Category Archives: Pacific

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

Wife identifies crew member aboard missing Seattle-based fishing boat

A crew member aboard a missing Seattle-based fishing boat has been identified. Coast Guard crews in Alaska are searching for the fishing vessel Destination, a 98-foot crab boat from the Port of Seattle last heard from near St. George, Alaska. Gail O’Grady says her husband, Larry O’Grady, has been fishing on the Destination for the past 20 years, and that he’s been fishing in Alaska for close to 30 years. She says Larry served as the boat’s engineer and fill-in captain. She and her husband live in Poulsbo. The last time she saw him was in December. Gail, as well as other fisherman and loved ones who knew Larry and the rest of the crew, say they were exceptionally experienced. Video, Read the story here, and pray for these men tonight  22:11

Search continues for Fishing Vessel Destination

On February 11, the 98 foot long fishing vessel Destination was reported missing and presumed lost in the Bering Sea northwest of St. George Island, Alaska. The Coast Guard received an automated EPIRB signal (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon) from the fishing vessel around 7:15 a.m. Saturday morning The Coast Guard dispatched helicopters and directed two nearby vessels to search for the Destination. Citizens on St. George Island began searching the shoreline for possible survivors or any signs of the fishing vessel. By 10 a.m. the beacon was found in a debris field that included a buoy and life ring that had the fishing vessel’s name on it. An oil sheen was visible in the water indicating the vessel may have foundered in the vicinity. The Coast Guard confirmed there were six crew on board when the vessel departed from Seattle. Continue reading here 11:52

More information – Seattle-based crab boat, crew of six, reported missing at sea  Click here to read 16:57

In Seaside, Oregon, youngsters are learning about crabs in ‘Boat to School’

Commercial Dungeness crab season is red-hot and rolling despite cold and wet conditions. Dean Ellsworth says his 44-foot fishing boat, the “Nola K,” is his winter home at this time of year. Ellsworth and his three-man crew spend long days and nights tossing out and pulling in nearly a thousand 80-pound crab pots during a fishing season that’s hitting its stride.,, This year, fishermen say Oregon seafood is so important to the state that it’s time to take the message to school. In Seaside, Oregon youngsters are learning valuable lessons about Oregon’s famous seafood. The program is called “Boat to School,” and it’s a pilot project that brings together educators, their students and fishermen who show and tell the fifth graders at Seaside’s Heights Elementary School where their food comes from. Photo gallery, read the story here 08:47

Fisherman rescued after falling into water at Fishermen’s Terminal

A man was taken to the hospital after he was pulled from the water at Seattle’s Fishermen’s Terminal Friday night. Seattle fire officials said the man was walking off a vessel on a makeshift plank and fell, when the plank broke. Israel Bynum, a crew member on the vessel named Rondys, said he had just crossed the plank 30 seconds before his boss did. “I was looking at him, and I heard the board break, and I went to try to support it and there was no support. He just went,” Bynum said. Bynum said his captain, Mark Sehlbach, has been on the TV show ‘Deadliest Catch.” Sehlbach was pulled out of the water and taken to Harborview Medical Center. Later in the evening, Bynum said Sehlbach was discharged from the hospital with a bruised rib. The crew had just returned Thursday from a trip to Alaska. Watch the video, read the story here 08:02

Remembering the World’s Most Famous Sea Captain

Phil Harris died on Feb. 9, 2010 — but his spirit lives on. Fans and friends from around the world mourned the loss of their favorite TV sea captain when he died seven years ago today, on Feb. 9, 2010. Without him, “Deadliest Catch” may not have caught on with millions of TV viewers around the globe. None of us can order Alaskan king crab without thinking of him and the men he worked with, and the near-death experiences they endure doing their jobs. No screenwriter could have come up with a character Captain Phil, and no Hollywood set can match the setting the film crews captured in the long-running hit TV series. Without Captain Phil, though, none of it would have been possible. “Deadliest Catch,” which debuted in 2005 on the Discovery Channel, helped change the direction of reality TV. Continue reading the story here 17:31

