Category Archives: North Pacific

Crabbers face another round of harvest cuts

Bering Sea crabbers started their 2019-20 season this week with a mixed harvest bag and an uncertain future for their fisheries. The NPFMC and Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game, which collaboratively manage the state’s crab fisheries, announced the catch limits and overfishing limit for the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands and Bristol Bay crab fisheries last week, just in time for the fisheries to open Oct. 15. While the eastern Bering Sea snow crab fishery’s total allowable catch is up, the Bristol Bay red king crab fishery’s is down and there won’t be a Bering Sea Tanner crab fishery at all.  >click to read< 21:52

North Pacific council votes to hike observer fees in 2021

The costs for on-board fisheries observers will be increasing, and no one in the industry is particularly happy about it. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to adjust the observer fee percentage to 1.65 percent of ex-vessel values. It was previously set at 1.25 percent. The increase is intended to cover additional observer services to reach the target coverage rate set out by the council for the various fisheries across the North Pacific region. >click to read< 14:15

Former Deadliest Catch fisherman Jerod Sechrist Arrested, faces heroin possession charge. A Skipper says finding good crew is challenging.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office inmate database, Sechrist, 33, was arrested on Oct. 5 by the Tampa Police Department in Tampa, Florida. He was charged with one felony count of possession of heroin and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.,, In an interview earlier this year, Deadliest Catch Captain “Wild Bill” Wichrowski said putting together a good crew in the commercial fishing industry has gotten more challenging. “It’s harder to find excellent guys,” he told the website. “They used to be lined up 12 deep,,,”>click to read< 09:23

Red King Crab Quota Down 12% As Stock Trends ‘Toward Fishery Closure Thresholds’

Commercial fishing opens Tuesday, Oct. 15 for Bristol Bay red king crab. This season, the declining population has forced managers to set the total allowable catch (TAC) at 3.8 million pounds. That number is 12 percent lower than last year, as well as the lowest since the fishery was rationalized in 2005. Even if fishermen catch all of the TAC, it’ll be the smallest harvest since 1982. “This is not good news,” said biologist Ben Daly of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. “We’re trending toward fishery closure thresholds.” >click to read< 15:11

Coast Guard experiencing VHF-FM radio outages throughout Southeast Alaska, reminds public of secondary means of emergency communication

Coast Guard Sector Juneau personnel are experiencing multiple VHF-FM radio outages throughout Southeast Alaska and may not be able to hear or respond to distress calls on channel 16. Currently, waterways affected by Coast Guard VHF-FM radio site outages include the Gulf of Alaska between Yakutat and Sitka, Cross Sound, Peril Strait, Hoonah Sound, Southern Chatham Strait, Sumner Strait, the waters surrounding Zarembo Island and the west side of Prince of Wales Island. >click to read< 20:38

Huffman Gets Bleak Input on Fisheries

On Oct. 5, North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman held a public meeting in Arcata to discuss updating the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), the federal legislation that governs ocean fishing. Huffman brought together a roundtable of regional and local officials, a Humboldt State University professor and a few representatives of the local fishing industry to offer feedback on the failings — and successes — of the MSA.  >click to read< 10:22

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

We ask Sen. Murkowski to let the Pebble process play out

Perhaps you have seen our ads thanking Sen. Lisa Murkowski for standing up for the permitting process for Pebble. The theme of our ads is “we need jobs” and “we want hope.” While the coastal communities in our region see some benefits from the short commercial fishing season, many in our home communities do not. Recently, several of our Bristol Bay leaders took to these pages pushing Sen. Murkowski to more be more aggressively involved in the permitting process. We support Sen. Murkowski staying informed and engaged about the Pebble issue. >click to read< 09:53

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

Fishermen catch 2 billionth sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay this year, since record-keeping began

This year, during the fishery’s second largest harvest on record, Bristol Bay commercial fishermen hit another historic number: the 2 billionth sockeye salmon caught by commercial fishermen since record-keeping began in the late 1800s.  “It wasn’t supposed to happen this fast, but the last couple of seasons had huge returns,” said Nushagak/Togiak Area Management biologist Timothy Sands.  >click to read< 10:24

Time to rethink halibut bycatch regulations

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) is meeting in Homer, A major item up for discussion is Bering Sea/Aleutian Island Halibut Abundance Based Management (BSAI Halibut ABM).,, Directed halibut users are often small-scale fishermen harvesting halibut one hook at a time. Many operations are family owned and contribute to the livelihoods of captains, crews, vessel owners, and communities throughout Alaska. Therefore, if we want small boat fisheries to remain viable and to support sustainable fishing practices and economic opportunities for Bering Sea and Aleutian Island fishing communities, we need to design management plans to do that. By Josh Wisniewski >click to read< 22:32

