Category Archives: North Pacific

Two men arrested for being in possession of 38 striped bass, exceeding their limit by 37!

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Division of Law Enforcement today announced the arrest of Robert Majors, age 41, of Bristol and Peter Parente, age 53, of West Greenwich. The two men were arrested yesterday by DEM environmental police officers for being in possession of 38 striped bass. Both are Massachusetts commercial fishermen and were charged with 37 counts of exceeding the daily possession limit of one fish per day,,,  The practice of taking striped bass from Rhode Island state waters and/or from the EEZ, and selling them in Massachusetts, is prohibited. >click to read<  14:23

West Coast fishermen have few options against sea lions

With the lights of Moss Landing, California, twinkling in the distance, Captain Porter McHenry stood on the top deck of the Merva W, a large  Commercial fishing boat. Ocean water sprayed his face and dampened his thick brown beard. A third-generation fisherman, McHenry employs a crew of three. In the dead of the night, his yellow rain jacket was briefly illuminated as he ignited the long wick of an orange firecracker and chucked it over the side of the boat into the waves. Seconds later, a bright flash and boom broke the sea of darkness. >Click to read<  09:10

Troubling questions, concerns raised about off-shore wind farms

Oceanographer Jon Hare listed the effects of offshore wind development on the marine environment. There’s disturbance to the sea floor during installation of turbine platforms.,,,“Putting a pile into the sediment in essence is habitat alteration,” said Hare, a science and research director with Northeast Fisheries Science Center.,,The questions about offshore wind, of course, aren’t limited to the $2.8-billion Vineyard Wind project,,,,but there are more than a dozen proposals in the works all along the Atlantic Coast and plans for the Great Lakes and the West Coast. >click to read< 21:06

Historic Alaska heatwave is killing off thousands of salmon

Unusually warm temperatures across Alaska this summer has led to die-offs of unspawned chum, sockeye and pink salmon, with the warm waters acting as a “thermal block,” basically a wall of heat salmon don’t swim past, delaying upriver migration.,,,  “Cook Inletkeeper has been tracking stream temperatures in non-glacial systems across the Cook Inlet watershed since 2002. But this is a first – we’ve never seen stream temperatures above 76 degrees Fahrenheit,” wrote Mauger.  “Physiologically, the fish can’t get oxygen moving through their bellies,”,,, >click to read< 09:46

Opinion: Why Bonneville can’t save salmon

The Northwest is not winning the battle to save wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River. Although most of the 12 listed salmonid stocks in the basin demonstrated a weak upward trend for a couple decades, that progress has stalled. Total returns of salmon and steelhead passing Bonneville Dam last year slipped to the second-lowest level in the past 18 years, and spring Chinook returns were 60 percent of the 10-year average. by Tom Karier >click to read<10:34

NOAA Seeks Nominations for Scientific Review Groups under the Marine Mammal Protection Act

NOAA Fisheries will publish a Federal Register Notice on Monday, August 19, 2019, soliciting nominations to three independent marine mammal scientific review groups (SRG). We would like your assistance to identify qualified candidates. The three independent regional SRGs, covering Alaska, the Atlantic (including the Gulf of Mexico), and the Pacific (including Hawaii), were established under section 117(d) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act to provide advice on a range of marine mammal science and management issues. >click to read< 16:27

Prince William Sound Pink salmon fishery back in business

Pink salmon commercial harvests are still below forecasts, but even with no prospect of rain predicted so far until Aug. 22, the catch in Prince William Sound rose from 17.6 million to 22.2 million within the past week. Preliminary harvest figures posted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game showed that 22,904,000 pinks comprised the bulk of the overall Prince William Sound harvest as of Aug. 14. The rest of the overall catch to date of 30.5 million fish in the Sound’s commercial harvest includes 5,026,000 chum, 2,526,000 sockeyes, 18,000 Chinook and 15,000 coho salmon. >click to read< 13:13

Sockeye harvests wind down; pinks and chums slow going

As Alaska’s salmon fisheries transition away from sockeye and kings to pinks and chums, the harvest results so far look mixed. May, June and July are the main harvest months for sockeye salmon across Alaska, beginning in Prince William Sound and reaching a crescendo in Bristol Bay throughout July. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game forecasted a total sockeye harvest of 41.7 million sockeye salmon for the 2019 season. Some sockeye are still being harvested, but as of Aug. 11, the count stood at 53.7 million sockeye, more than 43.1 million of which came from Bristol Bay. Bristol Bay’s harvest blows away even the large harvest from 2018 of 41.7 million,,, >click to read< 10:07

