Category Archives: North Pacific

2017 sockeye forecast weak for Cook Inlet

Upper Cook Inlet’s commercial salmon fishermen are predicted to have another slow season, if the forecast proves accurate. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s 2017 commercial salmon fishery outlook predicts a total run of about 4 million fish to all the stream systems in Upper Cook Inlet, which includes the Kenai, Kasilof and Susitna rivers as well as a number of smaller streams. Commercial fishermen are projected to harvest about 1.7 million of that, the lowest projected harvest in the last 15 years. It’s largely the Kenai River not living up to the recent 10-year average. The river is projected to see a return of 2.2 million sockeye, about 39 percent below the recent 10-year average of 3.6 million fish. By contrast, the Susitna River is projected to see about 366,000 sockeye return, about 5 percent below the average; the Kasilof River is expected to see about 825,000 sockeye, about 16 percent below the recent average, according to the forecast. Better than 2016 – Improving prices – Board of Fisheries changes – click here to read the story 08:29

‘Deadliest Catch’ captain Sig Hansen won’t face charges in alleged abuse

Celebrity crab-boat captain Sig Hansen won’t face criminal charges on claims that he sexually abused his toddler daughter nearly three decades ago, Snohomish County prosecutors said Tuesday after conducting a review of old case materials. “We have concluded that it’s outside our charging standards and we’re going to maintain our original decision not to charge Mr. Hansen,” Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Baldock said. Meantime, a civil lawsuit against Hansen brought by his estranged daughter, Melissa Eckstrom, remains on hold until the state Court of Appeals decides whether a King County judge’s ruling that would allow the civil case to go to trial is legally sound. Click here to read the story 11:42

Weak Meats: Researchers identify widespread parasite in Alaska scallops

A lot of Alaska’s scallops are sick, and scientists are trying to figure out why. Alaska’s scallop fishery is a small one — in recent years, four boats, with just one operating in Kamishak Bay in Lower Cook Inlet. The rest operate out of Kodiak. Most scallop beds straddle the three-nautical mile line between state and federal management areas and is jointly managed by the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The permit system is attached to vessels rather than to individuals, restricting the entire fishery to nine vessels total under the federal system. But in recent years, the fishermen have had to start tossing a lot back. When they pull them up, a lot show signs of degraded meat with brown spots and a stringy texture and will occasionally slip off the shells at the processor. The condition, called “weak meats,” results in a lot of waste in the scallop fishery, as processors aren’t interested in buying scallops with weak meats. click here to read the story 09:46

Near-death drama leads commercial fisherman to insurance career

Three years ago, independent agent Patrick Schilling was trapped underwater in the cabin of a sinking commercial fishing boat in Alaska, fighting desperately to force open a door against the weight of the ocean. “The whole thing filled up with water,” he said. “I had to keep swimming up to the engine room [which contained an air pocket] … I was taking gulps of air and swimming under and was just pushing as hard as I could to try and get that door open. “I had my rain gear on and I couldn’t really move. I was pushing as hard as I could and nothing happened, and that’s when I thought: this is it.” Schilling miraculously survived, and has since swapped his fishing net for an agent’s desk. What used to be three-month stints out at sea have been replaced by a regular 9-5 desk job. click here to continue reading the story  16:37

Prince William Sound humpy forecast of 67.16 million fish is largest on record!

State fisheries biologists are forecasting what would be the largest pink salmon run on record into Prince William Sound, with liberal fishing time and area anticipated if the returns prove as strong as expected. Meanwhile, in the Copper River district, the first commercial fishing period is expected to begin during the week of May 14, with harvest projections of 889,000 sockeyes, 207,000 cohos and 4,000 Chinook salmon. The forecast calls for a pink salmon total run of 67.16 million fish, with a commercial harvest of 58.92 million pinks. That would be in marked contrast to 2016, where the run forecast was 40.9 million pinks, but the commercial harvest of 8.65 million pinks was the lowest harvest since 2002 and the second lowest in 20 years, biologists said. click here to read the story 15:08

Fish Politics – Victim of the state

Once revered for world-leading skills at managing wild salmon, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game today finds itself under attack as incompetent as the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council begins court-ordered consideration of salmon management in the federal waters of Cook Inlet. The most powerful commercial fishing organization in the 49th state’s most populated region says its members have been robbed of $33 million over the past six years thanks to state mismanagement of salmon, and they want the federal government to make things right. The United Cook Inlet Drift Association forced the management issue into federal court hoping to get its nets around more salmon. It now accuses Fish and Game’s Commercial Fisheries Division of grossly mismanaging runs bound for the Kenai, Kasilof and Susitna rivers for years.,,The state rebuilt them to record levels, but along the way the politics of fish changed. click here to continue this Big Read 10:55

Not Good. Alaska approves key permit for Pebble copper-gold mine, with conditions

Shares in Canadian miner Northern Dynasty Minerals (TSX:NDM) were soaring Wednesday morning following Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) approval of a long-awaited land-use permit that clears the way for the company’s vast, but stalled Pebble copper-gold-silver project. The permit, issued late Tuesday, allows Northern Dynasty’s subsidiary — Pebble Limited Partnership — to conduct reclamation and monitoring activities at hundreds of boreholes for the next 12 months. The company, which applied for such permit in October last year, was hoping to get it until 2018. The land use permit comes after months of reviewing the application and over 1,000 public comments, the authority said. grrrrrr. click here to read the story 10:24

Aleutian Dreams: life as an Alaska fisherman – in pictures

Corey Arnold is a fine art photographer and a commercial fisherman, working the stormy waters of the Bering Sea by Alaska. His latest work documents life in this remote wilderness, both at sea and on the shore, capturing trawlers, foxes, eagles and the grandeur of the scenery. Aleutian Dreams can be seen at Charles A. Hartman Fine Art in Portland, Oregon, until 27 May. The photos are stunning, and worth a look. click here to view the images. 18:32

Where Is America’s Next War? Alaska. And the enemy is not who you’d expect.