Alaska canned pink salmon purchased for food assistance programs

Millions of pounds of Alaska’s 2019 harvest of pink salmon is now earmarked for child nutrition and related domestic food assistance programs, thanks to a U.S. Department of Agriculture purchase of over $25 million in canned product from four processors. USDA officials announced on Sept. 20 the purchase of 442.3 million cases of one-pound tall cans of pink salmon for the federal agency’s food assistance programs,,, >click to read< 10:36

Prince William Sound season’s catch nears 56 million fish, statewide harvest now tops 201 million salmon

Statewide preliminary data compiled by ADF&G showed an overall harvest of 201 million fish, including 124.8 million pink, 55.3 million sockeye, 17.3 million chum, 3.4 million coho and 273,000 Chinook salmon. With the addition of some 100,000 fish last week, the 2019 Alaska commercial salmon season is nearly complete, noted Garrett Evridge of the McDowell Group, who compiles weekly commercial salmon reports in season on behalf of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. >click to read<  10:47

North Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet in Homer, Alaska, September 30 – October 9, 2019

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet September 30 – October 9, 2019, at the Land’s End in Homer, Alaska.  Read the Agenda > click here<,  Read the schedule >click here< To listen online, (link is missing, will be updated)>click here< while the meeting is in session. 15:46

Sen. Murkowski is right: The Army Corps needs to bring science back to Pebble permitting

“If a mine cannot stand on its own without negative impact to the fisheries resource, then that mine should not be permitted.” – Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sept. 18, 2019. That statement, delivered during Bristol Bay Native Corporation’s annual salmon celebration in Washington, D.C., quickly travelled from the U.S. Capitol all the way back to Bristol Bay, where many of our organizations have been working to expose the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inadequate environmental review process for Pebble. >click to read<  10:40

Fisheries disaster declared in multiple fisheries, multiple states

Wednesday,, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced his determination that commercial fishery failures occurred for multiple fisheries between 2017 and 2019 in Alaska, California, Georgia, and South Carolina, while further finding that a catastrophic regional fishery disaster occurred for Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama due to extreme flooding events in the Gulf of Mexico. >click to read< 17:41

Bristol Bay Native Corp. nets two fishing companies in one deal

The Alaska Native corporation with a “fish first” principle is making its first foray back into the signature Alaska industry in roughly 40 years. Bristol Bay Native Corp. announced an agreement Sep. 17 for it to purchase Blue North Fisheries and Clipper Seafoods, two Seattle-based longline fishing companies that operate in the large Bering Sea Pacific cod fishery. BBNC CEO Jason Metrokin said in an interview that Blue North and Clipper will be merged into a new subsidiary, Bristol Bay Alaska Seafoods, when the deal closes Sept. 30. >click to read<  10:19

Acclaimed cinematographer in critical condition after motorcycle crash

Doug Stanley, a father of three and Emmy-award-winning cinematographer, is in critical condition after he was hit head-on by a drunk driver while riding his motorcycle Sept. 9 in Auburn. Son Jett, who was a passenger on the motorcycle, was knocked unconscious and suffered a hairline fracture in his foot. While Stanley is best known for his work on “Deadliest Catch,” the Auburn resident is also a pillar of the community donating his time to help salmon restoration in the American River and speaking at local events. >click to read<  12:07

Doug Stanley: Father of 3 in Critical Condition>click to donate if you can!<

Coho harvests still coming from gillnet fishery

Coho harvests in Prince William Sound rose to 497,000 fish this week as drift gillnetters in the Coghill district made dozens of deliveries, and the Sound’s overall preliminary wild salmon deliveries hit 55.8 million fish. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Cordova office opened the Coghill District for an 84-hour driftnet fishing period on Sept. 17 in the wake of a 60-hour period that opened on Sept. 12, while the purse seine fisheries remained closed. >click to read<  14:51

Oregon researchers investigate latest marine heatwave that could hurt Pacific ecosystems

Earlier this month, the feds announced there was trouble brewing in the Pacific: a mass of warm water was building off the west coast, reminiscent of another event nicknamed “The Blob,” which caused havoc for wildlife and fishermen just a few years ago. Experts caution that the current marine heatwave is still in its infancy and could dissipate today, tomorrow or next week.,,, “This marine heatwave took shape in June, persisted, and has grown in size,” said Chris Harvey, a research biologist at the Northwest Fishery Science Center, >click to read< 17:54

Pebble project permit application changes spark outrage

A decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to consider without additional public input recent changes in a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit application for the proposed Pebble mine in Southwest Alaska is sparking controversy anew Word spread after the USACE affirmed during a Sept. 17 media teleconference that there would be no additional public comment taken on 10 changes the Pebble Limited Partnership made to that application via a memo to the Corps. >click to read<  12:41

