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Summary for December 14 - December 18, 2009:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fisheries Board asks Pebble Mine assurances

The Alaska Board of Fisheries decided Saturday to send a letter to state legislators asking them to consider more regulatory protection for salmon in the Bristol Bay river drainages downstream of the proposed Pebble mine.

– Anchorage Daily News

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Unalaska smacked by storm

A massive storm rocked Unalaska on Friday night, taking down the American President Line’s container crane. Winds started kicking up around 6 pm. By about 9:30 pm different points clocked wind speeds ranging from 80 miles per hour at the senior center to about 115 miles per hour at the airport.

 – Pacific Fishing columnist Anne Hillman, reporting for KUCB, Unalaska (Photo by Jim Paulin)

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Fisheries Board extends ‘dude’ fishing

The Alaska Board of Fisheries has voted to continue "dude fishing" in Bristol Bay's Nushagak District.

The dude fishery gives tourists a chance to ride aboard a commercial fishing boat and net a few salmon. A boat operating in the dude fishery may take up to 90 salmon per day.

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

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Enviro: Removing Snake dams good for economy

Getting rid of the Snake River dams could ignite regional interest in diversifying energy development and support for spending billions of dollars to upgrade highways and railroad systems for more efficient transportation of wheat overseas, the conservation director of American Rivers argued.

– Tri-City (Wash.) Herald

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Scientist tracks acidification of Alaska seas

Beneath the sparkling waters of Resurrection Bay, where rich runs of salmon support thriving commercial fish harvests and humpback whales can be seen breaching just offshore in summertime, Jeremy Mathis sees signs of the way greenhouse gases are changing the world’s oceans.

– Christian Science Monitor

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Opinion: Shell Oil not realistic

Shell's rosy picture of interim findings from industry-funded studies on cleaning up oil spills requires rose-colored glasses to see. 

– Jim Ayers, vice president of Oceana, and Whit Sheard, Alaska program director for Pacific Environment, writing in the Anchorage Daily News

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East Coast congressmen battle Magnuson-Stevens act

Congressman Barney Frank says he will call an East Coast congressional caucus within two weeks to organize what he recognizes will be an uphill battle against environmental forces to create a more equal balance between the reconstruction of fish stocks and community interests.

– Gloucester (Mass.) Times
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A lot of crab, not much sleep

Crescent City Harbor has been a scene of non-stop action since commercial crab season started Dec 1. Due to nearly two weeks of great weather and the large number of crab in the ocean, dockside processors have seen a steady stream of boats with exceptional loads of Dungeness.

And it’s beginning to show.

– Crescent City Triplicate


Report: Oceans sopping up a lot of carbon

The levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would be much higher if oceans did not absorb the amount they do, but this has lead to their rising acidity levels, according to a new United Nations-backed study.

Approximately one-quarter of the emissions resulting from human activities – including deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels – are taken in by oceans.

– UN News Center


Worried about carbon? Eat frozen fish

Go local. Eat organic. Buy fresh. Those food mantras continue to make waves among environmentally conscious consumers. But, as is often the case in these climate-conscious times, if the motivation is to truly make our diets more Earth-friendly, then perhaps we need a new mantra: Buy frozen.

– The Oregonian


Learn to treat your fishing operation like a business

As more and more Alaska commercial fishermen begin to see their operations in a business light, they’re wanting to learn how to best run those businesses. Today’s CoastWise Alaska speaks with one expert who’s showing them the way.

Glenn Haight recalls an experience many years ago that helped him to understand how many Alaska fishermen see themselves.

– Sea Grant CoastWise Alaska


Deadline looms for Klamath deal

The deadline to sign the agreements to tear out the Klamath River's four main dams is only a month away. A few groups are still holding out and one has announced outright opposition.

– Eureka Times-Standard

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More money sought to aid Yukon salmon

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game could get an extra $1.3 million to help figure out why Yukon River salmon runs have been failing if funding proposed by Gov. Sean Parnell is approved by the Legislature.

– Fairbanks News-Miner



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A rundown of North Pacific Council’s catch allocations

A reader asks what the North Pacific Fishery Management Council did over the weekend in setting the 2010 total allowable catch (TAC) for Gulf of Alaska groundfish. Here's a rundown of TACs for some of the main species, as well as the percent change from the current year.

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


Bristol Bay villages outraged over anti-Pebble stance

Two Bristol Bay village corporations that own land near the massive copper and gold Pebble prospect said Tuesday they are outraged by their regional Native corporation's decision to oppose the proposed mine.

– Anchorage Daily News More:

Marine protected areas coming to Alaska

Something came up at the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting, which ended today, that really hooked me. It was a discussion of an emerging national system of "marine protected areas," or MPAs.

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



Enviros say they’ve got a better Klamath plan

A group of environmental groups dissatisfied with a pair of agreements to remove four Klamath River dams and restore its fisheries are pitching legislation they claim will get results faster.

– Eureka Times-Standard More:

Natives sue over Shell Oil’s drilling plan

Native Alaskan groups who depend on whaling and a coalition of environmental groups sued the federal government Tuesday, seeking to block a Shell Oil subsidiary from drilling next year in the Beaufort Sea.

