Category Archives: North Pacific

2021 Yukon River Chinook salmon run will likely be small, according to forecast

Somewhere between 42,000 and 77,000 Canadian-origin fish are anticipated to make the journey from the Bering Sea this year, Alaska and Yukon experts told attendees during the Yukon River Panel’s pre-season meeting on Tuesday. The most likely run size would be 57,000, they said. That’s smaller than the pre season outlooks for 2020 and 2019, and both those years ended disastrously when it came to getting enough salmon across the border. Under an international treaty, Canada and the U.S. are supposed to work together to ensure at least 42,500 fish make it to their spawning waters in Yukon. That spawning escapement goal hasn’t been met since 2018, last year only about 33,000 Chinook made it. >click to read< 13:21

U.S. Seafoods apologizes to Unalaska following coronavirus exposure at the Norwegian Rat Saloon

A Seattle seafood company has issued an apology to Unalaska after crewmembers from one of its vessels at port in the island community breached isolation protocols to visit a crowded local bar last weekend. The resulting widespread exposure forced the city to move from the “medium” to “high” coronavirus risk level after nearly a month and a half at the lower threshold. Dozens of locals who visited the Norwegian Rat Saloon have been asked to quarantine and test said Dave Wood, U.S. Seafoods’ chief operating officer. “We regret that these individuals made terrible decisions, put a lot of people at risk and harmed a lot of people. We are as outraged as you are.” >click to read< 22:55

Bering Sea Fishermen likely had Coronavirus and went to the bar, locals have to quarantine

Unvaccinated people who visited Unalaska’s Norwegian Rat Saloon late Saturday are being asked to quarantine this week, after officials say they shared the space with fishermen who broke their company’s own quarantine plans,,, The Norwegian Rat is a popular spot for both fishermen and locals, with pool tables and shuffleboard, and it’s the closest bar to the docks used by many large fishing vessels. Saturday was margarita and taco night. >click to read< 07:50

It’s Not Just Windmills – Nils Stolpe

Demand for undersea cables will only grow as more businesses rely on cloud computing services,,, “All of that data is going in the undersea cables.” I have known Captain Jim Lovgren for most of thirty years. I have worked with him on a number of issues,,, Based on this I have no compunctions about strongly recommending that you read the piece that he wrote and titled, “Its Time For A Fishing Industry Buy Out By Offshore Wind” And, unfortunately, I see the struggle that both recreational and commercial fishermen are facing with myriad huge windmills planned in our coastal waters as only the tip of the iceberg. >click to read, with links< 20:51

Commercial herring fishery winding down

The Sitka Sound Sac Roe Herring Fishery is winding down, and state biologists expect to close the fishery soon. In an interview on Thursday (4-8-21), Area Management Biologist Aaron Dupuis said the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is shifting out of “active management” mode. “We’re still going out there. We’re flying, we’re monitoring the commercial fishery. We’re not leaving it alone to do its thing,” he said. “So we’re definitely on top of this, but it’s for sure winding down. I’d expect it to go another day or two tops.” >click to read< 08:46

After two-year break, seiners hopeful herring fishery will continue into future

The Sitka Sound Sac Roe Herring Fishery opened in late March, after a two-year hiatus. Less than half the fleet is fishing this spring, but the seiners who have stuck around have hauled in catches every day over the last week and a half. KCAW spoke with two commercial fishermen shortly before the fishery opened about the importance of herring to their businesses and lives. Justin Peeler is standing on the deck of his boat, the F/V Defiant, Matt Kinney runs the F/V Hukilau. audio, >click to read< 11:08

Obituary: Nevin Stanley May, Ketchikan, Alaska – Commercial Fisherman

Born in Prentice, WI, Nevin came to Ketchikan in 1967. In his words, “I thought it was the greatest place you could imagine. It was wide open, you could do just about anything you wanted.,,,  Nevin began his storied career as a commercial troller soon thereafter and continued for more than 40 years, selling the F/V Cheryl in 2012. Through his years fishing, he made friends (and probably some enemies too!) with local, state, and federal politicians, and helped to shape some of today’s fishing regulations. He co-founded the Alaska Trollers Association and was a board member for several years. He was also a member of the Seafood Producers Co-Op, and served as chairman of the board from 2001-2002. Nevin was an avid hunter, both locally and nationally. >click to read< 10:05

