Tag Archives: Bering Sea

With New Kuskokwim King Salmon Data Released, Bering Sea Bycatch Restrictions Come Under Review

New state data reveals that the number of king salmon returning to the Kuskokwim River has been inflated for decades. Now, the state is recommending that the body governing the Bering Sea pollock fishery adopt this new information. If it does, restrictions on the fleet’s bycatch of king salmon could tighten, and a long-voiced demand from Kuskokwim residents could be met. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is meeting in Kodiak, Alaska this week. It’s scheduled to make a decision by Monday on how many king salmon can be caught incidentally by commercial fishing boats targeting pollock in the Bering Sea. >click to read<08:33

The Boat at the Bottom of the Sea

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

‘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

Inside the insane, dangerous lives of Alaskan crab fishermen who work 20-hour days in a ‘constant barrage of storms’

Being a crab fishermen on Alaska’s Bering Sea is a very dangerous job with back-breaking labor and 20-hour work days. In 2002, photographer Corey Arnold decided to give it a try. He ended up doing it for nearly a decade and brought his camera along for the many weeks at sea. The Bering Sea is constantly suffering storms which make the work even more difficult and dangerous. While working long, strenuous hours on the Rollo, Arnold often stole away with the captain’s permission to grab his camera and photograph the crew and the ship. Arnold eventually put together “Fish Work: Bering Sea,” a documentation of his seven adventurous and dicey crab seasons aboard the Rollo. Photo’s >click to read< 13:58

Trapped in the Arctic ice

When the crab fishing vessel Kiska Sea ventured through rough weather into the far northern arctic floes of the Bering Sea, it was seeking a million-dollar payday. But that hunt in 2013 gave the crew more than they had bargained for. Near-hurricane-force winds had pushed a massive ice pack southward, swallowing the ship’s crab pots whole and threatening the vessel itself. The Kiska Sea found itself surrounded by ice with no clear way out. >click to read< 14:27

Crab Fight! Aboard Alaska’s Quest to Be America’s King of Crab

Deep in the Bering Sea off Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, the U.S. and Russia share fishing waters that are home to this nation’s supply of king and snow crab. Predictably, the relationship is contentious. While the two nations compete for room on your plate, the deck is stacked against Alaskan fisheries thanks to cheaper imported product and illegal crab. Despite the economics, the Alaskan crab industry, made famous by The Discovery Channel’s hit show, Deadliest Catch, fights for quality and sustainability in a competitive, and sometimes sketchy, global market. >click to read<13:47

Bering Sea snow crab fishing underway

Bering Sea snow crab fishing was just getting underway, and the first deliveries were expected later this week, according to Ethan Nichols of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor when the snow crab quota was cut back again this year by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. There is a reduced Bering Sea Tanner crab season, thanks to new rules allowing fishing when fewer female crustaceans are present. And small boats in the Unalaska Island area have a Tanner fishery for the first time in two years. >click here to read<13:03

Kodiak officials prepare for ‘disaster’: An 80 percent decline in Gulf cod catches in 2018

Kodiak officials already are drafting a disaster declaration due to the crash of cod stocks throughout the Gulf of Alaska. The shortage will hurt many other coastal communities as well. Gulf cod catches for 2018 will drop by 80 percent to just under 29 million pounds in federally managed waters, compared to a harvest this year of nearly 142 million pounds. The crash is expected to continue into 2020 or 2021. Cod catches in the Bering Sea also will decline by 15 percent to 414 million pounds. In all, Alaska produces 12 percent of global cod fish. click here to read the story 09:12

Beyond Deadliest Catch: The Fisherman in Pursuit of One of the World’s Great Delicacies

Dan Jansen had been awake for about a day and a half on his first-ever trip as captain of a crab-fishing boat way back in 1986. When there was finally a lull, Jansen left the wheelhouse to get some rest. His eyes hadn’t been shut for more than 15 minutes when he heard what sounded like an explosion. In the time it took for his feet to swivel from his bunk to the floor, Jansen’s stateroom had filled up with more than a foot of water. click here to read the story 10:46

