Article Category: News

Coast Guard, Good Samaritans Rescue Crew of Sinking Fishing Vessel

Coast Guard, Good Samaritans Rescue Crew of Sinking Fishing Vessel

The Coast Guard and good Samaritans aboard two commercial fishing vessels located and rescued the crew of the 52-foot commercial fishing vessel Sea Smile 545 miles southwest of Hawaii on March 3. Following the rescue, the six crewmembers were reportedly in good condition and made their way to Honolulu aboard the commercial fishing vessel Captain Minh. At 6:46 p.m. on March 2, Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu (JRCC) watchstanders received a report from the owner of the Sea Smile stating that the vessel was disabled and taking on water. The crew reported that there was five to seven feet of rapidly rising water in the engine room and fish holds and that they could not use dewatering pumps or systems due to a loss of power. JRCC instructed the captain to activate the vessel’s emer...
Coast Guard Sector Juneau, Contractors Recover Submerged Tugboat

Coast Guard Sector Juneau, Contractors Recover Submerged Tugboat

A partly submerged tugboat at the National Guard Dock in Gastineau Channel, Alaska has been recovered, the U.S. Coast Guard revealed on Feb. 28. The Coast Guard contracted salvage firm Melino’s Marine Services to remove the tug by using a barge-and-crane system from Bellingham, Wash. After recovery of the tugboat Tagish, the vessel was secured on the beach at the guard’s dock in Gastineau Channel on Feb. 19, according to the Coast Guard. Contractors then dewatered and defueled the 107-foot tugboat prior to it being dismantled and placed on a barge for final disposal out-of-state. “The Coast Guard’s mission during this recovery was to maximize maritime environmental protection where the tugboat was submerged,” the Guard said in a statement. The tug had been partly submerged with an oi...

Hawaii Coast Guard Cutter Returns from Oceana Operation

The crew of the Coast Guard cutter William Hart returned to Honolulu Feb. 27 after completing a 42-day patrol in Oceania in support of Operation Aiga. Operation “Aiga,” the Samoan word for family, is designed to integrate Coast Guard capabilities and operations with America’s Pacific Island country partners in order to protect shared national interests, combat IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing and strengthen maritime governance on the high seas. “During the 8,616 nautical-mile patrol, the cutter’s crew conducted operations to counter IUU and strengthened relations with foreign allies,” the Coast Guard said in a statement. On the first port call of the patrol at Kiritimati Island, Kiribati, the William Hart’s crew delivered COVID-19 personal protective equipment donated...
Coast Guard Cutter Juniper Returns to Honolulu After 43-Day Patrol

Coast Guard Cutter Juniper Returns to Honolulu After 43-Day Patrol

The Coast Guard cutter Juniper returned to its Honolulu homeport in late February following a mission in the Pacific to deter illegal fishing, among other goals, as part of Operation Blue Pacific. Blue Pacific is an overarching multi-mission Coast Guard endeavor, promoting security, safety, sovereignty and economic prosperity in Oceania while strengthening relationships between partner nations in the Pacific. The Juniper departed Honolulu in mid-January and covered about 8,200 nautical miles in the effort to assist Pacific Island partners in protecting maritime governance and international order. “Combining efforts to deter illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing throughout Oceania is more important than ever,” the Juniper’s commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Bonner, said. Th...

Coast Guard Cutter Munro Arrives in Juneau

The Coast Guard cutter Munro arrived in Juneau, Alaska, for a scheduled port visit on Feb. 27. The port call marks Munro’s final stop before returning to its homeport in Alameda, Calif., following 11,500 miles and 105 days away. During the patrol, Munro served as the primary search and rescue (SAR) asset in the Bering Sea, performing 452 flight evolutions with five separate aircraft from Air Station Kodiak, qualifying seven pilots and ensuring SAR readiness. Munro also partnered with the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement to conduct 24 boardings of commercial fishing vessels with the goal of enforcing sustainable fishing practices and ensuring compliance with federal regulations. The cutter was on scene for the opening of the Pacific Cod Pot derby and the Alaska Pollock trawl season, two ...
IPHC Adopts Reduced Catch Limits from California to Bering Sea

