Category Archives: North Pacific

Full Committee Markup on 15 Bills – Magnuson Stevens HR 200 Advances, But Not Without a Fight

House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday advanced out of committee revisions to the Magnuson-Stevens Act (H.R. 200 (115)) governing marine fishing and management in federal waters. The law is intended to prevent overfishing, but several conservation groups and Democrats are critical of the way it was written. Only three out of 12 amendments to the bill passed, and the bill moved out of committee on a party-line vote, your host reports. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who voted against it, called it a plan to “deregulate our oceans and fish everywhere until there’s nothing left.”   click here to read the story  Watch the hearing click here 15:30

Beyond Deadliest Catch: The Fisherman in Pursuit of One of the World’s Great Delicacies

Dan Jansen had been awake for about a day and a half on his first-ever trip as captain of a crab-fishing boat way back in 1986. When there was finally a lull, Jansen left the wheelhouse to get some rest. His eyes hadn’t been shut for more than 15 minutes when he heard what sounded like an explosion. In the time it took for his feet to swivel from his bunk to the floor, Jansen’s stateroom had filled up with more than a foot of water. click here to read the story 10:46

2018 Togiak herring forecast to be a little larger than 2017, according to ADF&G

The state has released its forecast for the 2018 Togiak herring fishery. The total forecasted biomass of 136,756 tons of Pacific herring will allow a combined purse seine and gill net harvest of 24,042 tons for the Togiak District Sac Roe Fishery. That biomass is up slightly from 2017’s forecast—130,852 tons. “Pretty much as I expected,” said Bristol Bay area research biologist Greg Buck said about the 2018 forecast. “Maybe a little small and a little older than I would have predicted, but totally in the ballpark. So I expect a fairly normal run.” click here to read the story 20:04

Southeast Alaska: Commercial Dungeness fall fishery better than expected

The summer season for Dungeness crab didn’t go so well. In fact, it was the lowest harvest in over 30 years and managers ended up closing the fishery three weeks early. The summer season brought in 1.3 million pounds, less than half the average harvest.  With such a poor summer, state regulation required the fall season for Dungeness crab be shortened to 30 days, half the length of the normal fishery for most of Southeast. So, when the numbers came in, managers were surprised that harvests were not low. Joe Stratman is Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s lead crab biologist for Southeast. “We exceeded our expectations which is encouraging,” Stratman said. audio report, click here to read the story 13:50

Why Fishermen Fail To Unite and Resist Being Swept Off of Our Historic Fishing Grounds

As fishermen it often seems we are beset on all sides by so many issues that would disenfranchise us, derail our efforts to safeguard our industry, destroy our livelihoods and communities, and push us off of the historically wild and free ocean. Whether it is in the name of industrial power production or environmental protection, we are up against marine monuments, death by a thousand cuts regulation, forests of windmills, observers, cameras, and tracking systems watching us like an Orwellian nightmare, and grids of closure areas that threaten to push us onto fishing reservations like the Native Americans who once stood in the path of progress. click here to continue reading By Jon Johnson 18:51

Hearing – National Ocean Policy: Stakeholder Perspectives, Tuesday, December 12, 2017 2:30 p.m.

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, will convene a hearing titled “National Ocean Policy: Stakeholder Perspectives,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 12, 2017. The hearing will examine the state of the National Ocean Policy and the program’s interaction with existing laws and regulations for ocean management. Witnesses: – Ms. Bonnie Brady, Executive Director, Long Island Commercial Fishing Association – Mr. Christopher Guith, Senior Vice President, Global Energy Institute, U.S. Chamber of Commerce – Mr. Dan Keppen, Executive Director, Family Farm Alliance  – Ms. Kathy Metcalf, President and CEO, Chamber of Shipping of America click here to read, and the link will open to watch the proceedings tomorrow @ 2:30 pm

Pushing back against the greying of the fleet

The average age of an Alaska fisherman today is more than 50 years old. That number is growing statewide, according to a November report, as permit and quota holders leave coastal communities, reducing opportunities for youth to enter fisheries. The absence of youth in Alaska’s fisheries has become known as the “greying of the fleet” and it’s affecting rural and urban communities across the state. To help with the problem, the Alaska Marine Conservation Council has chosen five young leaders from the fishing industry to help steward projects aimed at increasing youth access to the fishing industry. click here to read the story 14:05

