Category Archives: North Pacific

Opinion: Fisheries act is a chance to build trust

There’s a little something for everyone to hate in the House’s proposed renewal of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Commercial fishermen feel it gives too much to recreational fishermen and environmentalists. Recreational fishermen say it goes too easy on their commercial counterparts, and the environmental lobby says the measure, which passed the House last week along largely partisan lines, will undo years of progress in restoring fish stocks. We are left with what we have had for decades — a pitched battle among competing interests, with no end in sight. Congress must do better to help guarantee that the science behind management decisions is sound and easily understandable. >click to read<19:25

Seafood Industry should Organize, File National Class Action Lawsuit Against Anti-Commercial Fishing 501(C)’s, private companies

Every Seafood Industry related trade association in America should join hands and file a National Class Action Lawsuit  against certain 501(C) organizations and private companies that have de-humanized the Commercial Fishermen in the United States by reducing the non-boaters share of the Federal Fishery Resources. The lawsuit should be filed in the District of Columbia Federal Court on behalf of the hundreds of millions of non-boaters who depend on access to the nations fish at restaurants and retail markets through the labors of Commercial Fishermen. By Bob Jones >click to read<08:32

F/V Kristi sinks near Clark’s point, all onboard survive

Shortly after midnight on Saturday, July 14, the F/V Kristi lost power. The tide was coming in, and the boat floated in the current at 5 knots. While its skipper Jan Medhaug and deckhand Kyle Brojakowski worked to restore power to the 32-foot aluminum drift boat, Medhaug’s wife, Kayla Breeden went to the stern to hang a protective buoy. “When you’re out there fishing for that many days, you just think kind of everything is mundane, so I grabbed my buoy to go out there,” said Breeden. “I didn’t even put my rain jacket on and I almost didn’t put my boots on because I thought we were going to clear her.” She could see two large ships, which she estimated were “three football fields away.” >click to read<23:44

‘Deadliest Catch’ co-star Edgar Hansen pleads guilty to sexually assaulting teen girl

Reality-TV fisherman Edgar Hansen pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a teenage girl in September, but he’ll face no jail time under a plea deal quietly reached last week with Snohomish County prosecutors. Instead, Hansen, 47, received a 364-day suspended jail sentence and was ordered to pay court fines and fees of $1,653, court records show. He also must undergo a sexual-deviancy evaluation and treatment and give a DNA sample to authorities.,, Hansen pleaded guilty Wednesday to fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation — a gross misdemeanor — admitting he intentionally kissed and touched the victim.>click to read<20:30

Kenai River anglers ask for closure of Cook Inlet commercial set netting

The Kenai River Sportfishing Association (KRSA) is calling for the closure of set net fishing on the Cook Inlet until adequate numbers of king and sockeye salmon enter the Kenai River. The organization is asking Gov. Bill Walker to direct the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to take action and help Kenai River salmon numbers rebound.,,, One commercial set netter agrees a closure could benefit harvests for both sides. “As a commercial set netter for almost 50 years, and speaking for myself,” Ken Coleman said, “I believe we commercial fisherman have always been in favor of department closures when the health of the fisheries is at risk, whether it be sockeyes, or Chinook or other species. >click to read<08:24

‘No fish and no hope’: Poor sockeye salmon run takes a toll on Chignik

A dreadful sockeye run in the Chignik salmon fishery, on the south side of the Alaska Peninsula, is imperiling commercial and subsistence fishermen and distressing the community there. In the Chignik salmon fishery, the sockeye escapement — or the number of fish allowed to escape past the fishermen to spawn — was about 190,000 fish as of Friday afternoon. That’s less than half of what the average figure usually looks like by now. Commercial sockeye fishing has been closed there all season, and subsistence fishing has been restricted. Tribal groups have requested a disaster declaration for the fishery from Gov. Bill Walker. >click to read<14:42

The MSA and Don Young’s partisan dilemma

“We must remain committed to the bipartisan, bicameral tradition of fisheries management,” Rep. Don Young wrote last Sunday, “and my legislation accomplishes just that.” He was referring to the reauthorization of Magnuson-Stevens Act. But when the House passed it on Wednesday, only nine Democrats voted in favor of it. Which explains why, in the same opinion piece, Young complained about “the hyper-partisan mentality” his “Democratic colleagues subscribe to.” Like the breakup of a marriage, there are two sides to this story. The reason why Young is arguing from both might be that he was caught in the middle. >click to read<09:00