The perils of approving a marine sanctuary

The word sanctuary has a nice sound. A holy place or natural retreat for animals. Add marine. Marine sanctuary. A safe place for Dory. Add Native Americans. It’s a trifecta: Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary. Sounds so beautiful. Or is it? Our San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors has had two hearings on this subject in recent weeks. Other cities and agencies have also been hearing this proposal. But, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 against the establishment of a sanctuary off our coast. How can this be? Proponents for the sanctuary delivered 12,000 signatures on petitions to demonstrate local support. On the other side, the opponents appeared to have fewer than 400 supporters. On one hand, thousands of local citizen have faced off against the small business community as represented by commercial fishermen, ranchers, farmers and the Chamber of Commerce. An analogy may be that this is a case of popular vote versus the Electoral College as we saw in the recent presidential election. Another wrinkle is the name of the sanctuary. Although “Chumash” is used in the title, the only state and federally recognized Chumash Tribe, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has not endorsed the sanctuary bearing their name. Another state recognized tribe, The Salinan Tribe, has not endorsed the sanctuary either. What’s going on? Great read! Read the story here 08:56

North Pacific Fishery Management Council gets review of Bering Sea pollock program

After two years of almost ceaseless contention, the North Pacific regulatory waters have cooled down for now. The Council oversees all federal fisheries between three and 200 miles off the Alaska coast. One of eight regions, the North Pacific fishery is by far the country’s most profitable, having produced two-thirds of the country’s total seafood value in 2015. Over the last two years, the council has been in battle mode over chinook salmon and halibut bycatch, and Gulf of Alaska groundfish catch shares. There have been parades of protest and industry stand-downs and rural Alaska villages emptied to give impassioned pleas alongside Seattle fishing crews and captains. At the council’s Seattle meeting Feb. 1-6, the council rested for the most part, taking scant public comment and few final actions. Rather, it focused on some of the structures behind the chaos, reviewing catch share programs and looking for areas to tune up following two years of pushing the gas. After indefinitely tabling a Gulf of Alaska catch share system four years in the works at its meeting this past December, the council reviewed the schematics behind the Bering Sea pollock fishery, Alaska’s largest fishery by volume. Read the rest of the article here 20:36

North Pacific council director a possibility for Assistant Administrator position at NMFS replacing Eileen Sobeck

Chris Oliver, the executive director of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council for the past 16 years, didn’t ask for a consideration as the new assistant administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service; rather, the most powerful fishing industry voices in the nation’s most profitable region asked. He doesn’t know if the new administration will offer it or if he’d want it if it did. Still, looking at his history, knowledge and reputation, he seems in many ways a natural fit. Oliver said when it became known that the current administrator, Eileen Sobeck, won’t be staying with the new administration, parts of the fishing universe aligned. In the North Pacific and elsewhere, catch share systems are a contentious issue; Oliver said in an interview he’s already had fisheries stakeholders from other regions probing for what his intent would be with their respective fisheries. Oliver’s answer sums up both his attitude and in part that of the new administration. “It’s not my call,” he said. “What makes sense in the North Pacific…may not make sense in New England, or in the Gulf of Mexico. Read the story here 10:47

Gillnetter heeds siren call of the river – Fishing, family, community. That’s Crouse’s melody.

Crouse didn’t come from a fishing family but he grew up in a neighborhood of fishermen in Skamokawa. “For as long as I can remember I wanted to fish the river,” Crouse said. “In kindergarten they had us make plates out of clay and I drew a gillnet boat on mine.” When he was 14, he asked his basketball coach, Bill Olsen if he could work for him on the river. At 15, he went to Alaska to fish during the summer. “Paul Dretsch worked in a cannery up there and he told me to work there until I found a job on a boat,” Crouse said. “There is a radio station in the Bristol Bay area, and every three hours job listings came up. After my second shift in the cannery, I called someone who was advertising for boat board fish picker. That was my first job up there.” It was everything he wanted and it was more difficult than he had imagined. In his mid-40s now, Crouse works at Wauna four days a week and waits to hear when he can get back out on the river. He rebuilds boats and buys outfits from retiring fishermen when he can. He’ll take what he needs and part and parcel out the rest to sell. His wife, Erla, drives a school bus and works at her coffee shop in Cathlamet, Waterway Espresso. Read the story here 09:16