Shipwreck lodged on Marin coast probed for pollution threat remains in place

Nearly a month after a 90-foot fishing boat ran aground on the Marin coast, the wreckage remains in place while specialists assess the risk of environmental damage. A team of marine engineers and safety experts has been enlisted to determine how much fuel is aboard the American Challenger, which drifted to shore on March 6. So far, the contractors have evaluated 13 of the 17 tanks onboard, but progress was halted when the ship shifted, making work conditions unsafe,,, >click to read< 08:08

Sitka herring fishery opens for first time in 2 years

After a week on two-hour notice, the Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery opened twice over the weekend. According to a release from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the fishery opened for 8 hours on Saturday. It re-opened on Sunday morning at 10:45 and closed at 6 p.m. Area management biologist Aaron Dupuis said seiners caught around 2,300 tons on Saturday, but he didn’t have data from Sunday’s harvest yet. He said the fleet is smaller this year, with around 20 seiners and four processors are participating. “It’s been pretty relaxed,” he said. “Just the size of the fleet. Everything is really tightly controlled. So it’s not the usual bumper boats, wild, shoot-out fishery a lot of people are accustomed to. It’s pretty relaxed out there.” >click to read< 13:30

Deadliest Catch: The Crab Industry Is Struggling – Will Mandy take over F/V Northwestern if Sig retires?

“Deadliest Catch” has been hinting this could possibly be the very last King Crab season. Episode 1 already shows the captains joining forces to find and catch crab since they endured many obstacles during the COVID-19 pandemic. This could be the final straw for Sig. He comes from a long line of fishermen and started fishing at age 14. Sig is 54 years old. While he’s not technically considered old, he does have a slew of health issues. He’s had two heart attacks, yet fans can still see him smoking cigarettes in various “Deadliest Catch” ads. >click to read< 10:09

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

Fishing industry unimpressed with Biden Harris’s NOAA/NMFS climate crisis notions. (Offshore Wind Farms, either!)

President Biden ordered NOAA to collect information from a wide range of groups on increasing the resilience of fisheries as part of his plan to address climate change and to protect 30% of U.S. ocean areas by the year 2030. The NOAA directive is included in the sweeping executive order Biden signed his first week in office that made “the climate crisis” a centerpiece of his presidency. “Fisheries, protected resources, habitats and ecosystem are being affected by climate change,” acting NOAA Fisheries chief Paul Doremus said at the beginning of yesterday’s conference call. >click to read< 07:55

ComFish Alaska: State’s largest fisheries forum finalizes schedule

ComFish Alaska, the state’s longest-running fisheries forum and trade show, has finalized interactive forum events for the 2021 virtual gathering March 30-31, on topics ranging from federal and state legislation to electronic monitoring and crab research. The forums open at 10 a.m. on March 30 with a federal update from Alaska’s congressional delegation, followed by an Alaska legislative update presented by Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak. Rep. Jared Huffman, R-Calif., chair of the House Water, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee, leads off the second day of forums, with a discussion on his efforts to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the principal law governing marine fisheries in the United States. >click to read< 12:49

Fisherman Nate Iszac caught a ‘Real-Life Sea Monster’ in Alaska, and they’ve become social media sensations! 

A fisherman‘s unusual catch has been dubbed a ‘real-life sea monster’ by social media users after photos showed the beastly fish’s huge, gaping mouth and razor-sharp teeth. Fisherman Nate Iszac, 39, caught the bizarre fish in Alaskan waters earlier this month,,, Iszac, from Oregon in the US, poses in several images with the fish,,, He said: “When we saw it there was a nervous excitement in the air. After being found on 9 March in the Bering Sea off Akutan Island, Alaska, the animal has been identified as a wolf eel. Iszac confirmed he always puts his creatures from the deep back into the water, and that the wolf eel swam away unharmed. photos, >click to read< 08:36

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

Obituary: Reno Red Leaf

Reno Red Leaf, 31, our beloved son, brother, nephew, uncle, cousin and friend, was called home, to his eternal resting place on March 10, 2021, while living in Seattle Washington, just 1 week shy of his 32nd birthday. He entered this world on March 17, 1989, St. Patrick’s Day, in Ponca City, OK, born to Tony Red Leaf and Lynne Kitchell and he had 2 older brothers at the time of his birth, Toby and Roman. Reno will be truly missed by all who loved him and by those who have met him. Recently Reno was living in Seattle Washington working as a commercial fisherman out of Sitka, Alaska and Dutch Harbor during his untimely death. >click to read< 22:06

