Category Archives: Pacific

Coast Guard comes to aid of boat on fire off coast of Trinidad

A Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and four-member crew were dispatched to an area about 12 miles off the Trinidad coast this morning after reports of a boat on fire were received. The fishing vessel Midori called the Coast Guard just before 9 a.m. and reported that they had a fire on board. The five people on board Midori soon abandoned the burning vessel and got into a life raft. They received assistance from a second fishing boat, the Pacific Bully,,, >Video click here<>click to read<21:15

Charges filed in high-grading case against Ilwaco charter skippers

Several local charter skippers and crewmen could soon be reeling in hefty fines and jail sentences. Following a nine-month Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife investigation, the state in early April filed a total of 37 criminal charges against six men affiliated with Pacific Salmon Charters: David Gudgell, 57, of Seaview; Robert Gudgell, 56, of Longview; Thomas Merriman, 61, of Sammamish; Brian Cables, 59, of Ilwaco; Patrick Gore, 28, of Deer Island, Ore.; and Richard Mercado, 52, of Tacoma. Investigators say the men systematically urged,,, >click to read<14:55

NOAA ship crashes in Seattle’s Lake Washington Ship Canal

A research vessel with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) crashed Monday while passing through Seattle’s Montlake Cut of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, according to witnesses and a spokesman for the agency. The incident — which resulted in damage to one of the ship’s propellers, hull dents and paint scrapes — remains under investigation, NOAA spokesman David Hall said in an email. The boat, which the agency calls The Rainier, “made contact with the seabed and a concrete wall,” Hall said. No injuries were reported. >click to read<10:50

Investment pool could help sustain fishing on Washington coast

One of the knottiest problems confronting the Lower Columbia commercial fishing fleet is how to enable the next generation to begin the costly climb into owning their own permits. A new private $2 million investment pool aims to facilitate a “permit bank” — a kind of matchmaking service between willing sellers and qualified buyers who agree to keep their boats anchored in the economy of Ilwaco, Chinook and Nahcotta. >click to read<08:54

Conservationists, West Coast bottom fishermen embrace ‘grand bargain’

People who love fresh Northwest seafood and the sea should take note of what happened this week in a hotel conference room by Portland’s airport. There, the Pacific Fishery Management Council approved a plan to protect more coral, sponges, reefs and other sensitive animals and formations from the nets of bottom trawlers who work off the West Coast. The measure also offers something for fishermen: a reopening of some prime fishing areas that had been off-limits. >click to read<18:22

Illegal shellfish trafficking ring caught on video

Pierce County prosecutors have charged several men in a seafood trafficking case, including the former Natural Resources Director for the Tulalip Tribes. According to case documents, Joseph Hatch Sr. and his son, Joseph Hatch Jr., poached at least a thousand pounds of Dungeness crab and shrimp, selling the shellfish over several months in 2015. Hatch is a Tulalip tribal member and was serving in his role as head of natural resources while officers monitored his movement over five months. Video, >click to read<10:51

PFMC Sets West Coast Salmon Season Dates

This week the Pacific Fishery Management Council adopted ocean salmon season recommendations that provide recreational and commercial opportunities for most of the Pacific coast, and achieve conservation goals for the numerous individual salmon stocks on the West Coast. The recommendation will be forwarded to the National Marine Fisheries Service for approval by May 1, 2018. “It has been another challenging year for the Council, its advisors, fishery stakeholders and the public as we strive to balance fishing opportunities with the conservation needs we are facing on Chinook and coho salmon stocks, both north and south of Cape Falcon,” said Council Executive Director Chuck Tracy. >click to read<17:52

New rule: “no discharge zone” bans vessels from releasing sewage into Puget Sound

Recreational and commercial vessels will not be able to release treated or untreated sewage into Puget Sound waters under new rules approved by the state aimed at improving water quality. The Department of Ecology on Monday officially designated a new “no discharge zone” in Puget Sound to protect shellfish beds, public beaches and sensitive marine environments from harmful bacteria. There are dozens of such zones across the country, but this is the first in the Pacific Northwest. The state estimates about 215 commercial vessels and 2,000 recreational boats >click to read<16:30

