Category Archives: Pacific

A Night Among The Stars

Ballard Elks Lodge #827 click here  18:24

Invasive European green crab found in Dungeness Bay

An invasive crab species scientists and locals feared to find on the North Olympic Peninsula was discovered in traps last week in Dungeness Bay. Staff and volunteers at the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge found at least 13 European green crabs in Graveyard Spit across from Dungeness Landing and continue to investigate just how prevalent the species might be there. Emily Grason, program coordinator for Washington Sea Grant’s Crab Team, said these are the first of the crab to be found in inland Washington since the crab was captured in August 2016 in Westcott Bay off San Juan Island in Puget Sound. Sea Grant officials say the European green crab, a small shore crab measuring up to 4 inches across, is native to the Atlantic Ocean and Baltic Sea and is known for damaging the soft-shell clam industry in Maine. click> It will eat clams, oysters, mussels and marine worms, and is potentially harmful to birds and small crustaceans. click here to read the story 10:12

The Fishing Fleet: An invisible cornerstone of our economy

Hundreds of people who drive by on their way to and from wherever probably don’t notice, but you might, or at least you could. Look seaward when you pass Safeway and you’ll see a boatyard story that goes beyond the wooden boat identity Port Townsend is famous for. Below the tall masts of schooners and square riggers are the troll poles, gurdies and net rollers of the fish boats that call on Port Townsend for their winter’s maintenance. Some of their owners live here, and the vessels’ names are better known (Chichagof, Duna, Cape Cleare). Many come from distant ports, employing and trusting our community to keep their boats afloat. The marine trades constitute the third-largest employer in the county. This is big business for us. Tim Hoffman of Lowest Hadlock Shipwrights put this way: “Ninety percent of my business is fish boats, and they really don’t get the credit they deserve for what they’ve brought to this place, and I’m talking since the mid-’70s.” click here to read the story 08:51

Former ‘Deadliest Catch’ star Jake Harris arrested for car theft, drug possession

Ex-“Deadliest Catch” star Jake Harris is in a sea of trouble. The former reality star was arrested over the weekend after allegedly stealing a car and for drug possession, according to TMZ. Harris, 31, reportedly drove from Washington to Phoenix with an unidentified married woman, then took off with her car Friday morning, according to the gossip website. Phoenix police reportedly found Harris at a Circle K on Saturday with Xanax and crystal meth. Harris was charged with one count of theft, one count of dangerous drug possession and one count of prescription drug possession, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. Link (It doesn’t even look like the same guy. Drug’s destroy everything good.)

Dakota Creek Industries working on state-of-the-art fishing vessel

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen met Thursday morning at Dakota Creek Industries with shipbuilders and commercial fishermen eager to show off a new, fuel-efficient fishing vessel. The ship, America’s Finest, is bigger, safer, more efficient and pollutes less than existing vessels, according to Fishermen’s Finest, the ship’s owner and operator. The company says the ship will have the smallest carbon footprint per ton of fish of any fishing vessel in the Bering Sea. The 262-foot-long ship is like a floating city, with its own fish processing factory, power plant and sewage treatment facility, said Kristian Uri, Fishermen’s Finest general manager. click here to view additional photo’s and read the story 11:01

Injured Fisherman rescued 600 miles off California coast by the 129th Rescue Wing

Early Tuesday morning the 129th Rescue Wing flew two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, one MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft, and one 4-man Guardian Angel Pararescue team approximately 600 miles off the California coast to the GUTSY LADY 4. Once the 129th RQW personnel reached the GUTSY LADY 4, the Guardian Angel team boarded the fishing vessel and stabilized and secured the patient before hoisting him onto their helicopter. The Guardian Angel team provided care to the patient on board the helicopter until they arrived at San Jose Regional Medical Center Tuesday evening. On Sunday, the 129th RQW accepted the mission from Coast Guard District 11 and established a direct line of communication with the GUTSY LADY 4, which at the time was about 1,100 miles west of the San Francisco Bay Area. click here to read the story 09:06

‘Deadliest Catch’ captain Sig Hansen won’t face charges in alleged abuse

Celebrity crab-boat captain Sig Hansen won’t face criminal charges on claims that he sexually abused his toddler daughter nearly three decades ago, Snohomish County prosecutors said Tuesday after conducting a review of old case materials. “We have concluded that it’s outside our charging standards and we’re going to maintain our original decision not to charge Mr. Hansen,” Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Baldock said. Meantime, a civil lawsuit against Hansen brought by his estranged daughter, Melissa Eckstrom, remains on hold until the state Court of Appeals decides whether a King County judge’s ruling that would allow the civil case to go to trial is legally sound. Click here to read the story 11:42

Central Coast should look to Rhode Island for bad experience with wind turbines  

Our commercial fishermen met with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the bureau plans on putting hundreds of wind turbines off our coastline, taking hundreds of square miles of ocean away from fishing. We spoke with fishermen on the East Coast that had five wind turbines installed off Rhode Island, and they had nothing good to say. The installation required huge cement slabs on the bottom. The blades cause radar interference for miles. They are in squid and scallop fishing grounds, costing hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars lost to Rhode Island. They are placing them in navigation lanes, causing shipping vessels to travel around them. Also, most of the time they don’t work! They need repair constantly, and if the wind blows over 50 mph, they have to shut them down! They are being federally subsidized by millions of taxpayer dollars to mainly companies from other countries! It’s costing four times the amount it costs them for natural gas-powered electricity. Gov. Jerry Brown thinks using our oceans for energy is what we need. He is wrong. The ocean is a food source. It is wild and powerful and is not meant for industrialization. Tom Hafer, Atascadero link 09:19