Obituary – Scott Michael Kent of Nome, Alaska, has passed away

Scott Michael Kent, a resident of the Nome area for 20 years, and well known for his professional career, his community involvement, and his colorful personality, passed away on Monday, March 1, 2021, of an unexpected heart attack. He was 45 years old. Scott grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on the shores of Lake Superior. Ultimately, he decided to make Nome his home and worked in commercial salmon and summer crab fisheries and spent time at various field projects and test fishing from southern Norton Sound to above the Artic Circle,,, >click to read< 19:21

Deadliest Catch: Hillstrand coming out of retirement. Sig says, “what we need are legends” for the industry to survive

Season 17 – We know that the pandemic has taken a major hit on the fishing industry. But the virus hasn’t been the only factor that destroyed crab fishing quotas, the crew also struggles with illegal fishing from the Russians. Johnathan Hillstrand not only knows how to retain fishing quotas but can keep the crab population sustainable, something that illegal fishermen don’t prioritize. As far as the pandemic is concerned, Northwestern Captain Sig Hansen knows that he needs the best in order to save the crab fishing industry. This is where Johnathan Hillstrand comes in. Sig says, “what we need are legends” in order for the crab fishing industry to survive. >click to read< 08:42

From Oregon to Massachusetts, fishermen’s wives associations are the backbones of their communities

In spring 2020, the fishing community of Newport, Oregon, shuttered along with the rest of the country. A coronavirus outbreak at a local Pacific Seafood processing plant left fishermen sitting on docks with no buyers for their Dungeness crabs, while restaurants closed and families found themselves housebound. That’s when Taunette Dixon and her organization, the Newport Fishermen’s Wives, stepped in.,,, In Massachusetts, the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association was founded in 1969. “We were shore captains,” said Angela Sanfilippo. “We would make sure when the boats came in, they’d get everything they needed so they could go back out the next morning at 2.30. The wife would be responsible to make sure these things happened. As their wives, we knew more than them.” >click to read< 11:32

SB 29: Setnet permit buyback bill moves from Senate committee

Without objection, the Senate Resources Committee advanced Sen. Peter Micciche’s Senate Bill 29 to the Finance Committee March 8; the bill authorizes the state to buy back nearly half of the upper Cook Inlet setnet permits on the Kenai Peninsula from any members. “We’re finally at the end of our rope. Fishing families that have been fishing the East Side of Cook Inlet for generations are at the end of their rope,” Micciche said to the committee. “We want some of those fishing families to remain viable and give those that choose to be bought out an opportunity to move to other fisheries or to retrain for another line of work.” >click to read< 09:59

Deadliest Catch season 17 – What a Time to be Alive!

In season 17, Discovery says that “half the crab boats of the Bering Sea fleet are tied up in Seattle” while “an existential threat faces the fishermen who make the long-haul trip to Dutch Harbor, Alaska,” because they face “a potential closure of the entire fishery” for the 2021 season. The crab survey conducted during the summer by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game didn’t happen because of C0VID-19, and that means “the captains will be fishing blind with no charts or guidance on where to find crab on the grounds, making an already challenging season even more difficult,” short trailer, >click to read< 10:03

The Alaska Wilderness Prepared Me For Coronavirus

Every summer I make the long trip up to Naknek, Alaska — an outpost of human settlement among the tundra, volcanoes, and wildlife of southwestern Alaska to be part of the commercial sockeye salmon fishing season in Bristol Bay. From the airport at King Salmon, we drive the lonely stretch of pavement a half hour north, to the boatyard in which the Epick, a 32-foot-long, aluminum-hulled gillnetter that I call home for several weeks out of the year, resides through the winter. My crew and I prep the boat and put her in the water, where we make use of the abundance of daylight typical to Alaskan summers to try and catch as many salmon as possible. >click to read< 11:47

F/V Scandies Rose: Inaccurate Design Calculations May Have Put Scandies Rose in Harm’s Way

