Category Archives: Pacific

Fugitive Farmed Atlantic salmon ‘heading to every river in Puget Sound’

The Lummi Nation is marshaling a mop-up of thousands of fugitive Atlantic salmon in the tribe’s territorial waters, and the Swinomish chairman has called for a shutdown of the farmed-salmon industry in Puget Sound after last weekend’s spill. Swinomish fishermen caught farmed Atlantic salmon in the Skagit River on Wednesday night, as the fish continued to disperse through the Puget Sound, said Brian Cladoosby, chairman of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. He also received a report of an Atlantic salmon caught off Alki Point on Thursday afternoon. “These fish are headed to every river in Puget Sound,” Cladoosby said. “We have been saying all along it was not a question of if, but when, this would happen. click here to read the story 23:27

Seafood giant back in Warrenton

Mike Brown, like many in the seafood processing industry, is used to old buildings — massive complexes from another generation that have seen countless fish and hundreds of filleters come and go over the decades.  But as general manager of Pacific Seafood Group’s rebuilt Warrenton facility, Brown is about to be in charge of a brand-new building. The West Coast seafood processing giant is in the middle of rebuilding after a fire destroyed the original plant in 2013. Construction began last year, click here to read the story 20:37

Interior secretary won’t eliminate any national monuments

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he’s recommending that none of 27 national monuments carved from wilderness and ocean and under review by the Trump administration be eliminated. But there would be changes to a “handful,” he said. Zinke told The Associated Press that unspecified boundary adjustments for some monuments designated over the past four decades will be included in the recommendations he planned to give President Donald Trump on Thursday. None of the sites would revert to new ownership, he said, while public access for uses such as hunting, fishing or grazing would be maintained or restored. click here to read the story 12:39

Structural Problems – Washington state fish farm’s collapse has reinvigorated salmon-farming debates

The Washington state fish farm that collapsed allowing many thousands of Atlantic salmon to escape into the Pacific showed signs of trouble last month, and was slated for upgrades. In late July, the Cooke Aquaculture-owned operation near Cypress Island required emergency work to stabilize the net pens after crews saw them moving in currents. Then last weekend, the same pens, containing 300,000 Atlantic salmon, began showing damage on Saturday before collapsing on Sunday, releasing an unknown number of fish. While the incident happened in Washington state, it’s reinvigorated the longstanding debate about fish farming on Canada’s West Coast, including the controversial but common practice of farming Atlantic salmon in Pacific waters. click here to read the story 08:26

Spill of farmed Atlantic salmon near San Juan Islands much bigger than first estimates –  The farm held a total of more than 300,000 fish weighing some 3 million pounds. click here to read the story 11:15

Magnuson Reauthorization, let’s get it right this time – Nils E. Stolpe/FishNet USA

When the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) became law 0n April 13, 1976, one of its primary selling points, along with reserving the fish and shellfish in our coastal waters out to two hundred miles for U.S. fishermen, was that the eight regional Fishery Management Councils that it established had as voting members both government employees who were involved in fisheries management and private citizens who were knowledgeable about fisheries. Ideally this made for balanced decision making, allowing for both the official view of what’s going on in particular fisheries and the on-the-water observations of people with an actual working knowledge of the fisheries, and with the Secretary of Commerce required to sign off on any fishery management actions. (It’s important to note that this was well before supposed environmental crises were supporting a multi-billion dollar industry.) click here to read this article. 12:21

‘Deadliest Catch’ tragedy: Sig Hansen in tears as crab fishermen friends are lost at sea

Crab fishing is a dangerous profession and that was made tragically clear on Tuesday night’s emotional episode of “Deadliest Catch.” On the Discovery Channel show, the captains were devastated to learn that the Destination, the ship of their friend Jeff Hathaway, had gone missing off the coast of Alaska. Hathaway and his crew couldn’t be found. The Bering Sea had been fierce all winter and as the episode began, veteran Sig Hansen noted, “We have had our close calls. It makes me wonder, how many chances do we get?” Sadly, unbeknownst to the skippers, the coast guard was searching for a missing vessel that had set off a distress signal. click here to read the story 09:53

Traffic, sun blindness, now eclipse dumps 305,000 Farmed Atlantic salmon near San Juan Islands