It’s war in the Gulf and the US Navy is on hand to protect us. No, not that Gulf! I’m talking about the Gulf of Alaska and it’s actually mock war — if, that is, you don’t happen to be a fin whale or a wild salmon. This May, the Navy will again sail its warships into the Gulf of Alaska.  There, they will engage in military maneuvers and possibly drop bombs, launch torpedoes and missiles, and engage in activities that stand a significant chance of poisoning those once-pristine waters, while it prepares for future battles elsewhere on the planet.  Think of it as a war against wildlife, an assault on the environment and local coastal communities. click here to continue reading the article 11:57

North Pacific council takes first step in creating salmon fishery management plan

A lot of new faces are coming to the table at the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, and not a lot of them are happy about it. Fishermen who had never previously been involved with the council now have to show up to have a hand in how their fisheries will be incorporated into a federal fishery management plan. The council, which regulates federal fisheries off the coast of Alaska, on Thursday started in on the topic of the salmon plan for Cook Inlet, part of the Alaska Peninsula and part of Prince William Sound near Cordova. After removing the three areas from the plan by amendment in 2011, effectively exempting them from federal oversight and delegating entirely to the state despite occurring partially in federal waters, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court ruled that the move was illegal. Now, the council is having to initiate the process of revising the salmon FMP to include the net areas, which is likely to take years. click to continue reading the article here 12:12

Fishing-industry groups blast Inslee over his picks for federal council

Gov. Jay Inslee’s handling of nominations for a federal fishery-council seat has come under attack from the leaders of major North Pacific fishing-industry groups, which have taken the unusual step of sending a complaint letter to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.,, In their letter sent Tuesday, they asked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to reject Inslee’s nominations and called for the governor to come up with some new names for a seat on the council. The industry backlash reflects the high stakes in fish politics, where the federal fishery council helps sets the rules for a billion-dollar groundfish harvest, much of which is caught and processed by Seattle-based companies. The letter is signed by the leaders of the Pacific Seafood Processors Association, At-Sea Processors Association, Groundfish Forum, and United Catcher Boats, whose membership collectively catches or processes most the groundfish. Read the article, click here 10:05

North to Alaska! Young Maine Fishermen test their mettle in Homer

A group of friends, Mount Desert High School alums, got a taste of what it’s like to be “Deadliest Catch” fishermen after spending several weeks this winter fishing for cod out of Homer, Alaska. “Deadliest Catch” is the Discovery Channel series about a fleet of king crab fishermen in Alaska’s Bering Sea. It documents one of the deadliest professions in the world. Naturally, such a an experience appeals to young men, which is what prompted Colby Candage, 18, Andrew Hanscome, 19, John Phelps, 20, and Boomer Carroll, 21, to trek across the country for a taste of the demanding profession. Candage, the youngest full-time captain in the Bar Harbor lobster fleet, had just completed his first full season on Gitn’RDun, his 35-foot Duffy, and was looking for something to do in the off-season. continue reading the story here 08:19

NPFMC Shares Future of Electronic Monitoring Program with Fishermen

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is trying to figure out the best way to use video and camera technology for catch monitoring, and it’s on the brink of transitioning into a regulated program. Members of the council spoke at ComFish last week and elaborated on its efforts. Bill Tweit, council vice chair, explained they’ve been working on the partial coverage fleet – the vessels that get observer coverage only some of the time. “Again I think a lot of you are aware that when we restructured the observer program, we extended the size range of boats that are likely to be covered for catch monitoring purposes by an observer, and that’s definitely created some issues around how you fit a human observer onto a fairly small fishing boat, and we knew at the time that it was probably going to be a little problematic, so we’ve trying hard to provide electronic monitoring as an alternative to that.” continue reading the story here 16:59

Tendering for Herring – Fishery Support Vessel Has All Female Crew

On a door of the F/V Kamilar is a sticker with pink script: “Girls fish too.” And in the case of this boat, it is girls only. Vessel owner Brannon Finney is captaining the tender for the Sitka, Alaska, sac roe herring fishery with her all-female crew — something that’s rare for the fast and frenzied commercial fishery. Finney’s rotating crew is comprised of cousin Kelsey Kubik of Sitka; Bettina Nichols of Astoria, Oregon; Sandra Coats of Ketchikan and Annea Martinsen of Petersburg. They are packing for Petersburg’s Icicle Seafoods. “Tendering is usually really easy,” the 30-year-old long-lashed captain said. “You drop anchor and wait until the boats come to you.” But tendering for herring in the Sitka Sound sac roe fishery is different, she said. With so many boats in such a small area, the tender boats have to maneuver around a lot of obstacles. continue reading the story here 08:57

Dirty Birds – What it’s like to live with a national symbol

Dutch Harbor is a small town on a small island far out in Alaska’s Aleutian chain, nearly 1,200 miles from Anchorage at the edge of the Bering Sea. It’s the most productive fishing port in the United States. Every winter the tiny population swells with thousands of people who come to work in the fish processing plants, on the crab boats, or out on the big cod and pollack trawlers. But they’re not the only ones trying their fortunes in town or out on the boats. People in town call them Dutch Harbor pigeons. The rest of us call them bald eagles. In a community of just over 4,700 permanent residents, there live an estimated 500 to 800 eagles. They stare judgily down from light posts, peer intently into people’s windows, eat foxes and seagulls while perched in the trees next to the high school, and sit on rooflines like living weather vanes. Down at the docks, they swarm every boat that comes into port like some sort of Hitchcockian nightmare, fighting for scraps of bait, elbowing one another for prime positions, crowding together on top of crab pots, and squawk-cheeping their opinions. View more images, read the story here 11:01

North Pacific Fishery Management Council forced back into Cook Inlet salmon fray

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will open up a process next week that will likely take years to redesign the Cook Inlet salmon fishery management plan. A federal appeals court decided last fall that the council, which oversees all federal fisheries management in the North Pacific between 3 and 200 nautical miles offshore — known as the United States Exclusive Economic Zone — has to craft a management plan for the salmon fishery. The council decided in 2011 to hand over several of Alaska’s salmon fisheries to state managers by removing them from the existing fishery management plan, and though an Alaska U.S. District judge ruled that it was legal in 2014, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously reversed the decision this past September. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is tentatively scheduled to hear the first discussion paper prepared by the National Marine Fisheries Service on what the plan could look like and how they should proceed during the council’s meeting April 6 in Anchorage. How did we get here? continue reading the story here 12:01

660 tons of herring: The Anderson family fishing story, from Summit County to Chignik, Alaska

