Category Archives: North Pacific

2 West Coast commercial fishing vessel mishaps included in NTBS Safer Seas Digest 2016

The National Transportation Safety Board cited two mishaps involving vessels around Ventura Harbor among 27 marine-related boating accidents as part of its Safer Seas Digest 2016. The agency’s annual report, released online Thursday, is part of an effort to help improve safety in the boating industry. “We hope that (the report) continues to help the marine industry discuss and address the safety issues confronting it,” said Robert Sumwalt, the NTSB’s acting chairman, in the 2016 Safer Seas Digest.The mishaps mentioned in the report include a July 29, 2015, collision in which the captain of a commercial fishing boat, Ferrigno Boy, lost control of the boat as it maneuvered near the Ventura Harbor Boatyard. The 70-foot-long squid boat hit the docks there. No one was injured in the accident. click here to read the story 14:22 To read the report click here

Bristol Bay red salmon run smashes records

Millions of fish and sinking boats: It was a record-breaking year for the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon fishery. The Western Alaska commercial fishery — which produces 40 percent of the world’s harvest of sockeyes — had a stellar harvest, with record-breaking catches and a high price for fishermen at the docks. A total run of almost 59 million fish had been counted in the region as of Thursday, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. That doesn’t top the record total run of 62 million caught in 1980, but it’s still among the top five since managers began keeping records in 1952, according to Fish and Game area management biologist Tim Sands.,, But there were still challenges as processors, dealing with the influx of fish, put limits on fishermen during the height of the season. click here to read the story 09:48

Alaskan Commercial Fishing Couple Charged with Willful Failure to Pay Over $400,000 in Income Taxes on Income Earned for 13 Years

An Alaskan couple was charged in federal court in Juneau, Alaska today with four counts of willful failure to pay their individual income taxes, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg and Acting U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder for the District of Alaska.  According to the Information, Archie W. Demmert III and Roseann L. Demmert earned income from commercial fishing. The Information alleges that Archie Demmert owned Vetta Bay LLC, which owned the Demmerts’ fishing vessel, the Emerald Beauty. click here to read the press release 15:09

Sustained by the sea: Buying into a fishing legacy

Trae Lohse and Tracey Nuzzi, both fairly new to the commercial fishing industry, have very different fishing histories. They’re drawn to commercial fishing’s unconventional lifestyle, setting their sights on the waters of Prince William Sound each summer to support themselves and their families, as part of an industry that supports Alaska’s economy.,,, For most young adults beginning their careers, making an investment of $200,000 would be out of the question. But for those looking to get into the industry, this is pretty standard. They are well aware of the costs. The two biggest upfront costs are purchasing a commercial fishing boat and permit. click here to read the story 10:12

US congressman wants imported seafood tracked like domestic products

For the second straight congressional session, a representative from Texas has introduced a bill he claims would level the playing field between American fishermen and their foreign counterparts. Late last month, U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold filed the “Protecting Honest Fishermen Act of 2017.” The legislation calls for all seafood sold in America to be traceable from the time it was caught to the time it was served. Under current regulations, importers do not need to provide the same level of information as domestic fishermen. “American fishermen shouldn’t be at a disadvantage to foreign fishermen especially here in the United States,” the Republican said in a statement. click here to read the story 17:44

UPDATED: Coast Guard, good Samaritans assist rescue of 4 from capsized vessel near Raspberry Island, Alaska

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk crew and good Samaritans assisted with the rescue of the captain and three crew members Monday from a capsized fishing vessel in the Kupreanof Strait near Raspberry Island. The crew of the Calista Marie arrived on scene and rescued one crewman from the Grayling, as the Grayling’s skiff driver rescued the master. The aircrew diverted from a training flight when they observed the captain of the capsized fishing vessel Grayling jump into the water to assist the fourth crewman. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Anchorage received a call on VHF-FM channel 16 at 3:25 p.m. Monday from the crew of the Calista Marie reporting that they responded to the capsized Grayling. The captain of the Grayling was able to pull one of his crewmen safely onto the Grayling’s purse seiner skiff and initiate CPR. The MH-60 Jayhawk crew then transported him to awaiting EMS at Kodiak Municipal Airport.
The cause of the capsizing has not been determined. “That fisherman didn’t hesitate. It was incredible to see him jump into 47-degree water to save his crew,” said Lt. Kevin Riley, an Air Station Kodiak Jayhawk pilot. “It is a testament to how tough those fishermen are and how far they will go to help their fellow Alaskans.” Weather on scene was 17-mph winds, 5-foot seas with unrestricted visibility. -USCG- click for video 07:52

