Category Archives: North Pacific

With Coronavirus pandemic ravaging our country, temporary relaxation of fishery regulations is urged to help fishing industry

Thanks to our Senators and Congressmen who worked to get specific aid to the fishing industry, that has been hit particularly hard by the closure of restaurants, where 70 per cent of seafood in this country is consumed. Fishermen and wholesalers have had to adapt on the fly and find other ways to market their product to various degrees of success. The closure of so many vital aspects of our domestic economy will have effects that will still be felt a long time after the Virus is tamed.,, I am requesting that NMFS immediately contact the various management councils and commissions to request that special meetings [webinars] of fishery advisory panels be held to discuss the pro’s and cons of this idea, and what fisheries could benefit.,,, By Jim Lovgren. >click to read< 20:48

Fishermen concerned over Pebble employee appointed to Board of Fisheries

While communities and fishermen in Bristol Bay are facing an immediate challenge in deciding if and how to hold the $300 million salmon fishery in a few weeks, an appointment to the Board of Fisheries is adding to the stress felt by many in the region.,, Among the governor’s appointments is Abe Williams, who is an employee of the Pebble Partnership,,, Williams was born and raised in Naknek, currently lives in Anchorage, and is a fourth-generation Bristol Bay fisherman. However, his position on Pebble Mine has bothered both commercial and sport fishermen in Bristol Bay. Williams is currently the Director of Regional Affairs for the Pebble Partnership. >click to read< 12:14

Coronavirus: Dillingham urges governor to close Bristol Bay fishery to protect the community

The City of Dillingham and the Curyung Tribal Council wrote a strongly worded letter to Governor Mike Dunleavy Monday urging him to consider closing Bristol Bay’s massive commercial fishery to protect the community from the coronavirus pandemic. Bristol Bay’s summer fishing season brings with it an influx of thousands of fishermen and processor workers into small communities around the region. The sockeye fishery is the largest in the world. Last year its preliminary ex-vessel value was the highest ever, at $306 million. In the letter, the tribe and the city said that there was no way to limit the communities’ exposure to the virus, even with the current requirement for processors to submit quarantine plans for their workers. >click to read< 17:05

Coronavirus: Bristol Bay community leaders lay out minimum protocol needed to allow salmon season

Leaders of several major community organizations in Bristol Bay have issued a list of minimum protocols they expect to be in place before the commercial salmon fishery can take place this summer. Among other the protocol listed, fishermen and other seasonal workers would undergo a physical exam including a COVID-19 test with a negative result no more than 48 hours before traveling to the region. After arriving in Bristol Bay, the individuals would be transported to a quarantine location and remain in quarantine until a follow-up negative COVID-19 test is confirmed. The leaders listed out other expectations, including weekly health screenings, for the seafood industry to establish as minimum protocol for the 2020 season. >click to read< 11:12

Alaska’s Commercial Harvesters Listed as ‘Critical Infrastructure’

Plans are in progress to conduct the multi-million dollar Bristol Bay salmon fishery this summer in a manner that keeps harvesters, processors and the seafood itself safe in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic. “Everyone is working on it on a regular basis,” said Norm Van Vactor of the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp. in Dillingham, Alaska. “It is literally a plan in progress. We are moving forward with a positive attitude (but) nobody is in La La Land.” Commercial fishermen are now officially identified as “critical infrastructure” by the state of Alaska. >click to read< 08:19

A research expedition returning to Victoria puzzled by a no-show of the fish after an initial big haul

“It is a little difficult for people to accept that scientifically, no catch is sometimes as important as large catches. I think this is the case here,” said Richard Beamish, who is organizing the $1.45-million expedition with fellow B.C. scientist Brian Riddell. “We had relatively large catches of pink, chum and coho early in the survey and there were no salmon in the same area a few weeks later.” It is clear that there are probably large schools of species such as coho that are moving over large areas in response to some factor, Beamish said. The chartered trawler Pacific Legacy No. 1 left Victoria on March 11, headed up to the southern part of the Gulf of Alaska and fished off Dixon Entrance. On Friday, it was 513 miles off Cape Beale, west of Ucluelet. The team expects to return to Victoria on Tuesday. >click to read< 10:32

