Category Archives: North Pacific

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

Prayers, messages for crew of missing Seattle fishing boat in Alaska

U.S. Coast Guard crews suspended the search Monday evening for a Seattle-based fishing vessel missing in Alaska’s Bering Sea since Saturday. On Tuesday, the owners of the Destination shared the following message: The owners of the DESTINATION understand that the Coast Guard has suspended its search for the DESTINATION and her crew.  We thank the Coast Guard, all of the Good Samaritan vessels, and people of St. George Island who worked so long and hard to try to find our crew.  These efforts were in the finest tradition of the sea. These men were professionals.  Our hearts are broken for their loved ones who are now left with the certainty of this tragic sinking.  We will work with the Coast Guard to attempt to understand what occurred with the hope that whatever can be learned will be used to help prevent such an event from happening again. Please keep these men and their families in your prayers. While Coast Guard officials have not released the names of the crew, family members have confirmed to KING 5 three members: 46-year-old Charles Glenn Jones, 29-year-old Kai Hamik and 55-year-old Larry O’Grady. Video, read the article here 13:18

Chandler, Arizona man missing at sea; Coast Guard calls off search for 6 fishermen on crab boat

A Valley man is believed to be one of six people on board a missing fishing boat in the Bering Sea off of Alaska.  Kai Hamik, of Chandler, is a commercial fisherman who neighbors say loves his job.  “I see him off and on, depending on the season,” said Gabriel D’Zordo, who lives right next door to Hamik. “Sometimes he tells me the season is bad so he comes back early. He loves it. He loves it. He always tells me he loves it.” The U.S. Coast Guard in Alaska said the crew sent out a beacon alert 2 miles northwest of St. George, Alaska, on Saturday morning. The boat, a 98-foot crab boat named “Destination,” had six people on it and is owned by a company based in Seattle. D’Zordo had no idea Hamik might be lost at sea. He said he will stay hopeful.  “My goodness, my prayers. Every time he goes out I always say a pray because I know what he does,” D’Zordo said. Read the story here 12:23

Update 3 and final: Coast Guard suspends search for fishing vessel near St. George, Alaska

The Coast Guard has suspended the search for the crew of the fishing vessel Destination northwest of St. George, Alaska, Monday afternoon. Watchstanders from Coast Guard 17th District received an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon alert from F/V Destination early Saturday morning and deployed the Kodiak aircrews to commence the search. The aircrews located a debris field in the general area of the EPIRB alert. Debris included the transmitting EPIRB, a life ring from the vessel, buoys, tarps and an oil sheen. The search continued through Saturday, Sunday and Monday. “We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the six crewmembers during this extremely difficult time,” said Rear Adm. Michael McAllister, Coast Guard 17th District commander. “The decision to suspend a search is always difficult and is made with great care and consideration.” The watchstanders at the 17th District Command Center in Juneau coordinated 21 searches, totaling more than 69 aircraft and surface hours and covering approximately 5,730 square nautical miles. Read the rest here 08:02

Extensive searches turn up no new sign of missing Bering Sea crab boat or crew

The search is still on for a crabbing vessel and its six crew members missing for nearly three days in the brutal waters of the Bering Sea, the U.S. Coast Guard said Monday afternoon. The fishing vessel Destination, a Seattle-owned, Sand Point-based ship with a reputation as a “battle ax” and a crew of veteran Bering Sea fishermen, was on its way to start the snow crab season when its emergency locator beacon activated at 6:11 a.m. Saturday. As of Monday, the boat has not been declared sunk and the men aboard are still considered missing. Search crews had combed an area of 5,073 square nautical miles, following currents southwest of the spot where the only sign of the boat was found, 2 miles off the northwest tip of St. George Island, according to Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Steenson. Some of the crew members have already been publicly identified by family members. Read the story here 23:30