Boom or bust in Adak? Politics will decide

Adak is 1,200 miles west of Anchorage in the Aleutian Islands in the center of some of Alaska’s last “derby style” fisheries. Now, a great political struggle between some large Seattle-based corporate fishing companies and this Aleut community will determine whether Adak and it’s value-added approach to seafood development survives or if these valuable Alaska fisheries resources are simply added to the portfolios of the consolidated fishing companies. These large fishing companies already have exclusive Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands fishing privileges with an aggregate value in excess of $2 billion. In contrast, if Adak and Alaska lose this struggle, the community is not likely to survive. >click to read< 18:58

‘Deadliest Catch’ Star Jake Harris Sentenced To Prison After Police Chase

Jacob “Jake” Harris, who headlined the show until 2012, was convicted of driving under the influence and possession with intent to manufacture or distribute heroin. He pleaded guilty to the felony charges and was sentenced on Aug. 1. Harris, 33, is the younger brother of Josh Harris, who currently captains the multi-million dollar fishing vessel, the Cornelia Marie, on “Deadliest Catch.”  He’s being transferred to a Washington state penitentiary today, according to the Skagit County District Attorney’s Office.  >click to read< 13:25

Tribes Release 1st Salmon Into Upper Columbia Since Dam Construction

Cheers erupted from the crowd as the first salmon was released since 1955 into the Columbia River above Chief Joseph Dam. It was the first of 30 fish released. A truck transported the salmon up and around the dam in northeastern Washington. A chain of people lined up shoulder-to-shoulder. They passed bags filled with one salmon at a time from the truck to the river. Crystal Conant, a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, released the final fish of the day. >click to read< 18:25

Pebble Mine: Commercial Fishermen, Indigenous People Unite to Fight Mine in Alaska

The Pebble Mine is a large deposit of gold, copper and molybdenum located at the headwaters of Bristol Bay. The deposit was first discovered in the 1980s and multinational corporations began seriously pursuing its development in the 2000s. Those who want to develop the mine say it will create high-paying jobs for locals and reduce America’s dependence on foreign countries for the provision of raw materials. Opponents say toxic discharge from the mine could foul the home of the world’s largest salmon run, bankrupting the mammoth fishing industry and destroying the local ecology. “It’s one of the unique things about this whole fight,”,,, >click to read< 10:40

Scientists warn of too many pink salmon in North Pacific

Biological oceanographer Sonia Batten experienced her lightbulb moment on the perils of too many salmon three years ago as she prepared a talk on the most important North Pacific seafood you’ll never see on a plate, zooplankton. Zooplanktons nourish everything from juvenile salmon to seabirds to giant whales. But as Batten examined 15 years of data collected by instruments on container ships near the Aleutian Islands, she noticed a trend: zooplankton was abundant in even-number years and less abundant in odd-number years. Something was stripping a basic building block in the food web every other year. And just one predator fit that profile. >click to read< 15:47

‘It’s gonna kill this community’: A tiny Alaska town and others in the state brace as governor guts budget

The little fishing town of Cordova, perched next to the Copper River Delta in Prince William Sound, is no stranger to the cycles of catastrophe, hardship and recovery. But residents say Alaska’s current budget crisis, which has pitted a Republican governor and his red pen against legislators — and inspired a bipartisan recall campaign — is unlike any threat they’ve ever faced. Cordovans are especially worried about cuts to the ferry system, their highway to the outside world.,, “This is a dismantling of our state: economically, emotionally, morally,” said Rep. Louise Stutes, a Republican who represents parts of south-central Alaska, including Cordova. “It’s unreal. It’s just stinking unreal.” >click to read< 10:15

Legislative Update: Amended budget is just a start for ferry service – By Rep. Louise Stutes – >click to read< 

