Category Archives: North Pacific

FISH FACTOR: First checks finally set for 2016 pink salmon disaster

It’s been a long time coming but payments should soon be in hand for Alaska fishermen, processors and coastal communities hurt by the 2016 pink salmon run failure, the worst in 40 years.  Congress OK’d more than $56 million in federal relief in 2017, but the authorization to cut the money loose languished on NOAA desks in D.C. for more than two years. The payouts got delayed again last October,,, >click to read< 17:18

Coast Guard notes communications dead zones in Southeast

The U.S. Coast Guard has released a list of communications towers in Alaska that may not be receiving VHF radio broadcasts and is warning mariners to bring back up communications systems. Seven of the problem towers are in Southeast Alaska, including Zarembo Island and Cape Fanshaw near Wrangell and Petersburg, two towers in southern Southeast near Ketchikan and Prince of Wales Island, along with sites near Sitka and Pelican. Those are dead zones where the Coast Guard won’t be able to hear distress calls on emergency channel 16. >click to read< 08:17

Fish sticks generate greenhouse gas emissions

Researchers have found that transforming ‘Alaskan pollock’ into fish sticks, imitation crab and fish fillets generates nearly twice the greenhouse gas emissions produced by fishing itself. Post-catch processing generates nearly twice the emissions produced by fishing itself, which is typically where the analysis of the climate impact of seafood ends, according to the findings, published in the journal Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. >click to read< 15:29

Rockfish closure another blow to Southeast fleet

Southeast Alaska fishermen won’t get to target yelloweye rockfish in 2020, and that’s another notch in tightening belt for the area fleet. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the full-year closure on Dec. 31, spanning both the commercial and recreational sectors. Targeted fishing for all nonpelagic rockfish, which includes species like yelloweye, quillback, tiger and china rockfish, will be closed across the region due to declining populations of the fish. >click to read< 11:00

Bill seeks registration relief for licensed commercial fishing boats

Among the bills already filed for the upcoming legislative session is one that would offer relief from a new state registration requirement for owners of commercial fishing boats. In 2018 the legislature approved an expansion and rewrite of the state’s Derelict Vessel Act. Among other measures it expanded the boats that are now required to register with the state, including those already documented with the U.S. Coast Guard. The 2018 law was pushed by the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators and it was meant to increase means to track ownership and responsibility for expensive clean up of abandoned boats. >click to read< 15:36

Full Committee Markup, Legislative Hearing on Sustainable Fisheries

The Committee on Natural Resources will hold a markup on Wednesday, Jan. 15. On Tuesday, Jan. 14, our Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee will hold a legislative hearing on six bills that make our oceans and fisheries more sustainable in the face of manmade threats. The Committee’s full schedule and witness lists are available below. As with all hearings and markups, these events are open to media and the public.  >click to read< 07:37

F/V Scandies Rose: Stuart Coast Guardsman recalls saving two fishermen off coast of Alaska

“I just told myself this what I trained for. I volunteered to do this so I knew what I had to. It was up to me to execute it,” said Evan Grills. Grills, 24,is a Petty Officer 3rd Class in the U.S. Coast Guard. “My nerves were OK until the door opened,” he said, as the rescue swimmer recalled the signal his crew received New Year’s Eve night. Video,  >click to read< 06:22

Suit targets Alaska salmon management to protect southern killer whales

The Wild Fish Conservancy filed notice on January 9, stating its intentions to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service for violating the Endangered Species Act, and jeopardizing the existence of Southern Resident Killer Whales. The Conservancy argues that an important food supply of the whales, endangered stocks of chinook salmon originating in Puget Sound, the lower Columbia River, the Willamette River, and Snake River is being depleted by the commercial troll and sport harvest in Southeast Alaska. >click to read< 20:51

Battling the waves to stay alive: A tale of survival from the F/V Scandies Rose

For John Lawler, the only encouraging thing was a glow from a second life raft about a quarter-mile away. He hoped that light would stay on, and someone would find him and crewmate Dean Gribble Jr. in the pitch-black aftermath of Scandies Rose crab boat going down in the Gulf of Alaska. “We would lose sight of it because the waves were so big, but it would always reappear, ” said Lawler, a 34-year-old crabber from Anchorage, Alaska. >click to read< 18:51

