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Next Copper River Commercial Fishery Opener Planned for May 26
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Next Copper River Commercial Fishery Opener Planned for May 26

In the wake of a moderate first opener and weak second opener of the Copper River commercial salmon fishery, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said ‘no’ to a third 12-hour fishing period, but that the next opener is anticipated for tomorrow Thursday, May 26. ADF&G biologists stationed in Cordova, Alaska, did allow subsistence harvesters a 12-hour fishing period on Monday, May 23, within the Copper River District, while closing waters within the Chinook salmon expanded inside closure area for those harvesters for that period. The biologists issued their decision after the second opener on Thursday, May 19, resulted 416 deliveries of a total of 14,750 fish, including 2,690 kings and 11,705 sockeye salmon. The first opener on May 16 had harvesters making 401 deliveries of 1...
New ‘Status of Stocks’ Report Shows 90-Plus Percent Not Subject to Overfishing
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New ‘Status of Stocks’ Report Shows 90-Plus Percent Not Subject to Overfishing

A newly released 2021 “Status of Stocks” report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concludes that more than 90% of stocks in the U.S. are not subject to overfishing, which means when the annual rate of catch is too high. The report, which was released in mid-May, shows the number of stocks on the overfished list holding steady at 26 (out of a total of 296) and the number of overfished stocks, where the population size is too small, increasing slightly to 51, up from 49. The report also states that in 2020, seafood landings in the U.S. were down 10% -- likely due to the impact of the COVD-19 pandemic – and that overall annual seafood consumption fell slightly from the previous year to 19 pounds per individual. For the first time, Fisheries of the United St...
NMFS Issues Final Rule on Washington, Oregon, California Ocean Fisheries
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NMFS Issues Final Rule on Washington, Oregon, California Ocean Fisheries

The National Marine Fisheries Service has issued a final rule establishing fishery management measures for the 2022 ocean salmon fisheries off Washington, Oregon and California and the 2023 salmon seasons opening earlier than May 16, 2023. Measures in the final rule vary by fishery and by area and establish fishing areas, seasons, quotas, legal gear, recreational fishing days and catch limits, possession and landing restrictions, and minimum lengths for salmon taken in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone off Washington, Oregon and California. The management measures are intended to prevent overfishing and to apportion the ocean harvest equitably among treaty Indians, non-Indian commercial, and recreational fisheries. They’re also intended to allow a portion of salmon runs to escape ...
Interior Department Cancels Oil and Gas Lease Sale in Alaska’s Cook Inlet
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Interior Department Cancels Oil and Gas Lease Sale in Alaska’s Cook Inlet

U.S. Interior Department officials have cancelled an oil and gas lease sale in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, citing “a lack of industry interest in leasing in the area.” The announcement prompted kudos from environmentalists and fishermen and strong criticism from Alaska’s two Republican senators. “(D)ue to lack of industry interest in leasing in the area, the department will not move forward with the proposed Cook Inlet OCS oil and gas lease sale 258,” the official announcement from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on not holding the lease sale in Lower Cook Inlet states. The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management previously canceled Cook Inlet lease sales in 2007, 2008 and 2011, also citing a lack of industry interest. Veteran journalist Larry Persily, a former ...
Alaska Legislature Passes Mariculture Enhancement Bill
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Alaska Legislature Passes Mariculture Enhancement Bill

Mariculture enhancement legislation has passed both houses of the Alaska Legislature, lifting the hopes of shellfish researchers for a future in which hatchery production of juvenile king crab would boost stocks to a sustainable commercial level. House Bill 41, sponsored by Rep. Dan Ortiz, I-Ketchikan, creates a regulatory framework with which the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) can manage shellfish enhancement projects and outlines criteria for the issuance of permits. It sets out stringent safety standards to ensure sustainability and health of existing natural stocks. ADF&G Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang must also make a determination of substantial public benefit before the project can proceed. HB 41 also allows the ADF&G to set the application fee f...
Silver Bay Seafoods Providing Humanitarian Relief to Ukraine
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Silver Bay Seafoods Providing Humanitarian Relief to Ukraine

