Fishermens News

Tanner Crab Fishery Opens Jan. 15 in One Section of Eastern Aleutian District
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Tanner Crab Fishery Opens Jan. 15 in One Section of Eastern Aleutian District

A Tanner crab fishery opens on Jan. 15 in the Makushin/Skan Bay section of the Eastern Aleutian District, but is to remain closed in the Akutan and Unalaska/Kalekta Bay sections for lack of sufficient mature male abundance. Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists said the 2022 survey of estimated mature male abundance managed to exceed regulatory thresholds necessary for a commercial crab season in the Makushin/Skan section and calculated guideline harvest level (GHL). That 2023 fishery now has a GHL of 49,000 pounds. A commercial Tanner crab fishery may occur when estimated abundance of mature male Tanner crab meets or exceeds stock size thresholds established in regulation and requires a GHL of at least 10,000 pounds in the Makushin/Skan Bay and Akutan Sections and 15,000 pound...
Bad Storm Inspires Plan for Environmentally Sustainable Processing Vessel
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Bad Storm Inspires Plan for Environmentally Sustainable Processing Vessel

A seafood processor stung by an autumn storm in 2020 that grounded and destroyed its processing barge may be back in Bristol Bay for the 2024 salmon fishery with a new vertically integrated vessel that could produce higher quality fillets to sell year-round in an environmentally superior facility. “We developed the Hannah to produce higher quality fish through a more efficient process that benefits both fishermen and customers,” Ben Blakey, an industry veteran and chief executive officer of Northline Seafoods, with offices in Bellingham, Wash. and Sitka, Alaska said. “This project is a continuation of Northline’s commitment to innovation and environmental sustainability in the fishing industry.” Blakey said he hopes this one-of-a-kind vertically integrated vessel inspires others. “The...
NOAA, BOEM Develop Joint Strategy for Fisheries Surveys
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NOAA, BOEM Develop Joint Strategy for Fisheries Surveys

A Federal Survey Mitigation Strategy developed by NOAA Fisheries and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is the new vehicle for the two agencies to address potential impacts of offshore wind energy development on NOAA Fisheries’ scientific surveys. An announcement from NOAA on Monday, Dec. 5 stated that the new strategy underscores both agencies’ commitment to the Biden-Harris administration’s clean energy goals of responsibly advancing offshore wind energy production while protecting biodiversity and promoting mutual use of the ocean. NOAA Fisheries scientists have been collecting survey data that forms the basis of science-based management of America’s federal fisheries for 150 years. This new strategy is expected to ensure the quality of NOAA’s fisheries surveys and data are maint...
Pebble Mine Decision: Litigation Likely to Follow Final Determination
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Pebble Mine Decision: Litigation Likely to Follow Final Determination

A final determination on the future of a proposed copper, gold and molybdenum mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed could be handed down in February by the Environmental Protection Agency, but more litigation and possible deadline extensions could follow.  Still, the announcement in early December by Casey Sixkiller, Regional 10 administrator for the EPA, that he had transmitted to the agency’s headquarters a Recommended Determination to prohibit and restrict use of certain waters in the watershed for certain discharges of dredged or fill materials from the mine got plenty of attention. Advocates for the Canadian-owned mine, a subsidiary of the diversified global mining group Hunter Dickenson in Vancouver, British Columbia, cried foul while opponents of the project hailed the possibil...
Dam Demolition in California, Oregon Could Help Restore Klamath River Salmon Habitat
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Dam Demolition in California, Oregon Could Help Restore Klamath River Salmon Habitat

A new report in Smithsonian magazine details how demolition of four aging dams slated for removal from the Klamath River in 2023 could help restore hundreds of miles of historical salmon habitat in California and Oregon. The project was made possible by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in November 2022 approving $500 million for the project that Native American tribes and environmentalists have been urging for years. Chrysten Rivard, Oregon director for nonprofit conservation group Trout Unlimited, said the Klamath River has been Exhibit A for how dams, drought, imbalanced water management and climate change can strangle a river, but is now poised to become a prime example of how an entire river system and all those depend on it can be renewed.   The four PacifiCorp dams slate...
Comment Period Extended for Proposed Base Seattle Expansion Draft PEIS
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Comment Period Extended for Proposed Base Seattle Expansion Draft PEIS