Debut novel set in Bristol Bay delivers generations of women’s storytelling

Mia Heavener, now living in Anchorage, grew up fishing in Bristol Bay, where she absorbed stories her mother and other women told between tides and over tea. Her lovely debut novel set in a village near Dillingham, “Under Nushagak Bluff,” draws upon those stories and her own knowledge of the region, its history, its Yup’ik people, and the fishermen and cannery workers who came and went with the salmon runs. It is a compelling narrative, rich in its evocations of a time and place largely unrepresented in our literature — and a welcome addition to it. The novel begins with a voice. Someone — it’s a while before readers will figure out who it belongs to — is sitting in a skiff on a sandbar, waiting for the tide to come in. “My girl, I’m sorry,” she says. “I’ll start with that.” And she begins to talk, with a story “that could be told by the shape of the beach we just left. It is years before me. And it begins with a storm …” >click to read< 19:19

Coronavirus: It’s not business as usual for fishing industry

For Alaska’s commercial fisheries industry in 2020, things will hardly be business as usual. Reports of the first case of novel coronavirus in the state prompted processors to get to work developing plant and vessel response plans in consultation with medical experts to assure the health and safety of employees, harvesters, communities they work in and the fish they will process by the ton. “Everyone is working on it on a regular basis,” said Norm Van Vactor, president and chief executive officer of the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp. in Dillingham. “It is literally a plan in progress. We are moving forward with a positive attitude (but) nobody is in La La Land.” >click to read< 18:15

In This Remote Town Spring Means Salmon, and Thousands of Fisherman From Coronavirus Hot Spots

Later this spring, Alaska’s Bristol Bay will blossom into one of the largest annual salmon fisheries in the world. The regional population of about 6,600 will triple in size with the arrival of fishermen, crews and seasonal workers on jets but also private planes and small boats, many traveling from out of state. And yet the heart of the health care system in southwestern Alaska, in a corner of the state where the Spanish flu once orphaned a generation, is a 16-bed hospital in Dillingham operated by the Bristol Bay Area Health Corp. Only four beds are currently equipped for coronavirus patients. As of Wednesday, the hospital had a few dozen coronavirus tests for the entire Florida-sized region, tribal leaders said. >Click to read< 14:16

Profiles in Training: American Seafoods Company

Lance Camarena recognized from a young age that he wanted to work in the learning and development arena.,, Today, Camarena is Director of Training & Organizational Development for American Seafoods Company, a fishing company which runs six factory trawlers ranging from 256 to 341 feet. The company employs approximately 1,300 seafarers from 52 countries, with about a 7% turnover in our key officer positions and a 25% turnover in our entry level processor positions. American Seafoods has also implemented a Marine Learning Systems learning management system (LMS) e-learning solution and created the American Seafoods Knowledge Academy (ASKA), which can be accessed from almost any device to complete mandated training. >click to read< 11:04

Cordova: All fishing vessel operators must sign coronavirus safety agreements

Businesses and individuals, including fishing vessel operators, will be required to sign coronavirus safety agreements to conduct commercial operations in Cordova.,, Under a mutual aid agreement, an operator must educate their employees about coronavirus symptoms and safety measures that may prevent infection, ensure compliance with the city’s coronavirus emergency rules and complete a health risk assessment form for all operators and employees working in Cordova or its waters. An operator must notify the city within 24 hours if any individual fails a health risk assessment and confirm that that individual has been placed under quarantine. An operator also agrees,,, >click to read< 09:53