Fishery FUNDD Act: Reps. Palazzo and Huffman Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Improve Federal Fisheries Disaster Relief Program

Representatives Steven Palazzo (MS-4) and Jared Huffman (CA-2) have introduced the Fishery Failures: Urgently Needed Disaster Declarations Act (Fishery FUNDD Act), which will improve the federal fishery disaster process and ensure more timely disaster relief for impacted communities.  The Fishery FUNDD Act would set a timeline for the federal government to respond to a fishery disaster request, and set a timeline for disbursal of appropriated funds following a disaster. >click to read< 14:05

Southeast Alaska fishermen unite against designating critical habitat for humpback whales

Fishermen from different gear groups united against a proposed federal rule to designate Southeast Alaska as critical habitat for humpback whales. About 60 people crowded into the Petersburg borough assembly chambers and others overflowed into the hallway. Most were fishermen from Petersburg, Wrangell, and Ketchikan.,,  They had the same message for the federal government. They don’t want Southeast labeled critical habitat for whales. >click to read< 13:00

Fishermen bound for Alaska receive prayers

A crowd of people gathered at the Port of Newport International Terminal at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 7, where prayers were offered for local commercial fishermen who are headed this week to Alaska’s Bering Sea. South Beach Church Pastor Luke Frechette called everyone in. “Closer,” he said, as dozens of people — fishermen, their families and their friends — formed a circle. The large fishing vessels, geared up, lined the dock behind them. >click to read< 08:17

Future of offshore fish farming in federal waters at issue in court

The potential environmental and economic consequences posed by proposals for fish farming in federal waters dictate that Congress — not a federal agency — must decide how to regulate the industry, an attorney told a federal appeals court Monday. At issue before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was a September 2018 ruling by a federal judge who threw out National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s rules for fish farms in the Gulf of Mexico, saying Congress never gave the agency authority to make them. >click to read< 14:58

Meet Chris Schillaci who Joins Greater Atlantic Region’s Aquaculture Program! – In December, Chris Schillaci joined the Greater Atlantic Region’s aquaculture program, bringing ten years of experience to his new role. We asked Chris a few questions as he was settling in. >Click to read<

A ‘battleship’ of a crab boat – Owner of Alaska crab boat thought of Scandies Rose as unsinkable

The F/V Scandies Rose, which was managed out of Seattle, sank suddenly near Sutwik Island, off the coast of the Alaskan Peninsula. Two crew members were rescued by the Coast Guard from life rafts; the other five were not found. Two of the lost crew members and one of the survivors were from Washington. Dan Mattsen, who owns the Scandies Rose with two other partners, said he is still processing what happened. He is interviewed by  KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson >click to read, listen< 19:27

Bycatch – From problem to opportunity. Nils E. Stolpe/FishNet USA

For as long as I have been involved in the commercial fishing industry, and that’s going back for what is approaching forty years, there has been a widespread feeling that “things would be better if this industry were administratively housed in the Department of Agriculture (DOA).” Whether at the state level, in state waters within three miles of the coastline, or the federal level beyond three miles, there’s always been a sort of wistful “wouldn’t it be great if we were over there” view of the DOA, and the reasons for this aren’t awfully difficult to fathom. The Department of Agriculture, no matter whether state or federal, is mostly focused on promotion, and fisheries agencies, no matter the level, are regulatory in nature, in organization and in attitude. This is glaringly obvious with the National Marine Fisheries Service, the federal fisheries agency, which in recent years has become almost totally focused to the virtual exclusion of anything else on limiting – rather than enhancing – the commercial production of fish and shellfish. >click to read< 15:06

In Alaska, commercial fishing remains dangerous despite increased safety measures

Commercial fishing was once the most dangerous job in the country, (Scott Wilwert said, and during the 1970s and 1980s an increase in accidents and deaths ultimately led to the passage of the Commercial Fishing Industry Vessel Safety Act of 1988. The regulations required boats to have survival suits and life rafts and to carry out onboard safety drills, among other safety measures.,, “There was a time in the ’70s and ’80s where, I think, even the fishermen would tell you that there was a mentality, that ‘you have to go out but you don’t have to come back’ kind of thing,” Wilwert said. “That just doesn’t exist, nobody thinks that way anymore.” >click to read< 07:29