It’s open season on (farmed) Atlantic salmon as the public is urged to help mop up a salmon spill from an imploded net holding 305,000 fish at a Cooke Aquaculture fish farm near Cypress Island. Lummi fishers out for chinook on Sunday near Samish, south of Bellingham Bay, were shocked to pull up the spotted, silvery sided Atlantic salmon — escapees that turned up in their nets again Monday. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is urging the public to catch as many of the fish as possible, with no limit on size or number. The fish are about 10 pounds each. No one knows yet how many escaped. But the net had some 3 million pounds of fish in it when it imploded about 4 p.m. Saturday, said Ron Warren, fish program assistant director for the WDFW click here to read the story 15:05

Lummi Island Wild Takes to the Streets with a Little Help from Signs Plus, Inc.

With eight of the only twelve reefnetting commercial fishing organizations in the world right here in Whatcom County, Lummi Island Wild is among the unique and truly sustainable businesses that bring our local fish to our grocery stores and ultimately our dinner tables. Lummi Island Wild, a locally-owned cooperative business, takes fishing and quality very seriously. From the fishing to the processing, they are part of every step – ensuring the highest quality of their products.,, Reefnetting, a historic Pacific Northwest fishing method, involves a spotter who calls to have the nets raised when he sees a school of salmon in place. The salmon are then rolled over the platform and into holding tanks full of seawater where they are allowed to rest. At that point, any unwanted bycatch is released unharmed back into the sea. “We do it differently and we do it better,” says Keith Carpenter, President and Executive Director of Lummi Island Wild. “We are committed to making things better.” click here to read the story 09:50

Drought years cut North Coast salmon population

Soon after the commercial salmon season opened on Aug. 1, Chris Lawson steered his 53-foot boat named Seaward out of the marina at Bodega Bay into ocean waters where he figured chinook salmon would travel. He spent the day trolling, his lines carefully prepared to entice the spirited, iridescent fish. There were plenty of salmon, but mostly two-year-olds too small for a commercial fisherman to keep. Lawson shook off nearly 100 short fish from his lines and kept just seven longer than the minimum size — 27 inches. He snagged $9 a pound for 63 pounds, yielding $567 for the day’s work before fuel expenses and pay to one crew member, who gets 20 percent.,, “Seven hours, we had seven fish,” Lawson said. “You make a little bit of money. There were a lot of short fish,” said Lawson, interviewed alongside his boat on Aug. 10. “It looks better for next year. Recreational guys are having an OK season.” Their size limit is smaller. click here to read the story 14:43

Congress Picks Sides on Trump Plan to Expand Offshore Drilling

President Donald Trump’s plan to expand offshore oil drilling spurred dueling letters from members of Congress last week, 118 of whom say the plan is critical for U.S. energy security, while 69 others doubt it — plus nearly 18,000 letters of public comment, most of them opposing expanded drilling. Only 6 percent of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf is available for leasing to oil and gas drillers from 2017 to 2022, under a drilling plan completed in the final days of President Barack Obama’s presidency. The shelf is 1.7 billion acres of submerged federal land from 3 nautical miles off the coastline, state-regulated waters, to 200 nautical miles out. click here to read the story 11:06

Fish Stocks And Our Balance Of Payments

Our balance of payments is overly burdened by our consumption of seafood: We import approximately 90% of the seafood that we eat. Given our natural resources, we should be net exporters of seafood. The total value of edible and non-edible fishery imports in the United States was $35.8 billion in 2016. The total value of edible and non-edible exports was $21.3 billion. The imbalance does not imply only a shipment of dollars abroad. It also implies a number of jobs exported, a number of jobs that could be created in this country, were we not to import that much more seafood than we export.,,, The reason for the imbalance in our accounts with other nations is not due to lack of fish in our waters. Not to put too fine a point on it, the imbalance is due to rules and regulations imposed by our National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) that prevent our fishermen from catching fish. click here to read the article by Carmine Gorga 09:21

Coast Guard issues order requiring approved salvage plan for grounded fishing vessel in Estero Bluffs State Park

The Coast Guard directed the owner of the commercial fishing vessel, Point Estero, to submit a salvage plan before making any arrangements to refloat the grounded vessel near Estero Bluffs State Park Thursday evening. The Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach commander, Capt. Charlene Downey, instructed the owner to submit a plan detailing actions to be taken by the owner to make the vessel seaworthy for safe transit to a facility to affect permanent repairs for approval by a local Coast Guard representative. After the Point Estero grounded July 28, the Coast Guard removed approximately 91 gallons of oil, 2.5 cubic yards of contaminated material and two marine-grade batteries to prevent pollution. -USCG-

