Article Category: News

Investigation Urged into Toxic Chemical Impacts on Coho Salmon

Investigation Urged into Toxic Chemical Impacts on Coho Salmon

Fourteen members of Congress are calling for an investigation into effects of 6PPD-quinone, a highly toxic degradation product from tires and recycled rubber on endangered salmon, aquatic species and watersheds nationwide. The House of Representatives members told the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that the chemical may be contributing to widespread salmon mortality and would have profound implications for salmon recovery efforts. “Given the dismal trajectory of West Coast salmon populations, your agencies should be working with great urgency to gain a better understanding of this threat and to take any necessary actions to address it,” they said in an Aug. 19 letter. It was signed by California Representatives Jared Huffman, cha...
GAO Urged to Review Delay of Coast Guard Vessel Deliveries

GAO Urged to Review Delay of Coast Guard Vessel Deliveries

A U.S. House committee looking into significant delivery delays of offshore patrol and polar security cutters to the U.S. Coast Guard has asked the Government Accountability Office to review the situation, as well as related budgetary issues. Given the significant budgetary commitment from Congress, the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard have made for the Offshore Patrol Cutters program to date, continued oversight is necessary to ensure that the program does not continue to experience cost growth or additional schedule delays, according to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Committee chair Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-OR, and ranking member Rep. Sam Graves, R-MO, told GAO Comptroller General Gene Dodaro that the Offshore Patrol Cutter fleet, the larges...
Coast Guard Icebreaker Healy Crew  Undertakes Months Long Research Mission

Coast Guard Icebreaker Healy Crew Undertakes Months Long Research Mission

High latitude research, professional exchanges with foreign navies and patrols and a visible U.S. surface presence in the Arctic are among the mandates for the Coast Guard Cutter Healy on its Arctic deployment and circumnavigation of North America. The crew aboard the 420-foot medium icebreaker, which departed Seattle on July 10, is also conducting other operations as directed throughout its months long journey. “Healy’s deployment provides opportunities to deepen the Coast Guard’s cooperation and commitment with our Arctic allies and partners and to support scientific exploration to increase understanding of the changing Arctic environment and associated impacts,” Coast Guard Pacific Area Commander Vice Adm. Michael McAllister explained. The Healy is scheduled to circumnavigate North...
Bristol Bay Processors Donate King Salmon to Yukon River Villagers

Bristol Bay Processors Donate King Salmon to Yukon River Villagers

Six major processors of Bristol Bay salmon collaborated in late July to gather and transport to Yukon River villages 25,000 pounds of headed and gutted king salmon, a diet staple for hundreds of folks living in subsistence communities along the river. The project came together in the midst of a wildly successful Bristol Bay salmon harvest, with a yield of over 40 million sockeye salmon. Meanwhile on the Yukon River, all fishing including subsistence, was banned by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game because of weak runs of Chinook and keta salmon. Officials from Alaska General Seafoods, Leader Creek Fisheries, North Pacific Seafoods, OBI Seafoods (Ocean Beauty/Icicle), Silver Bay Seafoods and Trident Seafoods asked SeaShare executive director Jim Harmon to help with coordination and...
Diet High in Low-Fat Food Impacts Alaska Pollock, NOAA Study Suggests

Diet High in Low-Fat Food Impacts Alaska Pollock, NOAA Study Suggests

A diet high in low-fat food may have kept Alaska Pollock born in 2013 from gaining the weight they needed to survive over the winter, a new NOAA Fisheries study concludes. According to biologist Jesse Lamb of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC), research results point to poor diet as a contributing factor. Still there is probably not just one answer, said Lamb, who led the study, which was released in early July, with colleague David Kimmel. “Cannibalism and wind-driven transport to inferior habitat likely also played a role,” Lamb said. “With that combination, the 2013-year class had the deck stacked against them.” The study was prompted by observations that while the number of juvenile Alaska Pollock in the Gulf of Alaska that summer was the largest on record, that a year late...
USDA Seeks Bids for 7.9M Pounds of Frozen Alaska Pollock

