Category Archives: Pacific

Limited salmon numbers, sea lion population making tough season for fishermen

Governor Brown, along with Governor Jerry Brown of California, recently submitted a request to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for a declaration of a “catastrophic regional fishery disaster,” and a commercial fishery failure. The request comes after the National Marine Fisheries Service closed the southern half of the Oregon coast to commercial salmon fishing to protect dwindling stocks of Chinook salmon on the Klamath River. “When you look at the Klamath situation, it affects fisheries all up and down the coast,” said Steve Fick, who owns Fishhawk Fisheries in Astoria. Executive Director of the Port of Astoria Jim Knight said the south coast closure will likely mean more fishing boats competing for limited numbers of salmon on the north coast. click here to read the story 08:09

The Columbia River Fisheries Transition Fund – Money for gillnetters has never been tapped

A fund that was supposed to provide commercial fishermen $1.5 million to adjust to new regulations curtailing gillnetting in the Columbia River has never been tapped. The Columbia River Fisheries Transition Fund, a 2013 creation of the Legislature, was supposed to set aside $500,000 every two years to provide financial assistance to gillnetters through 2019. The money was intended to help fishermen buy replacement gear and offset economic harm due to the expected phasing out of gillnetting in the lower main stem of the Columbia. The money has not been used yet, and after some of it was reverted back to the general fund due to an accounting error at the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Legislature is now poised to do away with the last $500,000 installment. That leaves $500,000, a third of the amount initially intended, and it’s not immediately apparent whether gillnetters will end up applying for or receiving the money. click here to read the story 13:42

California fishermen, once blocked by conservationists, now work with them

Morro Bay, a town on California’s central coast, touts itself as a fishing community. Fishing has been vital for the town’s economy, but it collapsed at the turn of the century because of overfishing and subsequent federal regulation. Fishermen were offered some relief money for their losses, but the industry was left for dead. Now, things are on the upswing thanks to an unlikely partnership between local fishermen and environmental group The Nature Conservancy.,,, The Nature Conservancy, a powerful nonprofit, became interested in the area more than a decade ago. Known for buying up land to protect it from development, the group’s first strategy was to buy up about half of all the available groundfish licenses. click here to read the story. 09:49

Chris Oliver Appointed to Lead NOAA Fisheries

Today, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, with concurrence from the White House, named Chris Oliver Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries. The Texas native assumed his new position on June 19, taking the helm from Acting Assistant Administrator Samuel Rauch who will return to his position as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs.,,, Oliver most recently served as Executive Director of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, a position he held for the past 16 years. He has been with the Council since 1990, also serving as a fisheries biologist and then deputy director. During his tenure as executive director he led the way on several cutting edge management initiatives, including development of limited access privilege programs and fishery cooperatives and catch share programs, the North Pacific’s comprehensive onboard observer program, numerous bycatch reduction programs, extensive habitat protection measures, commercial and recreational allocation programs, and coastal community development programs. He was also responsible for all administrative and operational aspects of the Council process, and lead staffer for legislative and international issues. click here to read the press release 11:32

Matt Bradley Of ‘Deadliest Catch’ Shows That Recovery From Addiction Is Possible No Matter What

Although I’m in long term recovery and I work in the treatment industry, I still encounter people whose recovery amazes me. Matt Bradley is one of those people. Matt caught my attention when I saw him on an episode of Deadliest Catch. He’s a fisherman who has crewed with Northwestern for over a decade. What intrigued me wasn’t just the drama and action of the fishing crew, but Matt’s openness and honesty about his struggle with substance use. A long time drug user, Matt didn’t encounter the serious consequences that so many people face until he was in his 20s. Although he grew up with normalized drug use—-stealing joints and alcohol from the adults in his Section 8 housing development—-he didn’t really think he had a problem until he started using heroin. click here to read the story 15:40

Ocean polluters seek to have convictions overturned

A father-son team that was convicted of polluting Puget Sound and the ocean have asked a judge to toss their convictions. In Seattle federal court on Friday, Bingham Fox asked the judge to throw out his conviction for violating the Clean Water Act.  His attorney accused the government of “prosecutorial misconduct.” Fox and his son Randall Fox were convicted of pumping oily bilge water from their 80 fishing vessel “Native Sun.” A deckhand provided the US Coast Guard with a video showing a makeshift pump that pumped engine oil overboard while the vessel was in Blaine harbor. Federal law requires commercial vessels to filter out engine oil and dispose of it properly on shore, which costs time and money. click here to read the story 09:12

