Category Archives: North Pacific

A Fishery Management Proposal

Its frustrating to watch fish regulators on the various fishery management councils continuously cut back on fishermen allocations with no regard for how they will make up for the “scientific” decision that takes revenue from them. I have reached out to various politicians to create a Farm Bill for fishermen, which would be a huge undertaking for the Congress, and in the current political climate, it seems like an impossible task, even though it is needed. In the meantime, the mismanagement continues, and people are pushed closer to exit the industry, which is unacceptable. What I am proposing is to correct this and mitigate the damage caused by the cutback is legislation. This is what I would like to see. Sam Parisi >click to read<12:16

Eric Schwaab Comes Aboard as New Head of EDF’s Oceans Program

“Eric was critical to the success we achieved during my time as NOAA Administrator,” said Dr. Jane Lubchenco, University Distinguished Professor, Oregon State University and former EDF Board Trustee. “His unflappable get-it-done approach makes him notably effective working with a range of stakeholders from fishermen to global leaders.” As head of NMFS, Schwaab led the transformation of U.S. fisheries management including widespread adoption of science-based catch limits and catch shares. EDF was a leading advocate for these reforms, which have driven a dramatic recovery of fish populations and increased catch and profits for fishermen. >click tp read<10:02

EPA officials visit Dillingham to gather opinions on Pebble Mine

Representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency arrived in Dillingham Thursday morning, meeting with fishers and community leaders to gather opinions on the proposed development of Pebble Mine. “It’s important to hear people’s views on all sides of the issue,” said Matt Leopold, the EPA’s general counsel. “And here in Dillingham I can tell right away that people are opposed to the project.” >click to read<11:33

Bailey Barco crew assists mariners with submerged vessel near Mitkof Island, Alaska

The Coast Guard Cutter Bailey Barco (WPC 1122) crew assisted the fishing vessel Heather Anne crew when their vessel began taking on water in the Wrangell Narrows, near Mitkof Island, Alaska, Friday. All three people were reported to have been safe on Mitkof Island and are not in distress. At 6:59 a.m. Friday, Sector Juneau command center watchstanders received notification from the Heather Anne reporting the vessel had run aground and was sinking in vicinity of Mitkof Island >click to read<21:00

Boat sinks in Wrangell Narrows south of Petersburg – >Click to read<

Early numbers show strong start for commercial sockeye salmon harvest in Prince William Sound

Commercial sockeye salmon fishing in Prince William Sound is off to a strong start, while it’s weaker in a handful of other fisheries, according to Anchorage consulting firm the McDowell Group. The statewide sockeye harvest of 696,000 fish through June 8 was more than three times what it was at the same time in 2018, according to numbers the McDowell Group prepared for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. Most of that harvest ⁠— 607,000 fish ⁠— was in Prince William Sound. Kodiak, Cook Inlet and Chignik fisheries were off to a slow start, McDowell economist Garrett Evridge said. Pink salmon numbers spiked in the second week of June, >click to read<10:38

Council turns down petition sought to protect Adak processor

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council decided not to approve an emergency petition from a group of Aleutian Islands stakeholders at its meeting June 9, instead taking a longer route through a discussion to look at the set-aside options for the area. The petition had sought an emergency quota set-aside of Pacific cod, separate from the general Bering Sea-Aleutian Islands quota, to help sustain the shore-based plant and thus the community. >click to read<09:36

Why fishermen are mailing corks to Murkowski

Bristol Bay fishermen who oppose the Pebble Mine are adding an unusual task to their pre-season chores: They’re writing messages on cork floats and mailing them to Sen. Lisa Murkowski.,, It turns out, you can put stamps directly on a cork, add an address and the Postal Service will deliver it. “There are letters and forms you can send out, but this is more like a personalized, very fisherman way to show her that we care,” Ure said. Dillingham fisherman Katherine Carscallen said they’ve probably sent hundreds of corks by now. “This idea caught on pretty quick,” >click to read<17:23

Southwest village prepares to harness river in harmony with salmon

A small Southwest Alaska village is trying to integrate the power of an iconic Alaska river into its electric grid without interfering with the millions of salmon that rely on the same water. The Village of Igiugig and Maine-based Ocean Renewable Power Co. are in the midst of a years-long partnership to refine and eventually utilize the company’s RivGen Power System generator in the Kvichak River. >click to read<14:29

