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NOAA Fisheries Grants Nearly $2M for Bycatch Reduction Engineering Projects
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NOAA Fisheries Grants Nearly $2M for Bycatch Reduction Engineering Projects

NOAA Fisheries has allocated nearly $2 million for bycatch reduction engineering program projects in fiscal 2021, including $403,692 for the West Coast, $99,700 for Alaska, and $410,578 for the Pacific Islands. One Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission grant of $157,897 will be used for testing modified circle hooks to reduce yelloweye rockfish bycatch in the West Coast directed Pacific halibut longline fishery. The project will modify hooks on which Pacific halibut are caught to see whether such hooks can decrease the catch of yelloweye rockfish while still being equally effective in catching halibut. Another $245,797 grant to the PSMFC is allocated for artificial illumination of trawl gear components to reduce Pacific halibut bycatch in West Coast and Alaska bottom trawl fishe...
NOAA Names New Protected Resources Office Director
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NOAA Names New Protected Resources Office Director

Kim Damon-Randall, who has extensive experience in the conservation, recovery and management of protected species, has been named as the new director of NOAA’s Office of Protected Resources, succeeding Donna Wieting, who retired in March. Damon-Randall, who assumed her new post on Aug. 29, most recently served as deputy regional administrator of NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Regional Office. She has also led the Endangered Species Branch and served as assistant regional administrator for protected resources. Before joining NOAA in 2001, Damon-Randall worked on marine conservation and outreach at the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium and J.L. Scott Marine Education Center. She has a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in marine affairs, both from the University of Rhode Island. Sa...
Bristol Bay Cannery Added to National Register of Historic Places
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Bristol Bay Cannery Added to National Register of Historic Places

A historic salmon cannery on the shores of South Naknek in Bristol Bay, Alaska, which operated almost continuously from 1895 to 2015, is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Diamond NN Cannery, established on the shores of South Naknek by the Alaska Packers Association, and now owned by Trident Seafoods, began as a saltery in 1890. In 1895, the facility was converted into a cannery which went on to operate for over 100 years, said Bob King, former dean of Alaska’s fisheries writers, who now lives in Juneau. Most of some other 60 canneries spread over the region for decades fell way short of that record of service. “They fell apart, runs changed, the technology changes, they didn’t need as any canneries, but this is one of the earliest starting, longest runni...
NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region Veteran Balsiger to Retire
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NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region Veteran Balsiger to Retire

Veteran NOAA regional administrator Jim Balsiger says there was a time when he had no plans to ever hold a fish in his hands for research. He had, in fact, set out for a career in forestry, but for a turn of events that found him doing modeling for a salmon management project in Bristol Bay on the way to getting a doctorate in quantitative ecology and natural resources management from the University of Washington. That led ultimately to a 44-year career with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where for the last 21 years Balsiger has served as regional administrator for the Alaska Region of NOAA Fisheries. “What a wonderful, unexpected career I’ve had,” he said during an interview after announcing his plans to retire at the end of November. Balsiger began his c...
NOAA Invites Stakeholders to Listening Session on Conserving, Restoring America
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NOAA Invites Stakeholders to Listening Session on Conserving, Restoring America

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council is urging the public to offer comments on how best to achieve conservation of at least 30% of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030. The announcement comes in the wake of the release in May by NOAA and federal partners of the Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful report, a roadmap for a decade-long, inclusive, voluntary and locally-led conservation effort. The goal is to restore 30% of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030 for the sake of the economy, and everyone’s health and well-being in the next nine years. The first listening session was held on Thursday, Aug. 26, and the next one is set for Monday, Sept. 13 from noon to 3 p.m. Pacific time. The public may dial in at (800) 857-5743, and use the Passcode 727-5932 or...
Alaska Symphony of Seafood Expands Competition
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Alaska Symphony of Seafood Expands Competition

Expansion features are on tap for the 2021-22 Alaska Symphony of Seafood, with salmon and whitefish product categories, in addition to retail, food service and beyond the plate. The annual competition, which began in 1994, took a hiatus in 2020 because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but will be back in person under current health and safety guidelines, said Julie Decker, executive director of the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation. Product entries may be entered in all qualified categories and are eligible for multiple awards. Special awards for this year’s competition include the grand prize, Seattle People’s Choice, Juneau People’s Choice and the new Bristol Bay Choice, sponsored by the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, the Symphony’s new major spo...
ODFW Seeks Comment on Draft Commercial Dungeness Crab Conservation Plan
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ODFW Seeks Comment on Draft Commercial Dungeness Crab Conservation Plan

Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking public comment on a draft conservation plan addressing marine life entanglement in the commercial Dungeness crab fishery along the Oregon coast. The 30-day comment period began on Aug. 18 with the release of the draft plan online at the ODFW’s whale entanglement mitigation webpage. An informational virtual briefing is set for Sept. 17 before the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. ODFW has been working with industry and other partners for six years to address marine life entanglements in Oregon’s crab and other fisheries. The agency developed a proactive management strategy for the Oregon ocean commercial Dungeness crab fishery that is now documents in the draft plan. State officials said their vision is for co-existence of the com...
Investigation Urged into Toxic Chemical Impacts on Coho Salmon
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Investigation Urged into Toxic Chemical Impacts on Coho Salmon

Fourteen members of the U.S. House of Representatives are calling for an investigation into effects of 6PPD-quinone, a highly toxic degradation product from tires and recycled rubber on endangered salmon, aquatic species and watersheds nationwide. The House members told the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service the chemical may be contributing to widespread salmon mortality and would have profound implications for salmon recovery efforts. “Given the dismal trajectory of West Coast salmon populations, your agencies should be working with great urgency to gain a better understanding of this threat and to take any necessary actions to address it,” they said. The Aug. 19 letter was signed by California Representatives Jared Huffman, cha...
Sonoma County Hatchery Coho Salmon Relocated to Avoid Heat Stress
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Sonoma County Hatchery Coho Salmon Relocated to Avoid Heat Stress

Some 4,000 California hatchery juvenile coho salmon were relocated in July and August from the Warm Springs Fish Hatchery at Geyserville to a conservation facility at a high school in Petaluma, to be reared until conditions improve. A spokesperson for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said on Monday, Aug. 23 that they are hopeful drought and poor water conditions at Lake Sonoma will improve enough to allow them to truck the fish back to the hatchery before year’s end. Beginning in late spring, rising water temperatures at Warm Springs Hatchery increased the risk of heat stress and pathogen outbreaks. Scientists developed the relocation plan as a precaution to keep the hatchery coho safe. CDFW acting regional manager Stacy Sherman said the agency has a vested interest ...
New Furuno Software Features Ability to Make Custom Shaded Relief Charts
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New Furuno Software Features Ability to Make Custom Shaded Relief Charts

Marine electronics provider Furuno, which produces radar systems, GPS receivers and other navigational instruments, has added the ability for users of its latest navigation software to build their own custom shaded relief charts. Users of the company’s NavNet TZtouch3 touchscreen electronics monitoring system with the DFF3D Multi-Beam Sonar can now build their own charts using the PBG (Personal Bathymetric Generator) functionality now available in Furuno's recent version 2.01 software update, which is free to all customers. Captains can use the technology to create precision bottom maps quickly and easily thanks to the 120-degree beamwidth of the DFF3D transducer, according to Furuno Marine Electronics. PBG allows the operator to create custom high-resolution shaded relief charts of ...