– Anchorage Daily News


NW Coast Guard bar-crossing rule now in effect

A Coast Guard rule to establish Regulated Navigation Areas (RNA) along the Oregon and Washington coasts will become effective Thursday.

– Coast Guard press release


The Department of Vulgar Holiday Mercantilism

Here’s a gift idea that’s simple, cheap, easy, and quick:

Give subscriptions to Pacific Fishing magazine to your friends, business partners, deckhands, or whomever.

Gift subscriptions are only $15 each.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Send an e-mail to “”
  2. In the e-mail, list your name, billing address, and telephone number.
  3. In the e-mail, list the names and e-mail addresses of your gift recipients.

Do that, and your recipients will receive an e-mail message from us BEFORE CHRISTMAS, announcing your generosity and good taste in magazines.

We’ll copy you in our messages to your recipients. We’ll bill you and get additional information later.



Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pollock decline may limit its global importance

The United States' biggest commercial seafood harvest will get a little smaller next year under catch limits set this week by federal fisheries managers, as they seek to keep fish stocks sustainable.

The move may not immediately affect big buyers like McDonald's Corp (MCD.N), which can source fish products widely, but if the trend of smaller catches continues, it could eventually undermine the dominance of Bering Sea pollock and put a squeeze on world seafood markets.

– Reuters


Feds approve Coos Bay site for natural gas terminal

Federal regulators have approved Jordan Cove Energy Project’s application to build a liquefied natural gas import terminal on Coos Bay’s North Spit.

-- Coos Bay World


Opinion: Individual quotas show promise

Facing pressure to boost fish populations, federal authorities are urging a new approach that has shown promising results elsewhere: adopting a saltwater version of the cap-and-trade scheme called catch shares.

– San Francisco Chronicle


Angler bait could kill young salmon and steelhead

A recent study by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife confirms that some commercially available cured fish eggs – a popular salmon and steelhead bait – are harmful to juvenile salmon and steelhead.

– Salem Statesman-Journal


Alaska asks PR firm to limit endangered species listings

The Alaska Legislature is paying for a conference and public relations campaign to persuade Congress to limit the Endangered Species Act.

– Anchorage Daily News


Alaska governor seeks slight increase in fishery funding

Gov. Sean Parnell this week released his proposed state budget for fiscal year 2011, which starts July 1, and naturally Deckboss went straight for the Department of Fish and Game section.

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


Canadian fishermen underwhelmed over fish minister’s visit

A fishermen's union spokesperson says Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea's visit to the north coast this week was pointless.

Joy Thorkelson says Shea only met with the Fishermen's union for about 15 minutes, and that was only after they protested outside the DFO office.



Friday, December 18, 2009

Bristol Bay reactions mixed to opposition to Pebble Mine

More Bristol Bay organizations are reacting this week to their regional Native corporations' decision to oppose development of the region's massive copper and gold Pebble prospect.

– Anchorage Daily News


Farmers want to feed wheat to wild salmon

An Idaho wheat commissioner is in the early stages of looking at using the crop to replenish salmon populations. Several reports are indicating the main problem with the fish not returning up the rivers from northern California to Alaska was the lack of food in certain parts of the Pacific Ocean, said Kieth Kinzer of Genesee, Idaho, a commissioner with the Idaho Wheat Commission.

– Capital Press


NOAA observer fined for sexual harassment

A NOAA Fisheries groundfish observer who admitted he sexually harassed and created a hostile work environment for another observer paid $1,000 with an additional $9,000 suspended for five years and was issued a permit sanction that prohibits him from being employed as a NOAA Fisheries observer anywhere in the country for 10 years.

– NOAA press release


E. Coast fishermen to rally against Magnuson-Stevens

Recreational and commercial fishermen will gather on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Feb. 24 in an organized demonstration against what they say are the unintended negative impacts of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

– Soundings Today


Some upset over Coast Guard bar-crossing rules

A U.S. Coast Guard rule to establish Regulated Navigation Areas along the Oregon and Washington coasts allows the Coast Guard to close and restrict access to as many as 16 river bars on the Oregon and Washington coast.

The Coast Guard is reassuring river users that the rule change does not mean significant differences to bar closure policy. But discussion of the rule by fishermen, smaller recreational boaters and bar pilots brings up a litany of complaints about how the Coast Guard manages the bar at the expense of many who rely on it for their living.

– Daily Astorian

More: www.dailyastorian.sacom

Good forecast for Sitka Sound herring

The Alaska Department of Fish & Game recently announced an 18,866-ton preliminary harvest limit for Sitka Sound Sac Roe Herring fishery when the season begins in March, a 4-ton increase from last season.

– Juneau Empire


Editorial: Allow fishermen to fish big Chinook run

If salmon forecasts were reliable and salmon politics less messy, last week there would have been dancing in the streets of Astoria, Warrenton and Ilwaco. With a prediction that spring chinook returns will be the best in more than seven decades, sport and commercial interests have received a great Christmas present. Or at least a great Christmas IOU.

– Daily Astorian