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NOAA Fisheries Issues Final Rule Implementing Pacific Whiting Fishery
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NOAA Fisheries Issues Final Rule Implementing Pacific Whiting Fishery

Federal fisheries officials have implemented the domestic 2024 harvest specifications for Pacific whiting fisheries off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California, including the 2024 Tribal allocation for the Pacific whiting fishery, the non-tribal sector allocations, and a set-aside for incidental mortality in research activities and non-groundfish fisheries. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) issued the rule effective June 24 for the Pacific whiting fishery under the authority of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Pacific Whiting Act of 2006, and other applicable laws. The rule was published in the Federal Register. These measures are intended to help prevent overfis...
Sonar Monitoring on Seafloor Shows Pollock Traveling Between U.S., Russia EEZs
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Sonar Monitoring on Seafloor Shows Pollock Traveling Between U.S., Russia EEZs

A new federal fisheries study released June 20 shows that substantial numbers of pollock travel seasonally between the two U.S. and Russian exclusive economic zones (EEZ). The study, conducted from July 2019 to August 2020, used specially designed moorings, equipped with sonar on the seafloor, to acoustically monitor pollock abundance and movement between the two EEZs. They documented pollock moving southeast over the maritime boundary in winter as the sea ice formed, but largely absent in late spring when ocean temperatures were near freezing and sea ice was still present, biologists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. When moorings were deployed in summer 2019, the area was unusually warm but conditions were cooler in summer 2020, according to NOAA...
Interior Dept., Waterways Association Spar Over Breaching Lower Snake River Dams
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Interior Dept., Waterways Association Spar Over Breaching Lower Snake River Dams

Federal criticism of the negative impact of hydropower dams and a call for affordable, clean energy options to aid restoration of restore wild fish to the Columbia River Basin is being challenged by a trade association with extensive interests in three Pacific Northwest states. The Biden administration on June 18 announced creation of the Columbia River Task Force and release of a landmark report acknowledging the harm that federal dams have continued to inflict on Native American tribes in the region. The interagency task force advances a historic agreement to work in partnership with tribes and states from the Pacific Northwest to restore wild salmon populations in the Columbia River Basin and develop a long-term strategy to meet the clean energy, transportation and other key n...
$12M For Alaska, Washington Fisheries Disasters Allocated by Commerce Dept.
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$12M For Alaska, Washington Fisheries Disasters Allocated by Commerce Dept.

U.S. Commerce Department officials have announced the allocation of $12.2 million to address fishery resource disasters in Alaska and Washington State through 2022 and 2023 Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Acts. The allocations for Alaska’s 2022 Kuskokwim River salmon fishery, 2021 and 2022 Upper Cook Inlet East Side Setnet salmon fishery and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe’s 2021 Puget Sound fall chum and coho salmon fisheries can be used to fund commercial, recreational, tribal fishing communities and subsistence users, as well as other associated industries affected by the disaster. “This funding will assist with the recovery of salmon fisheries in communities across Alaska and Puget Sound by bolstering fisheries restoration efforts, minimizing the risk of future di...
Salmon Harvest Opens from Bristol Bay to Kodiak and Beyond
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Salmon Harvest Opens from Bristol Bay to Kodiak and Beyond

Harvesters in the Copper River, Bristol Bay, the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak and the Alaska Peninsula are all competing now, as the Alaska commercial salmon fisheries open in full for the 2024 season with 3.7 million fish already delivered to processors. As of June 24, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game estimated the catch at 2.6 million sockeyes, 1.2 million chums, 240,000 pink and 36,000 Chinook salmon. In the central region of Alaska alone, Fish & Game estimated the total catch at 1.8 million fish, including 1.2 million sockeyes, 549,000 chums, 6,000 Chinook and 1,000 pink salmon, most of it from Prince William Sound. In Bristol Bay, where a huge surge of the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery normally returns the week of July 1, over 181,000 red salmon were already...
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Heads North for Arctic Deployment
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U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Heads North for Arctic Deployment