Pacific salmon ‘more abundant than ever’, new study claims

Pacific salmon are generally “more abundant than ever.” That is the provocative conclusion of a new paper published in Marine and Coastal Fisheries by Greg Ruggerone of Seattle’s Natural Resources Consultants and James Irvine of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The study used historical commercial catch and escapement data for the entire Pacific region for both wild and commercial hatchery salmon over a 90-year period, up to 2015. There is one caveat, however: Ruggerone and Irvine analyzed only data for pink, chum and sockeye salmon. >click to read<09:13

The Boat at the Bottom of the Sea

Captain William Prout was up early. Or was it late? During crabbing season it was sometimes hard to tell the difference. The day before, Friday, February 10, 2017, Prout and his crew had offloaded a batch of snow crab on the remote Bering Sea island of St. Paul. Then they’d turned the Silver Spray around and motored back out to the fishing grounds to collect their remaining crab pots. At 5am on Saturday, Prout pulled his anchor and pointed his bow southeast. Hours of darkness still remained—dawn came late on the Bering Sea in February. Captain Prout stayed in the wheelhouse, drinking coffee with his son and looking out at the icy night, as the Silver Spray churned along. >click to read<20:06

State of Washington v. United States: Supreme Court to tackle salmon case without Justice Kennedy

When the full Supreme Court resumes arguments in mid-April, the Court will be short by one Justice when it considers a long-running dispute about salmon fishing, Indian treaty rights, and culverts in the state of Washington. On March 19, the Clerk of the Supreme Court clerk Scott Harris told the parties in State of Washington v. United States that a routine check missed Justice Anthony Kennedy’s participation in an earlier judicial decision from 1985, when Kennedy was on the federal circuit bench, related to the current case. After learning about the situation, the court said Justice Kennedy declined to end his participation in the current case. With eight Justices on the bench for the April 18 arguments, Washington v. United States should get its fair share of attention. >click to read<

New fishery rules could protect deep sea corals in California

The Pacific Fishery Management Council will decide Monday what happens to the underwater areas as part of an update to essential fish habitat for West Coast groundfish. “The Pacific Fishery Management Council will be making a decision on changing the areas that are opened or closed to West Coast groundfish bottom trawling,” said Kerry Griffin, a staff officer to the council, which regulates fisheries in federal waters from the Mexican border to the Canadian border, from three miles to 200 miles off shore. The proposal, scheduled for a vote Monday, >click to read<20:31

Puget Sound salmon do drugs, which may hurt their survival

Anti-depressants. Diabetes drugs. High-blood-pressure medication. Puget Sound chinook are doing our drugs, and it may be hurting them, new research shows. The metabolic disturbance evident in the fish from human drugs was severe enough that it may result not only in failure to thrive but early mortality and an inability to compete for food and habitat. The research built on earlier work, published in 2016, that showed juvenile Puget Sound chinook and Pacific staghorn sculpin are packing drugs including Prozac, Advil, Benadryl, and Lipitor among dozens of other drugs present in tainted wastewater discharge. >click to read<12:50

Ex-Fishing Boat Captain Guilty of Dumping Oily Waste Into Pacific

A former fishing boat captain is facing up to six years in prison for deliberately dumping oily slops into the Pacific Ocean. A jury in Seattle convicted Randall Fox on Thursday of violating the federal Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. He also faces a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced.,, A Native Sun crewmember videotaped Fox dumping waste and turned the tape over to prosecutors.,, The Justice Department says Fox’s father, who had also been a captain of the Native Sun, was also convicted of a pollution-related crime last year. >click to read<09:01

California Wetfish Producers Association: Sardine Fishery Collapse Latest Fake News

