Category Archives: Pacific

Commercial vessel a ‘total loss’ after Monday morning fire at Westport Marina

The commercial fishing vessel Mary Ann L was a total loss after it caught fire on Float 11 at the Westport Marina early Monday morning. South Beach Regional Fire Authority Chief Dennis Benn said the call came in at 2:45 a.m.; when responders arrived on the scene the vessel was about 5o percent involved in flame. “A good Samaritan was using a garden hose already on the dock, to protect a boat that was next to the burning vessel,” said Benn. At 02:45 this morning, we were dispatched to a commercial fishing vessel fire, on float 11 in Westport. >click to read<16:31

Even after sinking of Seattle-based F/V Destination, Coast Guard slow-walks training for fishing boat skippers

The Coast Guard investigation into the 2017 sinking of the Seattle-based Destination, released last month, was the latest in a long succession of Coast Guard inquiries to spotlight serious stability problems that led to commercial fishing boats going down and their crews dying. Earlier findings prompted Congress, in a 2010 overhaul of commercial fishing safety laws, to require operators take a short course that reviews how loading gear, boat modifications and changing weather conditions can affect a vessel’s ability to stay afloat. But nine years later, the Coast Guard has yet to come up with regulations to enforce the safety mandate. Even in the aftermath of the Destination investigation, which documented the missteps that contributed to the loss of six crew members in the Bering Sea, Coast Guard leaders have yet to say when this training rule might be in place. So the stability courses remain voluntary, often sparsely attended. >click to read<11:07

K-6 gillnetter is a reminder of Kenai’s long fishing history

One of the earliest commercial transactions involving Alaska salmon occurred in 1786. In that year two British ships stopped in Cook Inlet, which was then under Russian-American Company control, to trade Hawaiian yams for fresh salmon. The Russian-American Company never developed a for-profit salmon industry. However, after the United States acquired Alaska in 1867, Americans began operating salteries in Southeast Alaska to preserve the fish for market. In 1878, the first Alaska cannery was built at Klawock on Prince of Wales Island. Within four years, canneries had reached Cook Inlet in Southcentral Alaska. >click to read<08:31

Crescent City Harbor District – Harbor prepares for potential squid fishery

Though they’re most abundant between Baja, California and the Monterey Bay, the Crescent City Harbor District is preparing for the possibility that fishermen may bring market squid to its docks. Commissioners on Thursday voted 4-0-1 in favor of adding a quarter-cent poundage fee for squid to its fee schedule. Commissioner Carol White was absent. According to Crescent City Harbormaster Charlie Helms and Commissioner Rick Shepherd, a quarter-cent poundage fee is the going rate at other ports that see market squid come across their docks. >click to read<14:28

Harbor district, energy authority looking to create a ‘clean’ industry future with aquafarm, offshore wind energy

The Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District and the Redwood Coast Energy Authority outlined plans Friday at the Humboldt County Economic Development Summit for infrastructure upgrades on the Samoa peninsula to build a land-based aquafarm and offshore wind energy project with an anticipated completion date of 2025 or 2026 — renewable energy projects that could have a significant positive impact on the county’s workforce development. >click to read<10:07

F/V Mary B II – Public hearing slated on fatal capsizing beginning at 8 a.m. on May 13

An investigation into the fatal capsizing of a boat off the coast of Newport remains ongoing. A public hearing will be held at Newport City Hall beginning at 8 a.m. on May 13. The hearing will focus on the capsizing of the commercial fishing vessel Mary B II, which led to the deaths of three fishermen at the entrance of Yaquina Bay in Newport. On Jan. 8, the three fishermen were approaching the Yaquina Bay Bar aboard the 42-foot Mary B II when it capsized without warning, tossing two overboard into the rough seas, according to a Coast Guard. >click to read< The hearing will be streamed live each day >click here to listen< 11:56