“LML 144” – Sailboat secures past to present with Homer to Bristol Bay trip

Standing tall among the thousands of visitors at last weekend’s Salmonfest was a 29-foot long wooden vessel with a 9-foot beam, a 25-foot mast, and a plaque identifying it as “LML 144.”,,, Accompanying it were Tim Troll of Dillingham and Dave Seaman and Kate Mitchell, both of Homer, organizers of “Sailing Back to the Bay.” The vessel is set to take off and then follow a route that has linked Homer and Bristol Bay for decades. It will sail west, across Cook Inlet to Williamsport, be portaged 26 miles to Iliamna Lake, sail the length of the lake with stops at villages along the way, navigate the Kvichak River, and then proceed on Bristol Bay to the community of Naknek, arriving an estimated two weeks later, in time for Naknek’s “Fishtival.” Total distance of the journey: more than 200 miles. Photo’s  >click to read< 22:02

Transported in ship ballast, Invasive crab poses threat to coastal ecosystem

Alaska normally welcomes European tourists. One traveler who’s been officially banned, however, is the European green crab, an invasive species with the potential to overrun coastal ecosystems. The green crab has already colonized Washington and parts of British Columbia, and conservationists want to delay its arrival in Alaska for as long as possible. The green crab lacks predators outside its original habitat,,, >click to read<  20:35

FISH & MEN: A film on the High Cost of Cheap Fish

We hope the fishing families and pioneers featured in this film will inspire a movement,,, For centuries, cod fed the world and helped build a nation. Nowhere was that more so than in Gloucester, Massachusetts – America’s oldest fishing port. But, today all that has changed… From California to Maine, small fishing communities struggle to survive. The iconic American fisherman is in a perfect storm of foreign competition, erratic regulations and rising costs. Trailer, photo’s, of some of the best people on the planet. Please support this effort.  >click to read< 14:51

How Much Do Deckhands on ‘Deadliest Catch’ Actually Make?

If you’re a fan of Deadliest Catch, then you already know that the Discovery show follows a cast of captains and their crew members as they embark on the dangerous career of Alaskan crab fishing, (and West Coast Dungy fishing). But you’ve also likely wondered why anyone would put themselves in this much potential harm. The answer is easy: Money. According to former stars and captains Gary and Kenny Ripka, the heads of the vessels can make quite a bit during one season. >click to read< 08:39

Coast Guard urges EPIRB education to save taxpayer dollars, lives

When the Coast Guard receives an EPIRB alert and cannot trace it to the owner due to missing or outdated registration information, they launch aircraft and boat crews to search the area for signs of distress. It costs approximately $15,000 per hour to fly a C-130 Hercules aircraft, $10,000 per hour to fly an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, and $5,000 per hour to operate a Coast Guard small boat. Since October 1, 2018, there have been 16 confirmed false alerts for distress beacons in Alaska that cost the taxpayer approximately $353,108. Of those 16 cases, three of the distress beacons were located in garbage dumps. The cost for searching for those beacons was approximately $35,000. >click to read< 14:53

Coast Guard boat crew, Ketchikan EMS medevac injured fisherman in Revillagigedo Channel, Alaska

A Coast Guard Station Ketchikan 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew medevaced an injured 58-year-old man off the fishing vessel Lake Bay in Revillagigedo Channel, 18 miles southeast of Ketchikan, Alaska, Monday. The boat crew and Ketchikan emergency medical services coordinated efforts to transfer the man from the small boat to Station Ketchikan. Ketchikan EMS further transported the man to Ketchikan Medical Center. The man was reported stable upon transfer. >click to read< 22:09

2018 Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries

Number of US fish stocks at sustainable levels remains near record high – Today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released the Status of U.S. Fisheries Annual Report to Congress, which details the status of 479 federally-managed stocks or stock complexes in the U.S. to identify which stocks are subject to overfishing, are overfished, or are rebuilt to sustainable levels. >click here to read a rundown of the report< To read the report, 2018 Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries >click here<  15:26

Kenai River sockeye push liberalizes bag limits; commercial catches rise

After a slow start to their season, things are looking up for Upper Cook Inlet’s commercial fishermen. Total salmon landings reached 1.4 million after the July 29 fishing period, with more than 1.1 million sockeye so far. The majority of those landings have come from the Central District drift gillnet fleet and east side setnets, with setnetters on the west side, Kalgin Island and in the Northern district bringing in about 150,000 salmon between them, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Elizabeth Earl >click to read< 15:29