Coronavirus: Fishing community takes precautions as it readies for salmon season

“We know the fish are coming regardless of COVID-19 or not and we can’t ask them to stay home.” Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink made the comment during a March 30 press briefing, adding that the state has a specific fisheries work group trying to figure out ways small communities can handle an influx of fishermen and processing workers while also adhering to important health guidelines that run counter to the realities of a traditional fishing season. While Alaska’s diverse fisheries continue year-round, the famed Copper River sockeye and king fishery that unofficially kicks off the salmon harvest in mid-May each year will be one of the first testing grounds for trying to find that balance. >click to read< 16:51

How Alaskan Fishermen Are Dealing With The Coronavirus

While the pandemic is crippling every industry, the seafood supply chain is at a standstill. Producing more by volume than all other states combined, Alaskan fisheries are exceptionally important to seafood markets. The outbreak could disrupt the start of salmon season for Alaskan fishers this year, and there is currently little understanding of how the seafood industry will be affected now and in the future. The salmon season in Alaska runs from May through September. In this time, many fishers pull in a majority of their annual income. >click to read< 17:44

Coast Guard, good Samaritan assist vessel taking on water near Sitka, Alaska

The Coast Guard and a good Samaritan assist a vessel taking on water near Sitka, Alaska, Saturday. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka delivered a dewatering pump to the fishing vessel Tamarack, which was taking on water approximately 35 miles west of Sitka Saturday. The crew of Tamarack utilized the dewatering pump to prevent additional flooding. The good Samaritan vessel Pacific Bounty responded to the urgent marine information broadcast, arrived on scene and assisted in dewatering the vessel. Video, >click to read< 06:49

Coronavirus: Fears fuel assault on Bering Sea fishing boat, federal prosecutors charge

Federal prosecutors have charged a worker on a Bering Sea factory fishing boat with assault after he allegedly broke the eye socket of another person who criticized him for serving food without gloves during the coronavirus pandemic. Prosecutors say Maurice Young was a housekeeper and galley assistant on the 235-foot SeaFreeze America, which has about 65 crew members and is homeported in Seattle. At the time of the alleged assault, on Monday, the ship was underway about 120 miles east of the Pribilof Islands. >click to read< 16:00

Alaskan Pollock Production Continues As Usual Despite The Coronavirus

“Basically, current demand for Wild Alaska Pollock is very strong and we are doing everything we can at the Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers to support our members in meeting the demand,” said Morris. This is in stark contrast to the situations of fishermen targeting other species across the country, many of whom have seen significant losses. Another reason the Alaskan Pollock fishery is staying afloat has to do with the processing and shipping of the fish.,, All processing of Alaskan Pollock, however, occurs on the massive fishing vessels at sea or in facilities in Alaska, which gives Pollock fishermen an advantage over some other seafood producers. >click to read< 13:20

Coronavirus: Bristol Bay fishermen urged to delay travel to the region until at least May 1

On Thursday, the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, which represents the Bristol Bay drift gillnet fleet, issued its first COVID-19 advisory to the fleet asking that non-local Bristol Bay Fishermen delay travel to the region until at least May 1 and listed the state mandated quarantine protocol for anyone who does travel to Alaska from out of state.,, Since Alaska enacted a limited entry permit system, the share of permits held locally by Bristol Bay residents has declined by more than 50 percent, according to a 2017 University of Alaska Fairbanks analysis. Many drift fishermen make the trip each summer from Washington, Oregon or California. >click to read< 07:49

Coronavirus: Letter from 200+ US seafood industry stakeholders to Trump Administration

March 24, 2020, Dear President Trump.  We write as participants in America’s seafood supply chain, a critical component of the country’s domestic food infrastructure and one of the major economic drivers in our country’s coastal communities and states. Empty restaurants, cafes, and dining halls are a visible reminder of the ongoing, unprecedented public health efforts to blunt the spread of COVID-19. The livelihoods of the chefs, cooks, servers, and other staff are obvious and direct casualties of those government efforts. The economic disruption caused by forced restaurant closures and active encouragement for Americans to “shelter in place,” however, extend far beyond the food service sector. >click to read< 19:37

