Category Archives: North Pacific

Alaska fishing communities would take hit under Dunleavy proposal to end fish tax revenue-sharing

Gov. Mike Dunleavy proposed legislation this week that would keep commercial fish tax revenue that has for years been shared with Alaska fishing communities in the state’s coffers instead, a move that mayors in some of those cities say would be devastating.At play are two taxes: Alaska’s fisheries business tax, and the fishery resource landing tax. Dunleavy’s legislation would repeal the fisheries business tax allocation to municipalities and repeal revenue sharing for the fishery resource landing tax. Those shared funds go to local governments in communities where fish processing and landings occur. >click to read<22:53

State of Crabbing in Norton Sound: Less Sea Ice, Fewer Crabs — and Fewer Crabbers

The commercial quota for winter Norton Sound crabbers this season is just over 12,000 pounds: less than half of the amount last winter, and about a third of the 2017 quota. The 150,600-pound quota for the year is broken down into 8% for winter, 7.5% for subsistence, and the remainder is for summer. That equals 12,048 lbs. for commercial and 11,295 lbs. for subsistence or CDQ fishery. Justin Leon, the assistant area management biologist for the Arctic area, based in Nome, explains the decrease has a lot to do with the latest trawl survey results from the Norton Sound. >click to read<19:34

Monterey Bay fishermen catch salmon as far away as Alaska. A proposed copper mine there poses a local threat.

Tom DiMaggio is 96 years old and blessed with a full head neatly combed white hair and a warm handshake. A fisherman for his whole career, he’s been retired for over 20 years and remains a vibrant member of the fishing community – only these days, the community is far from the dock and instead gathers at the East Village Coffee Lounge in Monterey to while away weekday mornings, sipping espresso and swapping stories.,,Commercial fishing is an unpredictable profession in many ways, though the two greatest uncertainties are how many fish are caught and how much those fish sell for. The nature of the job means many fishermen want to surround themselves with a crew they can trust, which often means family. Ask the East Village table of old-school fishermen how they got started, and they all have a similar answer:, >click to read<14:00

Coast Guard medevacs man from fishing vessel 201 miles north of St. Paul, Alaska

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, forward-deployed to St. Paul, medevaced a man from the fishing vessel Kari Marie approximately 201 miles north of St. Paul, Alaska, Monday. District 17 Command Center watchstanders received notification from the fishing vessel Pacific Mariner. They were relaying communications for the fishing vessel Kari Marie for a crew member that was reported to have suffered a compound fracture while aboard the vessel. >click to read<09:27

Alaska fishing towns would forfeit $28M in fish tax under Dunleavy budget

Governor Mike Dunleavy’s proposals for balancing the state’s budget include a plan to stop sharing of millions of dollars in taxes on commercial fishing with coastal communities. “The governor’s budget is — the message he’s sending is that we’re simply — we’re out of time and we’re out of money,” said Dunleavy’s press secretary Matt Shuckerow. Landing and business taxes on fisheries – often referred to as raw fish tax – are collected by the state. >click to read<13:45

Coast Guard assists good Samaritan vessel to rescue five people from sunken fishing vessel near Dutch Harbor, Alaska

Two Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak helicopter aircrews searched and assisted the good Samaritan fishing vessel Kona Kai with locating five people in a life raft from the sunken commercial fishing vessel Pacific 1, approximately 40 miles west, southwest of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, Friday. The Kona Kai safely recovered all five people from an inflatable life raft that was deployed from the Pacific 1 upon sinking. All five people were safely transported to Dutch Harbor and were reported to have been in good condition. >click to read<18:34

Complaints about ‘chalky’ halibut draw attention from international commission

After years of hearing concerns from fishermen about the prevalence of “chalky” Pacific halibut, the International Pacific Halibut Commission is planning to gather information for an investigation into it. Chalky halibut are fish that, when cut open, have a stiff, chalk-textured flesh as opposed to the normal pale and tender flesh. Chalky meat is not dangerous to humans but is not desirable and thus costs the fishermen at the dock. Dr. Josep Planas, who heads up biological research for the IPHC, noted plans to gather information about chalky halibut from stakeholders,, >click to read<16:07

