Issue: August 2022

From the Editor: Onboard AI

From the Editor: Onboard AI

Could artificial intelligence soon play a substantial role when it comes to counting catch and bycatch onboard commercial fishing vessels? Well, it might not be right around the corner, but it’s something that appears to be on the horizon. A startup co-founded by three people—two former University of British Columbia students and one from Dalhousie University—is working on a monitoring system that uses video and artificial intelligence to better calculate catch and bycatch for commercial fishing boats. The startup, called OnDeck Fisheries AI, is the brainchild of former UBC students Alexander Dungate and Sepand Dyanatkar, along with ex-Dalhousie student Matthew Leighton. Alexander holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science + Biology from the University of British Columbia, while Dy...
Alaska Braces for Another Robust Salmon Harvest Season

Alaska Braces for Another Robust Salmon Harvest Season

With commercial fisheries underway and a forecast of a record sockeye salmon harvest of 74 million fish, harvesters had already delivered over three million salmon by mid-June as hundreds of fishermen and processor workers headed west to Bristol Bay to await the anticipated red salmon surge. Of the 3.3 million salmon listed in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s 2022 Preliminary Alaska Commercial Salmon Harvest blue sheet report more than 2.4 million of them were from the state’s western region, including 1.8 million sockeyes, 386,000 pink, 182,000 chum and about 1,000 each of Chinook and coho salmon, the bulk of them from the Alaska Peninsula. Kodiak area fisheries were also starting up, with some 218,000 salmon, including 169,000 sockeyes and 42,000 chum salmon delivered to proce...
Brochure Advises of Ocean Acidification’s Impact

Brochure Advises of Ocean Acidification’s Impact

A new brochure produced by the Alaska Ocean Acidification Network details the impact of ocean acidification on all life stages of red king crab. Lab studies have shown juveniles are in the most sensitive stage and that the overall response of the red king crab to ocean acidification will likely be determined by how well that group fares. The brochure, which is available at https://tinyurl.com/yus58kv8, notes that when king crab sensitivities are combined with predicted future acidification levels based on current carbon emissions, negative effects emerge in Bristol Bay red king crab in about 20-30 years. Still, scenarios including strong global emissions reductions show that conditions for crab remain favorable in Alaska longer into the future. Network officials also noted that resea...
GAPP Expected to Announce Funding Awards for Product Proposals by Mid-September

GAPP Expected to Announce Funding Awards for Product Proposals by Mid-September

A major promoter of wild Alaska Pollock plans to announce by mid-September matching grants for its latest round of partnership funding in a competition to expand markets for wild Alaska Pollock products worldwide. All proposals are due to Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP) by Aug. 12. “The global food sector is now, perhaps more than ever, ripe for disruptive innovation and break-through promotions,” GAPP Chief Executive Officer Craig Morris said. GAPP’s research has identified key growth areas for wild Alaska Pollock that are of particular interest in this round of funding. Specifically, the organization has said that it will give particular emphasis to programs that take place in “favorable” or “very favorable” conditions as identified by Wild Alaska Pollock 2040 research. GAP...
Newly Built USCG Cutter Heads for Ketchikan, Alaska Homeport

Newly Built USCG Cutter Heads for Ketchikan, Alaska Homeport

U.S. Coast Guard cutter Douglas Denman, the 24th Fast Response Cutter built by Bollinger Shipyards in Key West, Fla., will be homeported in Ketchikan, Alaska. The 154-foot-long cutter will have a crew of 24, according to the USCG. Coast Guard officials accepted the vessel in Key West in late May, at a ceremony attended by Denman’s son, Doug Jr., daughter Karen and the elder Denman’s grandchildren and their families. The Coast Guard is in the midst of a Fast Response Cutter (FRC) acquisition program to replace aging Island-class 110-foot patrol boats. The vessels feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance equipment and an over-the-horizon cutter boat. Douglas Denman is designed for multiple missions, including law enforcemen...
Desautel Named GAPP Board Chair

