Category Archives: North Pacific

Southeast Alaska fishing boat captain admits to dumping 8 tons of waste overboard

A Southeast Alaska fishing boat captain has admitted to dumping eight tons of sandblasting waste into the ocean. According to the plea agreement filed in federal court Monday, Brannon Finney admits to violating the federal Clean Water Act. Finney, 32, has signed the plea agreement, which goes before a judge next month at her sentencing hearing. The plea agreement says Finney repainted her boat, the F/V Alaskan Girl, in Wrangell in June of 2017. Most of the debris was sandblasting material, but it also included copper slag from removing the Alaskan Girl’s old paint, and the paint chips themselves, the plea agreement says. >click to read<10:50

Resolutions Introduced in 3 States to Designate 2019 as International Year of the Salmon

State representatives from three states are introducing resolutions and a joint memorial this week to recognize 2019 as International Year of the Salmon.,, Rep. Geran Tarr of Alaska, Rep. Debra Lekanoff of Washington, and Rep. Ken Helm of Oregon are working on the initiative in concert with the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission and the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization. >click to read<20:01

Alaska Fisheries issues moving through House – Rep. Louise Stutes

Dear Friends and Neighbors, A lot transpired in the Legislature this past week and there is quite a bit on this week’s agenda. Here is a rundown of the goings on down in Juneau. Fisheries Committee last week: On April 2, the Fisheries Committee considered HB 105-COMM FISHERMEN’S FUND: VESSEL OWNER CLAIMS. HB 105 is a common-sense piece of legislation that allows skippers to fully recover their P&I deductible from the Fishermen’s fund when an injured crewmember makes a claim against the fund and the P&I policy, providing further incentive for vessel owners to have insurance. ,,, Fisheries Committee this week: At 10 a.m. April 11, the Fisheries Committee will consider,,, 2016 pink salmon disaster relief,,, >click to read< by Rep. Louise Stutes17:52

High-Stakes Hunt for Crab: ‘Deadliest Catch’ Returns for Milestone Season 15

Discovery’s Deadliest Catch welcomes you to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, for its 15th season on Tuesday, April 9. New to the fleet is the cutthroat, no-nonsense Captain Steve “Harley” Davidson with the 148-foot-long Southern Wind. The boat is the second-largest in the fleet, behind only Captain Keith Colburn’s boat The Wizard. Harley, who has captained the Southern Wind for 15 years, doesn’t make friends easily — including Captain Keith, who considers Harley as enemy No. 1. >click to read<13:24

Pebble backs fishermen lawsuit to halt Bristol Bay seafood association’s funding for anti-mine groups

Six Bristol Bay commercial fishermen are suing a regional seafood association they belong to, challenging over $250,000 in contracts it made with groups that advocate against the proposed Pebble Mine. The Pebble Limited Partnership confirmed it is paying for the litigation. The plaintiffs — Trefim Andrew, Tim Anelon, Gary Nielsen, Henry Olympic, Abe Williams and Braden Williams — are challenging the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association’s recent contracts with SalmonState and the United Tribes of Bristol Bay. Both SalmonState and UTBB are ardent Pebble opponents. >click to read<16:01

ADFG proposes sweeping changes to Cook Inlet salmon goals

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s recommendations for salmon escapement goal ranges in Upper Cook Inlet are out significantly earlier than they have been in past years. Upper Cook Inlet, which reaches north from the Kasilof River, encompasses a number of heavily fished salmon stocks, including the Kenai and Susitna rivers. ADFG reviews the escapement goal ranges for the rivers every three years or so and makes recommendations before the Board of Fisheries takes up the proposals for the area during the in-cycle meeting. >click to read<14:59

Video: Coast Guard medevacs man from fishing vessel 65 miles east of Kodiak, Alaska

The Coast Guard medevaced a man from a fishing vessel approximately 65 miles east of Kodiak, Monday. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Kodiak hoisted the 38-year-old man, who was suffering symptoms of a heart attack, and transported him to Air Station Kodiak where he was placed in the care of awaiting EMS. He was taken to Kodiak Providence Hospital. >Video, click to read<15:32

30 years after oil spill, he will never forget or forgive

Bob Day is 75 now. A fisherman for much of his life, he grew up on Alaska’s Prince William Sound. He will never, ever forget or forgive the desecration of that place he loves — or what he described as “a horror movie in your mind.” It’s been 30 years since the Exxon Valdez oil tanker slammed Bligh Reef just after midnight March 24, 1989. With its hull torn open, it spilled 11 million gallons of crude into Prince William Sound. >click to read<18:18