After the sinking of the F/V Scandies Rose, an aftermath of anguish

Before Alaska crabber Brock Rainey headed out to start a new season, he checked in with his longtime friend Mike Daily. This winter was no different. “Tossing lines for the Bering Sea today…Love you brother,” Rainey texted in the hours before the boat he crewed on, the Scandies Rose, left Kodiak on Monday. The 130-foot vessel never reached its next port. Rainey and four others, including two men from Washington, were not found during a 20-hour search that was called off Wednesday night.  >click to read< 16:53

A Fundraiser has been started by Hailey and Lukas Engstrom for the family’s of F/V Scandies Rose>Please click here<

F/V Scandies Rose: Survivor Dean Gribble Jr. describes 20-foot seas,”worst possible conditions.”- Calls to loved ones reveal rough conditions before sinking

In a YouTube video, Dean Gribble Jr. explains the people on board the Dutch Harbor-based vessel – with business operations out of Seattle – went “from sleeping to swimming” in about 10 minutes when the vessel began to capsize. “It happened really fast,” Gribble Jr. said. The video from Gribble Jr. can be seen in its entirety >click here< ,, Gribble Jr. says he and John Lawler were in a life raft for “five hours or so” before being rescued by a Jayhawk helicopter. They were wearing survival suits. >click to read< 14:18

Calls to loved ones reveal rough conditions before sinking – The 130-foot (40-meter) Scandies Rose was traveling in an area with warnings about strong winds and heavy freezing spray, said Louise Fode, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service. >click to read< 14:39

A Fundraiser has been started by Hailey and Lukas Engstrom for the family’s of F/V Scandies Rose

From the fundraiser, My name is Hailey Engstrom. My brother Lukas and I are raising money for the families that suffered this horrible tragedy. Our father, We Engstrom recently retired from the Scandies as the deck boss for 10 years, and with the company for nearly 20 years. Coming from a fishing family, this accident hit home with us extremely hard. >click to read< Please contribute to this fundraiser if you can! 08:36

F/V Scandies Rose: Family of missing fishermen mourn but pledge to keep fishing

Fishing runs deep in the DNA of the Cobban family so they know as well as anyone how dangerous the profession can be.  Four generations of commercial fishermen from the family have fished out of Kodiak. On New Year’s Eve, members from two generations were lost when their vessel capsized off of the Alaska Peninsula near Sutwik Island. On Wednesday evening, the Coast Guard called off the search for five of the crew members who weren’t located during the initial response.  That’s left family members coming to terms with the fact that their loved ones likely won’t be coming home. >click to read< 07:08

F/V Scandies Rose: Coast Guard suspends search, Releases names of five missing fishermen and two survivors

The Coast Guard suspended its search Wednesday at 6:08 p.m. for five missing fishermen in the waters near Sutwik Island, Alaska. The five missing are:
Gary Cobban, Jr. (Master), David Lee Cobban, Arthur Ganacias, Brock Rainey, and Seth Rousseau-Gano.  The two survivors are Dean Gribble Jr., and John Lawler. The search spanned over 20 hours, 1,400 square miles and included the following assets,,, >click to read< 19:17

F/V Scandies Rose: Five Crew Members Feared Dead

Five crew members missing after a crab fishing vessel sank in the frigid waters off Alaska were feared dead after authorities called off a search for those working in the one of the most dangerous industries in the U.S. Two other crew members were rescued after the disaster Tuesday,,, The agency didn’t release any details Thursday on what caused the boat to sink, saying talking to the survivors is part of the investigation. The boat, named the Scandies Rose, was carrying a load of crabbing pots for the start of the winter season,.. >click to read<  17:29

Coast Guard suspends search for 5 missing fishermen in waters near Sutwik Island

JUNEAU, Alaska – The Coast Guard suspended its search Wednesday at 6:08 p.m. for five missing fishermen in the waters near Sutwik Island, Alaska. The search spanned over 20 hours, 1,400 square miles,,, ”Watchstanders at the 17th District Command Center in Juneau were notified of a mayday call via High Frequency radio on Tuesday evening from the fishing vessel Scandies Rose, which capsized and sank approximately five miles southeast of Sutwik Island. >click to read< 05:26