Crabbing: an inherently dangerous job

Some may wonder if the 2017 Dungeness crab season was ill-fated: First delayed by weeks to make certain crab were free of domoic acid toxin, delayed again after processors proposed lowering the price paid to crabbers, and then it started with a capsizing near the mouth of the Columbia River that could have cost five lives except for quick intervention by another crabbing boat. Today’s crabbers and fishermen have to be smart and rational to survive — literally and economically. Delays in the season also often have strategic components involving jockeying over price, and competition over crabbing grounds. Sometimes crabbers wait to allow an early-season storm to pass. Read the op-ed here 18:59

Bay-Delta Water Case Against EPA Advances

A federal judge refused  Tuesday to dismiss allegations that the Environmental Protection Agency shirked its duty to review temporary changes California made to its water-quality standards during the drought, an action that environmentalists say shrank the state’s salmon and steelhead fish populations. U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar denied a motion by the EPA to dismiss the lawsuit filed against it last year by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Bay Institute and Defenders of Wildlife. Tigar said their claims are not moot and that they plausibly alleged that the EPA was required under the Clean Water Act to review the changes to more than two dozen water quality standards to protect fish and wildlife in the Bay-Delta Estuary. Read the story here 13:42

SLO County supervisors vote 3-2 to oppose Chumash National Heritage Marine Sanctuary

After hours of public comment and discussion, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 passing a resolution to oppose the proposed Chumash National Heritage Marine Sanctuary. Prior to the 9:00 a.m. meeting, protestors rallied in front of the County Government Center in downtown San Luis Obispo, holding signs in support of the sanctuary,,, Opponents of the sanctuary argue it’s unnecessary.  “The marine sanctuary is an overreaching regulatory issue and we don’t need it here on the Central Coast,” said Amber Johnson, a local political consultant. Others who also opposed the sanctuary said it would hurt the small commercial fishing industry and that there doesn’t need to be another layer of government. Chris Voss, a commercial fisherman from Santa Barbara, said he’s experienced the negative side of coastal sanctuaries.  “Their declaration that they will not interfere with local fisheries has not been the case,” Voss said. Read the story here 09:00

A Time to Build & Refit

The aging Pacific Northwest fishing fleet is either undergoing or about to undergo a long-overdo upgrade, judging by a major economic report commissioned by the Port of Seattle. Fisheries managers, seafood suppliers, yards and the supply chain all hope an accompanying surge in ship finance “lifts all boats”. For now, the newbuild count is growing apace, slowed just a bit by owners opting for major retrofits amid rich fish harvests. This fisheries upsurge comes with some rising stars of ship design-and-build for vessels set to ply the Bering and Beaufort seas. The ’70s were the heyday of boatbuilding — half of the current U.S. Pacific Northwest’s 400-strong fleet of vessels over 58 feet were built when sideburns were mandatory. The fleet’s boats are so well-maintained, most of them, that they’re still candidates for retrofits of engines, holds, electrical systems and deck machinery.  Read the story here 08:14

Why doesn’t Supervisor Compton support Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary? It IS Federally Funded, you know!

Opinion by Brad Snook, co-chair of Surfrider Foundation – San Luis Obispo Supervisor Lynn Compton, a SLO County Supervisor, is wrong to deny SLO County the federal funding of cultural education, marine research, and a new local stakeholder effort that a Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary could bring. It’s Federal funding! Why wouldn’t a coastal supervisor, like Lynn Compton, support the Sanctuary, too? Supervisor Compton says she is concerned about “local control”. Supervisor Compton’s district, which is the coastal section of southern SLO County, is pivotal in decisions on whether SLO County will choose to protect the quality of its air, water, and county land. Read the rest here 08:20

Coast Guard rescues 3 fishermen at mouth of Columbia River when vessel began taking on water