Coast Guard: Russia and U.S. Working Well Together in the Bering Sea, Arctic

Unlike other parts of the world, the U.S. and Russia work well together in the Bering Sea and the Arctic. The pair is enforcing fishing regulations and other laws, conducting search and rescue operations. Moscow and Washington are sending the International Maritime Organization a joint recommendation for safe shipping routes through northern waters, the head of the U.S. Coast Guard in Alaska said on Wednesday. “We see the relationship with Russia [in the Arctic] as a bright spot,” said Rear Adm. Michael McAllister,,, click here to read the story 16:10

In a Bering Sea battle of killer whales vs. fishermen, the whales are winning

In the Bering Sea, near the edge the continental shelf, fishermen are trying to escape a predator that seems to outwit them at every turn, stripping their fishing lines and lurking behind their vessels. The predators are pods of killer whales chasing down the halibut and black cod caught by longline fishermen. Fishermen say the whales are becoming a common sight — and problem — in recent years, as they’ve gone from an occasional pest to apparently targeting the fishermen’s lines. Fishermen say they can harvest 20,000 to 30,000 pounds of halibut in a single day, only to harvest next to nothing the next when a pod of killer whales recognizes their boat. The hooks will be stripped clean, longtime Bering Sea longliner Jay Hebert said in a phone interview this week. Sometimes there will be just halibut “lips” still attached to hooks — if anything at all. click here to read the story 07:35

Aleutian Dreams: life as an Alaska fisherman – in pictures

Corey Arnold is a fine art photographer and a commercial fisherman, working the stormy waters of the Bering Sea by Alaska. His latest work documents life in this remote wilderness, both at sea and on the shore, capturing trawlers, foxes, eagles and the grandeur of the scenery. Aleutian Dreams can be seen at Charles A. Hartman Fine Art in Portland, Oregon, until 27 May. The photos are stunning, and worth a look. click here to view the images. 18:32

Alaska’s Bering Sea snow crab quota down 50 percent

snow crab alaskaIn mixed news for Alaska’s crabbers, the state’s Department of Fish and Game announced the opening of the Bering Sea snow crab season will take place on 15 October, but with an allotted catch that is half that of last season’s. A report released Thursday, 6 October by Fish and Game put the total allowable catch (TAC) for the 2016/17 season at 21.57 million pounds, which would be the fishery’s lowest in 45 years. Around 19.4 million pounds of the TAC will go to the individual fishing quota, with the rest going to the community development quota. “We’ve seen a declining trend since the 2006/7 season,” said Robert J. Foy, the head of NOAA’s “Crab Lab” in Kodiak. Read the rest here 11:44

Ten-Year Review for Bering Sea/ Aleutian Islands Crab Ratz Management Program

1-5cafb4e98eNorth Pacific Fishery Management Council June 2016 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   This document is a 10 year review of the Bering Sea/ Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Crab Rationalization (CR) Program. Implemented in 2005, the CR Program is a “voluntary three pie cooperative” program which allocates BSAI crab resources among harvesters, processors, and coastal communities. The CR Program was designed to address conservation and management issues associated with the previous over-capitalized derby fishery, reduce bycatch and associated discard mortality, and increase the safety of crab fishermen by ending the race for fish. The program issued harvest quota shares to vessel owners (License Limitation Program license holders) and captains, as well as processor quota shares to processors based on historic participation to protect investment in and reliance on the program fisheries. Program components include quota share allocation, processor quota share allocation, individual fishing quota and individual processing quota issuance, quota transfers, use caps, crab harvesting cooperatives, protections for Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries, an arbitration system, monitoring, economic data collection, and cost recovery fee collection. Read it here 18:32