Working Waterfront: Blaine Harbor’s Community Presence

With deeply-rooted ties to the commercial fishing industry, Blaine Harbor sees commercial fishing vessels as an important part of the waterfront. Today, a smaller fleet sets out each day to harvest Dungeness crab and salmon during those respective seasons and supplies to four local seafood buyers. Port Commissioner, Bobby Briscoe, and his wife call Blaine home. Briscoe, a fourth-generation fisherman born and raised in Bellingham has operated commercial fishing vessels for over forty years in Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California. “Being a maritime family, a part of the Blaine community and now Port Commissioner gives me a unique perspective. As the gateway to the Pacific Northwest, Blaine harbor and the local commercial fishing fleet are an integral part of this hard working picturesque seaside community.” click here to read the story 11:23

New business venture streamlines catch directly to consumer, Front Door Fish

Front Door Fish is operated out of Garibaldi, but the customer base is global. “Garibaldi is where we do Front Door Fish out of because we have a processing plant and custom canning there,” sales and marketing manager Warren Howe said. The mission for their seafood business is simple: To deliver the freshest, highest-quality catch to customers’ front door. The product, which isn’t beholden to traditional processing or storage methods, is par with what only family and friends of fishermen could provide, according to Howe. “Everybody wants the quality of fish we used to provide for our friends,” he said. Front Door Fish was started as a platform to ship certain products overnight anywhere in the country. click here to read the story 18:27

Bi-Partisan Bill seeks to allow tribes to kill Columbia River sea lions

Some Northwest Indian tribes would be allowed to kill a limited number of sea lions that prey on endangered salmon in the Columbia River under a bill introduced in Congress. The bipartisan bill was introduced last weekend by U.S. House members Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Washington Republican, and Kurt Schrader, an Oregon Democrat. If passed, the bill would allow the Warm Springs, Umatilla, Yakama, and Nez Perce tribes to kill some sea lions that are decimating endangered salmon runs during their return from the ocean to inland spawning grounds. Currently only the states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho can kill sea lions along the river. “The spring chinook loss, coupled with the growing sea lion population, has placed us in an emergency situation,” said Leland Bill, chairman of the commission. Sea lion populations have surged since the passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972. There were about 30,000 California sea lions when the act passed, but the population has since grown to over 300,000. click here to read the article 12:22

San Diego’s commercial fishermen and the Seaport development

“The one commitment I’ll give you is — we’ll never trick you,” Yehudi Gaffen told a crowd of more than 20 commercial fishermen gathered for a meeting at the Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute in mid-March. “This project,” he said of Seaport, “we’re going to own it. It’s the legacy of me and my partner, and the last thing we want is our key stakeholder to feel we pulled a fast one on you.” A few grumbles, some head nods. Though it sounds like the start of a tense relationship, Gaffen’s speech came almost two years into working with San Diego’s fishermen, who have had a hard time trusting the man with grand designs on their home. But what other choice do they have? click here to read the story 11:00

Good Lord. Pacific Fishery Management Council Closes 200 Miles Of West Coast To Salmon Fishing

About 200 miles of the West Coast will be closed to ocean salmon fishing this year to protect a record-low run of Klamath River chinook. Fishery managers with the Pacific Fishery Management Council voted Tuesday for a total closure of ocean salmon seasons from southern Oregon to northern California. Commercial troll fishing seasons will be closed from Florence, Oregon, to Horse Mountain, which is south of Eureka, California. Sport fishing seasons will be closed from Humbug Mountain south of Port Orford, Oregon, to Horse Mountain in northern California. The rest of the coast will have limited fishing seasons. West Coast salmon runs have been hit hard in recent years by drought conditions in their native rivers and El Niño conditions in the Pacific Ocean that reduce their food sources. While fishermen up and down the coast are in for a tough year, those who depend on Klamath River salmon are already calling for help. Fishing groups and Native American tribes plan to ask California Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a fishing disaster so they can receive federal assistance. click here to read the story 18:03

Bodega Bay Fisherman’s Festival celebrates its working waterfront with Blessing of the Fleet

In a tradition that stretches back nearly 60 years, local fishermen gathered their fleet off Doran Spit on Sunday to receive a blessing for bountiful catches and safe returns. Skippers, aboard boats sporting colorful maritime decorations in their rigging, tuned their VHF radios to channel 09 and cranked up the volume so their crews, friends and family aboard could hear local clergy pray for them in the annual blessing of the fleet. “We praise you for the vast abundance of the sea,” said Pastor Neal Miller of the Fisherman’s Chapel in prayer. Miller was joined aboard the New Sea Angler by Pastor Jerry Lites of Bodega Bay Church and Father Gary Moore of the Diocese of Santa Rosa. After a few lean years, the Bodega Bay fleet is praying the Lord will manifest that abundance onto their hooks and into their crab pots. The blessing of the fleet, which has taken place every year since 1958, is appreciated by both captains and crew. 14 great images, click here to read the story 13:12

California likely to shorten chinook salmon season

With chinook salmon at its lowest population in years, West Coast fishery managers are considering a proposal to strictly limit the commercial season and to delay its start around the San Francisco Bay from its usual May date to August. A final decision will be made on Tuesday. “You’re probably going to find it only in your upscale grocery stores and upscale restaurants, and it’s not going to be always available. It’s probably not going to be cheap,” said Dave Bitts, a Eureka fisherman and adviser to the Pacific Fishery Management Council, which manages fisheries in the federal waters off California, Oregon and Washington. Click here to read the story 08:55

Pacific sardine fishery closed for the third year in a row

The Pacific Fishery Management Council on April 10 announced the continued closure of the Pacific sardine directed fishery through June 30, 2018. This is the third annual closure in a row for this fishery. Council members heard from scientists that the abundance forecast for the 2017-18 season, scheduled to start July 1, was significantly below the 150,000 metric ton threshold for a directed fishery. They also considered testimony from fishery participants and environmental groups before reaching a decision to close the directed fishery. click here to read the story 19:33

