Proposed land trade may turn the tide for Sitka’s maritime industry

A private business has proposed building a new marine haulout in Sitka, in exchange for 17 acres of city-owned waterfront just north of its private cruise ship terminal. The deal was well-received by the board of Sitka’s industrial park at its latest meeting on Wednesday (12-4-19), and by the large number of Sitka’s commercial fishing fleet who attended. >click to read< 08:25

Randy Babich has been fishing Puget Sound and southeast Alaska for 54 years. A lot has changed in that time.

The Paragon is a 56-foot commercial purse seiner moored at Longbranch Marina, a seagoing workhorse that dwarfs the pleasure boats around it.  “I was going to be a dentist,” said the owner, Randy Babich, who just turned 70. “I went through pre-med, pre-dent. My dad always said, ‘Get into a profession.’ ” Babich grew up in Gig Harbor and “got into fishing because my family was into fishing,” >click to read<  07:16

Researchers, marine pilots work to prevent vessel strikes from killing Alaska whales

Over the past decade, federal officials have logged 77 incidents of vessels hitting whales in Alaska waters. About three-quarters of those, were endangered humpbacks. But, it’s not clear why those strikes keep happening. A group of federal researchers and marine pilots have teamed up to combine what scientists know about whale behavior with what marine pilots know about ships.,,, That’s important as NOAA has logged 182 whale strikes in U.S. waters over the last decade. But that’s an undercount: ships aren’t legally required to report when they hit whale. And sometimes they don’t even know it’s happened. >click to read< 12:18

Uneven status of Pacific halibut revealed by annual data

Following the trend of the past several years, overall Pacific halibut biomass seems to be down again. The most recent stock assessment presented to the International Pacific Halibut Commission for its interim meeting on Nov. 25-26 shows a coastwide decline in spawning biomass, though that decline isn’t even across all areas. That’s a continuation of a trend seen in stock assessments since 2015. Particularly, surveys have indicated lower numbers of halibut in the central Gulf of Alaska. >click to read<  08:40

Southeast Alaska fisherman pleads guilty to illegally harvesting $35,000 worth of sea cucumbers

A Southeast Alaska commercial fisherman has been convicted for his role in illegally harvesting nearly 7,500 pounds of sea cucumbers near Prince of Wales Island. Jonathan McGraw Jr., of Naukati Bay, pleaded guilty to fishing in closed waters and providing false information on a harvest report. Both are misdemeanors. In 2018, McGraw and two others were charged with illegally fishing in a scientific preserve near Whale Pass. That area has been closed to fishing since the 1980s. >click to read<  21:13