in the river after irrigation water was restored. - The Associated Press


Bristol Bay sockeye to dip in 2009

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game today released its 2009 Bristol Bay salmon forecast, and it calls for declining sockeye numbers.

State biologists predict a commercial catch of 23.99 million sockeye on a total run of 33.78 million fish.

That compares to this year’s catch of 27.8 million sockeye on a run of 40.4 million fish.
- Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy, writing in the Anchorage Daily News


Friday, November 14, 2008

Japan rejects report to cut whaling target

TOKYO: Japan rejected a report Thursday that it would cut by 20 percent the number of whales it planned to hunt in the Southern Ocean because of anti-whaling protests, but said it would keep its moratorium on catching humpbacks.

The Asahi Shimbun daily reported that Japan aimed to cut its target to 700 minke and 50 fin whales in the southern summer hunt, due to start shortly, which Australia's environment minister said would be the first cut in numbers since Japan started its current whaling program 21 years ago.

Japan, which considers whaling to be a cherished cultural tradition, abandoned commercial whaling in accordance with an international moratorium in 1986, but began what it calls a scientific research whaling program the following year. – Reuters


Happy Belated Anniversary to Oregon’s Infamous Exploding Whale

FLORENCE, ORE. - Even years later, KATU still receives phone calls and emails from viewers interested in re-watching the story KATU's Paul Linnman reported on in November of 1970.

Prompted by such demand, we dug into our video archives and resurrected the story about the dead whale, a half ton of dynamite, and bits of blubber falling from the sky.

Unable to find a use for it, and unsure how best to dispose of it, the Department of Transportation blew up a dead whale on the Oregon coast on November 12, 1970.
- KATU News  

Watch Video Here -


'Crime Ring' Made Millions Selling Marine Life

HERNANDO BEACH - Eight members of a crime ring making millions through the sale of contraband shrimp and scallops were arrested Thursday, including six Hernando County residents.

The arrests were the culmination of a six-month operation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, which set up a phony company to attract the suspects' business.

Investigators believe that the suspects have been illicitly dealing in marine life for at least five years and made millions of dollars in the process. In just the six months of the undercover operation, $600,000 worth of peppermint shrimp was sold, according to a FWC news release.  – Tampa Bay Tribune


Longliner sinks while tied up at dock

KETCHIKAN, Alaska — A commercial fishing boat tied to the Trident Seafoods processing facility dock in Ketchikan sank on a rising tide.

The boat sank Tuesday because the crew failed to attend to the lines as the tide came up.

On Wednesday, only the bow of the 58-foot Adak-based longliner remained above the water of Tongass Narrows. The vessel had stopped at Trident's NorQuest/Silver Lining dock to load up on ice for ballast. – Fort Mill Times


Crab Fishermen Ready For Open Season

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- Central Coast crab fishermen are preparing for the upcoming crab season that opens on Saturday.

Many fishermen are predicting a smaller commercial catch this year than in years past.

The forecast is partially based on results reported by recreational crabbers, whose season is already under way.

Local crab fishermen said they really won't know until they drop their pots and see what bites.

Crab fishermen are also dealing with a sinking economy. Although gas prices have fallen, what they don't know is what the market will reel in for them. – KSBW News