Developing … Peter Pan Seafoods Port Moller plant devastated in overnight fire

The Peter Pan Seafoods processing plant in Port Moller has been devastated by a massive fire that burned through the night and into Wednesday morning. So far no one has been reported injured, but power, running water, and most phone and internet connections are down in remote community. “The fire started kind of in the production end of things, kind of the freezing warehouse at Peter Pan Seafoods last night. And consumed most of the production facilities that we can tell,” said Bob Murphy, the ADF&G area management biologist based in Port Moller. Murphy was reached a little before 8 a.m. Wednesday. A fisherman who watched the fire from his vessel reported that he saw flames shooting 150 feet high, and that the long dock was eventually cut away to contain the fire. click here to read the story 15:21

San Diego-Based USS Rushmore Departs on Fisheries Enforcement Mission

The San Diego-based amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore was steaming toward the South Pacific Tuesday to provide enforcement of fisheries around 10 island nations, according to the Navy.,, “Our crew is very excited to take part in the OMSI mission,” said Cmdr. John Ryan, commanding officer of Rushmore. “Working in tandem with the U.S. Coast Guard is a new experience for us, which will continue to demonstrate how the extensive range of U.S. Navy assets provides critical support to the embarked boarding teams in their mission of enforcing fishery laws.” click here to read the story 08:28

Seafood supplier sues over lobster heist

Seafood importer and supplier Maxfield Seafood sued Seneca Logistics over a major seafood theft from its warehouse in Boston, Massachusetts. In the complaint filed in federal court in Massachusetts, Maxfield – which is based out of City of Industry, California – claimed that Seneca was negligent when a truckload of lobster worth USD 318,000 (EUR 271,762) was stolen. In mid-December 2016, Maxfield called Seneca to request transportation of a truckload of lobster which was to be picked up at two locations in Massachusetts, including one in Everett, according to the complaint. click here to read the story 16:45

The F/V Akutan’s sad, failed season in Bristol Bay

Fiasco. Disaster. Nightmare. These are words used by those involved with the floating processor Akutan to describe a fishing season gone terribly wrong. The Akutan, owned by Klawock Oceanside, Inc., was supposed to custom process up to 100,000 pounds of Bristol Bay salmon a day for a small fleet of fishermen under the banner Bristol Bay Seafoods, LLC. After July 25, it was bound for the Kuskokwim to give local fishermen their only salmon market.,,, “We’re in peril,” Captain Steve Lecklitner said Saturday. “We know we cannot stay in this river. It’s breaking down our systems. The owners have basically abandoned the vessel. The mortgage holders and the lenders have not established contact. I’m trying to get parts for our generator, and as soon as that’s done, it’s our intention to move the vessel to Dutch Harbor.” click here to read the story 08:16

Trump administration urged to avoid salmon protection rules

A group that represents farmers is calling the costs of saving imperiled salmon in the largest river system in the Pacific Northwest unsustainable and is turning to the Trump administration to sidestep endangered species laws. The Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association wants the government to convene a Cabinet-level committee with the power to allow exemptions to the Endangered Species Act. The irrigators association is frustrated with court rulings it says favor fish over people, claiming the committee could end years of legal challenges over U.S. dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers and bring stability for irrigators, power generators and other businesses that rely on the water. click here to read the story 18:12

Trump Admin Won’t List Non-Endangered Tuna As An Endangered Species

The Trump administration declined a petition to list the Pacific bluefin tuna as “endangered” Tuesday after the Department of Commerce (DOC) found that the fish was not facing any significant threat of extinction. A petition from the Center of Biological Diversity to list the fish under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) triggered the Commerce Department’s review. The review began under former President Barack Obama, and lasted for 12 months before the DOC’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued its findings, according to the notice published in the Federal Register. The Center for Biological Diversity claimed the tuna was at risk of extinction, based on findings by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). click here to read the story 20:01

F/V Destination Investigation: Day 2 – Brother of lost fisherman tells investigators about pressures of commercial fishing

