Tag Archives: Bering Sea

Coronavirus: Bering Sea Crabbers Push For Extended Season

A group of Bering Sea crabbers say the Coronavirus pandemic has slowed their fishing season, and they want more time to catch their quota before the state shuts down their season next week. For the few boats fishing bairdi crab this year, there could be a lot at stake if they don’t have time to catch their full quota.  “I’m thinking they don’t quite understand what we’re going through out here,” said Oystein Lone, captain of the 98-foot crab boat Pacific Sounder, which is based out of Dutch Harbor.  >click to read< 07:55

Bering Sea Island’s Fuel Shortage Forces Crabbers South To Refuel – “I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like this,,,

The Coronavirus pandemic has already disrupted Alaska’s winter Bering Sea fishing seasons, closing plants and adding quarantine related complications for crews. St. Paul, one of the Pribilof Islands, announced the gas ration late last month after bad weather canceled the arrival of a fuel barge, and fishermen say it’s forcing them into days-long detours for refueling. “I seem to remember we had some rations, years back, but it was nothing like this,” Oystein Lone, the captain of a 98-foot crab boat, He and his five-person crew on the F/V Pacific Sounder just started fishing for bairdi, also known as tanner crab, on the eastern side of the Pribilof Islands in the middle of the Bering Sea. >click to read<10:03

Video Interview: Life for a Mainer fishing in the Bering Sea

Taylor Strout is the son of a fisherman; fishing simply runs in his blood. He is on a boat that fishes out of Dutch Harbor, Alaska,,, Taylor is a mate aboard the Fishing Vessel Northern Defender which, when we talked, was tied up at the dock in Dutch Harbor. The Aleutian Islands split the Pacific   Ocean and the Bering Sea, and they fish the Bering Sea. As the crow flies, he is more than 4000 miles away from home. “It’s kind of a different level of  fishing out here.,,  “You’re basically towing a football field behind you. You’re taking everything up to a bigger scale when you’re on some of these boats. Bigger weather, there’s bigger seas, sometimes we fish in 15 foot waves to 25 foot waves.” >click to read< 14:44

North Pacific pollock fleet preps for season after tough 2020

Skipper Kevin Ganley spent most of the summer and fall pulling a massive trawl net through the Bering Sea in a long slow search for pollock, a staple of McDonald’s fish sandwiches. The fish proved very hard to find. “We just scratched and scratched and scratched,” Ganley recalls. “It was survival mode.” Ganley’s boat is part of a fleet of largely Washington-based trawlers that have had a difficult year as they joined in North America’s largest single-species seafood harvest. >click to read< 19:28

U.S. Coast Guard admits it failed to warn Bering Sea fishing fleet about known Russian military exercises

Adm. Charles Ray told a U.S. Senate panel Tuesday that the Coast Guard knew Russia was conducting military exercises in August and failed to inform members of the U.S. Bering Sea fishing sector, Alaska Public Media reported. “This was not our best day with regards to doing our role to look after American fishermen,” Ray said. “I’ll just be quite frank: We own some of this.” The captain of the fishing vessel, Northern Jaeger, believed he had no choice but to comply and sail five hours south,,, >click to read< 13:10

Bering Sea red king crab in high demand

Gabriel Prout, owner of Alibi Seafoods and part-owner of the F/V Silver Spray, brought 175 king crab totaling 1,000 pounds to the docks last week, which he and his crew had caught in the Bering Sea. After the F/V Silver Spray delivered their 28,000-pound quota of crab to a seafood processor, they were free to deliver the extra unblocked quota to whomever they wanted.  Cars lined up for the next six hours until the crab sold out. Prout, who owns and operates the Silver Spray with his family and a friend, brought back triple the amount of crab as last year to sell at the docks. >click to read< 09:43

‘Are We Getting Invaded?’ U.S. Fishing Boats Faced Russian Aggression Near Alaska

Capt. Steve Elliott stood dumbfounded on the trawler Vesteraalen as three Russian warships came barreling through, barking orders of their own. On the ship Blue North, commands from a Russian plane led Capt. David Anderson to contact the U.S. Coast Guard, wondering how to protect his crew of 27.,, “The Coast Guard’s response was: Just do what they say.” This summer, Russia’s military operated in the Bering Sea, home to America’s largest fishery, where boats haul up pots crawling with red king crab, and trawlers dump nets filled with 200 tons of pollock onto their decks. >click to read< 18:26