Search continues for Bering Sea fishing vessel missing with 6 aboard

Despite two days of searching, there was still no sign Sunday night of the Bering Sea crab boat or its six crew members that went missing just off St. George Island Saturday. The Destination, a 95-foot fishing vessel based in Seattle but operated mostly out of Sand Point, was on its way from Dutch Harbor to St. Paul Island for the start of the opilio crab fishery when the ship’s emergency beacon activated at 6:11 a.m. Saturday, said Michael Barcott, an Anchorage maritime attorney who is acting as a spokesperson for the ship’s ownership group. On Saturday, a Coast Guard search and rescue crew found the emergency beacon, a life ring, buoys and tarps in a small oil sheen on the water about 2 miles northwest of St. George Island. “The crew had sailed right by St. George within a half-hour of when the beacon activated,” Barcott said. Dylan Hatfield, a fisherman from Petersburg who has been working out of Dutch Harbor this winter, said his brother was aboard the Destination when it went missing. Hatfield did not want to identify his brother or any of the other crew members on the Destination by name on Sunday. The ship itself was a meticulously maintained “battle ax,” said Hatfield, who worked for six years aboard the Destination himself. Continue reading the story here 11:29

Seafood groups pick up $5.9M tab for ADF&G hatchery salmon research

Processors and seven hatcheries have agreed to pony up millions to keep an Alaska Department of Fish and Game research project going. Pacific Seafood Processors Association and Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association Inc., committed $5.9 million to support the Wild/Hatchery Salmon Management Tools capital project. The project is intended to fuel management decisions around Alaska’s 29 salmon hatcheries, as well as secure a more marketable reputation for Alaska hatchery stocks. The program was originally started in 2012 as a collaboration between ADFG, the PSPA and private nonprofit hatcheries. Continue reading the story here 10:18

Wife identifies crew member aboard missing Seattle-based fishing boat

A crew member aboard a missing Seattle-based fishing boat has been identified. Coast Guard crews in Alaska are searching for the fishing vessel Destination, a 98-foot crab boat from the Port of Seattle last heard from near St. George, Alaska. Gail O’Grady says her husband, Larry O’Grady, has been fishing on the Destination for the past 20 years, and that he’s been fishing in Alaska for close to 30 years. She says Larry served as the boat’s engineer and fill-in captain. She and her husband live in Poulsbo. The last time she saw him was in December. Gail, as well as other fisherman and loved ones who knew Larry and the rest of the crew, say they were exceptionally experienced. Video, Read the story here, and pray for these men tonight  22:11

Search continues for Fishing Vessel Destination

On February 11, the 98 foot long fishing vessel Destination was reported missing and presumed lost in the Bering Sea northwest of St. George Island, Alaska. The Coast Guard received an automated EPIRB signal (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon) from the fishing vessel around 7:15 a.m. Saturday morning The Coast Guard dispatched helicopters and directed two nearby vessels to search for the Destination. Citizens on St. George Island began searching the shoreline for possible survivors or any signs of the fishing vessel. By 10 a.m. the beacon was found in a debris field that included a buoy and life ring that had the fishing vessel’s name on it. An oil sheen was visible in the water indicating the vessel may have foundered in the vicinity. The Coast Guard confirmed there were six crew on board when the vessel departed from Seattle. Continue reading here 11:52

More information – Seattle-based crab boat, crew of six, reported missing at sea  Click here to read 16:57

Fish war on?

After the smallest Kenai River dipnet catch in eight years, there are hints that the little people of Alaska’s urban core might at last be arriving at the realization that they are the only ones who can protect their interest in Alaska salmon for dinner. A message populating on social media over the weekend was calling dipnetters to a “meeting at Cabela’s, Anchorage sunday evening from 6 to 7 concerning dipnetting and BOF. Pass it on.” BOF is the acronym for the Board of Fisheries for the state of Alaska. It is the entity that sets seasons and catch limits for commercial, sport and personal-use fisheries around the state. It will later this month take up the issue of management of Cook Inlet salmon, an always contentious matter in which the interests of average Alaskan  fishermen and women have historically proven secondary. To a large degree, fishery managers with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game say, this is simply unavoidable. Commercial fishermen working offshore in the Inlet get the first crack at returning salmon, and the commercial fishery is the big dog in the management scheme. Salmon managers use it to regulate the numbers of salmon getting into streams all around the region with the intent being to maximize the catch while still meeting spawning goals. Continue reading the article here 09:06

Rebuttal: The actual, factual new realities of Cook Inlet salmon – Catherine Cassidy of Kasilof

