Category Archives: North Pacific

Port Graham man fakes death, runs up $384K rescue tab with Coast Guard

U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Gleason sentenced 35-year-old Ryan Riley Meganack, aka: “Unga” to serve two-and-a-half years in prison with 15 months to be served consecutively to state sentence. He pleaded guilty to false distress and felon in possession of a firearm, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney for Alaska Bryan Schroder’s office. The long-time commercial fisherman and boat captain was scheduled to plead guilty to sexually assaulting an incapacitated woman in December 2016, the release said. Video >click to read<06:43

To our valued readers here at Fishery Nation.

To our valued readers here at Fishery Nation. You have probably noticed recently there have been no postings on our website. I’m sorry to say that I have recently taken ill and have been hospitalized for the past week in the intensive care unit of my local hospital.
As you know, I’ve made it a priority in my life to keep you all informed on the goings on in our commercial fisheries here in the US and also abroad with stories and information that we feel is important to you, and also stories of interest. For the past seven years we have fulfilled this goal 365 days a year, every single day!
Please bear with me as we get through this situation and I am able to get back on my feet and continue what has become my passion, and mission in life, to keep the commercial fishermen informed and up to date as to the goings on in your industry.
If all goes well this will be a short period of time and I’ll soon be on my feet and able to get back at it.
Thank you one and all for your support and understanding. God bless you all, stay safe out there and please stay in touch with us.

Sincerely,

Borehead

A historical moment in the state of Alaska-Gov. Bill Walker drops out of campaign

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker announced Friday he is dropping his bid for re-election, and threw support to Democrat Mark Begich over Republican Mike Dunleavy. Walker, elected as an independent, made the surprise announcement at the Alaska Federation of Natives annual convention, three days after former Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott abruptly stepped down from both his office and the re-election campaign over unspecified “inappropriate comments” he made to a woman. >click to read<

Report details economic value of Alaska’s salmon hatcheries

A new report shows that Alaska’s salmon hatcheries created one fourth of the economic value of the state’ total salmon harvest between 2012 and 2016 along with about 4,700 jobs statewide. McDowell Group, the Juneau-based economics consulting firm, based the report on eight of the state’s largest hatcheries, documenting $600 million in economic value. The estimate of jobs was done on an annualized basis, or how seasonal jobs are calculated as if they were year-round. The report, sponsored by the eight private nonprofit hatcheries included in the study, was released as the state Board of Fisheries considers proposals submitted by sportfish interests to curtail hatchery production, citing concerns on the impact of hatchery fish on wild salmon stocks. >click to read<15:55

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

Hurricane Michael: Alaska bound factory trawler ripped from mooring, left lying on her side

Hurricane Michael ripped an almost-finished Alaska factory trawler built for a Seattle company from a shipyard mooring in Panama City, Florida, and left it lying on its starboard side in the shallow water of Saint Andrews Bay. “The boat was nearing completion, and because of all the destruction down there we have not been able to survey the vessel,” said Jim Johnson, president of Seattle-based Glacier Fish Co., which is responsible for managing the ship. photo, courier journal>click to read<23:12

‘What Happened in Craig’: Trying to piece together one of the state’s most perplexing murder mysteries

Leland Hale, along with his late coauthor Walter Gilmour, is known for writing the book “Butcher, Baker” about Anchorage serial killer Robert Hanson in the 1970s and early-’80s, which more recently was made into a movie. And Hale went back to 1980s Alaska for the subject of his new book, “What Happened in Craig?”, out this week.,, HALE: Let’s set the scene. It’s in September. It’s the end of the fishing season in Southeast Alaska. There’s a little town called Craig. There’s about a hundred fishing boats in town. So now the population has doubled and people are out celebrating because the fishing seasons over. They’ve made their money and one of the vessels there is actually from Blaine, Washington. >click to read<20:58

It’s Official! 62.3 million: Bristol Bay’s 2018 salmon season the largest ever

It is official; 2018 was the largest sockeye salmon run to Bristol Bay on record, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has records dating back to 1893. The 2018 Bristol Bay Season Summary, which ADF&G released in September, reiterates the records this year’s run broke. To start with, the total run to Bristol Bay this summer was 62.3 million sockeye. That is 21 percent above the preseason forecast of 51.3 million fish.,, The ex-vessel value also broke a record – $281 million for all salmon species. >click to read<15:02