Exonerated Suspect in Unsolved Alaska Fishing Boat Mass Murder Breaks His Silence

Thirty-five years have passed since the massacre of eight people on the fishing boat Investor first shocked the nation. For those whose lives were upended by the killings, the case remains a painful cloud that refuses to lift. For John Peel, the former deckhand who police and prosecutors suspected of committing the grisly slayings, the mystery is something else: a question mark that still hangs over his head. Peel was charged with the killings in 1984, but after two expensive, headline-grabbing trials, he was found not guilty. Decades later, the case is Alaska’s worst unsolved mass homicide. Video, click here to read the story 12:25

20,030,171: final tally on Nushagak District banner year

With final tally from fish tickets, Bristol Bay’s westside district officially reached a milestone most never thought possible. After Bristol Bay’s sockeye season winds down, the Department of Fish and Game works on inputting all the data from fish tickets, both the electronic and paper kind. Westside area management biologist Tim Sands says this gives a more accurate tally, which coincidentally just pushed his district to a new milestone. click here to read the story

Alaskan summer of success for a kid from Flint

Inspired by Seahawk Thomas Rawls, a young African-American man from Flint took a job fishing in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, and it paid for his first year in college. Plucked from the harshness of Flint, MI., and delivered to the pristine waters of Alaska’s Bristol Bay, upon one of world’s greatest fisheries, Jawanza Brown had his mind close to blown. “It was almost like going to a whole other planet, you know?” he said. “Everything was so different. I mean, Alaska’s part of the U.S., but it’s such a different part of the country, and the fishing industry is so big and booming. It was just wild.” click here to read the story 22:37

North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Anchorage (in progress) December 4-12, 2017

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet the week of December 4-12, 2017 at the Hilton Hotel, 500 W. 3rd Avenue, Anchorage, Alaska. The AGENDA and SCHEDULE are available. The Council meeting will be broadcast (starts today) click here to listen online 19:38

Coast Guard medevacs man 230 miles north of Cold Bay, Alaska

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew medevaced a man Sunday morning from the 143-foot fishing vessel American No.1, 230 miles north of Cold Bay. The Jayhawk helicopter crew hoisted the man and safely transported him to Cold Bay where a LifeMed aircraft crew transported him to Anchorage for further medical care. Coast Guard District 17 command center watchstanders received notification from Health Force Partners reporting a 35-year-old male crewmember was suffering from abdominal pain and vomiting. Video, click here to read the story 15:06

New cell towers rising in Unalaska

From new cell towers now rising to the proposed high-speed Terra Aleutian connection to the rest of the world, GCI is making progress on improving cellphone and internet service in Unalaska, according to Vice President Dan Boyette. One new cellphone tower has been erected and should be providing basic cellphone service by the end of November on Captains Bay Road. The 100-foot tower at Offshore Systems, Inc. replaces a smaller hillside unit at the commercial dock and warehouse complex, servicing factor trawlers, freezer longliners and other large fishing and cargo and research vessels. click here to read the story 12:46

Family, friends, mourn Scituate lobsterman who died at sea

The clink and clatter of lobster traps on the docks at Lucian Rosseau Memorial Landing stopped for a moment Friday morning as local fishermen gathered to mourn the loss of legend. After 47 years on the sea, Frederick Dauphinee died after a heart attack 10 nautical miles off the coast of Cohasset on Thursday. He was 76. As friends and family swapped stories and shared a few beers, they remembered a hard-working lobsterman with a sense of humor and a love of his family, his boat and the sea. click here to read the story 18:28

Coast Guard: Russia and U.S. Working Well Together in the Bering Sea, Arctic

Unlike other parts of the world, the U.S. and Russia work well together in the Bering Sea and the Arctic. The pair is enforcing fishing regulations and other laws, conducting search and rescue operations. Moscow and Washington are sending the International Maritime Organization a joint recommendation for safe shipping routes through northern waters, the head of the U.S. Coast Guard in Alaska said on Wednesday. “We see the relationship with Russia [in the Arctic] as a bright spot,” said Rear Adm. Michael McAllister,,, click here to read the story 16:10