It was 1988 at the end of spring and dawn of summer in Togiak, Alaska, as fishermen lined the docks, eagerly awaiting the start of herring season. With only a half-hour window to fish that day, the herring season was one of the shortest and most intense fisheries out there — no place for amateurs. Of the 239 seiners (aka boats with fishing nets) present, 30-year-old captain Dean Anderson stood out on his craft: F/V “Susan Gale,” a 49-foot fiberglass beauty named after my mother. In the following 30 minutes, my dad made one of the largest sets in herring history: 660 tons of fish worth roughly $600,000, a job that took two tenders and 48 hours to pump out. There was no Internet that astonishing day — just one camera and a few fishermen to witness the scene. Serene yet powerful, sentimental and nostalgic — those are the words that come to mind when I gaze at the snapshot of one of the largest herring sets ever made. It’s taken 27 years for me to highlight this family gem, to immortalize commercial fishing at its prime and paint a portrait representing more than just a boat, but of a legacy shaped by the captain himself — my dad. Author Whitney Anderson  continue reading the story, and view 9 images here 22:02

Processor Fined for dumping oily bilge water and raw sewage in Kodiak Waters

A Washington processing company that owns a Kodiak-based vessel was sentenced in federal court to pay $50,000 in fines after the vessel illegally discharged raw sewage into Chiniak Bay and St. Paul Harbor in Kodiak. In addition, the primary operator of the F/V Pacific Producer was sentenced to a $10,000 fine. Both the operator and the company will serve five years probation. According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Anchorage, East West Seafoods LLC was sentenced for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, the Clean Water Act, and the Refuse Act, by intentionally discharging oily bilge water and raw sewage. East West owns the F/V Pacific Producer. The primary owner of the processing company and operator of the vessel is 78-year-old Christos Tsabouris of Kodiak. Read the story here 14:40

Alaska fishermen lobby Navy to delay training exercises scheduled for May

The required permits are not yet in hand but the U.S. Navy is moving ahead on plans to conduct war training exercises in the Gulf of Alaska for two weeks in early May. Meanwhile, nine coastal communities have signed resolutions asking the Navy to instead conduct its training between September and mid-March, less-sensitive times for migrating salmon, birds and marine mammals. “It’s not that we don’t want the Navy to do their training — it’s the time and locations,” said Emily Stolarcyk, program director for the Eyak Preservation Council of Cordova. “The community resolutions say that we are the people who depend on commercial, subsistence and recreational fishing,” she added. “The Navy exercises are planned during the most important breeding and migratory periods for salmon, birds, whales and marine mammals. About 90 percent of the training area is designated as essential fish habitat for all five species of Pacific salmon. May is the worst time to be doing this.” continue reading the article here 11:07

Norwegian Rat Saloon Fundraiser in Unalaska brings in $37,000 for F/V Destination families

A benefit event last Friday at the Norwegian Rat Saloon in Unalaska brought in over $37,000 for the families of the crew of the crab boat Destination which disappeared in the Bering Sea on Feb. 11 along with six fishermen. The biggest item auctioned, in terms of both size and money, was a whale skull. The winning bid was $6,500 submitted by a group of people. The skull was promptly donated to the saloon, and will remain in the bar’s back yard as a memorial to the missing men, Capt. Jeff Hathaway, Larry O’Grady, Darrick Seibold, Kai Hamik, Raymond Vincler, and Charles Glen Jones. Norwegian Rat manager Teressa Henning credited bartender Rachel Reed with the idea for the event and doing all the work to make it happen. continue reading the story here 13:14

Lost Seattle-based crab-boat crew memorialized

The owner of the Destination, the crab boat that went missing Feb. 11, said he had full confidence in the skills of the six lost crew, and that his own son was initially supposed to be part of that Bering Sea harvest. “I have had a lot of sorrow in life but nothing like this,” wrote David Wilson, of Edmonds, in remarks read at a Thursday afternoon memorial service for the six lost crew. “God only knows why something like this happens because I don’t know why these good men went down at sea. … The pain will never go away. Even though these men are gone, their memory will live on forever.” Several hundred people attended the service for the six crew members: Capt. Jeff Hathaway, Larry O’Grady, Raymond Vincler, Darrik Seibold, Charles G. Jones and Kai Hamik. It was held at the Aurora Community Church of the Nazarene in Shoreline and was a celebration of their lives that included poetry and musical performances. continue reading the story here 13:03

Iditarod demand for king crab keeps Nome fishermen busy

On a brisk and breezy afternoon, the stillness of the Bering Sea ice was broken up by the sounds of commercial crabbers, hard at work removing icy buildup from their crab pot openings. “We’re about four miles west of the Cape Nome. We’re currently set about 30 feet,” Greg Mendez explained. It’s part-time job for him, one that makes good money. “The market at the beginning of the year was $7.25. This time of year it drops to $6 per pound, so if you have a lot of crab that’s really good,” Mendez laughed. During the Iditarod, he sees a demand from people in Nome wanting fresh-caught crab and he’s happy to provide. Video, read the story here 08:18

Crew of lost crabbing vessel declared legally dead

The six men lost when their crabbing boat sank on a cold morning in the Bering Sea last month were declared legally dead at an unusual court proceeding Monday, allowing heartbroken families to take a first step toward closure and settling their loved ones’ affairs. The proceeding, known as a presumptive death hearing, is a kind of mini-trial held to determine whether a missing person can be declared dead. They are often held in the cases of people who have disappeared in such extreme terrain as to have exhausted the chances of survival or recovery. The fishing vessel Destination sank 3 miles north of St. George Island on the morning of Feb. 11, just before starting the winter snow crab season. The bodies of the men aboard — captain Jeff Hathaway and crew members Kai Hamik, Darrik Seibold, Larry O’Grady, Raymond Vincler and Charles G. Jones — have not been found. continue reading the story here 23:34

Fukushima radiation not cause for alarm in US

Radiation from the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster in Japan has reached North American shores, but — despite a number of reports shared on social media— scientists say the levels of radiation are so low that it poses no risk to public health. Late last year, researchers announced that Cesium-134 was discovered in waters off the coast of Oregon and in one sockeye salmon in a British Columbia lake.  The news reports have been used as the basis for viral stories about the radiation. One story from alternativemediasyndicate.com carried the headline: “Fukushima Radiation: Your Days of Eating Pacific Ocean Fish Are Over, Or Worse.” Another story from organicandhealthy.org labeled the discovery of the salmon as “bad news for everyone” and described the U.S. West Coast as “contaminated.” Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist at Massachusetts’ Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has traveled to Japan numerous times since 2011 to study the Fukushima disaster’s effect on seawater. continue reading the story here 18:19