Behind the scenes with Seattle’s crab experts

It’s king crab season in the Bering Sea. That means around 300 people, including many from Fishermen’s Terminal in Seattle, the home port to the North Pacific Fishing Fleet, fly into Dutch Harbor, Alaska, for the harvest. And when king crab season is over, many of these fishermen and women switch to bairdi crab and snow crab. Which means they’ll be busy for four to five months and there will be a lot more crab on the market. As the executive director of Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, a nonprofit trade association that represents the crab industry, Jamie Goen knows a lot about the work that brings crab from the bottom of the sea to our tables. >click to read< 09:19

Bering Sea Crab harvests set: Kings still in decline, snow and Tanner see bump

Commercial fishermen will be allowed to harvest a total of 45 million pounds of snow crab from the Bering Sea waters this year, with 4.5 million of that set aside for Community Development Quota groups and the rest for individual fishing quota, or IFQ, holders. That’s about 34 percent larger than the limit last season, which was also an increase over the previous year. Bering Sea Crabbers Association Executive Director Jamie Goen said that’s good news for the fleet. However, members of the fleet also think that TAC could have been a lot higher had the National Marine Fisheries Service been able to conduct its regular surveys. >click to read< 08:29

Kodiak Alaska, Crabpots Illustration, Bering Sea, King Crab Fishing, Habits, Spiritual Disciplines

I used to love the King Crab Festival which was celebrated in my hometown of Kodiak, Alaska every year. I used to love the activities, the food and the rides which pulled in to town each early summer. Many of my friends growning up had dad’s who were crab fisherman. Each year these dads and their sons would load dozens of crabpots onto their boats,, When looking at this industry and especially those nylon ropes which lifted those crabpots, there is a life and spiritual lesson which I would like to share with you all. When one looks closely at those all important ropes, there is a picture which we all need to be reminded of. What we reinforce or what we repeat is critical to our productivity and impact in our lives and in our worlds. >Video, click to watch< 08:14

Seattle seafood company reports 6 more crew have Coronavirus in Dutch Harbor

The cases are onboard the American Triumph, which is operated by Seattle-based American Seafoods. Last month, the company announced that more than 100 crew members on three of the company’s six vessels had tested positive for the virus. At the time, experts questioned the company’s decision to mandate a five-day quarantine period, rather than the 14 days recommended by many health officials. American Seafoods subsequently said it had extended its quarantine period to two weeks. The cases announced Friday bring the total tally of positive cases on American Seafoods vessels to 117 since late May, according to spokesperson Suzanne Lagoni. >click to read< 10:18

The Things That Didn’t Make It To The Screen On Deadliest Catch – Other Fishermen Have Suffered As A Result Of The Show’s Success

Much of what fans see on screen is true to life, with a bit of Hollywood’s embellishment for dramatic effect, of course. But while fans witness everything the crew does, much of what’s captured on camera, hundreds and hundreds of hours of footage, doesn’t even make it past the cutting room floor. Furthermore, while fans see how the fishing season affects the crew, they don’t see how it affects the town or other local fishermen. While Discovery has been praised for the award-winning show, there’s plenty that goes on behind the scenes that have never made it to the screen. Deadliest Catch speaks to the lives and risks the Bering Sea crews take every year, and while truly crazy things are captured on camera, not everything is revealed to the world. >click to read< 09:15

It’s Russia vs. USA For Bering Sea Crabbing Bragging Rights

It’s a rivalry that never dies – from the Cold War to Olympic hockey games to accusations of presidential election interference. Russia vs. the United States is a part of both nations’ pulse – for better or worse. The feud has spilled into the Bering Sea’s lucrative crab fishery in this season’s ongoing Discovery Channel series Deadliest Catch, which continues with new episodes into this month with an intriguing new storyline. The twist: Russia has cracked down on the country’s trend of illegal fishing and revamping its crab quota, which would dramatically drive up the market price for prized king crab. >click to read< 14:44

Coronavirus: Fears fuel assault on Bering Sea fishing boat, federal prosecutors charge

Federal prosecutors have charged a worker on a Bering Sea factory fishing boat with assault after he allegedly broke the eye socket of another person who criticized him for serving food without gloves during the coronavirus pandemic. Prosecutors say Maurice Young was a housekeeper and galley assistant on the 235-foot SeaFreeze America, which has about 65 crew members and is homeported in Seattle. At the time of the alleged assault, on Monday, the ship was underway about 120 miles east of the Pribilof Islands. >click to read< 16:00

There’s a new fight over Bering Sea black cod.

Record numbers of young black cod, also known as sablefish, are swimming off Alaska’s coast; scientists estimate that this group of fish, which had huge reproductive success in 2014, is twice the size of the next-largest on record, from 1977. The small-boat fishermen who catch black cod, many of whom live in Southeast Alaska, are eagerly waiting for the young fish to grow larger and commercially valuable. But they’re getting frustrated seeing increasing numbers of black cod caught accidentally, as bycatch, by the Seattle-based trawlers that target lower-value species in the Bering Sea, like the pollock that go into McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwiches. >click to read< 16:43

Amid a big fight for cod in the Bering Sea, can remote Adak survive?