Westport Crab Races, derby and more in Westport this weekend

A seafood feast, crab races, crab and clam derbies with cash prizes, and the annual Whale of a Sale are all on tap this weekend in Westport.,,, The nonprofit commercial fishing group WEfish and the Washington Dungeness Crab Association are hosting the annual crab derby. The marina will be thoroughly stocked with Dungeness crab ahead of time, and each crab is marked with a cash value, ranging from $25 to the $500 grand prize. The derby starts at 8 a.m. and goes until 7 p.m. >click to read<09:50

Salmon Fisheries Set As Managers Start Process To Protect Endangered Orcas

The organization that sets limits for commercial, recreational and tribal salmon fisheries in the Pacific Northwest wrapped up their work Tuesday at a meeting in Northern California. The Pacific Fisheries Management Council bases the limits on salmon run projections up and down the coast. While the chinook salmon catch will be slightly lower than last year, the coho fishery in Washington and northern Oregon will be much improved. Recreational anglers would benefit most from this. In addition, the council is starting work on plans to rebuild five Northwest fish runs considered to be “overfished,”,,, >click to read< 09:07

California’s whale protections must also protect crab fishing industry – Noah Oppenheim

At midnight Monday, California closed its springtime Dungeness crab fishing season coastwide, three months early. Hundreds of California crab fishermen and fisherwomen who rely on this fishery to feed their families will be off the water. They will have to find work elsewhere. Some may lose their livelihoods.,,, The ability of California fishermen to provide a seafood resource that the public rightfully owns is now even more constrained. >click to read<13:46

Best salmon return since 2014 leads to longer season for North Coast fishery

North Coast fishing crews idled by an early end to the Dungeness crab season will have a longer 2019 salmon season than in recent years after fishery managers finalized dates Tuesday, a reflection of this year’s healthier projected adult spawning run. In fact, this generation of returning adult king salmon is thought to be the most abundant since 2014, allowing for a season opener beginning May 16 and stretching to at least late September in coastal waters between Point Arena on the southern Mendocino Coast and Pigeon Point on the coast of San Mateo County. >click to read<10:08

Council Adopts West Coast Salmon Seasons>click to read<

OCEAN SALMON: Council adopts new recommendations

The Pacific Fishery Management Council has adopted ocean salmon season recommendations that provide recreational and commercial opportunities for most of the Pacific Coast, and achieve conservation goals for the numerous individual salmon stocks on the West Coast. “Although some salmon stocks are returning in stronger numbers than last year, balancing fishing opportunities with conservation is always a challenge for the Council, its advisors, fishery stakeholders, and the public,” Pacific Fishery Management Council Executive Director Chuck Tracy said. >click to read<17:05

PFMC Officials: No Sardine Fishing Off California This Year Due to Steep Population Decline

West coast regulators have voted unanimously to ban commercial sardine fishing for the fifth straight year after a recent evaluation of the northern Pacific stock revealed a steep decline. The ban on commercial sardine catch spans the entire length of the U.S. West Coast.,,, A new assessment of northern Pacific sardine stocks by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).,,, Not all fishermen agree with the decision to keep the sardine fishery shuttered. Diane Pleschner-Steele, executive director- California Wetfish Producers Association, said NOAA’s sardine survey under-counts the fish, and that the fishermen she hears from are noticing a comeback. >click to read<10:59

DC Circuit Sinks Challenge to Fishing Bycatch Rule

The D.C. Circuit on Friday upheld the government’s method of counting fish and other sea life that are unintentionally swept up in commercial fishing nets. The NMFS changed its method for counting bycatch in 2015,,, The 2015 change puts trained reporters, typically biologists, on a sample of fishing boats to count bycatch. Their numbers are then extrapolated across entire fleets, giving the government an estimate to work with. Conservation group Oceana challenged the new rule,,, >click to read<19:25

Pawning off one farmer as representing all is a cheap trick in the dam-removal campaign

Advocates for tearing down the Snake River dams made a scheming move last week in Olympia, but they didn’t fool Eastern Washington lawmakers. If anything, their failed strategy strengthened the resolve of many of our region’s legislators, who were frustrated by the misrepresentation. Here is the story: A Seattle-based marketing firm sent out news releases this month saying that an “unlikely alliance” of fisherman, farmers and small business owners was gathering April 10 at the state capitol to support creating a forum focused on the dams. >click to read<13:07

