Tag Archives: Alaska

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

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

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

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

Cordova Chronicles: Saga of the North Cloud, Part 1 thru 4

The North Cloud, a 105-foot power barge purchased from Army surplus, departed Cordova on Sunday, Feb. 20, 1949. It was bound for Seattle shipyards to be outfitted for fish processing cold-storage operations in Alaska. Aboard the craft was a skeleton crew consisting of new owner Fred Howard and his wife, their son-in-law Robert Zentmire, and engineer Leonard Holeman. >click to read part 1<, >part 2<, >part 3<, >part 4< ! Next week: Saga of the North Cloud, Part V: Rescue, At Last!  Dick Shellhorn 09:52

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

SAFETY: A gradual culture change has been taking place across much of the fishing industry

As one of the world’s leading insurers of fishing vessels, Sunderland Marine keeps a close eye on the fishing industry’s evolution and has encouraged increasing safety awareness. Sunderland Marine has taken the initiative where it has seen that improvements can be made,,, This is not just in the UK, but also through initiatives in Australia and New Zealand, both of which have also seen a safety culture developing in the right direction In the US, Sunderland Marine has also been instrumental in making available independent safety drills for crews working on East Coast draggers and scallopers. In addition, the offshore crab fishery that’s familiar to anyone who has seen the Deadliest Catch on TV has seen positive changes. photos, >click to read< 17:32

Video Interview: Life for a Mainer fishing in the Bering Sea

Taylor Strout is the son of a fisherman; fishing simply runs in his blood. He is on a boat that fishes out of Dutch Harbor, Alaska,,, Taylor is a mate aboard the Fishing Vessel Northern Defender which, when we talked, was tied up at the dock in Dutch Harbor. The Aleutian Islands split the Pacific   Ocean and the Bering Sea, and they fish the Bering Sea. As the crow flies, he is more than 4000 miles away from home. “It’s kind of a different level of  fishing out here.,,  “You’re basically towing a football field behind you. You’re taking everything up to a bigger scale when you’re on some of these boats. Bigger weather, there’s bigger seas, sometimes we fish in 15 foot waves to 25 foot waves.” >click to read< 14:44

‘Trapped’: Women Working as Fishery Observers Allege Sex Harassment, Assault at Sea

She had overcome the seasickness, the unreliable shifts, and the long hours that drive many people out of the business. But she didn’t sign up for 3 1/2 weeks of harassment. On the ship that served as both her workplace and temporary home, Kim, then in her mid-20s, was constantly catcalled, hit on, and leered at, with no place to escape. Four women, including Kim, who worked on the front lines of fisheries monitoring in Canada, say they were dropped into a hellish grind of sexual harassment, assault, intimidation, threats, and horrifying animal abuse while they watched helplessly. >click to read< 10:15

Coast Guard hoists ailing fisherman man near Cold Bay, Alaska

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew launched from Forward Operating Location (FOL) Cold Bay and hoisted the man, who was experiencing symptoms of appendicitis, and brought him to Cold Bay where he was placed in the care of awaiting EMS in stable condition. Watchstanders in the 17th District command center in Juneau received the medevac request at about 9:18 a.m. from the fishing vessel Arica. > Video, click to read< 23:31

Barhan Boat Works: Built by fishermen for fishermen

Salmon fisherman Dave Barhan picked an unusual spot to build boats during the off season: White Bear Floral’s greenhouse. On his second season of boat building, the retired teacher recalls driving around the area looking for a shed or pole building large enough to construct a 28-foot commercial fishing skiff. He spied the greenhouses behind the florist and thought it the perfect place. Owner John Birkeland was skeptical at first, but became a believer when Barhan, his two sons and a fourth fishing partner rolled out the first aluminum boat, dubbed “Big Momma.”  They call the business Barhan Boat Works, or BBW. Their motto: “Built by fishermen for fishermen.” >photos, click to read< 16:24

Halibut catch limits soar for Central Gulf fishermen

The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) completed its 97th Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, on Friday (Jan. 29), with decisions on total halibut mortality, fishery limits, fishing dates, and other fishery regulation changes for the upcoming season… The 2021 Pacific Halibut commercial fishery catch limits went up significantly for fishermen in the regulatory Area 3A, the Central Gulf of Alaska, with a 26.95-percent increase from just over 7-million pounds available in 2020, to nearly 9-million pounds this year. All other areas but two saw an increase in poundage from last year. Canadian fishermen in Area 2B get a two-percent increase, equivalent to 11,000 pounds.  >click to read< 17:26