Two days before the fishing vessel Destination disappeared in the Bering Sea with six crew members aboard, Dylan Hatfield met up with the crew in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Hatfield previously worked on the Destination. His brother, Darrik Seibold, took his place and was among those lost at sea. “I personally worked with every single man,” Seibold (Hatfield)  told Coast Guard investigators who are looking into the February sinking of the boat. Hatfield said when he came off another boat and met the Destination’s crew, “the boys were pretty beat down. It was a pretty grueling cod season” with 24-hour work shifts. The crew was switching seasons, from cod to crab, and they were behind schedule for a delivery. Over dinner at the Norwegian Rat Saloon, Hatfield said, “I was all giddy and excited and it was a table full of long faces.” Video, click here to read the story 08:38

Coast Guard delivers dewatering pumps, saves boat and crew 66 miles west of Tillamook Head

The Coast Guard delivered three dewatering pumps, Tuesday morning to a commercial fishing vessel taking on water 66 miles west of Tillamook Head saving the boat and the crew, and is currently towing the vessel toward the Columbia River entrance. A boat crew aboard a 47-foot Motor Life Boat from Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment, located in Ilwaco, Washington, is towing the fishing vessel Pura Vida and its three person crew and has an estimated time of arrival to the Columbia River of 6 p.m., Tuesday. Coast Guard watchstanders in the Sector Columbia River command center received a mayday call from the captain of the Pura Vida, a 48-foot commercial fishing vessel at 3:36 a.m., reporting the emergency situation and reported all crewmembers were wearing life jackets. The Captain also reported the vessel is equipped with a life raft and survival suits. A second pump was delivered from the commercial fishing vessel Western Edge, a good Samaritan vessel on scene. USCG click here for video 17:18

Kings off limits starting Thursday: ADF&G cites low chinook salmon stocks coastwide

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game on Thursday will shut down commercial and salt-water sport chinook salmon fishing throughout Southeast Alaska. “Extreme management measures” are needed to protect kings originating from Southeast Alaska, Northern British Columbia, the Fraser River of British Columbia and the coast of Washington state, according to an announcement made late Monday by Fish and Game. The region wide commercial and sport chinook closures are effective 12:01 a.m. Thursday and will last at least through Sept. 30, according to the department. “We didn’t miss fish,” Fish and Game Deputy Commissioner Charles Swanton said late Monday of fishing efforts in the region. “The fish just aren’t there.” click here to read the story 14:30

Pacific bluefin tuna not considered engangered

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries branch has determined that Pacific bluefin tuna are not endangered and do not need protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. The determination was announced Monday by Chris Yates, assistant regional administrator for protected resources, NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region, in response to a petition from activists and environmental groups across the nation asking the Trump administration to list Pacific bluefin tuna as endangered.,, A scientific review team found that the population is large enough to avoid the risks associated with a small population, such as a year with low survival, and that Pacific bluefin has recovered from similarly low levels in the past. click here to read the story 09:17

Report: Sea lions push Willamette River steelhead to brink of extinction

State wildlife officials say wild steelhead in the upper Willamette Basin could go extinct in coming years because of sea lions feasting on the iconic fish at Willamette Falls.  The Statesman Journal reported in June that wild steelhead numbers hit all-time lows this year due to poor ocean conditions, historic drought and the long-term effects of habitat loss. But in an explosive report made public Monday, officials say sea lion predation could tip the scales toward extinction in rivers including the Santiam, Molalla and Calapooia, all Willamette tributaries. “We’ve reached the point where, unless we take some action, we may condemn this run to extinction,” said Dr. Shaun Clements, senior scientist and fish policy advisor for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “We need to act now or extinction may be our legacy.” Video, click here to read the story 21:33

F/V Destination – Day 1: Investigation Hearing begins

In Seattle on Monday, the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board began two weeks of testimony into the sinking. Monday was spent questioning the ship’s owner, 68-year-old David Wilson. The experienced fisherman, who hired Captain Jeff Hathaway back in 1993, recounted documents recapping the safety drills and briefings given to all crew before the season began. Larry O’Grady, Raymond Vincler, Darrik Seibold, Charles Jones and Kai Hamik were all on board with Hathaway. All presumed lost. Earlier this summer, the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy spent days over the wreck and found the vessel sitting upright in 240 feet of water listing to the port.  On Monday morning, Wilson was asked about maintenance issues — including a discussion, he had with the ship’s captain by phone while in Alaska. click here to read the story Todays proceedings can be reviewed click here, and the hearing restart at 09:00 tomorrow, using that link. 20:06