Coast Guard offering free dockside examinations through June 17

Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard are in Dillingham through June 17 offering free dockside examinations for commercial boats, By getting an examination before heading out for the season, fishermen can make sure that their boats will easily pass inspection if they get boarded by the Coast Guard at sea. Coast Guard examiners say boat requirements vary based on how far out the vessel will be traveling. But in general they will be looking for safety gear — such as immersion suits and flares — and checking that those items are not expired. >click to read<08:08

Cook Inlet fishermen celebrate ‘Return of the Reds’ with hope for 2019

Cook Inlet fishermen are looking forward to their salmon season with high hopes that the sockeye will arrive in better numbers than last year. On June 11, fishermen and processors grilled up some of the first Cook Inlet salmon of the year at the Pacific Star processing plant in Kenai, gathering to build excitement for the coming season. The plant is now receiving salmon from the west side of Cook Inlet, while the fishermen in the drift gillnet and east side set gillnet fleets gear up for their first expected openings in the coming weeks. >click to read<15:24

Coast Guard to Conduct Dockside Fishing Vessel Exams for Bristol Bay

The Coast Guard will offer courtesy dockside examinations of commercial fishing vessels in Bristol Bay in anticipation of the 2019 Bristol Bay salmon fishery season. The Coast Guard anticipates sending examiners to the following locations for public outreach and to encourage dockside exam participation: King Salmon: June 6-21, Dillingham: June 10-20, Egegik: June 13-18.,,, In 2018, several fishermen died after falling overboard. None of them were wearing life jackets. The Coast Guard continues to strongly recommend that all fishermen wear life jackets when on the deck of any vessel.
Vessel operators are reminded,,, >click to read<12:25

Concern in Chignik, as escapement gets off to a slow start

Staff with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game began counting sockeye salmon on June 1. So far, the numbers haven’t been promising – as of today the department had counted a total of 3,374 fish. “That’s a little slow for here. There have been years when we get off to a slow start and have a decent year. But following a year like 2018, everyone’s concerned,” said Dawn Wilburn, an area management biologist with ADF&G. She says Chignik’s run failed to develop as predicted in 2018. Only 539,825 reds returned, and there were no commercial fishing openers. >click to read<09:12

Copper River harvest hits 429,630 fish and rising

That sixth opener was the charm, “a very welcome relief for this fleet,” said drift gillnet harvester John Renner. “It appears to be a larger run than predicted,” said Renner, in a phone call from his Cordova home on Wednesday, June 5, in the wake of the 36-hour opener of the 2019 Copper River commercial salmon season, which ended at 7 p.m. the previous evening. “The fish are also large and healthy, indicating a larger component of older fish,” Renner said. “They are spread out across the flats offshore and onshore. “ >click to read<10:56

North Pacific fish council enters Pebble debate, over state’s objections

The state of Alaska believes the North Pacific Fishery Management Council is overstepping its bounds, by weighing in on the Pebble Mine Project in Bristol Bay. A proposed comment letter drafted by the Council prompted a strong reaction from the state, during the Council’s June meeting in Sitka. During its Sitka meeting Wednesday morning (6-5-19), the Council reviewed a letter it planned to send to the Army Corps of Engineers commenting on the draft environmental impact statement — or DEIS — of the Pebble Mine. >Audio clip, click to read<08:54

Pink salmon disaster relief grant delayed to July 1

Dear Friends and Neighbors, I wanted to keep everyone in the loop regarding the follow-up to my pink salmon disaster relief update in last Friday’s paper. As I write this, it is Wednesday morning, June 5. It was anticipated that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) might release grant funding to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) for distribution by this past Saturday. I reached out to Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office on Monday to see if, in fact, that had occurred. The Senator’s office had contacted NOAA at the start-of-business on Monday and, disappointingly, the federal agency again failed to act by the June 1 deadline. >click to read<12:57

In loss — hope and a view forward

Lincoln County students will be better positioned for a shot at their dreams due to the memory of a man lost at sea. Edgar Ruiz Garcia and Anastasia Flatt are local recipients of the Dorothy and Clifford Hall Memorial Scholarship, each receiving $500. A scholarship for $1,000 went to Kai Daniels. The fund is dedicated to Eric Eder, a Newport fisherman who died in the Bering Sea in a 2014 trawling mishap. The scholarships go to those with families who work in the fishing industry. Students must turn in an essay and transcripts and meet other requirements. >click to read<17:37