F/V Scandies Rose: Coast Guard searching for crew members of crab vessel that sank in Gulf of Alaska

The Coast Guard has not officially identified any of the crewmembers. The crew placed a mayday call around 10 p.m. Tuesday, the Coast Guard said. McKenzie said she didn’t know what time the two crew members were found, or what their condition is. McKenzie said investigators don’t know what might have caused the ship to sink. Efforts right now are focused on finding the remaining five fishermen, then an investigation will launch into what caused the vessel to sink. She said families of most of the crew have been notified. >click to read<  20:46

Coast Guard searching for 5 Fishermen after crab boat sinks near Sutwik Island. 2 Fishermen were rescued>click to read< 14:36

Coast Guard searching for 5 Fishermen after crab boat sinks near Sutwik Island. 2 Fishermen were rescued

JUNEAU, Alaska — Coast Guard crews are searching for five people in the water Wednesday after their boat sank near Sutwik Island, Alaska. F/V Scandies Rose, a 130-foot crab fishing vessel homeported in Dutch Harbor, sank at approximately 10 p.m. Tuesday with seven crew members aboard. Two survivors were rescued, five crew members are still missing. The vessel’s last known position was 170 miles southwest of Air Station Kodiak. >click to read< 14:36

F/V Scandies Rose: Coast Guard searching for crew members of crab vessel that sank in Gulf of Alaska>click to read< 20:46

Alaska’s 2019 fisheries bring new records, continued concern

Alaska’S fisheries in 2019 had several bright spots, yet many areas of concern will return into the next year. Once again the sockeye fishery in Bristol Bay was the shining star of the commercial sector. Fishermen caught Bristol Bay’s 2 billionth sockeye salmon since records were first kept. The in-shore run of 57 million fish clocked in at the fourth-largest run on the record books, but the ex-vessel value of $306 million ranks as the best of all time. >click to read< 09:15

Crabbing commences: Rich fishery attracts out-of-area boats

“Just the excitement of it. There’s no quotas, may the best man win,” said F/V Nordic Fox captain Cub Jansen, 29, when asked about the appeal of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery. “It’s one of the last things you can do where hard work can really reward you.” Jansen, with crew Dru Rowe, Larry Bell, Cub Jansen, Mitch Clark and Raj Clark, was among several commercial skippers crabbing out of the Port of Ilwaco for the first time. 21 Photos.  >click to read< 17:45

Sam Parisi: Its 2020 and time to move this industry forward!

Here we are again, at the end of the year, and decade for that matter, as 2019 is ending, and its time to move forward. As some of my fellow Fisherynation readers know, I am motivated to try improving the U.S. fishing industry for our country’s working U.S. fishermen. I have reached out to my Senators Markey, and Warren, and also to Congressman Moulton to help draft a US Fish Bill. This is an opportunity for everyone in this ridiculously diverse industry from sea urchin, and scallop divers, to clam dredgers, and every faction of the industry, traditional, and exotic, to have personal input into a bill built for you, built by you, and built by your fellow industry members. >click to read< 16:50

Cod fishery closure, Trident plant shutdown slam Sand Point

Earlier this month the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council completely closed the Gulf of Alaska cod fishery after several years of decreased catch limits. Although the closure of the valuable fishery will have a wide impact across the Alaska seafood industry, the city of Sand Point was already facing a blow after Trident Seafoods announced it would close its processing plant in the city for the winter. “It’s a big challenge for the community. We have a lot of people who are actively involved in the fishery. >click to read< 08:30

Coast Guard experiencing communication degradation in Prince William Sound, Alaska

Coast Guard Sector Anchorage watchstanders are experiencing intermittent communications within the 3,745 square-mile area of Prince William Sound and may not be able to hear mariners on VHF-FM radio. “As technicians work to analyze and restore Coast Guard radio coverage for Prince William Sound, I urge mariners to listen more carefully to channel 16 and to relay any possible distress calls to the Coast Guard via other means, like HF radio, satellite communications and cell phones,” said Cmdr. Scott Smith, chief of response for Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. >click to read< 06:31