Category Archives: Pacific

Fish Stocks And Our Balance Of Payments

Our balance of payments is overly burdened by our consumption of seafood: We import approximately 90% of the seafood that we eat. Given our natural resources, we should be net exporters of seafood. The total value of edible and non-edible fishery imports in the United States was $35.8 billion in 2016. The total value of edible and non-edible exports was $21.3 billion. The imbalance does not imply only a shipment of dollars abroad. It also implies a number of jobs exported, a number of jobs that could be created in this country, were we not to import that much more seafood than we export.,,, The reason for the imbalance in our accounts with other nations is not due to lack of fish in our waters. Not to put too fine a point on it, the imbalance is due to rules and regulations imposed by our National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) that prevent our fishermen from catching fish. click here to read the article by Carmine Gorga 09:21

Coast Guard issues order requiring approved salvage plan for grounded fishing vessel in Estero Bluffs State Park

The Coast Guard directed the owner of the commercial fishing vessel, Point Estero, to submit a salvage plan before making any arrangements to refloat the grounded vessel near Estero Bluffs State Park Thursday evening. The Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach commander, Capt. Charlene Downey, instructed the owner to submit a plan detailing actions to be taken by the owner to make the vessel seaworthy for safe transit to a facility to affect permanent repairs for approval by a local Coast Guard representative. After the Point Estero grounded July 28, the Coast Guard removed approximately 91 gallons of oil, 2.5 cubic yards of contaminated material and two marine-grade batteries to prevent pollution. -USCG-

Developing … Peter Pan Seafoods Port Moller plant devastated in overnight fire

The Peter Pan Seafoods processing plant in Port Moller has been devastated by a massive fire that burned through the night and into Wednesday morning. So far no one has been reported injured, but power, running water, and most phone and internet connections are down in remote community. “The fire started kind of in the production end of things, kind of the freezing warehouse at Peter Pan Seafoods last night. And consumed most of the production facilities that we can tell,” said Bob Murphy, the ADF&G area management biologist based in Port Moller. Murphy was reached a little before 8 a.m. Wednesday. A fisherman who watched the fire from his vessel reported that he saw flames shooting 150 feet high, and that the long dock was eventually cut away to contain the fire. click here to read the story 15:21

San Diego-Based USS Rushmore Departs on Fisheries Enforcement Mission

The San Diego-based amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore was steaming toward the South Pacific Tuesday to provide enforcement of fisheries around 10 island nations, according to the Navy.,, “Our crew is very excited to take part in the OMSI mission,” said Cmdr. John Ryan, commanding officer of Rushmore. “Working in tandem with the U.S. Coast Guard is a new experience for us, which will continue to demonstrate how the extensive range of U.S. Navy assets provides critical support to the embarked boarding teams in their mission of enforcing fishery laws.” click here to read the story 08:28

Seafood supplier sues over lobster heist

Seafood importer and supplier Maxfield Seafood sued Seneca Logistics over a major seafood theft from its warehouse in Boston, Massachusetts. In the complaint filed in federal court in Massachusetts, Maxfield – which is based out of City of Industry, California – claimed that Seneca was negligent when a truckload of lobster worth USD 318,000 (EUR 271,762) was stolen. In mid-December 2016, Maxfield called Seneca to request transportation of a truckload of lobster which was to be picked up at two locations in Massachusetts, including one in Everett, according to the complaint. click here to read the story 16:45

The F/V Akutan’s sad, failed season in Bristol Bay

Fiasco. Disaster. Nightmare. These are words used by those involved with the floating processor Akutan to describe a fishing season gone terribly wrong. The Akutan, owned by Klawock Oceanside, Inc., was supposed to custom process up to 100,000 pounds of Bristol Bay salmon a day for a small fleet of fishermen under the banner Bristol Bay Seafoods, LLC. After July 25, it was bound for the Kuskokwim to give local fishermen their only salmon market.,,, “We’re in peril,” Captain Steve Lecklitner said Saturday. “We know we cannot stay in this river. It’s breaking down our systems. The owners have basically abandoned the vessel. The mortgage holders and the lenders have not established contact. I’m trying to get parts for our generator, and as soon as that’s done, it’s our intention to move the vessel to Dutch Harbor.” click here to read the story 08:16