USDA Seeks Bids for 7.9M Pounds of Frozen Alaska Pollock

U.S. Department of Agriculture officials are looking to distribute some 7.9 million pounds of frozen Alaska Pollock products from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 through the National School Lunch Program and other federal food and nutrition assistance programs. According to Craig Morris, chief executive officer of the Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers, that would bring USDA purchases for fiscal year 2021 to nearly 18.3 million pounds of Alaska Pollock, one of the world’s largest commercial fisheries, with the largest concentrations in the Eastern Bering Sea. “We estimate they will spend about $20 million on this contract and that would bring the total (USDA) dollars spent on wild Alaska Pollock this fiscal year to $45 million,” he said. USDA officials said winning bids for bids on ...
$35M Allocated  for Design/Build of New UC San Diego Coastal Research Vessel

$35M Allocated for Design/Build of New UC San Diego Coastal Research Vessel

California legislators have allocated $35 million for a new University of California-San Diego coastal research vessel to engage in education and research to boost understanding of the California climate change impacts on the coastal ecosystem. The 125-foot vessel, expected to take three years for design, build and commission, would replace the Research Vessel Robert Gordon Sproul, which has been used for nearly 40 years to educate thousands of UC San Diego students. The vessel is to be operated by the university’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography. “After a four-decade run, it is high time Scripps built a new research vessel that can keep up with the high-caliber work they continue to churn out, and help our state navigate the troubles waters of sea level rise and our evolving...
Counter Service Appointments Return to Regional National Maritime Centers

Counter Service Appointments Return to Regional National Maritime Centers

The National Maritime Center has resumed counter service appointments at 18 of its regional examination centers, including three in Alaska, two in California, and one each in Hawaii, Oregon and Washington state. No walk-in appointments are available. Late arrivals for appointments will not be permitted and will require rescheduling to another date. Only the mariner conducting business may enter the REC, with other members of their party remaining outside during the appointment. Also, mariners will be subject to COVID-19 screening questions and temperature checks, and any mariners experiencing COVID-19 symptoms will need to reschedule their appointment. Face coverings are required at all times. Anyone removing a face covering will be dismissed and could be subject to exam module failure,...
Efforts to Meet Yukon River Villagers’ Need for Salmon Continue

Efforts to Meet Yukon River Villagers’ Need for Salmon Continue

Help in the form of thousands of pounds of wild Alaska salmon is coming to Yukon River villagers, where freezers by now are normally filled with Chinook and keta salmon, but many more fish will be needed to fill a gap in a year when fishing was banned. About 12,500 pounds of chum salmon were delivered to the Yup’ik village of Emmonak on the Lower Yukon on Aug. 10 by Everts Air Cargo, courtesy of the state of Alaska. They came in the wake of some 13,000 pounds of Chinooks delivered less than two weeks earlier, that were the gift of six major Bristol Bay seafood processers. The Prince William Sound chums from Copper River Seafoods were purchased by the state. Once delivered to Emmonak, the fish were being repackaged and distributed by Kwik’Pak Fisheries, a subsidiary of the Yukon Delta Fis...
Strong Markets Await Millions of Wild Alaska Salmon

Strong Markets Await Millions of Wild Alaska Salmon

Alaska’s salmon harvest has now surpassed the midpoint of the forecasted harvest. As of July 31, about 54% of this year’s projected harvest of 190 million fish had been caught, says Dan Lesh, a fisheries economist who compiles in-season weekly commercial salmon harvest reports for McKinley Capital Management on behalf of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. The total salmon harvest is now 10% above the year-to-date total for last year (using 2019 for pinks) and is 5% above the five-year year-to-date average. Most of the fish caught last week were pink salmon, which are continuing their early-season surge, particularly in Prince William sound (up 123% from 2019) and Southeast Alaska (up 22%). The pink salmon harvest usually peaks in mid-August. Markets for Alaska’s commercial salmon ca...