Crewmember Sentenced in July Bristol Bay Tender Assault, bannished from the fishing grounds

Alaska State Troopers reported the conclusion and conviction of a crewmember that assaulted his captain and a fellow crewmember on the F/V Diligence, a tender that was at the time moored in the Egegik Commercial Fishing District last summer. It was July 3rd that troopers responded to the assault complaint. 54-year-old Don Iodice was placed under arrest on the charge. On July 13th, Iodice was arraigned and by October, he entered a change of plea in the case. He was scheduled to be sentenced in the case on December 15th of last year, But, when the date arrived, Iodice didn’t. A $10,000 bench warrant was issued on January 19th, and Iodice was back in court on March 10th and his warrant was quashed. Five days later, Iodice was sentenced to 360 days with 330 suspended in Naknek District Court and placed on probation for two years. In addition, Iodice was ordered to not return to the fishing grounds in Bristol Bay.  Link 17:09

NOAA OLE closes a successful investigation after numerous Observers filed complaints against an Alaskan-based vessel

“This was a large, time consuming investigation involving many violations, victims, and witnesses,” said Kevin Heck, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of OLE’s Alaska Division. NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement began receiving complaints filed by Observers1 about the Aleutian Sable, owned by Arctic Sablefish, LLC, in 2013. A case file was opened and officers began communicating with one of the vessel’s operators, Jay Hebert, and closely monitoring the vessel for compliance purposes. Complaints and violations continued to pile up through October 2014. Once the investigation was complete, OLE investigators forwarded the case package to NOAA’s Office of General Counsel for prosecution. On March 8, 2016, a Notice of Violation and Assessment of Administrative Penalty (NOVA) was issued to the owner and operator of the F/V Aleutian Sable. The NOVA charged the following eight counts of violations under the Magnuson‐Stevens Act Read the rest here 09:28

Independent Kodiak Fisherman Addresses his Concerns to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and Jim Balsiger

Dear Jim & Secretary Ross, Thank you, once again, for a response to my letters (19 October, 2016) re Trawl violations in the Gulf of Alaska.  I appreciated the website reference(NOAA OLE Enforcement-Actions) that allowed review of the NOVA and/or NOPS cases concluded before June 30, 2016.  I await review of the February report, as well. Obviously, since my letters and your responses, the NPFMC December session indefinitely postponed or tabled the GOA Trawl Bycatch program drafting.  One can only hope this matter of privatizing the groundfish which causes an extremely negative effect on other species (and fish segments) —such as halibut, and crab recovery in the GOA— has seen its end.,, Had it not been for congressional end-runs of former Senator Ted Stevens, two key things would not have happened. Read the letter here  Ludger W. Dochtermann  16:52

Flying Wild Alaska – Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak

Air Station Kodiak, Alaska is a place that many may have seen on television and in movies. Air Station Kodiak has featured regularly in the Weather Channel show Coast Guard Alaska over the last several years, and was also a central focus for the movie “The Guardian” starring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher. But to those assigned Air Station Kodiak, it is much more. The true beauty of Alaska, or Kodiak island specifically, is hard to explain. Yet to some, the Coast Guard Air Station, it’s aircraft, rescue swimmers and pilots, are often the last bastion of hope for many that call the Kodiak area, the Aleusian islands that head southwest in a chain that stretches towards Russia or many of the other isolated Alaskan wilderness inside the massive service area covered by Coast Guard Air Station Alaska home. continue reading the story here 09:04

Landing Reports Indicate Violations in Alaska’s Restricted Fishing Area

Halibut Fisherman, Andrew Halverson, a resident of Washington, was fined $5,000 for the unlawful harvest of halibut. The halibut were harvested from the closed waters defined in the Sitka Sound Local Area Management Plan (LAMP). An enforcement officer with NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement initiated an investigation after he reviewed landing reports for the Sitka area. “OLE personnel regularly review landing reports,” said Lt. Bob Marvelle, supervisory enforcement officer for the OLE Alaska Division. “Since we’re unable to inspect every offload and landing, we review the reports to ensure compliance and identify areas of concern that need to be addressed.” Upon further investigation of the documents and log books, OLE identified that on Nov. 4, 2016, while fishing from a vessel larger than 35 feet, Halverson retained 130 pounds of halibut fished from approximately 4.3 nautical miles inside the Sitka LAMP closed area. continue reading the report here 08:05

Coast Guard medevacs fisherman near Cold Bay, Alaska

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew medevaced a man from the 252-foot fishing vessel Kodiak Enterprise approximately 40 miles north of Cold Bay, Alaska, Friday afternoon. The rescue helicopter crew transported the 55-year-old fisherman to Cold Bay and were met by LifeMed Alaska personnel who transferred the patient to Anchorage for further medical care. Watchstanders at Coast Guard 17th District in Juneau received notification from Health Force Partners requesting a medevac for a crewmember who was reportedly suffering from an abdominal medical condition.  The duty flight surgeon recommended the medevac and the helicopter crew was dispatched from Dutch Harbor. Weather on scene during the time of the medevac was reported as 15-mph winds with 3-foot seas and 10 miles of visibility. Link 13:14

NOAA tests camera systems to monitor fish catch

When we think of technological innovators, most picture daring entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who make clever devices for their investors. However, in the Bering Sea and other waters off the coast of Alaska, NOAA Fisheries scientists are testing innovative technologies, tools and methods to keep U.S. fisheries strong and profitable. Together with the fishing industry, we have made real progress advancing the use of camera systems to monitor fish catch and identify the best ways to safely release unwanted species. These systems help us count fish both in the net and when it is hauled onto the deck of a fishing vessel. Our scientists have designed software applications to automate the process of identifying fish species and measure fish length. Until recently, obtaining this critical information for fisheries stock assessments was only possible with the help of a human observer. continue reading the story here 09:40

