Category Archives: North Pacific

Small processors carve out a market in Bristol Bay

Standing in a shipping container that’s been converted into essentially a salmon butchery. Sandy Alvarez is filleting a sockeye. People regularly admire her technique but she said the secret behind it is practice. “Well you know people who comment they wish they could do that I usually laughingly tell them. ‘Try doing 1,500 fish for 10 years you probably can!’” Almost a decade ago Alvarez and her husband, a commercial fisherman, set up a little processing plant near their summer home in Naknek. Alvarez’s husband fishes for sockeye and drops off a bit of his catch to his wife who then processes it. Then he sells the rest of his salmon to a larger seafood company. That is pretty typical for small seafood processors in the region. >click to read<22:20

The mysterious case of Alaska’s strange sockeye salmon returns this year

There’s something unusual going on with the sockeye salmon runs returning to Alaska this year. In some places — like Bristol Bay — the runs are strong. In others, like the Copper River or the Kenai River they’re unexpectedly weak. In some places, there are sockeye that are unusually small. In others, sockeye of a certain age appear to be missing entirely. It’s a mystery. In Southeast Alaska, one of the first Fish and Game staffers to notice an unusual trend was Iris Frank, a regional data coordinator and fisheries technician. Frank’s lab is on the first floor of Fish and Game’s Douglas Island office that looks like it hasn’t changed much in the 32 years since she got there. >click to read<18:06

Framed?

Already struggling financially and facing unhappy neighbors in Alaska’s Kachemak Bay, the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association (CIAA) now finds itself being drawn into a public-relations mess with four board members charged in an explosive case of illegal fishing. And one of the men charged believes CIAA efforts to grow more salmon is at the heart of the issue.“This is all about politics,” commercial seiner Mark Roth said Thursday. Fishermen regularly fish too close to open-closed lines, stray across and get ticketed. As Mark noted, those cases almost never make the news. ,, For the 64-year-old Mark, sons Paul, 35, and Robert, 39, and friend Eric Winslow, a 61-year-old Alaska fishermen whose home is in Florida, it was different. They this week made the news in a big way,,, >click to read<14:46

Trollers call for Murkowski’s aid with treaty

“You take our fish, you take our lives!” This is the fourth time salmon trollers have taken to the streets during the 2018 season to protest proposed cuts to the chinook harvest in the Pacific Salmon Treaty. In May, trollers gathered outside Sitka’s Centennial Building prior to the start of a state salmon symposium hosted by ADF&G Commissioner Sam Cotten. When Governor Bill Walker visited Sitka in June, dozens of fishing vessels paraded up and down the harbor, asking that Walker refuse to sign the treaty, if it forced Alaska trollers to trade a share of the king salmon harvest to Canada, to protect endangered stocks in Washington. Trollers then organized a rally in Sitka’s harbor prior to the start of the July 1 opener, where one fisherman symbolically used a flare to burn his boat payments. >click to read<17:41

Three Coast Guard aircrews transit more than 1,200 miles to medevac man from fishing vessel west of Dutch Harbor

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew medevaced a man from the 116-foot commercial fishing vessel Patricia Lee 190 miles west of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, early Tuesday morning. The helicopter crew safely transported the 27-year-old man from the fishing vessel Patricia Lee to awaiting air ambulance personnel in Dutch Harbor for further care. The man was reported to have been in stable condition. District 17 command center watchstanders received a report Monday evening from the fishing vessel’s master that a crewman had been hit in the head by a crab pot. >click to read<18:29

Ocean Beauty permanently closes Petersburg cannery

Ocean Beauty Seafoods will permanently close the company’s Petersburg cannery. Company president and CEO Mark Palmer said in an Aug. 2 letter to Petersburg borough that Ocean Beauty’s facilities at Excursion Inlet, Cordova and Kodiak provide it with adequate canning capacity to meet customer demand. The processor invested money in its Excursion Inlet plant, about 40 miles west of Juneau and will focus on more fresh and frozen processing. The letter also mentions a multi-year agreement with a floating processor vessel Ocean Fresh. >click to read<14:45

Four are charged with illegal commercial fishing in Dog Fish Bay.

