Category Archives: Pacific

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

Ocean conditions appear improving for salmon

Warm water temperatures in the north Pacific Ocean are starting to cool after three years, but their effect on Northwest salmon will persist for another year or two. “Strange times, but things are looking up, that’s the message,’’ said Marisa Litz of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Litz made her comments on Tuesday at the agency’s annual unveiling of Columbia River, coastal and Puget Sound salmon forecasts. She recently completed her doctorate from Oregon State University in Fisheries Science, focusing on how variable ocean conditions affect growth and survival of young salmon in the Northwest. Tuesday’s meeting began a six-week process that concludes with the Pacific Fishery Management Council adopting ocean salmon fishing seasons in mid-April. continue reading the story here 11:31

Hispanic man wins $1.85M judgment over racial abuse while crewing on an Alaska fishing vessel in 2011

A Hispanic man who worked aboard an Alaska fishing vessel has won a $1.85 million settlement against his former employer, Seattle-based Alaska Longline, after being subjected to relentless racial harassment and dangerous working conditions, his attorneys said. Francisco Miranda, 37, and other Hispanic crew members were called “dirty Mexicans” and other racial epithets by the former captain and first mate of the Ocean Prowler in 2011, according to a stipulated judgment in the case. The captain also treated Hispanic crew members differently from those who were white and made comments like, “They should all swim back to Mexico,” the judgment says. A white crew member confirmed the allegations, testifying in a declaration that the captain was “racist towards the Mexican people on the boat …”, according to the judgment. continue reading the story here 09:17

It’s good business to keep Bristol Bay protections

Regulations are in the crosshairs in Washington, D.C. these days. Those elected officials and appointed agency leaders have been clear in their goal to get rid of regulations they say are blocking jobs and economic activity. I humbly suggest that in this flurry to slash red tape, one Environmental Protection Agency protection should stay in place: the one protecting the Bristol Bay fishery in Alaska from the controversial Pebble Mine. I guarantee you the EPA’s plan to restrict mine waste disposal in Bristol Bay waters protects jobs and economic activity: those of my family and the 14,000 others who rely on our nation’s most valuable salmon fishery. In fact, we Alaskans call the sockeye salmon that return to Bristol Bay in their annual spawning runs “red gold.” Bristol Bay is the largest wild salmon fishery remaining anywhere in the world. For thousands of years, those fish have represented not just survival, but wealth. continue reading the op-ed here by Kim Williams 09:08

National Marine Fisheries Service Policy Directive – Catch Share Policy

PURPOSE The purpose of this policy is to encourage well-designed catch share programs to help maintain or rebuild fisheries, and sustain fishermen, communities and vibrant working waterfronts, including the cultural and resource access traditions that have been part of this country since its founding.  DEFINITION “Catch share” is a general term for several fishery management strategies that allocate a specific portion of the total allowable fishery catch to individuals, cooperatives, communities, or other entities. Each recipient of a catch share is directly accountable to stop fishing when its exclusive allocation is reached. The term includes specific programs defined in law such as “limited access privilege” (LAP) and “individual fishing quota” (IFQ) programs, and other exclusive allocative measures such as Territorial Use Rights Fisheries (TURFs) that grant an exclusive privilege to Continue reading this here 15:50

Sierra Club’s claims about Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary are deceptive

The local Sierra Club and other environmental groups are either ignorant or deceptive when they say the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary will not have an effect on the local fishing industry. They are asking us to simply “trust them” as they “promise” us that the new sanctuary won’t lead to more regulations on our overburdened fishermen and women. So, if they want us to “trust them,” let’s look at the way similar sanctuary designations have affected fishing industries along the coast. continue reading the op-ed here 08:01

A Dungeness Dinner – Three recipes that dare to be different!

Oregon’s most valuable seafood is centerpiece of a recent dining experience that’s so easy, anyone can prepare a Dungeness dinner. Last month, we showed you how the Dungeness crab harvest was red hot and rolling as Oregon’s most valuable seafood. Fishermen visited a school to share the good news about seafood that’s worth more than $150 million to the Oregon economy. The program is called “Boat to School” and allows youngsters to learn from Oregon fishermen where seafood comes from – it was an entertaining and informative session, but as it turned out, it was only part of the story. The Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission wants consumers to try recipes that are simple, quick and delicious. Fisherman Steve Fick loves to share that good news with three recipes that dare to be different. Watch the video, view the photo gallery, and copy these three recipes! 12:36