In his opinion piece published in the Alaska Journal of Commerce on Feb. 8, (Click here to read it) Mr. Karl Johnstone, presumably from his home in Arizona, gave a eulogy at the graveside of Cook Inlet commercial salmon fishing. Actually, the industry is alive and well and helping Alaskans get through these economic hard times. Mr. Johnstone uses the same old tired, outdated arguments: there is not enough salmon in Cook Inlet for all users; Cook Inlet salmon can’t compete with farmed salmon, sportfisheries are so much more valuable than commercial fisheries; etc. He cites an economic report about angler spending that was conducted prior to the national recession in 2008 and the recent king salmon decline and compares the numbers to the very lowest possible measure of commercial harvest value in Cook Inlet on a bad year. Johnstone claims that Alaska salmon can’t compete with farmed salmon. Twenty years ago that was a problem but the industry adapted and now wild Alaska salmon have a solid market niche and Cook Inlet sockeye is a very premium, sought-after product in America. The worst economic lie that he and his pals have been promoting is that the sport industry and personal use fisheries could actually grow large enough to replace the value of the commercial industry to our state. Then, she pins him. Continue reading the op-ed here 13:46

Remembering the World’s Most Famous Sea Captain

Phil Harris died on Feb. 9, 2010 — but his spirit lives on. Fans and friends from around the world mourned the loss of their favorite TV sea captain when he died seven years ago today, on Feb. 9, 2010. Without him, “Deadliest Catch” may not have caught on with millions of TV viewers around the globe. None of us can order Alaskan king crab without thinking of him and the men he worked with, and the near-death experiences they endure doing their jobs. No screenwriter could have come up with a character Captain Phil, and no Hollywood set can match the setting the film crews captured in the long-running hit TV series. Without Captain Phil, though, none of it would have been possible. “Deadliest Catch,” which debuted in 2005 on the Discovery Channel, helped change the direction of reality TV. Continue reading the story here 17:31

Don Young hits term limit for House subcommittee chairmanship

Alaska’s sole congressman, Don Young, will not chair any committees or subcommittees during this term of Congress, having reached term limits in all of his prior positions. Young will retain some leadership positions and remains the longest-serving Republican in the House. Since 1994, Republicans in the House and Senate have imposed six-year term limits on committee leadership. Instead, this year Young was named “chairman emeritus” of the Committee on Natural Resources. The position allows him to sit on all five subcommittees, which oversee federal lands and the resources located on them, oceans, Native affairs and related investigations. Read the story here 13:05

Southeast’s first crab fisheries of the year set to open

Alaska has dozens of crab species—about seven that are commercial harvested. So what’s Tanner crab like? To help answer that question, I asked Joe Stratman, the lead crab biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Southeast. He says Tanners are related to the popular snow crab. “What I always liken it to is when they’re at the buffet line in Los Vegas they often see snow crab which is a kind of Chionoecetes opilio. Our Tanner crab in Southeast looks very similar to that. It’s a little larger,” Stratman said. Recent markets seem to like Tanner crab too. Last year’s harvest in Southeast was valued at nearly $3 million dollars. 74 permit holders participated in the fishery. They brought in a total of just over 1.3 million pounds. The price per pound averaged $2.23 which is thirty cents higher than the year before. Read the story here 11:54

North Pacific Fishery Management Council gets review of Bering Sea pollock program

After two years of almost ceaseless contention, the North Pacific regulatory waters have cooled down for now. The Council oversees all federal fisheries between three and 200 miles off the Alaska coast. One of eight regions, the North Pacific fishery is by far the country’s most profitable, having produced two-thirds of the country’s total seafood value in 2015. Over the last two years, the council has been in battle mode over chinook salmon and halibut bycatch, and Gulf of Alaska groundfish catch shares. There have been parades of protest and industry stand-downs and rural Alaska villages emptied to give impassioned pleas alongside Seattle fishing crews and captains. At the council’s Seattle meeting Feb. 1-6, the council rested for the most part, taking scant public comment and few final actions. Rather, it focused on some of the structures behind the chaos, reviewing catch share programs and looking for areas to tune up following two years of pushing the gas. After indefinitely tabling a Gulf of Alaska catch share system four years in the works at its meeting this past December, the council reviewed the schematics behind the Bering Sea pollock fishery, Alaska’s largest fishery by volume. Read the rest of the article here 20:36

Ocean Beauty won’t can salmon in Petersburg in 2017

Petersburg will only have one salmon cannery operating this summer. Ocean Beauty Seafoods will not be canning fish at the company’s plant in Petersburg in 2017. Tom Sunderland, vice president of marketing, says current market conditions favor selling frozen salmon over canned. “We’re gonna make a lot more money selling frozen salmon than canned salmon this year and the Petersburg plant is essentially a cannery,” Sunderland explained. “It doesn’t have a very large or efficient freezing operation, certainly not enough that you could run it just as a freezing operation. Our plant at Excursion Inlet on the other hand does have substantial freezing capacity and we can move that production over there and take care of that. And by doing so, the hope is we can return the highest value to the fleet by putting the product into its most lucrative product form.”  Read the rest here 12:40