EPA kills proposed Obama-era Pebble mine ‘veto’

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday it will reverse an Obama-era decision to block a controversial Alaska mine project. “After today’s action EPA will focus on the permit review process for the Pebble Mine project” Region 10 Administrator Chris Hladick said in a statement. While the EPA is withdrawing the 2014 determination, which it wrote “was issued preemptively and is now outdated,” the withdrawal does not constitute an approval of the permit application or a determination in the permitting process. “Instead, it allows EPA to continue working with the Corps to review the current permit application and engage in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process,” the statement reads. >click to read< 19:19

Remembering 1919, one hundred years later, the Spanish flu hit Bristol Bay, and the salmon run collapsed.

“The Spanish flu arrived to Alaska in 1918 and devastated the population.,, People thought it had run its course that winter, but when cannery ships arrived in 1919, people were quickly becoming sick, it was evidenced it was influenza, and it devastated not just the Native population, it killed many people who lived here, but it really changed the demographics in this region.” Within weeks of the start of the 1919 fishing season, hundreds of cannery workers and locals were infected with the Spanish flu.  The virus wiped out most of the adult population in many villages around Bristol Bay, leaving behind dozens of orphaned children. One of the communities most changed by the outbreak was Naknek. >click to read< 22:05

On Yukon, late salmon run means month and a half fishery reduced to less than two weeks

The lower Yukon River, one of the nation’s poorest regions, has one major industry: chum salmon fishing. The summer fishery usually opens at the beginning of June, but this year it didn’t open until July.,,, Commercial fisherman Lorraine Joseph is fishing with her father and hopes to net a couple hundred fish today, but she won’t be able to catch up to where they usually are this time of year. “But we’re making some money,” she says before climbing in her boat. Photo gallery, >click to read< 16:31

PWSAC produces wild salmon for all

As general manager/CEO of the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corp., Casey Campbell is all about helping to educate the public about PWSAC’s role in developing sustainable salmon fisheries and how they do it. The state’s hatchery program itself, notes Campbell, was started in the mid-1970s to enhance, not replace wild salmon, so that coastal communities could have economies based on salmon, many challenges notwithstanding. The Good Friday earthquake in March of 1964 changed the topography of Prince William Sound and then in the 1970s there was very cold weather, he said. >click to read<  19:58

‘Tin Can Country’ stretches from Alaska to the Pacific Northwest

In much the same way that it’s a good idea to assume anyone you talk to here may be related to nearly anyone else you might mention, it’s also fairly safe to assume they have some connection with Alaska. A desirable new book, “Tin Can Country: Southeast Alaska’s Historic Salmon Canneries,” drives home the strong bonds between the great state of the north and the Pacific Northwest. Edited by Anjuli Grantham with individual chapters by top historians and experts including my friend, the legendary Karen Hofstad, “Tin Can Country” chronicles the golden age between 1878 and 1949. >click to read< 14:28

Chignik Bay ‘hanging by a thread’ in second year of scant fishing

For the second year in a row, Allen and other Chignik fishermen have mostly been left to twiddle their thumbs. During the summer of 2018, they did not have a single opener. That was a year without fish, and a year without income.  With a healthy dose of optimism in the offseason, many were ready to write off the bad summer as a fluke and get back to fishing in 2019. The second half of the season has produced a handful of openers, but after spending the entire first half of the season passed with no catch, fishermen say there’s still a dwindling sense of hope. >click to read< 09:35

Coho salmon closures on tap for Southeast commercial trollers

Commercial salmon trollers in Southeast can expect a region-wide fishing closure for coho salmon in August. One part of the region is already being shut down because of low coho numbers. But a second king salmon opening is likely to keep the fleet on the water. Trollers have been targeting coho and chum salmon since the end of the five day opening for king salmon at the beginning of July. >click to read<  21:29

California coasts recovering, but more marine heatwaves like ‘The Blob’ expected

The effects of the marine heatwave off the California coast from 2014 to 2016, better known as The Blob, that led to a decrease in Chinook salmon and virtually shut down the Dungeness crab industry are finally starting to wear off.,,, “It wasn’t about (a lack of) abundance,” said Noah Oppenheim, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. “It was about destabilized ecosystems.” >click to read< 10:50