Toledo Boat Yard keeps crankin’ ’em out…

From Port of Toledo: Fishing Vessel Redeemer recently had a lot of work done on her at the Toledo Boat Yard – worked that was capped off with the traditional “re-Christening” of the vessel with a bottle of bubbly. The Port of Toledo’s crew celebrated with the F/V Redeemer’s owner, crew, family, and friends as the newly rebuilt vessel was launched. The boat is owned by Gary Ripka and recently featured in the Deadliest Catch: Dungeon Cove. The Redeemer fishes black cod, tuna, crab, and is set up to bottom fish. Video, click here to read the story 19:09

F/V Destination – Hearings to begin on why Seattle-based crab boat sank with 6-man crew aboard

Two weeks of Coast Guard hearings into the sinking of the Seattle-based Destination begin Monday. They will put a spotlight on safety in the crab-boat fleet, and are expected to include testimony about the recent exploration of the sunken vessel by a remotely operated vehicle. The Destination sits on the bottom of the Bering Sea, listing heavily to its port side and still carrying roughly a third of the steel-framed pots the six-man crew planned to use in a winter crab harvest off Alaska. In two weeks of Seattle hearings that begin Monday, Coast Guard officers will hear testimony from the owner of the crab boat, former crew and other industry and government officials as they gather clues to what went so horribly wrong when the crew perished Feb. 11. click here to read the story to read the USCG notice click here with instructions for comment. click here for live stream of the proceedings. 09:29

Rape allegation against division manager reveals ‘highly sexualized’ culture at state agency

An inappropriate sexual culture festered for more than a year within the upper ranks of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife until a rape allegation against a former division manager brought it to light. A law firm hired by Fish and Wildlife to investigate claims of sexual harassment spawned after the alleged rape found that a group of workers in the agency’s upper echelon often held or tolerated sexually explicit conversations at work. Some engaged in other inappropriate behavior both on the clock and after hours. The firm, MFR Law Group, also reported that the behavior, including at least one case of workplace sexual harassment, largely went unreported and unaddressed by the agency’s top leaders. click here to read the story 17:04

Re-examining safety practices in the wake of this year’s commercial fishing deaths

“It’s time for a checkup from the neck up” — meaning an industry time-out to evaluate fishing operations and behaviors — advises Jerry Dzugan, director of the Sitka-based Alaska Marine Safety Education Association for over 30 years. Dzugan was speaking in response to the 11 fishing deaths that have occurred in Alaska so far this year. It’s the most in 13 years and follows a 76 percent decrease in commercial fishing fatalities since the 1980s. “The causes are still capsizing, sinkings, swampings and man overboards (MOBs). They haven’t changed much,” Dzugan said. “People need to step back and focus on the basics, such as making sure your vessel is stable and watertight, and that your crew is protected from man overboards.” click here to read the story 11:37

Coast Guard rescues two fishermen in distress near Coos Bay, Ore.

The Coast Guard rescued two fishermen after their vessel was engulfed in flames 20 miles west of the Cape Blanco light near Coos Bay, Oregon, Saturday. A Coast Guard Station Chetco River 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew met the fishermen, who had abandoned the 47-foot fishing vessel Beverly B into a life raft, and transported them and their raft to port in Brookings, Oregon. Sector North Bend watchstanders received the report of the fishermen in distress from Station Coos Bay, who were notified by a volunteer light keeper at the Cape Blanco light, stating that a fishing vessel was on fire. Watchstanders directed the launch of Sector North Bend MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew, who arrived on scene to find the fishermen in their life raft, and lowered a rescue swimmer to assess the situation. The 47-foot MLB crew arrived on scene shortly thereafter. The vessel was reported to be completely engulfed in flames and partially submerged -USCG-  22:38

Crab bill strengthening the Pacific Northwest’s Dungeness crab industry heads to President Trump

A bill introduced by Oregon’s Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to strengthen Oregon’s crab fishery passed the United States Senate and will now head to the president’s desk for signature into law. The bill permanently extends a decades-long fishery management agreement that has been vital to the Pacific Northwest’s Dungeness crab fishery.,,, The states of Oregon, Washington, and California cooperatively manage the West Coast crab fishery in federal waters under a tri-state agreement that Congress first authorized in 1998. The act would make that authority permanent. click here to read the story 15:51