North Pacific council director a possibility for Assistant Administrator position at NMFS replacing Eileen Sobeck

Chris Oliver, the executive director of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council for the past 16 years, didn’t ask for a consideration as the new assistant administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service; rather, the most powerful fishing industry voices in the nation’s most profitable region asked. He doesn’t know if the new administration will offer it or if he’d want it if it did. Still, looking at his history, knowledge and reputation, he seems in many ways a natural fit. Oliver said when it became known that the current administrator, Eileen Sobeck, won’t be staying with the new administration, parts of the fishing universe aligned. In the North Pacific and elsewhere, catch share systems are a contentious issue; Oliver said in an interview he’s already had fisheries stakeholders from other regions probing for what his intent would be with their respective fisheries. Oliver’s answer sums up both his attitude and in part that of the new administration. “It’s not my call,” he said. “What makes sense in the North Pacific…may not make sense in New England, or in the Gulf of Mexico. Read the story here 10:47

Gillnetter heeds siren call of the river – Fishing, family, community. That’s Crouse’s melody.

Crouse didn’t come from a fishing family but he grew up in a neighborhood of fishermen in Skamokawa. “For as long as I can remember I wanted to fish the river,” Crouse said. “In kindergarten they had us make plates out of clay and I drew a gillnet boat on mine.” When he was 14, he asked his basketball coach, Bill Olsen if he could work for him on the river. At 15, he went to Alaska to fish during the summer. “Paul Dretsch worked in a cannery up there and he told me to work there until I found a job on a boat,” Crouse said. “There is a radio station in the Bristol Bay area, and every three hours job listings came up. After my second shift in the cannery, I called someone who was advertising for boat board fish picker. That was my first job up there.” It was everything he wanted and it was more difficult than he had imagined. In his mid-40s now, Crouse works at Wauna four days a week and waits to hear when he can get back out on the river. He rebuilds boats and buys outfits from retiring fishermen when he can. He’ll take what he needs and part and parcel out the rest to sell. His wife, Erla, drives a school bus and works at her coffee shop in Cathlamet, Waterway Espresso. Read the story here 09:16

A Time to Build & Refit

The aging Pacific Northwest fishing fleet is either undergoing or about to undergo a long-overdo upgrade, judging by a major economic report commissioned by the Port of Seattle. Fisheries managers, seafood suppliers, yards and the supply chain all hope an accompanying surge in ship finance “lifts all boats”. For now, the newbuild count is growing apace, slowed just a bit by owners opting for major retrofits amid rich fish harvests. This fisheries upsurge comes with some rising stars of ship design-and-build for vessels set to ply the Bering and Beaufort seas. The ’70s were the heyday of boatbuilding — half of the current U.S. Pacific Northwest’s 400-strong fleet of vessels over 58 feet were built when sideburns were mandatory. The fleet’s boats are so well-maintained, most of them, that they’re still candidates for retrofits of engines, holds, electrical systems and deck machinery.  Read the story here 08:14

Alaska’s Female Fishermen (Yes, That’s Really a Thing) On Gender Labels, Finding Zen and Weathering Life’s Storms 

There’s a hashtag going around twitter to #DressLikeAWoman. It’s pretty much an invitation to challenge the ideas of how women dress, and how what they wear does or does not define them in life. To that end, I spoke with two Alaskan female fishermen (yes, that’s the correct terminology!) to find out about the challenges of being a woman in an almost exclusively male-run industry. Why Fisherman and not Fisherwoman? When I asked why they prefer the term “fishermen” and not “fisherwoman,” Marsh said, “You earn respect as a male or female fisher, so the gender labels are not necessary. You work hard to be one of the crew and respected, not one of “the guys”—there’s a big difference.” Becker weighed in by saying, “My sense is that both men and women who fish have to prove themselves. It’s not an easy or forgiving industry, because mistakes can be dangerous, if not deadly. To rename the category “fisherwoman” or “fisher” could take away from that elite status that we’ve worked just as hard to attain (and sometimes, harder, as with most occupations in the world).” Read the story here 13:39