Pendulum ticks toward commercial fishermen as Cook Inlet meeting wraps

The Board of Fisheries pendulum may have swung, but it’s still attached to the same clockwork. The triennial Upper Cook Inlet Board of Fisheries meeting ended March 8, leaving behind a big fish goal for the Kenai River late king salmon run, potential expanded hours for the Cook Inlet drift and setnet fleets, and a brand new early run king salmon plan on the Kenai River. Though the tone was mild compared to that of 2014, the same grudges against the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the board, and among rival user groups are bubbling away. After three years of buildup following an emotional 2014 meeting, the 2017 marathon was sparsely attended and largely civil, focusing mainly on what ADFG Commercial Fisheries Division Operations Manager Forrest Bowers called “minor changes.” “This early run king plan, that’s probably the biggest change outside the large fish goal,” Bowers said. “With the late run sockeye plan, there was a long discussion but at the end of the day it didn’t really do much. The late run king plan, I mean, again, long discussion, relaxed the August restriction a bit, but it’s fundamentally the same.”  continue reading the article here 13:25

Crabbers receiving record prices for low catch

The year’s first red king crab fishery at Norton Sound has yielded 17,000 pounds Alaska crabbers are hauling back pots from the Panhandle to the Bering Sea, and reduced catches are resulting in record prices for their efforts. The year’s first red king crab fishery at Norton Sound has yielded 17,000 pounds so far of its nearly 40,000 pound winter quota for more than 50 local fishermen. The crab, which are taken through the ice near Nome, are paying out at a record $7.75 a pound. A summer opener will produce a combined catch of nearly half a million pounds for the region. Red king crab from Bristol Bay also yielded the highest price ever for fishermen, averaging $10.89 per pound. That catch quota of 8 million pounds was down 15 percent from the previous season. The Bering Sea snow crab fleet has taken 80 percent of its 19 million pound quota, down by nearly half from last year. That’s pushed market prices through the roof, topping $8.30 a pound at wholesale in both the U.S. and Japan, compared to over $5.50 per pound a year ago. continue reading the article here 13:56

The man who $old Alaska

On March 29, 1867, literally in the middle of the night, diplomats hammered out a deal that transferred the Russian Empire’s claims in the New World to the United States for $7.2 million. One-hundred-fifty years later, Alaska knows the name of Secretary of State William H. Seward, the American who negotiated the purchase of Alaska. His name is on a city, a highway, a peninsula and more. But what of the man on the other side of the table, Alexander II, autocrat and tsar of Russia? Who was he? It depends on whom you ask. In Finland and Bulgaria he is considered “The Liberator.” In Poland and the Caucasus he is remembered as “The Exterminator.” He ruthlessly suppressed dissent and pursued foreign wars, even while cowering in the face of terrorism at home. He also brought sweeping reforms to Russia, most famously emancipating the serfs five years before slavery was banned in the United States. Alaska was just one small page in his career. continue reading the article here 09:29

F/V Predator aground for more than two weeks

The grounded fishing vessel Predator remained on the beach in Akutan earlier this week. Salvage crews were attempting to re-float the boat. A large quantity of Pacific cod remains on board, while all the fuel has been removed. Resolve Magone Marine Service logistics coordinator David Maruszak, in Unalaska, said his company has been on the scene with about six salvage vessels for two weeks, but didn’t immediately try to pull the trawler free. An attempt on Monday to pull the boat free failed The re-float project had been underway for about a week, he said, they’re hoping for better luck in the next attempt. Earlier, he said Resolve removed about 5,000 gallons of fuel from the 93-foot-long vessel, homeported in Newport, Ore.  Maruszak said the boat will require repairs before it resumes fishing, as several cracks have been noted in the hull, and that the next step once the boat is off the beach is for divers to conduct an underwater survey. Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Ethan Nichols in Unalaska said trawler was loaded with 300,000 pounds of Pacific cod, now unfit for human consumption. Read the article here 14:08 A side note! Tonight, I saw a photo of the vessel afloat. They got her off the beach. We will be looking for updates. 20:52

Alaska Crab fishery faces identity crisis, while Fishermen have a tough time finding snow crab

Fishermen are having the toughest time in the past five years finding snow crab, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, in Unalaska. The fleet of 60 crab boats had caught 16. 6 million pounds, for 74 percent of the quota in the Bering Sea, ADF&G biologist Ethan Nichols in Unalaska said Monday. But based on the number of crab in an average pot, the catch has plummeted from a peak of 237 to 116 in the most recent weekly tally, he said. The average weight is 1.3 pounds per individual snow crab, he said. continue reading the story hereCrab fishery faces identity crisis.  Is it a bairdi Tanner or is it an opilio Tanner snow crab? Or is it something in between, a hybrid? The Bering Sea commercial crab fishery is facing an issue fundamental to identity, and in what fishery which crustaceans can legally appear. In this issue, it’s up to the Alaska Board of Fisheries. Crabbers and their allies in the Pribilof Islands say a hybrid should be considered part of the catch of whatever the fishermen are targeting, whether Tanner bairdi or Tanner opilio. While both have Tanner in their names, the bairdi are commonly known as Tanners, while the typically smaller opilio are called snow crab. continue reading the story here 12:10

Commercial longline seasons to open March 11th, on time

Commercial longliners in Alaska can go fishing on March 11 after all. The National Marine Fisheries Service announced Friday. March 3 that March 11th will be the start date for halibut and black cod fishing. March 11th is the halibut fishing start date approved by the International Pacific Halibut Commission back in January. The National Marine Fisheries Service typically opens long-line fishing for black cod on the same day. President Trump issued an executive order in January requiring that for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination. The start dates, catch share plan and other changes are all regulations that need to be published in the federal register. As of late last month, the National Marine Fisheries Service was still unsure of the impact of the presidential order on the fisheries. Fishermen in Alaska were questioning whether they’d be able to start fishing on that date. However, the federal agency confirmed Friday that the season would be starting on the 11th for both halibut and black cod. Read the rest here 08:52

An Unprovoked Attack: Sea lion bites fisherman at Sand Point dock

A crewman aboard a fishing vessel tied up at the Peter Pan Seafoods dock at Sand Point was bitten by a sea lion who jumped aboard the commercial fishing vessel, causing severe injury, the Aleutians East Borough said in a report published Feb. 28. The attack on Michael “Mack” McNeil, of Deer Park, WA, occurred on Jan. 23, on board the F/V Cape St. Elias, the borough reported in an article written by Laura Tanis, borough communications director and editor of “In The Loop,” the borough’s online newsletter. Owner/skipper Ben Ley said the attack was unprovoked. “We were taking off a pollock net and putting on our cod net at the time,” Ley said. “There were zero fish on board. That’s what’s kind of eerie about this.” McNeil was standing with his back to the stern ramp as the crew moved a net forward off the reel and stacked it to put away.  None of them saw the sea lion swimming around nearby. “This was completely out of the blue,” McNeil said. “I was running hydraulics, and I walked around to clear the backlash. The sea lion came up all the way out of the water, jumped up over the stern ramp and up onto the deck, several feet up.” The sea lion grabbed him before it even hit the deck, McNeil said.  Other crew members grabbed McNeil before he got any closer to the stern ramp. continue reading the story here 14:10