The Coast Guard rescued three commercial fishermen after their vessel began taking on water at the mouth of the Columbia River early Sunday morning. Coast Guard boat crews aboard 47-foot motor life boats, from Station Cape Disappointment in Ilwaco, Washington, assisted in dewatering the vessel and safely towing it into Skipanon Marina. Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector Columbia River received the mayday call from the captain of the fishing vessel Coastal Reign at 3:20 a.m., reporting they were taking on water from an unknown location after striking a submerged object. An aircrew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter was immediately launched as were the MLBs. The aircrew arrived on scene first at 3:38 a.m. and the boat crews arrived shortly afterward. The crew aboard one of the MLBs passed a P-6 dewatering pump to the Coastal Reign and then put a crewmember aboard the vessel to help set it up. After dewatering the vessel, an MLB crew towed it to safety mooring it at 4:40 a.m. The sea conditions at the time of the rescue were 6-foot swells and the winds were about 15 mph from the west. A Captain of the Port order was placed on the Coastal Reign to ensure the damaged vessel is repaired properly and passes an inspection by a Coast Guard marine inspector before operating again. Listen to the May Day call  link 12:25

Domoic Acid raises its ugly head again…crab fishing closure

Commercial crabbing closed from Coos Bay north jetty to Heceta Head due to domoic acid The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announce the closure of the commercial crab fishery from the north jetty of Coos Bay to Heceta Head, just south of Yachats, due to elevated levels of domoic acid in crab viscera. The area is also closed to recreational harvest. Crab meat remains safe for consumption. Domoic acid levels are elevated only in crab viscera, or the guts, of crab sampled and tested from this area of the Oregon coast. The closure is limited to that portion of the central coast. Areas south of Coos Bay and north of Heceta Head remain open to commercial crabbing. Read the story here 07:38

Resolution Urges President Trump and U.S. Congress to Mitigate Harm to Alaska’s Fishing Industry Resulting from TPP Withdrawal

Today, Senator Bill Wielechowski (“While I did not support the TPP,,,! D-Anchorage) introduced Senate Joint Resolution 3 (SJR3) urging President Donald Trump, and the U.S. Congress to take action to mitigate the harm caused to Alaska’s fishing industry as a result of the President’s announcement last week that the United States would withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The TPP was a sweeping agreement which contained several provisions that could have been problematic to United States manufacture. The agriculture industry, however, including Alaskan seafood production, stood to benefit dramatically. According to a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, the U.S. would have seen a 33% increase in intraregional exports, and a 5% increase in U.S. exports among TPP members. Read the rest here 12:39

2 Plead Guilty to Sinking 54-Foot Fishing Boat to Collect Insurance

Two men pleaded guilty in San Diego Wednesday to conspiring to destroy their own vessel, a 57-foot boat used for charter sport-fishing trips, in order to fraudulently collect an insurance payout. Christopher Switzer, 39, and Mark Gillette, 37, each face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when they are sentenced March 6 in U.S. District Court. They are required to reimburse the U.S. Coast Guard more than $15,000 for the price of launching a rescue helicopter and other costs. Last Oct. 11, the defendants headed out to sea on their boat, the Commander, from its homeport in Mission Bay and went toward Long Beach. Switzer and Gillette had planned to intentionally sink the Commander and submit a claim to their insurance company, according to Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Ari D. Fitzwater. The defendants admitted they attempted to sink their boat by destroying plastic PVC piping in the engine room, which caused sea water to flood into the vessel. They also pumped sea water onto the vessel and punctured its bulkhead to let sea water spread faster throughout the boat. Read the full story here 20:08

Fishermen’s Benefit Fund holds crab feed fundraiser – Proceeds help fishermen and their families

The 29th annual Deep Sea Fishermen’s Benefit Fund Crab Feed is being held from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Warrenton Community Center, 170 S.W. Third St. Fresh Dungeness crab, cole slaw, garlic bread, drink, dessert, and all the trimmings are being served. The cost is $17 for adults, $15 for seniors and those younger than 12, or $10 for a half crab dinner. This event is sponsored by the Deep Sea Fishermen’s Benefit Fund, a nonprofit which maintains an emergency fund to help fishermen and their families. Link 14:53

Washington Rep. Liz Pike Slams Oregon Gov. Kate Brown – Oregon’s decision compromises salmon and integrity

