Category Archives: North Pacific

Pacific Seafood Processor’s Association seeks probe into America’s Finest foreign steel

The trade group representing Alaska’s onshore fish processing plants is challenging a request for an exemption to a federal law limiting the amount of foreign steel allowed in fishing vessel construction. The Pacific Seafood Processor’s Association has major issues with the request for a Jones Act waiver sought by Fisherman’s Finest, the owner of the embattled flatfish factory trawler American’s Finest, and its builder, the Washington shipyard Dakota Creek Industries. The 261-foot vessel is nearly complete at a cost of at least $60 million, and cannot fish in U.S. waters without the waivers. PSPA’s members include Unisea and Westward in Unalaska, and most of the other fish processors in Alaska. click here to read the story 09:52

A big harvest + a buck a pound: Bristol Bay 2017 will be one for the books

Mother Nature sent way more sockeye back to Bristol Bay than was expected, and many fishermen recorded their top seasons ever. As other fisheries fall short, the market is eager for all the fish the Bay can provide, so the fleet goes home with a better price, too. The ex-vessel value may be the highest since early 90s.The Bristol Bay run is not over yet, with word Monday that the Kvichak River seemed to finally “pop”, but this year’s fishery is shaping up to be one of the largest ever and certainly one of the most valuable in a long time.,,, “We are really happy to see several processors posting $1/lb base price – especially considering the base price just 2 years ago was .50 cents,” said Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association executive director Becky Martello. “With much of the fleet now chilling and bleeding, it means that our fishermen can get upwards of $1.25/pound. That’s good news for the fleet and the fishery.” click here to read the story 17:51

NOAA locates F/V Destination wreckage, Coast Guard hearing set for August

Two NOAA ships, en route to scientific missions in Alaskan waters, helped locate the missing fishing vessel Destination at the request of the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation. The Destination and its six crew members were lost February 11, 2017, while fishing for Opilio crab (snow crab) northwest of St. George, Alaska. NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson, a fisheries survey vessel, conducted the first survey from April 30 through May 1. The Dyson used its multibeam echo sounder to search the area around the last known position of the Destination. While the ship was not able to positively identify any contacts, it did narrow the search area. A second survey by NOAA Ship Fairweather, a hydrographic survey vessel, was conducted on July 8 and 9. The Fairweather used its multibeam sonar, designed for seafloor mapping and object detection, to locate the Destination in approximately 250 feet of water. click here to read the press release 13:51

Senators Murkowski and King Renew Call to Ratify Law of the Sea Treaty to Help Chart Future of the Arctic

Two key senators have renewed a more than 30-year-old United States call to ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty in order to have a seat at the table involving the Arctic’s future. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said Wednesday by not ratifying the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea the United States is locked out of international enforcement of what it considers its outer continental shelf for possible development and protection, the seabed and fisheries.  Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), also a member of the committee, called the Senate’s failure to ratify the pact “a huge self-inflicted wound,” speaking Wednesday at the Center for International and Strategic Studies. The failure to ratify based on arguments of loss of American sovereignty if approved means “right now we’re not in the game” in deciding broad maritime issues.  click here to read the story 13:24

Couple Charged with Crimes Related to False Distress Call to Fake Lead Defendant’s Death to Avoid Prison

Acting U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced today that two Port Graham, Alaska, residents have been federally charged related to their causing the United States Coast Guard to attempt to save life and property when no help was needed.  Ryan Riley Meganack, aka: “Unga,” 34, and his girlfriend, Ivy Rose Rodriguez, 25, both of Port Graham, Alaska, were charged with conspiracy and false distress. Meganack was also charged with felon in possession of a firearm. Meganack, a long-time commercial fisherman and a boat captain, was scheduled to plead guilty on Dec. 5, 2016, in a separate case (State of Alaska v. Meganack, 3AN-15-00683CR), and understood that at the time he pled guilty in that matter he would go to prison. To avoid that consequence, Meganack attempted to fake his own death and enlisted the help of his girlfriend, Rodriguez. click here to read the story 10:53

The Man Who Got Americans to Eat Trash Fish Is Now a Billionaire

Chuck Bundrant was a college freshman with $80 in his pocket when he drove halfway across the country to Seattle to earn a few bucks fishing. The year was 1961. He hasn’t stopped fishing since. And today, Bundrant, the founder and majority owner of Trident Seafoods, is worth at least $1.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.,,, Chuck Bundrant’s story is the stuff of industry legend. “He knew nothing about fishing boats, or catching and processing crab and salmon,’’ son Joe said in a corporate video two years ago. “He’d only watched a movie with John Wayne in it called ‘North to Alaska.’ And he heard there was money to be made on the fishing grounds, thousands and thousands of miles from home.’’ After a few years, Bundrant was looking for a way to start a business in the industry. He met two other crab fishermen — Kaare Ness and Mike Jacobson — and in 1973 the three put their money together and built the Billikin, a 135-foot boat that changed the seafood industry, according to Trident’s corporate history. click here to read the story 19:06

