Article Category: Features

Regional Report: Hawaii and California Commercial Fisheries

Regional Report: Hawaii and California Commercial Fisheries

Recent data shows commercial fisheries in Hawaii and California are healthy, while officials support projects focused on conservation, sustainability and access to more abundant stocks. The Golden and Aloha states, though also facing challenges related to COVID-19, were able to remain stable. NOAA Fisheries did report declines in the U.S. fishing and seafood industry as a result of the pandemic, with a return to normal unlikely to be imminent. HAWAII Economic conditions were challenging as demand dropped during the first year of the pandemic. But it has since rebounded as travel and the broader economy begin to stablilize, said Brett Schumacher of the Sustainable Fisheries Division for NOAA Fisheries’ Pacific Islands Region Office (PIRO) in an email. In Hawaii, COVID-19 presented cha...
State, Federal Researchers Invest in Climate Change Economics

State, Federal Researchers Invest in Climate Change Economics

Marine researchers at the federal and state levels are taking a proactive approach to harnessing information to boost reliance and reduce the impact of climate change on the multi-million-dollar fisheries economy in Pacific Coast states. Along with the effects of climate change, they’re also learning more about other cyclical intricacies of life in the oceans. In Oregon, for example, state legislators have made a nearly $1-million investment to address ocean acidification and hypoxia and the risks they pose to the state’s ecosystems and economy. The funds are being distributed to marine researchers through competitive grants. Laura Anderson, chair of the Oregon Ocean Science Trust, which will manage distribution of the grants, expressed gratitude to lawmakers for understanding the va...
Territory Restrictions: Shifts in America the Beautiful

Territory Restrictions: Shifts in America the Beautiful

The Biden Administration wants to place limits on 30% of America’s land and sea territory – an area about the size of India. The extent, or degree, of those restrictions is under development now. The goal is to have boundaries in place before 2030 – or 30x30 for short. This effort originates from President Biden’s Executive Order – “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad” which requires recommendations “to achieve the goal of conserving at least 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.” It has been dubbed “America the Beautiful.” NOAA has a lead role in this project and last October published a request for information (RFI) “seeking public input on how NOAA should, using its existing authorities and associated measures, conserve and restore America’s oceans, coasts and Great Lakes...
Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star at Work  in Antarctic Breaking Ice at McMurdo Station

Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star at Work in Antarctic Breaking Ice at McMurdo Station

U.S. Coast Guard cutters over the past four months completed two lengthy journeys, one in support of the U.S. Antarctic stations and a second to counter drug operations in the East Pacific Ocean. The first began in November with the departure of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star from its homeport in Seattle; the second began in mid-December at Port Angeles, California, concluding in early February. Crew aboard the Polar Star, on its 25th journey to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze, were to spend January and February breaking ice at McMurdo Station for fuel and supply ships, then return to the U.S. west coast in March. Upon return, the 46-year-old Polar Star, the nation’s solar provider of these crucial icebreaking services, was headed to drydock for maintenance and repai...
Northern Enterprises Boat Yard Undergoes Major Expansion

Northern Enterprises Boat Yard Undergoes Major Expansion

As a thriving boat repair and maintenance facility with a 40-year history, Homer, Alaska-based Northern Enterprises Boat Yard has periodically undergone expansion and infrastructure improvements. But the 35-acre boatyard, which is located about 220 miles south of the state’s capital and biggest city, Anchorage, has never faced as massive a project as the one completed in the past few months. “We added an extension to our present dock,” explained Ken Moore, who co-owns the facility with his wife, Roseleen “Snooks” Moore. “We extended the (existing) dock 50 feet. Along with that, we added a new dock for a 200-metric-ton (boat hoist) machine —all of our lifts are travel lifts, this will be the fifth lift we’ve bought. And the 200-metric-ton (travel lift) will pick (up) 240,000 pounds. So,...
Regional Update:  Pacific Northwest Fisheries