Coronavirus outbreak at Trident Seafoods Akutan plant grows to 135

A seafood plant in Akutan, Alaska, run by Trident Seafoods is facing a large COVID-19 outbreak with 135 of 307 tested employees testing positive for COVID-19, health care officials said on Tuesday morning. The Akutan plant has around 700 employees, and COVID-19 testing is still underway. Dr. Joe McLaughlin, an epidemiologist with the state, said the first report of COVID-19 at the facility was made on Jan. 17. >click to read< 09:19

Kenai Peninsula Borough to ask feds for fishery disaster declaration

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly voted Tuesday to ask the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to declare a sockeye salmon fisheries failure and economic disaster in the Upper Subdistrict of the Central District of Cook Inlet in response to a year that saw fewer and smaller fish, as well as lower-priced fish. >click to read< 07:55

Coronavirus cases detected at Alaska seafood plant

Seattle-based Trident Seafoods reports that four workers at the company’s Akutan, Alaska, seafood plant have tested positive for coronavirus, including one who had difficulty breathing and had to be evacuated by air to a hospital in Anchorage. The Akutan plant in the Aleutian Islands is a processing hub for Bering Sea harvests of pollock, crab and cod, with a workforce of 700 employees that will swell in the weeks ahead to 1,400 people. >click to read< 07:29

Coast Guard medevacs an injured fisherman 80 miles northeast of Dutch Harbor, Alaska

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew based out of Air Station Kodiak and deployed aboard Cutter Alex Haley, hoisted the man from the vessel Magnus Martens after he suffered a severe leg injury. He was flown to Cold Bay and placed in the care of awaiting Guardian Flight Alaska personnel for further transport to Anchorage. The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley, also based out of Kodiak, received initial notification about the injured man while on patrol in the Bering Sea in the vicinity of Unimak Island. >click to read< 09:09

NPFMC decision puts Cook Inlet commercial salmon fishery in jeopardy

Final action by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council on commercial salmon fishing in Cook Inlet threatens to exclude drift gillnet harvesters from fishing in the inlet’s commercial waters at the start of the 2022 fishing season. In a near unanimous decision reached during the council’s virtual meeting on Monday, Dec. 7, the panel selected an alternative that would close off to the commercial fleet federal waters outside of three miles from shore, an area where most of the fleet get the bulk of its catch. >click to read< 16:43

U.S. Coast Guard admits it failed to warn Bering Sea fishing fleet about known Russian military exercises

Adm. Charles Ray told a U.S. Senate panel Tuesday that the Coast Guard knew Russia was conducting military exercises in August and failed to inform members of the U.S. Bering Sea fishing sector, Alaska Public Media reported. “This was not our best day with regards to doing our role to look after American fishermen,” Ray said. “I’ll just be quite frank: We own some of this.” The captain of the fishing vessel, Northern Jaeger, believed he had no choice but to comply and sail five hours south,,, >click to read< 13:10

Haines Landslide. Two Haines residents still missing as four of six are found safe

There are still two missing residents. Jenae Larson and David Simmons have been missing since Wednesday afternoon’s mudslide. They lived at the same Beach Road property now buried in rock, mud and debris. His father, Randall Simmons, spoke to him about two hours before the landslide. >click to read<  Four of six feared missing in Haines landslide found safe – Searchers suspended operations late Wednesday as the slide continued to move. Six people were originally feared missing, but four were found safe by Thursday morning. Troopers said there were nine feet of mud and trees covering the area. Surrounding homes were evacuated, and a helicopter planned to deploy at sunrise to continue surveying by air. >click to read<   Juneau salmon hatchery forced to destroy fish because of landslide damage>click to read< 13:11

6 people missing, homes destroyed in southeast Alaska landslide – Coast Guard Responding

Six people were missing after a mudslide measuring an estimated two football fields across slammed into a neighborhood in the southeast Alaska community of Haines, Alaska State Troopers said Wednesday. An effort to fly search and rescue teams in a helicopter from Juneau was pushed back to Thursday morning, troopers said. A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew was launched from Sitka to assist, and the Coast Guard cutters Liberty and Anacapa have been ordered to make preparations to sail to Haines to provide additional support. >click to read< 13:52