Oversight Hearing “Exploring the Successes and Challenges of the Magnuson-Stevens Act” Wednesday, July 19, 2017 2:00 PM

On Wednesday, July 19, 2017, at 2:00 p.m., in Room 1324 Longworth House Office Building, the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans will hold an oversight hearing titled “Exploring the Successes and Challenges of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.”  Witnesses are Mr. Jeff Kaelin, Government Relations, Lund’s Fisheries, Inc. Cape May, New Jersey. Mr. Sean Martin, President, Hawaii Longline Association, Honolulu, Hawaii. Mr. Nick Wiley, Executive Director,  Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Tallahassee, Florida. Mr. Charles Witek, Recreational Angler and Outdoor Writer, West Babylon, New York. click here at 14:00 Wednesday to watch the proceeding.  If you need further information, please contact Calvin Frauenfelder, Clerk, Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans at (202) 225-8331.

Hearing Memorandum detailsclick here  19:35

A WICKED WINTER NIGHT – By Capt. Jack

The Bering Harvester pounds through challenging waves. The gale blows sea spray across our decks that flash freezes, adding weight to the boat. Having delivered our last load of fish, we’re enduring the 200-mile return to our fishing area. Boats can roll in icing conditions, but if I continue at reduced speed in the inky black night, the spray should be manageable. Squinting at the chart, my eyes burn from being awake for 24 hours. I plot a course skirting the peninsula separating the North Pacific and Bering Sea, keeping the trawler five miles from land. The first watch arrives in the wheelhouse to relieve me: Johnny, our youngest crewman at 24. His dark eyes look brighter after a few hours’ sleep. “If the wind picks up or the temp drops, wake me,” I say and go below deck to catch a nap. click here to read the story! 10:52

Longtime Nushagak fishermen say they’ve never seen a year like this

The total run to the Nushagak  in Bristol Bay has surpassed the all time record for the district. Those who have spent many, many decades fishing at Nushagak Point weigh in on the unprecedented season. The run has been substantial enough to overwhelm the processor, Peter Pan Seafoods, who has been forced to place Nushagak setnetters on daily limits.,, Curtis Olson, better known as ‘Ole’, is the self-proclaimed Mayor of Nushagak Point and has fished in the district for 37 years. He was medevaced out when his gall bladder turned septic during last year’s season and considered retirement. He says he’s glad he continued to fish, because he was able to participate in what he calls ‘the greatest run ever in the history of the Nushagak district.’ Audio, read the story here 07:59

Nushagak set netters try to not catch too much during record sockeye runclick here to read the story

Prince William Sound’s pink salmon run shows up late, harvest is underway

Up until Monday, numbers of pink salmon returning to Prince William Sound looked like they may be a repeat of last year’s dismal run, but the fish are beginning to show up and the harvest is underway. “On Monday, the common property fishery took about 2.5 million fish. Yesterday, it’s looking about 1.2 million,” Charles Russel said, Alaska Fish and Game’s Area Management Biologist for the Prince William Sound area. “Today, initial reports say that fisheries may be close to yesterday, but we’re a little bit behind, but still catching good numbers of fish.” The sudden pick up will have seiners breathing a sigh of relief after last year’s harvest, which was among the worst on record. The federal government officially declared the run in Prince William Sound and others around the state a disaster in January. click here to read the story 08:51

Coast Guard, Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington grant child’s wish in Kodiak, Alaska 

Members from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak and Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington granted a child’s wish to be a rescue swimmer in Kodiak, Alaska, Friday and Saturday. Andrew Bishop, an 8-year-old boy from Woodland, Washington, was designated as an honorary rescue swimmer aboard the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter after completing modified rescue swimmer pool training and basic air crewman training, Friday. Bishop was given a flight suit and reported for duty as a rescue swimmer, Saturday morning. During his first day of duty, he responded to a search and rescue case where he and the aircrew hoisted a hiker with simulated injuries. Bishop and the crew simulated CPR on the hiker and safely transported him to the air station. After the mission, he was met by members of various Coast Guard units and families and was presented an Air Medal for his work during the rescue. click here to read the story, and view more image’s. Well Done! 20:09