Pacific Halibut numbers could drop

Scientists monitoring halibut say there could be a decline in the bottom fish along the coast of the U.S. and Canada in upcoming years if the current level of fishing continues. The International Pacific Halibut Commission oversees management of the fish along the coast from Alaska to California. Commissioners had an interim meeting Tuesday and Wednesday, November 28-29th in Seattle and heard about this year’s catch and the latest estimates of halibut stocks. Scientists found fewer younger halibut in survey fishing done up and down the coast this year. click here to read the story 16:10

Positive trends highlighted in fall sockeye market analysis

Bristol Bay’s commercial fishing industry had a smashing good season in 2017. The massive forecast for next year has stirred a lot of excitement, and drift permit prices are up around $140,000. Now an annual analysis of the sockeye market suggests wholesale and retail prices are up, worldwide supply is down, and farmed salmon producers are still struggling to rebound. Only the prospect of Pebble Mine filing for permits has seemed to dampen the mood of Bristol Bay fishermen this fall. Andy Wink, a senior seafood industry analyst at the McDowell Group, authored the “2017 Sockeye Market Analysis” for the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association. click here to read the story 08:18

Bumper sockeye salmon run forecast for Bristol Bay in 2018

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is forecasting another bumper year for sockeye salmon in 2018. An expected 51 million sockeye could return, with 37 million set aside for commercial fishing. “All systems are expected to meet their spawning escapement goals,” wrote the ADF&G in a news release. The bumper forecast comes amidst debate about whether to open the controversial Pebble Mine, a move that supporters say would bring growth and economic activity to the region. Detractors say the mine would harm the profitable watershed. click here to read the story 08:39

Silver Bay Seafoods making bold moves for 2018 rebound

The record-setting 2017 commercial sockeye season in Bristol Bay was tougher than usual for most companies in Bristol Bay. The run size, 56.5 million total, was a whopping 42 percent bigger than the state predicted, and the 37.7 million sockeye landed was 10 million more than anyone was planning for. Nearly every company “plugged” up and put their fleet on limits while they struggled to keep up. Added to that list in 2017 was Silver Bay Seafoods, whose processing plant in Naknek fell behind the massive harvest its highliner fleet was bringing in. This was never supposed to happen. click here to read the story 14:48

Bristol Bay red king crab quota caught

The Bristol Bay red king crab season finished up last week when the entire allowable catch was harvested. “The Bristol Bay Red King Crab fishery went fairly well,”  Miranda Westphal said. Westphal is the area management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Dutch Harbor. “A little slower than we would like to have seen, but they wrapped up with a total catch of 6.59 million pounds. So they caught all of the catch that was available for the season.” click here to read the story 17:00

Kodiak fishermen may soon be able to sell fish from their boats

“I’m glad that we’re doing this. It will give the smaller fisherman a chance to make a little more coinage. It makes us feel more like a fishing town where you can go down to the fisherman’s boat and buy his catch.” Last year, the council was presented with a petition with 67 signatures asking for this change to the city’s code. Currently, in Kodiak, a person isn’t allowed to go to a fishing boat to buy fish or any other kind of fresh seafood. “I think this is the type of example we’ve talked about in terms of economic development and ways that a municipality can help facilitate business, growth and development.” click here to read the story 21:31

Salmon complete 1,000-mile journey, and life

On a morning with biting air in the single digits Fahrenheit, this river smells like sulfur and is splashy and loud. Bald eagles and ravens swoop in the updraft of a nearby rock bluff in what looks like play. In early November, a time when shadows lengthen and deep cold hardens the landscape, chum salmon have returned to spawn in the lower Delta River. In spots, the water is so shallow that dorsal fins wiggle in the frigid air. Some fish get frostbite on really cold days. Now is the peak of one of Alaska’s last great animal migrations of the year. click here to read the story 10:11