The Washington fishing-industry battle over a federal council seat escalates

The Washington fishing-industry battle over a seat on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council has escalated as four industry groups sent a Thursday letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in support of Gov. Jay Inslee and his slate of three nominees. Leaders of the Freezer Longliner Coaltion, Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, Deep Sea Fishermen’s Union and Fishing Vessel Owners Assocation all signed the letter. They sought to rebut an April 3 letter that President Donald Trump’s commerce secretary received from four other Washington industry groups that asked Ross to reject Inslee’s nominees because of what they said was a flawed nomination process. “We wish to register our strong disagreement with the April 3 letter,” they wrote. click here to read the story 20:11

D.B. Pleschner: Study: No correlation between forage fish, predator populations

On April 9-10, the Pacific Fishery Management Council is meeting in Sacramento to deliberate on anchovy management and decide on 2017 harvest limits for sardine, two prominent west coast forage fish. Extreme environmental groups like Oceana and Pew have plastered social media with allegations that the anchovy population has crashed, sardines are being overfished and fisheries should be curtailed, despite ample evidence to the contrary. Beyond multiple lines of recent evidence that both sardines and anchovy populations are increasing in the ocean, a new study published this week in the journal Fisheries Research finds that the abundance of these and other forage fish species is driven primarily by environmental cycles with little impact from fishing, and well-managed fisheries have a negligible impact on predators — such as larger fish, sea lions and seabirds. This finding flies directly in the face of previous assumptions prominent in a 2012 study commissioned by the Lenfest Ocean Program, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, heirs of Sun Oil Company. The Lenfest study concluded that forage fish are twice as valuable when left in the water to be eaten by predators and recommended slashing forage fishery catch rates by 50 to 80 percent. click here to continue reading the article 20:39

Bleak salmon season awaits commercial fleet as Bodega Bay Fishermen’s Festival returns

Bodega Bay will host its 44th annual Fisherman’s Festival this weekend, celebrating the ocean-going traditions that long supported this coastal village long reliant on its harvest from the sea. The two-day event, capped Sunday by the Blessing of the Fleet, coincides with the historic start of the salmon season, a catch still critical to the community’s prosperity. This year, however, like many in recent memory, commercial anglers on the North Coast await word of just how poor that king salmon harvest is expected to be. “It is bleak,” said veteran fisherman Dave Bitts, president of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. “I’m referring to it as ‘scraps of a season.’” California’s salmon season has been troubled before. But this year the state’s historic drought has exacted what may be its steepest toll, decimating a generation of fish a few years ago in shrunken streams, with far fewer adults now showing up to spawn. Click here to read the story 17:05

Sea lions moving into smaller streams – “They’re working on wild fish,”

In the past month or two, a few California (one Steller) sea lions have moved into the lower stretches of the Sandy River and as many as half-dozen (some say more) are devouring winter steelhead in the Clackamas River, as far up as Eagle Creek. Washington officials report sea lions prowling the lower Cowlitz, Lewis and Washougal rivers. And these aren’t just any winter steelhead tickling their palates. By this time of year, the earlier-arriving hatchery-origin steelhead run is largely finished, Todd Alsbury, department district fish biologist, told a group of sportfishing leaders in Clackamas. “They’re working on wild fish,” Alsbury said. “It could make Ballard Locks pale in comparison.” Remember Ballard Locks in Seattle? Apparently few, if any, real lessons were learned from the decimation of Lake Washington’s meager (2,000-3,000 fish) wild steelhead runs by Herschel and a handful of sea lions in the 1990s. Click here to read the article 14:12

Fishing-industry groups blast Inslee over his picks for federal council

Gov. Jay Inslee’s handling of nominations for a federal fishery-council seat has come under attack from the leaders of major North Pacific fishing-industry groups, which have taken the unusual step of sending a complaint letter to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.,, In their letter sent Tuesday, they asked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to reject Inslee’s nominations and called for the governor to come up with some new names for a seat on the council. The industry backlash reflects the high stakes in fish politics, where the federal fishery council helps sets the rules for a billion-dollar groundfish harvest, much of which is caught and processed by Seattle-based companies. The letter is signed by the leaders of the Pacific Seafood Processors Association, At-Sea Processors Association, Groundfish Forum, and United Catcher Boats, whose membership collectively catches or processes most the groundfish. Read the article, click here 10:05

Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Sacramento April 6-11, 2017

The Pacific Fishery Management Council and its advisory bodies will meet April 6-11, 2017 in Sacramento, Ca. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Sacramento to address issues related to salmon, groundfish, coastal pelagic species, Pacific halibut, and habitat matters. For agenda item topics, please click to see the April 2017 meeting notice with a detailed agenda. The Council meeting will be live‐streamed. Click here to Listen to the Live Audio Stream For more details, click here 19:58

Caught Dead to Rights: Video catches ocean polluters in the act

Video shot by a deckhand was the key piece of evidence that helped convict the owner of a Puget Sound fishing vessel for violating the Clean Water Act. A federal jury handed down a “guilty” verdict this week after the week-long trial of Bingham Fox, who owns the 80 foot Native Sun. Jurors determined that Fox intentionally dumped oily bilge water into the port of Blaine, Wash. The U.S. Coast Guard was alerted to the pollution scheme by a deckhand named Anthony, who shot cell phone video of a makeshift pump that sucked oily sludge from the Native Sun’s hull and pumped it into the ocean and the Puget Sound. Watch the video, read the rest here 18:50

Boat owner discharged waste into ocean waters; convicted of felony

A boat owner was convicted in U.S. District Court in Seattle of discharging oily waste directly into coastal waters, a felony violation of the Clean Water Act. Sentencing is set for July 11, 2017 for Bingham Fox, owner of the fishing vessel Native Sun, after the jury deliberated six hours following a five-day trial. According to court documents, Fox and others with the Native Sun repeatedly discharged waste into the ocean using unapproved submersible pumps and hoses.  According to evidence presented at trial, the Native Sun had multiple, long-term, mechanical problems that put substantial amounts of oil in its bilges. In addition, the vessel was leaky, so the bilges were constantly filling with a mixture of oil and seawater. Bingham Fox had at least one illegal pump installed on board and directed others to regularly dump oily waste from the bilges, even in port. continue reading the story here 09:29

Del Norte fishermen and Assemblyman Jim Wood opposes landing fee hike ( from .2¢ to 25¢ per lb.!)