NMFS: Public Comment Period Opens – Review and Streamline Regulatory Processes and Reduce Regulatory Burden

On January 24, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order (E.O.) 13766, “Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High Priority Infrastructure Projects” (82 FR 8657, January 30, 2017). This E.O. requires infrastructure decisions to be accomplished with maximum efficiency and effectiveness, while also respecting property rights and protecting public safety. Additionally, the E.O. makes it a policy of the executive branch to “streamline and expedite, in a manner consistent with law, environmental reviews and approvals for all infrastructure projects.” click here to read the press release. click the links to comment. Let ‘er rip. This is your chance to be heard. 16:46

Southeast gillnetters set a one-week record

Commercial fishermen caught a historic amount of fish this week in a district south of Juneau. Statistics are still preliminary, but catch numbers for gillnetters in the Taku River-Port Snettisham district will likely set a record for the first full week of July, according to reports from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. ADF&G is reporting that fishermen in the district caught 170,000 chum salmon from July 2 to July 8, well above the previous record for the week of 134,000 set in 2013. So far, gillnetters have caught nearly five times as many chum salmon this year compared to last year. click here to read the story 12:25

An Alaska fishing commission has worked itself out of a job. But its commissioners still make more than $130,000 a year

The two political appointees, Ben Brown and Bruce Twomley, are being paid even though they’ve all but stopped doing the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission’s most essential work: They haven’t limited access to a fishery since 2004, and they’ve resolved no more than three permit applications in each of the past five years, down from the dozens that were once processed annually. The commission was created in the 1970s in an experiment at “limited entry”: capping the number of commercial fishermen in state fisheries as a means of conservation. The commission decided which fisheries to limit, then reviewed applications from fishermen and ruled on who would get to keep fishing and who would lose access — a right that had been enshrined in the Alaska Constitution until voters approved a limited entry amendment. The permits issued to the remaining fisherman essentially gave them exclusive rights to what had been a public resource — fish in the sea. Later, with a push from U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, the federal government began a similar process in waters outside the state’s 3-mile limit. click here to read the story 08:19

Coast Guard medevacs fishing vessel captain from a beach in the vicinity of Prince William Sound, Alaska

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew forward deployed to Cordova, Alaska, medevaced the captain of the fishing vessel Coventina from a beach in the vicinity of Prince William Sound, Alaska, Saturday. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Anchorage command center received a medevac request for the captain of the fishing vessel Coventina after it was reported he fell in the fish hold, injuring his ribs and showing signs of shock. A relief captain took control of the vessel and navigated to Stockdale Harbor on the northwest side of Montague Island. A Coast Guard flight surgeon was briefed and recommended immediate medevac. “Due to the configuration of the vessel the aircrew deemed it safer for the fishing vessel Coventina crew to transfer the injured captain to a nearby island,” said Petty Officer Nicholas Lippert,,, click here to read the press release 07:50

Meanwhile, at Brooks Falls – Katmai National Park Live Feed – Brown Bears feast on the largest Sockeye Salmon run in the world

16:51

F/V Bunchie towed back to Dillingham Harbor after near sinking Monday

The fishing vessel Bunchie was overloaded with sockeye on Sunday night when the boat began to list and eventually take on water. The crew aboard were picked up by another boat as they were putting on their survival suits and getting ready to board a life raft. “We got 50 (fathoms) on board and we started listing really low in the water, and waves were coming over in the back and everybody was scrambling to try to find the water pumps to pump the water out,” said John Casteel, a crew member aboard the Bunchie. The boat was deck-loaded. Casteel estimates more than 12 thousand pounds of sockeye were aboard when the Bunchie started to take on water. click here to read the story 09:37

Coast Guard medevacs man from fishing vessel 152 miles north of Dutch Harbor, Alaska

An aviation detachment crew deployed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Sherman medevaced a 33-year-old man from a fishing vessel Thursday morning approximately 152 miles north of Dutch Harbor.  Watchstanders at the 17th Coast Guard District command center received a request from Health Force Partners that a crewman aboard the Island Enterprise suffered a severe injury to his index finger. The Coast Guard flight surgeon recommended a medevac after consultation with HFP deemed the injury as potentially limb threatening. An AVDET MH-65 Dolphin crew hoisted the man safely and transported him to EMS in Dutch Harbor. Weather on scene was 34.5-mph winds, 8 to 10-foot seas and 11.5 miles visibility. -USCG- 23:08