Trump administration urged to avoid salmon protection rules

A group that represents farmers is calling the costs of saving imperiled salmon in the largest river system in the Pacific Northwest unsustainable and is turning to the Trump administration to sidestep endangered species laws. The Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association wants the government to convene a Cabinet-level committee with the power to allow exemptions to the Endangered Species Act. The irrigators association is frustrated with court rulings it says favor fish over people, claiming the committee could end years of legal challenges over U.S. dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers and bring stability for irrigators, power generators and other businesses that rely on the water. click here to read the story 18:12

Trump Admin Won’t List Non-Endangered Tuna As An Endangered Species

The Trump administration declined a petition to list the Pacific bluefin tuna as “endangered” Tuesday after the Department of Commerce (DOC) found that the fish was not facing any significant threat of extinction. A petition from the Center of Biological Diversity to list the fish under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) triggered the Commerce Department’s review. The review began under former President Barack Obama, and lasted for 12 months before the DOC’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued its findings, according to the notice published in the Federal Register. The Center for Biological Diversity claimed the tuna was at risk of extinction, based on findings by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). click here to read the story 20:01

F/V Destination Investigation: Day 2 – Brother of lost fisherman tells investigators about pressures of commercial fishing

Two days before the fishing vessel Destination disappeared in the Bering Sea with six crew members aboard, Dylan Hatfield met up with the crew in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Hatfield previously worked on the Destination. His brother, Darrik Seibold, took his place and was among those lost at sea. “I personally worked with every single man,” Seibold (Hatfield)  told Coast Guard investigators who are looking into the February sinking of the boat. Hatfield said when he came off another boat and met the Destination’s crew, “the boys were pretty beat down. It was a pretty grueling cod season” with 24-hour work shifts. The crew was switching seasons, from cod to crab, and they were behind schedule for a delivery. Over dinner at the Norwegian Rat Saloon, Hatfield said, “I was all giddy and excited and it was a table full of long faces.” Video, click here to read the story 08:38

Coast Guard delivers dewatering pumps, saves boat and crew 66 miles west of Tillamook Head

The Coast Guard delivered three dewatering pumps, Tuesday morning to a commercial fishing vessel taking on water 66 miles west of Tillamook Head saving the boat and the crew, and is currently towing the vessel toward the Columbia River entrance. A boat crew aboard a 47-foot Motor Life Boat from Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment, located in Ilwaco, Washington, is towing the fishing vessel Pura Vida and its three person crew and has an estimated time of arrival to the Columbia River of 6 p.m., Tuesday. Coast Guard watchstanders in the Sector Columbia River command center received a mayday call from the captain of the Pura Vida, a 48-foot commercial fishing vessel at 3:36 a.m., reporting the emergency situation and reported all crewmembers were wearing life jackets. The Captain also reported the vessel is equipped with a life raft and survival suits. A second pump was delivered from the commercial fishing vessel Western Edge, a good Samaritan vessel on scene. USCG click here for video 17:18

Kings off limits starting Thursday: ADF&G cites low chinook salmon stocks coastwide

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game on Thursday will shut down commercial and salt-water sport chinook salmon fishing throughout Southeast Alaska. “Extreme management measures” are needed to protect kings originating from Southeast Alaska, Northern British Columbia, the Fraser River of British Columbia and the coast of Washington state, according to an announcement made late Monday by Fish and Game. The region wide commercial and sport chinook closures are effective 12:01 a.m. Thursday and will last at least through Sept. 30, according to the department. “We didn’t miss fish,” Fish and Game Deputy Commissioner Charles Swanton said late Monday of fishing efforts in the region. “The fish just aren’t there.” click here to read the story 14:30

Pacific bluefin tuna not considered engangered

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries branch has determined that Pacific bluefin tuna are not endangered and do not need protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. The determination was announced Monday by Chris Yates, assistant regional administrator for protected resources, NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region, in response to a petition from activists and environmental groups across the nation asking the Trump administration to list Pacific bluefin tuna as endangered.,, A scientific review team found that the population is large enough to avoid the risks associated with a small population, such as a year with low survival, and that Pacific bluefin has recovered from similarly low levels in the past. click here to read the story 09:17