The “Redheaded Stepchild of Fishing” – Controversial drift-gill net fishery wins long-fought battle

Federal fishery managers denied a proposal this week to immediately shut down Southern California’s most controversial fishery in the event that wide-mesh gill nets accidentally kill a handful of certain marine mammals or sea turtle species. The swordfish and thresher shark fishery will remain open, even if it kills several whales or sea turtles, the NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries decided. The decision not to institute so-called hard caps on the fishery comes after a public review period initiated last year was extended to discuss the law proposed by the state’s Pacific Fishery Management Council in 2014. For the few dozen fishers who still catch swordfish and thresher sharks off Southern California in deep-water drift gill nets, the decision brought a big sigh of relief.  click here to read the story 08:38

Construction project could be a boon for Whatcom commercial fishing fleet

The Port of Bellingham has awarded a $750,000 contract to American Construction of Tacoma to fix three deteriorated piers. Work is expected to be completed on two piers before Sept. 24, prior to the start of the fall commercial salmon and crabbing seasons in early October. Repairs to the Sawtooth Pier will start in early October so it doesn’t impact the commercial fleet during the summer. Both projects are not expected to impact recreation boaters at Blaine Harbor, said Mike Hogan, a spokesman for the port. The improvements will allow for more equipment and weight on the piers. Large areas of the three piers are currently under significant load restrictions, Hogan said. The fixes will also allow for more commercial ships to be tied up. click here to read the story 21:11

Local fishermen praise decision to cancel new protection for endangered animals

The new rule would have allowed for suspending swordfish fishermen for two entire fishing seasons if too many endangered animals were getting caught in their nets. After 35 years of fishing out of Morro Bay, Jeremiah O’Brien is breathing a sigh of relief for the industry. “We’ve got 110 permits on the West Coast and under 24 being used,” said O’Brien, who is also vice president of the Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen’s Association. Advocates say taking away the regulation hurts dwindling communities of endangered species, but O’Brien says fisherman already avoid catching endangered species at all costs. “The last thing we want is anything in the world but swordfish,” said O’Brien. The veteran fisherman says in the swordfish industry, they’re required to have observers on board with them, a vessel monitoring system, net limitations and strict off-limits areas in the Pacific Ocean. click here to read the story 12:40

US cancels new protection for endangered West Coast whales

The Trump administration on Monday threw out a new rule intended to limit the numbers of endangered whales and sea turtles getting caught in fishing nets off the West Coast, even though the fishing industry had proposed the measure. The National Marine Fisheries Service said it decided the new protection was not warranted. The action is one of the first by the Trump administration targeting protections for threatened species off the Pacific coast, said Catherine Kilduff, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity conservation group. The regulation was designed to reduce the numbers of humpback whales, leatherback sea turtles and other large creatures that accidentally become tangled in mile-long nets set adrift by commercial fishermen overnight to catch swordfish off California and Oregon. click here to read the article  (read between the lines, folks) 18:00

 

Letter: Sanctuary action has affected fishermen

A recent story on the Monterey Bay Sanctuary quotes Superintendent Paul Michel: “We do not regulate fishing … We have not negatively affected fisheries, in fact, over a half-billion dollars worth of fish have been landed since (sanctuary) designation.” That’s a surprise. There is ample evidence that sanctuary actions have negatively affected recreational and commercial fishermen. In 2007, fishermen witnessed the sanctuary’s leadership role in closing the best fishing areas in the region, displacing fishing effort to less productive areas.  click here to read the letter  (short and sweet)   10:29

Oregon and California Senators seek fishery disaster declaration

Oregon’s and California’s senators called for a federal salmon fishery disaster declaration for both states to support economic recovery for coastal communities, in a letter Friday to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. The letter from Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and California Sens. Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein follows a request from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and California Gov. Jerry Brown for the federal government to issue a fisheries disaster declaration to provide economic relief for the loss of coastal jobs due to declining salmon populations. Click here to read the story 17:00