NPFMC takes first step toward rationalizing P-cod fishery

Pacific cod fishermen in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, one of the last remaining unrationalized federal fisheries in Alaska, may finally have to cross that bridge. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council passed a motion at its meeting Feb. 9 to take action on the Pacific cod fishery, which is facing a number of issues in abundance, processing and participation. Depending on public review and the council’s action at the next several meetings, the Pacific cod fishery could see significant changes to seasons, limits and vessel participation. The motion hinges around an analysis developed on the trawl catcher vessel fishery and releases Alternatives 1, 2, 3 and 6 for public review separate from the rest. Rationalization, also known as catch shares,,, >click to read<

NO RETURN: The final voyage of the crab boat Destination

The Seattle-based Destination went down without a mayday call two years ago this week, stunning a Bering Sea crabbing industry that appeared to have left its deadly legacy behind. A former crewman is haunted by what may have gone wrong in the sinking that killed his brother and five others. ,,, The Destination sank after more than a decade of relative safety in a Bering Sea crab fleet that appeared to have left behind the deadly legacy of the late 20th century, when dozens upon dozens died as their boats went down. For industry veterans, the loss of the Destination was a gut-check that spurred reflection: Are we as safe as we think? >click to read<12:47

As the Bering Sea warms, this skipper is chasing pollock to new places

The pollock fishing in the Bering Sea was “about as good as it gets,” skipper Dan Martin said as he steered his 133-foot trawler, the Commodore, over a dense school of the fish last month. From the bridge, Martin watched as his sonar showed the fish streaming into his net – so thick that his instruments couldn’t distinguish the pollock from the ocean floor. After just a few hours of fishing, Martin had filled the Commodore with more than 200 tons of pollock. As the wind and waves picked up, he started the nine-hour run back to Dutch Harbor,,, >click to read<15:20

North Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet February 4-10, 2019 at the Benson Hotel in Portland, Oregon

February 2019 Council Meets in Portland, Oregon, UPDATE on impacts of the Federal Shutdown on the Council meeting. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet February 4-10, 2019 at the Benson Hotel in Portland, Oregon. The Agenda and Schedule (UPDATED 1/31) are available through the links, as well as a list of review documents and their associated posting dates. Listen online while the meeting is in session.20:06

Sablefish season to open with slight increase, along with uncertainty

Alaska’s sablefish fishermen will go into the 2019 season in March with no change to their overall catch limit but some debate about the state of the stock. Sablefish, also known as black cod, regularly opens to fishing in Alaska in March, at the same time as the halibut fishery. Commercial fishermen in the Bering Sea, the Gulf of Alaska and Southeast Alaska catch them using trawls, longlines or, in some areas, pots. Fishermen landed about 13,956 metric tons of them last year between the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands fisheries. >click to read<19:55

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. Photos, >click to read<22:02

2018 Dungeness crab fisheries in Southeast Alaska best in years

The commercial fishery for Dungeness crab in Southeast Alaska was cut short in 2017 because harvests were low. 2018, however, has proven to be one of the best years in the last decade. It takes a while to compile all the data from Southeast’s Dungeness crab fishery. The fall fishery closed November 30 for the most part but a few areas remain open and data is still coming in.But the major areas were fished for two months and preliminary results are pretty positive. >click to read<21:33

The last colony

News Analysis-The United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) has issued its annual report on who got the fish of the 49th state, and the winner is? Outside fishing interests. Of the 6.4 billion pounds of seafood harvested in Alaska in 2017, UFA’s 2018 Alaska Commercial Fishing and Seafood Processing report lists 4.6 billion pounds – almost two-thirds – harvested by permit holders from Washington, Oregon or California. Alaska became a state in large part to break the chokehold Seattle-based interests held on state fisheries. The late George Rogers,,, >click to read<17:45

