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NOAA to Remove Derelict Fishing Gear From Midway Islands Shores
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NOAA to Remove Derelict Fishing Gear From Midway Islands Shores

Officials with the NOAA Marine Debris Program say that the program’s expected to soon complete a mission to Midway Atoll, also known as Kuaihelani, to clean up derelict fishing gear and other debris from the shoreline. The plan, announced May 2, is supported through a five-year grant to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), using $5.8 million in funds provided by the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This 1,350-mile stretch of small, uninhabited atolls, reefs and shoals is home to unique wildlife and incredible historical sites. The atoll is also known as Kuaihelani, which means “the backbone of heaven,” and describes a mythical floating island in the sky, possibly originating from the large lagoons that reflect the sky. Despite their significance and remot...
FISHES Act Introduced to Cut Red Tape In Delivery of Disaster Funds
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FISHES Act Introduced to Cut Red Tape In Delivery of Disaster Funds

Legislation backed by 16 members of Congress aims to expedite delivery of disaster relief following fisheries disaster declarations by cutting red tape currently complicating the approval process by federal agencies. The Fishery Improvement to Streamline Untimely Regulatory Hurdles post Emergency Situation (FISHES) Act was introduced May 2 by Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both R-Alaska, and Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, both R-Florida. Representatives Mary Peltola, D-Alaska and Byron Donalds, R-Florida, introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives last year. Co-sponsors among the 12 representatives in the House include James Moylan, R-Guam, and Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, R-America Samoa. The legislation seeks to improve the federal regu...
Alaska’s Copper River Wild Salmon Fishery Opens May 16: ADF&G
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Alaska’s Copper River Wild Salmon Fishery Opens May 16: ADF&G

Alaska’s celebrated Copper River wild salmon fishery opens on Thursday, May 16 for a 12-hour commercial drift gillnet fishing period, while waters within the expanded Chinook salmon inside closure area closed for that same period. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the opener May 1, noting that subsistence harvest will also be allowed in the Copper River District during commercial fishing periods, until the season ends. ADF&G biologists said their Miles Lake sonar camp was scheduled to open May 7, but that the banks of the river are still covered with shore ice in the vicinity of the sonar sites. Commercial fishing in the Bering River District also are scheduled to open May 16 for a 12-hour commercial drift gillnet fishing period. The next announcement fro...
Record Low Fish Stocks Subject to Overfishing
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Record Low Fish Stocks Subject to Overfishing

A record low number of fish stocks were subject to overfishing in 2023, according to the annual Status of Stocks report that assesses the 506 stocks and stock complexes managed by NOAA Fisheries, which was released May 2. U.S. fisheries data confirmed that 94% of stocks in 2023 were not subject to overfishing and 82% were not overfished, a 1% improvement over 2022 data of 93% and 81% respectively. Ongoing positive trends continued with the number of stocks on the overfishing list decreasing by three stocks, reaching an all-time low of 21 stocks, and the number of stocks on the overfished list decreasing by one stock, to 47. Since 2000, NOAA Fisheries has rebuilt 50 stocks. NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said that by ending overfishing and rebuilding stocks, the agency is s...
Former Pacific Fishermen Shipyard Manager Doug Dixon Dies
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Former Pacific Fishermen Shipyard Manager Doug Dixon Dies

Longtime maritime industry figure Douglas Dixon, who was the former general manager and director of Pacific Fishermen Shipyard in Seattle, has died. Dixon died last week after a short battle with cancer, his friend Bill Forslund told Fishermen’s News May 4. “Unfortunately my friend Doug headed to the hospital in late March with an unknown malady and was quickly diagnosed with cancer that had spread pretty much all over his body,” Forslund said. Another friend, Nathaniel Howe, said that during his lifetime, Dixon was an “unrelenting advocate for the marine trades, both in Pacific Fishermen Shipyard and in youth outreach and workforce development.” “He was instrumental in the Ballard Maritime Academy program at Ballard High School and certainly in the Youth Maritime Training ...
Peter Pan Seafoods’ Financial Woes Mounting: Wells Fargo Seeks Receivership
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Peter Pan Seafoods’ Financial Woes Mounting: Wells Fargo Seeks Receivership