Fishing Community Tackles Trash in the Ocean

Fishing gear is not the biggest contributor to the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” or other accumulations of trash in the ocean, but derelict gear left at sea after a fishing season does create problems. In California, the fishing community itself is creating a solution that improves the health of species and the environment, and the involvement and viability of local communities. There is typically no by-catch with pot fishing, said Andy Guiliano, a Dungeness crab fisherman from Emeryville, California. In Guiliano’s perspective, this makes the Dungeness crab fishery an environmentally friendly fishery. But Guiliano’s experience has tested this outlook. “The only Achilles’ heel is, inevitably, gear gets lost during the season,” Guiliano admitted — gear amounting to hundreds of crab pots as well as nets that can affect boat propellers and large whales. click here to read the story 08:42

Pyrosomes: The Borg of the ocean, clogging fishing and research gear

A strange organism has taken over the ocean waters off Oregon this spring, clogging fishing and research gear and confounding beachcombers and biologists. Fishermen compare them to pickles, gummy bears and sea cucumbers. They are the Borg of the ocean, one researcher suggested, referencing characters from the “Star Trek” TV show. They are called pyrosomes, and they are everywhere. In all his decades doing survey and research work off the coast, Richard Brodeur, research fishery biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has never encountered pyrosomes in these kinds of numbers, or really at all. He knew about them, had seen them down in California, but never off the Oregon Coast. Then, “starting in 2014, we started seeing a few of them,” he said. In 2015 and 2016, he saw a few more. This spring, on a survey cruise, they pulled up 60,000 pyrosomes in a five-minute tow. click here to read the story 15:15

Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Spokane, Washington June 7‐14, 2017

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and its advisory bodies will meet June 7‐14, 2017 in Spokane, Washington to address issues related to groundfish, coastal pelagic species (CPS), highly migratory species (HMS), Pacific halibut, and habitat matters.  For agenda item topics, please click to see the June 7-14, 2017 Meeting Notice WITH Detailed Agenda The Council meeting will be live‐streamed. Click here to Listen to the Live Audio Stream.  Enter the Webinar ID The April 2017 Webinar ID is: 897-986-459 Please enter your email address (required) The meeting will be broadcast live starting at approximately 9 am Pacific Time on Friday, June 9, 2017 For more info, click here  18:32

Meet the skippers of Fishermen’s Terminal

The boats in the commercial fishing fleet at Fishermen’s Terminal range from 30 to 250 feet long, depending on the type of gear used. Think trawlers, gillnetters, purse seiners, longliners and pots. Although most skippers set sail in the spring (and return late summer or fall), preparation for the season starts several weeks or months ahead of time. Michael Offerman, 40, from Edmonds, starts thinking about the fall and winter projects he needs to tackle on his 69–foot boat, Kristiana, while out at sea during the summer. Typical post-season touch-ups include painting, remodeling and electrical and mechanical tweaks, followed by a thorough inspection. click here to read the story 13:02

21st Century salmon

As Alaska struggles to maintain commercial productivity in its most-valuable, wild-salmon fisheries,  competition in the fish market is looming on every horizon. Land-based salmon farms are popping up in odd places across the U.S., and the Norwegians and the Chinese are teaming to take salmon farming to new heights or, more accurately, new depths offshore.  China.org today reported the first delivery of a deepwater, “intelligent offshore farm” to the Norwegian company SalMar ASA. “Ocean Farm 1” is designed to be positioned in water 300 to 600 feet deep where currents can sweep it clean in four dimensions while computers monitor its performance. “It is the world’s first offshore salmon farming equipment built on the same principle as semisubmersible installations used in the offshore oil and gas drilling sector,” the Chinese national website said.,, Open-ocean fish farms have been touted as one path to greening a business sometimes blamed for polluting protected bays and coves with fish waste. click here to read the story  08:38

New Anacortes-built trawler could be grounded by old law, endangering two local firms

The largest, most modern American-made trawler built in nearly three decades may be barred from fishing in U.S. waters, with financial repercussions to its local builder and buyer “so draconian that neither company may survive.” That’s the scenario painted by the law firm that Anacortes shipyard Dakota Creek Industries has hired to seek a rare waiver from a century-old law called the Jones Act, which they acknowledge wasn’t properly followed when the shipyard began building the state-of-the art, $75 million vessel Americas Finest. The shipyards mistake using too much foreign steel that was modified before coming into the U.S. could mean the advanced ship must be sold abroad at a big loss. click here to read the story 08:40

