Category Archives: Pacific

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

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

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

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

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

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

Third Medevac in Three Months for F/V Golden Alaska

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

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

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

Fishing Vessel Sees Large Fuel Savings

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

Looking into why a winch fail-safe never took off

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

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

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

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

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

IPHC commissioners hope to find middle ground on catch limits

In January, disagreements on the International Pacific Halibut Commission came to a head. U.S. and Canadian commissioners are in agreement on one thing, halibut stocks are on the decline. But when it came to divvying up the catch between U.S. and Canadian waters, commissioners were at an impasse. The fundamental disagreement comes down to whether halibut should be allocated solely based on the science or if social and economic considerations should also play a role. Next month commissioners will begin that conversation. >click to read<11:54

‘The truth needed to come out’: A decade after the sinking of the Alaska Ranger, a survivor changes his story

On the 10th anniversary of the sinking of the Seattle-based fishing vessel, a survivor and key witness says he left out part of the story — an incident he believes had grave consequences. Rodney Lundy has a story to tell. He says he should have told it a lot sooner. As the Seattle-based Alaska Ranger prepared to head out to the Bering Sea to fish for Atka mackerel, Lundy, an assistant engineer, says he saw trouble. It was the evening of March 21, 2008, and Lundy says crew had stacked bundles of netting around one of two air vents.,,  Lundy wanted the gear moved. The conversation grew heated as fishmaster Satoshi Konno — leader of a small group of Japanese crew members — refused. >click to read<14:07

Petition to Reclassify: Fight begins over fate of leatherback sea turtle

Protected as endangered species for nearly half a century, their Atlantic population soon may lose that status, in what is becoming a fight between commercial fishermen and conservationists. The Blue Water Fishermen’s Association, which represents longline fishermen who catch swordfish, tuna and other big fish along the east coast, has petitioned the federal government to reclassify from endangered to threatened the northwest Atlantic population of leatherbacks,,, With the Pacific leatherback population crashing, they say the northwest Atlantic population should be classified separately so U.S. fishermen aren’t penalized for the failure of other countries to protect them. >click to read<09:36

Partnership expected to create Live Stor America with holding facilities in Portland, Seattle

Live Stor Ltd. of North Sydney has reached an agreement with Tennessee-based LIG Assets to establish two live lobster holding facilities in the U.S. The new facilities would be based in Portland, Me. and Seattle, Wash. Under the name, Live Stor America, a million-pound live holding system operation in both cities would support import and export of live seafood from the U.S., Europe and Asia. “LIGA is very fortunate to partner with Live Ship, a company that is certain to disrupt the seafood delivery industry and shares our corporate values,” LIG Assets chairman Aric Simons said in a release issued earlier this month.>click to read<21:09

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross questions safety of seafood imports

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross addressed U.S. fisheries regulations and his concern about the quality of seafood imports with the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, 20 March, and he said he’s looking for NOAA Fisheries officials to work harder to reduce the country’s seafood trade deficit.,, “It’s one of my pet peeves,” Ross said, when asked by U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Mississippi) what he planned to do to reduce the country’s seafood trade deficit. “I hate the idea that with all the water surrounding us and all the water inland that we have a trade deficit in fish. >click to read<13:05

More seals, sea lions endangering orcas

Re: “Ottawa spending millions to help endangered orcas” and “Washington state moves to protect endangered southern residents,” March 16. These articles failed to address a couple of noteworthy things regarding prey availability for resident orcas, more resources for local salmon enhancement being one of them. The southern resident orcas are facing increased competition for salmon in large part due to the increase in harbour seal and California sea lion populations since the enactment of the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972. >click to read<17:00

Pacific Fishery Management Council Chooses Salmon Season Options

The Pacific Fishery Management Council has adopted for public review three alternatives for the 2018 salmon seasons off the West Coast of the United States. The Council will select a final alternative at its next meeting in Portland, Oregon April 6-11. Detailed information about season starting dates, areas open, and catch limits for all three alternatives are available on the Council’s website at www.pcouncil.org. >click to read< 12:20

Support HR-200 – Chinook Salmon ‘Overfished’? Not So Fast, Say Fishermen

For fishery regulators, it is official: The Sacramento River’s fall-run Chinook salmon are “overfished.”,,, “Are you kidding me? They aren’t overfished!” exclaimed Half Moon Bay commercial fisher Kirk Lombard, irate upon hearing about the designation. “Fishing isn’t the problem. They had a few terrible years with almost no water.”,,, The reason the term is used, then, is because of a federal law – the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. This law, which sets the framework for managing sustainable fisheries, states that a population of fish that falls below a predetermined minimum population level is “overfished.” Support HR-200 >click to read< 10:24

Whales and fishermen caught in turf war over California’s coast

As rising ocean temperatures move their food supplies closer to shore, a staggering number of migrating whales have been forced into the path of California’s crab fishing fleet — and the confrontations have increased dramatically over the last five years. State agencies have tried and failed to keep whales out of crab gear, prompting one nonprofit to take matters into its own hands.,, Some fishermen see this lawsuit as another nail in the coffin for California’s Dungeness crab fishery. >click to read< 09:20

California’s Salmon Industry Set to Take Another Hit

Fisheries managers will impose the toughest restrictions on California’s salmon harvest in nearly a decade, hobbling the billion-dollar industry that depends on it. This year’s fall salmon run is estimated to be only a quarter of normal on California’s Sacramento River, due mostly to drought conditions and warmer ocean temperatures. As a result, officials at the Pacific Fishery Management Council last week moved to cut the commercial season by as much as a third of its standard length. >click to read< 10:42