A heap of slimy fish heads nearly filled a deep tote. Above, workers finished sorting stacks of decapitated halibut they had run through a grim mechanical apparatus. “Right here we have a guillotine blade,” said Mike Lauer, showing off the de-heading device.  “We’ll sell the cheeks, and then we can use the heads for bait,” he added. Lauer is in charge of quality control for Golden Harvest, a processing plant on Adak that’s at the center of a fish war in the Bering Sea pitting two small Aleutian Island communities against large out of state fishing interests. And the implications of that fight could stretch to other coastal fishing towns in Alaska. >click to read< 21:08

Bristol Bay Native Corporation to acquire two giants of Alaska’s Pacific cod fishery

Clipper Seafoods and Blue North Fisheries are freezer longline catchers, two giants of the Pacific cod industry. Clipper has six hook and line vessels, and after retiring one of its vessels, Blue North will have four. Now, the Bristol Bay Native Corporation is poised to acquire all of them. “Blue North and Clipper Seafoods, as of Friday last week, have officially merged together. And then BBNC’s intentions are to acquire the merged companies – the Blue North Clipper Group – on Sept. 30.” Audio,  >click to read< 18:20

NPFMC takes first step toward rationalizing P-cod fishery

Pacific cod fishermen in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, one of the last remaining unrationalized federal fisheries in Alaska, may finally have to cross that bridge. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council passed a motion at its meeting Feb. 9 to take action on the Pacific cod fishery, which is facing a number of issues in abundance, processing and participation. Depending on public review and the council’s action at the next several meetings, the Pacific cod fishery could see significant changes to seasons, limits and vessel participation. The motion hinges around an analysis developed on the trawl catcher vessel fishery and releases Alternatives 1, 2, 3 and 6 for public review separate from the rest. Rationalization, also known as catch shares,,, >click to read<

Sablefish season to open with slight increase, along with uncertainty

Alaska’s sablefish fishermen will go into the 2019 season in March with no change to their overall catch limit but some debate about the state of the stock. Sablefish, also known as black cod, regularly opens to fishing in Alaska in March, at the same time as the halibut fishery. Commercial fishermen in the Bering Sea, the Gulf of Alaska and Southeast Alaska catch them using trawls, longlines or, in some areas, pots. Fishermen landed about 13,956 metric tons of them last year between the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands fisheries. >click to read<19:55

Government shutdown, if it continues, could cost Alaska’s lucrative Bering Sea fisheries

Even if the shutdown does persist, the federal government will allow the Bering Sea fisheries to start as scheduled, with an initial opening for cod Jan. 1, and a second opening for pollock and other species Jan. 20. But the fisheries are heavily regulated, and before boats can start fishing, the federal government requires inspections of things like scales — for weighing fish — and monitoring equipment that tracks the number and types of fish being caught. And the National Marine Fisheries Service, which regulates the Bering Sea fisheries, isn’t doing those inspections during the shutdown. >click to read<20:16

Snow crab up, king crab quota down in Bering Sea

It’s not much, but there is a red king crab season. And snow crab is up 45 percent, and Tanners are down slightly, but at least that one will go forward due to a revised harvest strategy.,, Nichols expects fewer boats fishing this year, with fishermen combining quotas onto one boat that otherwise would have been fished by two vessels, because of the harvest reduction leading to the efficiency move. At least there is a red king crab season, despite earlier fears of a complete cancelation, according to Unalaska Mayor Frank Kelty. >click to read<11:30

King crabbing set to begin with record low quota

Bering Sea commercial crabbing starts next week, with the smallest quota for Bristol Bay red king crab in over 30 years of 4.3 million pounds, a 35 percent decrease from last year’s 6.6 million pounds. The last time there was such a low number when a fishery was held was in 1985, at 4.1 million pounds, according to Alaska Department of Fish and Game Assistant Area Management Biologist Ethan Nichols, in Unalaska. >click to read<08:29

NTSB Says Icing Caused Fatal Sinking of FV Destination in Bering Sea, issues related Safety Alert

The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a marine accident brief >click to read<and a related safety alert>click to read< warning mariners of the dangers of icing following the agency’s investigation of the sinking of the fishing vessel Destination in the Bering Sea last February with the loss of all six crew members.  The 110-foot, 196-gross ton, fishing vessel Destination sank in frigid, remote waters 2.6 miles northwest of St. George Island, Alaska, on February 11, 2017. >click to read<09:36

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