Tanner crab fishermen receive OK to catch quota

It’s official. fishermen can catch their whole quota, and not leave 1.4 million pounds unharvested at the bottom of the Bering Sea because of a surprising provision in the federal rules governing the crab rationalization program that blindsided fishermen and processors late last year. That oversight nearly cost the industry some $5 million. That’s good news as the Tanner fishery moves along, with 72 percent of the eastern Tanners harvested as of Monday for 8.1 million pounds by eight boats catching an average of 37.4 crab per pot. Read the rest here 12:30

Big groundfish harvest boosts Alaska seafood employment

trends-labor-groundfish-pngEmployment in Alaska’s commercial fishing sector grew last year, boosted by a  swell in groundfish harvests, state labor economists reported today. Driven by large catches of pollock and cod in the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, and Aleutian Islands, the number of commercial fishing jobs in Alaska grew by .7 percent in 2014, according to the Alaska Department of Labor. Jobs specifically tied to groundfish jumped by nearly 25 percent, or about 350 jobs, with gains made during every month of the year. Read the rest here 09:47

NPFMC must strike a better balance on halibut bycatch – Charlie Wilber

pacific_halibutThis commentary is written for all those who appreciate halibut. If you eat halibut, catch halibut, or have an interest in a healthy halibut resource you need to be aware of what happened at the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in Sitka this past week. Simply put, halibut stocks in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) area are down, and the problem is slowly affecting all of us. Read the rest here 11:07

Seattle company has worst rate of halibut dumping and a lousy track record

There are big differences within the bottom-trawl fleet that works the Bering Sea in how much halibut is caught and discarded, a Seattle Times analysis found. For the past four years, Fishing Company of Alaska, a Seattle firm, has had the fleet’s highest rate of dumping halibut, which federal rules say must be discarded if caught by trawlers. Through the years, the company has come under scrutiny for the use of Japanese fishmasters who help conduct the harvest. Read the rest here  The struggle for power on doomed Alaska Ranger Satoshi Konno was a tall man with ramrod posture and a volcanic temper. Read the rest here  11:54

Could salmon sharks be factor in declining Bering Sea king salmon numbers?

Given their name, it’s not surprising that salmon sharks eat salmon. But Alaska researchers are now asking whether the animals might have any impact on declining numbers of Bering Sea king salmon. “It’s too early to tell if salmon sharks have any impact on abundance on king salmon in the ocean, but it’s certainly another factor that should be investigated,” Seitz said in a phone interview from Fairbanks Wednesday. Read the rest here 11:42

Guest Opinion: State needs to push for halibut protection – by John L. Beath

pacific_halibutThe Pacific halibut may be an icon of our region, but over the past 10 years in the Bering Sea, it’s become increasingly obvious that we aren’t doing as good a job of protecting them as we should. A total of 62.6 million pounds of halibut were caught as bycatch, harvested unintentionally and thrown overboard dead. To compare, the hook-and-line fishermen targeting halibut only caught 69.7 million pounds in the same area over the same period of time.  Read the rest here 10:52

New maps show Bering Sea holds world’s most acidic ocean waters

The world’s most acidic ocean waters are found in the winter in the Bering Sea, according to studies by scientists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory who have released a series of maps tracking changes in global marine acidity. Read more here 11:25

Data show stocks on the rise in Bering Sea

Alaska’s pollock numbers may be at the highest level since 1982. Alaska’s conservative management combined with the grace of Mother Nature are swelling the abundance of two of the state’s largest and most important fisheries. Bering Sea crab scientists and stakeholders met last week to discuss the outlook,,, Read more here 14:46

5-Year Crab Fishing Ban Lifted in Kamchatka

During the years of the ban the population of crab  in Kamchatka region had grown from 38 million to 151 million,  despite illegal fishing that brought poachers an estimated $500 million  in revenue every year. [email protected]

Coast Guard, good Samaritans respond to radio beacon alert from the 59-foot fishing vessel Western Venture in the Bering Sea Sunday

