Category Archives: Pacific

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

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

Today’s Whale News. 8th right whale found dead, 1 more entangled, whale rescues resume, young Humback detangled of Cali.

An eighth North Atlantic right whale has been found dead and another is entangled in fishing gear in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Marine Animal Response Society said in a Facebook post.
All eight deaths have occurred in the gulf since the beginning of June, which experts are calling an “unprecedented event.” click here to read the story

U.S. officials are lifting a ban on some whale disentanglement efforts after briefly banning the practice that last week led to the death of a Canadian fisherman. But the ban will stay in effect for right whales, “whose unpredictable behavior is particularly challenging during rescue attempts,” Chris Oliver, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries, said Tuesday. click here to read the story

A crew of 20-25 people spent eight hours Tuesday freeing a juvenile humpback whale that had been entangled in fishing gear off the coast of Crescent City since Thursday. click here to read the story 11:30

 

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

Local charter suspected of ‘high-grading’ prized halibut

Pacific Salmon Charters got an unexpected publicity boost earlier this month, when the crew of the Pacific Dream rescued passengers from a sunken boat. Last week, the company received not-so-welcome attention from state and federal game wardens. On Thursday, July 13, officers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife served a search warrant at the Pacific Salmon office at the Port of Ilwaco.  According to the warrant, Pacific Salmon crews are suspected of habitually “high-grading,” or catching more than the legal limit of fish, and keeping only the most desirable specimens. Investigators say they have evidence that Pacific Salmon Charters crews high-graded on at least two trips during the short spring halibut season. click here to read the story 13:06

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

Built by fishermen for fishermen

Tom Aliotti’s new Bristol Bay gillnetter ‘Mariola’ did 36 knots on sea trials. Asked the secret of getting that speed, he replied, ‘I’m not going to tell you my secret,’ he said, when asked how that speed is achieved. “Except that I have fished Bristol Bay for 33 years and I use that knowledge to build boats for fishermen.” Staying within the legally prescribed 32 foot (9.75m) limit for Bristol Bay gillnet boats creates a challenge that eager designers like Tom Aliotti are happy to take on, reports Alan Haig-Brown. click here to read the story 17:42

Coast Guard medevacs ill fisherman 75 miles off Lincoln City, Oregon

An aircrew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Sector Columbia River conducts a medical evacuation of an ill fisherman 75 miles offshore of Lincoln City, Ore., July 18, 2017. The Coast Guard medevaced the fisherman off the commercial fishing vessel Kandi Dawn 75 miles offshore of Lincoln City, Oregon, early Tuesday morning. The aircrew safely hoisted the fisherman suffering from symptoms related to a heart attack and delivered the patient to the Level 1 Trauma Center at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Bend received the call for help from the captain of the fishing vessel Kandi Dawn at 1:30 a.m. and requested support from the Sector Columbia River aircrew and its long-range asset at 2 a.m. The Jayhawk aircrew arrived on scene with the vessel and patient at 3:41 a.m. and safely hoisted and transferred the patient to OHSU for further care at 5:50 a.m. click here for video 16:27

Shop the Dock debuts in Warrenton

The first ever “Shop the Dock” tours in Clatsop County highlighted Warrenton’s seafood offerings.  Despite the area’s long history of fishing and seafood processing — and even though the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean are right there — how to actually lay hands on freshly caught seafood can be a mystery for many residents without ties to the commercial fishing industry. The tour Friday was intended to show people what’s available and where.,,, Amanda Gladics of Oregon Sea Grant, who coordinated the two morning tours, said afterward that they had a great response from the community. click here to read the story 16:24

Coast Guard responds to sunken fishing vessel in Warrenton, Ore.