Del Norte fishermen and Assemblyman Jim Wood are questioning a proposal to increase commercial landing fees as a way of offsetting a $20 million deficit in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. In his 2017–18 budget summary, Gov. Jerry Brown proposes increasing commercial landing fees statewide by $12.4 million. Brown’s proposal argues that revenue from commercial landing fees support less than one quarter of the Fish and Wildlife’s program costs and have not been adjusted in at least 20 years.  But local fishermen and industry representatives say they’re worried that increasing the landing fees will prompt seafood buyers to shift their business to nearby Oregon. continue reading the story here 10:04

Commercial fishermen on south coast fear salmon season could be cut short

Commercial fishermen on the south coast say they’re worried this year’s fishing season could be cut short or even become obsolete. According to the Pacific Fishery Management Council, salmon numbers are down the past couple of years and this year doesn’t look to be much better.  “If the fish don’t show, our season–salmon season–would be over and a lot of guys will make very little money,” said one fisherman of 42 years at a public meeting Monday night. “A lot of markets, restaurants won’t have salmon.” The PFMC took public comment Monday in Coos Bay on proposals for the season and talked about the effect on the salmon fishery. Click here to watch video, read the rest here 17:50

State to San Diego fishermen: Drop dead

Over 100 people gathered in Pacific Beach on March 20, for the release of data from a five-year, $4 million study of the state’s South Coast Marine Protection Areas. The study began in 2011 and studied 12 areas of our shoreline’s ecosystem. Creation of these areas closed off recreational fishing in much of the oceanfront in the San Diego area. Erin Meyer, senior scientist from the Ocean Science Trust, the nonprofit agency assigned to coordinate the data, advised to group, “The purpose of the meeting was not to defeat the MPAs or debate its merits.” However, several angler groups and charter boat operators had questions. “What exactly are you monitoring?” asked Doug, a crewmember aboard the Black Jack charter boat out of Dana Landing in Mission Bay. The study, from data gathered by Sea Grant California, focused on different phases in 12 areas, including ecosystem, tides, kelp forest, spiny lobster, and sea birds. There was good news. Shad Catarius, a commercial lobster fisherman, was on the study group for the spiny lobster issue. read the story click here 20:08

Editorial: Fishermen should look for smart ways to survive

As spring Chinook salmon congregate in the ocean around the mouth of the Columbia River in anticipation of their ancient migration to upriver spawning grounds, this spring also sees a swirling conglomeration of politics in Oregon and Washington state over how to allocate salmon among different interests. In some ways nothing new, in other respects the fight over salmon is rising to a higher pitch. Increasingly involving elected leaders, the outcome is becoming even less predictable. Also unclear is where a majority of Oregon and Washington state voters stand on the issue. The key point of recent news in the matter is the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission’s unanimous vote to curtail gillnet fish harvests, altering an earlier decision that was more favorable to commercial fishermen. Bullied into the decision by Gov. Kate Brown, the commission backed away from its earlier acknowledgment that the states have so far failed to keep a promise made by the Oregon Legislature to ensure the continuing economic viability of the commercial fleet. Alternative fishing methods have proven ineffective, alternative fishing grounds are in short supply, and money has been slow to arrive to aid transition away from the decades long gillnetting tradition. continue reading the op-ed here 16:20

Washington to negotiate on Columbia River salmon reforms

With time running short to adopt 2017 fishing seasons, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission on Friday delegated authority to director Jim Unsworth to negotiate the differences with Oregon regarding the controversial Columbia River salmon reforms. The Washington commission also intends to write a letter to its Oregon counterparts proposing a face-to-face meeting and to ask about Oregon’s commitment to shifting commercial fishing in the fall in the lower Columbia away from gillnets to gear allowing release of wild fish.,, In January, Washington modified its policy to allow for two more years of gillnetting between Woodland and Beacon Rock. Also in January, Oregon’s commission adopted rules much more friendly to commercial fishing. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown then scolded her commission and told it to adopt rules closer to those adopted by Washington. Read the article here 11:20

Pacific sardine population remains low, says National Marine Fisheries Service

A study released Friday by the National Marine Fisheries Service puts the northern Pacific sardine population off the West Coast at perilously low levels for the third straight year. The findings, which will be reviewed next month by The Pacific Fishery Management Council, while disheartening for both environmentalists and fishermen, are also disputed by some in the fishing industry who question the method by which these forage fish are counted.,, But Diane Pleschner-Steele, who is the executive director of the California Wetfish Producers Association and represents the majority of boat fishermen and processors who harvest wetfish, said that there’s significant error in the way the sardines are counted and that current government surveys are not surveying adequately the fish that are in the near shore ocean. “Closing the sardine fishery basically closes everything for us, except for squid,” said Pleschner-Steele. “We are seriously considering applying for disaster relief.” read the article here 09:26:19

Congress to consider relief funds for California crab fleet as Brown proposes landing fee hike