Hispanic man wins $1.85M judgment over racial abuse while crewing on an Alaska fishing vessel in 2011

A Hispanic man who worked aboard an Alaska fishing vessel has won a $1.85 million settlement against his former employer, Seattle-based Alaska Longline, after being subjected to relentless racial harassment and dangerous working conditions, his attorneys said. Francisco Miranda, 37, and other Hispanic crew members were called “dirty Mexicans” and other racial epithets by the former captain and first mate of the Ocean Prowler in 2011, according to a stipulated judgment in the case. The captain also treated Hispanic crew members differently from those who were white and made comments like, “They should all swim back to Mexico,” the judgment says. A white crew member confirmed the allegations, testifying in a declaration that the captain was “racist towards the Mexican people on the boat …”, according to the judgment. continue reading the story here 09:17

The deadliest cast: Creating a batch of rubber crabs

On the Discovery Channel’s hit show, “Deadliest Catch,” Derrick Ray is a captain for one of Alaska’s most successful and beloved crab fishing ships, the Aleutian Ballad. During the offseason for crabbing each summer,Ray and his crew take customers on the high seas to simulate the experience — at least without the rough weather, long hours and extreme danger. A staple of the Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s Tour is that the customers get to see the massive 10-pound crabs up close. Every year, the team keeps between 500 and 800 of these crabs in tanks for the tourists during the summer. During every tour season, many of the crabs do not survive. And when they die, they start to rot and smell, then must be thrown away. Not only does the high value of the crabs cut into the company’s bottom line, but the whole process is also wasteful. Ray and his company wanted a more sustainable approach. Rubber crabs! Read this interesting article about 3-D printing here 20:26

It’s good business to keep Bristol Bay protections

Regulations are in the crosshairs in Washington, D.C. these days. Those elected officials and appointed agency leaders have been clear in their goal to get rid of regulations they say are blocking jobs and economic activity. I humbly suggest that in this flurry to slash red tape, one Environmental Protection Agency protection should stay in place: the one protecting the Bristol Bay fishery in Alaska from the controversial Pebble Mine. I guarantee you the EPA’s plan to restrict mine waste disposal in Bristol Bay waters protects jobs and economic activity: those of my family and the 14,000 others who rely on our nation’s most valuable salmon fishery. In fact, we Alaskans call the sockeye salmon that return to Bristol Bay in their annual spawning runs “red gold.” Bristol Bay is the largest wild salmon fishery remaining anywhere in the world. For thousands of years, those fish have represented not just survival, but wealth. continue reading the op-ed here by Kim Williams 09:08

National Marine Fisheries Service Policy Directive – Catch Share Policy

PURPOSE The purpose of this policy is to encourage well-designed catch share programs to help maintain or rebuild fisheries, and sustain fishermen, communities and vibrant working waterfronts, including the cultural and resource access traditions that have been part of this country since its founding.  DEFINITION “Catch share” is a general term for several fishery management strategies that allocate a specific portion of the total allowable fishery catch to individuals, cooperatives, communities, or other entities. Each recipient of a catch share is directly accountable to stop fishing when its exclusive allocation is reached. The term includes specific programs defined in law such as “limited access privilege” (LAP) and “individual fishing quota” (IFQ) programs, and other exclusive allocative measures such as Territorial Use Rights Fisheries (TURFs) that grant an exclusive privilege to Continue reading this here 15:50

Alaska asks US Supreme Court to overturn decision giving Cook Inlet salmon management to feds

The state is asking the US Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court decision putting the federal government in charge of the salmon fishery in Cook Inlet rather than Alaska. The case began in 2013 when two commercial fishing groups — the United Cook Inlet Drift Association and the Cook Inlet Fishermen’s Fund — sued the National Marine Fisheries Service. They argued that the state had not adequately managed the fishery and that the federal government should exercise more control as designated in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. A U.S. District Court judge initially ruled in favor of state management. But in September, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the federal government — not the state — should exercise management of the Cook Inlet salmon fishery in federal waters. continue reading the story here 12:19

Fishy-nomics

As a blunt reminder of the value of salmon to all Alaskans, businessmen and women from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough paraded before the Alaska Board of Fisheries on Saturday to talk business. Money and jobs have always been the rallying cries of commercial fishermen who catch the majority of salmon that make their way into Cook Inlet, the long fiord at the front door of Anchorage. And government, both state and federal, has long been receptive to their financial pleas. When weak king salmon runs in 2012 forced restrictions that put Kenai Peninsula commercial fishermen on the beach, then Gov. Sean Parnell asked for a federal disaster declaration. When it came, the Peninsula Clarion reported, “an estimated 443 permit holders from Cook Inlet’s eastside setnet fishery” vied for $4.6 million in aid. No government entity, however, has jumped in to bail out Mike Hudson, the owner of 3 Rivers Fly & Tackle in Wasilla, even though his business has in recent years been devastated by weak salmon returns linked in part to how Inlet salmon are managed. continue reading the article here 09:40

Pebble mine gets no better with time – Danielle Stickman

In early 2006, when George W. Bush occupied in the White House and the Republican Party was firmly in control of Congress, then-CEO of Canadian-based Northern Dynasty Minerals Bruce Jenkins spoke to several communities in Bristol Bay about the company’s plans to construct one of the world’s largest open-pit mines in the middle of the region we have always called home. In his mind, the mine was a done deal. In fact, there was little in the way of consultation or collaboration with the community – Jenkins stated emphatically that Pebble mine would be built. It was just a question of when, not if it would be built. Fast forward 11 years. The GOP once again controls the White House and Congress, promising to open lands to new development and roll back government regulations. Perhaps not surprisingly, a project many believed was dead has been given new life. Some investment blogs and websites are newly bullish on the proposed Pebble project. Northern Dynasty’s current CEO, Ronald Thiessen, is traveling the world to tout Pebble’s prospects, stating the Pebble Limited Partnership, a subsidiary owned and created by Northern Dynasty to develop the mine, will begin permitting this year. Forgive my skepticism about these claims. continue reading the op-ed here 08:59

