Category Archives: North Pacific

Coast Guard, good Samaritan assist vessel taking on water near Sitka, Alaska

The Coast Guard and a good Samaritan assist a vessel taking on water near Sitka, Alaska, Saturday. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka delivered a dewatering pump to the fishing vessel Tamarack, which was taking on water approximately 35 miles west of Sitka Saturday. The crew of Tamarack utilized the dewatering pump to prevent additional flooding. The good Samaritan vessel Pacific Bounty responded to the urgent marine information broadcast, arrived on scene and assisted in dewatering the vessel. Video, >click to read< 06:49

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

Alaskan Pollock Production Continues As Usual Despite The Coronavirus

“Basically, current demand for Wild Alaska Pollock is very strong and we are doing everything we can at the Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers to support our members in meeting the demand,” said Morris. This is in stark contrast to the situations of fishermen targeting other species across the country, many of whom have seen significant losses. Another reason the Alaskan Pollock fishery is staying afloat has to do with the processing and shipping of the fish.,, All processing of Alaskan Pollock, however, occurs on the massive fishing vessels at sea or in facilities in Alaska, which gives Pollock fishermen an advantage over some other seafood producers. >click to read< 13:20

Coronavirus: Bristol Bay fishermen urged to delay travel to the region until at least May 1

On Thursday, the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, which represents the Bristol Bay drift gillnet fleet, issued its first COVID-19 advisory to the fleet asking that non-local Bristol Bay Fishermen delay travel to the region until at least May 1 and listed the state mandated quarantine protocol for anyone who does travel to Alaska from out of state.,, Since Alaska enacted a limited entry permit system, the share of permits held locally by Bristol Bay residents has declined by more than 50 percent, according to a 2017 University of Alaska Fairbanks analysis. Many drift fishermen make the trip each summer from Washington, Oregon or California. >click to read< 07:49

Coronavirus: Letter from 200+ US seafood industry stakeholders to Trump Administration

March 24, 2020, Dear President Trump.  We write as participants in America’s seafood supply chain, a critical component of the country’s domestic food infrastructure and one of the major economic drivers in our country’s coastal communities and states. Empty restaurants, cafes, and dining halls are a visible reminder of the ongoing, unprecedented public health efforts to blunt the spread of COVID-19. The livelihoods of the chefs, cooks, servers, and other staff are obvious and direct casualties of those government efforts. The economic disruption caused by forced restaurant closures and active encouragement for Americans to “shelter in place,” however, extend far beyond the food service sector. >click to read< 19:37

Coronavirus: Fishing coalition seeks $4B in federal aid to cover lost restaurant sales

Commercial fishing industry members say they’re trying to stay afloat while the demand for fish dwindles as restaurants are reduced to take-out only amidst the coronavirus health crisis. Saving Seafood, a national coalition of seafood harvesters that includes New Jersey members, is now turning to the federal government for $4 billion in financial help.  “We have to manage our expectations right now. This is a national issue and it’s not going to be solved in a day or two,” said Greg DiDomenico, executive director of the Garden State Seafood Association, a commercial trades group that’s also a part of the Saving Seafood national coalition.  >click to read< 18:28

Local maritime organization restoring 114-year-old fishing boat

A remnant of a bygone era of handcrafted boats, it is one of the last of its kind. Between 1884 and 1951, about 8,000 existed. A 1951 law that required motors on commercial fishing boats resulted in the majority of these boats being either converted or burned. Today, fewer than five original vessels remain of the type that Sturgill launched his commercial fishing career on.,, The boat was donated by Seattle-based Trident Seafoods in 2013 to Drayton Harbor Maritime, a non-profit that Richard Sturgill founded with the goal of preserving the maritime history of Drayton Harbor and its surrounding waters. photo’s, >click to read< 08:17

Fishing industry grapples with fallout from coronavirus response

Like almost all industries and institutions across Alaska, the novel coronavirus pandemic is shaking up the fishing industry. With restrictions changing almost daily and cases spreading across the United States, fishermen are still fishing, but the normal seasonal progression of the industry is likely to hit some rough waters. Travel in and out of Alaska has dropped after federal and state advisories against it, and questions are hovering about how seafood processors and fishing vessels will find the employees they need for upcoming seasons.,, Adding to that, the workers in the seafood industry are often seasonal and come from outside the communities where they work, from elsewhere in Alaska, the Lower 48 or international. That’s something the processing industry is working hard to figure out. >click to read< 17:23