Coast Guard officials say they have extended until Dec. 16 the period for public comment on the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the proposed expansion of Coast Guard Base Seattle. The public comment period was previously scheduled to conclude Dec. 2. The Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement is available online for reading at  https://www.dcms.uscg.mil/NEPA The release of the Draft PEIS on Oct. 7 launched a public commentary period, during which the Coast Guard began accepting public comment online at  https://www.regulations.gov with docket number USCG-2021-0183. Public comment may also be sent via the U.S. Post Office to: U.S. Coast Guard, Shore Infrastructure Logistics Center, Environmental Management Division, ATTN: Mr. Dean Amundson, 1301...
USDA Proposes Better Access to Seafood in WIC Program
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USDA Proposes Better Access to Seafood in WIC Program

Federal officials in late November proposed changes for participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), including improved access to canned fish, to reflect the latest dietary guidelines. These science-based revisions, recommended by the National Academies of Science, Engineers and Medicine (NASEM) and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans for 2020-2025, prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to post the proposed changes in the Federal Register.  Those guidelines recommend two eight-ounce servings of healthy seafood a week, starting at six months of age. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the proposed changes would strengthen WIC by ensuring that it provides foods that reflect the latest nutrition science to support heal...
NOAA Fisheries Reinstates Consultations on Groundfish Management Plans
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NOAA Fisheries Reinstates Consultations on Groundfish Management Plans

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) has reinstated steps in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to evaluate effects of fisheries managed under the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska, on ESA-listed species and designated critical habitats. State of Alaska parallel groundfish fisheries are also subject to evaluation. North Pacific Fishery Management Council Chairman Simon Kinneen was notified of the change in late November by NOAA Regional Administrator for Alaska Jonathan Kurland. Kurland said that NMFS determined that allowing groundfish fisheries to continue to operate during this reinitiation period would not violate ESA sections 7(a) (2) or 7(d).  He advised that the consultations would be a significant undertaking and require considerable NMFS staff ti...
IPHC Meets Virtually Nov. 30-Dec. 1
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IPHC Meets Virtually Nov. 30-Dec. 1

The 98th International Pacific Halibut Commission interim meeting is underway online Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, with all sessions to be webcast and open to the public. Topics up for discussion include fishery monitoring, stock status of Pacific halibut for 2022 and the 2023 harvest decision table, project updates on biological and ecosystem science research activities, a management strategy evaluation and proposals for the 2022-23 process regarding IPHC fishery regulations.    Meeting discussions are expected to begin with an update on actions arising from the 98th session of the IPHC annual meeting, 2022 special sessions and intersessional decisions, plus the IPHC five-year program of integrated research and monitoring, and a report from the 23rd session of the IPHC research advisory board. ...
Alaska Fisheries Board Meeting Focuses on Bristol Bay Finfish
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Alaska Fisheries Board Meeting Focuses on Bristol Bay Finfish

Bristol Bay finfish are on the agenda this week during a five-day meeting running through Dec. 3 at the Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting in downtown Anchorage. Hot topics include whether to approve an action plan designating Nushagak River Chinook salmon as a stock of concern.   All portions of the meeting are open to the public. A live video stream is expected to be available on the board’s website at www.boardoffisheries.adfg.alaska.gov.  All meeting information including the agenda, roadmap, agency reports, and public and advisory committee comments are available on the meeting website at: https://tinyurl.com/3n5sdrxr or by contacting Boards Support Section at (907) 465-4110.  People not attending the meeting in person can still submit Record Copies via fax or on the board's webs...