A Fundraiser for Abigail and Joshua Osborne

Aloha, my name is Noelani. My cousins Abigail and Joshua Osborne were in a very tragic boating accident this past week. They were working aboard the Miss Destinee vessel this summer in Kodiak, Alaska. On Thursday, the 29th of June, the boat capsized. I made this go fund me account in hopes that we can raise the funds to lay them both to rest and in giving both Joshua & Abigail a proper burial. We’d like to thank you all so much for all the love and prayers. Your support has helped us during this difficult time. We appreciate each and everyone one of you that hold Joshua and Abigail in your hearts. Click here to reach the fundraiser page @ gofundme.com 20:27

Remains of Two Fishermen in F/V Miss Destinee Capsizing Recovered from Vessel Cabin Identified

Alaska State Troopers report that the remains of the two people missing crew that were missing from the F/V Miss Destinee were located in the cabin of the vessel  on July 4th. At 7:45 am on July 4th, a salvage company reported that they had managed to right the Miss Destinee and pump her out. The  vessel was then towed to the Kodiak harbor. Upon arrival. AST, Kodiak City Fire and the USCG Marine Safety Detachment responded to the vessel and recovered the remains of the two previously missing crew, identified as  Joshua Osborne, age 18, and Abigail Osborne, age 22, both of Wasilla. The State Medical Examiner’s office in Anchorage requested the remains for autopsy. click here to read the story 18:14

Webber designs on board net washing system

There’s nothing that catches fish better than a brand new net. If you can maintain a clean net you’re fully optimizing your ability to catch. Bill Webber runs Webber Marine and Manufacturing in Cordova, which specializes in the salmon gillnet arena. The net washer is one of the newest tools to come out of his shop. It essentially has vertical water chambers that weld onto the outboard sides of the rollers. The rollers still function as intended and they roll as the net goes through them. On the front and the back of this level line there’s vertical water jet holes in the water columns that spray at each other and through the net as it goes through the level lines. click here to read the story 15:27

Zuckerberg’s fake news

Seven months ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was voicing plans to combat fake news on the social media website. And this week he’s in Alaska doing what else? Creating fake news. But that all sort of pales compared to coming to Alaska, apparently breaking the law, and providing photographic evidence of the crime to your 92,734,686 followers. Granted, Zuckerberg can surely claim ignorance, given that Alaska fish and game laws are often confusing even to Alaskans. They are particularly confusing when it comes to non-residents and the Alaska practice of dipnetting salmon, ie. scooping them out of the water with a big net. As Zuckerberg duly notes in a post with one of his photos he was “tagging along with locals who were going dip netting. I couldn’t participate since only Alaskans can do subsistence fishing.” Actually, the fishery was a personal-use dipnet fishery, but it looks like a subsistence fishery. Zuckerberg probably just wrote down what those locals told him. Whether they told him exactly what the law allows only he knows. But what the Alaska Department of Fish and Game says is this: click here to read the story 10:10

UPDATE: Two of four partially submerged fishing vessels recovered

The U.S. Coast Guard said Tuesday that two of four partially submerged fishing vessels had been recovered. Petty Officer Bill Colclough of the U.S. Coast Guard said multiple agencies were working to retrieve the other two remaining vessels. “We’re working with the vessel owners to safely recover those vessels from the waterway,” Colclough said. Colclough said there were harsh conditions in the Nushagak Bay area on Monday. “In Nushagak Bay and near Dillingham, there are a series of sand bars and harsh there were harsh weather conditions present yesterday combined with the shifting sand bars that made it much more difficult,” Colclough said. click here to read the story 11:25

4 loaded Bristol Bay fishing boats swamped in bad weather

At least four commercial fishing vessels partially sank in Bristol Bay after boats heavy with salmon had difficulty navigating poor weather in the region. U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Bill Colclough said the four vessels were all partially submerged Monday in different parts of Nushagak Bay after they were swamped by waves and began taking on water.,, Colclough said good Samaritan vessels assisted in recovering everyone on board and no one was injured. He did not know Monday how many people were rescued.,,But the sinkings come as the salmon season in Bristol Bay ramps up. Alaska Department of Fish and Game area biologist Tim Sands said fishing in the area had been getting progressively slower since the end of last week, but that Monday morning the sockeye run surged. click here to read the story 08:21

Coast Guard responds to report of 4 fishing vessels taking on water near Dillingham, Alaska