I applaud our own Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission for its 7-2 vote on Jan. 14 to reach a compromise that has our state moving in the right direction for conservation of endangered salmon and steelhead. This recent decision removes all commercial gill nets from the lower Columbia River during the spring and summer runs and allows commercial nets in the fall in selected areas — but only through 2019 with the commitment to remove all gill nets completely after that time. This two-year extension of fall gill netting is a compromise to the original plan in favor of the gillnetters, to allow more time to develop selective commercial fishing methods and help the commercial fishery achieve financial goals. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced to the entire Pacific Northwest that her environmental conscience is for sale to the highest bidder when she recently appointed former gill net industry lobbyist Bruce Buckmaster to Oregon’s commission. His deciding vote is a slap in the face to tens of thousands of recreational anglers in Oregon and Washington who agreed to pay a new salmon endorsement tax each season over the past three years in order to fund the promised Columbia River reforms agreed to in 2012. Read the op-ed here 12:21

Lift cable snaps, boat slips at Port Townsend marina

A cable snapped on a Port of Port Townsend boat lift while it was lowering a boat into the Boat Haven Marina, causing minor property damage and a small fuel spill in the marina.The cable broke just after 9 a.m. Monday morning. The Port of Port Townsend’s smaller boat lift was being used to lower a 56-foot fishing vessel, Bernice, back into the marina waters, according to Rodger Slade of Towboat U.S., formerly Vessel Assist of Port Hadlock. “It didn’t drop the boat but it was kind of at an awkward angle,” said Abigail Berg, the port’s finance director, speaking on behalf of Greg Englin, port operations manager. Read the story here 16:11

Ventura FD put out Series of Arson Fires – Commercial fishing vessel a total loss

On January 31st at 1:46 AM,  Ventura City firefighters responded to a report of a boat fire in the Ventura Harbor. Upon arrival responding crews found a 50 foot commercial fishing boat 6 feet off the ground in dry-dock fully involved in. Fire suppression efforts initially concentrated on protecting an adjacent building and boat from the flames.  Firefighters were able to suppress the bulk of the flames on the burning boat within 20 minutes of arrival. The boat, however, was a complete loss. Three additional small fires were discovered in the same boat yard at varying intervals throughout the firefighting operations: A fire involving a propane tank of a fork lift, a debris fire in a workshop area and a smoldering rag on the stern of another boat in dry-dock. Read the story here 15:32

Man charged with punching police canine during suspect pursuit

A 54-year-old Coos Bay man, one of three arrested on Friday afternoon after police responded to a report of criminal trespass in progress, is accused of punching a police canine as the animal was assisting in his apprehension. Deputies from the Coos County Sheriff’s Office arrived at an address on Gurney Drive, near North Bend, at 12:32 p.m. on Friday, and upon arrival learned of “an ongoing property line dispute.” One deputy saw a man, later identified as Steven R. O’Daniels, 38, of North Bend walk away from the deputy and into a shop-style building on the property. O’Daniels’ wife remained with the deputy “to explain her side of the story.” When a records check revealed O’Daniels had two outstanding warrants in Clatsop County for failure to appear on commercial fishing crimes, the deputy approached the shop and called out for O’Daniels to tell him he is under arrest. Deputies located O’Daniels near Waymire Lane with assistance from Odin and several callers. O’Daniels was arrested on two outstanding warrants and held at Coos Count jail on $1 million bail. Read the story here 08:46

Feds Facing Order to Redirect Klamath River Water for Salmon

Two Native American tribes sued the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation last year, claiming its bungled management of Klamath River waterways allowed a deadly parasite to infect 91 percent of endangered juvenile Coho and Chinook salmon.  The Yurok and Hoopa Valley Tribes say they depend on the salmon for subsistence, income and for traditional ceremonies that define their people. Lawyers for the federal government and an industry group of farmers and ranchers argue that diverting water to help salmon will harm businesses that support local jobs and communities and threaten another set of endangered fish, the shortnose sucker and Lost River sucker. In separate complaints against the federal government, the tribes say infection rates caused by the deadly parasite C. shasta, should have required the bureau to review its Klamath Irrigation Project’s impact on threatened salmon two years ago, but the bureau failed to take action in violation of the Endangered Species Act.During a hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge William Orrick III agreed the bureau should have reviewed the project when infection rates climbed to 81 percent in 2014 and 91 percent in 2015, well beyond the maximum 49 percent estimated in a 2013 biological opinion issued by co-defendant National Marine Fisheries Service. Read the story here 16:47