Captain of capsized fishing boat jumps from safety back into water to rescue crewman – The captain of a commercial fishing boat jumped back into 47-degree waters Monday to save one of his crewmen after their vessel capsized near Kodiak Island, according to a witness and the U.S. Coast Guard. click here to read the story 18:55

Veteran Nushagak drifter, greenhorn daughter have best season ever

Longtime Bristol Bay fisherman Hector Sanchez of f/v El Nayar hauled in more salmon than ever this year, and it was his daughter Toni Sanchez’s first year as a crew member. Work on a commercial fishing boat can test the temperaments of those on board. Skippers often demand intensive labor from their crew, for long hours without sleep and little food, and not everyone takes to the job. Pre-existing relationships between captain and crew can often be strained when on the water, and sometimes crewmembers will quit mid-season. Audio report, read the story here 20:51

Coast Guard, Good Samaritans respond to vessel in distress near Port Moller Saturday

A salmon tender on its way out of Bristol Bay began taking on water Saturday afternoon near Port Moller. Chief Petty Officer Shawn Eggert said the fishing vessel Kona Kai relayed a mayday from the 76-foot Cachalot that they were taking on water with four souls onboard. “The Kona Kai started heading towards the scene to render any kind of assistance they could provide,” said Eggert. “While that was happening, District 17 Command Center directed an Air Station Kodiak C-130 plane as well as an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew to the scene.” Eggert did not know what had caused the vessel to take on water Saturday. Winds were reported out of the northwest with seas around seven feet. According to the Coast Guard, the ship’s master had wounded his hand during the ordeal and needed to be medevaced. click here to read the story 18:43

Bryan Schroder, U.S. Attorney for Alaska, and the case of the missing fisherman

Bryan Schroder, a veteran federal prosecutor in Alaska, was nominated Friday by President Donald Trump to be the U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska. Schroder has been the acting head of the Alaska district since Karen Loeffler stepped down after being asked to resign by the Administration. He had served as First Assistant U.S. Attorney and Criminal Chief for the United States Attorney’s Office, District of Alaska since 2005. A retired U.S. Coast Guard Captain, Schroder is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and the University of Washington School of Law.,, In a recent case that Schroder handled, a Port Graham couple has been charged with faking the death of a man who was facing prison time on another count to which he had already plead guilty. click here to red the story 07:59

Girlfriend Helped Him Fake Death at Sea to Avoid Jail –  The indictment says Rodriguez sent a flurry of Facebook messages to plant the seeds of the fabricated emergency. click here to read the story 09:12

Bristol Bay fisherman-restaurateur buys catch back from processor to sell in Monterey eatery

Sam Mercurio skippers the f/v Quick Silver, a Bristol Bay drift boat fishing for Alaska General Seafoods. He is also part-owner of a Italian seafood restaurant in Monterey, California called Domenico’s On the Wharf. Mercurio has fished in Bristol Bay for 39 years, and has co-owned Domenico’s for eleven years. After each fishing season, he buys thousands of pounds of salmon from AGS to be sold in his restaurant—salmon he helped supply to the processor as a fisherman. “It’s wild and natural, and it’s ours; it’s mine, you know what I mean,” said Mercurio on taking ownership of the wild caught product. “I buy direct from Alaska General Seafoods. They put up a pack for me all filleted and vacuum packed, and we ship them to Seattle from Naknek, and they ship them to the restaurant when I need them.” click here to listen/read the story 15:49

Pacific Seafood Processor’s Association seeks probe into America’s Finest foreign steel

The trade group representing Alaska’s onshore fish processing plants is challenging a request for an exemption to a federal law limiting the amount of foreign steel allowed in fishing vessel construction. The Pacific Seafood Processor’s Association has major issues with the request for a Jones Act waiver sought by Fisherman’s Finest, the owner of the embattled flatfish factory trawler American’s Finest, and its builder, the Washington shipyard Dakota Creek Industries. The 261-foot vessel is nearly complete at a cost of at least $60 million, and cannot fish in U.S. waters without the waivers. PSPA’s members include Unisea and Westward in Unalaska, and most of the other fish processors in Alaska. click here to read the story 09:52

A big harvest + a buck a pound: Bristol Bay 2017 will be one for the books

Mother Nature sent way more sockeye back to Bristol Bay than was expected, and many fishermen recorded their top seasons ever. As other fisheries fall short, the market is eager for all the fish the Bay can provide, so the fleet goes home with a better price, too. The ex-vessel value may be the highest since early 90s.The Bristol Bay run is not over yet, with word Monday that the Kvichak River seemed to finally “pop”, but this year’s fishery is shaping up to be one of the largest ever and certainly one of the most valuable in a long time.,,, “We are really happy to see several processors posting $1/lb base price – especially considering the base price just 2 years ago was .50 cents,” said Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association executive director Becky Martello. “With much of the fleet now chilling and bleeding, it means that our fishermen can get upwards of $1.25/pound. That’s good news for the fleet and the fishery.” click here to read the story 17:51