With a Lot of Help, Chinook Salmon Return to the San Joaquin River

In California’s Central Valley, dusty dry riverbeds fill with water that for decades has been diverted for farmers and cities. Hatchery-reared salmon – bred with taxpayer funds – are being reintroduced in hopes of rebooting ancient populations that disappeared in the 1940s, casualties of California’s ceaseless search for new water sources. The San Joaquin River, the state’s second largest, is primed for its comeback. After the Sacramento River, the San Joaquin is California’s most important river. It provides some of the state’s largest agricultural operations with water as it stretches north from Fresno before finally emptying into the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta – the source of drinking water for an estimated 25 million Californians. The process of damming, diverting and plumbing the 366-mile river for irrigation and urban water use leaves main portions of the river dry during parts of the year. Following the opening of Friant Dam in 1942, entrepreneurs gobbled up the river’s fertile wetlands and replaced them with crops and gravel mining operations. The dam was a boon to the already prospering agricultural region. But as water-intensive crops like almonds and pistachios went in, the native Chinook salmon disappeared. click here to read the article 17:25

Jury delivers for ‘Deadliest Catch’ crabber maimed by firework

A “Deadliest Catch” crabber maimed by a fireworks explosion aboard the fishing vessel Time Bandit has been awarded $1.35 million by a King County jury. Jan. 13, 2013, should have been a good day for David “Beaver” Zielinski, who was headed out to sea for another season aboard the Hillstrand brothers’ crab boat. Instead, Zielinski’s hand was badly injured when a Time Bandit-brand firework exploded in the launcher he was holding. The explosion that left Zielinski injured occurred as the “Deadliest Catch” crew was filming another Bering Sea snow crab season of the Discovery documentary series. Time Bandit captains Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand have been heavily featured on the program, which is currently in its 13th season. Zielinski sued the Hillstrands’ companies two years ago in King County Superior Court. click here to read the story 09:20

Where is the lost fishing boat Tammy? Two wreck hunters think they know.

Calm seas and clear weather greeted the fishing boat Tammy as it set out from San Pedro on July 11, 1994, to cast its nets for sea cucumbers — and then disappeared. The 40-foot, steel-hulled vessel carried a crew of four Vietnamese fishermen that night. Two of their bodies were found the next day in the shipping lanes off Newport Beach. The others were never recovered. “To this day, we do not have even a death certificate for my dad because they never found him,” Thai Minh Ta said of Cong Minh Ta, the boat’s owner. Now, more than two decades later, two men with extensive experience in researching and identifying submerged wrecks think the long-lost fishing boat might rest on the ocean floor in 70 feet of water near the entrance to the Port of Long Beach. click here to read the story 20:10

Jerry Brown sends a message to water agencies on the Delta tunnels – and it’s direct

Jerry Brown took an Old English turn from his Latin wisdom in 2012 by declaring: “I want to get s— done,” a reference to his vision for building two tunnels 30 miles long to move Sacramento River water south from the Delta to the rest of the state. And in 2015, addressing California water agencies, he offered pithy advice to naysayers: “Until you put a million hours into it, shut up.” Critics of the $15 billion project were greatly offended. “Two 40-foot diameter tunnels that can take the entirety of the Sacramento River at most times of the year of just seems like a bad idea to salmon fishermen,” said John McManus, executive director of the Golden Gate Salmon Association. “Rank-and-file salmon fishermen don’t trust them when they say, ‘Trust us.’ ”
There’s an element of hypocrisy on the part of Bay Area environmentalists, who drink water piped from Hetch Hetchy. Delta interests have all the water they could possibly want. But the fishing industry has a real beef. Dams deplete salmon runs. click here to read the story 10:45

Newport Coast Guard Helicopter funding looks promising – not a done deal, but close

Encouraging news out of Washington DC that a two year extension of funding for the Coast Guard rescue helicopter base at Newport Airport has been approved by a vote of both Democrat and Republican members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The vote is but another step toward ultimate approval by the whole Congress. click here to read the story 18:28

Fishing vessel run aground in Ventura Harbor, California

The Coast Guard responded to a grounded vessel south of Ventura Harbor Sunday. Members of Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Santa Barbara and Coast Guard Station Channel Islands Harbor responded to a 36-foot commercial fishing vessel at approximately 1 a.m., after it ran aground near the mouth of the Santa Clara River. MSD Santa Barbara led the response and investigation efforts with the aid of Coast Guard Station Channel Islands Harbor, Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach, Ventura Harbor Patrol, Ventura Fire Department, and Oxnard Fire Department. No injuries or pollution have been reported. The Coast Guard is currently working on the safe removal of the vessel and its contents. The cause of this incident is still under investigation. USCG 08:46