Disaster declarations, relief in limbo for multiple fisheries

The last few years of commercial fishing for Alaska have turned up poor for various regions of the state, resulting in disaster declarations and potential federal assistance.The 2018 season proved no different, with at least two disaster requests in the works at the state level. A third is in process at the federal level, and yet another is finally distributing money to affected fishermen from the 2016 season.<click to read>12:46

‘What Happened in Craig’: True crime novel delves into unsolved fishing-boat murders

It’s been 37 years, and the unsolved murder of eight family and crew members on a fishing boat in Craig, Alaska, is still the subject of conjecture among fishermen, legal analysts, crime followers and conspiracy theorists. Seattle author Leland Hale has now published a true crime account, based on his extensive research, of what happened on that day in early September 1982 and in the months and years of investigation and trials that followed. >click to read<10:16

Southeast purse seiners to hold another permit buyback vote

Southeast Alaska purse seine fishermen are preparing to vote on another permit buyback, with an eye toward making the fishery more viable in an era of more efficient vessels and smaller salmon runs. The National Marine Fisheries Service is scheduled to send out ballots to fishermen starting Jan. 15 asking whether the fleet should take on $10.1 million in federal loans to buy out 36 permits, removing them from the fishery forever. If successful, the move would reduce the number of permits in the fishery to 279, down about 100 permits since 2012. >click to read<14:35

Upper Cook Inlet King Salmon Fisheries Closed for 2019, Area Subsistence Fisheries Restricted

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) today announced closures to 2019 Northern Cook Inlet (NCI) king salmon commercial and sports fisheries. Subsistence king salmon fisheries in Northern Cook Inlet will also be restricted. The department is restricting and closing king salmon fisheries to conserve weak king salmon stocks. Multiple king salmon stocks in NCI, including seven stocks of concern, have failed to meet escapement goals in recent years.>click to read<19:41

Southeast Alaska Tanner Crab Fishery Deadline Nears

The 2018/2019 commercial Tanner crab fishery in Southeast Alaska will open concurrently with the commercial golden king crab fishery on Feb. 12, 2019. The registration deadline is Jan. 14, and all commercial fishermen registering after the deadline will have to pay a $45 late fee. Permit holders may register at Alaska Department of Fish and Game area offices in Douglas, Sitka, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Wrangell and Haines. Simultaneous, though separate, registrations are allowed for Tanner crab and golden king crab. Commercial shrimp or Dungeness crab pot registrations may also be obtained and fished simultaneously with Tanner Crab,,, >click to read<06:58

Fish and Game optimistic about 2019 sockeye run

After a poor sockeye return last summer, Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game is slightly more optimistic about 2019. Six million sockeye salmon are forecasted to run through the Upper Cook Inlet in 2019, according to Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s 2019 Upper Cook Inlet Sockeye Salmon forecast. The forecast, released Friday, estimates a range of 4.8 million to 7.3 million for the total sockeye salmon run. Escapement is forecasted at 2 million while Upper Cook Inlet commercial harvest is estimated at 3 million and other harvest at 1 million. >click to read<11:38

The Former Clintonite Trying to Build the Country’s Most Controversial Mine

Tom Collier is buckled into the back of a six-seat AS350 Helicopter, racing over the lowland bluffs of southwest Alaska. Clad in a black Helly Hansen jacket and baseball hat bearing the word Pebble, he doesn’t exactly look at ease, though he’ll later claim otherwise. When the chopper banks south, he reaches awkwardly for the ceiling, desperate for something to grab. Soon we pass over the Newhalen River, a rushing white torrent, then cut into the rolling hills of the Nushagak and Kvichak river drainages. The two waterways are among the wildest left in the United States , and their watersheds form a sea of tundra sedge and skinny water that produces about half of the sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay, Alaska. >click to read<11:36

ADF&G releases terms of new Pacific Salmon Treaty

A new Pacific Salmon Treaty negotiated between the United States and Canada, and critical to fisheries and the economy of Southeast Alaska, is now in effect for the decade ahead, as state and commercial harvester entities wrestle with how to deal with it. Acting Commissioner of Fish and Game Doug Vincent-Lang notes that his agency released the actual language of the negotiated terms, which were several years in the making, to allow affected users the opportunity to review them, “especially given that the terms adopt new metrics for management of fisheries in Southeast Alaska. This was done to improve transparency,” he said on Jan. 2.>click to read<20:08