Coast Guard crews are responding to the Warrenton Marina where the commercial fishing vessel Western Skies has sunk and is leaking fuel Sunday. Coast Guard incident management division personnel, from Sector Columbia River, have opened the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for $40,000 and has hired Global Diving and Salvage to conduct cleanup and pollution recovery efforts. Coast Guard was notified at around 5:30 a.m. that the 43-foot vessel sank at its moorings and there was diesel fuel actively leaking from the partially submerged vessel. Personnel from the Warrenton Marina deployed containment boom around the vessel to minimize the potential impact of the leaking diesel fuel. The amount of diesel fuel and other oil products on board the vessel is unknown.
Global Diving and Salvage response crews are deploying to the seen and will conduct operations as safety allows. Coast Guard crews are attempting to contact the vessel owner, but have so far been unable to. There were no persons known to be aboard the vessel at the time of its sinking. -USCG- 15:00

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

North Coast seasonal crab haul above average

North Coast crabbers are set to end this year’s crab season Saturday on a high note after bringing in an above average haul of more than 11 million pounds of Dungeness crab worth $34 million between November and June, according to preliminary state data. “This is sort of an upswing in landings for that area,” Department of Fish and Wildlife environmental scientist Christy Juhasz said Friday. “Overall, it’s a good season.” The 10-year average haul for the North Coast is about 8.7 million pounds, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Juhasz said the final landing data will likely increase by a few hundred thousand over the coming weeks as more data is collected.  click here to read the story 08:30

Kilmer, Herrera Beutler add funding for fishery disasters to key Appropriations Bill

U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) successfully added $20 million for fishery disasters relief in Washington state to a key House Appropriations Bill on Thursday. The U.S. Department of Commerce in January issued multiple fishery disaster declarations in Washington state, at the urging of Kilmer, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and others. The commercial fishery failures impacted communities along much of the Washington coast. The Commerce disaster declaration cleared the way for additional resources to be provided to the communities affected by the poor seasons, but up to this point no funding had been approved by Congress. click here to read the story 08:13

Lawsuit seeks to protect whales, turtles from California gillnets

Oceana filed a lawsuit seeking to force U.S. fisheries managers to implement plans for restricting the number of whales and turtles permitted to be inadvertently snared in drift gillnets used for catching swordfish off California’s coast. The proposed rule, endorsed in 2015 by the Pacific Fishery Management Council, would place numerical limits on “bycatch” of whales and other marine creatures, and suspend swordfish gillnet operations if any of the caps are exceeded.  The regulation was expected to gain final approval from the National Marine Fisheries Service. But it was withdrawn last month after the Commerce Department agency determined the cost to the commercial fishing industry outweighed conservation benefits, agency spokesman Michael Milstein said on Thursday. click here to read the story 17:11 Geoff Shester, a senior scientist at Oceana, who was “furious” when he found out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had decided to against adopting the rule. (lmao!) click here to read 17:13

Oregon, Washington and tribes again take aim at sea lions in dispute over salmon

Congress is once again considering giving Oregon and Washington fish and wildlife officials and regional tribes broader authority to kill sea lions below the Bonneville Dam, an effort supporters say is necessary to protect 13 endangered species of salmon and steelhead. But unlike previous attempts to rein in the marine mammals, which are protected under federal law, the legislation goes beyond killing the dozens that converge each spring on the fish logjam at the Columbia River dam 145 miles from the Pacific Ocean. The bipartisan team behind the bill — Reps. Jaime Herrera-Beutler, R-Washington, and Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon — want to go much further. They also want to make it easier to kill California sea lions found on the Willamette River and its tributaries, and anywhere on the Columbia River east of Interstate 205. If the legislation is approved, as many as 920 sea lions could be killed annually, compared with 92 under current law. click here to read the story 08:54

Oregon group tries to dodge California’s fate by addressing whale entanglement issues early

Oregon’s commercial fishing industry is trying to get ahead of a problem that could put California in the middle of a lawsuit and has the potential to drastically change Dungeness crab fisheries on the West Coast. Last year, 71 whales tangled with U.S. fishing gear off the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington state, as well as neighboring countries — the highest annual total for the West Coast since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration began keeping such records in 1982. Sixty-six of these incidents happened in California, many of them involving endangered humpback whales tangled in commercial crab gear. At the end of June, the Center for Biological Diversity announced its intent to sue the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which manages the fishery, for “causing the take of threatened and endangered whales and sea turtles.” click here to read the story 15:27

SF Port Commission considers letting fish be sold directly from boats at Fisherman’s Wharf

San Francisco fishermen are hoping to catch a break by reviving an old policy that allows them to sell fish directly from their boats. Dozens of fishermen, processing tenants, wholesalers and owners from local businesses packed the Port Commission meeting on Tuesday in what Commission President Willie Adams described as unprecedented numbers to discuss the proposed policy, which was resurrected by fishermen who approached the Port of San Francisco in January. The proposal would allow fishermen to sell fish to the public, fresh from their boats, at the dock in Fisherman’s Wharf Harbor for the first time in nearly two decades. But some fish processors and wholesalers have concerns of an uneven playing field. click here to read the story 09:04

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

Coast Seafoods Company gone by August?