Seiners explain decision to stop test fishing

As of Tuesday evening, herring seiners in Sitka were standing down from further test fishing — but they weren’t calling it a strike.,,, Commercial fisherman Matt Kinney of Sitka has been involved with the sac roe herring fishery for the past 10 years and he says each year it’s exciting to take it all in. “It’s a big biomass out there that supports a lot of life whether it be sea lions or eagles or whales, but it’s pretty impressive to see on a grand scale.” So far this year, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has found a lot of fish,,, >click to read<17:06

Many Alaska Peninsula Corporation shareholders aren’t willing to trade salmon for gold

The Alaska Peninsula Corporation (APC) is the merged Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act village corporation for the Bristol Bay communities of South Naknek, Newhalen, Port Heiden, Ugashik and Kokhanok. Recently, ADN ran an opinion piece from APC CEO Dave McAlister regarding the proposed Pebble Mine, a project he believes can save the communities around Lake Iliamna from economic demise. I am an APC shareholder. I live in Igiugig, one of those wonderful Lake Iliamna communities, and I disagree.  >click to read< By Christina Salmon-Bringhurst 12:32

Karen Jacobsen: Remembering a father lost at sea

When the phone rang in my home on March 23, 2008, I thought it must be my dad calling to wish me a happy Easter. Instead it was my stepbrother, Scott. I didn’t hear much after he said, “Dad’s ship went down.” I found myself fatherless and surrounded by reporters who wanted to know what happened to the ship, how many were on board and what led my dad to the West Coast in the first place. I was just 9 in 1973 when my mother, my little brother, Carl, and I drove my dad, Eric Peter Jacobsen, to Logan Airport and said goodbye. We didn’t see him for three years. He left for Seattle to work with his father on fishing boats. >click to read<19:50

Kodiak man dives into scallop fishery – has been fishing scallops out of Kodiak for 40 years

With regards to scallops, Tom Minio could accurately be described as erudite. On Thursday afternoon, Minio sat in the galley of his vessel, the Provider, explaining what makes the best product, while the metallic screeches of boat work drifted in from other parts of the vessel. “The market really loves the big stuff, which I don’t understand. I don’t like eating big scallops,” he said. “It’s just like old halibut, you know: the bigger they are, the older they are and the tougher they are.” Minio has been fishing scallops out of Kodiak for 40 years. He started when he was 18 years old and doesn’t know anyone who’s been doing it longer than he has. With a small number of limited entry permits available and the quota around Kodiak decreasing, other fishermen and vessels dropped out of the fishery — but Minio held on. During the most recent season, the Provider was the only vessel fishing scallops in the Kodiak fishery. >click to read<14:01

International team of salmon scientists back in port, raring for another mission

The organizer of a month-long Gulf of Alaska salmon survey is already thinking about how to raise money for another trip in the winter of 2020, now that the Russian trawler used in the expedition has finished its job and tied up in Nanaimo. “From what I’ve seen, this needs to be done again,” said Richard Beamish, who came up with the idea of the expedition to mark the International Year of the Salmon with the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission. Future surveys would build on data collected by the 21-member volunteer team of international scientists from the five salmon-producing Pacific Rim countries: Canada, Russia, the U.S., Korea and Japan. >click to read<11:52

Southeast pink salmon forecast cause for concern

As the days grow longer and summer plans start to materialize, 18 million is a number on the mind of many across Southeast Alaska, especially those in numerous industries that rely on salmon fishing. Eighteen million is the number of pink salmon the Southeast forecast shows could be harvested in the 2019 commercial fishing season.,, “Salmon is the biggest portion of my income for sure,” said Stan Savland, commercial fisherman out of Hoonah and 20-year seiner. “The forecast is very alarming. I’m worried about this season because our recent odd year cycles are really what’s been carrying the seine fleet to make it.” >click to read<13:00

Another Sand Point fisherman is chomped on by a sea lion

A sea lion lunged from the Sand Point harbor and bit a fisherman’s leg in the Aleutian Islands fishing town that’s now experienced three injurious run-ins with the massive marine mammals in two years. “The sea lion came out of the water on the back of the fishing boat Celtic and bit a male fisherman on the right thigh,” said Sand Point police officer David Anderson.,,, All three attacks in Sand Point have involved fishermen bitten on the leg by a Steller sea lion. >click to read<09:55