Plan could see prisoners working in seafood plants in Unalaska

If local officials agree, prisoners can finish their sentences working in seafood plants in Unalaska, according to a plan presented by Alaska Department of Corrections Commissioner Dean Williams at last week’s Unalaska City Council meeting, attended by many generally supportive community members. Williams said local support is needed for the transitions to work program, so that the Unalaska Department of Public Safety can provide electronic monitoring while the inmates are living in workplace bunkhouses during the last six months of their sentences, and said the state will provide funding for the project involving about five prisoners,,, >click to read<12:08

Chignik salmon fisheries made $3000 between six permits in 2018

The exvessel value per permit has been over $100,000 for the past 10 years in the Chignik Management Area. This year, the entire fishery brought in $3000, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s season summary. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game released its summary of the 2018 Chignik salmon season this week. The Board of Fish already declared the sockeye salmon fishery a disaster in early July. Then the governor declared it an economic disaster in August. This report from Fish and Game confirms that the entire fishery only brought about $3000 dollars between the six permit holders who fished. Audio, >click to read<10:04

City struggles to sell unwanted former floating strip club

The city of Kodiak is trying to get rid of what has been called a former floating strip club. The P/V Wild Alaskan vessel was impounded on Dec. 20 and has been held in the Kodiak Shipyard ever since, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported Thursday. In August, the city began advertising the vessel as available for purchase by the highest bidder, but it did not receive any bids. City Manager Mike Tvenge said nobody wants the ship. “If you look at it, it’s in need of repair,” Tvenge said. “That’s part of the reason why it was pulled out of the harbor.” >click to read<09:02

Inside the operation that propped up Kodiak fishermen

It was low tide and most of the staff were sleeping, having finished an egg-take shift sometime before 7:00 a.m. The next shift would begin just before high tide, at 2:45 p.m. “We’ve done 200,000 fish already – that’s male and female. We’ve got about 135 million eggs right now,” said Wachter. Kodiak’s hatcheries, as well as those across the state, were originally set up to give fishermen a safety net during years in which wild stocks are low. Alaska’s Private Non-Profit Hatchery Program, however, is currently at the center of a political battle that could see restrictions placed on the number of hatchery-reared fish that are released each year. >click to read<11:48

Commercial Fishers Sentenced to Jail Time For Willful Failure to Pay Taxes on Income

A Southeast Alaskan couple were sentenced today in Juneau for willfully failing to pay their individual income taxes, and instead prioritized spending money on traveling and gambling. The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder. Archie W. Demmert III, 58, and Roseann L. Demmert, 61, both of Klawock, Alaska, were sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Burgess to each serve 12 months, plus one day, in federal prison on two counts of willful failure to pay income tax. >click to read<09:06

Alaska Mesothelioma Victims Center Now Urges any Commercial Fisherman with Mesothelioma to call

The Alaska Mesothelioma Victims Center says, “We are reaching out to a commercial fisherman who now has mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure while working on a fishing boat or boats that had a home port in Alaska. A commercial fisherman with mesothelioma typically did not work on just one fishing or crab boat. Typically, we find that these men did everything on the boat from mechanics, repairs, or upgrades. If you are a commercial fisherman and you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, or their family, please call us anytime at 800-714-0303. What we want to do is ensure a victim of mesothelioma receives the very best possible financial compensation.” >click to read<18:32

Coast Guard, Alaska State Troopers rescue man from a grounded vessel while on training mission

The Coast Guard and Alaska State Troopers coordinated efforts to locate and rescue a boater from a disabled and aground 40-foot fishing vessel 127 miles east-southeast of Cordova, Alaska, Wednesday. A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak HC-130 Hercules aircrew located the operator of the fishing vessel Gambler while conducting a training flight in the area. The HC-130 aircrew dropped a radio to the man to communicate with him. After coordinating with Alaska State Troopers, the man was rescued from the shore, and was reported to be in good condition with no medical concerns. Video, >click to read<10:48