IPHC Adopts Reduced Catch Limits from California to Bering Sea

The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) has adopted reduced catch limits totaling 38.34 million pounds coastwide, a reduction of 10.3% or 4.25 million pounds of the popular white fish. The action came at this past week’s annual meeting of the IPHC in Vancouver, B.C. and included new restrictions on the charter halibut fishery quotas in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska. Kurt Iverson, a fishery management specialist with NOAA Fisheries in Juneau, said surveys showed 18% fewer fish coastwide, with the catch-per-unit effort (CPUE) declining by 15%. Area 3A in the Central Gulf of Alaska, historically the largest area in terms of biomass, was the hardest hit, with its allowable catch dropping by 17%, or 2.47 million pounds. Last year’s total constant exploitation yield (TCEY) or ...
Proposed Bill Would Permanently Ban West Coast Offshore Drilling

Proposed Bill Would Permanently Ban West Coast Offshore Drilling

Legislation introduced in Congress by two California Democrats in late January would permanently ban oil and gas drilling in federal waters off the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington. The West Coast Ocean Protection Act of 2023, introduced by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, (D-Calif.), would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to permanently prohibit offshore drilling off the coasts of all three states for the protection of marine ecosystems. Huffman and Feinstein said according to recent polling by the Public Policy Institute of California, nearly 70% of Californians oppose offshore drilling. “Offshore drilling poses unacceptable risks, and the science and public opinion are clear: we should not put our oceans and fisheries, coastal comm...
EPA Final Determination Protects Bristol Bay Salmon Fisheries

EPA Final Determination Protects Bristol Bay Salmon Fisheries

A final determination released in late January by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding plans for a proposed mine adjacent to the Bristol Bay watershed in Southwest Alaska favors protections for the huge run of wild sockeye salmon and a multi-million-dollar fisheries economy. The EPA said its determination would protect waters important to sustaining the area’s salmon resources from disposal of dredged or fill materials associated with the copper, gold and molybdenum Pebble deposit that a Canadian mining firm wants to develop. The battle over the proposed development has been ongoing for two decades. “EPA has determined that specific discharges associated with developing the Pebble deposit will have unacceptable and adverse effects on certain salmon fishery areas in the ...
Trident Seafoods Fined $25,000 for Fuel  Spill in Tacoma’s Commencement Bay

Trident Seafoods Fined $25,000 for Fuel Spill in Tacoma’s Commencement Bay

Washington State’s Department of Ecology has fined Trident Seafoods Corp. $25,000 for a February 2021 hydraulic oil spill into Tacoma’s Commencement Bay following a fire onboard Trident’s fish processor Aleutian Falcon. Trident is being fined for spilling oil, water negligence and not properly reporting a vessel emergency. According to a Department of Ecology report issued in mid-January, the Aleutian Falcon caught fire while docked for maintenance. Repair work ignited a wooden bulkhead and other materials. As the fire spread, hydraulic hoses on a crane were damaged, causing an estimated 20 to 30 gallons of hydraulic oil, mixed with firefighting water, to spill to the Hylebos Waterway. The spill was contained by a boom surrounding the vessel. The state report said other hazardous mate...
Study Tracks Shifting Identities of Global Fishing Fleet

Study Tracks Shifting Identities of Global Fishing Fleet

A new international research study has tracked 35,000 commercial fishing and support vessels, identifying their changing of country registration as well as hotspots of potential unauthorized fishing and activity of foreign-owned vessels.  Changing the country of origin is a practice also known as “reflagging.” The study, “Tracking Elusive and Shifting Identities of the Global Fishing Fleet,” was published Jan. 18 in Science Advances, the open-access, multidisciplinary journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Participants in the project were researchers from Global Fishing Watch, the Maine Geospatial Ecology lab at Duke University and the Stockholm Resilience Centre. The study found that close to 20% of high seas fishing is done by vessels that are either in...