Coronavirus: Fishing coalition seeks $4B in federal aid to cover lost restaurant sales

Commercial fishing industry members say they’re trying to stay afloat while the demand for fish dwindles as restaurants are reduced to take-out only amidst the coronavirus health crisis. Saving Seafood, a national coalition of seafood harvesters that includes New Jersey members, is now turning to the federal government for $4 billion in financial help.  “We have to manage our expectations right now. This is a national issue and it’s not going to be solved in a day or two,” said Greg DiDomenico, executive director of the Garden State Seafood Association, a commercial trades group that’s also a part of the Saving Seafood national coalition.  >click to read< 18:28

Local maritime organization restoring 114-year-old fishing boat

A remnant of a bygone era of handcrafted boats, it is one of the last of its kind. Between 1884 and 1951, about 8,000 existed. A 1951 law that required motors on commercial fishing boats resulted in the majority of these boats being either converted or burned. Today, fewer than five original vessels remain of the type that Sturgill launched his commercial fishing career on.,, The boat was donated by Seattle-based Trident Seafoods in 2013 to Drayton Harbor Maritime, a non-profit that Richard Sturgill founded with the goal of preserving the maritime history of Drayton Harbor and its surrounding waters. photo’s, >click to read< 08:17

Fishing industry grapples with fallout from coronavirus response

Like almost all industries and institutions across Alaska, the novel coronavirus pandemic is shaking up the fishing industry. With restrictions changing almost daily and cases spreading across the United States, fishermen are still fishing, but the normal seasonal progression of the industry is likely to hit some rough waters. Travel in and out of Alaska has dropped after federal and state advisories against it, and questions are hovering about how seafood processors and fishing vessels will find the employees they need for upcoming seasons.,, Adding to that, the workers in the seafood industry are often seasonal and come from outside the communities where they work, from elsewhere in Alaska, the Lower 48 or international. That’s something the processing industry is working hard to figure out. >click to read< 17:23

A Message From XTRATUF

“During these challenging times, the team at XTRATUF wants to ensure the fishing community works together, stays safe and feels supported, whether on land or sea. “The fishing industry and fishermen need continued consumer access for purchasing fish and seafood, and many businesses are offering alternative delivery options. XTRATUF is hoping to help support the community by connecting consumers across the country to healthy, fresh protein, shipped directly to your doorstep. XTRATUF is also actively working to build consumer awareness through a new #XTRATUFTOGETHER campaign, because even during challenging times, we can stand together and keep each other healthy. >click to read< 07:40

Coronavirus: Dear UFA Members and Friends, people arriving in Alaska are required to self-quarantine

As we all try to understand the magnitude of Covid-19, UFA is closely monitoring the evolving situation. We are actively engaged on the issue at the state and federal level and we will continue to provide you with information as soon as we get it. Last night, Governor Dunleavy issued a Health Mandate for the State of Alaska. All people arriving in Alaska, whether resident, worker or visitor, are required to self-quarantine for 14 days and monitor for illness. Arriving residents and workers in self-quarantine, should work from home, unless you support critical infrastructure (see Attachment A). (Food and agriculture, company cafeterias, cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing;) >click to read, links< 17:45

At the Very Beginning of the Great Alaska Earthquake

The world and everything in it appeared to be convulsing. Genie’s eyes were seeing it, but her mind couldn’t organize all the discordant information into a coherent story. Suddenly, through the windshield, she watched the road roll away from the car. The pavement didn’t break apart; it was still solid. But it rolled, wavelike, as though some humpbacked shadow creature were surging under its surface, heading for town. Finally, Genie found a word that could fasten this chaos to­gether in her mind. She said the word aloud: “This is an earthquake.” >click to read< 09:17