Copper River sockeye show up early, give optimism for fleet

Copper River fishermen are getting a nice change of pace from the last two years this season as the sockeye run is shaping up better than expected so far. As of June 2, approximately 240,234 sockeye salmon had passed the sonar at Miles Lake on the Copper River, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. That’s about 65,000 more fish than the cumulative management objective so far on the river, which is based on average past escapements. It’s definitely better than in 2017 and 2018, when slow and weak sockeye runs kept commercial fishermen at the docks as managers struggled to make escapements. On the same date in 2018, only 55,840 sockeye had passed the sonar. (click to read)14:39

NOAA is trying to encourage more observers to report sexual harassment

In the commercial fishing industry, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration workers, known as observers, jump onboard hundreds of vessels each year to make sure fishermen are following federal regulations, but many of the women who perform these duties say they experience sexual harassment. NOAA is trying to encourage more female observers to report those instances, even if they seem insignificant. >click to read<08:08

After over forty years of NOAA/NMFS management how are we really doing? Nils Stolpe

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act – I have seen the focus of government fisheries manage-ment increasingly shift away from the fishermen to the fish. The provisions of the Act as it was originally written were put in place to allow the U.S. fishing industry to regain control of the fisheries in the United States’ highly productive coastal waters,,, The legislation was singularly effective, so effective that within ten years or so of its passage the greatest portion of our domestic fish and shellfish production was being harvested by U.S. fishermen on U.S. vessels. This success was sold to the U.S. public – and the U.S. politicians – as an assault on the “sanctity” of our coastal waters by a burgeoning environmental industry that was (and still is) engaged in non-governmental empire building. This has resulted in a handful of multi-national ENGOs (Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations) that have become at least as influential as the fishing industry in national and international fisheries management. >click to read, and review the links and graphs<16:10

Copper River salmon harvest flows into marketplace

Since the Copper River salmon commercial fishery opened on May 16, harvesters have brought in upwards of 180,000 fish. Preliminary data compiled by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s office in Cordova as of Tuesday, May 28, put the count at upwards of 168,336 red, 7,041 king and 4,710 chum salmon brought in during a total of 1,764 deliveries by the drift gillnet fleet.,,, Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle had whole Copper River kings for $39.95 a pound, Copper River king fillets for $49.99 a pound, Copper River sockeyes at $99.95 per fish and Copper River sockeye fillets for $29.99 a pound. >click to read<17:30

Gray Whales – NOAA declares ‘unusual mortality event’ after at least 70 West Coast strandings this spring

The declaration by NOAA — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — kicks in a provision of federal law that provides funding to help scientists figure out the cause of such die-offs of marine mammals, from whales and dolphins in the Pacific or Atlantic to manatees off Florida. So far this year, at least 70 gray whales have been found stranded and dead along the coasts of California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska — the most in nearly 20 years, scientists from NOAA said Friday. >click to read<17:06

OUT TO CATCH THE LAST FISH? Fisheries “expert’s” anti-fisherman rhetoric gets taken to task!

“…most fishermen always want to catch more fish, regardless of how many there are.” This quote from the fisheries “expert” in the article, Warming waters spark marine migration, fish wars >click to read<on the warming ocean, and Joel’s subsequent comment, “And here in lies the problem. Look at what this cubical entrenched pencil pushing empty suit thinks of fishermen. Folks like this need to be taken to task”, inspired a re-post of this anti-fishing propaganda article, OUT TO CATCH THE LAST FISH? It’s a few years old, but sadly, as current as ever!  To be a fisherman, these days, is to have first-hand knowledge of bias and mindless prejudice. Manipulating commercial fishing to save the stocks from “endangerment” and worse, has often been job justification for the political and personal agenda-driven, obsequious, career-climbing government fisheries “scientists” and managers. “Destructive” commercial fishing is also a handy foil for corporate style environmental groups’ fund raising efforts; and diminishing the importance of domestic commercial fishing is also a necessary step in the energy industry’s march into the sea. >click to read< Thank you, Dick.17:02