NOAA locates F/V Destination wreckage, Coast Guard hearing set for August

Two NOAA ships, en route to scientific missions in Alaskan waters, helped locate the missing fishing vessel Destination at the request of the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation. The Destination and its six crew members were lost February 11, 2017, while fishing for Opilio crab (snow crab) northwest of St. George, Alaska. NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson, a fisheries survey vessel, conducted the first survey from April 30 through May 1. The Dyson used its multibeam echo sounder to search the area around the last known position of the Destination. While the ship was not able to positively identify any contacts, it did narrow the search area. A second survey by NOAA Ship Fairweather, a hydrographic survey vessel, was conducted on July 8 and 9. The Fairweather used its multibeam sonar, designed for seafloor mapping and object detection, to locate the Destination in approximately 250 feet of water. click here to read the press release 13:51

Senators Murkowski and King Renew Call to Ratify Law of the Sea Treaty to Help Chart Future of the Arctic

Two key senators have renewed a more than 30-year-old United States call to ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty in order to have a seat at the table involving the Arctic’s future. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said Wednesday by not ratifying the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea the United States is locked out of international enforcement of what it considers its outer continental shelf for possible development and protection, the seabed and fisheries.  Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), also a member of the committee, called the Senate’s failure to ratify the pact “a huge self-inflicted wound,” speaking Wednesday at the Center for International and Strategic Studies. The failure to ratify based on arguments of loss of American sovereignty if approved means “right now we’re not in the game” in deciding broad maritime issues.  click here to read the story 13:24

Couple Charged with Crimes Related to False Distress Call to Fake Lead Defendant’s Death to Avoid Prison

Acting U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced today that two Port Graham, Alaska, residents have been federally charged related to their causing the United States Coast Guard to attempt to save life and property when no help was needed.  Ryan Riley Meganack, aka: “Unga,” 34, and his girlfriend, Ivy Rose Rodriguez, 25, both of Port Graham, Alaska, were charged with conspiracy and false distress. Meganack was also charged with felon in possession of a firearm. Meganack, a long-time commercial fisherman and a boat captain, was scheduled to plead guilty on Dec. 5, 2016, in a separate case (State of Alaska v. Meganack, 3AN-15-00683CR), and understood that at the time he pled guilty in that matter he would go to prison. To avoid that consequence, Meganack attempted to fake his own death and enlisted the help of his girlfriend, Rodriguez. click here to read the story 10:53

The Man Who Got Americans to Eat Trash Fish Is Now a Billionaire

Chuck Bundrant was a college freshman with $80 in his pocket when he drove halfway across the country to Seattle to earn a few bucks fishing. The year was 1961. He hasn’t stopped fishing since. And today, Bundrant, the founder and majority owner of Trident Seafoods, is worth at least $1.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.,,, Chuck Bundrant’s story is the stuff of industry legend. “He knew nothing about fishing boats, or catching and processing crab and salmon,’’ son Joe said in a corporate video two years ago. “He’d only watched a movie with John Wayne in it called ‘North to Alaska.’ And he heard there was money to be made on the fishing grounds, thousands and thousands of miles from home.’’ After a few years, Bundrant was looking for a way to start a business in the industry. He met two other crab fishermen — Kaare Ness and Mike Jacobson — and in 1973 the three put their money together and built the Billikin, a 135-foot boat that changed the seafood industry, according to Trident’s corporate history. click here to read the story 19:06

Oversight Hearing “Exploring the Successes and Challenges of the Magnuson-Stevens Act” Wednesday, July 19, 2017 2:00 PM

On Wednesday, July 19, 2017, at 2:00 p.m., in Room 1324 Longworth House Office Building, the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans will hold an oversight hearing titled “Exploring the Successes and Challenges of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.”  Witnesses are Mr. Jeff Kaelin, Government Relations, Lund’s Fisheries, Inc. Cape May, New Jersey. Mr. Sean Martin, President, Hawaii Longline Association, Honolulu, Hawaii. Mr. Nick Wiley, Executive Director,  Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Tallahassee, Florida. Mr. Charles Witek, Recreational Angler and Outdoor Writer, West Babylon, New York. click here at 14:00 Wednesday to watch the proceeding.  If you need further information, please contact Calvin Frauenfelder, Clerk, Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans at (202) 225-8331.