Photos: Remembering the Exxon Valdez oil spill 30 years later

It was just after midnight on March 24, 1989, when an Exxon Shipping Co. tanker ran aground outside the town of Valdez, Alaska, spewing millions of gallons of thick, toxic crude oil into the pristine Prince William Sound. The world watched the aftermath unfold: scores of herring, sea otters and birds soaked in oil, and hundreds of miles of shoreline polluted. Commercial fishermen in the area saw their careers hit bottom. It’s been 30 years since the disaster, at the time the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Only the 2010 Deep Water Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has eclipsed it. >click to read<16:16

Prince William Sound Tanner crab fishery gives winter season a boost

A rejuvenated Tanner crab fishery in Prince William Sound is showing positive signs of finishing out its second season in 30 years. The fishery opened for the first time since 1988 in 2017, operating on commissioners permits. A test fishery operated as an information-gathering pot fishery in the area in 2016 to a limited number of vessels. Based on Alaska Department of Fish and Game survey data, the stocks were good to go for another season this year, opening March 1 and closing either by EO or on March 31. So far, 11 vessels have landed about 16,850 Tanner,,, >click to read<09:37

At seiners’ meeting, demonstrators call to ‘Protect the Herring’

Seiners gathered over the weekend in preparation for the Sitka Sac Roe herring fishery, and while they met to hear updates from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game on this year’s fishery, they were also concerned about opposition to the fishery leading to acts of civil disobedience on the water. But they didn’t need to look far, after a “Protect the Herring” demonstration interrupted the meeting. >click to read<11:52

Report From the Grounds

The bitter blast of winter, ice on salt water and nets straining with cod — a world few of us will witness. It’s everyday sight for Newport fisherman Kelly Bennett, who has spent the greater part of the last decade traveling to Alaska to work on Newport trawlers plying the northern waters for pollock, cod and groundfish. Working aboard the Aleutian Challenger, Bennett is away for up to four months at a time, toiling in a fishery called joint venture, where he — amazingly — doesn’t have to handle fish, except the few that fall out of the net. >click to read<19:00

US-China tariff battle takes a toll on some Alaska seafood processors, according to survey

Seafood processing businesses in Alaska are feeling the hurt from the U.S.-China tariff battle, according to the results of a survey from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. Fourteen Alaska seafood processors responded to the survey, and 65 percent of those reported lost sales due to tariffs in China. Half of respondents reported delays in sales, and 36 percent reported lost customers. >click to read<16:54

91st annual Blessing of the Fleet, Sunday, March 17th, Fishermen’s Terminal, Seattle

The 91st annual Blessing of the Fleet has been scheduled for Sunday, March 17, 2019 at 2:00 pm at the Fishermen’s Memorial site at Fishermen’s Terminal in Seattle, Washington. Originated by the late Pastor O.L. Haavik of Ballard First Lutheran Church 91 years ago, the service will be conducted by Pastor Erik R. Wilson Weiberg and Pastor Elise Scott, both of Ballard First Lutheran Church. We will offer thanks to God for the fishing community, remembering the risks they take each day to provide seafood for our tables. More details, >click to read<17:40

Designers of failed toxic waste dam to work on one taller than the Washington Monument. What would the salmon say?

The company that wants to mine copper and gold in southwest Alaska at the site of the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery hired a firm to design mine waste pond dams that was behind one of the worst mining disasters in Canadian history. The KnightPiésold firm designed a dam that failed in 2014 in Mount Polley, British Columbia,,,, At least 50 mine dams have failed worldwide in the last decade, including a dam that collapsed in Brazil in January, killing at least 186 people; 122 people are still missing. Alaskan fisherman Mike Fricerro told the Alaska Dispatch News, “Modern history has shown us that (catastrophic dam failures) are more likely than they want us to think.” >click to read<12:28

Alaskan Dream Cruises to Add Repurposed Crab Fishing Ship to its Fleet

Alaskan Dream Cruises’ repurposed Kruzof Explorer will begin its inaugural season with the cruise line this summer. The former crab boat will sail 10-day itineraries of Alaska’s Inside Passage, visiting remote villages, designated wilderness areas and Glacier Bay National Park and Reserve. Once used for crab fishing in the Bering Sea, the Kruzof Explorer most recently sailed charter expeditions in California. Now, under the ownership of Alaskan Dream Cruises, the 12-guest expedition ship has become an upscale option for travelers looking to explore Alaska. >click to read<13:36