Set netting is a ‘mud experience’ and these fishermen can’t get enough of it

Mud is the tie that binds all set netters together, but some are better than others at traipsing through the gloop. We found three fishermen who couldn’t stop gushing about it. Alana Kansaku-Sarmiento has left set netting (somewhat reluctantly, it seems) to drift with the fishing vessel Marion-Ruth.,,  I love, for some reason, the mud. And that’s a very personal reason that I would love Nushagak Point and set netting, but I happen to be one of those people who just loves walking in it, picking fish in it, dragging s**t — stuff — through it. I don’t know what it is. >click to read<12:20

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

Copper disaster

No sooner did the burst of sockeye salmon into the Copper River begin than it was over. With the famous salmon river in eastern Alaska again falling behind projected daily returns, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today that a Thursday through Sunday opening of the popular personal-use dipnet fishery will likely be the year’s last. The weak sockeye run has now turned into a disaster for almost everyone. Cordova commercial fishermen off the mouth of the river caught only 26,000 of the highly valuable sockeye in three short openings in May before they were shutdown for the year. >click to read<20:33

An old boat with a prosperous past awaits a future afloat

For decades, the Midas was a commercial fishing vessel that ventured between Alaska and Washington. It was like a middle man, purchasing fish from boats at sea and selling it at ports in Seattle, Juneau, Ketchikan or wherever else the market called. The Midas had a prosperous past. In 1987, it sold for more than $4 million. Today, the 100-footer is far removed from its glory days. It looks haggard on a muddy bank near the I-5 bridge over the Snohomish River between Marysville and Everett.,, Richard Cook, 46, bought the boat in November. He said he bought it so his father could fish in Alaska. >click to read<13:58

Prince William Sound commercial catch tops 3.5M fish

Commercial harvests in Prince William Sound have reached 3.5 million salmon, even as the surge in the catch in late June slowed somewhat in early July. Through June 10 fishermen delivered to processors an estimated 2,450,601 chums, 1,022,779 sockeyes, 18,461 pinks, 7,829 Chinooks and 459 silvers. Drift gillnetters in the Coghill district alone have brought in over 1.8 million fish, including an estimated 1.7 million chums, 155,704 reds, 1,959 humpies, 386 kings and 94 silvers. Purse seiners in the Montague district had,,, Statewide harvest updates provided by the McDowell Group in Juneau for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute show that through June 10 nearly 28 million salmon have been delivered to processors. >click to read<12:55

House of Representatives – Debate and Passage of HR-200

July 11, 2018 House Session The House meets with debate scheduled on a fisheries management bill sponsored by Rep. Don Young of Alaska. >click to watch<20:52

House votes to overhaul fishery management law – “I’m proud to say that my bill protects our commercial and recreational fisheries’ interests and allow councils to do their jobs in a more streamlined and effective manner,” Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), the bill’s sponsor, said on the House floor. >click to read<21:41

Ukrainian seafood buyers want to connect with Unalaska’s fisheries

International seafood buyers are scheduled to visit Unalaska this month, but they don’t hail from a massive importer like China or Japan. They’re coming from Ukraine — a once-modest market for Alaska fish that’s slowly reemerging after political upheaval and economic crisis. In 2013, Ukraine spent $105 million on American seafood — a record for the Eastern European nation that loves hake, pollock and salmon roe. But two years later, those imports had plummeted almost 70 percent as the Ukrainian government was overthrown and parts of its land occupied by Russia. >click to read<21:22

Partisanship shouldn’t undermine our fisheries

Partisan rancor may be standard operating procedure for most of Washington, but let’s not allow it to unravel the progress we’ve made for our country’s vital fisheries.,,, The current reauthorization legislation on the table, H.R. 200, reauthorizes the MSA for the first time in over a decade. It has the needed type of collaborative, stakeholder-driven support that previous successful reauthorization efforts enjoyed. That’s because this reauthorization wasn’t created overnight — it has been carefully developed over the past five years with input from experts in fisheries’ science, commercial and recreational fishing groups, and a wide array of regional perspectives. >click to read< for various posts on the reauthorization >click here<06:25

Southeast Dungeness crab fishermen will have full season in 2018

Southeast Alaska’s Dungeness crab fishery had a strong first week and will not have a shortened season like last year. The summer season for most of the region started June 15. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced in late June that crabbers would have a full two-month summer season. Fishermen caught more than 871,000 lbs. during the first week. The agency uses the first week’s catch to estimate how many crab will be harvested during the season. Tessa Bergmann with Fish and Game in Petersburg said this year’s estimate is the third highest on record. “Our harvest estimate for the 2018 season is just over 3.7 million lbs.,” Bergmann said. That is well above the 2.25 million lb. estimate required for a full season in Southeast Alaska. It will mean crabbers can keep fishing through Aug. 15. >click to read<15:08