A Message From XTRATUF

“During these challenging times, the team at XTRATUF wants to ensure the fishing community works together, stays safe and feels supported, whether on land or sea. “The fishing industry and fishermen need continued consumer access for purchasing fish and seafood, and many businesses are offering alternative delivery options. XTRATUF is hoping to help support the community by connecting consumers across the country to healthy, fresh protein, shipped directly to your doorstep. XTRATUF is also actively working to build consumer awareness through a new #XTRATUFTOGETHER campaign, because even during challenging times, we can stand together and keep each other healthy. >click to read< 07:40

Coronavirus: Dear UFA Members and Friends, people arriving in Alaska are required to self-quarantine

As we all try to understand the magnitude of Covid-19, UFA is closely monitoring the evolving situation. We are actively engaged on the issue at the state and federal level and we will continue to provide you with information as soon as we get it. Last night, Governor Dunleavy issued a Health Mandate for the State of Alaska. All people arriving in Alaska, whether resident, worker or visitor, are required to self-quarantine for 14 days and monitor for illness. Arriving residents and workers in self-quarantine, should work from home, unless you support critical infrastructure (see Attachment A). (Food and agriculture, company cafeterias, cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing;) >click to read, links< 17:45

At the Very Beginning of the Great Alaska Earthquake

The world and everything in it appeared to be convulsing. Genie’s eyes were seeing it, but her mind couldn’t organize all the discordant information into a coherent story. Suddenly, through the windshield, she watched the road roll away from the car. The pavement didn’t break apart; it was still solid. But it rolled, wavelike, as though some humpbacked shadow creature were surging under its surface, heading for town. Finally, Genie found a word that could fasten this chaos to­gether in her mind. She said the word aloud: “This is an earthquake.” >click to read< 09:17

Senate Democrats, Greens Seek Climate Mandates In Federal Stimulus Bills

Senate Democrats and environmentalists want to tack climate change mandates onto proposed federal aid to major airlines and cruise lines reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter to the House and Senate leadership, eight Senate Democrats said last week that any financial assistance to the travel industry “should be paired with requirements that companies act in a more responsible fashion” by reducing their carbon footprint. “Climate change damages will wreak havoc on a scale even greater than the coronavirus,” said the Friday letter headed by the Center for Biological Diversity. Democrats who signed the letter were Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Jeffrey Merkley of Oregon, Cory A. Booker of New Jersey, Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Tina Smith of Minnesota and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. >click to read< 10:12

Oil, Fishing, Tourism: Alaska Economy Faces Triple Hit from Coronavirus

The U.S. state of Alaska is so far distant from the worst medical ravages of the coronavirus pandemic, but its economy is in critical condition. Alaska is especially vulnerable because it depends on oil, tourism and fisheries – basic industries that are reeling from the global coronavirus pandemic – and the state government gets most of its revenue from investment earnings that have now evaporated. “Alaska is experiencing a perfect storm, a most terrible trifecta, the hat trick from hell,” said state Senator Natasha von Imhof, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, at a hearing Saturday. “We are being hit on all sides with the stock market crash, oil prices plummeting and the tourism and fishing season all but idle.” >click to read< 09:04

Coronavirus: Seafood processors respond to COVID-19 with added precautions

Seafood industry processors say they are in ongoing discussions with local, state and federal partners,,, The seafood industry talking points including working around the clock on prevention and response, coordinating with partners that include public health officials, preventing the spread of COVID-19 within Alaska and keeping seafood safe, said Stephanie Madsen, executive director of the At-Sea Processors Association. The Seattle-based trade association represents six member companies who own and operate 16 U.S. flagged catcher/processor vessels participating principally in the Alaska Pollock fishery and West Coast Pacific whiting fishery. The group includes American Seafoods Co., Arctic Storm Management Group LLC, Coastal Villages Region Fund, Glacier Fish Company LLC, Aleutian Spray Fisheries Inc. and Trident Seafoods.  >click to read< 20:56

Small Business Relief Tracker: Funding, Grants And Resources For Business Owners Grappling With Coronavirus

Some 30 million American small businesses are high on the coronavirus’ list of victims. Nearly half of these companies say the pandemic is to blame for unprecedented revenue declines, and with no clear end in sight, the possibility of temporary closures has become a reality for many. In an effort to help business owners find financial relief, we’ve rounded up all of the government agencies, private companies and nonprofit organizations that are extending support. We’ll be adding to this list as the situation develops, so check back for updates. >click to read< 13:01

Coast Guard suspends search for possible person in water near Dutch Harbor, Alaska

The Coast Guard has suspended its search Thursday for a possible person in the water near Dutch Harbor. Missing is 33-year-old Steven Mencer, last seen wearing a neon green pullover rain jacket with orange and black pants. Mencer was reported missing after failing to report to crew check-in while the Alaska Mist, a 164-foot fishing vessel, was moored at Coastal Transportation Northern Dock, Thursday. includes original alert. >click to read< 09:23

Coronavirus: The country is shutting down. Shutdown NOAA’s Fisheries Observer Program, nationally. Right Now.