The US. Coast Guard cutter Healy, the nation's largest, most technologically advanced polar icebreaker, is en route to Alaska to begin months long Arctic deployment and support scientists engaged in three distinct science missions. Coast Guard officials said that Healy left Seattle on June 13. The cutter is the Coast Guard’s only icebreaker equipped with scientific instrumentation by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support Arctic research and is considered ideally specialized for scientific missions providing access to the most remote areas of the Arctic Ocean. The first mission, in support of the Arctic Observing Network, is NSF-funded. During this mission, the Healy is to service subsurface moorings in the Beaufort Sea, north of Alaska, conducting a survey of the bound...
McKenzie River Restoration Benefits Upper Willamette River Chinook
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McKenzie River Restoration Benefits Upper Willamette River Chinook

NOAA's Office of Habitat Conservation says the numbers of threatened Upper Willamette River Chinook salmon are increasing, thanks to habitat restored in Oregon's McKenzie River watershed. In 2022, NOAA provided $1.7 million to the McKenzie River Trust in congressionally-directed community project funds to restore 150 acres of floodplain habitat at Finn Rock Reach, an important habitat for Chinook salmon. An update issued by NOAA Fisheries on June 3 said that adult Chinook spawned in restored habitat last fall, laying eggs in 65 “redds” - gravel nests they scour out of the river bottom. A new generation of juvenile Chinook is now growing there and will eventually head downstream toward the ocean, they said. McKenzie River Trust Restoration Projects Manager John Trimble said the...
Early Alaska Commercial Salmon Catch Exceeds 1M Fish
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Early Alaska Commercial Salmon Catch Exceeds 1M Fish

Estimated commercial harvests in the 2024 statewide Alaska salmon fishery topped one million fish as of Monday, June 17, as two districts in Bristol Bay opened in the wake of Copper River/Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet fisheries. Deliveries are also coming to processors from Cook Inlet, Kodiak and the Alaska Peninsula. Prices for the coveted Copper River sockeye fillets are holding their own at the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, at $34.99 a pound, and as high as $37.97 at online retailer FishEx in Anchorage. Some retailers meanwhile have begun offering fresh from the ocean Cook Inlet sockeye fillets for $12.99 to $21.99 a pound. In upscale restaurants in Anchorage, gourmet entrees of Copper River reds this week were $49 at Simon & Seafort’s, and $32 at Orso. Al...
Washington, Alaska Tribes Seek Consultation on BC Transboundary Mining Issues
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Washington, Alaska Tribes Seek Consultation on BC Transboundary Mining Issues

Indian tribes from Washington state and Southeast Alaska that have ancestral homelands along salmon rich transboundary rivers are asking the British Columbia government to consult with them regarding mining operations with potential adverse impacts on rivers and fisheries. Officials with the Lummi Nation and southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission (SEITC) said June 13 that they were notified by the BC Environmental Assessment office that they would have a limited voice over port expansion of the BC Roberts Bank Terminal. Roberts Bank is home to a twin-terminal port facility on the mainland coastline of the Strait of Georgia in Delta, B.C.  It is also known as the Outer Harbour of Canada’s busiest port. The tribes contend that the project would have an adverse impa...
Area 2A Commercial Pacific Halibut Season Opens June 25
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Area 2A Commercial Pacific Halibut Season Opens June 25

The first three-day commercial directed Pacific halibut fishing season of the year in convention waters off the West Coast begins at 8 a.m. on June 25 and runs through 6 p.m. on June 27. NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement, along with state and federal fisheries partners, have advised that they will be out on the water and at the docks, conducting patrols throughout the season. Patrol partners include the U.S. Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement, Oregon State Police and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police. The patrols will focus on ensuring compliance with the rules and regulations governing commercial Pacific halibut fishing. They include but are not limited to proper marking of fishing gear, permitting and vessel documentation, min...