Long-awaited federal funds to alleviate California’s crabbing fleet after last year’s dismal season could be approved by Congress as early as the next few weeks, according to California 2nd District Rep. Jared Huffman. Huffman (D-San Rafael) said Congress is set to vote on a supplemental budget appropriation to prevent a government shutdown in the coming weeks. He said he and a bipartisan group of legislators have signed on to a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urging them to include fishery disaster funds in this budget bill.,, Meanwhile at the state level, local legislators and fishing organizations are protesting Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to increase commercial fishing landing fees by as much as 1,300 percent in order to help close a $20 million shortfall in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife budget. continue reading the story here 16:09

Lost Seattle-based crab-boat crew memorialized

The owner of the Destination, the crab boat that went missing Feb. 11, said he had full confidence in the skills of the six lost crew, and that his own son was initially supposed to be part of that Bering Sea harvest. “I have had a lot of sorrow in life but nothing like this,” wrote David Wilson, of Edmonds, in remarks read at a Thursday afternoon memorial service for the six lost crew. “God only knows why something like this happens because I don’t know why these good men went down at sea. … The pain will never go away. Even though these men are gone, their memory will live on forever.” Several hundred people attended the service for the six crew members: Capt. Jeff Hathaway, Larry O’Grady, Raymond Vincler, Darrik Seibold, Charles G. Jones and Kai Hamik. It was held at the Aurora Community Church of the Nazarene in Shoreline and was a celebration of their lives that included poetry and musical performances. continue reading the story here 13:03

Commercial fishermen undergo safety training in Charleston

The water was somewhere between 45 and 50 degrees and here I was about to jump in. Though I had donned the bulky orange survival suit, which would protect me from the quick onset of hypothermia, I had been told that hypothermia could still set in after days spent in the water. Of course, I would only be bobbing like a cork in the Charleston harbor for maybe 15 minutes, but the idea was still daunting. This was the end of a two-day safety training for commercial fishermen. It was to teach us what to do when a boat starts to sink. Though I was only tagging along for the end, it is a requirement for commercial fishermen to earn the certification. Every vessel must have at least one certified safety instructor, and to get certified these fishermen undergo two days of training from the U.S. Coast Guard. A group of 10 men joined in on that training this week under the direction of Commercial Fishing Safety Examiner and Coast Guard civilian Steve Kee, who also threw me in the water to understand a small piece of what it would be like in a fast-moving crisis. continue reading the story here 14:58

Researchers: Columbia spring chinook forecast might be too high

Fisheries managers have been predicting a slightly below-average run of spring chinook salmon on the Columbia River this year, but a newly published suggests that it may be worse. According to researchers from Oregon State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, ocean conditions were historically bad in the spring of 2015, when migrating yearling fish that will comprise the bulk of this spring’s adult chinook salmon run first went out to sea. In fact, Pacific Decadal Oscillation values — which reflect warm and cold sea surface temperatures — suggest it was one of the warmest nearshore oceans encountered by migrating chinook salmon dating back to at least 1900. The lack of food for the salmon in 2015 may have resulted in significant mortality that will show in this year’s run of Columbia River springers. One way or another, it will provide new information on fish survival and whether juvenile salmon prey data can help resource managers predict future returns. continue reading the story here 10:11

Senator Cantwell casts a net for fishing advice

This is the culture of our state, this is about a way of life,” U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell told a packed house of about 30 Pacific County fishing/shellfish industry representatives Saturday in the Port of Ilwaco’s tiny boardroom. Noting that fishing in all its various forms is a pillar of the county’s economy, Washington’s third-term junior senator, a Democrat, said “we want to keep it that way.” She expects to win passage this spring of the “crab bill.” This will ensure Washington’s most lucrative fishery continues operating under the generally popular tri-state process, in which the three mainland West Coast states negotiate season details among themselves. Cantwell also noted that reauthorization of the far-reaching Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act is coming up soon, something that will benefit from local input. Meeting attendees peppered her with numerous suggestions and concerns, several of which go to the heart of industry survival. continue reading the story here 15:22

Two guys who tried to sink their own commercial charter fishing boat get probation

Two men who intentionally tried to sink their commercial fishing boat in an effort to collect insurance money were sentenced to probation Monday. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Anello sentenced Christopher Switzer, 39, and Mark Gillette, 37, to 18 months of probation. Both pleaded guilty in February to conspiring to sink their commercial fishing boat, “The Commander.” The incident occurred on Oct. 11 when the two were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard from the sinking boat in an area about seven miles south of Dana Point. Gillette had reported the boat was taking on water and was in danger of sinking. It did not, however. continue reading the story here 10:45

Crew of lost crabbing vessel declared legally dead

The six men lost when their crabbing boat sank on a cold morning in the Bering Sea last month were declared legally dead at an unusual court proceeding Monday, allowing heartbroken families to take a first step toward closure and settling their loved ones’ affairs. The proceeding, known as a presumptive death hearing, is a kind of mini-trial held to determine whether a missing person can be declared dead. They are often held in the cases of people who have disappeared in such extreme terrain as to have exhausted the chances of survival or recovery. The fishing vessel Destination sank 3 miles north of St. George Island on the morning of Feb. 11, just before starting the winter snow crab season. The bodies of the men aboard — captain Jeff Hathaway and crew members Kai Hamik, Darrik Seibold, Larry O’Grady, Raymond Vincler and Charles G. Jones — have not been found. continue reading the story here 23:34

Captain of Fishing Vessel Pleads Guilty for Discharging Waste into the Ocean

A captain of the fishing vessel (F/V) Native Sun pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Seattle, Washington, for discharging oily-waste directly into the ocean in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) and the federal conspiracy statute. Randall Fox pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Lasnik of the Western District of Washington to two criminal felony counts for violating APPS’ prohibition against discharging oily-wastes, namely machinery-space bilge water, directly into the ocean. According to court documents, Randall Fox, and other co-conspirators, repeatedly discharged the oil-contaminated bilge water into the ocean using unapproved submersible pumps and hoses. On at least one occasion, such a discharge left a sizable oily-sheen along the surface of the water that trailed alongside the F/V Native Sun. Trial for vessel owner Bingham Fox is currently set to begin March 21, 2017. Read the rest here  15:38