Desautel Named GAPP Board Chair

Bob Desautel, co-founder, president and chief executive officer of Global Seas and Nina Fisheries, has been selected to serve as chairman of the board for the Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP), replacing outgoing chair Mikel Durham of American Seafoods. GAPP CEO Craig Morris said Desautel has plans to redouble previous efforts to increase industry investment in the nonprofit focused on promoting wild Alaska Pollock in major whitefish markets worldwide. Desautel was an active harvester in the North Pacific from 1978 to 2000. In 1994, he co-founded Nina Fisheries, which expanded globally to Chile and Argentina four years later. In 2001, Desautel co-founded Global Seas, a subsidiary of Nina Fisheries, which became one of the West Coast’s premier vessel management comp...
BBFA Critical of EPA’s Proposed Determination on Pebble Mine

BBFA Critical of EPA’s Proposed Determination on Pebble Mine

The Bristol Bay Fishermen’s Association, which represents some 300 commercial drift gillnetters and setnetters, have come out in opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest proposed action on the Pebble mine, saying it would not protect the Bristol Bay watershed. In a statement issued on the eve of the fishery’s 2022 opener, which is one of the world’s largest runs of wild sockeye salmon, BBFA spokesman David Harsila said the association cannot support the EPA’s “weak and watered down 2022 proposed determination on Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act. “The watershed will not be protected, and a large-scale mining operation could still be permitted,” Harsila said. “We demand that EPA do more to protect the Bristol Bay drainages.” The Seattle-based BBFA, which describes...
Life-Sized Fishermen’s Memorial Planned for Unalaska

Life-Sized Fishermen’s Memorial Planned for Unalaska

An accomplished artist from the Czech Republic who has spent years in the maritime industry at Unalaska plans to erect a life-sized Fishermen Memorial at the Carl Moses Boat Harbor in 2023, honoring lives lost in pursuit of the Bering Sea’s bounty. The memorial would include life-sized statues of long-line, crab and cod harvesters, on an octagon shaped, five-foot high base constructed of a stainless steel frame, adorned with stainless steel sea-life figures. The names of vessels and lives lost are planned to be displayed on the memorial on plaques and in other creative ways, according to the artist, Karel Machalek. Machalek was born and raised in the former Czechoslovakia, which is now the Czech Republic. There he learned to weld and worked as a tradesman. The city of Unalaska has alr...
Environmental Concerns Renewed Over Mining District Access Road

Environmental Concerns Renewed Over Mining District Access Road

The State of Alaska’s plan to invest millions of dollars in a 108-mile access road to mining claims, many of which are foreign owned, is raising red flags with environmentalists and others concerned about potential adverse impacts on wild salmon habitat. The proposed West Susitna Access Road has support from the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA), which has applied for a Clean Water Act dredge and fill permit for the road. The authority has already appropriated $8.5 million for the road, but millions more in state funds would be needed for the road to be completed. Field studies are to begin this summer, along with further evaluation of cultural and historical sites, fish and wildlife habitat, engineering refinement and alternative route analysis. According to ...
San Fran DA Prosecuting Commercial Fisherman for Angling in State Marine Reserve

San Fran DA Prosecuting Commercial Fisherman for Angling in State Marine Reserve

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced May 27 that his office, working with California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), would pursue a civil prosecution of a commercial fisherman for unlawfully fishing in the North Farallon Islands State Marine Reserve, a highly protected Marine Protected Area. California Fish & Game Code section 12012.5 makes it a misdemeanor to fish in a Marine Protected Area and imposes fines ranging from $5,000 to $40,000 for the first offense. Marine Protected Areas are discrete geographic marine or estuarine areas designed to protect or conserve marine life and habitat. Taking any fish from them is unlawful. “Protecting the environment is a key part of promoting public safety for our community,” Boudin said. “The State Marine Reserve...