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Summary for November 30 - December 4, 2009:

Monday, November 30, 2009

Longer boats on Bristol Bay?

Pacific Fishing columnist Wesley Loy has been examining the debate over the legal length of Bristol Bay drift gillnet vessels. Beginning on Tuesday, the Alaska Board of Fisheries will take up proposals that would allow boats longer than 32 feet on the bay, plus allow double permit holders to fish two full nets.
In November’s Pacific Fishing, we published an essay by Tony Jones, who argued for longer boats. He said longer boats and the right to stack two full permits onto a single vessel would help Bristol Bay residents.

However, Loy’s Deckboss blog carries an essay by Fritz Johnson, who argues regulation changes would actually hurt Bristol Bay residents. Loy also quotes another bay fisherman who contends longer boats won’t necessarily be more efficient.

Take a look at Deckboss at       

First Oregon Dungeness to be landed Tuesday

Oregon Dungeness crab fishermen and seafood processor representatives participating in state-supervised crab price negotiations agreed on a $1.75 per pound opening price for the 2009/2010 Dungeness crab season along the Oregon coast.

– Curry Coast Pilot, Oregon

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Editorial: Columbia plan
is good enough

U.S. Judge James Redden pushed, pulled and squeezed the federal government to get every last
drop of water and every other protection he could for threatened fish in the Columbia Basin. It's time now, after all the years of salmon litigation, for Redden to
let go.

– The Oregonian

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ASMI looks to special sustainability labels

To boost Alaska seafood market prices and expand the Alaska brand in Europe, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute is in discussions with a trade group that certifies and labels sustainable seafood.

– Juneau Empire

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Enviros maintain MSC oversight is weak

The collaboration between the conservation group WWF and Unilever, until recently one of the world’s biggest seafood retailers, now gives its stamp of approval to $1.5 billion (£900 million) of business every year. There is concern, however, that the scheme’s blue label, which is put on packaging, is being awarded to fisheries whose stocks are not properly managed or where the ecosystem is being damaged.

– Times of London

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Crescent City dredging begins

The Army Corps of Engineers started dredging Crescent City Harbor’s Federal Channel Monday, and there were only a couple glitches.

– Crescent City Triplicate

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Future for California salmon fishermen is bleak

Fort Bragg fishermen have been struggling since commercial salmon fishing off California was banned two years ago. Some cling to the hope the ban will be lifted, but others are seeking new careers.

– Los Angeles Times

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You can thank Sarah’s family for Bristol Bay

The smarty-pants crowd at Atlantic magazine was reading Sarah Palin’s autobiography and came across this quote:

"Together Al and Lena (Todd Palin's grandparents) helped start the Bristol Bay fishery in the 1930s, drifting for salmon from sailboats..."


Find out at

World trade group to rule on COOL

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has agreed to rule on the ongoing dispute over whether US country of origin labeling (COOL) violates international trade agreements, as Canada and Mexico have alleged.

– Food Production Daily

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Fishermen peeved over S. Cal protected areas

Local fishing-industry representatives are expressing disappointment with a recommendation to close part of South Orange County’s coast to fishing under the Marine Life Protection Act. The boundaries for the recommended closures were developed during an 18-month process that included panels of scientists and local stakeholders.

– San Clemente Times

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Fed role explained in Klamath dam takedown

United States Fish and Wildlife Klamath Basin Public Affairs Officer Matt Baun laid out the federal government’s role in the Klamath dam process from now until 2012, describing the various factors that will lead to a determination by the Secretary of the Interior on whether or not four of PacifiCorp’s dams will be removed.

– Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka

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B.C. fishermen fined

Two Richmond commercial harvesters have been fined a total of $5,500 in connection with illegal fishing activity that occurred during an October 2008 gillnet salmon fishery opening in Area E, on the Gravesend Reach main arm of the Fraser River.

– Department of Fisheries and Oceans press release
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Feds propose Cook Inlet areas for belugas

Federal regulators on Tuesday proposed designating more than 3,000 square miles of Cook Inlet as critical habitat for the Inlet's beluga whales.

– Anchorage Daily News

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Editorial: Eat Dungeness crab

So if you're one of the die-hard Dungeness crab fans on the North Coast, chances are you've already bellied up to the dinner table and downed more than a plateful of the critters. There are many others just like you.

– Eureka Times-Standard

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Stuck in the mud

The 170-foot crabber Pavlov spent an unwelcome two days in
St. Paul Harbor on the Pribilof Islands last week. The vessel got stuck in the mud on Nov. 24 and remained there despite several attempts to wiggle free during a succession of high tides, according to our correspondent, Wanda Melovidov-Kozloff. Finally, on Thanksgiving Eve, the crew managed to back off
the mud. There was no damage to the vessel while attempting
to get free.

Crabber sinks off Coos Bay

The Coast Guard rescued three people from their sinking fishing vessel near the entrance of Coos Bay Tuesday.