Report: Sea lions push Willamette River steelhead to brink of extinction

State wildlife officials say wild steelhead in the upper Willamette Basin could go extinct in coming years because of sea lions feasting on the iconic fish at Willamette Falls.  The Statesman Journal reported in June that wild steelhead numbers hit all-time lows this year due to poor ocean conditions, historic drought and the long-term effects of habitat loss. But in an explosive report made public Monday, officials say sea lion predation could tip the scales toward extinction in rivers including the Santiam, Molalla and Calapooia, all Willamette tributaries. “We’ve reached the point where, unless we take some action, we may condemn this run to extinction,” said Dr. Shaun Clements, senior scientist and fish policy advisor for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “We need to act now or extinction may be our legacy.” Video, click here to read the story 21:33

F/V Destination – Day 1: Investigation Hearing begins

In Seattle on Monday, the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board began two weeks of testimony into the sinking. Monday was spent questioning the ship’s owner, 68-year-old David Wilson. The experienced fisherman, who hired Captain Jeff Hathaway back in 1993, recounted documents recapping the safety drills and briefings given to all crew before the season began. Larry O’Grady, Raymond Vincler, Darrik Seibold, Charles Jones and Kai Hamik were all on board with Hathaway. All presumed lost. Earlier this summer, the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy spent days over the wreck and found the vessel sitting upright in 240 feet of water listing to the port.  On Monday morning, Wilson was asked about maintenance issues — including a discussion, he had with the ship’s captain by phone while in Alaska. click here to read the story Todays proceedings can be reviewed click here, and the hearing restart at 09:00 tomorrow, using that link. 20:06

Toledo Boat Yard keeps crankin’ ’em out…

From Port of Toledo: Fishing Vessel Redeemer recently had a lot of work done on her at the Toledo Boat Yard – worked that was capped off with the traditional “re-Christening” of the vessel with a bottle of bubbly. The Port of Toledo’s crew celebrated with the F/V Redeemer’s owner, crew, family, and friends as the newly rebuilt vessel was launched. The boat is owned by Gary Ripka and recently featured in the Deadliest Catch: Dungeon Cove. The Redeemer fishes black cod, tuna, crab, and is set up to bottom fish. Video, click here to read the story 19:09

F/V Destination – Hearings to begin on why Seattle-based crab boat sank with 6-man crew aboard

Two weeks of Coast Guard hearings into the sinking of the Seattle-based Destination begin Monday. They will put a spotlight on safety in the crab-boat fleet, and are expected to include testimony about the recent exploration of the sunken vessel by a remotely operated vehicle. The Destination sits on the bottom of the Bering Sea, listing heavily to its port side and still carrying roughly a third of the steel-framed pots the six-man crew planned to use in a winter crab harvest off Alaska. In two weeks of Seattle hearings that begin Monday, Coast Guard officers will hear testimony from the owner of the crab boat, former crew and other industry and government officials as they gather clues to what went so horribly wrong when the crew perished Feb. 11. click here to read the story to read the USCG notice click here with instructions for comment. click here for live stream of the proceedings. 09:29

Rape allegation against division manager reveals ‘highly sexualized’ culture at state agency

An inappropriate sexual culture festered for more than a year within the upper ranks of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife until a rape allegation against a former division manager brought it to light. A law firm hired by Fish and Wildlife to investigate claims of sexual harassment spawned after the alleged rape found that a group of workers in the agency’s upper echelon often held or tolerated sexually explicit conversations at work. Some engaged in other inappropriate behavior both on the clock and after hours. The firm, MFR Law Group, also reported that the behavior, including at least one case of workplace sexual harassment, largely went unreported and unaddressed by the agency’s top leaders. click here to read the story 17:04

Re-examining safety practices in the wake of this year’s commercial fishing deaths

“It’s time for a checkup from the neck up” — meaning an industry time-out to evaluate fishing operations and behaviors — advises Jerry Dzugan, director of the Sitka-based Alaska Marine Safety Education Association for over 30 years. Dzugan was speaking in response to the 11 fishing deaths that have occurred in Alaska so far this year. It’s the most in 13 years and follows a 76 percent decrease in commercial fishing fatalities since the 1980s. “The causes are still capsizing, sinkings, swampings and man overboards (MOBs). They haven’t changed much,” Dzugan said. “People need to step back and focus on the basics, such as making sure your vessel is stable and watertight, and that your crew is protected from man overboards.” click here to read the story 11:37

Coast Guard rescues two fishermen in distress near Coos Bay, Ore.