Hearing Memorandum detailsclick here  19:35

A WICKED WINTER NIGHT – By Capt. Jack

The Bering Harvester pounds through challenging waves. The gale blows sea spray across our decks that flash freezes, adding weight to the boat. Having delivered our last load of fish, we’re enduring the 200-mile return to our fishing area. Boats can roll in icing conditions, but if I continue at reduced speed in the inky black night, the spray should be manageable. Squinting at the chart, my eyes burn from being awake for 24 hours. I plot a course skirting the peninsula separating the North Pacific and Bering Sea, keeping the trawler five miles from land. The first watch arrives in the wheelhouse to relieve me: Johnny, our youngest crewman at 24. His dark eyes look brighter after a few hours’ sleep. “If the wind picks up or the temp drops, wake me,” I say and go below deck to catch a nap. click here to read the story! 10:52

Longtime Nushagak fishermen say they’ve never seen a year like this

The total run to the Nushagak  in Bristol Bay has surpassed the all time record for the district. Those who have spent many, many decades fishing at Nushagak Point weigh in on the unprecedented season. The run has been substantial enough to overwhelm the processor, Peter Pan Seafoods, who has been forced to place Nushagak setnetters on daily limits.,, Curtis Olson, better known as ‘Ole’, is the self-proclaimed Mayor of Nushagak Point and has fished in the district for 37 years. He was medevaced out when his gall bladder turned septic during last year’s season and considered retirement. He says he’s glad he continued to fish, because he was able to participate in what he calls ‘the greatest run ever in the history of the Nushagak district.’ Audio, read the story here 07:59

Nushagak set netters try to not catch too much during record sockeye runclick here to read the story

Prince William Sound’s pink salmon run shows up late, harvest is underway

Up until Monday, numbers of pink salmon returning to Prince William Sound looked like they may be a repeat of last year’s dismal run, but the fish are beginning to show up and the harvest is underway. “On Monday, the common property fishery took about 2.5 million fish. Yesterday, it’s looking about 1.2 million,” Charles Russel said, Alaska Fish and Game’s Area Management Biologist for the Prince William Sound area. “Today, initial reports say that fisheries may be close to yesterday, but we’re a little bit behind, but still catching good numbers of fish.” The sudden pick up will have seiners breathing a sigh of relief after last year’s harvest, which was among the worst on record. The federal government officially declared the run in Prince William Sound and others around the state a disaster in January. click here to read the story 08:51

Coast Guard, Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington grant child’s wish in Kodiak, Alaska 

Members from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak and Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington granted a child’s wish to be a rescue swimmer in Kodiak, Alaska, Friday and Saturday. Andrew Bishop, an 8-year-old boy from Woodland, Washington, was designated as an honorary rescue swimmer aboard the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter after completing modified rescue swimmer pool training and basic air crewman training, Friday. Bishop was given a flight suit and reported for duty as a rescue swimmer, Saturday morning. During his first day of duty, he responded to a search and rescue case where he and the aircrew hoisted a hiker with simulated injuries. Bishop and the crew simulated CPR on the hiker and safely transported him to the air station. After the mission, he was met by members of various Coast Guard units and families and was presented an Air Medal for his work during the rescue. click here to read the story, and view more image’s. Well Done! 20:09

NMFS: Public Comment Period Opens – Review and Streamline Regulatory Processes and Reduce Regulatory Burden

On January 24, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order (E.O.) 13766, “Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High Priority Infrastructure Projects” (82 FR 8657, January 30, 2017). This E.O. requires infrastructure decisions to be accomplished with maximum efficiency and effectiveness, while also respecting property rights and protecting public safety. Additionally, the E.O. makes it a policy of the executive branch to “streamline and expedite, in a manner consistent with law, environmental reviews and approvals for all infrastructure projects.” click here to read the press release. click the links to comment. Let ‘er rip. This is your chance to be heard. 16:46

Southeast gillnetters set a one-week record

Commercial fishermen caught a historic amount of fish this week in a district south of Juneau. Statistics are still preliminary, but catch numbers for gillnetters in the Taku River-Port Snettisham district will likely set a record for the first full week of July, according to reports from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. ADF&G is reporting that fishermen in the district caught 170,000 chum salmon from July 2 to July 8, well above the previous record for the week of 134,000 set in 2013. So far, gillnetters have caught nearly five times as many chum salmon this year compared to last year. click here to read the story 12:25

An Alaska fishing commission has worked itself out of a job. But its commissioners still make more than $130,000 a year