Competitors ask court to undo Pacific Seafood expansion

In the two weeks since Pacific Seafood announced it would consolidate its dominant position on Newport’s Bayfront with the acquisition of two additional fish processing plants, the deal has generated more litigation than fish fillets. On Thursday, two companies who claim Pacific illegally conspired with its competitors to lock them out of the Newport seafood processing business, filed an antitrust lawsuit in federal court to undo the transactions. The lawsuit alleges Pacific, under the leadership of third-generation Chief Executive Officer Frank Dulcich, acquired three properties on Newport’s Yaquina Bay in the past 23 months even though the plaintiffs offered more money. click here to read the story 08:17

King fishery closed

Fisheries managers in Southcentral Alaska might still be wrestling with what to do about a weak return of king salmon to the Copper River, but their counterparts in Southeast Alaska have acted to protect kings returning to the Taku and Stikine Rivers. Officials with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game today announced commercial troll fisheries which catch most of the Southeast kings, or Chinook as they are otherwise called will close at midnight Sunday. Preseason forecasts for wild Chinook salmon production in Southeast Alaska are at an all-time low, a press release said.  Typically, in the Taku and Stikine rivers, nearly half the run has entered the river by the end of the third week of May; however, record low numbers of Chinook salmon are being seen in-river this year.  The Taku and Stikine are transboundary rivers, and Fish and Game runs research programs with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada to assess in-season run strength. Click here to read the story 13:13

California and Oregon Governors request Salmon Disaster Assistance

With the West Coasts salmon fisheries in crisis, on Thursday California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross requesting declaration of a catastrophic regional fishery disaster and commercial fishery failure for salmon in their states. Officials report that there has been an unprecedented collapse in the salmon population in California and Oregon.  Tribal allocations are at an all-time low, and the proposed closures and minimal open salmon fishing seasons will have significant negative impacts on thousands of West Coast residents. The declaration the governors are seeking begins the process for requesting federal aid to assist commercial salmon anglers and salmon-dependent business who continue to suffer from declining salmon populations. Click here to read the story, and read the governors letter 09:38

Pacific Seafood/Trident deal back in the barrel? Suit against the sale alleges violation of monopoly laws.

A lawsuit has been filed against Pacific Seafood and Trident Seafood Corporation for allegedly violating federal anti-trust laws by Trident earlier ignoring a $1.8 million offer to buy Trident – nearly $800,000 less than an offer made earlier by Innovation Marine and Front Street Marine. Attorneys for Innovation Marine and Front Street Marine contend the move was to solidify a fish processing monopoly along the Oregon Coast. Here’s a reaction by Pacific Seafood’s attorney Dan Occhipinti: Click here to read the story 08:25

The $75 king fillet: Copper River salmon fetch big money at market

The first Copper River salmon of the year are fetching a hefty price on some market shelves in Alaska and Outside, thanks in part to what’s expected to be a weak run of the prized fish. At Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market, which draws tourists in droves to watch its famed fish-tossers, fillets of Copper River kings sold for $75 per pound this week. Jason Scott, a manager at the Pike Place Fish Market, said that whopping price tag on a king fillet is a little higher than it was last year, when it was around $60 to $70 per pound. That number drops as the season goes on and more salmon flow into the market. “Everything is crazy,” he said. “All of our orders are people who have been buying fish from us for a long time. They don’t bat an eye at the price. I’m not saying we know that and take advantage of it, but each of us has a customer here who wants the biggest one.” click here to read the story 10:26

Plansea casts off; Marilyn J to be painted

Two old boats are being upgraded and improved to provide many more years’ worth of service. Craftsmen United at the Port of Port Townsend boatyard is working on the 78-foot FV Plansea tender and 62-foot Marilyn J fishing boat. “It’s a thing of beauty,” said Dan Wiggins, president of Craftsmen United, of the bright blue Plansea, which was on blocks near Building 21 at the yard last Wednesday, May 17.  Several workers scurried in and around the ship to get it ready for a haulout that was scheduled later in the week. Wiggins said Plansea was built in 1954 in New Orleans by Higgins Industries as a military landing craft. Wiggins’ work on the ship has improved it tremendously since he acquired it in 2014, he said. Back then, the boat was on the verge of sinking in Port Orchard, he noted. He had the boat towed to Port Townsend and inspected the hull. click here to read the story 08:36