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CDFW to Hold Annual Salmon Information Meeting March 2
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CDFW to Hold Annual Salmon Information Meeting March 2

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has scheduled its annual salmon information meeting for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 2 via webinar. This year’s public meeting will feature CDFW’s outlook for the 2022 sport and commercial ocean salmon fisheries, plus a review of the 2021 salmon fisheries and spawning escapement. Stakeholders are encouraged to participate by providing input on potential fishing seasons to a panel of fishery managers, scientists and industry representatives who will be participating in the upcoming Pacific Fishery Management Council meetings in March and April. The 2022 salmon information meeting marks the start of a two-month public process to develop annual sport and commercial ocean salmon fishing regulations. The process involves collabor...
Guest Column: Divisiveness Should Not Have a Role in Commercial Fisheries
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Guest Column: Divisiveness Should Not Have a Role in Commercial Fisheries

By Mike Conroy The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines divisive as “creating disunity or dissension.” And unless you’ve been stuck on a boat for the last decade or so, you know that divisiveness is prevalent in today’s society. It bears noting, however, that not all division is bad. Divisiveness can also result in meaningful debates which can move forward certain thoughts and/or ideas. I am seeing a growing trend in commercial fisheries where we divide ourselves into groups based upon specific attributes. Whether it be vessel size, gear type utilized, home port, market you choose to serve, etc. Personally, I have made a concerted effort to avoid bashing one segment of our industry in order to benefit another. That was not always the case. When I submitted my first column after taki...
Emergency Request to Halt Salmon Bycatch Denied
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Emergency Request to Halt Salmon Bycatch Denied

NOAA Fisheries has denied a request from six Alaska entities to eliminate Chinook salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea Pollock fishery and implement hard cap on chum salmon bycatch, on grounds that it doesn’t meet three criteria necessary for implementing an emergency rule. Petitioners had asked Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to close the Bering Sea Pollock fishery this year, plus requested tribal consultations with Western and Interior Alaska tribes to develop long-term measures to reduce chum salmon bycatch, an effort that NOAA Fisheries said is underway. The petition was signed by the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, the Association of Village Council Presidents, the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island and Bering Sea Elde...
Feds Provide $62M to Repair Tillamook Bay’s South Jetty
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Feds Provide $62M to Repair Tillamook Bay’s South Jetty

An allocation of $62 million from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will pay for repair of the South Jetty in Tillamook Bay, Ore., by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “The health of Tillamook’s economy goes hand-in-hand with the health of the port and local residents and businesses should not be burdened by unsafe conditions caused by severely degraded infrastructure,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. “It is long past time we made critical investments in the safety and stability of South Jetty, one of Garibaldi’s major economic hubs, which is long overdue for crucial upgrades,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who worked with Merkley to secure the funds. The senators noted that the degradation of the South Jetty has been a growing public health hazard in recent yea...
EPA Delays Proposed Determination on Pebble Deposit in Bristol Bay Watershed
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EPA Delays Proposed Determination on Pebble Deposit in Bristol Bay Watershed

A decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to delay until May 31 a revised Clean Water Act Section 404 (c) Proposed Determination regarding the Pebble deposit in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed is prompting serious concerns from commercial fishermen and Alaska Native tribes. Officials with EPA Region 10 said the agency continues to have reason to believe that the discharge of dredged or fill material associated with the copper, gold and molybdenum deposit could result in unacceptable adverse impact on fisheries. On Jan. 28, EPA officials said that they had notified those interested in the EPA’s work on the Bristol Bay watershed of plans to issue that revised Proposed Determination, to ensure there is ample opportunity for full consideration of available information to ...
IYS Launches 2022 Pan-Pacific Winter High Sea Expedition
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IYS Launches 2022 Pan-Pacific Winter High Sea Expedition