The financial woes of Peter Pan Seafoods continue to grow. King County Superior Court in Washington state has granted a petition by Wells Fargo Bank to put the seafood processor into receivership, with Los Angeles-based Stapleton Group to manage Peter Pan’s financial affairs. The petition filed last week by Wells Fargo Managing Director Gary Harrigian asked the court to appoint Stapleton Group as controller of Peter Pan’s assets. In his petition, Harrigian said that appointing a receiver was necessary “to protect, preserve and maximize the value of the business and assets, including, without limitation, the collateral, and its revenue-producing potential to avoid further loss, injury and impairment.” Stapleton Group declined any initial comment on the receivership. According to ...
Seafood Economics Contributes $6B to Alaska’s Economy: ASMI Report
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Seafood Economics Contributes $6B to Alaska’s Economy: ASMI Report

The seafood industry plays a critical role in the state’s economy, employing over 48,000 workers annually and contributing $6 billion to the state’s economy, according to a new report from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. “The economic benefits of the seafood industry are felt by all Alaskans,” said Jeremy Woodrow, executive director of ASMI, who released the 2024 update of “The Economic Value of Alaska’s Seafood Industry” report on April 24. Current global challenges notwithstanding, the variety and superior quality of products Alaska has to offer is unmatched, Woodrow said. “Research shows that consumers strongly prefer wild seafood to farmed, they want to add more sustainable seafood to their routines, and they place a high value on the health benefits of seafood,” h...
Tribal Councilmember Appointed to Salmon Recovery Board
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Tribal Councilmember Appointed to Salmon Recovery Board

Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians council member and Northwest Indian Fisheries Commissioner Kadi Bizyayeva has been appointed to the Salmon Recovery Funding Board by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. Her term runs through July 15, 2027. The governor called Bizyayeva a strong advocate for protecting and restoring salmon and their habitat throughout the Salish Sea. Serving on this board allows her to continue this work while also bringing a tribal perspective and traditional ecological knowledge into the board’s decision-making, Inslee said. Bizyayeva is the fisheries director for the tribe’s natural resources department, where she has worked since 2013. She co-manages treaty resources with state, federal and tribal governments, working with them to recover species of concern in the Stilla...
NOAA Fisheries Issues Final Rule on Cook Inlet EEZ
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NOAA Fisheries Issues Final Rule on Cook Inlet EEZ

NOAA Fisheries on April 29 announced publication of the final rule implementing federal management of commercial salmon fishing in the Cook Inlet Exclusive Economic Zone Area. Under federal management, which goes into effect 30 days after publication, commercial fishing vessels must obtain a federal permit, maintain a fishing logbook, have a vessel monitoring system (VMS) installed on their vessels, and comply with all other federal regulations laid out in the final rule. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) uses VMS in most federally managed fisheries in Alaska. NOAA Alaska spokeswoman Julie Fair said that the VMS requirement will be new for many Cook Inlet drift gillnet vessels that choose to fish in the EEZ fishery. “NMFS uses VMS to provide vessel location to make sure...
Study: Alaska Snow Crab Collapse Attributed to Starvation
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Study: Alaska Snow Crab Collapse Attributed to Starvation

Federal fisheries researchers studying the dramatic crash of snow crab in the Bering Sea from 2018 to 2021 have determined that caloric requirements of the crab quadrupled when sea temperatures rose and the crab ultimately starved to death. Snow crabs will eat almost anything they can catch and break open with their claws, a diet that may include fish, shrimp, crabs, worms, clams, brittle starts, snails, algae and sponges, as well as anything dead they find. In 2018, there were more snow crab in the Bering Sea than ever seen before, Cody Szuwalski, a fisheries biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center, said. So the decline of roughly 10 billion crab from 2018 to 2021 was a precipitous unexpected collapse, he said in a ...