Senate Democrats, Greens Seek Climate Mandates In Federal Stimulus Bills

Senate Democrats and environmentalists want to tack climate change mandates onto proposed federal aid to major airlines and cruise lines reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter to the House and Senate leadership, eight Senate Democrats said last week that any financial assistance to the travel industry “should be paired with requirements that companies act in a more responsible fashion” by reducing their carbon footprint. “Climate change damages will wreak havoc on a scale even greater than the coronavirus,” said the Friday letter headed by the Center for Biological Diversity. Democrats who signed the letter were Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Jeffrey Merkley of Oregon, Cory A. Booker of New Jersey, Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Tina Smith of Minnesota and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. >click to read< 10:12

Oil, Fishing, Tourism: Alaska Economy Faces Triple Hit from Coronavirus

The U.S. state of Alaska is so far distant from the worst medical ravages of the coronavirus pandemic, but its economy is in critical condition. Alaska is especially vulnerable because it depends on oil, tourism and fisheries – basic industries that are reeling from the global coronavirus pandemic – and the state government gets most of its revenue from investment earnings that have now evaporated. “Alaska is experiencing a perfect storm, a most terrible trifecta, the hat trick from hell,” said state Senator Natasha von Imhof, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, at a hearing Saturday. “We are being hit on all sides with the stock market crash, oil prices plummeting and the tourism and fishing season all but idle.” >click to read< 09:04

Coronavirus: Seafood processors respond to COVID-19 with added precautions

Seafood industry processors say they are in ongoing discussions with local, state and federal partners,,, The seafood industry talking points including working around the clock on prevention and response, coordinating with partners that include public health officials, preventing the spread of COVID-19 within Alaska and keeping seafood safe, said Stephanie Madsen, executive director of the At-Sea Processors Association. The Seattle-based trade association represents six member companies who own and operate 16 U.S. flagged catcher/processor vessels participating principally in the Alaska Pollock fishery and West Coast Pacific whiting fishery. The group includes American Seafoods Co., Arctic Storm Management Group LLC, Coastal Villages Region Fund, Glacier Fish Company LLC, Aleutian Spray Fisheries Inc. and Trident Seafoods.  >click to read< 20:56

Small Business Relief Tracker: Funding, Grants And Resources For Business Owners Grappling With Coronavirus

Some 30 million American small businesses are high on the coronavirus’ list of victims. Nearly half of these companies say the pandemic is to blame for unprecedented revenue declines, and with no clear end in sight, the possibility of temporary closures has become a reality for many. In an effort to help business owners find financial relief, we’ve rounded up all of the government agencies, private companies and nonprofit organizations that are extending support. We’ll be adding to this list as the situation develops, so check back for updates. >click to read< 13:01

Coast Guard suspends search for possible person in water near Dutch Harbor, Alaska

The Coast Guard has suspended its search Thursday for a possible person in the water near Dutch Harbor. Missing is 33-year-old Steven Mencer, last seen wearing a neon green pullover rain jacket with orange and black pants. Mencer was reported missing after failing to report to crew check-in while the Alaska Mist, a 164-foot fishing vessel, was moored at Coastal Transportation Northern Dock, Thursday. includes original alert. >click to read< 09:23

Coronavirus: The country is shutting down. Shutdown NOAA’s Fisheries Observer Program, nationally. Right Now.

I am writing this editorial today as a responsible, conscientious American fishermen and citizen, in complete disbelief of the irresponsibility of a U.S. government agency during the current international coronavirus crisis. While the nation is in national emergency mode, states are closing public spaces, schools, universities, daycares, restaurants, encouraging social distancing, putting people in quarantine, outlawing large gatherings, and taking unprecedented emergency measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, NOAA Fisheries is pursuing the complete opposite when it comes to the fishing industry and ignoring all public safety precautions. more by Hank Lackner, F/V Jason and Danielle >click to read<06:03