The Coast Guard rescued two fishermen after their vessel was engulfed in flames 20 miles west of the Cape Blanco light near Coos Bay, Oregon, Saturday. A Coast Guard Station Chetco River 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew met the fishermen, who had abandoned the 47-foot fishing vessel Beverly B into a life raft, and transported them and their raft to port in Brookings, Oregon. Sector North Bend watchstanders received the report of the fishermen in distress from Station Coos Bay, who were notified by a volunteer light keeper at the Cape Blanco light, stating that a fishing vessel was on fire. Watchstanders directed the launch of Sector North Bend MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew, who arrived on scene to find the fishermen in their life raft, and lowered a rescue swimmer to assess the situation. The 47-foot MLB crew arrived on scene shortly thereafter. The vessel was reported to be completely engulfed in flames and partially submerged -USCG-  22:38

Crab bill strengthening the Pacific Northwest’s Dungeness crab industry heads to President Trump

A bill introduced by Oregon’s Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to strengthen Oregon’s crab fishery passed the United States Senate and will now head to the president’s desk for signature into law. The bill permanently extends a decades-long fishery management agreement that has been vital to the Pacific Northwest’s Dungeness crab fishery.,,, The states of Oregon, Washington, and California cooperatively manage the West Coast crab fishery in federal waters under a tri-state agreement that Congress first authorized in 1998. The act would make that authority permanent. click here to read the story 15:51

The American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act: S-1322 – Sam Parisi, Gloucester

Last year I served on a panel to review applicants for S-K Grant money in Saint Petersburg, along with ten other experienced fisherman thru out the USA. After two days of reviews we graded those and our mission was done. We had no idea who was awarded the grant money at the end of the two days. After a month the ones that were chosen were published. I notice one recipient from the East Coast was awarded $375,000 dollars yet I never saw come before the panel. I called the head man in Saint Pete and ask why I never saw it, and he said it was on a different panel. I was on both panels and it never came up. I believe that NOAA decides who gets the funds and the panel is there to appease the public. A Senator from Alaska heard my story and told me he was putting in a bill to go back to an advisory panel like it had in 1954. Bear in mind, this a year in the making and he asked for my help by contacting our Politian’s in the North East which I did. Two days ago Commerce Department approved his bill S-1322. The vote was 26 to one. What this means is NOAA will no longer receive the SKG money. A panel will be chosen by the Secretary of Commerce. Perhaps our fisherman will now see some of this money. Thank You, Sam Parisi,  Gloucester Mass.  click here to read the bill  Commerce Approves Eight Bills and 10 Nomineesclick here Thank you, Sam!  10:46

Commercial salmon season finally arrives in the Bay Area

At Monterey Fish Market on Pier 33, one San Francisco fisherman alone brought in 300 pounds of salmon on Tuesday, the first day of the Bay Area commercial salmon season. That haul was, in co-owner Tom Worthington’s words, a good omen for the much-delayed start of the season. Yet it’s still too early to say what the rest of the season, which wraps up Sept. 30, will bring.,,, According to Larry Collins of the San Francisco Community Fishing Association, the larger fishing boats he works with report getting 20 to 50 medium-size fish a day. Most boats won’t come back for a few more days, so salmon probably won’t start showing up in the markets until the weekend. Those on the water reported calm seas and low winds. click here to read the story 08:23