Ludger Dochtermann of Kodiak – Reinstituting Reasonable Crab Pot Limits

Dear Board of Fisheries members: My name is Ludger Dochtermann of Kodiak, and I own two crab vessels, the F/V Northpoint and F/V Stormbird. Like all others in the fleet, we are deeply affected by the recent sinking of the F/V Destination off St. George Island and the loss of her entire crew.  The Stormbird is also fishing out of St. George this season. It is obvious that icing played a large part in that sinking, and word is that the vessel had an excessive number of pots aboard at the time.  Tarps were ripped off and found among the flotsam along with buoys and a life ring. The weather at the time made for severe conditions and risky business. It is challenging to parse between proposals, regulations, and policy, and just plain duty. The IFQ fisheries were instituted for privatization; and a federally imposed IFQ system came into being without NPFMC and U.S. Senate testimonies by vessel architects, load-line engineers, USCG safety officers, insurance experts and experienced captains discussing the specific concerns of safety. Continue reading the letter here 15:54

More restrictions proposed for Northern District setnetters

Setnetting on the beaches of northern Cook Inlet isn’t a very visible fishery, but participants argue it’s a viable one. The Northern Cook Inlet setnet fishery operates between a line between Boulder Point in Nikiski and the Kustatan Peninsula on the west side of the inlet and Fire Island. Fishermen can target all five species of Pacific salmon at different times throughout the summer, beginning May 25 with a directed king salmon fishery. As northern district setnetter Trevor Rollman put it in his testimony the Board of Fisheries on Friday, the fishery doesn’t have an official closure, but rather it’s the weather that closes them for the season. Most of the fishermen land in Anchorage. Many of them direct-market their catch, as Rollman said he intended to do with his site in the future. Direct-marketers, sometimes called catcher-sellers, harvest and prepare their catch themselves, selling it directly to customers.  Read the full article here 08:57

US Coast Guard convenes Marine Board of Investigation into loss of F/V Destination

WASHINGTON- The U.S. Coast Guard has convened a Marine Board of Investigation into the loss of F/V Destination and its six crewmembers. A Marine Board of Investigation is the highest level of investigation in the Coast Guard. Upon completion of the investigation, the Board will issue a report to the commandant with the evidence collected, the facts established and its conclusions and recommendations. During the course of the MBI, panel members must decide: The factors that contributed to the accident,  Whether there is evidence that any act of misconduct, inattention to duty, negligence or willful violation of the law on the part of any licensed or certificated person contributed to the casualty.  Whether there is evidence that any Coast Guard personnel or any representative or employee of any other government agency or any other person caused or contributed to the casualty National Transportation Safety Board is participating alongside the Coast Guard in its investigation, but will produce an independent report with its own findings. Link  15:45

Candied salmon ice cream, kelp salsa & halibut bisque baby food: Seafood contest shows off the new and unusual

In any supermarket, you’ll find dozens of pork, beef and chicken products. Not so for salmon. When it comes to sockeye, king or coho, U.S. consumers are largely limited to raw product and pre-cooked, breaded fish sticks. That’s a problem for the seafood industry, said Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation Julie Decker, co-host of Wednesday’s Symphony of Seafood new product competition at Centennial Hall. If Alaska wants to increase the value of its seafood industry, Decker said, it will have to take chances on locally-produced, shelf-ready goods like the kelp salsa, baby food and salmon leather wallets on display at the symphony. The AFDF has been putting on the symphony for 24 years now in an attempt to diversify the industry. Product development is key to helping the industry adapt to international competition. Continue reading the article here 13:20

Cook Inlet Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting to kick off with new faces, old grudges

The Alaska Board of Fisheries has a full plate for its triennial Upper Cook Inlet finfish meeting beginning Feb. 23 and running through March 3 in Anchorage. The board will look quite different with three new members since the last meeting and so does the fishery after three years of restriction, tight markets, lawsuits, and accusations of disregarding the best science that revolve around the board decisions at its last Upper Cook Inlet meeting in 2014. Chinook, or king, salmon stocks on the Kenai River and around the state started to plummet in the late 2000s, and in 2014, the Board of Fisheries approved paired restrictions directing the Alaska Department of Fish and Game had to take certain actions when the Kenai king fishery was restricted, including limiting commercial fishing time. Sport representatives generally thought it fair to share the burden of conservation, while commercial fishermen said it hit them harder than the sportfishermen. This year, nearly 200 proposals from commercial, sport and subsistence fishermen will try to overhaul entire fishery management plans, revise escapement goals, expand or contract fishing areas and openings hours, add or remove new gear types and in general try to open up more fishing opportunity for each respective group. Continue reading the article here 08:54

AK seafood earnings, poundage outpaced by Washington state

Alaska’s seafood industry puts more people to work than any other private industry, topping 60,000 workers in 2015. Of that, less than half – 27,600 – were Alaska residents. And while 71 percent of active fishing permit holders call Alaska home, most of the gross earnings go to the state of Washington. Based on numbers from the United Fishermen of Alaska’s annual Fish Facts, resident fishing permit holders made gross dockside earnings of just over $602 million two years ago. That compares to more than $904 million by nearly 6,580 Washington-based permit holders and crew. Fishermen  from Oregon took home more than $126 million from Alaska’s fisheries and Californians pocketed nearly $28 million. That adds up to more than $1 Billion flowing out of state by non-resident fishermen. Listen to the audio report, read the rest here 17:29

Revisited: Americas Finest – Floating Steel Follow the construction of a Bering Sea Fishing Trawler from start to finsh

The Big Move! This image encapsulates this monumental event for me as Americas Finest moves laterally (West) to get into a northern launch position as she points towards Alaska, her destiny. How to move 2900 tons of steel on land, stay tuned! Here she is, Americas Finest, view Weeks 82 and next week (83). See her get prepared to be moved laterally (sidetracking) to a new position that will be her final orientation before her launch. To view an incredible assortment of photo’s and review the progress, click here floatingsteel.com 10:53