After farming shellfish in Humboldt Bay since the 1950s, the largest shellfish producer in the state Coast Seafoods Company could be gone by next month following a consequential California Coastal Commission decision in June, according to Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District Executive Director Jack Crider. “Conceivably, if something doesn’t change, Coast could be out of business by the middle of August,” Crider said. “It is a really serious situation. More than anything, it’s just this signal to the aquaculture industry that California is just not the place to be, which is sad. Really sad.”,,, Attempts to contact Coast Seafood Company’s Southwest Operations Manager Greg Dale since June have not been returned. Attempts to contact Coast Seafood Company’s Oregon-based parent company Pacific Seafood Group were not returned by Saturday afternoon. click here to read the story 13:17

Fishermen’s Terminal rebuild could double commercial fishing

A long-planned redevelopment of Seattle’s Fishermen’s Terminal is inching forward, with plans to begin work next year and hopes that it could double the city’s commercial fishing business.
Design work on the project is set to begin later this year, with the hope to begin construction on new buildings sometime in 2018. A long-planned redevelopment of Seattle’s Fishermen’s Terminal is inching forward, with plans to begin work next year and hopes that it could double the city’s commercial fishing business. Design work on the project is set to begin later this year, with the hope to begin construction on new buildings sometime in 2018. click here to read the story 19:51

Video Update: 2 fisherman rescued 52 miles off the coast of Coos Bay

The Coast Guard rescued two fisherman from a fishing vessel that was sinking 52 miles off the coast of Coos Bay Saturday morning. The two men where hoisted off the New Faith, a 40-foot commercial fishing vessel homeported in Coos Bay, by two separate aircrews aboard MH-65 Dolphin helicopters, one from Sector North Bend and the other from Air Facility Newport, and flew them to North Bend where they were released without need for medical care. A communications watchstander at Sector North Bend received a mayday call on VHF-FM channel 16 at 5:10 a.m. The captain of the vessel New Faith reported that his vessel was taking on water from an unknown location. The Sector North Bend aircrew was airborne at 5:50 a.m. and on scene at 6:23 a.m., where they lowered a rescue swimmer to facilitate communications and assist with dewatering. The Air Facility Newport aircrew was airborne at 6:30 a.m. and on scene at 6:54 a.m. After dewatering efforts were unsuccessful, the fishermen where safely hoisted into the helicopters, the captain at 7:13 a.m. and the deckhand at 7:34 a.m. There was less than 300 gallons of diesel and 1 ton of albacore tuna catch reported onboard the vessel. The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Orcas confirmed the vessel sank. -USCG- 15:03 click here for video

California Dungeness crab fleet nets $68 million haul, but small boats continue to struggle

California’s valuable Dungeness crab fishery appears to have rebounded after a disastrous 2015-16 season that threatened to knock even longtime fishermen so far back on their heels some feared they might not recover. Preliminary figures from the 2016-17 season show statewide commercial landings at more than $68.2 million, above the most recent 10-year average, and bested only twice in that period, including the peak $95.5 million haul in 2011-12.,,, But the relative bounty of the season, many said, obscures continued hardship for small, family operations disadvantaged by management shifts in the commercial crabbing season. But the results of those and continued serial openings onward up the coast meant that the biggest boats — those which can move their gear in one go and fill a large hold with crabs before having to return to shore — could converge on each small area that opened, whatever the weather or water conditions. The staggered openings meant big boats cleaned up and the small boats were left behind. click here to read the story 11:47

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

California Dungeness crab industry bounces back with strong season

Crabbers, seafood processors and state biologists agree that the most recent Dungeness crab season, which ended June 30 south of Mendocino County, was above average. Considering the disastrous previous season of 2015-16, which featured historic, months-long closures in the Dungeness crab fishery due to the presence of domoic acid in the animals, that’s more than above-average news. “We made some money,” said Shane Lucas, who fishes for crab out of Bodega Bay, where he also owns the Fishetarian Fish Market. Based on preliminary data, the 2016-17 season brought in over 21 million pounds of Dungeness crab to California ports, worth $66.7 million.,,, But this year’s crab season was not without its issues. click here to read the story 16:33