Oregon did the right thing in backing off gillnet ban on the main Columbia River. Washington state should too.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission is to be commended for recognizing that a 2013 policy dictated by former Gov. John Kitzhaber to kick commercial salmon fishing off the Columbia River has failed. It isn’t just Lower Columbia River residents who think so. Bobby Levy, former commission chair, commented on Facebook, “Oregon Fish and Wildlife commissioners did the fair and right thing! I applaud you!!” Levy led the commission in 2012 and 2013 when the two fish and wildlife commissions of Oregon and Washington state headed down the path to implementing the Kitzhaber scheme. Never fully thought out, gutting a centurylong tradition of supplying local consumers with some of the salmon we support with our taxes and electric rates was largely the product of intense lobbying by one subset of recreational fishing, embodied by the Northwest Sportsfishing Industry Association. A long-successful alliance between different salmon-fishing interests was cast aside, resulting in a loss of important unified advocacy for salmon recovery in the Columbia estuary and basin. Evicting gillnetters from the main stem of the Columbia by the end of 2016 was premised on a number of assumptions, including: Read the rest of the op-ed here 08:29

Study says predators may play major role in chinook salmon declines

A new study shows that increased populations of seals and sea lions are eating far more of Puget Sound’s threatened chinook than previously known, potentially hampering recovery efforts for both salmon and endangered killer whales.  Seals and sea lions are eating about 1.4 million pounds of Puget Sound chinook each year — about nine times more than they were eating in 1970, according to the report, published online this month in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. Most of these chinook are small fish migrating to the ocean, which ultimately reduces the number of adults returning to Puget Sound. The study estimates that seals and sea lions are decreasing potential returns by about 162,000 adult chinook each year. That’s twice the number eaten by killer whales and roughly six times as many as caught in Puget Sound by tribal, commercial and recreational fishers combined. Read the rest of the story here 21:16

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council Meeting in Seattle, WA January 30 thru February 6, 2017

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will begin their meeting week on Monday, January 30, and continue through Monday February 6, 2017 at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel, 515 Madison Street, Seattle, WA. The AGENDA and SCHEDULE are now available.  Meeting FAST FACTS. The Council’s meeting will be broadcast live beginning February 1, 2017 via Adobe Connect  Listen Online.  Visit the NPFMC Website, Click here 20:35

Steaming toward Seattle, New US factory freezer/processor vessel Araho

The new Araho is a 59.13 metres factory stern trawler with a 14.94 metre beam, built to a Skipsteknisk ST-115 design. It has been built for demersal trawling and is capable of processing and freezing approximately 100 tonnes of H&G flatfish per day. It has an 1100 cubic metre refrigerated hold. This is the sixth new build from Eastern Shipbuilding for the O’Hara Corporation over the last twenty years and by far the largest and most sophisticated vessel, as the first US factory freezer/processor vessel to be built in the USA for 25 years. Video, read the story here 08:18

Oregon details its Columbia River fee expenditures

Since 2014, Oregon has spent $2.4 million it collected from a $9.75 Columbia River Endorsement tag on largely recreational fishing enhancements and research. None went to the commercial gill-net industry. At the request of The Oregonian/OregonLive, the released a dollar-specific, detailed accounting of expenditures from the endorsement fund late Friday. Agency officials hope to have the information available soon on the department’s Web site. Also detailed is $2.5 million set aside by the Oregon Legislature — $1.5 million per biennium – for assisting a transition of commercial fishing away from mainstem gill-netting. None of that money went directly to the commercial industry either. There is an additional $500,000 biennial fund for commercial netters to invest in newer, alternative fishing equipment, but department officials said no one has yet applied for any of the accumulated $1 million. Read the story here 12:04