Estranged daughter sues ‘Deadliest Catch’ star Sig Hansen, alleging she was molested as a child

The estranged daughter of celebrity Alaskan crab boat captain and cable TV star Sig Hansen claims her father sexually abused her as a toddler, while her parents were divorcing nearly three decades ago, according to interviews and court records. As a result of the alleged abuse, Melissa Eckstrom, now a 28-year-old family law attorney in Seattle, contends in a lawsuit that she battled depression, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts and other trauma throughout her childhood. She also claims that she still harbors memories of her father’s abuse of her as a 2-year-old in 1990. “I have memories … of being in a room alone with my father and crying out in pain,” Eckstrom stated in a court declaration. Read the story here. (I ain’t buying it) 10:06

Oregon adopts Columbia River salmon reforms

Oregon’s Fish and Wildlife Commission took another try Friday at adopting Columbia River salmon management reforms, but it’s still unclear if the policies will satisfy Washington’s commission. In January, the Oregon commission adopted revised reforms which were more friendly to gillnet fishermen. Following a backlash from sportsmen, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown sent the Oregon commission a scolding letter that directed the panel adopt a position closer to the details adopted in 2013 and more akin to Washington’s position. Oregon commission member Greg Wolley of Portland said he got a call from Brown on Thursday. The proposal adopted on Friday meets the spirit of her letter and the compromise Brown wanted, Wolley said. Brad Smith, chairman of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, sent a letter to Michael Finley, his Oregon counterpart, on Wednesday indicating that Washington felt the plan it adopted in January already was a compromise from the original 2012 agreement. “I’m really uncomfortable with this,’’ said Oregon commission member Holly Akenson of Enterprise, who added the plan does not do enough for commercial fishermen. Read the story here 09:09

Fukushima radiation not cause for alarm in US

Radiation from the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster in Japan has reached North American shores, but — despite a number of reports shared on social media— scientists say the levels of radiation are so low that it poses no risk to public health. Late last year, researchers announced that Cesium-134 was discovered in waters off the coast of Oregon and in one sockeye salmon in a British Columbia lake.  The news reports have been used as the basis for viral stories about the radiation. One story from alternativemediasyndicate.com carried the headline: “Fukushima Radiation: Your Days of Eating Pacific Ocean Fish Are Over, Or Worse.” Another story from organicandhealthy.org labeled the discovery of the salmon as “bad news for everyone” and described the U.S. West Coast as “contaminated.” Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist at Massachusetts’ Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has traveled to Japan numerous times since 2011 to study the Fukushima disaster’s effect on seawater. continue reading the story here 18:19

Man vs. mammal, commercial herring fisherman films sea lion feeding frenzy

It’s the age old fight over who gets the fish, man or sea lion. For commercial fisherman Allan Marsden, he’s fed up with the burgeoning sea lion population along the B.C. coast impeding his ability to do his job. Roe herring are fished for their eggs and the fishery takes place as the herring gather to spawn. The window is short — late February to early March — for fishermen to make their quota and Marsden says this year they were unable to make their targets. Marsden puts a lot of the onus on the sea lions. “The sea lions keep the herring down so we can’t get at them. They just make it virtually impossible to put the gear in the water sometimes,” Marsden explains. Video, read the story here 19:05

Op-Ed: Kitzhaber salmon policy failed to meet its goals – Ryan Rogers, owner of the Fisherman’s Market

Not all Oregonians are financially or physically able to take time away from work and family to catch their own Columbia River salmon. That’s where I come in: I sell Oregon’s signature fish to my customers, and they love it. My supply of salmon comes from the commercial fishing families who fish the Columbia. Some of them have been doing so for generations. However, their future — and Oregon consumers’ future supply of Columbia River salmon — is now at risk. Some politicians and special interest groups are attacking the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Commission for following fish science and Oregon law and, basically, doing its job. At its January meeting, the commission modified Gov. John Kitz­haber’s 2012 Columbia River plan. The sport-fishing interests are upset. Now, this isn’t a (fish) story about fish decline. And it’s not a story about fish conservation. Read the op-ed here 12:05

PFMC: Ocean salmon fishing options unveiled

Ocean salmon fishing season this summer off the Washington and northern Oregon coasts likely will be similar or slightly better than in 2016. The Pacific Fishery Management Council on Monday in Vancouver adopted three options for ocean seasons. Following a series of public meetings in Washington, Oregon and California, the council will select a final alternative April 6 through 11 in Sacramento, Calif. Here is a look at how the three options would apply for the Columbia River ports of Ilwaco, Chinook, Hammond, Astoria and Warrenton: Read the rest here 10:39

Op-ed: Oregon Fish & Wildlife Commission applauded for following the science

Serving on one of Oregon’s independent commissions is often a thankless job. We owe our thanks to Oregonians who do so. It’s not easy when the issues are complex and contentious. They don’t get any more complex or contentious than fish allocation on the Columbia River. That’s why I applaud the January decision of the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Commission and take exception to unfounded criticism from some politicians and special interests groups. Commissioners followed the science and Oregon law with respect to both the 2012 Kitzhaber Columbia River plan and their duties as members of an independent commission.,, This plan merely takes harvested fish away from commercial fishing families who fish for all consumers and gives harvest opportunities to sport fishermen who can get out on the Columbia to catch their own fish. read the op-ed here 08:59