Government shutdown, if it continues, could cost Alaska’s lucrative Bering Sea fisheries

Even if the shutdown does persist, the federal government will allow the Bering Sea fisheries to start as scheduled, with an initial opening for cod Jan. 1, and a second opening for pollock and other species Jan. 20. But the fisheries are heavily regulated, and before boats can start fishing, the federal government requires inspections of things like scales — for weighing fish — and monitoring equipment that tracks the number and types of fish being caught. And the National Marine Fisheries Service, which regulates the Bering Sea fisheries, isn’t doing those inspections during the shutdown. >click to read<20:16

Alaska: Seafood industry faces more uncertainty

As another year draws to a close, the seafood industry seems to be facing even more uncertainty than usual, with some groundfish stocks cratering, salmon runs behaving in historically strange ways, trade wars with China imposing some tariffs on a variety of products, and the state being on the forefront of climate change. The year started out with a Pacific cod quota cut of 80 percent in the Gulf of Alaska, an unexpected drop after a strong year class from 2012 suffered unusually high mortality due to a warm period from 2014 to 2016.,, Bering Sea crabbers started the year with a 19.5 million-pound opilio quota that proved difficult for some boats, >click to read<09:30

Sunken fishing tender is a loss

A 71-foot fishing tender that sank at Seward’s T-Dock in early December has been refloated and was being turned over to a Seward boat repair firm for final disposal. Officials with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said Dec. 21 that the F/V Nordic Viking had been lifted ad dewatered by Global Diving and Salvage, Inc. on Dec. 20 with Alaska Chadux Corp., an oil spill response organization, deploying containment boom, and that the vessel was heading to Raibow Fiberglass and Boat Repair for disposal. >click to read<17:47

Work continues on federal plan for Cook Inlet salmon

More than two years after a court ruling ordered the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to develop a management plan for the Cook Inlet salmon fishery, a stakeholder group has made a first set of recommendations. The council convened a Cook Inlet Salmon Committee last year composed of five stakeholders to meet and offer recommendations before the council officially amends the Fishery Management Plan, or FMP, for the drift gillnet salmon fishery in Upper Cook Inlet, which occurs partially in federal waters. >click to read<15:13

Catch Shares – Costs rise while values fall; season starts uncertain during shutdown

Fishermen in Alaska who own catch shares of halibut, sablefish and Bering Sea crab will pay more to the federal government to cover 2018 management and enforcement costs for those fisheries. ,, “The value of the halibut fishery was down 24 percent year over year, while sablefish was down 21 percent,” Greene said, adding that the decreases stemmed primarily from lower dock prices. ,,, Fish shutdown shaft-Hundreds of boats that are gearing up for the January start of some of Alaska’s largest fisheries could be stuck at the docks due to the government shutdown battle between President Donald Trump and Senate Democrats. >click to read<14:40

The name is hagfish but you can call it a ‘slime eel.’ Meet a new Alaska fishery.

Consider the hagfish. Maybe you’ve never heard of these deep ocean creatures, also called “slime eels” for their eel-like appearance and ability to secrete huge amounts of opaque slime. Not exactly a mouth-watering description at first glance; yet over the past two years, a small-scale effort has developed in Southeast Alaska to harvest these fascinating uggos as a fledgling Alaska fishery. That’s unusual news in a state where most fishery resources are already developed. >click to read<18:53

Year in Review: A dismal year for salmon and halibut in the Gulf, Bristol Bay booms, battles over hatcheries

This summer was a disappointment for salmon fishermen across the Gulf of Alaska, both in the timing and in the numbers. Salmon fishermen from Kodiak to Southeast saw poor harvests and poor profits this year due to unexpectedly small runs of sockeye, king and pink salmon. No. 2: Records smashed in Bristol Bay, Norton Sound, No. 3: Hatchery battles at the Board of Fisheries, No. 4: Halibut hardships, falling quotas and prices, >click to read<11:35