DFW proposes a test commercial fishery using fish traps in Willapa Bay

Fish traps, banned in Washington in 1934 for being so effective they were singled out as the major cause of salmon declines at the time, are now being eyed by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and wild fish proponents as a tool to allow for commercial harvest of hatchery fish while decreasing the mortality of native salmon in Willapa Bay. “We were thinking, what kind of alternative fishing method should we be thinking about with the commercials,” said Annette Hoffman, Region 6 fish program manager. “We sent out a reminder (to commercial fishing about getting their ideas) in December 2016, got a number of ideas and pursued all those that met the criteria, and only one person followed through with the process and that was the fish trap.” click here to read the story 09:42

After falling to historic lows, Alaska commercial fishing deaths on the rise

After a recent historic year of no recorded deaths in Alaska’s commercial fishing industry, fatalities in the sector known for its dangers have once again spiked. There have been 10 commercial fishing deaths in Alaska so far in 2017. A large portion of this year’s deaths were from the fishing vessel Destination, which sank in the Bering Sea just north of St. George Island in February. The six men on the boat were later legally declared dead. The other deaths were a man overboard on the fishing vessel Dances with Clams in the Copper River Delta in May, the June capsizing of the boat Miss Destinee in Marmot Bay off Kodiak Island which killed two, and a person overboard from the Lady Colleen in July in Ugashik Bay. This comes not long after the U.S. Coast Guard recorded the first year — measured from Oct. 1, 2014, through Sept. 30, 2015 — of zero operations-related deaths in Alaska’s commercial fishing industry. click here to read the story 07:58

Hiring seafood workers in Bristol Bay has been tough for years. This summer, it’s worse.

Seafood processors in Alaska’s Bristol Bay this summer have had trouble finding enough workers to handle the fish that come through their plants. Those in the industry say a confluence of factors, including a lack of visas for bringing foreign workers to the industry, a hotter economy in the Lower 48, and a record-breaking salmon run in Bristol Bay, was to blame. “There was a significant lack of process workers for some companies in the bay, and it exacerbated the problems of having to deal with high levels of harvest,” said John Garner, president of Seattle-based North Pacific Seafoods, which has locations across Alaska. Some processors couldn’t keep up with the huge amount of fish coming in, which forced them to resort to whatever method was fastest to get the pounds through the plant. click here to read the story 10:03

Uncertain salmon season launches in Bodega Bay

The rising hum of activity in the port of Bodega Bay over recent days reveals an unexpected level of interest in the commercial salmon season that starts Tuesday, despite a 3-month delay and what’s been an extremely grim outlook for the beleaguered fishery. A large proportion of the local fleet has been gearing up to head out to open ocean, ready to drop their lines and test the waters. But the satisfied, even boisterous enthusiasm that once characterized the marinas during pre-seasons past has diminished during years of struggle in the fishing industry, some say. A time that once carried the promise of hard work and dependable results now brims with uncertainty. click here to read the story 21:20

Hearing: Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, will convene the hearing titled “Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: NOAA and Council Perspectives” at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 1, 2017. This hearing is the first in a series to examine the state of our nation’s fishery laws and guide the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Witnesses: – Mr. Christopher Oliver, Assistant Administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service, – Dr. John Quinn, Chair, Council Coordination Committee and Northeast Fishery Management Council Hearing Details: Tuesday, August 1, 2017 10:00 a.m. Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov. link 09:20

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

It’s a waiting game for this year’s Fraser River pink salmon run

For this year’s Fraser River pink salmon run, the commercial boats hoping to fish in local waters are stuck in a wait-and-see scenario. With run numbers remaining low, the Pacific Salmon Commission’s Fraser River Panel has kept the fishing season closed in both the U.S. and Canadian waters near the mouth of the Canadian River. It’s unclear at this point whether the run is just late or will be much weaker than expected, said Pete Granger, a local reef net fisherman. If it turns out to be a weak run, it will be the second consecutive one for Fraser River pink salmon. click here to read the story 09:03

Commercial fishing boat runs aground off the coast of Cayucos

A commercial fishing vessel out of Morro Bay was returning to port when it ran aground early Friday morning near Point Estero off the coast of Cayucos. Nobody aboard was injured and there were no reports of significant water pollution or damage to the vessel, said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Mark Barney. Harbor Patrol Supervisor Becka Kelly said the boat had been fishing about 40 miles off shore for slime eels. She said exhaustion and patchy fog may have been a factor in the ship running aground. click here to read the story 18:15