Scientist says hatchery strays could threaten wild fish populations

Whether it’s thanks to environmental cues, a keen sense of smell or a nifty magnetic instinct, Pacific salmon’s ability to navigate back to their home streams has captivated scientists and the general public alike. But, contrary to popular notions, a small number of Pacific salmon stray from their predetermined paths every year. And now, a new study found that hatchery salmon that wander from their home stream could pose an additional danger to their wild counterparts. Scientists have long warned that hatchery strays compete with wild fish for resources in streams and ocean waters, and could threaten wild populations by mixing genetically with them in unfavorable ways. click here to read the story 08:42

UPDATE – F/V Miss Destinee – Coast Guard, partners continue search for two missing in Marmot Bay, Alaska

Coast Guard, Alaska Air National Guard and good Samaritans continue to search Friday for one male and one female reported missing from the fishing vessel Miss Destinee that capsized in Marmot Bay. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-65 Dolphin and MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews, a Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Kodiak boat crew, the crews of the Coast Guard Cutters Sherman and Chandeleur, nine para-rescuemen from the AK ANG 212th Rescue Squadron and the crew of tug St. Michael searched throughout Thursday night near the location of the Miss Destinee, 23 miles north of Air Station Kodiak.,, A good Samaritan crew rescued two survivors Thursday from the water near the Miss Destinee. click here to read the update 18:32

Industrializing the Ocean – Floating Wind Plan Could Finally Crack California’s Offshore Market

A Seattle startup has proposed what could be the world’s largest floating offshore wind farm on a site 33 miles northwest of Morro Bay, anchoring in place around 60 to 100 turbines capable of delivering as much as one gigawatt of electricity into California’s grid.,,, Morro Bay’s roughly 10,000 residents are also divided over the project, and not just because of worries about eyesores on the shoreline. The local commercial-fishing trade group, representing the town’s second-largest industry after tourism, has expressed concerns about losing its territory. click here to read the story 15:09

Ballard Locks face millions in upgrades or risk failure

The region’s economy could be at risk, as well as its environment and even highways if one aging chokepoint is not addressed – the Ballard Locks. Needed work on the 100-year-old facility could take between $30-60 million and between 6-10 years to complete. In the meantime, work on items such as the emergency closure system await updates. “If the locks were to fail in an open position, Lake Washington could drain by a pretty dramatic amount and quickly,” said Charles Costanzo with the American Waterways Operators,,, “You have critical infrastructure like the 520 Bridge and the I-90 Bridge; you have a floating bridge that could potentially no longer be floating. That would seriously compromise the integrity of highway infrastructure and be pretty paralyzing to the region.” “If the locks have to close at the opening of a fishing season … it could potentially be a lost season for the fishing industry,” he said. click here to read the story 13:46

Nils Stolpe, Fishnet USA – So how are we doing? (2017 edition) A Report on our Domestic Commercial Fishing Industry

I occasionally share my impressions of how the domestic commercial fishing industry is doing, using as my primary data source the NMFS online database “Annual Commercial Landing Statistics” (click here). We are fortunate to have these extensive records of commercial landings of fish and shellfish in the United States extending back to 1950 because they allow a fairly comprehensive view of long term industry (and resource) trends. Among the most useful statistics are those dealing with the value and weight of the total landings for each year. Together they give an overview of how the domestic fishing industry is progressing (or regressing) from year to year. Click here to read the report 11:49

Lawsuit Launched to End Whale, Sea Turtle Entanglements in California Dungeness Crab Gear

The Center for Biological Diversity today filed a formal notice of intent to sue California’s state wildlife agency for failing to prevent commercial Dungeness crab gear from entangling, injuring and killing threatened and endangered humpback whales, blue whales and sea turtles. California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife authorizes and manages operation of the fishery, which last year entangled at least 21 endangered or threatened whales, contributing to a third straight record-breaking year for entanglements along the U.S. West Coast. An endangered leatherback sea turtle was also caught in commercial Dungeness crab gear in 2016. Today’s notice letter notes that the Department’s failure to protect imperiled whales and sea turtles from entanglements in crab gear violates the federal Endangered Species Act. click here to read press release 20:47