Coast Guard Group North Bend, Ore., received a call from a crewman aboard the 38-foot fishing vessel Manatee at approximately 3 p.m. reporting that the vessel was taking on water.

– Coast Guard press release

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Windy day on Attu

The crew of Coast Guard’s Long-Range Navigation (LORAN) Station in Attu, is digging out after a weekend storm pounded the island with wind gusts of 178 mph and more than a one and a half feet of snow, Nov. 28-29.

– Coast Guard press release

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Shellfish may adapt to acidic ocean waters

In a striking finding that raises new questions about carbon dioxide's (CO2) impact on marine life, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists report that some shell-building creatures – such as crabs, shrimp and lobsters – unexpectedly build more shell when exposed to ocean acidification caused by elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).

– Science Daily

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Opinion: Biomass not solution for Tongass

Recent articles and opinions in the Juneau Empire have alternately praised the promises and exposed the flawed logic of establishing a biomass industry on the Tongass National Forest. My perspective has been gained as a rural resident of the Tongass, a commercial fisherman, and subsistence deer hunter. There is a whole realm of this biomass discussion that deserves further scrutiny.

– David Beebe, who sits on the Advisory Committee of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission and on the boards of Alaska Marine Conservation Council and Tongass Conservation Society, writing in the Juneau Empire

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

More on the Coos Bay sinking

Three fishermen are fine after their crabbing boat sank in the bay Tuesday, but the owner of the sunken Manatee will have to get it off the bay floor.

Petty Office Melissa Byrd of Coast Guard Air Station North Bend said at about 3 p.m., a crewman aboard the Manatee radioed the Coast Guard Station for help. He said the boat was taking on water. The 38-foot wood-hulled boat is registered to W.L. “Bill” Merritt of Charleston, according to records from the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay. Coast Guard records show it was built in 1941.

– Coos Bay World

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N. Cal crab coming in large

Tuesday was the start of commercial Dungeness crab fishing on the North Coast, and already the season looks better than last year.

“We’re looking at an average of 2 pounds per crab,” said Nor Cal Seafood supervisor Kevin Wilson. “That’s up from the previous year, we were only seeing about 1.8 pounds.”

– Crescent City Triplicate

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N. Cal crab lowers retail price

After a poor start off Bodega Bay, commercial fishermen are hauling in good catches of Dungeness crab off Eureka and Crescent City.

Michael Lucas, an owner at North Coast Fisheries, said the result will be lower prices for consumers. Some supermarkets are advertising crab for $3.99 a pound, $2 to $3 less than when the season began two weeks ago off Bodega Bay and San Francisco.

– Santa Rosa Press Democrat

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With few chum, Fort Yukoners running out of dog food

Another poor chum salmon catch this year is making it hard for mushers in Fort Yukon to feed their sled dogs. Anthony Shewfelt said he has about a month's worth of food for his 22 sled dogs. If food gets too scarce, Shewfelt said, he will try to sell his dogs or give them away.

– Juneau Empire

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Agency asks review of NOAA move to Newport

A federal watchdog agency is asking the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to reconsider a plan to move its research fleet from Seattle to Oregon, saying the proposed site for the new fleet base is in a flood-prone area.

– Coos Bay World

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Scientists stalking giant Pacific octopus

A key member of the North Pacific and Bering Sea food chain remains a mystery to scientists, so a marine biologist in Unalaska is trying to shed some light on the enigmatic Giant Pacific Octopus.

 – Pacific Fishing columnist Anne Hillman reporting for KUCB, Unalaska


Deadline for trawl catch shares plan nears

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC)’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement pertaining to its plan for fishing quotas in the Pacific Coast groundfish trawl fishery is open to public review and comment until Jan. 18, 2010.

– Newport News-Times

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Fish farm company explains itself

Marine Harvest is one of the single largest employers in Campbell River right now, and the most misunderstood.

– Campbell River (B.C.) Mirror

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Scientists release Alaska sea lion count

Researchers from NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center have published the results of their 2009 count of Steller sea lion pups in Alaska.

– NOAA press release

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What about the collapse of Skeena runs?

While Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made clear his intentions to carry out a judicial inquiry into the collapse of the Fraser River Sockeye in 2009, Prince Rupert city council will be making it known that they expect equal consideration following a disastrous commercial fishing season on the North Coast.

– The Northern View, B.C.

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Top restaurant trends: Local and sustainable

The National Restaurant Association's annual survey of more than 1,800 professional chefs – members of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) – reveals that local sourcing of ingredients, sustainability and nutrition will be the hottest trends on restaurant menus in 2010.

– Hotel News Resource
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Skip the middleman to reach consumers

Even in a city like New Bedford, where commercial fishing boats line the harbor, most people buy seafood from a middleman. Starting Friday, local residents will have another option: Fleet Fisheries, a longtime seafood wholesale operation, will open a fish market at its South End facility that will sell seafood directly to consumers at near wholesale prices.

– South Coast Today, New Bedford, Mass.

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