Promising news on pink salmon disaster relief funds

Dear Friends and Neighbors, As the season is either underway or close at hand for many of you, I wanted to provide a short update about where we are with the 2016 pink salmon disaster relief funding. I believe we have some promising news. Thanks in part to outreach from people like yourselves, Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office has been putting a lot of pressure on the federal level to expedite the release of the grant funding. It appears to be having some effect. As I write this, it is Tuesday, May 28, according to new information, NOAA is aiming to release the grant funding to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) by this upcoming Saturday, June 1. Rep. Louise Stutes >click to read<19:37

How to wreck an industry – Catch shares lead to consolidation of Alaskan fisheries

A recent study documenting consolidation and specialization in Alaska’s fisheries over the past three decades illustrates a broader trend taking hold in coastal communities across the country. Catch share programs, a new fisheries management system, are turning fishing rights into tradable commodities, driving up the cost to fish and consolidating fishing rights into the hands of a few wealthy owners. For instance, in Alaska’s Bering Sea crab fishery, just four companies own 77 percent of the rights to fish a single crab species. >click to read<11:30

‘This is it’: Cordova fishermen tell harrowing tales of trip home in waves whipped by unseasonable storm

Bill Markowitz has been commercial fishing for over 30 years. But he figured his time was up Thursday when a giant wave caught his 27-foot gillnet boat as he tried to cross the bar at Egg Island Channel near Cordova. “A breaker caught me, flipped me around sideways, and rolled my boat up on its side I’d say at least 45 degrees,” Markowitz said by phone Friday. “It flipped me around … almost 180 degrees. When I went sideways, I thought, ‘This is it.’” >click to read<22:41

Let’s set the record straight for Brannon Finny – “From the beginning I have been totally honest,,,”

We posted a story titled “Fishing boat captain fined for polluting Alaska waters” which was published by KTUU. Sadly their story wasn’t accurate, and the report later included a response from Brannon Finny explaining her recollections, and actions. They deserve to be read. You can read them by >clicking the link<, or in the comment section of the original post. Thank you Rick McNamara!09:29

Fishing boat captain fined for polluting Alaska waters

A fishing boat captain who dumped sandblast waste into southeast Alaska waters was ordered to pay $10,000 and perform 40 hours of community service. Federal prosecutors say 32-year-old Brannon Finney of Bellingham, Washington, dumped waste to avoid a $1,460 disposal fee. U.S. Magistrate Judge Matthew Scoble on Wednesday also ordered 18 months of probation for Finney and a public apology. >click to read<18:50

Our coastal communities are drowning, largely thanks to tradable quotas and licences.

British Columbia’s coastal communities, long dependent on fishing for their livelihoods, are in serious trouble: population down, youth retention down, incomes down, investment down, infrastructure down, health and well-being down. It’s now almost impossible for young people to enter the fishery because of the high cost of purchasing or leasing the Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs) attached to most fishing licences. ITQs are permits to catch a certain quantity of fish, and can be freely traded or leased. Coastal communities that used to have dozens of fishermen now may have a handful at best. The boatbuilding, repair, and gear supply businesses are likewise disappearing.  How did this happen to our once prosperous coast?  East Coast, best coast?>click to read<12:32

The partners of Santaska have agreed to sale the cannery on the Egegik River in Alaska

FD Financial, Corp., part owner of Santaska, Inc., announces today that the Alaska cannery, Santaska, is on the block. It’s for sale. “We have had this valuable piece of property on the Egegik River in Alaska of some years now, and it’s time to move on.” Reluctantly, Rudy De La Garza CEO of FD Financial continues, “This was once one of the biggest salmon canneries in Alaska. The dream was to rebuild and open the cannery but,,, >click to read< >link to photo’s< 10:11

Rep. Young fights fish farms

In his 46 years as Alaska’s lone representative in Congress, Don Young helped toss out foreign fishing fleets from Alaska waters with the onset of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act in 1976, and today he is intent on doing the same with offshore fish farms. The MSA established an ‘exclusive economic zone’ for US fleets fishing from three to 200 miles from shore. Young’s effort follows a push that began a year ago by over 120 aquaculture and food-related industries to have lawmakers introduce an Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture (AQUAA) Act, which failed to get any traction. The campaign is organized under a new trade group called Stronger America Through Seafood and includes Cargill, Red Lobster, Pacific Seafoods and Seattle Fish Company.  >click to read<15:50