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Crab Scientists Plan More Direct Research, Tagging This Year
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Crab Scientists Plan More Direct Research, Tagging This Year

Two research scientists with extensive backgrounds in crab fisheries said last week that they’re bent on unlocking new information in the coming months to help better track the future for Alaska king crab and snow crab fisheries currently foundering in a multi-million-dollar collapse. Research plans for 2023 call for a range of activities from satellite tagging at density centers to pot lifts and more collaboration with the crab industry, said Scott Goodman, executive director of the Bering Sea Fisheries Research Foundation (BSFRF), and president of Natural Resources Consultants in Seattle. The volatile Bering Sea crab fisheries, with a history of highs and lows, are currently for the most part in collapse. They peaked with a 130-million-pound red king crab harvest in 1980, then close...
EPA Final Determination Protects Bristol Bay Salmon Fisheries
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EPA Final Determination Protects Bristol Bay Salmon Fisheries

A final determination on plans for a proposed mine adjacent to the Bristol Bay watershed in Southwest Alaska released Jan. 31 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 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 developing the copper, gold and molybdenum Pebble deposit that a Canadian mining firm wants to develop. The battle between development to extract these minerals from the deposit abutting the Bristol Bay watershed has been ongoing for two decades. EPA Administrator Michael Regan said the Bristol Bay watershed is a vital economic driver providing jobs, sus...
IPHC Adopts Reduced Catch Limits From California to Bering Sea
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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, Canada and included new restrictions as well 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 and the catch per unit effort (CPUE) declined 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 (...
Roadless Rule Decision Cited as Benefit For Healthy Salmon Habitat
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Roadless Rule Decision Cited as Benefit For Healthy Salmon Habitat

Commercial fisheries harvesters are praising a Biden administration decision reinstating the Roadless Rule for the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska as an important move to protect wild salmon habitat, while Alaska’s governor criticizes the decision as bad for the state’s economy. “Our fisheries depend on healthy habitat and with climate change driving ocean warming protecting habitat is increasingly important to the fish, the fisheries, and the coastal fishing communities,” Linda Behnken, executive director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association in Sitka, said. “This is welcome news.” “This decision is a huge loss for Alaskans, and it’s yet another way the Biden administration is singling out Alaska,” Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said in a written statement. “Alaskans d...
Southern Oregon Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery to Open
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Southern Oregon Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery to Open

The remaining southern portion of Oregon’s coastline commercial Dungeness crab fishery, from Cape Arago, just south of Charleston, to the California border, is expected to open for harvesting on Saturday, Feb. 4th. The earliest a crab season may begin is Dec. 1, pending meat fill and biotoxin results. Officials with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) said this year the season opener was delayed due to crab in some areas with low meat fill or high domoic acid levels in crab viscera.   The season opened on Jan. 15 from Cape Falcon to Cape Arago and is expected to open Feb. 1 from Cape Falcon to the Washington border. According to ODFW, the meat fill is now excellent statewide, yet domoic acid remains elevated in some portions of the southern coast. To ensure a good produc...
Study Tracks Shifting Identities of Global Fishing Fleet
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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 and also identified 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 eit...
Kodiak Stand-Down Continues Over Tanner Crab Price Offer
Fishermen's News Online, From the Fleet

Kodiak Stand-Down Continues Over Tanner Crab Price Offer

A harvester stand-down continues in Kodiak, Alaska over the price offered by processors there for the Tanner crab season that opened Jan. 15. Kodiak Crab Alliance Cooperative (KCAC) spokesman Kevin Abena, skipper of the f/v Big Blue, said the Cooperative did not meet on the evening of Sunday, Jan. 22, with its permit holder members. Abena said 130 permit holders whom KCAC represents don’t feel they should go fishing at the $2.50 a pound offer from Kodiak processors.  Last year, Kodiak processors paid up to $8.40 a pound for the Tanners. This year’s quota for the Kodiak area Tanner crag fishery is 5.8 million pounds. Abena said that KCAC went back to Kodiak processors on Saturday, Jan. 21, with two options: a base price of $3.25 a pound plus matching a final settlement on the price o...
NOAA Fisheries Denies Emergency Action Request For Red King Crab Savings Area
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NOAA Fisheries Denies Emergency Action Request For Red King Crab Savings Area

NOAA Fisheries has denied a request to institute emergency action closing the red king crab savings area in Alaska to all fishing gears through June 30, 2023. The decision was made on the grounds that the petition did not meet criteria necessary to determine that an emergency exists. According to the federal agency, the available information does not support a finding that the proposed emergency regulations would address the low abundance and declining trend of mature female Bristol Bay red king crab. The decision was issued in mid-January. In response, Jamie Goen, executive director of Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers (ABSC) said she was dismayed and disappointed. She noted that the need for protection of crab stocks was denied on the same day that NOAA Fisheries opened pollock fisheries w...
Mariculture Research Suggests Farmed Kelp Could Help Reduce Coastal Marine Pollution
Fishermen's News Online, From the Fleet

Mariculture Research Suggests Farmed Kelp Could Help Reduce Coastal Marine Pollution

A new study published in the January issue of the online, peer reviewed Aquaculture Journal concludes that the water-filtering abilities of farmed kelp, an emerging industry in Alaska, could help reduce marine pollution in coastal areas. “Some seaweeds are literally like sponges- they suck and suck and never saturate,” said Schery Umanzor, lead author of the study and an assistant professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. “Although carbon and carbon sequestration by kelp received most of the attention, kelp is actually much better at mitigating excessive amounts of nitrogen than carbon,” she said. “I think that’s a story that’s really under looked.” Nitrogen pollution in coastal areas can be caused by several factors, including urban sew...
From the Editor: BC Fisheries in Flux
Fishermen's News Online, From the Editor

From the Editor: BC Fisheries in Flux

Inside the February 2023 issue of Fishermen's News, you’ll find an excellent article on the status of the British Columbia fishing industry. In the article, reporter Norris Comer states that “A myriad of challenges face B.C. fisheries, with the threatened Pacific salmon stocks taking center stage.” But in addition to the article in this issue, there’s an article published by Canada’s National Observer, a news and analysis website. In the National Observer article, reporter Rochelle Baker declares that British Columbia’s commercial salmon fleet is “clearly in the midst of transformative change.” The federal government in Ottawa has shuttered about 60% of B.C.’s commercial fisheries since 2021, and in December, launched a buyback program to lure fish harvesters to exit the industry to pro...