US Coast Guard convenes Marine Board of Investigation into loss of F/V Destination

WASHINGTON- The U.S. Coast Guard has convened a Marine Board of Investigation into the loss of F/V Destination and its six crewmembers. A Marine Board of Investigation is the highest level of investigation in the Coast Guard. Upon completion of the investigation, the Board will issue a report to the commandant with the evidence collected, the facts established and its conclusions and recommendations. During the course of the MBI, panel members must decide: The factors that contributed to the accident,  Whether there is evidence that any act of misconduct, inattention to duty, negligence or willful violation of the law on the part of any licensed or certificated person contributed to the casualty.  Whether there is evidence that any Coast Guard personnel or any representative or employee of any other government agency or any other person caused or contributed to the casualty National Transportation Safety Board is participating alongside the Coast Guard in its investigation, but will produce an independent report with its own findings. Link  15:45

AK seafood earnings, poundage outpaced by Washington state

Alaska’s seafood industry puts more people to work than any other private industry, topping 60,000 workers in 2015. Of that, less than half – 27,600 – were Alaska residents. And while 71 percent of active fishing permit holders call Alaska home, most of the gross earnings go to the state of Washington. Based on numbers from the United Fishermen of Alaska’s annual Fish Facts, resident fishing permit holders made gross dockside earnings of just over $602 million two years ago. That compares to more than $904 million by nearly 6,580 Washington-based permit holders and crew. Fishermen  from Oregon took home more than $126 million from Alaska’s fisheries and Californians pocketed nearly $28 million. That adds up to more than $1 Billion flowing out of state by non-resident fishermen. Listen to the audio report, read the rest here 17:29

Revisited: Americas Finest – Floating Steel Follow the construction of a Bering Sea Fishing Trawler from start to finsh

The Big Move! This image encapsulates this monumental event for me as Americas Finest moves laterally (West) to get into a northern launch position as she points towards Alaska, her destiny. How to move 2900 tons of steel on land, stay tuned! Here she is, Americas Finest, view Weeks 82 and next week (83). See her get prepared to be moved laterally (sidetracking) to a new position that will be her final orientation before her launch. To view an incredible assortment of photo’s and review the progress, click here floatingsteel.com 10:53

Women in Oregon fishing industry have important, but sometimes invisible role

Women have always played an important role in Oregon’s commercial fishing industry, even if they don’t actually fish or work on boats – but a new study indicates their roles are changing. The research, funded by Oregon Sea Grant and published in the journal Marine Policy, was based on a series of oral-history interviews conducted mainly with fishermen and their wives. The findings could help government agencies set policies that take into account their potential impacts on the well-being of entire fishing communities, said Flaxen Conway, a community outreach specialist with Oregon Sea Grant Extension and a co-author of the paper. Continue reading the article here 08:35

Study says seals eat more Chinook than Southern resident killer whales

Seals are eating more Chinook than Southern resident killer whales. That’s bad for both endangered species’ recoveries. “The seals might not be the enemy as much as the problem is that we’ve lost forage fish available to them,” said Joe Gaydos, science director of the SeaDoc Society on Orcas Island. According to a recent Canadian study, the amount of Chinook salmon eaten by seals in the Salish Sea has increased from 68 metric tons in 1970 to 625 metric tons in 2015. That’s double the amount Southern resident killer whales ate in 2015 in the same location, and six times more than commercial and recreational fisheries according to the study. Continue reading the story here 12:20

Thanks to the supervisors who protected SLO County fishermen

Many thanks to the San Luis Obispo County supervisors that support the fishermen, ranchers, farmers and our ports and harbor districts in the county regarding the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary issue. The supervisors that did not support us claimed that this was about oil. This issue has nothing to do with oil. It has to do with the livelihoods of those of us that make our living on land and sea. We are here to protect our livelihoods from federal intrusion and nothing more. One of the supervisors claimed they would not manage fisheries. Well, I can assure the public that neither he nor anyone in our county will be making that decision. It will be made in Washington, D.C., just like all of the hundreds of other rules that will be made regarding all national sanctuary management. Federal rules are not made by cities, counties or states. They are made only by the federal government. Link 09:53