A fisherman-owned seafood processing company in Sitka, Alaska with deep ties to Ukraine has reached out in a humanitarian effort with the donation of a 20-foot container filled with wild Alaska canned salmon and $130,000 USD to World Central Kitchen’s hunger relief program. “Silver Bay Seafoods is deeply connected to Ukraine,” company spokeswoman Abby Fredrick said. “Our employees have family friends and colleagues who have been seriously impacted by the situation in Ukraine.” “In particular, one of our long-standing fleet managers, Chris ‘Coach’ Hansen, was in Kharkiv with his wife and her daughter from the beginning of the attacks until they eventually found refuge in the Czech Republic,” she explained. Hansen, a former Eastern Washington University football player, became t...
U.S. Commerce Dept. Allocates $144M for Fisheries Disasters
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U.S. Commerce Dept. Allocates $144M for Fisheries Disasters

The State of Alaska, the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe in Washington state will share in $144 million awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce for fisheries disasters suffered between 2018 and 2021. The allocation, announced May 5 by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, applies to previously declared fishery disasters including the 2019 Norton Sound king crab fishery, the Port Gamble Tribe’s 2018 Puget Sound coho salmon fishery, the Chehalis Tribe’s 2019 Chehalis River spring Chinook salmon fishery. Eligible fisheries in Alaska that experienced disasters between 2018 and 2021 and are eligible include the 2018 Upper Cook Inlet East Side Set net and 2020 Upper Cook Inlet salmon fisheries, the 2018 Copper River Chinook and sockeye...
Hybrid NPFMC Meeting Scheduled for June 9-14 in Sitka, Alaska
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Hybrid NPFMC Meeting Scheduled for June 9-14 in Sitka, Alaska

Final action on Central Gulf of Alaska rockfish adjustments is on the agenda for the hybrid June meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, set for June 6-14 in Sitka, Alaska. Other major issues on the agenda include a Crab Plan team report on Aleutian Islands golden king crab and adopting alternatives for the snow crab rebuilding plan analysis, initial review of the Bering Sea/Aleutian Island Pacific cod small boat access and trawl electronic monitoring committee report, plus a review of the observer program annual report for 2021. Discussions on salmon research reports on Chinook and chum stock status from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center and Alaska Department of Fish and Game are also on the agenda, which is online at https://meetings.npfmc.org/Meeting/Details...
California Agencies Partner to Support Salmon in Drought Conditions
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California Agencies Partner to Support Salmon in Drought Conditions

California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials say that the drought having a significant impact on the state’s water supply is also putting the state’s salmon at serious risk. To that end, California’s Water Resources and Fish and Wildlife departments are collaborating through shared projects, funding and research efforts to identify challenges facing salmon and to promote salmon health and survival. These projects include restoring critical habitat for salmon and other fish species, improving salmon migration corridors to and from the ocean, and increasing monitoring efforts to better track fish populations and devise new strategies to improve their status. In April, DWR and CDFW staff began work to remove vegetation from a key migratory path for adult spring-run Chinook s...
NMFS Aims to Rebuild Pacific Sardine Stocks
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NMFS Aims to Rebuild Pacific Sardine Stocks

The National Marine Fisheries Service is seeking comments by May 24 on a proposal to implement annual harvest specifications and management measures for the northern subpopulation of Pacific sardine for the fishing year from July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023. This proposed rule is intended to conserve, manage and rebuild the Pacific sardine stock off the U.S. West Coast. Pacific sardine harvest would be allowed only for use as live bait, in minor directed fisheries, as incidental catch in other fisheries, or as authorized under exempted fishing permits. The proposed action would prohibit most directed commercial fishing for Pacific sardine off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California. The incidental harvest of Pacific sardine would be limited to 20% by weight of all f...