I am writing this editorial today as a responsible, conscientious American fishermen and citizen, in complete disbelief of the irresponsibility of a U.S. government agency during the current international coronavirus crisis. While the nation is in national emergency mode, states are closing public spaces, schools, universities, daycares, restaurants, encouraging social distancing, putting people in quarantine, outlawing large gatherings, and taking unprecedented emergency measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, NOAA Fisheries is pursuing the complete opposite when it comes to the fishing industry and ignoring all public safety precautions. more by Hank Lackner, F/V Jason and Danielle >click to read<06:03

Falling Asleep on Watch-Crew Fatigue Led to the Grounding and Loss of F/V Freyja

The vessel was in the Bering Sea near Point Tebenkof, Unalaska Island, Alaska, when she grounded and remained stranded on the rocks. The four crewmembers abandoned the vessel and swam to a nearby Good Samaritan vessel. The vessel was considered a total loss, with damage estimates at $550,000.  The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the grounding was the failure of the deckhand on watch to monitor the vessel’s track as a result of falling asleep due to an accumulated sleep deficit and the vessel owner’s lack of countermeasures to mitigate crewmember fatigue. >click to read< to read the NTSB report, >click here< 13:26

Tell Your Congressmen and Senators: Our US Fishing Industry Faces The Coronavirus Disaster

With the Coronavirus being spread around the world and nations reacting to this threat in many different ways, from doing nothing, to closing the borders and full quarantines, the unintended effects of such government actions have yet to be fully felt. Granted the stock market has lost 30% in value in just 3 weeks time, the average American really doesn’t feel that unless he is living on his investment returns. With the closing of schools, and restaurants and any places of public gatherings an enormous crisis is being created because many people are being put out of work and some of them may not have a business to come back to when the crisis is over. The Coronavirus may topple an empire if we let it. >click to read< 06:17

Video: Coast Guard medevacs fisherman injured 170 miles southwest of Kodiak

The Coast Guard medevaced an injured fisherman Saturday from a boat southwest of Kodiak Island. A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Kodiak hoisted the 49-year-old man from the 58-foot fishing vessel Alaskan Dream at approximately 1:15 p.m. He was transported to Air Station Kodiak and placed in the care of awaiting local EMS. Video, >click to watch< 15:31

“Looking Back”: The Keep Fishermen Fishing Rally

Measured by any meaningful criteria the Keep Fishermen Fishing rally held on the steps of the Capitol on March 21 was a stunning success. It was attended by thousands of fishermen from as far away as Alaska, twenty one Senators and Members of the House of Representatives, and at least a half a dozen other VIPs made room in their busy schedules to come out and address the people who attended. From the most conservative of the conservatives to the most liberal of the liberals, these politically divergent speakers had one message; fix the Magnuson Act and bring back the balance between conservation and harvest. For the second time at the national level recreational and commercial fishermen – no matter what fisheries they participated in, no matter what their disagreements on allocation or lesser issues were, and no matter where they were from – were standing together and demanding a return to the original intent of the Magnuson Act;,,, >click to read< 08:09

In America’s largest salmon fishery, preparations begin for coronavirus prevention ahead of the season

Around Bristol Bay, community leaders, health facilities and local entities are working to coordinate their preparations for the coronavirus. Thousands of fishermen, processors, and cannery workers will travel to Bristol Bay in the coming months to participate in the commercial fishery. As of Thursday afternoon, no one in the region had been tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Alaska’s first known case of the disease was announced Thursday afternoon. >click to read< 11:26

Coronavirus: Perfect storm?