Commercial salmon disaster funding awaiting congressional approval

When Washington’s congressional delegation pressured U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker into signing a disaster declaration for the state’s commercial salmon fishery, local fishermen were hopeful those funds would be making their way into local wallets by the middle of February. However, bitter battles concerning President Trump’s cabinet nominees have dominated Congress for more than a month, and the funding will not be distributed until Congress approves the funding and designates an entity that will be in charge of doling out the relief money. “My best guess is that until the turmoil in Congress settles down concerning President Trump’s cabinet nominations and Congress returns to a normal schedule, that’s where it will sit,” said Greg Mueller, president and executive director of the Washington Trollers Association. Continue reading the story here 08:11

Financial Support for Amanda Hawkins, in Memory of Kai Hamik, F/V Destination

Amanda lost her sole mate Kai Hamik suddenly on Saturday February 11th. Kai who travels as a commercial fisherman in Alaska was King Crab fishing with his crew on the boat Destination when the U.S. Coast Guard received a signal from their emergency beacon.  Rescuers searched in the water and from the sky for nearly 70 hours. Before suspending the search Monday, the Coast Guard found a debris field, including an oil sheen, tarps, buoys, even a life ring from the vessel. They did not find the ship nor any survivors. Our hearts go out to Kai’s friends and family and the friends and family’s of the entire crew of the Destination. They were to start their family upon Kai’s return. Please click here for the gofundme page, and please, donate any amount that you can. 11:17

Are big ups and downs normal for forage fish?

Forage fish stocks have undergone fluctuation swings for hundreds of years, research shows, with at least three species off the US West Coast repeatedly experiencing steep population increases followed by declines long before commercial fishing began. The rise and fall of Pacific sardine, northern anchovy, and Pacific hake off California have been so common that the species were in collapsed condition 29 to 40 percent of the time over the 500-year period from CE 1000 to 1500, according to a new study in Geophysical Research Letters. Using a long time series of fish scales deposited in low-oxygen, offshore sedimentary environments off Southern California, researchers described such collapses as “an intrinsic property of some forage fish populations that should be expected, just as droughts are expected in an arid climate.” Continue reading the article here 07:55

Please Donate to the Larry O’Grady Family Fund

Please help our Auntie Gail during this devastating tragedy.  On February 11, 2017,  Gail received a phone call that would forever change her life. Her beloved husband and best friend “Larry O” is missing at sea. On Saturday morning the fishing vessel ‘Destination’ sent an emergency distress signal to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard announced they would search for the missing vessel and crew members for 3  days.   With heavy hearts, the Coast Guard has suspended the search for the crew of the fishing vessel Destination. This fund will go to our Auntie Gail to ease the financial burden that this tragedy has left her with. Thoughts and prayers  to the owner, his crew members and  their families. Visit the Larry O’Grady Family Fund page, (click here) and please donate any amount you can.

Please donate to the Charles Glenn Jones Family Relief Fund

Saturday, February 11th the wife of Charles Glenn Jones received a phone call that no family member ever wants to receive.  The vessel, FV Destination, that Charles was working upon, and had been for many years, was considered missing.  As minutes rolled into hours, and hours felt like an eternity all signs are pointing to no possible chance of survival.  Coastguard Crews and volunteers have been searching for nearly 24 hours, the ship has been officially declared sunk, and no crew members are expected to have survived. As in all walks of life, Rosalie and her family believed they had time.  Time to plan, time to love, and time together.  Rosalie and Charles had decided when he returned from this trip that they would finally get a life insurance policy on him, just in case, unfortunately reality had other plans and the Jones family is left enduring much pain and anguish. Continue reading (Click here) at the Charles Glenn Jones Family Relief Fund page, and please donate any amount you can. 18:22

Governor Brown’s interference pits her against commercial fisherman

In an astoundingly ignorant and heavy-handed display of putting urban political correctness ahead of rural jobs, Gov. Kate Brown last week dictated that the citizen members of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission reverse their January decision that gave commercial fishermen a minimally fair share of the Columbia River’s salmon allocation. Addressing commissioners as if they are misbehaving children, Brown told Chairman Michael Finley the commission majority’s acknowledgment of reality is “not acceptable” and that “I expect” the commission to acquiesce to her interpretation of the facts by April 3. Fish and Wildlife Commission members are in an infinitely better position to judge the ineffectiveness of salmon policies than is the governor. Read the Op-ed here 17:03