The two political appointees, Ben Brown and Bruce Twomley, are being paid even though they’ve all but stopped doing the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission’s most essential work: They haven’t limited access to a fishery since 2004, and they’ve resolved no more than three permit applications in each of the past five years, down from the dozens that were once processed annually. The commission was created in the 1970s in an experiment at “limited entry”: capping the number of commercial fishermen in state fisheries as a means of conservation. The commission decided which fisheries to limit, then reviewed applications from fishermen and ruled on who would get to keep fishing and who would lose access — a right that had been enshrined in the Alaska Constitution until voters approved a limited entry amendment. The permits issued to the remaining fisherman essentially gave them exclusive rights to what had been a public resource — fish in the sea. Later, with a push from U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, the federal government began a similar process in waters outside the state’s 3-mile limit. click here to read the story 08:19

Coast Guard medevacs fishing vessel captain from a beach in the vicinity of Prince William Sound, Alaska

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew forward deployed to Cordova, Alaska, medevaced the captain of the fishing vessel Coventina from a beach in the vicinity of Prince William Sound, Alaska, Saturday. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Anchorage command center received a medevac request for the captain of the fishing vessel Coventina after it was reported he fell in the fish hold, injuring his ribs and showing signs of shock. A relief captain took control of the vessel and navigated to Stockdale Harbor on the northwest side of Montague Island. A Coast Guard flight surgeon was briefed and recommended immediate medevac. “Due to the configuration of the vessel the aircrew deemed it safer for the fishing vessel Coventina crew to transfer the injured captain to a nearby island,” said Petty Officer Nicholas Lippert,,, click here to read the press release 07:50

Brad Gentner: It’s time to rethink ‘catch shares’

Catch shares in marine fisheries is a concept unfamiliar to most people, and it is probably completely alien to most hunters and anglers in this country. It is a system of wildlife management that bestows some percentage of a public marine resource, like red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico, to private businesses for free, to use and sell for their own profit. It was thought that by giving away ownership rights to individuals, the fishery would consolidate and ultimately become easier to manage. While the same number of fish would be caught, the benefits of funneling access to the resource through fewer entities was thought to remove some of the uncertainty in the industry and thus would be worth the price of privatizing a public resource for free. While catch shares are still the darling of some fisheries economists, there is a growing backlash against this management tool worldwide for a variety of reasons. At the heart of these complaints is fleet and wealth consolidation, extraction of public wealth for private profit, and failure to capitalize share-cost into production costs. click here to read the op-ed 21:46

Meanwhile, at Brooks Falls – Katmai National Park Live Feed – Brown Bears feast on the largest Sockeye Salmon run in the world

16:51

F/V Bunchie towed back to Dillingham Harbor after near sinking Monday

The fishing vessel Bunchie was overloaded with sockeye on Sunday night when the boat began to list and eventually take on water. The crew aboard were picked up by another boat as they were putting on their survival suits and getting ready to board a life raft. “We got 50 (fathoms) on board and we started listing really low in the water, and waves were coming over in the back and everybody was scrambling to try to find the water pumps to pump the water out,” said John Casteel, a crew member aboard the Bunchie. The boat was deck-loaded. Casteel estimates more than 12 thousand pounds of sockeye were aboard when the Bunchie started to take on water. click here to read the story 09:37

Coast Guard medevacs man from fishing vessel 152 miles north of Dutch Harbor, Alaska

An aviation detachment crew deployed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Sherman medevaced a 33-year-old man from a fishing vessel Thursday morning approximately 152 miles north of Dutch Harbor.  Watchstanders at the 17th Coast Guard District command center received a request from Health Force Partners that a crewman aboard the Island Enterprise suffered a severe injury to his index finger. The Coast Guard flight surgeon recommended a medevac after consultation with HFP deemed the injury as potentially limb threatening. An AVDET MH-65 Dolphin crew hoisted the man safely and transported him to EMS in Dutch Harbor. Weather on scene was 34.5-mph winds, 8 to 10-foot seas and 11.5 miles visibility. -USCG- 23:08

A Fundraiser for Abigail and Joshua Osborne

Aloha, my name is Noelani. My cousins Abigail and Joshua Osborne were in a very tragic boating accident this past week. They were working aboard the Miss Destinee vessel this summer in Kodiak, Alaska. On Thursday, the 29th of June, the boat capsized. I made this go fund me account in hopes that we can raise the funds to lay them both to rest and in giving both Joshua & Abigail a proper burial. We’d like to thank you all so much for all the love and prayers. Your support has helped us during this difficult time. We appreciate each and everyone one of you that hold Joshua and Abigail in your hearts. Click here to reach the fundraiser page @ gofundme.com 20:27