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NIOSH Video Aims to Prevent Deaths at Sea

A new safety training and awareness video available free from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health aims to help prevent work-related deaths from drowning in commercial fishing. The video is the work of the Alaska Pacific Regional Office of NIOSH.Falls overboard are the second leading cause of death among commercial fishermen nationwide. From 2000 through 2009, 155 commercial fishermen died after falling overboard. None of the victims were wearing a personal flotation device.The video was filmed in Alaska in cooperation with the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association and Alaska Sea Grant. It contained solutions for reducing commercial fishing fatalities due to falls overboard, including demonstrations of man overboard drills and proper man overboard recovery techniq...
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Alaska Fishing Fleet Getting Older, Richer

By Bob TkaczMay 2011The Alaskan fishing fleet, including resident and outside harvesters, is getting older and earning more, state lawmakers were told in a data-heavy presentation. That good news (financially at least) could be somewhat deflated because costs of permits and gear that are also rising are making it difficult for young men or women to enter fisheries.Tracked from 1975 to 2008, the mean age of the fleet went from 43 years old to 41 through most of the 1980s then began a steady increase to almost 50 by 2008, according to analyses presented by Glenn Haight, the fishery development manager in the state Div. of Economic Development, at a March 29 session of the legislature’s “Fish Caucus.”“It’s not going down. The fleet’s getting older,” Haight said.Among 21 salmon fisheries selec...
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Copper River Salmon Fishery Opens May 16

Alaska’s famed Copper River salmon fishery, the harbinger of springtime in the 49th state, opens on Monday, May 16, with a harvest projection of 1.2 million sockeye, 293,000 coho and 9,000 chinook salmon. That’s the maximum harvest that could be achieved and still meet the minimum escapement goal of 24,000 fish given the total run projection, according to Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists.Such a harvest would be a step up from last year, when gillnetters on the Copper River harvested 635,968 reds and 9,654 kings, according to season summaries.It’s generally hit or miss coming into the season, so far as the first opener, according to one industry observer affiliated with a processing firm who says he’s seen tremendous first openings and others with almost no fish available.For t...
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Southwest Alaska Fisheries Are Subject of 30-Year Analysis

The Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference has a new report out on Southwest Alaska fisheries resource allocations over a 30-year period. The report says that the absolute number of permits held by residents fell from 14,085 to 9,258, a factor of 34 percent from the peak to present. Graphs included in the report show that the number of permits for crab, herring and salmon declined, permits for shellfish and halibut are about the same and groundfish and sablefish have increased over the 30- year period of study.Groundfish, sablefish and halibut fisheries experienced an increase in permits in the years prior to rationalization and a sharp drop after programs were implemented. Crab fisheries did not follow the increasing trend, although there was a sharp fall after program implementation, the ...
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Alaska Pacific Halibut Certified for Responsible Fisheries Management

Wild Alaska Pacific halibut are now certified by the independent third-party United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization based on Responsible Fisheries Management criteria.Assessment in late April came after a 12-month independent assessment of the fishery performed at the request of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.ASMI officially announced the certification during a reception at the European Seafood Exposition in Brussels, Belgium on May 3.The certification covers Alaska Pacific halibut fished with benthic longline within International Pacific Halibut Commission regulatory areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B and 4CDE.The global trust certification committee, including fishery, certification and accreditation experts, was tasked with qualitative review of the formal processes, assessment...
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ASMI Marketing Efforts Going Everywhere in May

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute is all over the map in May, promoting the state’s seafood produce. ASMI staff were on hand at the European Seafood Exposition in Brussels, Belgium, in the first week of May to work with buyers and sellers from more than 140 countries at the exposition, along with some 1,600 other exhibitors. The ASMI pavilion itself featured 21 companies.On the domestic scene, the ASMI Foodservice staff is touring college and university campuses to promote seafood. Events in early May included the first Alaska seafood dinner at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where over 3,000 meals featuring Alaska salmon, halibut, king and snow crab and cod were presented, along with information on these fisheries. ASMI officials said that university personnel were very encourag...
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Rulemaking Changes in Magnuson-Stevens National Standard 10

US Coast Guard officials are reminding the public that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is seeking public and industry comment on a proposed rulemaking regarding chances to Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act National Standard 10. That standard requires management councils to take into consideration the safety of human life at sea when developing fishery management plans. The comment period will close on July 20. Coast Guard officials said they would like to see this notice distributed as widely as possible to the commercial fishing industry in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.A public meeting on the matter is set for May 19 at the NOAA Science Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. For information on submitting comments contact Debra Lambert NMFS, at 30...
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Pebble Issues Update

Backers of the Pebble mine prospect in Southwest Alaska are anticipating the likelihood that a major mining company will take over Northern Dynasty’s assets in the deal at some point, but meanwhile the Pebble Partnership has budgeted $91 million for 2011 operations. Partners in the prospect spent a record $140 million in 2008 alone. Their stated objective is to complete a prefeasibility study for the Pebble project in 2012, in hopes of initiating permitting under the National environmental Policy Act. Northern Dynasty President and chief executive officer Ron Thiessen made the announcement May 2 in Vancouver, British Columbia. The company plans to release within the next couple of months a 20,000-page environmental baseline document.Another topic of discussion has been the emergence of a n...
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Salmon Bycatch Issues on the Table for Nome Meeting.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has set aside 32 hours of its June meeting at Nome to deal with salmon bycatch issues. That includes 12 hours aimed at final action on reducing the number of king salmon caught incidentally to the Pollock fishery in the Gulf of Alaska, plus 20 hours for an initial review of chum salmon bycatch analysis in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands.At its April meeting in Anchorage, the federal council adopted a preliminary preferred alternative that identifies a combined prohibited species catch limit of 22,500 Chinook salmon for the western and central Gulf of Alaska Pollock fisheries. The limit would be apportioned between the two areas based on a combination of the proportional historic Pollock total allowable catch and historic average king salmon ...
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Seafood Industry in Spotlight at Global Food Alaska

Four Alaska seafood industry leaders are contenders for top awards at the biennial industry conference for Global Food Alaska, coming up June 8 at Soldotna.Semi-finalists for the manufacturer/processor award, given to an individual who has demonstrated leadership in the processing or manufacturing of Alaska foods, beverages or bio products, include Scott Blake of Copper River Seafoods and John Lowrance of Leader Creek Fisheries. Jim Harmon, executive director of SeaShare, a seafood donation program, and Dennis “Skip” Winfree, president of 10th and M Seafoods are contenders for the Alaska Champion award, for playing a significant role in putting Alaska foods, beverage or bio products into the local, national or international marketplace.Fish processors have figured prominently in past compe...