Nordic Lady: Keeping a Good Boat Up to Date

When Trygve Westergard bought the 98- by 28-foot Judi B in the spring of 2016 he was entering a new chapter in a varied marine career. Growing up on a remote island off Ketchikan, Alaska as the third generation of Norwegian-Danish family, he had fishing in his blood and his environment. A stint at the California Maritime Academy earned him an unlimited masters license and a BS in marine transportation. After a decade of running everything from ferries to off-shore boats and filling the gaps with fishing, Westergard decided it was time to come home.  Given the price of quota the logical entry to the Alaskan fishery was with a tender to collect fish from other boats. This business would also allow his family on board for part of the year. In the Judi B,,, >click to read<12:45

Bristol Bay sockeye harvest breaking records as other districts suffer

The Nushugak District in Bristol Bay is experiencing an all-time record harvest of sockeye salmon as other districts across Alaska suffer poor returns. “Last year the Nushagak set an all-time record of 12.3 million fish for the year, I just got off the phone [on Friday] with the manager and he expects that record to be broken today,” said Art Nelson, a spokesperson for commercial fisheries at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. “And there are more fish to come.” Other districts across Alaska have been struggling with poor sockeye harvests. >click to read<08:44

Naknek-Kvichak District closes to boost Kvichak River Escapement, Special Harvest Area will be open

A big announcement today from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game today. The Naknek-Kvichak District is closed. The Naknek River Special Harvest Area will be open to drift gillnet gear tonight at 8 p.m. That triggers the Egegik District to close and move into the Egegik River Special Harest Area. Drift gillnetters there will also see an 8 p.m. opening. Across Bristol Bay’s five districts, no dual permit boat may have more than 150 fathoms of gear on board, starting this at 8 p.m. as well. These restrictions are an effort to boost escapement on the Kvichak River, which is far behind where it needs to be to meet the bottom end of its goal, 2 million sockeye. >click to read<20:09

Fishing fleet packs Amalga Harbor: On down year for pinks, seiners line up for hatchery chums

Drivers out the road might encounter a somewhat new sight on Thursdays this month: A small armada of commercial seine boats, fishing in close proximity, yards away from the Juneau road system. In a down year for pink salmon, seiners have descended on Amalga Harbor on Thursdays in July for four planned one-day fishing openings. “It’s quite the show,” said Douglas Island Pink and Chum Operations Manager Brock Meredith. It’s the seventh year fishery managers have allowed fishing in what’s called a Special Harvest Area around Amalga Harbor. >click to read<16:31

Fisherman drowns in Cook Inlet; body brought to Homer Harbor

A Kenai man died at sea Thursday after falling overboard from a commercial fishing boat this morning north of Kodiak. Alaska State Troopers identified the victim as Anthony Walsh, 62. The U.S. Coast Guard and Alaska State Troopers received a report at about 9 a.m. that a man went into the water off a fishing vessel about 124 nautical miles or 143 miles north of Kodiak in Cook Inlet. According to an Alaska State Troopers dispatch, Walsh fell overboard while salmon fishing with Kevin Loran, 59, of Anchorage. Loran attempted to get Walsh on board, but was not successful.
Rios identified the boat Walsh and Loran fished on as the F/V Hooligan. >click to read<08:56

Chignik fishermen stuck ashore as sockeye run fails

Communities around the Gulf of Alaska are struggling with low sockeye returns, and villages near the Chignik River are no different. The region is experiencing its weakest recorded run in the last in 50 years.  Fishermen are stuck waiting for a commercial opener,,, There’s really only one thing to talk about in Chignik Bay these days — where are the sockeye? “Shock is pretty much the guaranteed feeling of most people as kinda everybody walking around dazed.” according to Ben Allen, a local fisherman. It’s to the point where residents have pulled their subsistence nets voluntarily to try and get every salmon they can up the Chignik River.,, And, like other nearby communities, red salmon is the main source of income that keeps the lights on in the village. >click to read<18:12

Three crew members safe after troller Leona sinks during opener

Three people were rescued when their fishing boat took on water and and sank in Sitka Sound Monday night (7-2-18). The 33-foot troller Leona, owned by Hank Moore, called about 11 p.m. saying it was in trouble near Povorotni Point about 7 miles south of Sitka. A Coast Guard helicopter, a Sitka Fire Department rescue boat, and another fishing vessel, Pacific Pearl, responded to the scene. The helicopter dropped a pump, but after some difficulty starting it, the crew reported that the pump was not controlling the flooding. >click to read<22:31