The state has filed charges against four commercial fishermen accused of illegal harvesting salmon in a bay south of Homer. Alaska Wildlife Troopers wrote in a dispatch Monday that Eric Winslow, 61, Paul Roth, 35, and Mark Roth, 64, all of Homer, and Robert Roth, 39, of Anchor Point, are charged with working together to illegally drive salmon out of a closed area near the mouth of a creek in Dog Fish Bay into an open fishing area, where they harvested them. Altogether, 33,328 pounds of salmon were illegally harvested, according to the dispatch. >click to read<08:42

Slow going toward the 39M harvest forecast

Commercial salmon harvests in Prince William Sound topped the 15.4 million mark through July 31, up by three million fish over the previous week, compared to 20.4 million delivered by the same time a year ago. All five species of Pacific salmon are running below the catch rate or the same statistics week one year ago. The pink salmon harvest has reached nearly 11 million fish, compared to 13 million at this time in July of 2016, and this year’s forecast of 32.7 million humpies. Deliveries of sockeyes have reached 1.3 million fish, compared to a year-to-date harvest in 2017 of 1.4 million, and the keta harvest stood at 3.2 million fish, compared to a catch of 5.4 million chums through the same time last year. On the bright side, the Copper River district >click to read<13:47

After a long wait, Ugashik fishermen’s patience paid off

Fishermen in Ugashik Bay are used to their sockeye salmon to showing up late in Bristol Bay’s salmon season. This summer’s salmon season was especially trying, but for some, the wait was worth it. Conrad Day and his crew tow a net into the Ugashik River in preparation for the incoming high tide. He explained, “Now we’ll just wait on the switch, cause when the water floods the fish come with it. It’s like a free ride upriver.” Things are quiet out on the water tonight, but a few days ago the river would’ve been full of fellow set netters preparing for the evening sockeye run. >click to read<17:12

Alaska – Halibut dock prices rebound, but upswing may not last

Halibut prices fell about $2 per pound at the beginning of the season. But there’s good news for some fishermen: ex-vessel prices are increasing slightly around the state. “We did see the ex-vessel price for halibut perk up a bit where we’re at $6.25, $6.50, $6.75 here in Homer today,” said Doug Bowen, who tracks halibut prices around the Gulf of Alaska for Alaska Boats and Permits, a vessel-and-fishing permit broker in Homer. >click to read<16:22

Salvage efforts are underway for the F/V Pacific Knight

The owner of the F/V Pacific Knight is contracting with the private company Resolve Marine to salvage the 58-foot vessel that sank near Clark’s Point on Wednesday. The entire Nushagak commercial fishing district is closed because the wreck is leaking fuel. When the boat sank, it was carrying 1100 gallons of fuel. It is still unknown how much diesel and hydraulic fuel has spilled into the bay. Divers unsuccessfully attempted to stop the vessel leaking fuel over the weekend and again on today. They are scheduled to attempt another dive tonight to determine how much fuel is still on the ship and to pump off any that remains. >click to read<08:12

Commercial fishing in Igushik again closed due to fuel spill from F/V Pacific Knight

Fuel from the wreckage of the F/V Pacific Knight has reached the Igushik Section of the Nushagak commercial fishing district. That’s according to reports the Alaska Department of Fish and Game received today at 4 p.m. that people in the area smelled fuel and saw a sheen on the water. After the entire Nushagak District was closed in response to the fuel spill on Thursday, the Igushik Section only was reopened Friday. The Igushik Section will now close again at 6 p.m. today. >click to read<10:45

Coast Guard Medevacs crewman from fishing vessel in Prince William Sound

Coast Guard Station Valdez crew members medevaced an 18-year-old male, suffering from a hand injury, from the fishing vessel Pacific Harvester in Prince William Sound, Thursday evening. The station’s crew, including an emergency trauma technician, treated the man’s hand while in transit to a Valdez pier where he was transferred to awaiting emergency medical service personnel for higher care. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Anchorage command center received a report from the master of the Pacific Harvester requesting a medevac for the crewmember who was suffering from a hand injury and displaying signs of shock.  >click to read<16:25

Value of Bristol Bay salmon rises, even as the fish shrink

Bristol Bay’s strong salmon returns stand in stark contrast to other parts of Alaska where the fish have trickled in slowly or seemingly not at all. Statewide, though, fish of all species are coming in smaller. Here’s why. 2018 has been a year for the Bristol Bay record books as total sockeye run surpassed 61 million on Thursday, putting it just a half-million fish behind the largest run of 61.7 million in 1980. Bert Lewis oversees commercial fisheries in Bristol Bay, Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. He’s impressed at the strength of the Nushagak district’s run and even at Bristol Bay’s east-side districts, which came in “late but solidly.”>click to read<10:46

Kotzebue fisheries group wins its case against former directors

A fisheries group in Kotzebue has won its case against some of its former directors and their for-profit corporation, Chum, LLC. The directors were charged with breaching their fiduciary duty, or trust to act in the best interest of those they represented. “This case is an example of what happens when directors of a nonprofit take money from the corporation and use it for their own benefit,” said Myron Angstman, a lawyer for Kotzebue Sound Fisheries Association, which was the plaintiff in the case, in a statement. The court issued a decision on July 10 against two of the defendants after years of legal back-and-forth. >click to read<18:47