According to the Marine Safety Center, the hydrostatics model that the naval architect provided for the vessel “did not accurately represent the F/V Scandies Rose,” for multiple reasons. MSC alleged that it did not accurately model poop deck or forecastle enclosed volume, did not model the bulwarks, had significantly less superstructure windage than the actual vessel, appeared to have much different tank capacities than the vessel capacity plan, and neglected downflooding in calculations. >click to read< 07:50

F/V Scandies Rose: U.S. Coast Guard and NTSB conclude formal public hearing proceedings of the tragedy

The joint investigation board reviewed and considered evidence related to the loss of the fishing vessel, which occurred on Dec. 31, 2019. The board heard from 43 witnesses, who provided testimony into the conditions influencing the vessel prior to and at the time of the casualty. Testimony also focused on weather, icing, training fisheries, the Scandies Rose’s material condition, owner and operator organizational structures and culture, the regulatory compliance record of the vessel, Coast Guard policy, and practices related to vessel design, engineering and inspections.,,, Recordings of the proceedings are available,,, Documents, exhibits, helpful videos, Board biographies, and other hearing information is available >click to read< 15:43

An Alaskan fish story, with a longline to Midland, Michigan

“It started with me and my mom commercial fishing together on an adventure together up in Alaska. I needed a deckhand and I didn’t have one, and I called my mom up. … She was in her mid-60s and she was up for it.” That was over ten years ago. For the past four and a half years, Caven and his mother, LoLita Pfeiffer, who lives in Midland, have sold fresh, wild-caught Alaskan fish to Midland. Fishing is normally a tradition passed down in families, but Caven had to learn fishing on his own. He spent nearly 15 years learning how to fish as a full-time fisherman, >click to read< 21:51

F/V Haida Lady Update: Vessel has been raised, Coast Guard concludes monitoring diesel fuel clean-up near Sitka, Alaska

The fishing vessel, Haida Lady, has been raised with lift bags and dewatering pumps, and is tied off to shore. Approximately 1,550 gallons of diesel fuel and oily water mixture were removed from the vessel’s fuel tanks. An additional 275 gallons of oil products were recovered from the water with the use of absorbents, which included 72 sections of absorbent boom and 1,000 feet of harbor boom was deployed and recovered on-scene. All recovered oil products and the net were transferred to the vessel Eyak,,, photos, >click to read< 18:53

Gina M. Raimondo Sworn in as 40th U.S. Secretary of Commerce

Gina M. Raimondo was sworn in as the 40th U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Secretary Raimondo was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris after a bipartisan vote of 84-15 in the United States Senate. In her role as Secretary of Commerce, Raimondo will lead a key agency focused on promoting economic growth, >click to read<11:20

A Commercial Fishing Vessel Sinks – Coast Guard responds to diesel fuel discharge near Sitka, Alaska

The Coast Guard is responding to a report of a diesel fuel discharge, Tuesday, after a vessel sank near Sitka, Alaska. Sector Juneau personnel received a report, February 27, 2021 at 2 p.m., that the 52-foot fishing vessel, Haida Lady, sank and was completely submerged between Cobb Island and Silver Point South of Sitka, Alaska. The vessel reportedly discharged an unknown amount of unrecoverable diesel near Cobb Island. Photos, >click to read< 17:42

F/V Scandies Rose: Investigation Takes a New Look at Crab Boat Stability

Last week’s hearings on the tragic sinking of the ill-fated fishing vessel Scandies Rose have raised questions about the stability booklet requirements for crab boats, which are routinely exposed to severe freezing spray in Alaskan waters. Many crab boat sinkings have been blamed on ice buildup and loss of stability over the decades, but the U.S. Coast Guard design standard for ice accumulation relies on an IMO rule that was not formulated with crab vessels in mind, leading several naval architects who testified last week to question whether it is time for a revision. >click to read< 09:19

Coast Guard medevacs woman from fishing vessel near Cold Bay, Alaska

The Coast Guard medevaced a woman from a fishing vessel approximately 101 miles northwest of Cold Bay, Alaska, Sunday. An Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew hoisted the woman at 10 p.m. and safely transported her to a LifeMed flight team in Cold Bay for further transport to Anchorage. Watchstanders at the 17th District command center in Juneau received a medevac request,,, >click to read< 16:53