Cook Inlet fishermen blame rigid management for season losses

Cook Inlet’s commercial fishermen feel that mandated closures played a part in them missing the boat on many of the salmon they could have harvested this season. At a meeting in Kenai on Sept. 28, Upper Cook Inlet commercial fishermen grilled Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten and Gov. Bill Walker with questions about regulation of the fishery and policy changes to support it in the future. Some of the concern is about inflexible management. >click to read<18:36

Southeast dive fisheries, crab seasons start in October

The season for geoduck clam diving starts Oct. 1. The first opening could be Oct. 3 or 4, depending on testing for the toxins that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning. The region’s guideline harvest level is 702,100 pounds. The large clams are plucked from the ocean floor and shipped whole and live to overseas markets, if the clams don’t test too high for PSP or inorganic arsenic. There are a couple of changes for that fishery this year. Past openings have been only from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one day a week. The Board of Fisheries last winter approved a 1,000-pound weekly harvest limit. >click to read<12:48

North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Anchorage, October 1-9, 2018

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet October 1-9, 2018 at the Hilton Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska. The Agenda >click here< and Schedule >click here< are available, as well as a list of review documents and their associated posting dates. Listen online while the meeting is in session >click here<17:58

Coast Guard suspends search for man near St. Matthew Island, Alaska

The Coast Guard suspended its search Friday for a man last seen aboard a fishing boat north of St. Matthew Island Thursday. Two Coast Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft crews searched along with the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro and the crews of fishing vessels Clipper Epic, Frontier Spirit and Frontier Mariner for more than 24 hours, covering approximately 894 square nautical miles. The search was suspended at 3 p.m., pending any further developments. -USCG- 08:53

Coast Guard searching for man last seen aboard a fishing boat near St. Matthew Island, Alaska

The Coast Guard is searching for a man last seen aboard a fishing boat north of St. Matthew Island Thursday. A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak C-130 Hercules aircrew launched from Kotzebue and is searching for the man along with the crew of fishing vessels Clipper Epic, Frontier Spirit and Frontier Mariner. The man was initially reported missing to the Coast Guard by the master of the 162-foot fishing vessel Clipper Epic at about 12:40 p.m., approximately 60 miles north of St. Matthew Island in the Bering Sea. >click to read<09:23

Prince William Sound fishermen test oil spill response skills near Whittier

At first glance, it appeared to be a carefully orchestrated aquatic slow dance, set to the tune of barking sea lions. About 20 small commercial fishing vessels were joined Tuesday by large barges and state-of-the-art tugboats to test new oil spill response equipment on Prince William Sound. Smaller craft towed “current buster” oil booms in tandem with larger fishing boats deploying skimmers that would collect oil from the boom for transfer to a barge tank. It was one in a series of training exercises by Alyeska Pipeline Service Co.’s Fishing Vessel Response Program, which has an annual budget of $8 million. “Without these fishing vessels you don’t have a response plan,” said Jeremy Robida, the spill prevention and response manager for the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council. >click to read<15:30

Bering Sea Battle breaks out over growth of ‘Super 8s’ in state cod fishery

The success of the state waters Dutch Harbor Pacific cod fishery in the Bering Sea is scaring both the industrial trawl and longline fleets, and even a local Unalaska fisherman who says a new breed of small boats known as Super 8s are catching way too many fish. In 2014, the new fishery opened with 3 percent of the total Bering Sea cod quota, and two years later it more than doubled to 6.4 percent, by votes of the Alaska Board of Fisheries to promote small boat fisheries. And it may get a lot bigger, as the board will soon hear proposals for growing the fishery to 8, 10 or as much as 20 percent of all the cod available to fishermen in the Bering Sea. >click to read<11:28

Bristol Bay salmon pay day is biggest on record on largest sockeye run since 1893

It’s a record breaking pay day for salmon fishermen at Bristol Bay, topping $280 million at the docks. That’s 242 percent above the 20 year average – and the number will go higher when bonuses and post season adjustments are added in. Bay fishermen averaged just under $215 million at the docks last year. According to a summary by the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game, the 2018 sockeye salmon run Bristol Bay of 62.3 million fish was the biggest since 1893, and nearly 70 percent above the 20 year average. It also was the fourth consecutive year that sockeye runs topped 50 million fish. Audio report, >click to read<16:30