Coast Guard 17th District command center watchstanders in Juneau received a personal locator beacon alert registered to a crewmember aboard the Kodiak-based Western Venture at about 9:05 a.m. The PLB notification was quickly followed by a second alert from the vessel’s registered EPIRB. The notifications identifed the vessel and indicated the longliner’s position was 69 miles west of Adak. Communication uscg-logowith the vessel’s owner revealed the captain of the Western Venture reported a fire aboard the vessel Sunday morning via email. No further communication with the crew by the owner or the Coast Guard was possible. Watchstanders directed the launch of Coast Guard assets. [email protected]

Alaska Arctic Policy Commission Discusses Future of Arctic

Opportunity could lie out in the waters of the Bering Sea.  That’s why members of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission met for the second time this summer in Unalaska to discuss Alaska’s role in leading the way in shaping the United State’s arctic policy. [email protected]

Researcher lays out three major possibilities for Alaska king salmon crash

Ed Farley, of NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center Auke Bay Laboratory in Juneau, laid out some of the reasons why scientists think chinook stocks have been in precipitous decline. But like other scientists who met this fall for a symposium dedicated solely to the issue of Chinooks, the answer remained the same — no one really knows, and only one thing can help moving forward — more money to study the scientific reason for the decline. Read more

Seafood processors fined for releasing millions of lb of seafood waste into the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska and North Pacific Ocean

Three seafood processors agreed to settle federal Clean Water Act violations for their vessels’ seafood waste discharges off Alaska’s coast with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and pay fines. Aleutian Spray Fisheries, Inc, United States Seafoods, LLC and Ocean Peace Inc, and their vessels are responsible for releasing millions of lb of seafood waste into the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska and North Pacific Ocean every year. http://fis.com/fis/worldnews/worldnews.asp?l=e&ndb=1&id=57136

With ‘Deadliest Catch’ cameras onboard, crabbers head to Bristol Bay -an increasing presence of Alaska Natives and Alaskan-owned boats.

The Bristol Bay red king crab fishery opened Monday with a larger quota, Hollywood on board again, and an increasing presence of Alaska Natives and Alaskan-owned boats. “We call it the Yupikest catch,” said Morgen Crowe, executive director of the Coastal Villages Region Fund (CVRF), the community development quota group in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. CVRF has purchased three crabbers, the Bering Sea, Arctic Sea, and North Sea, and about a third of combined crew members are Yupik Eskimo deckhands. While none are captains yet, that’s only a matter of time and training, Crowe said, adding that the crew earned $50,000 to $80,000 during the last snow crab season, Crowe said. The Western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) program allocates a percentage of,,,,,,,,,,Read More http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/deadliest-catch-cameras-onboard-crabbers-head-bristol-bay?page=full

Pot cod fishing dismal – Bristol Bay Times Pacific cod fishing in the Bering Sea

The Pacific cod fishing in the Bering Sea has been slow enough to make some pot-cod boats quit and wait for red king crab to open next month.     Click Title to Leave a Comment!

“It was pretty bad. I’ve never given up on a cod season before, and I’ve given up on this one,” said Bob Perkey, captain of the fishing vessel Ramblin’ Rose. “It’s not worth it financially to keep fishing.”

Early results were only briefly promising, said deckhand Geno Holmes. “We were getting 40 to 70, and then it just dropped off cold. We were getting two, three, four fish in a pot,” Holmes said, adding that his boat was earning 29 cents per pound of cod.  http://www.thebristolbaytimes.com/article/1239pod_cod_fishing_dismal

Vessel replacement, Steller sea lions and crab on menu. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council meets Oct. 3-9 in Anchorage

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council, which meets Oct. 3-9 in  Anchorage, is poised to act on a vessel replacement plan, as well as discuss  Steller sea lions and the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands crab and groundfish  fisheries. Halibut management and observation will also be on the table.

The council is slated for final action on a vessel replacement program for  freezer longline licenses authorized for Pacific cod in the Bering Sea and  Aleutian Islands.

Read more: http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/September-Issue-5-2012/Vessel-replacement-Steller-sea-lions-and-crab-on-menu/#ixzz27mGtbFfA