The Eli Seibold Destination Fund

Eli is the son of Darrik Seibold who is a crew member on board the Destination vessel that went missing in the Bering Sea Saturday. His family is devastated, the past few days have been unbearable for them and a heart breaking time for our community. So many people have asked how they can help during this very helpless time, so we have started a fund for Darrik’s son Eli. The fund will help ensure a brighter future for Eli, who will turn three this weekend without his father. By supporting Darrik’s son, we can help provide for his future now that his father is unable to do so. I would like to say thanks to all who have asked how to help Bill and Jan over the past few days, your messages have been forwarded to them.  Click here for the Eli Seibold Destination Fund, and please give what you can. 12:12

‘These boys loved what they did’: Former crabber on missing Destination talks about lost boat, lost brother

Dylan Hatfield worked for six years aboard the Destination before leaving in 2014. He was tight with all of the crew, which included his older brother, Darrik Seibold, whom he had helped to get a job on the vessel. So last Thursday evening, Hatfield relished the chance for a brief reunion as he crossed paths with the Destination crew in the Aleutian Island port of Dutch Harbor. Hatfield had just ended his crab season aboard another Bering Sea vessel — the Kari Marie — while the crew of the Seattle-based Destination was about to depart to begin their later-winter harvest. He went down to the dock where the Destination was moored to greet the crew. Then, they all went out for pizza and beer, a night filled with hugs, laughs and tales of years past hauling in snow and king crab. Continue reading the story here 20:31

Deadliest Catch Captain Keith Colburn pays tribute to six fisherman lost in the Bering Sea

A Deadliest Catch star is paying tribute to six veteran fishermen lost in the icy Bering Sea after the U.S. Coast Guard called off the search for the men. The fishing vessel Destination went missing early Saturday after an emergency signal from a radio beacon registered to the ship originated from 2 miles off St. George, an island about 650 miles west of Kodiak Island. Castmember Capt. Keith Colburn said he knows their chances of surviving are slim and paid tribute to Hathaway and O’Grady, who he was close friends with for over 25 years. Family members of those missing identified the crew members as: Jeff Hathaway, Larry O’Grady, Charles Glenn Jones, Raymond Vincler, Darrik Seibold, and Kai Hamik.  The news about the vessel going missing has stunned the tight-knit community that spawned the hit Discovery channel show ‘Deadliest Catch’. Colburn said he heard about the missing boat, which was not featured on the show, from colleague Sig Hansen, who is the captain on The Northwestern on reality television show which is about crab and fishing boat crews working on the Bering Sea. Photo’s, Read the story here 18:43

Prayers, messages for crew of missing Seattle fishing boat in Alaska

U.S. Coast Guard crews suspended the search Monday evening for a Seattle-based fishing vessel missing in Alaska’s Bering Sea since Saturday. On Tuesday, the owners of the Destination shared the following message: The owners of the DESTINATION understand that the Coast Guard has suspended its search for the DESTINATION and her crew.  We thank the Coast Guard, all of the Good Samaritan vessels, and people of St. George Island who worked so long and hard to try to find our crew.  These efforts were in the finest tradition of the sea. These men were professionals.  Our hearts are broken for their loved ones who are now left with the certainty of this tragic sinking.  We will work with the Coast Guard to attempt to understand what occurred with the hope that whatever can be learned will be used to help prevent such an event from happening again. Please keep these men and their families in your prayers. While Coast Guard officials have not released the names of the crew, family members have confirmed to KING 5 three members: 46-year-old Charles Glenn Jones, 29-year-old Kai Hamik and 55-year-old Larry O’Grady. Video, read the article here 13:18

Chandler, Arizona man missing at sea; Coast Guard calls off search for 6 fishermen on crab boat

A Valley man is believed to be one of six people on board a missing fishing boat in the Bering Sea off of Alaska.  Kai Hamik, of Chandler, is a commercial fisherman who neighbors say loves his job.  “I see him off and on, depending on the season,” said Gabriel D’Zordo, who lives right next door to Hamik. “Sometimes he tells me the season is bad so he comes back early. He loves it. He loves it. He always tells me he loves it.” The U.S. Coast Guard in Alaska said the crew sent out a beacon alert 2 miles northwest of St. George, Alaska, on Saturday morning. The boat, a 98-foot crab boat named “Destination,” had six people on it and is owned by a company based in Seattle. D’Zordo had no idea Hamik might be lost at sea. He said he will stay hopeful.  “My goodness, my prayers. Every time he goes out I always say a pray because I know what he does,” D’Zordo said. Read the story here 12:23

Update 3 and final: Coast Guard suspends search for fishing vessel near St. George, Alaska