What no one could foresee when the sun rose in Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow) on Jan. 23 and everything seemed so normal was that the planet was already hurtling toward a global economic slowdown with possibly devastating repercussions for a fragile, Alaska economy dependent on oil, tourism, fisheries and the state Permanent Fund – all now suffering the fallout from the consequences of an invisible, contagious and too-often-deadly pathogen. A month before that sunrise, with Utqiagvik still cloaked in darkness, a new coronavirus spawned no one knows exactly where was already spreading in Wuhan, China far to the south and west. more, >click to read< 15:09

Cook Inlet setnet permit buyout bill stalled in Senate

Senate Bill 90, sponsored by Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, would establish a mechanism in law for setnetters on Cook Inlet’s East Side to set up a permit buyback. There’s no funding included in the bill, but the establishment of the mechanism itself would allow stakeholders to seek funding, whether it comes from the federal government, state, or private equity. ,, The East Side setnet fishery has gradually been losing value for years. For the last few decades, user-group politics have led to the Board of Fisheries reducing the time and area allowances for setnetters on Cook Inlet’s East Side, who compete for salmon headed for the Kenai and Kasilof rivers, which also host large sport and personal-use fisheries. more, >click to read< 20:46

Glum outlook scares salmon fishing industry – Wednesday, an expedition leaves for the Gulf of Alaska to try to help crack the puzzle

This year’s preliminary salmon outlook from Fisheries and Oceans Canada says overall expectations for salmon returns are generally low and similar to those in 2019. In many cases, expectations have even declined, it said, noting that the picture is brighter in “very few cases.”,, On Wednesday, a B.C.-based expedition leaves Victoria for the Gulf of Alaska to try to help crack the puzzle of plummeting stocks. Scientists from Canada, Russia and the U.S. will be on the chartered 37-metre commercial trawler Pacific Legacy No. 1. It returns April 4. more, >click to read< 10:00

Decision to Keep Fishing Despite Flooding Led to Sinking

About 0330 local time on February 15, 2019, the commercial fishing vessel Pacific 1 was engaged in cod fishing in the Bering Sea near Kashega Bay, Unalaska Island, Alaska, when the vessel began to take on water at the stern. The five crewmembers abandoned the vessel and were rescued by the nearby Good Samaritan vessel Kona Kai. No crewmembers were injured in the accident, and an oil sheen was reported. The vessel sank and was considered a total constructive loss, valued at an estimated $720,000.,, The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the sinking was the captain’s decision to remain at sea with continuous flooding in the lazarette from an undetermined source, which accelerated,, more, >click to read< Read the report >here< 19:54

Coronavirus outbreak has Alaska fishing fleets on guard

“The protocols on cleaning and how to prevent a virus are already part of the procedures that we follow,” said Chad See, executive director of the Freezer Longline Coalition. “But the sense was that this is an issue we need to be on top of.”On the large vessels that catch and process seafood, dozens of crew members may be employed to work in remote areas of the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. While at sea, the crews’ isolation shields them from a virus spreading on shore. But crew shifts bring new people on board, and could allow for the spread of the virus to a vessel. more >click to read< 12:04

Judge hears arguments on lawsuit against EPA over withdrawn protections for Pebble

Monday U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason heard arguments on whether or not to dismiss a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency over its decision to withdraw a proposed determination which had effectively blocked developing the Pebble Mine. Last October, the Bristol Bay Defense Alliance, a coalition of groups representing native tribes in Bristol Bay, commercial fishermen and the seafood industry filed suit against the EPA. Environmental groups then filed two additional lawsuits. The three lawsuits have since been consolidated. >click to read< 08:51

“With a bit of prodding by some valued colleagues”, we will be launching a series “Looking Back”

A few of us were conversing, and the topic of resurrecting’s some of the posts, pages, and information of the past to gauge the changes and improvement’s achieved though the past few decades of fishery management and sacrifice, or if there have been any improvements at all! Nils Stolpe, Jim Lovgren, and I thought perhaps these various posts and articles would give an indication of how the domestic fishing is doing! Both of these gentlemen are exceptional writers, with exceptional knowledge of the domestic fishing industry and they have been featured here many times. We hope people revisit these articles, and for many of the newer fishermen in the industry today, this may be the first exposure to this interesting, and valuable info, and other stories. We’ll kick it off with “With a bit of prodding by some valued colleagues,”  >click to read< 13:07

On this day in1977: 200-mile limit fishing zone takes effect

On this day in 1977, a 200-mile territorial fishing zone took effect, with the waters off Cape Cod being one of the two areas where the Coast Guard focused its enforcement efforts. Coast Guard vessels also patrolled the rich fishing grounds near Kodiak, Alaska, to protect American fishermen from foreign competition.”Poachers illegally fishing U.S. waters or taking the wrong kind of fish can be seized,” United Press International reported. Foreign vessels were required to obtain permits to fish within 200 miles of the US coastline, while some coastal areas and species of fish were deemed off-limits altogether. The federal government warned other nations that Coast Guard patrol boats would not hesitate to board foreign fishing boats within the 200-mile limit to ensure compliance. >click to read< 06:53