Historic Fishing Vessel Gets New Home in Downtown Kodiak

A historic fishing vessel has been given a permanent home in downtown Kodiak after 12 years of refurbishment and sitting in storage. click here to read the story, and from May 27, 2013, Kodiak’s Thelma C prepared for new home – After more than a year of restoration, the Kodiak Maritime Museum’s Thelma C is ready for its new home on the Kodiak waterfront. On Saturday, volunteers finished cleaning the Thelma C restoration site at Kodiak College, preparing the wooden fishing boat for storage until construction is finished on a permanent display stand downtown click here to read the story The Thelma C Restoration Project click here 15:33

Seattle-based Alaska crab fleet alerted to new hazard: They’re carrying heavier pots

Alaska crab boats carry stability reports meant to guide the safe loading of up to several hundred crab pots that may be used to bring in a catch from the turbulent Bering Sea. But Coast Guard spot checks found that most of these documents significantly underestimate the weights of the steel-framed pots. The checks were spurred by a Coast Guard investigation into the Feb. 11 sinking of the Seattle-based Destination and the loss of all six of its crew. One of the vessel’s pots — retrieved from the Bering Sea bottom in July — was found to weigh more than the Destination’s stability report had assumed, according to testimony in a Marine Board of Investigation into the disaster. click here to read the story 10:46

Little red salmon

The wolves of Southwest Alaska share something in common with the wolves of Denali, according to a new National Park Service-sponsored study, they love fish – salmon to be specific. Following on the pioneering work of U.S. Geological Survey biologist Layne Adams in Denali National Park and Preserve in 2010, researchers who spent five years monitoring the diets of six wolf-packs in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve have documented high use of salmon by wolves there. A few Lake Clark area wolves even appear to have adapted to a prey-switching strategy that takes advantage of the decades that Alaska state salmon managers have devoted to boosting salmon runs to streams draining into Bristol Bay. click here to read the story 14:38

Coast Guard medevacs man from fishing vessel near Cold Bay, Alaska

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew forward deployed to Cold Bay, Alaska, medevaced a man Wednesday from the 154 -foot fishing vessel Defender 260 miles north of Cold Bay. The Jayhawk helicopter crew hoisted the man at 10:45 a.m. and safely transported him to St. Paul where he was transferred to commercial medical services. He was later transported to Anchorage, Alaska, for further medical care. click here to read press release 11:27

Alaska tops nation in total fishing volume for 20th year

The annual report detailing national and regional economic impacts of U.S. fisheries totaled $9.6 billion in value in 2016 with Alaska as usual producing more than the rest of the nation combined. Alaska produced 58 percent of all landings and for the 20th straight year brought in the highest volume, according to the 2016 Fisheries of the United States report by the National Marine Fisheries Service. The top spot for all ports in the nation went to Dutch Harbor, which brought in 770 million pounds with Alaska pollock accounting for 89 percent of that volume. click here to read the story 16:43

Commissioner, 3 employees are leaving embattled Alaska fishing agency

One of the two leaders of an embattled Alaska commercial fishing agency is leaving his job, he said this week. Ben Brown, a commissioner at the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission, said in an email that he’s resigning to take a job at a Juneau arts organization. His departure comes within the same month as three other commission employees’, according to a former colleague. Brown and Bruce Twomley, CFEC’s other commissioner, have both earned more than $130,000 a year to supervise the fishing agency even though their most essential work — limiting access to fisheries and ruling on permit applications — has slowed dramatically. click here to read the story 08:58

Tanner crab fishery to open in Kodiak for first time since 2013

Nat Nichols, Alaska Department of Fish and Game area management biologist for the Groundfish, Shellfish & Dive Fisheries, says the last opening was in 2013. He says ADF & G conducts an extensive trawl survey program between Dutch Harbor and Kodiak focused on tanner crab in the Gulf of Alaska. “This year we did 363 stations. About 200 of those are in Kodiak, so quite a few stations around Kodiak to assess tanner crab abundance.,, Meanwhile, the Dungeness crab season, which opened in May and June, closed last week. click here to read the story 17:35

Senior NOAA appointee calls for retraction of paper on illegal fishing

A top US official at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who was recently appointed by President Donald Trump, has called for the retraction of a paper that suggests the country exports a significant amount of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. The paper, published July 6 in Marine Policy, estimated that in 2015 approximately one-fifth of Alaska pollock exports to Japan were either illegal, unreported, or unregulated — a value of as much as $75 million. click here to read the story 15:17