Fishermen’s group calls Corps’ analysis of potential tailings dam failure at Pebble ‘woefully inadequate’

A new study commissioned by a Bristol Bay seafood marketing group paints a doomsday scenario if the bulk tailings dam at the proposed Pebble mine ever suffered a catastrophic breach, an outcome the U.S Army Corps of Engineers has called very remote and one the mine developer has taken steps to avoid. Billions of gallons of mud would smother valley bottoms, covering vast stretches of salmon habitat, according to an executive summary released Friday. Finely ground-up waste material from mining would travel downstream and spill into Bristol Bay more than 200 river miles from the mine site, threatening the valuable salmon fishery. >click to read<13:16

Puget Sound pollution is the culprit causing orcas’ demise

In my Feb. 3 column, I argued the real matter with the southern resident orca pods was tied to swimming in polluted waters and eating polluted fish that live in those polluted waters connecting them together. Ecologically, it’s a very complex issue. It’s a combination of many factors that affect fish and orca.,, Treated sewage discharges may contain fecal bacteria concentrations that are many times higher than state water quality standards, and even small amounts of sewage discharges over or near shellfish beds can cause enough pollution to require harvest closures, the Department of Ecology says. Really? Inadequate sewage treatment plants on and near Puget Sound are also polluting waters there. Jeff Sayre >click to read<10:09

What caused the F/V Destination to sink? Coast Guard to release findings on Sunday

The Coast Guard on Sunday will release results of its investigation into why, without a mayday call, the Seattle-based Destination sank in 2017 in Alaska’s deadliest crabbing accident in more than a decade. Over the years, Coast Guard investigative reports into fishing disasters have repeatedly spotlighted the hazards of one of the nation’s most dangerous industries, sometimes helping to push reforms but often falling short of bringing major change. All six of the Destination crew were lost on Feb. 11, 2017, and the report is expected to offer the most likely scenario for what happened on a chill day in the Bering Sea when freezing spray was thought to have frozen on the boat. The report also will offer safety recommendations to try to prevent such losses of life. >click to read<15:46

Seawatch: Board of Fish meets March 9

The Alaska Board of Fisheries kicks off its meeting dealing with state-wide finfish proposals on March 9 in Anchorage, covering about 20 proposals and expected to last four days. Those proposals include some that, while generalized to fit the criteria of a state-wide proposal, are clearly aimed at the relentless “fish wars” in the Upper Cook Inlet salmon fisheries. One of the proposals, submitted by the Kenai River Sportfishing Association,,, >click to read<17:06

Army Corps releases Pebble Mine draft EIS hearing schedule

The Army Corps of Engineers published the draft EIS last week, sparking comment from both Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan. Murkowski said she has not made it all the way through the EIS but has started digging into the 1,400 page document. Sullivan met with reporters last week in Juneau, telling them he felt that 90 days is too short for a comprehensive comment period. The public comment period for the draft EIS will begin March 1 and end May 30, according the Pebble project website. Public hearings will be held in nine different communities between March 25 and April 16. The full schedule is as follows: <click to read<09:50

Governor Dunleavy has a gag order on AK fish budgets, bills

Alaska’s new slogan is “open for business” but good luck trying to find out any budget details when it comes to the business of fishing. The Dunleavy administration has a full gag order in place at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and all budget questions, no matter how basic, are referred to press secretary Matt Shuckerow. Likewise, queries to the many deputies and assistants at the ADF&G commissioner’s office are deferred to Shuckerow who did not acknowledge messages for information. “It isn’t just the media or Alaskans. Legislators are faced with that same gag order,”,,, >click to read<10:27

Hatchery misfits

Scientists studying pink salmon in Alaska’s Prince William Sound have come to a startling conclusion: Female hatchery fish gone feral reproduce at only about half the rate of their wild cousins. The finding, if confirmed by further studies, could have broad implications for the management of mixed stocks of wild and hatchery salmon. Why hatchery fish perform so poorly in their natural environment is unknown, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Chris Habicht said Friday. The agency researcher cautioned, as well, that the latest finding is based on data from only one reproductive cycle. The dismal spawning success of hatchery fish during 2014-2016 could be a statistical anomaly. Future studies could find higher returns and even out the results when averaged over the years. >click to read<21:41