News

Crab Scientists Plan More Direct Research, Tagging This Year
Fishermen's News Online, News

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
Fishermen's News Online, News

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
Fishermen's News Online, News

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
Fishermen's News Online, News

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
Fishermen's News Online, News

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
Fishermen's News Online, News

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...
NOAA Fisheries Denies Emergency Action Request For Red King Crab Savings Area
Fishermen's News Online, News

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...
Electronic Logbook Trial Run Expected to Begin This Year in Gulf of Alaska
Fishermen's News Online, News

Electronic Logbook Trial Run Expected to Begin This Year in Gulf of Alaska

Real Time Data, a fisherman-founded software company with offices in Bellingham, Wash. and Australia is looking for harvesters to test its electronic logbook, Deckhand Pro, in Gulf of Alaska fixed gear groundfish fisheries during the 2023 and 2024 fishing seasons. Fishermen who are currently reporting on the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Daily Fishing Log and fishing for halibut and sablefish are eligible to fill the 30 spots to test Real Time Data’s Deckhand Pro electronic logbook in the Gulf of Alaska for the 2023-24 fishing seasons. RTD Project Manager Lange Solberg said the company is ecstatic to be working with industry to get Deckhand Pro out on the water in fixed gear fisheries. Deckhand Pro is its flagship logbook project in the global electronic reporting market, an...
Toxic Toilet Tissue Found in Endangered Orca Whales: UBC Study
Fishermen's News Online, News

Toxic Toilet Tissue Found in Endangered Orca Whales: UBC Study

University of British Columbia researchers say a chemical used to produce toilet paper, as well as so-called ‘forever chemicals’ have been found in the carcasses of stranded endangered orca whales offshore of the Canadian province. Study results, released in December 2022 in an online publication of the American Chemical Society, show that chemical pollutants are prevalent in killer whales. A chemical often found in toilet paper was the one of the most prevalent in the samples studied, accounting for 46% of the total pollutants identified. The research was a collaborative effort of the UBC Institute for the Ocean and Fisheries, British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Food, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, with researchers analyzing tissue samples from six Southern Resident killer ...
California Sea Grant Releases 2024-2027 Strategic Plan
Fishermen's News Online, News

California Sea Grant Releases 2024-2027 Strategic Plan

California Sea Grant, administered through the University of California San Diego, has released its 2024-2027 strategic plan, with a goal of better preparing the state’s coastal communities for extreme weather and coastal hazards, economic disruptions and other threats to communities’ well-being. The report notes the intimate connection between all California residents and the state’s coastal and marine resources, which are located along the 3,425 miles of coastline, meandering along the rugged open coast, around bays and in the ocean. The first healthy coastal ecosystem goal centers on a better understanding of natural and anthropogenic influences on these ecosystems in a changing environment and collaborators that reflect the diversity of those with interest in these ecosystems to id...