Regional Update: Pacific Northwest Fisheries

Recent studies by Pacific Northwest fisheries officials note mixed conditions faced by fisheries in Washington state and Oregon, but also report an overall improved and positive outlook. NOAA Fisheries reported declines in the U.S. fishing and seafood industry as a result of COVID-19, and some flexible regulation changes were required in 2021 in an effort to stay nimble in uncertain times. NOAA also reported specific conditions generally associated with higher productivity for certain fisheries, resulting in a number of positive ocean indicators off the Oregon coast. These conditions have led to some favorable 2022 fishery forecasts. BROAD OVERVIEW There is some encouraging recent data, said Michael Milstein, spokesman for the NOAA Fisheries Pacific Northwest Regional Office, in a De...
Becoming Resilient

Becoming Resilient

Gulf of Alaska seafood harvesters have lots of ideas about how to make themselves and their fisheries more resilient as climate continues to change, and NOAA Fisheries research scientist Marysia Szymkowiak is working with them to prioritize and mobilize plans for the rapidly emerging future. Harvesters’ ideas cut across science and communication, fisheries management, national and local policies and broader sociocultural issues, says Szymkowiak, who has spent a decade conducting research on the human dimensions of Alaska fisheries. “The folks I have talked to across the Gulf have put ideas forward like reducing carbon emissions from diesel engines through hybrid models, building networks between scientists and fishermen for exchanging knowledge, expediting policymaking within fisheries...
COVID-19 Created Huge Challenges, Losses for Alaska, West Coast Fisheries

COVID-19 Created Huge Challenges, Losses for Alaska, West Coast Fisheries

A global pandemic raising havoc in health care and the nation’s economy, prompting cost-of-living increases and supply-chain disruptions, has cost the seafood industry in Alaska and Western states millions of dollars since the spring of 2020. If there’s a silver lining in those challenges, along with climate-change issues facing fisheries, it is that consumer demand for seafood is up, and so is the market price. When the novel coronavirus, aka COVID-19, began spreading rapidly two years ago, thousands of restaurants shut down, and customers of the food-service industry, ranging from universities to the tourism industry, also substantially decreased or halted their orders. With millions of people sick and many dying of COVID-19, seafood processors operating in Alaska and the U.S. West...
Vessel Profile: F/V Kiska Sea

Vessel Profile: F/V Kiska Sea

The 125-foot crab vessel F/V Kiska Sea has returned to the snow crab grounds along the Russian border after a successful haul out at the Port of Toledo, Oregon. The haul out was the first of its kind for the Kiska Sea at the location. “The Port of Toledo was very accommodating,” vessel Capt. Mike Wilson from the helm via satellite phone. “They were good people.” Wilson has skippered the Kiska Sea since it launched in 1990 and was involved with design of the vessel when it was built, namely the functional elements of the deck layout. He began his fishing career when he was 17 in a Kodiak cannery. “Then I got a deck job and slowly worked my way to the wheelhouse,” he told Fishermen’s News. I’ve been skippering for close to 40 years now.” Owned by Seattle-based Aleutian Spray Fisheries,...
BC Takes Drastic Steps to Rebuild Pacific Salmon Stocks

BC Takes Drastic Steps to Rebuild Pacific Salmon Stocks

With Pacific salmon stocks in long-term decline and many of those runs on the verge of collapse, the Canadian government is taking drastic steps in a multi-year program to reduce pressure on exiting stocks and to stabilize and rebuild abundance. “What cannot be debated is that most wild Pacific salmon stocks continue to decline at unprecedented rates—we are pulling the emergency brake to give these salmon populations the best chance at survival,” Bernadette Jordan, the then-Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, said before leaving office. She announced in mid-2021 long term closures of specific commercial fisheries and the launch of the Pacific Salmon Commercial Transition Program, which provides harvesters with the option to retire their licenses for fair-market v...