Preliminary summary gives Bristol Bay highest exvessel value ever

After reviewing preliminary data from the season, Alaska Department of Fish & Game says that 2019 appears to be have produced the highest exvessel value of all time at $306.5 million. That means the money paid to boat captains as they unloaded their catches at dock was the highest ever, though the numbers don’t include adjustments for icing, bleeding, or production bonuses. The ADF&G summary also shows that the sockeye fun of 56.5 million >click to read<  10:46

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

Humpy catch ends, coho opener wait for rain

“We still haven’t gotten a lot of rain, so we’re tracking behind in escapement and the (coho) commercial harvest is below anticipated,” said Jeremy Botz, gillnet area management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Cordova. “We had been fishing once a week and now we have been closed for more than a week.” The last opener for coho salmon was Sept. 2. >click to read< 12:59

Legislators say Pebble mine could spark a cataclysmic mistake

Claims of Gov. Mike Dunleavy to a potential investor in the Pebble mine project that the state will actively help defend the project from “frivolous and scurrilous attacks” are drawing a sharp rebuttal from 20 Alaska legislators and the Bristol Bay Native Corp. In their Sept. 9 letter to Randy Smallwood, president and chief executive officer of Wheaton Precious Metals Corp., in Vancouver, British Columbia, the legislators said that while the mine “may provide some economic benefit to Alaska, it sits near the headwaters of the largest salmon run in the world. Dewatering and re-routing these headwaters could devastate our cherished resource, as would a single cataclysmic mistake.” >click to read<  13:28

“Why I came to Alaska”, Israeli filmmaker documents fishing experience

The local seining industry is the star of a short video produced by Yonatan Belik, an Israeli filmmaker and traveler who spent the summer working as a skiffman in Kodiak. Belik, 29, said he happened upon Kodiak by chance. While hitchhiking in Israel, a stranger recommended he go fishing in Alaska.,,, Belik worked between June and August on the Abby Jo, a 37-foot seiner captained by Jake Organ. Organ grew up in Chugiak but has spent his summers fishing in Kodiak since his youth. At the age of 28, this is Organ’s first summer as captain. >click to read<  12:58

Salmon Tales: Sex, myth and molecular genetics of an iconic fish

A sockeye salmon’s life ends right back where it began, culminating in an anadromous drama of sex, decay and sacrifice. Patty Zwollo says that it’s all part of sexual maturation in salmon: They swim up out of the Pacific into the same streams in which they were born and into the lives, literature and religion of the native peoples of the drainages. >click to read< 10:34

Sockeye harvest breaks all-time top 5; pinks picking up

The 2019 salmon season has seen plenty of fish return to the state, but far from evenly across regions. As of Sept. 10, commercial fishermen across Alaska have landed 198.4 million salmon of all five species, about 8 percent less than the preseason forecast of 213.2 million. Most of that shortfall is in pink and chum salmon, which haven’t delivered on their forecasts so far, but a surplus of sockeye salmon helped make up for some of that gap. Statewide, commercial fishermen have landed more than 55.1 million sockeye, about 9 percent more than last year and 5 million more than the preseason forecast. >click to read< 07:40

Alaska Board of Fisheries issues 2019-2020 proposal book

Proposals to be considered by the Alaska Board of Fisheries during its 2019-2020 meeting cycle are now available for download,,, The 276 proposals up for review are for Lower Cook Inlet Finfish, Kodiak Finfish, Upper Cook Inlet Finfish, and Statewide (except for Southeast and Yakutat King and Tanner Crab, and Prince William Sound Tanner Crab) King and Tanner Crab regulatory meetings. >click to read< 11:25

Thornton Edward “Ed” Luttrell II

Thornton Edward “Ed” Luttrell, II of Marysville, Washington, passed away on September 2, 2019 while visiting his beloved family ranch in Roseburg, Oregon. He was 67 years old.,, Following his graduation, Ed accepted a position with Peter Pan Seafoods in Alaska. Though friends predicted he wouldn’t last two weeks on a fishing trawler, Ed quickly worked his up to Superintendent on the 296-foot M/V Royal Sea.This experience, combined with his education, tenacity, and work ethic, led Ed to prominent executive positions in the fishing and marine industries, including American Seafoods and Arctic King. .,, Ed is preceded in death by his parents and son, Thornton Edward Luttrell, III, “Teddy”. His daughters Erin Joy Leigh, Elizabeth Luttrell Fellars, and son-in-law Shreve Fellars survive him, as well as many beloved friends and business associates. >click to read< 18:08