UPDATE: Fuel from sunken vessel closes fishing in Nushagak District

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the closure of the Nushagak District to all commercial fishing as of 1:00 p.m. Thursday after fuel from the sunken fishing vessel Pacific Knight was observed by air. According to ADF&G, fuel was seen by Fish and Game staff pooling in tide rips. The sheen is expected to spread across Nushagak Bay toward Dillingham with the tide, and presents a “significant chance of gear and fish being exposed to fuel.” The department also warns of the chance for gear and fish to be contaminated on Dillingham’s beaches. ADF&G says staff will continue to monitor the spread of fuel. There is no immediate timetable for when fishing might reopen. >click to read<20:41

How much Bristol Bay processors will pay for salmon

The question on every Bristol Bay fisherman’s mind at this point in the season is base price: How much cash am I going to get for my salmon? A few Bristol Bay processors said they’re still waiting on their corporate headquarters to release prices, but here’s what we do know as of Tuesday: On Monday, Copper River Seafoods raised its price from $1.30 to $1.70 per pound for chilled, bled and separated sockeye only. Kings larger than 11 pounds bring in $3 per pound, and smaller kings go for $2 a pound. Copper River is paying 80 cents per pound on silvers, 45 cents per pound on chum and 30 cents per pound for pinks. Trident Seafoods is paying,,, >click to read<11:02

Coast Guard medevacs fisherman 20 miles north of Kodiak

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew medevaced a male crewmember from a fishing vessel in Duck Bay, near Kodiak, Alaska, Wednesday. The Jayhawk helicopter crew hoisted the crewmember from the fishing vessel Nordic Cross and transported him to Kodiak where he was transferred to awaiting emergency medical services personnel. Coast Guard Sector Anchorage watchstanders received notification from the crew of the Nordic Cross, who reported a 47-year-old crewman was suffering from a leg injury. >click to read<19:38

Tender capsizes near Clark’s Point, two rescued, one crewman is missing.

A commercial fishing vessel has capsized in the Nushagak Bay close to Dillingham. The United States Coast Guard received a report Wednesday morning that the F/V Pacific Knight capsized near Clark’s Point. The 58-foot long liner has been operating as a tender in Bristol Bay this summer. The good samaritan vessel Amanda C reportedly rescued two people from the water. A third person who went overboard is still missing. It is unknown whether this person was wearing a personal flotation device. photo commercialfishingpermits.com>click to read<16:32

Adapt or die

Alaska needs to find ways to encourage innovation in the commercial fishing industry to head off declines in a struggling, one-time mainstay of the state economy, the former director of the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute on Social and Economic Research (ISER) is warning. Presenting at the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade in Seattle this week, economist Gunnar Knapp, an expert on Alaska fisheries, warned that aquaculture is continuing its takeover of global markets and appears destined to push its technological advantage into the future.,,, Knapp’s prognosis for ever-changing salmon markets is unlikely to sit well with 49th state commercial fishermen mired in the 20th Century, and his latest presentation is unlikely to win him any new fans in-state with his suggestion that Alaska needs to find better ways to harvest wild fish.>click to read<11:36

Here’s why ice was a hot commodity in the Nushagak this summer

Bristol Bay’s Nushagak fishing district pulled in more than a million sockeye on eight separate days earlier this month. Before this summer, it had only done that twice in Bristol Bay’s history.
Keeping all those fish cool proved problematic for fishermen who still rely on slush ice. Capt. Nick Sotiropoulos of the fishing vessel Flyin’ Tiger said he’d like at least 1,000 pounds of ice for every opener to keep his catch cold and earn that chilled quality bonus from his processor.,, Just over 10 percent of Bristol Bay’s fleet relies on ice to chill their fish. Another 27 percent turn over unchilled fish to processors, and the final 63 percent are drift boats with refrigerated sea water systems. >click to read<14:43

Coast Guard suspends search for man overboard in Ugashik Bay, has been identified

The Coast Guard suspended its search Friday for a man reported overboard from the 190-foot fishing vessel Cape Greig in Ugashik Bay, Alaska. A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew, a Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and nine good Samaritan vessels searched a total of 13-square miles along the Ugashik Bay shoreline and up the river in efforts to locate the man. On Thursday, at approximately 4:27 p.m., Communications Detachment Kodiak personnel received a report of a man overboard from the fishing vessel Cape Greig. photo credit vesselfinder.com >click to read<

Overboard fisherman sought near Pilot Point – Grant Hildreth Jr., 25, reportedly fell into the river at about 4 p.m., troopers said in an online dispatch. Word of the fall was relayed to troopers by the village public safety officer in Pilot Point. >click to read<16:21