Commercial sockeye fishery faces closure on North Coast

If the Department of Fisheries and Oceans were using a Magic 8 Ball to determine the future of sockeye salmon fishery in the Skeena the answer would be — Outlook Not So Good. Early forecasts for sockeye salmon are poor and there is a possibility there won’t be a commercial fishery for the year. “We’re facing a really challenging year,” said Colin Masson, DFO’s area director for the North Coast. The forecasts are based on the sockeye that went to sea in 2014 and 2015, as well as the number of sockeye jacks, the premature fish who return a year early. Both indicators suggest the outlook is not good. For DFO to plan commercial fisheries, the total return of sockeye has to be greater than 1.05 million. continue reading the story here 10:50

Steelheaders call for Buckmaster’s removal from fish commission

In the latest development in the feud between sports anglers and commercial fishermen over the use of gillnets in the lower Columbia River, a sports angling group is petitioning the governor to remove a state fish and wildlife commissioner who voted with three others to continue to allow the practice in late January. The Association of Northwest Steelheaders submitted a petition last week signed by nearly 6,000 people calling on Gov. Kate Brown to remove Commissioner Bruce Buckmaster. Buckmaster, a Brown appointee, has served on the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission since 2015. Detractors argued at the time he was a lobbyist for the commercial gillnetting industry, a claim which Buckmaster denied. continue reading the article here 21:08

Destination crew remembered at 89th “Blessing of the Fleet” ceremony

It’s been one month and one day since the Destination mysteriously disappeared in Alaskan waters. The Seattle-based crabbing boat went missing in the Bering Sea and all six crew members with it. On Sunday, the fishing community marked its 89th “Blessing of the Fleet” at Seattle’s Fisherman’s Terminal. Lutheran ministers raised a flag above a boat named St. Anthony and wished safe passage for all who risk their lives at sea. However, it was Destination that was on the minds of many people who attended. “I come to the blessing every year,” Laurel Schultz of Gig Harbor said. Schultz’s cousin worked on a crab boat and was lost at sea in 1989. “I’m drawn to this every year because it’s a powerful experience. It brings together a group of people who care about fishermen and women,” Schultz said. Video, photo’s, read the story here 10:00

In search of silver: B.C. roe-herring fishery carries risks and rewards

Off Nanoose Bay — The Denman Isle is in stealth mode, dark except for a spotlight off the bow.  Skipper Barry Curic sits in the dim wheelhouse of the 21-metre steel seine vessel, watching intently as a band of red shows up on his sonar screen. The sonar is scanning the waters 300 metres ahead at a 12-degree tilt in search of silver — dense schools of herring loaded with roe exclusively for the Japanese markets. Herring stay deep during the day to avoid predators and come closer to the surface at night to feed on krill. Curic doesn’t want to scare them back into the inky depths. “Stand by,” he tells the other five crewmen. As the boat approaches its prey, the red colour also appears on his depth sounder, meaning the herring are now directly below us. It’s time to strike. Curic rises from his chair and announces: “OK, guys. Let’s try it.” continue reading the story here 08:38

Coast Guard medevacs fisherman near Cold Bay, Alaska

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew medevaced a man from the 252-foot fishing vessel Kodiak Enterprise approximately 40 miles north of Cold Bay, Alaska, Friday afternoon. The rescue helicopter crew transported the 55-year-old fisherman to Cold Bay and were met by LifeMed Alaska personnel who transferred the patient to Anchorage for further medical care. Watchstanders at Coast Guard 17th District in Juneau received notification from Health Force Partners requesting a medevac for a crewmember who was reportedly suffering from an abdominal medical condition.  The duty flight surgeon recommended the medevac and the helicopter crew was dispatched from Dutch Harbor. Weather on scene during the time of the medevac was reported as 15-mph winds with 3-foot seas and 10 miles of visibility. Link 13:14

Sea lions hinder salmon conservation

California and Steller sea lions took a bigger bite out of last year’s salmon run than in any previous year, according to a new federal report. 2015 saw a bigger run, with more than 239,000 chinook and steelhead migrating past Bonneville Dam. That year, the total number of salmon that sea lions ate was he largest ever recorded. The Army Corps of Engineers recorded more than 260 sea lions eating more than 10,000 fish from January to June 2015. The 2016 salmon run was far smaller, but the sea lions’ appetite for salmon didn’t shrink much. They still ate more than 9,500 fish, nearly 6 percent of the run. That’s the largest share of the run eaten by the large marine mammals since Army Corps scientists started watching 15 years ago. Read the rest here 12:43

Oregon seeks compromise on Columbia salmon fishing reforms

The chairman of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has offered to compromise with the Washington commission over their differences regarding the Columbia River salmon reforms. Earlier this year, the two state commissions approved reforms starting this year in how salmon are allocated between sport and commercial fishermen and allowable commercial fishing methods. Oregon opted for a plan more friendly to commercial fishing than did the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown then scolded the Oregon commission for reneging on a 2013 agreement to limit gillnetting to off-channel areas and told it to change the policy by April 3. Michael Finley, chair of the Oregon commission, sent a letter to Brad Smith, chair of the Washington commission, on Tuesday detailing his compromise proposals. By species, here is a look at Finley’s proposals: continue reading the story here 09:26

Celebrate the pragmatic elegance of gasoline marine engines

Gasoline marine engines revolutionized working life on the Columbia River estuary the way cotton gins did in the South, but they don’t get much respect. In the course of a half a tide, the river can go from mirror-like lake to something resembling a Michael Bay disaster movie. It’s a deceptive monster, one which generations of native and white fishermen were obliged to ride in little wooden boats. Until around 1900, the river’s sailing gillnet boats were at the whim of the wind, relying on canvas and oars to navigate the wild waters of the estuary and ocean plume in pursuit of salmon. Brave and courageous as they were, there wasn’t much they could do when a typhoon blew itself out on this fatal shore, driving boats onto the rocks like jellyfish drifted up on the beach. View five photo’s, and read the story here 15:24

