News

News

Scientists Team With Fishermen on Study of Ocean Salmon Migration

By Mark FloydA major research effort aimed at learning more about where salmon from specific river systems migrate in the Pacific Ocean will resume this year after a two-year hiatus – and expand to encompass the entire West Coast of the United States. The research effort builds on a pioneering study by researchers at Oregon State University, who have worked for several years to streamline genetic testing of salmon. Their hope is to identify where in the ocean salmon from specific rivers travel so resource managers can still allow fishing while protecting depleted runs in the Sacramento and Klamath rivers, or other river systems.This year, OSU researchers are working with colleagues in Washington and California – and with 200 West Coast commercial salmon fishermen – to collect tissue sample...
News

Stealth Revision of Alaska Fisherman’s Fund Completed

By Bob TkaczUninsured Alaskan commercial fishers who are injured on the job should soon enjoy the first increase in 50 years in the payment they will receive to help cover their medical costs. With no public testimony and a six-minute public hearing the bill that increased payments from Alaska Fishermen’s Fund was also amended to allow any skipper in Alaskan state fisheries who carries insurance to claim a payment up to $5,000 against their deductable expenses. Awaiting Gov. Sean Parnell’s expected signature, the bill allows skippers with protection and indemnity insurance for their crewmembers to claim the less of $5,000 or 50 percent of their policy deductable cost.Whether the $11 million fund can handle the new generosity coming from the passage of SB 163 without an increase in fees fro...
News

Marine Stewardship Council Certifies Alaska’s Flatfish Trawl Fisheries

Fisheries for all the major flatfish species harvested off Alaska were today certified as sustainable under the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) environmental standard for sustainable and well managed fisheries. With the certification of Pacific cod in January of this year and earlier certifications of pollock, halibut, sablefish, and Alaska salmon, this most recent certification of flatfish species means that most of the major Alaska fisheries are now certified as sustainable and well managed under the MSC program. The Best Use Cooperative brought the flatfish fisheries forward for MSC certification and worked with NOAA scientists and certifier Moody Marine Ltd. throughout the three year MSC certification process. The MSC certification process requires an extensive assessment of all as...
News

Lawmakers Limit Reduction in Seiners’ Buyback Program

Bob TkaczResponding to concerns from salmon processors that harvesting capacity could be reduced too much, an Alaska Senate committee has conditioned passage of a bill, critical to a federally financed buyback program, with a limit on the number of Southeast seine permits that can be eliminated from the fishery.A letter of intent attached to the bill says at least 260 permits must remain in the fishery.Adopted by the Senate Resources Committee, March 31, the letter declares that SB 255 is being passed “with the understanding, and the assurance of the Southeast Revitalization Association, that... this bill will not reduce the number of permits in that fishery to less than 260.”Through April 4, 379 permits have been renewed for 2010, including 187 held by Alaska residents and 192 owned by Ou...
News

Commission Approves Limited Salmon Season on Central Valley Rivers

Dan BacherThe California Fish and Game Commission, during a teleconference in Sacramento late last month, voted 5 to 0 to approve a limited fishing season targeting fall run chinook salmon on the Sacramento, Feather and American rivers.The season is based on the decision by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) on April 15 to give 12.6 percent of the Central Valley fish allocation to the in river fish, according to Neil Manji of the California Department of Fish and Game. The PFMC set a harvest target of 8,200 fish for the three rivers.The allocation by sub-quota is 2,000 fish for the American, 2,000 for the Feather, 2,600 for the Upper Sacramento and 3,600 for the Lower Sacramento.The Feather River season will run from July 31 to August 31 from 1,000 feet below the Thermalito Afte...
News

Army Corps of Engineers to Close Both Ballard Locks for Salmon Project June 9

US Army Corps of EngineersBoth the large and small locks at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard will be closed to all marine traffic from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. June 9.The closure will allow construction crews and dive teams the opportunity to inspect the salmon exclusion structure immediately upstream of the locks. The staff will make maximum efforts to complete the work as soon and as safely as possible.The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, which operates the locks, installed this interim structure to prevent salmon from being trapped in the saltwater return system. During last year’s salmon migration, biologists only found one adult coho salmon in the return system. The structure prevents salmon access to the locks’ saltwater return system and improves the viability of the s...
News

Today’s Catch

Lessons to be LearnedChris PhilipsOn October 21, 2008, the F/V Katmai was making way toward Dutch Harbor, Alaska to offload approximately 120,000 lbs (53.6 LT) of Pacific Cod, Most of the crew was asleep, and the boat was transiting the Amchitka Pass in the Aleutian Islands. It was raining with 25 to 35 foot seas and 55-90 knot winds. According to the official US Coast Guard report, the vessel had a port heel caused by the wind and seas.At midnight the Katmai lost steering. Dispatched to investigate, the engineer noted that the watertight door to the lazarette, which contained the steering gear, was open and that the space was flooded. The Engineer started the bilge system to dewater the lazarette. The Captain sent a second email to the F/V BLUE BALLARD stating that the lazarette was flood...
News

Fishermen Participate in Herring Study

Marine Conservation AllianceCordova District Fishermen United and the Prince William Sound Science Center teamed up to solicit the participation of 10 local fishermen in an Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council funded juvenile herring survey that took place in Prince William Sound in March. This survey was the first part of a three-year study to collect data that will ultimately be used to help determine why the herring population in the Sound has not recovered since the Exxon Valdez oil spill and what efforts can be taken to implement a habitat restoration plan.

CDFU's portion of the project involved recruiting ten fishermen to participate in survey activities, and Alexis Cooper was hired to coordinate this effort. 

"New to Cordova, through this project I was able to dive right in get ...
News

Murkowski Panel Slams Endangered Species Act

Marine Conservation AllianceA majority of the panelists invited by Sen. Lisa Murkowski to discuss the Endangered Species Act at a roundtable Tuesday afternoon in Anchorage slammed the law, saying it is used to block resource exploration, not protect animals. The costs of complying with the act are enormous and litigation abusing the law runs rampant, panelists said, claiming it has evolved into a tool in the crusade against climate change.Signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1973, the ESA requires the Fish and Wildlife Service to review any federal action that could hurt a protected species. In Alaska, organizations like the Center for Biological Diversity routinely file lawsuits against federal agencies for not doing enough to protect species like the polar bear, various northern...
News

NOAA Report Shows Progress

Marine Conservation AllianceA new NOAA report (Our Living Oceans: Report on the Status of US Living Marine Resources) shows that the last decade has been a period of progress in rebuilding depleted fish stocks, sustaining many fisheries populations, and gaining a better understanding of the complex relationships between marine species and their habitats.The report cites the Alaskan groundfish fisheries – walleye pollock, Pacific cod, rockfishes and Atka mackerel – as a prime example of how managers and fishermen are working together to keep fish harvest rates at sustainable levels while reducing risks to other species in the ecosystem, including marine mammals, juvenile fish and other fish species not being targeted.The report also describes how closed areas and other management of fishing...