Lawsuit Challenges Trump Administration’s Failure to Protect Pacific Humpback Whales Threatened by Fishing Gear, Ship Strikes, Oil Spills

The Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network and Wishtoyo Foundation today sued the Trump administration for failing to protect humpback whale habitat in the Pacific Ocean, where the animals face threats from fisheries, ship strikes and oil spills. Today’s lawsuit, filed in federal district court in San Francisco, aims to force the National Marine Fisheries Service to follow the Endangered Species Act’s requirement to designate critical habitat within one year of listing a species as threatened or endangered and not authorize actions that,,, >click to read< 16:12

Woman raped by Fish & Wildlife official: ‘I used to be so happy’

When Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon sentenced ex-Department of Fish and Wildlife official Greg Schirato to the maximum sentence for breaking into a colleague’s home and raping her in her sleep, the woman he attacked burst into sobs, a smile breaking through. “I believe Mr. Schirato is a predator,” Dixon said, handing down a sentence of about 10 years to life in prison. “I believe this community needs to be protected from Mr. Schirato. I believe our community has a right to be heard, I believe (the victim) has a right to be heard.” >click to read<14:30

Halibut fishery poised to open as NMFS works on 2018 catch limits

Alaska’s halibut fishery is set to open this month, but the final quota was still not completely set as of March 14, even as fishermen began to receive permits in the mail. Indications, however, are that the quota will decrease this year compared to last. Under regulations published by the National Marine Fisheries Service this month, the fishery will open March 24 and run through Nov. 7. But the total catch limits remain unknown. That’s because this year, for just the second time in the commission’s history that dates to its creation by a 1923 treaty, the International Pacific Halibut Commission could not come to an agreement about the 2018 catch limits at its annual meeting. >click to read<12:36

US fisheries’ leader Oliver asserts ‘business-minded’ stance

The US’ top regulatory authority on fishing used his first appearance ever at a Seafood Expo North America (SENA) conference on Sunday to describe how he was reshaping the mission at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to create more of a pro-business environment. Commercial fishermen largely applauded the Donald Trump administration’s selection of Chris Oliver to serve as NOAA’s assistant administrator of fisheries in June 2017. >click to read< 09:41

New Washington directive aims to help endangered orcas

With the number of endangered Puget Sound orcas at a 30-year low, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday signed an executive order directing state agencies to take immediate and longer-term steps to protect the struggling whales. The fish-eating mammals, also known as killer whales, that spend time in Puget Sound have struggled for years because of lack of food, pollution, noise and disturbances from vessel traffic. There are now just 76, down from 98 in 1995. Inslee said the orcas are in trouble and called on everyone in the state to do their part. >click to read<20:49

The US Senate needs to support the AMERICAN FISHERIES ADVISORY COMMITTEE ACT, S1322

To all, My name is Joel Hovanesian and I am a commercial fisherman who resides in RI but have held a CT. licence for some 30 years. I have a small inshore vessel now after selling my offshore boat in 2010. I have been dealing with Mike Gambardella since he started in the Borough. I want to bring an issue forward and give insight to some thoughts. I have been an outspoken critic of the way we have been managing our fisheries here in New England and other places on the Eastern Seaboard. We all recognize the fact that regulations need to be in place for obvious reasons, however as often happens when the Federal Government gets involved with things, they have a tendency to take on a life of their own. >click to read<13:36

U.S. States Slow Trump’s Offshore Drilling Expansion Plan

The Trump administration’s plan to broadly expand drilling in U.S. offshore waters is moving slowly due to opposition from coastal states and indifference from oil companies that have turned their focus to other opportunities. The administration hopes encouraging U.S. energy development outside of shale oilfields will further its goal of “energy dominance.” But existing Obama administration lease rules remain in place through 2022 unless the new rules gain approval. The Department of the Interior this year proposed opening vast new acreage in the U.S. outer continental shelf to drilling. >click to read< 08:56

Council recognizes the 90th annual “Blessing of the Fleet” as crews prepare to head to Alaska

Our region enjoys 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.,, “These crews and their captains face a level of danger that most of us will never confront in our workplace, and they do so year after year,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, the sponsor of the recognition.  For the 90th year, families and friends of the crews preparing to leave will gather at Fisherman’s Terminal in Ballard for a blessing,,, >click to read<20:31

This Is Why You Don’t See People-Sized Salmon Anymore

While the orcas of Puget Sound are sliding toward extinction, orcas farther north have been expanding their numbers. Their burgeoning hunger for big fish may be causing the killer whales’ main prey, chinook salmon, to shrink up and down the West Coast. Chinook salmon are also known as kings: the biggest of all salmon. They used to grow so enormous that it’s hard now to believe the old photos in which fishermen stand next to chinooks almost as tall as they are, sometimes weighing 100 pounds or more. >click to read<11:06

What a disappointment. It seems Senator Markey is still holding out on Bill S1322, American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act

What a disappointment. I just got a call from Bruce Schactler of the National Seafood Marketing Coalition, and it seems Senator Markey is still holding out on Bill S1322…the American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act. Senator, I have always supported you because you were there for us with regards to fisherman. I am a retired Captain and we have met in the past. I have reached out to you many times recently regarding this important bill by Senator Sullivan of Alaska who has a bill that we want passed, and expect you to support. Sam Parisi>click to read< 21:15

North Pacific Recovering From The Blob, Salmon More Slowly

Ocean conditions off most of the U.S. West Coast are returning roughly to average, after an extreme marine heat wave from about 2014 to 2016 disrupted the California Current Ecosystem and shifted many species beyond their traditional range, according to a new reportfrom NOAA Fisheries’ two marine laboratories on the West Coast. Some warm waters remain off the Pacific Northwest, however. >click to read<07:57