Salmon struggles extend to unprecedented restrictions at Chignik

A tough sockeye salmon commercial fishing season is shaping up in the Gulf of Alaska, from the Copper River across to Kodiak Island and back to the mainland at Chignik. And the Yukon River is seeing dismal chinook salmon returns, although the summer chum run is strong. “I haven’t put my net in the water once,” complained Chignik purse seiner Roger Rowland on June 26. “It’s literally the worst run ever.” Rowland commented from the fishing district on his cellphone, via teleconference in an Unalaska City Council meeting, about 300 miles to the southwest where he lives, during a break between votes. >click to read< 18:36

We can’t survive more cuts to Alaska king-salmon quota

Alaska salmon fisherfolk have been giving up a disproportionate portion of their harvest — over 50 percent, at least — to rebuild damaged stocks elsewhere. A few seasons ago in Chatham Strait, Karl Jordan, a third-generation Alaska salmon fisherman, came out to watch as I brought up an ashy-lipped, prismatic monster on the troll gear. Forty-five to 50 pounds. Spots on his tail an inky black. It was the second week of July, the king salmon opener just closed after we had caught our treaty quota. “Looks like a Columbia River hatchery fish,” Karl said. “Let him go.” If Karl was correct — and he usually is when it comes to fishing — that salmon had swum north from Washington’s Columbia River to spend its life in the Gulf of Alaska. >click to read<20:21

State won’t support Pebble Mine, unless it can prove ‘zero impact’

Gov. Bill Walker wants to press pause on the controversial Pebble Mine project in Southwest, Alaska. Pebble is seeking federal permits on a smaller mine proposal, about half the size of the one it began pursuing more than a decade ago. But in a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers on Friday, Walker urged suspension of a critical piece of that process — the environmental impact statement — calling for proof of a “feasible and realistic” project first. “This is something that we’ve looked at very carefully, and we feel like even the project proponents are unsure of the size of this project,” said Andy Mack, Commissioner of the Alaska Dept. of Natural Resources.,, >click to read<10:45

State of Alaska plans distribution of 2016 pink salmon season disaster relief funds

The state is working on distributing roughly $56 million in relief funds to those affected by the 2016 Gulf of Alaska pink salmon season disaster.,,, Julie Speegle, a spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirms that a spending plan is in the works, and representatives from the state, NOAA, and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission met recently to discuss who will receive relief funds and how much. “The spending plan can cover a range of activities in support of commercial fisheries and support industries such as processors, fish houses, or communities affected by the disaster,” >click to read<12:43

Poor salmon runs result in low harvests, disaster request

Poor salmon returns across the Gulf of Alaska are putting commercial fishing catches far behind the average and prompting a request for a disaster declaration. Commercial fishermen and fisheries managers have been puzzling so far this season as to why the sockeye salmon runs that usually keep boats in the water have been so weak. Copper River fishermen have been frequently closed this season because of poor sockeye counts at the sonar at Miles Lake. As of Wednesday, 320,145 fish had passed the sonar, below the cumulative management objective for that date of 409,931 fish, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s online fish counts. >click to read<09:09

U.S. Commerce Department Announces Appointments to Regional Fishery Management Councils for 2018

The U.S. Commerce Department announced the appointment of 30 members to the eight regional fishery management councils that partner with NOAA Fisheries to manage ocean fish stocks. Twenty-nine of the new and reappointed council members will serve three-year terms from August 11, 2018 through August 10, 2021. One appointed member is filling an at-large seat recently vacated on the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council and this member will serve through August 10, 2020. >click to read<17:02

No Booze, No Drugs – ‘Deadliest Catch’ star Sig Hansen avoids jail, gets probation for assaulting Uber driver

Celebrity fishing-boat captain Sig Hansen was given a deferred sentence, ordered to undergo alcohol treatment and put on a year of probation Thursday for assaulting an Uber driver after a night of drinking in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood last year,,, Seattle Municipal Court Judge Ed McKenna, who last month postponed Hansen’s sentencing after raising concerns about his drinking, handed down the sentence after learning that Hansen voluntarily agreed to outpatient treatment and to abstain from drug and alcohol use for the next year. The judge also received further details about a 2008 disorderly conduct case in Alaska in which an allegedly drunken Hansen was charged after punching a man at least twice in a bar. >click to read<14:54