This Sunday, April 8, the Pacific Fishery Management Council is meeting in Portland to debate the fate of the West Coast sardine fishery, after the 2018 sardine stock assessment estimated the biomass has declined by 97 percent since 2006. According to the California Wetfish Producers Association, the only problem with that finding is it belies reality. “Fishermen are seeing more sardines, not less, especially in nearshore waters. And they’ve been seeing this population spike for several years now,” said Diane Pleschner-Steele, executive director of the California Wetfish Producers Association (CWPA). “This stock assessment was an update that was not allowed to include any new methods and was based primarily on a single acoustic survey,,, >click to read<21:15

‘We’re losing’ sea lion fight – State, tribal, federal agencies back Herrera Beutler bill

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries division estimates about 45 percent of spring chinook salmon are lost between the mouth of the Columbia and Bonneville Dam, with sea lions being primarily responsible.,, For that reason, the Inter-Tribal Fish Commission is supporting legislation by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, and Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., titled the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act. The bill would amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to make it easier for state and tribal wildlife managers to kill sea lions that predate salmon and steelhead and other fish in the Columbia River and its tributaries. >click to read<07:28

Coast Guard assists 3 fishermen following boat fire near Table Bluff

The Coast Guard aided three fishermen in distress after their 45-foot fishing vessel caught fire and was flooding near Table Bluff, Wednesday morning. A crew member of the commercial fishing vessel Advance called watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay via cell phone around 8:30 a.m., reporting an engine fire and flooding with three people on board.  The caller said the crew was fighting the fire by dumping buckets of water into the engine compartment. >click to read<23:13

Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Portland, Oregon April 5-11

The Pacific Fishery Management Council and its advisory bodies will meet April 5-11, 2018 in Portland, Oregon. Meeting Notice With Detailed Agenda >click here<  >click here<to listen to the Live Stream starting Friday, April 6, 2018 beginning at approximately 9:00 AM Pacific Time Enter the Webinar ID code : 530-089-227) PFMC link21:05

North Pacific Fishery Management Council Meeting in Anchorage April 2-10

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet the week of April 2-10, 2018 at the Hilton Hotel, 500 W. 3rd Avenue, Anchorage, AK. The Agenda and Schedule are available as well as a list of review documents and their associated posting dates. Listen online >click here< while the meeting is in session. NPFMC link

New study reveals cost of 2017 salmon fisheries closure

Last year’s closure of the commercial ocean salmon troll fishery off the West Coast is estimated to have cost $5.8 million to $8.9 million in lost income for fishermen, with the loss of 200 to 330 jobs, according to a new model that determines the cost of fisheries closures based on the choices fishermen make. Scientists hope the model, described for the first time this week in Marine Policy, will help policy makers anticipate the economic toll of fisheries closures. >click to read<15:40

China’s fish

The national seafood media was Monday atwitter with speculation China might impose tariffs on American seafood, and Alaska Commissioner of Commerce Mike Navarre was trying to spin the state’s proposed liquified natural gas (LNG) project as some sort of shelter against a looming U.S.-China trade war. “For now, China appears to be leaving Alaska seafood alone,” added reporter Liz Raines. There was no “appears” about it.,, Why? Because China – sometimes with the help of North Korean serfs – has turned Alaska fish into a moneymaker for China. >click to read< 14:16

Appellate court orders more water over Columbia, Snake dams to aid fish

More water will flow over several federally operated Northwest dams beginning Tuesday, a day after conservationists and the state of Oregon won a court victory in the long-running battle over the plight of salmon and steelhead in the region. A panel of judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court order to protect juvenile fish migrating downstream on the Columbia and Snake rivers by increasing spill at eight dams. This fight has been going on since 2000, when the National Wildlife Federation challenged the National Marine,,, >click to read<13:04

Sustainable Shark Fisheries and Trade Act of 2018 – bill nets solutions for overfishing

A new bipartisan bill introduced in U.S. Congress this month encourages a science-based approach to significantly reduce the overfishing and unsustainable trade of sharks, rays and skates around the world and prevent shark finning. The Sustainable Shark Fisheries and Trade Act of 2018 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Daniel Webster, R-FL, and Rep. Ted Lieu, D-CA, along with co-sponsors Rep. Bill Posey, R-FL, Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-MO, and Rep. Walter Jones, R-NC., >click to read<09:39

Coast Guard rescues four commercial fishermen 12 miles off Rockaway Beach, Ore.