The 2022 International Year of the Salmon’s 2022 Pan-Pacific Winter High Seas Expedition is underway, with participating research vessels from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Canada and Russian and over 60 scientists and crew on board. The expedition is being hailed by IYS and the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission in Vancouver, British Columbia, as the largest ever Pan-Pacific expedition effort to study salmon and their ecosystems in the North Pacific Ocean. Participating vessels include the NOAA ship Bell M. Shimada, Russia’s R/V Tinro, Canada’s CCGS Sir John Franklin and the Canadian commercial fishing vessel F/V Raw Spirit. “With climate change we are seeing now impacts are severe,” said Laurie Weitkamp, a research biologist at NOAA’s Northwest F...
Purse Seiner Vessel Crew Training Opens in Gig Harbor
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Purse Seiner Vessel Crew Training Opens in Gig Harbor

Owners of the 501(c)(3) non-profit Gig Harbor BoatShop and the Seattle-based research institute Washington Sea Grant have stepped up to fill a growing need for crew aboard commercial seiner fishing vessels harvesting their catch in Alaska. The six-day program, beginning April 11, is designed to teach the fundamental skills needed to work on a commercial fishing vessel. The hands-on curriculum, taught by experienced captains and crew, will be conducted in the classroom and onboard commercial fishing vessels in south Puget Sound and in historic Ancich Netshed on Gig Harbor’s waterfront. The program costs $100 and includes two Washington Sea Grant Coast Guard-approved safety training courses: Sea Safety and Survival (drill instructor) and First Aid at Sea. Instructor Gregg Lovrovich...
Support Urged for Moratorium on Deep Seabed Mining in International Waters
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Support Urged for Moratorium on Deep Seabed Mining in International Waters

Six Canadian entities have relaunched a parliamentary petition calling on the federal government to help establish an international moratorium on deep seabed mining through the International Seabed Authority, based in Kingston, Jamaica. The parliamentary petition was originally launched in June 2021 by MiningWatch Canada, Oceans North, the Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society, Nature Canada, Northern Confluence and West Coast Environmental Law, but was ended after the most recent national election. Over 1,400 people have signed the petition, sponsored by Gord Johns, a member of Parliament with the New Democratic Party Caucus in British Columbia, and enough signatures have been gathered to assure that the petition will be presented for discussion in Parliament in Ottawa, accord...
Seven Alaska Fisheries Approved for Disaster Relief
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Seven Alaska Fisheries Approved for Disaster Relief

Seven Alaska fisheries, from the Yukon River to Southcentral to Southeast Alaska, have been approved by Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo for disaster relief. The relief had been requested by Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy for multiple fishery disasters that impacted Alaska’s seafood industry from 2018 through 2021. The fisheries include the Upper Cook Inlet East Side Set Net for 2018, Upper Cook Inlet salmon fisheries for 2020; Copper River Chinook and sockeye salmon fisheries for 2018; Prince William Sound salmon fisheries for 2020; Copper River Chinook, sockeye and chum salmon fisheries for 2020; Eastern Bering Sea Tanner crab for 2019-2020; Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska for 2020; and 2020 salmon fisheries for Norton Sound Yukon River, Chignik, Kuskokwim River and Southeast A...
Opposition Voiced Over NMFS Proposal to Allow Incidental Take of Whales in Swordfish Fishery
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Opposition Voiced Over NMFS Proposal to Allow Incidental Take of Whales in Swordfish Fishery

An international advocate for ocean conservation is challenging a National Marine Fisheries Service proposal that would allow endangered whales to be injured or killed when they become entangled in long nets used in the California swordfish fishery. Oceana voiced its opposition this past week in a letter to the West Coast regional office of NMFS. Preliminary NMFS data noted that two humpback whales were seen entangled in drift gillnets in 2021. Based on this report and the level of observer coverage, Oceana estimates that a dozen humpback whales were entangled in the nets over the last two fishing seasons. A recent analysis by Oceana found rampant underreporting of incidents of harm to marine life on trips without a fisheries observer on board. The report noted that there are ...