Board of Fisheries declares low Chignik sockeye returns an emergency

Like many Gulf of Alaska communities, far fewer sockeye are returning to the Chignik River than forecasted. Chignik has an early and late run. The combined escapement goal for July 20 is 416,000 sockeye. As of July 18, only 222,000 sockeye had made it upriver to spawn. With no harvestable surplus, the Chignik Management area has not had a commercial fishing opportunity targeting sockeye. Further, some residents say they are voluntarily forgoing subsistence fishing to boost escapement. Audio report, >click to read<13:24

U.S. Coast Guard investigates fishing vessel for knowingly discharging oil in Canadian waters

Investigators from Coast Guard Sector Anchorage and Marine Safety Detachment Dutch Harbor, and Coast Guard Investigative Service agents are investigating the fishing vessel Mark I for knowingly discharging oil overboard in Canadian waters. A Transport Canada aircrew detected the Mark I transiting through the Canadian exclusive economic zone 97-miles off of Cape St. James, British Columbia, with an approximate 26-mile oil sheen trailing behind, July 7. (photo credit vesselfinder.com)>click to read<11:12

Sam Parisi: HR-200 was passed in the House and will now move on to the Senate. Push Your Senators!

There has been a lot of those for and against the bill, and after reading the forty-nine pages of the bill and trying to consume it, I have come to the conclusion that over all it is a move in the right direction. The enactment of the 200 mile limit was needed because of foreign fisherman from other countries were destroying our Fisheries and our government at that time had no jurisdiction, Japanese and Russian Factory Ships were invading our waters using small mesh netting scooping up small fish like haddock, cod, flounder, and other bottom dwelling species. I say this because while fishing for whiting off the Canyons near Cape Cod I saw in front of me and fishing along side of me, those factory ships. >click to read<17:48

Opinion: Fisheries act is a chance to build trust

There’s a little something for everyone to hate in the House’s proposed renewal of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Commercial fishermen feel it gives too much to recreational fishermen and environmentalists. Recreational fishermen say it goes too easy on their commercial counterparts, and the environmental lobby says the measure, which passed the House last week along largely partisan lines, will undo years of progress in restoring fish stocks. We are left with what we have had for decades — a pitched battle among competing interests, with no end in sight. Congress must do better to help guarantee that the science behind management decisions is sound and easily understandable. >click to read<19:25

Seafood Industry should Organize, File National Class Action Lawsuit Against Anti-Commercial Fishing 501(C)’s, private companies

Every Seafood Industry related trade association in America should join hands and file a National Class Action Lawsuit  against certain 501(C) organizations and private companies that have de-humanized the Commercial Fishermen in the United States by reducing the non-boaters share of the Federal Fishery Resources. The lawsuit should be filed in the District of Columbia Federal Court on behalf of the hundreds of millions of non-boaters who depend on access to the nations fish at restaurants and retail markets through the labors of Commercial Fishermen. By Bob Jones >click to read<08:32

F/V Kristi sinks near Clark’s point, all onboard survive

Shortly after midnight on Saturday, July 14, the F/V Kristi lost power. The tide was coming in, and the boat floated in the current at 5 knots. While its skipper Jan Medhaug and deckhand Kyle Brojakowski worked to restore power to the 32-foot aluminum drift boat, Medhaug’s wife, Kayla Breeden went to the stern to hang a protective buoy. “When you’re out there fishing for that many days, you just think kind of everything is mundane, so I grabbed my buoy to go out there,” said Breeden. “I didn’t even put my rain jacket on and I almost didn’t put my boots on because I thought we were going to clear her.” She could see two large ships, which she estimated were “three football fields away.” >click to read<23:44

‘Deadliest Catch’ co-star Edgar Hansen pleads guilty to sexually assaulting teen girl

Reality-TV fisherman Edgar Hansen pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a teenage girl in September, but he’ll face no jail time under a plea deal quietly reached last week with Snohomish County prosecutors. Instead, Hansen, 47, received a 364-day suspended jail sentence and was ordered to pay court fines and fees of $1,653, court records show. He also must undergo a sexual-deviancy evaluation and treatment and give a DNA sample to authorities.,, Hansen pleaded guilty Wednesday to fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation — a gross misdemeanor — admitting he intentionally kissed and touched the victim.>click to read<20:30

Kenai River anglers ask for closure of Cook Inlet commercial set netting

The Kenai River Sportfishing Association (KRSA) is calling for the closure of set net fishing on the Cook Inlet until adequate numbers of king and sockeye salmon enter the Kenai River. The organization is asking Gov. Bill Walker to direct the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to take action and help Kenai River salmon numbers rebound.,,, One commercial set netter agrees a closure could benefit harvests for both sides. “As a commercial set netter for almost 50 years, and speaking for myself,” Ken Coleman said, “I believe we commercial fisherman have always been in favor of department closures when the health of the fisheries is at risk, whether it be sockeyes, or Chinook or other species. >click to read<08:24