A Coast Guard aircrew rescued four commercial fishermen after their 54-foot fishing vessel capsized off the coast of Rockaway Beach, Sunday evening. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew from Sector Columbia River hoisted the four fishermen to safety and transported them to the helicopter landing pad at Station Tillamook Bay where they were transferred to local emergency medical technicians for further care and evaluation. Command Center watchstanders at Sector Columbia River received a mayday call over VHF-FM channel 16 at 4:17 p.m. from the captain of the commercial fishing vessel MT Tamgas,,, >Video, click to read<23:49

Third Medevac in Three Months for F/V Golden Alaska

On Thursday, a U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 helicopter from the cutter Stratton medevaced a 59-year-old crewmember from the factory trawler Golden Alaska about 35 nm northwest of Cold Bay, a small fishing port in the Aleutian Islands. The individual was reportedly suffering from inhalation of unknown chemicals. Weather on scene was favorable, with calm seas and light airs. The aircrew safely hoisted the man aboard from the Alaska’s bow and brought him to Cold Bay, where he was transferred onto a LifeMed aircraft ambulance and flown to Anchorage. >click to read<10:16

As the Pacific sardine population keeps dropping, the feds come under scrutiny

On April 8, the Pacific Fishery Management Council – a body of appointed officials that regulates fisheries off the West Coast – will be presented with the draft assessment of the sardine population from roughly southern California to Canada. The news it brings is neither good for fishermen nor the local marine ecosystem: The estimated number of sardines in July 2018 – which dictates policy for the 2018-19 fishing year – is 52,065 metric tons, an approximately 97-percent drop from 2006, the most recent peak. What is in dispute: the accuracy of the population assessment, and how we got here.>click to read<15:30

Fishing Vessel Sees Large Fuel Savings

The 305-foot factory trawler f/v Golden Alaska is powered by twin MAK six-cylinder engines and has a large boiler used to support large fishmeal-fish oil processor and hoteling galley needs of the 130-person crew and factory personnel. The vessel is in its fourth year and eighth pollock season using the Fitch Fuel Catalyst on output of dual centrifuges for a 5,300-gallon day tank. They get approximately 18 months service from each core and now are on their third one. >click to read< 21:58

Looking into why a winch fail-safe never took off

The emergency stop button on a machine could mean the difference between a lost finger and a lost arm. And when it comes to one machine on fishing vessels – winches – the risk is there. So, why aren’t more fishermen in Alaska buying into an emergency stop button that’s been around since 2007?  Vendors gather in a room for Kodiak’s annual commercial fisheries trade show, ComFish. Brad Tibbs is manning the booth for Kolstrand, a fisheries equipment business based out of Seattle. Kolstrand sells their winches with optional emergency stop buttons. But Tibbs says they haven’t taken off.>click to read<20:34

Seals and sulking salmon are causing a data problem for Fish & Game

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has a numbers problem. A statistical bias in the department’s data on the Taku River — conducted via a “mark-recapture” system for decades — means it has been overestimating how many Chinook and sockeye salmon make it up the river to spawn by about 30-40 percent. The statistical bias is now being corrected by new state-of-the-art studies, Fish and Game says, and much of the issue can be chalked up to seal predation. It also doesn’t mean either of the stocks are any worse off than they have been, ADFG says. But fishermen aren’t buying it. >click to read<13:52

Corps of Engineers wants to remove 500 cormorant eggs to support salmon conservation in Columbia River

The Corps is in the fourth year of a five-year plan to cut the cormorant population on East Sand Island at the river’s mouth from more than 14,000 breeding pairs to no more than 5,380 to 5,939 birds to reduce pressure on fish listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. Double-crested cormorants are not listed under the federal Endangered Species Act but have federal protections under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The colony on the island at one point was believed to account for more than 40 percent of the entire Western population of the double,, >click to read<18:45