Financial Support for Amanda Hawkins, in Memory of Kai Hamik, F/V Destination

Amanda lost her sole mate Kai Hamik suddenly on Saturday February 11th. Kai who travels as a commercial fisherman in Alaska was King Crab fishing with his crew on the boat Destination when the U.S. Coast Guard received a signal from their emergency beacon.  Rescuers searched in the water and from the sky for nearly 70 hours. Before suspending the search Monday, the Coast Guard found a debris field, including an oil sheen, tarps, buoys, even a life ring from the vessel. They did not find the ship nor any survivors. Our hearts go out to Kai’s friends and family and the friends and family’s of the entire crew of the Destination. They were to start their family upon Kai’s return. Please click here for the gofundme page, and please, donate any amount that you can. 11:17

Alaska fishing group flags concerns with income tax proposal

A trade group for Alaska commercial fishermen is flagging concerns with a state House proposal that would reinstitute a personal income tax. United Fishermen of Alaska says many fishermen will have “major difficulties” complying with withholding requirements on payments to fishing crew. Association leaders, in a letter to the House Finance Committee co-chairs, say withholding requirements would fall on skippers who don’t have the information they would need to estimate a crew member’s potential federal tax liability. The tax, as proposed, would be 15 percent of what a person owes the federal government in taxes. They raised other concerns, too. The association, which says it has not taken a position either way on the bill, suggested a fix that would treat fishermen the same as people who are self-employed. Link 16:15

Kerrisdale Capital Slams Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd – Pebble Mine shares are ‘worthless’

A New York investment firm tore apart claims by the owners of the Pebble mine project that developing the prospect is economically viable in a no-holds-barred report released Feb. 14. Kerrisdale Capital called Vancouver-based Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., “worthless” in its 21-page report, contending sources directly involved in evaluating Pebble before Anglo American walked away from the project in 2013, despite spending roughly $500 million on it, said Pebble would cost close to $13 billion to construct, not the $4.7 billion capital cost Northern Dynasty arrived at in its preliminary project assessment. “In the past decade, Northern Dynasty has hired at least two major engineering firms to prepare preliminary feasibility studies of Pebble laying out its economics in detail, yet it has failed to publish their findings — because they were damning,” Kerrisdale alleges. Continue reading the article here 11:27

Please Donate to the Larry O’Grady Family Fund

Please help our Auntie Gail during this devastating tragedy.  On February 11, 2017,  Gail received a phone call that would forever change her life. Her beloved husband and best friend “Larry O” is missing at sea. On Saturday morning the fishing vessel ‘Destination’ sent an emergency distress signal to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard announced they would search for the missing vessel and crew members for 3  days.   With heavy hearts, the Coast Guard has suspended the search for the crew of the fishing vessel Destination. This fund will go to our Auntie Gail to ease the financial burden that this tragedy has left her with. Thoughts and prayers  to the owner, his crew members and  their families. Visit the Larry O’Grady Family Fund page, (click here) and please donate any amount you can.

Please donate to the Charles Glenn Jones Family Relief Fund

Saturday, February 11th the wife of Charles Glenn Jones received a phone call that no family member ever wants to receive.  The vessel, FV Destination, that Charles was working upon, and had been for many years, was considered missing.  As minutes rolled into hours, and hours felt like an eternity all signs are pointing to no possible chance of survival.  Coastguard Crews and volunteers have been searching for nearly 24 hours, the ship has been officially declared sunk, and no crew members are expected to have survived. As in all walks of life, Rosalie and her family believed they had time.  Time to plan, time to love, and time together.  Rosalie and Charles had decided when he returned from this trip that they would finally get a life insurance policy on him, just in case, unfortunately reality had other plans and the Jones family is left enduring much pain and anguish. Continue reading (Click here) at the Charles Glenn Jones Family Relief Fund page, and please donate any amount you can. 18:22

The Eli Seibold Destination Fund

Eli is the son of Darrik Seibold who is a crew member on board the Destination vessel that went missing in the Bering Sea Saturday. His family is devastated, the past few days have been unbearable for them and a heart breaking time for our community. So many people have asked how they can help during this very helpless time, so we have started a fund for Darrik’s son Eli. The fund will help ensure a brighter future for Eli, who will turn three this weekend without his father. By supporting Darrik’s son, we can help provide for his future now that his father is unable to do so. I would like to say thanks to all who have asked how to help Bill and Jan over the past few days, your messages have been forwarded to them.  Click here for the Eli Seibold Destination Fund, and please give what you can. 12:12

‘These boys loved what they did’: Former crabber on missing Destination talks about lost boat, lost brother

Dylan Hatfield worked for six years aboard the Destination before leaving in 2014. He was tight with all of the crew, which included his older brother, Darrik Seibold, whom he had helped to get a job on the vessel. So last Thursday evening, Hatfield relished the chance for a brief reunion as he crossed paths with the Destination crew in the Aleutian Island port of Dutch Harbor. Hatfield had just ended his crab season aboard another Bering Sea vessel — the Kari Marie — while the crew of the Seattle-based Destination was about to depart to begin their later-winter harvest. He went down to the dock where the Destination was moored to greet the crew. Then, they all went out for pizza and beer, a night filled with hugs, laughs and tales of years past hauling in snow and king crab. Continue reading the story here 20:31

Deadliest Catch Captain Keith Colburn pays tribute to six fisherman lost in the Bering Sea

A Deadliest Catch star is paying tribute to six veteran fishermen lost in the icy Bering Sea after the U.S. Coast Guard called off the search for the men. The fishing vessel Destination went missing early Saturday after an emergency signal from a radio beacon registered to the ship originated from 2 miles off St. George, an island about 650 miles west of Kodiak Island. Castmember Capt. Keith Colburn said he knows their chances of surviving are slim and paid tribute to Hathaway and O’Grady, who he was close friends with for over 25 years. Family members of those missing identified the crew members as: Jeff Hathaway, Larry O’Grady, Charles Glenn Jones, Raymond Vincler, Darrik Seibold, and Kai Hamik.  The news about the vessel going missing has stunned the tight-knit community that spawned the hit Discovery channel show ‘Deadliest Catch’. Colburn said he heard about the missing boat, which was not featured on the show, from colleague Sig Hansen, who is the captain on The Northwestern on reality television show which is about crab and fishing boat crews working on the Bering Sea. Photo’s, Read the story here 18:43