Dismal Columbia River salmon forecast may trigger emergency fishing restrictions

Fishery managers in Washington and Oregon are concerned the spring and summer chinook salmons runs on the Columbia River are going to be one of the lowest on record. And the state agencies are calling for a meeting next week to consider emergency restrictions on commercial and recreational fishing along parts of the river. By Friday morning, 189 adult salmon had crossed over Bonneville Dam. That’s less than 8 percent of the 10-year average of 2,392 fish for the same date. >click to read<09:24

Resolutions Introduced in 3 States to Designate 2019 as International Year of the Salmon

State representatives from three states are introducing resolutions and a joint memorial this week to recognize 2019 as International Year of the Salmon.,, Rep. Geran Tarr of Alaska, Rep. Debra Lekanoff of Washington, and Rep. Ken Helm of Oregon are working on the initiative in concert with the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission and the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization. >click to read<20:01

At Humboldt County Board of Supervisors – Blindsided Crabbers Congregate

As the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting got underway at its normal 9 a.m. start time, there was still a line of people extending out the front door,,, local crab fishermen who had shown up in force to support a resolution aimed at saving the local fishery from “devastating economic harm,” The threat comes in the form of a recent CBD – PCFFA settlement,,, “We were blindsided by this ruling,” said crab fisherman Zach Rotwein of Trinidad.,,, Pacific Choice Seafoods General Manager Rick Harris said his company recently made a $1.2 million investment,,, “This is a travesty and a disaster for the community,” said crab fisherman Patrick Davis, who owns two fishing boats and employs “eight or nine guys.” >click to read<22:49

Commercial fishing isn’t the main threat to habitat

A recent letter wondered why Gov. Inslee would allow gillnetters on the Columbia River. The fact is, in the environment in which orcas struggle to survive commercial fishers are the easiest element to manage.,,, Gillnetters catch limited numbers of salmon. But land developers and homeowners can destroy an entire salmon run permanently. The pesticides, fertilizers, weed killers, moss removers, and deck waterproofing folks liberally use around the house and yard are absolute fish killers. Personal care products, pain medications, antidepressants and other popular pharmaceuticals are either disposed of or excreted into our sewage systems and flushed into the Salish Sea and Columbia River. >click to read< by Arthur Lynch, Bainbridge Island

‘Atrocious’: 250 Dungeness crabs dumped beside highway in Northern B.C.

A massive dump of dead crabs along a main northern highway has triggered a major investigation. The 250 male Dungeness crabs were found rotting beside a Highway 16 rest stop, west of Smithers, B.C., last week. Officials believe it’s linked to ongoing illegal seafood sales along B.C.’s North Coast. “I’ve never had an investigation like that, with a bunch of crab dumped,” said B.C. Conservation Service Officer Flint Knibbs. >click to read<14:50

Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting April 9-16 in Rohnert Park, California

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and its advisory bodies will meet April 9-16, 2019 in Rohnert Park, California, at DoubleTree by Hilton Sonoma, One Doubletree Drive, Rohnert Park, CA 94928 Agenda and Meeting Notice, >click to read< Listen to the April 2019 meeting live <click to listenwww.pcouncil.org   17:28

WA lawmakers pass on whale-watching ban aimed at helping orcas

Washington legislators came into their 2019 session brimming with proposals to help rescue Puget Sound’s imperiled orcas. But now they have dropped one of the most important — and controversial — ideas: a three-year moratorium on commercial whale watching. Lawmakers denied Gov. Jay Inslee’s attempt to force commercial whale-watching boats to keep extra distance from three pods of orcas that summer in the waters of Puget Sound and the Salish Sea between Washington and Canada. In doing so, they rejected a key recommendation supported by the majority of nearly 50 researchers, state and tribal officials and others who served on the Southern Resident Orca Task Force. >click to read<14:10