Humpback whale boosts spirits in struggling Alaskan town

A humpback whale has been frequenting Ketchikan, Alaska, almost daily for the past month, helping to lift spirits as the city reels from a lack of tourism. The whale, nicknamed Phoenix, is feeding on herring and possibly salmon fry with dramatic upward lunges, sometimes just yards from onlookers on docks and walkways. As days shorten and a bleak winter approaches, more residents are discovering the joy of searching for Phoenix throughout the channel fronting the town. photos, >click to read< 08:02

Coast Guard medevacs chief engineer 70 miles northwest of Saint Paul Island, Alaska

The Coast Guard medevaced a fisherman from a commercial fishing vessel approximately 70 miles northwest of Saint Paul, Tuesday. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Kodiak safely hoisted the 43-year-old man, at approximately 12:25 p.m., and transferred him to awaiting emergency medical services personnel in Saint Paul Island for further transport to Anchorage. At 7 p.m. Monday, 17th District command center watchstanders received a medevac request from F/V Frontier Spirit for the chief engineer who was experiencing abdominal pain. >video, click to read< 15:30

Seafood industry seeks protection from Russian military exercises in U.S. waters

U.S. Coast Guard capability to safeguard national interests and promote economic security in the Arctic will be the subject of a congressional hearing on Dec. 8, one in which Alaska’s commercial fishing entities have a special concern. “From our vantage point, on the front lines of a changing Arctic, a robust U.S. military presence to protect U.S. interests in the region is simply non-negotiable,” said Stephanie Madsen, executive director of At-Sea Processors. The trade association, based in Seattle, represents six member companies who own and operate 15 U.S. flag catcher/processor vessels who harvest Alaska Pollock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands and Pacific whiting in Pacific Northwest coastal waters. >click to read< 08:26

Behind the scenes with Seattle’s crab experts

It’s king crab season in the Bering Sea. That means around 300 people, including many from Fishermen’s Terminal in Seattle, the home port to the North Pacific Fishing Fleet, fly into Dutch Harbor, Alaska, for the harvest. And when king crab season is over, many of these fishermen and women switch to bairdi crab and snow crab. Which means they’ll be busy for four to five months and there will be a lot more crab on the market. As the executive director of Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, a nonprofit trade association that represents the crab industry, Jamie Goen knows a lot about the work that brings crab from the bottom of the sea to our tables. >click to read< 09:19

Coast Guard hoists man clinging to a piece of debris from water in Union Bay, Alaska

KODIAK, Alaska – The Coast Guard rescued a 70-year-old man from the waters of Union Bay, Alaska, northwest of Meyers Chuck, Sunday. A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew hoisted the man, who was in the water clinging to a piece of debris.  “What saved this man’s life was his essential survival equipment,” said Lt. Justin Neal, a helicopter pilot from Air Station Sitka. “He had an emergency position indicating radio beacon registered in his name that allowed us to find him quickly, and his survival suit kept him warm long enough for us to rescue him.” Weather conditions at the time of the incident were up to 57 mph winds with 10 foot seas. >click to watch< 07:57

A man on board the fishing vessel Irony, fell into the water and was found clinging to a piece of debris by the US Coast Guard Sunday>click to read<

Kenai legislators ask for fishery disaster declaration

Members of the Kenai Peninsula Legislative Delegation sent a letter to Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Wednesday urging him to declare a state economic disaster for the Upper Cook Inlet fisheries and provide for a recovery plan. The industry saw an 82% reduction in the 10-year average ex-vessel value – a measure of the monetary worth of commercial fish landings. The request from legislators comes two weeks after the Kenai Peninsula Borough unanimously issued a declaration of a local disaster for the 2020 Cook Inlet Commercial Salmon Fishing Season. Kenai Peninsula legislators hope Gov. Dunleavy will follow suit. “Commercial fishermen in Upper Cook Inlet experienced one of the worst seasons on record,”,, >click to read< 08:46

Supreme Court hears case in dispute over fisheries landings tax

Millions of dollars of fish landing taxes are at stake in a lawsuit now being deliberated by the Alaska Supreme Court,,  The court heard oral arguments Oct. 21 in a lawsuit brought against the State of Alaska by Seattle-based Fishermen’s Finest Inc. in which the company argues Alaska’s fishery resource landing tax violates a prohibition on taxes or fees levied against goods on the way to export in the U.S. Constitution. Jim Torgerson, an attorney for Fishermen’s Finest, argued that the fish harvested and processed in federal waters by the company’s catcher-processor vessels have started their journey to foreign markets when it arrives at Alaska ports but before being shipped worldwide.>click to read<11:27