 

Seine roe-herring fishery opens with sinking of vessel, one crew member missing

STRAIT OF GEORGIA — The commercial seine roe-herring fishery opened Monday to disaster with the sinking of the vessel, Miss Cory, and a search underway for a missing crew member. Dan Bate, spokesman for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, said Marine Communications and Traffic Services in Victoria at 4 p.m. overheard a report that a fishing vessel had capsized off Cape Lazo near Comox on Vancouver Island. Four persons were recovered by another fishing vessel. The fifth crew member missing had been in the engine room during the capsizing and sinking in deep water, he said. The Canadian Coast Guard in Powell River and French Creek, near Parksville, are being enlisted in the search, along with a Canadian Forces Cormorant and search-and-rescue volunteers in Comox.  continue reading the story here 23:58

“Blessing of the Fleet” – County Council joins in wishing “safe fishing” to crews preparing to head to Alaska

Washington is known for having some of the best seafood in the world, much brought to our shores from crews preparing to go to Alaska for the summer fishing season. The Metropolitan King County Council today recognized those brave men and women who will spend their summer in the North Pacific by recognizing the “Blessing of the Fleet” which will occur this weekend, the start of the halibut fishing season. “Commercial fishing has been a foundation of our economy for over a century. Fishers risk their lives, and their families risk the loss of their loved ones every year. The fishing industry is an integral part of our King County community,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, the sponsor of the recognition. “We also acknowledge the many years of participation by the Ballard First Lutheran Church in the annual Blessing of the Fleet. We wish the fleet an abundant and abundantly healthy start of the season!” continue reading the story here 21:40

The Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Vancouver, Washington. March 7-13, 2017

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and its advisory bodies will meet March 7-13, 2017 in Vancouver, Washington. Advisory bodies will start Tuesday, March 7. The Council session will start on Wednesday, March 8 to address issues related to salmon, groundfish, highly migratory species, ecosystem, Pacific halibut, and habitat matters. For agenda item topics, please see the March 2017 meeting agenda. The March 2017 Council meeting will be live‐streamed. Click http://www.gotomeeting.com/online/webinar/join-webinar Enter the Webinar ID – The March 8-13, 2017 Webinar ID is: 897-986-459 Please enter your email address (required) Click here for details 20:43

Tarheel Aluminum in Charleston launches first fishing boat since the ’90s

Tarheel Aluminum launched a fishing boat from the Charleston shipyard Friday, the first launch since the 1990s. The 40×15-foot aluminum vessel called the Alice Faye weighed in at 30,000 pounds on the shipyard’s new lift. It’s the first fishing vessel the family-run Tarheel Aluminum has made since the ’90s. Company owner Kyle Cox says their market buyers usually call for barges, so they’re excited to be making fishing vessels again. continue reading the story here with three more photo’s 16:43

Low Numbers of Sacramento and Klamath River Salmon Point to Poor Season

Recreational and commercial fishermen attending the annual salmon fishery information meeting in Santa Rosa on March 1 received grim news from state and federal biologists – they will see reduced salmon fishing opportunities in both the ocean and the Sacramento and Klamath River systems, due to low returns of spawning fish to the rivers last fall. The pre-season numbers unveiled by Dr. Michael O’Farrell of the National Marine Fisheries Service estimate only 230,700 Sacramento River fall run Chinook adults and 54,200 Klamath River fall run adults will be in the ocean this year. Biologists noted that both forecasts are lower than those of recent years, with the forecast for Klamath fall run being among the lowest on record. Salmon originating from these river systems typically comprise the majority of salmon caught in the state’s ocean and inland fisheries. Ocean regulatory management for salmon fisheries on the ocean from Cape Falcon in Oregon to the Mexico-US Border is heavily based on these runs. continue reading the article by Dan Bacher here 11:22

F/V Predator aground for more than two weeks

The grounded fishing vessel Predator remained on the beach in Akutan earlier this week. Salvage crews were attempting to re-float the boat. A large quantity of Pacific cod remains on board, while all the fuel has been removed. Resolve Magone Marine Service logistics coordinator David Maruszak, in Unalaska, said his company has been on the scene with about six salvage vessels for two weeks, but didn’t immediately try to pull the trawler free. An attempt on Monday to pull the boat free failed The re-float project had been underway for about a week, he said, they’re hoping for better luck in the next attempt. Earlier, he said Resolve removed about 5,000 gallons of fuel from the 93-foot-long vessel, homeported in Newport, Ore.  Maruszak said the boat will require repairs before it resumes fishing, as several cracks have been noted in the hull, and that the next step once the boat is off the beach is for divers to conduct an underwater survey. Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Ethan Nichols in Unalaska said trawler was loaded with 300,000 pounds of Pacific cod, now unfit for human consumption. Read the article here 14:08 A side note! Tonight, I saw a photo of the vessel afloat. They got her off the beach. We will be looking for updates. 20:52

Commercial longline seasons to open March 11th, on time

Commercial longliners in Alaska can go fishing on March 11 after all. The National Marine Fisheries Service announced Friday. March 3 that March 11th will be the start date for halibut and black cod fishing. March 11th is the halibut fishing start date approved by the International Pacific Halibut Commission back in January. The National Marine Fisheries Service typically opens long-line fishing for black cod on the same day. President Trump issued an executive order in January requiring that for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination. The start dates, catch share plan and other changes are all regulations that need to be published in the federal register. As of late last month, the National Marine Fisheries Service was still unsure of the impact of the presidential order on the fisheries. Fishermen in Alaska were questioning whether they’d be able to start fishing on that date. However, the federal agency confirmed Friday that the season would be starting on the 11th for both halibut and black cod. Read the rest here 08:52