Shad: Following the history and biology of a East Coast transplant

Shad were one of the largest commercial fisheries in the East during the 19th century, but overharvesting and heavy pollution prior to the environmental enlightenment of the 1970s saw the population drop faster than heavy shad dart in a slow current. Commercial harvests on the East Coast declined from nearly 20 million pounds in the 1870s to less than 2 million a hundred years later. In 1871, forward-thinking individuals at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service decided to transport shad from New York’s Hudson River to the Sacramento River in California’s Central Valley. The reasoning for this move was, in part, to add commercial and sport fisheries, as well as add another plentiful food source to the quickly swelling population of a post-Gold Rush California. Read the story here 08:41

International Pacific Halibut Commission approves increases in halibut catch limits

Most parts of the Pacific coastline will see an increase in commercial and charter fishing catch limits for halibut this year. The International Pacific Halibut Commission Friday approved a coast-wide catch limit of 31.4 million pounds of the valuable bottom fish. That’s an increase from just under 30 million pounds last year. Several parts of the coast were facing catch limit cuts based on alternatives presented by IPHC scientists. However, commissioners voted to boost harvest limits instead of making reductions. There was some disagreement about the BC catch limit this year. Listen to the audio report or read it here 19:11

These California and Oregon farmers lost water in 2001. Now they want to be paid.

Northern California and Oregon farmers who lost irrigation water in 2001 for the sake of fish are plunging into a climactic courtroom battle for tens of millions of dollars in compensation. Years in the making, the trial set to start Monday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims near the White House involves a lot of money, but that’s not all. For other Westerners, too, it can have broader implications, clarifying what the government may owe for water steered away from crops toward environmental protection. “It’s a civil rights case, at bottom,” farmers’ attorney Nancie Marzulla said in an interview. “It involves the protection of private property. We all expect the government to respect private property rights.” The same court ruled in 2001, for instance, that the federal government had taken water without paying compensation to California’s Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage District and others that had been deprived of water for the sake of the delta smelt and the winter-run chinook salmon. The judge later concluded the water districts were owed $13.9 million plus interest, and the case is still cited. Read the rest of the story here 15:10

Bumble Bee Pleads Guilty in Industrial Oven Death of Worker Jose Melena

Bumble Bee LLC pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge stemming from the death of a Wilmington man who was cooked for two hours while trapped inside an industrial oven working at the company’s Santa Fe Springs plant. “I’ve … been a prosecutor for more than 20 years. I’ve tried more than 40 murder cases, and this is the worst circumstances of death I have ever, ever witnessed,” a deputy D.A. said. “I think any person would prefer to be, if they had to die some way … to be shot or stabbed than to be slowly cooked to death in an oven.” The pleas — which were anticipated under a $6 million settlement reached with the San Diego-based company in 2015 — stem from the Oct. 11, 2012, death of 62-year-old Jose Melena.  Melena entered a 35-foot-long cylindrical oven used to sterilize cans of tuna at the plant. Co-workers, who were unaware that he was inside the oven, loaded 12,000 pounds of canned tuna and inadvertently trapped him in the back of the oven. He was found dead after the two-hour sterilization process. After the 2015 hearing, Chun described the circumstances of Melena’s death as “about as bad as you can imagine.” Read the rest of the story here 13:31

Experts say BC salmon stocks not diminished by sea lice outbreak for now

The price of salmon has shot up more than 15 per cent over the last three months, thanks to fish stocks being hit worldwide by an outbreak of sea lice. In Norway and Scotland, two of the world’s largest suppliers of salmon, sea lice outbreaks have made prices rise by a full 50 per cent, coupled with a huge algae bloom in Chile, the world’s second biggest producer of farmed salmon, and global production is down by nine per cent. But the market for Pacific salmon is not likely to see the same price spikes, according to Glen Spain of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, who says that sea lice has so far been less of a scourge for Pacific Coast salmon. The tiny, naturally occurring parasite, found in both wild and farmed salmon, last proved to be a menace on the West Coast in 2015, when infestations were at their highest in five years.  Read the story here 07:49