Boat owner responds to Port of Astoria lawsuit

A boat owner being sued by the Port of Astoria for abandoning his vessel shot back recently,,,,The Port sued Nick Mathias, a California resident and owner of the Coastwise, claiming he fell behind on moorage before sending a letter in September notifying the agency he would be abandoning the vessel. Mathias claims the Port in 2014 was charging him $2,000 annually for moorage fees, raising it to $3,000 the next year, $9,600 the third year and finally $37,000. The Port has closed all access to the East Mooring Basin causeway because of a rotting substructure, leaving a dwindling group of boat owners to reach their vessels by skiff. >click to read<18:53

This Nest of Dangers: Gillnetting in 1884, 1887, and 1975

Just now, it’s raining axe handles out there; it’s the weekend of Fisher Poets in Astoria, and I’ve been reading the annual report of the U.S. Life Saving Service from the 1880s. Those Cape Disappointment reports tell of hard work, and a hard life, and a harder death. To begin with, the Life Saving reports describe the gillnet fishery of 1884:,, “In the lower part of the Columbia River there are annually employed at least two thousand of these boats, manned by four thousand fishermen. During the season the fishing goes on day and night,.,,, Nearly a century later, in 1975,, “A long time Bristol Bay fisherman spotted [gillnetter] Les Clark of Chinook [profiled in the April 3, 2019 Observer] on Wednesday, Sept. 17, and asked if he could shake his hand. ‘You’re the only man I’ve ever heard about … who got caught in his net reel and came out of it alive.’ Mr. Clark shook the man’s hand heartily. Great read. >click to read<19:25

A PETITION – Demand Charlton H. Bonham be replaced as Director of the CDFW

The Director has failed the fishermen for years. Crabbers alone have experienced 5 closures in 5 years. Charlton Bonham is trading our harvest rights for his own political gain. >Click to sign the petition< 12:00

Environmental groups sue to restrict salmon fishing for Northwest orcas

The Center for Biological Diversity, which filed a lawsuit nearly two decades ago to force the U.S. government to list the orcas as endangered, and the Wild Fish Conservancy asked the U.S. District Court in Seattle on Wednesday to order officials to reconsider a 2009 finding that commercial and recreational fisheries did not jeopardize the orcas’ survival. >Video, click to read<10:09

Chinook fisherman views life afloat as public service

Fishermen make good philosophers. Les Clark is no exception. “I have had a fantastic life,” said Clark, who turned 90 in December. “I had a lot of scrapes, but I survived all of them. All my buddies are gone. I wonder why I am still here. Maybe the good Lord needs me here to fight for the fish?” The concept of giving up his 32-foot F/V St. Frances II and not fishing solo doesn’t arise. “I am one of the older guys still on the river,” he said. His father Gene and Anna Clark of Chinook set the bar. “Dad fished till he was 90 and died at 98, and mom went to 97,” he smiled. >click to read<11:20

California – Commercial Dungeness Crab Season to Close Statewide April 15

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham issued a declaration to close the commercial Dungeness crab fishery statewide at 11:59 p.m. on April 15, 2019 due to increased whale entanglement risk anticipated for the spring and summer months. ,,,, Therefore, the Director has declared that the commercial Dungeness crab fishery will close at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 15, 2019.  For more information >click to read<10:08

After an initial patch of rough seas, Fishing Vessel St. Jude is reeling in prized albacore, and accolades

ST. JUDE is the patron saint of lost causes. It wasn’t the name Joyce and Joe Malley would have chosen for the spanking-new 95-foot fishing vessel they bought in Port Arthur, Texas, in 1990, but it’s considered bad luck to change a boat’s name. In retrospect, a little heavenly protection might have helped. Buying the St. Jude took all they had, and then some. >click to read<11:18

Fisherman’s Association Suing Over Climate Change Refuses Questions on Its Greenness

The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association (PCFFA), which is currently suing dozens of energy producers for damages resulting from climate change, has refused to answer multiple inquiries from the Washington Free Beacon about the number of fishing boats in the association that have gone green or to detail other “green” changes members of the group may have made. The majority of the nuisance lawsuits currently being brought against major oil companies have been from governments,,, That is one of the main reasons the announcement by the PCFFA last November of the suit was seen as breaking a new ground. >click to read<11:52