The Coast Guard is responding to a report of four fishing vessels taking on water Monday in vicinity of Nushagak Bay near Dillingham. Coast Guard Sector Anchorage received a report Monday morning that four commercial fishing vessels engaged in salmon fishing began taking on water and became partially submerged in separate incidents. Three good Samaritan vessels and crews recovered all people safely from the four fishing vessels. There is a report of a diesel sheen around one of the fishing vessels that is partially submerged. There are no reports of injuries. “We are working closely with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Alaska Fish and Game and the Bristol Bay Native Association to mitigate any potential harm to the environment,” said Capt. Sean Mackenzie, Federal On-Scene Coordinator, commander for Sector Anchorage. The cause of the incidents is under investigation. For inquiries related to the salmon fisheries contact Lisa Krebs-Barsis, Aleutians/Western Alaska Unit Supervisor, Prevention, Preparedness and Response Program, ADEC, at 907-269-8487 (office); 907-542-5798 (cell). -USCG-

Scientist says hatchery strays could threaten wild fish populations

Whether it’s thanks to environmental cues, a keen sense of smell or a nifty magnetic instinct, Pacific salmon’s ability to navigate back to their home streams has captivated scientists and the general public alike. But, contrary to popular notions, a small number of Pacific salmon stray from their predetermined paths every year. And now, a new study found that hatchery salmon that wander from their home stream could pose an additional danger to their wild counterparts. Scientists have long warned that hatchery strays compete with wild fish for resources in streams and ocean waters, and could threaten wild populations by mixing genetically with them in unfavorable ways. click here to read the story 08:42

A Sitka mobile processing plant built to chill out the Bristol Bay fishery

Alaska’s Bristol Bay sockeye fishery is intense, lucrative — and also remote. Much of the fish landed there is frozen whole and shipped long distances for secondary processing. Although the product is famous, there are some who think the quality could be improved. In Sitka, a pair of entrepreneurs is betting $2 million that they can deliver a better Bristol Bay sockeye. Meet Northline Seafoods. The relentless pace of sockeye fishing can’t be overstated: two openings a day, four hours between openings, with harvests topping 13 million pounds a day during the peak of the season in June. Twelve processors buy fish in Bristol Bay. And next year there will be a thirteenth: Northline. “They’ll go under the deck. There’ll be three more of these ice machines here…” This is Pat Glaab, who with his partner, Ben Blakey, has bought a 150-foot former helicopter logging barge and is converting it into a floating fish processor. click here to read the story 08:12

Single-day catch of 1 million sockeye buoys Nushagak fishermen in Bristol Bay

A million salmon caught in a day isn’t unheard of in the wildly productive Bristol Bay commercial fishery, but for one district it proved to be a record. Whether the early bonanza is a harbinger of a strong season, though, remains to be seen. Commercial fishermen in Bristol Bay’s Nushagak district caught a little over 1 million prized sockeye salmon Monday, the largest single-day catch in the Nushagak fishery. Typically, Bristol Bay catches peak around July 4. While million-plus days have happened in other Bristol Bay fisheries, they’re rarely seen in the Nushagak, a smaller fishery than the Naknek-Kvichak district to the east. The bay, considered the premier red salmon fishery in the country, is divided into five management districts based on the nine major river systems in the region. click here to read the story   17:17

UPDATE 2 AND FINAL: F/V Miss Destinee – Coast Guard suspends search for 2 missing in Marmot Bay, Alaska

The Coast Guard suspended the search late Friday night for a man and woman reported missing from the fishing vessel Miss Destinee that capsized in Marmot Bay, Thursday morning.,,, “We and our fellow military partners and the good Samaritans have heavy hearts after an extensive and difficult search in Marmot Bay,” said Capt. Sean Mackenzie, commander of Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. “We conducted this search and rescue mission as if two of our own shipmates became missing. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the man and woman still missing.” A federal on-scene coordinator representative from Sector Anchorage is en route to Kodiak to oversee commercial salvage operations. The vessel Sea Strike is scheduled to arrive later tonight with divers aboard to commence salvage operations to recover the Miss Destinee. The Coast Guard Cutter Chandeleur and crew remain on scene. click here to read the press release 08:11

UPDATE – F/V Miss Destinee – Coast Guard, partners continue search for two missing in Marmot Bay, Alaska

Coast Guard, Alaska Air National Guard and good Samaritans continue to search Friday for one male and one female reported missing from the fishing vessel Miss Destinee that capsized in Marmot Bay. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-65 Dolphin and MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews, a Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Kodiak boat crew, the crews of the Coast Guard Cutters Sherman and Chandeleur, nine para-rescuemen from the AK ANG 212th Rescue Squadron and the crew of tug St. Michael searched throughout Thursday night near the location of the Miss Destinee, 23 miles north of Air Station Kodiak.,, A good Samaritan crew rescued two survivors Thursday from the water near the Miss Destinee. click here to read the update 18:32