Fish out of water: A fishermen’s-eye view of the commercial fishing industry

We’ve all heard the complaints about commercial fishing: It’s unsustainable, its practices are cruel, and it’s ecologically damaging. Online, we can see horrible images of shark finning or clubbing seals or slaughtering whales. It’s easy to believe that commercial fishing is bad. But is it?,,, That’s a lot of eyes scrutinizing fishermen’s every move, and every commercial fisherman has to operate knowing their every practice will be examined. Over the years, formerly common fishing practices have been banned, fishing grounds have gained protected status, and increased regulations have made commercial fishing more difficult and less viable. Most of us will never know the day-to-day grind of the industry, but one local fishing team offered their point of view of the job they love. >click to read<08:55

Pacific Salmon Treaty – Alaska salmon negotiators accept fewer ‘treaty fish’

For more than 30 years, the Pacific Salmon Commission has allocated salmon stocks shared between the U.S. and Canada. It’s re-negotiated every 10 years, and the latest version expires at the end of 2018. Formal talks finished in mid-August. Now, the numbers are out: Alaska will accept a 7.5 percent reduction, compared to 12.5 percent for Canada. In Washington and Oregon, the cuts range from 5 to 15 percent. “There’s some that would consider it to be winners and losers and I think in this case, I think everybody was equally disappointed,” said Alaska Fish and Game Deputy Commissioner Charlie Swanton, who headed Alaska’s delegation. >click to read<08:55

Alaska For Real: That shipwreck guy

If you live out in the wilderness in Southeast Alaska you will continually come across evidence of shipwrecks, new and old. My go-to place for hunting down the background details of a wreck is the website www.alaskashipwreck.com researched and written by Captain Warren Good. Having always been fascinated by shipwrecks myself, I asked him what got him interested in the subject and he responded: “During the 1970s, I worked as a seasonal deckhand, mostly fishing King Crab and Tanner Crab in the winter. I had off time between the two fisheries and spent it either in the library attempting to ‘self educate’ or out in the wilderness beach combing, prospecting and treasure hunting. Seasons passed and the number of friends I lost to the high seas kept getting larger.” >click to read<20:10

Biologists, fishermen puzzle over late Kenai sockeye run

First they were underweight, with underwhelming numbers. Then they weren’t there at all. Then they were coming in late, showing up as Upper Cook Inlet fishermen were packing up their gear for the season. The unpredictable and significantly smaller Kenai River sockeye run frustrated a lot of fishermen this year. As of the last day of sonar counts on Aug. 28, about 1.03 million sockeye had entered the river. More than half of them arrived after Aug. 1, leading to a stop-and-start fishery that included significant time and area cuts for commercial fishermen in Cook Inlet and a complete sockeye salmon sport angling closure on the Kenai River from Aug. 4–23. >click to read<16:12

House Bill 56: Cap raised to $400,000 on Alaska Commercial Fishing Loan Fund

New legislation boosts to $400,000 the cap on money that may be borrowed through the Alaska Commercial Fishing Loan Fund to purchase limited entry permits, individual fishing quotas and gear. House Bill 56, sponsored by Rep. Dan Ortiz, I-Ketchikan, was signed into law on Aug. 31 by Alaska Gov. Bill Walker in a ceremony at Fisherman’s Hall in Kodiak. Ortiz said the bill addresses the problem of too many Alaskans are priced out of commercial fishing because they can’t afford a permit, quota or gear. >click to read<13:31

Alaska wary of federal push for marine aquaculture. Everyone should be.

During a recent stop in Juneau, NOAA Fisheries chief Chris Oliver said that wild seafood harvests alone can’t keep up with rising global demand. But there’s another way. “Aquaculture is going to be where the major increases in seafood production occur whether it happens in foreign countries or in United States waters,” Oliver told a room of fishermen, seafood marketing executives and marine scientists.,,, There’s a bill pending in the U.S. Senate that could decide how federal aquaculture is regulated. It’s being backed by an industry group called Stronger America Through Seafood. >click to read<20:58