The Coast Guard has suspended the search for the crew of the fishing vessel Destination northwest of St. George, Alaska, Monday afternoon. Watchstanders from Coast Guard 17th District received an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon alert from F/V Destination early Saturday morning and deployed the Kodiak aircrews to commence the search. The aircrews located a debris field in the general area of the EPIRB alert. Debris included the transmitting EPIRB, a life ring from the vessel, buoys, tarps and an oil sheen. The search continued through Saturday, Sunday and Monday. “We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the six crewmembers during this extremely difficult time,” said Rear Adm. Michael McAllister, Coast Guard 17th District commander. “The decision to suspend a search is always difficult and is made with great care and consideration.” The watchstanders at the 17th District Command Center in Juneau coordinated 21 searches, totaling more than 69 aircraft and surface hours and covering approximately 5,730 square nautical miles. Read the rest here 08:02

Extensive searches turn up no new sign of missing Bering Sea crab boat or crew

The search is still on for a crabbing vessel and its six crew members missing for nearly three days in the brutal waters of the Bering Sea, the U.S. Coast Guard said Monday afternoon. The fishing vessel Destination, a Seattle-owned, Sand Point-based ship with a reputation as a “battle ax” and a crew of veteran Bering Sea fishermen, was on its way to start the snow crab season when its emergency locator beacon activated at 6:11 a.m. Saturday. As of Monday, the boat has not been declared sunk and the men aboard are still considered missing. Search crews had combed an area of 5,073 square nautical miles, following currents southwest of the spot where the only sign of the boat was found, 2 miles off the northwest tip of St. George Island, according to Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Steenson. Some of the crew members have already been publicly identified by family members. Read the story here 23:30

Search continues for Bering Sea fishing vessel missing with 6 aboard

Despite two days of searching, there was still no sign Sunday night of the Bering Sea crab boat or its six crew members that went missing just off St. George Island Saturday. The Destination, a 95-foot fishing vessel based in Seattle but operated mostly out of Sand Point, was on its way from Dutch Harbor to St. Paul Island for the start of the opilio crab fishery when the ship’s emergency beacon activated at 6:11 a.m. Saturday, said Michael Barcott, an Anchorage maritime attorney who is acting as a spokesperson for the ship’s ownership group. On Saturday, a Coast Guard search and rescue crew found the emergency beacon, a life ring, buoys and tarps in a small oil sheen on the water about 2 miles northwest of St. George Island. “The crew had sailed right by St. George within a half-hour of when the beacon activated,” Barcott said. Dylan Hatfield, a fisherman from Petersburg who has been working out of Dutch Harbor this winter, said his brother was aboard the Destination when it went missing. Hatfield did not want to identify his brother or any of the other crew members on the Destination by name on Sunday. The ship itself was a meticulously maintained “battle ax,” said Hatfield, who worked for six years aboard the Destination himself. Continue reading the story here 11:29

Nearly 200,000 people ordered to evacuate amid threat of California dam collapse

Authorities ordered the evacuation of nearly 200,000 residents in several northern California towns Sunday evening, as a rapidly eroding section of a dam appeared on the verge of collapse. “Immediate evacuation from the low levels of Oroville and areas downstream is ordered,” the Butte County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook. “Operation of the auxiliary spillway,” the sheriff’s office said, had led “to severe erosion that could lead to a failure of the structure. Failure of the auxiliary spillway structure will result in an uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville.” The evacuation warning was “NOT a drill,” the sheriff’s office added. Read the story here 08:57

Gov. Kate Brown puts political correctness above jobs

In an astoundingly ignorant and heavy-handed display of putting urban political correctness ahead of rural jobs, Gov. Kate Brown last week dictated that the citizen members of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission reverse their January decision that gave commercial fishermen a minimally fair share of the Columbia River’s salmon allocation. Addressing commissioners as if they are misbehaving children, Brown told Chairman Michael Finley the commission majority’s acknowledgment of reality is “not acceptable” and that “I expect” the commission to acquiesce to her interpretation of the facts by April 3. The commission agreed at a meeting on Friday in Tigard to take up the issue in March. Many of the most important facts are not in dispute: Former Gov. John Kitzhaber’s dictated abandonment of decades of carefully nuanced salmon policy has not worked. Kicking commercial fishermen off the Columbia’s main stem as of Dec. 31, 2016, as Kitzhaber’s plan called for, is manifestly unjust and will hurt the economy of Clatsop County and other fishing-dependent communities. Continue reading the Op-ed here 07:41