Issue: January 2022

Looking Ahead  at 2022:  COVID-19 Plods On

Looking Ahead at 2022: COVID-19 Plods On

While the ripple effects of the coronavirus continued to be felt throughout 2021, officials have told Fishermen’s News that the direct impact on the fishing industry in the year to come will be difficult to ascertain. Numerous offices were closed in 2021 and personnel continued to work out of their homes, as many West Coast fishermen continued to ply their trade in order to feed their region’s burgeoning human population. “Fishermen are hardy people,” said Michael Milstein, spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Portland. “They kept fishing.” Nonetheless, the pandemic’s reach was felt in the industry, slowing operations on various levels. “Tracking down exact reasons becomes a bit difficult,” said NOAA Affiliate, Jim Seger. “For the commercial fi...
New West Coast Fishing Regulations for 2022

New West Coast Fishing Regulations for 2022

With the new year comes a new book of fishing regulations. Actually, many new books – plural – of fishing regulations, since regulations are set by each individual state. These regulations can have a significant impact on anglers, governing everything from catch limits, zoning and licensing requirements. For 2022, fishing regulations have been altered mainly to either assist conservation efforts or to clarify language. Here are some of the most significant changes affecting fishermen along the West Coast. Alaska Alaska, which includes four times more coastline than any other state, faces a larger regulatory task than most of the continental United States. Alaskan fisheries are regulated by the Alaska Board of Fisheries, which meets every three years to determine regulatory changes. D...
Orange County Fishermen and Women Brace for Long Oil Spill Recovery

Orange County Fishermen and Women Brace for Long Oil Spill Recovery

Shortly after an estimated 25,000 gallons of oil poured into the Pacific Ocean off Orange County’s coast last October, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife instituted a temporary fishing ban along 20 miles of coastline. No fishing was allowed from Huntington Beach to San Clemente, extending six miles out to sea. The unexpected closure sent fishers scrambling to mitigate losses and get traps of harm’s way. Then the hard part began. Until the fisheries were reopened in late November, many businesses were scraping by and in limbo, unable to move forward until they knew what’s lost and afraid that consumers will avoid their catch for years to come. Lobsters Get a Lashing The closures came at the worst possible time for the region’s lobster anglers, who had everything primed for...
NPFMC Requests Analysis on Impact of Expanding Red King Crab Savings Area

NPFMC Requests Analysis on Impact of Expanding Red King Crab Savings Area

Closure of the Bristol Bay red king crab fishery, coupled with an 88% slash in the snow crab quota, has prompted the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to explore ways to help restore crab fisheries to abundance. During its October meeting, which was held virtually due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, the council voted to request an analysis on likely impacts of expanding the red king crab savings area through an emergency rule to expand its northern boundary. The analysis, which could be presented at the council’s December meeting, will assess the immediate conservation benefits for female red king crab and whether an emergency rule would improve the likelihood of a directed red king crab fishery in the following year, consistent with NOAA’s emergency rule criteria. J...
Polar Star Marks Its 25th Operation Deep Freeze Deployment

Polar Star Marks Its 25th Operation Deep Freeze Deployment

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, the nation’s only heavy icebreaker, is now engaged in its 25th journey to Antarctica, in support of Operation Deep Freeze, an annual joint military mission to re-supply the U.S. Antarctic stations in support of the National Science Foundation for the nation’s Antarctic Program. Polar Star left its homeport in Seattle on Nov. 13 with a crew of 159 men and women, heading south on its annual trek to Antarctica. Capt. William Woityra, commanding officer of the Polar Star, said that maintaining and operating the 45-year-old ship in the harshest environment on the planet makes for arduous duty, but that the crew are committed to this important mission and “excited for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit a part of the world that most will never get...
Comment Sought on Proposed Marine Sanctuary Off of California Coast

Comment Sought on Proposed Marine Sanctuary Off of California Coast

NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment to initiate development of a draft plan for a new national marine sanctuary in a 7,000-square-mile area off the central California coast, adjacent to San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. The action, in the wake of President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, would create the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary to protect the region’s marine ecosystem, maritime heritage resources and cultural values of indigenous communities. The National Marine Sanctuaries Act allows NOAA to designate and protect marine and Great Lakes environments with special national significance. The approach includes conserving and restoring ocean and coastal habitats, supporting tribally and locally led stewardship and ...
Proposed Federal Legislation Would Benefit Hawaii’s Diverse Aquaculture

Proposed Federal Legislation Would Benefit Hawaii’s Diverse Aquaculture

Legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate in late October would establish national standards for sustainable offshore aquaculture and also designate the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as the lead federal agency for marine aquaculture. “Hawaii’s diverse aquaculture produced over $80 million of finfish, shellfish and algae in 2019,” said Sen, Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii and a key sponsor of the Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture Act (AQUAA) Act. “At the same time, the movement to restore native Hawaiian fishponds such as those at He’eia and Maunalua continues to develop momentum. This bipartisan bill would increase federal support for both,” he said. Schatz, along with Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla, introduced the bill in ...
Alaska’s 2021 Commercial Salmon Harvest of 233.8M Fish Valued at $643.9M

Alaska’s 2021 Commercial Salmon Harvest of 233.8M Fish Valued at $643.9M

Preliminary harvest and value figures on the 2021 Alaska commercial salmon fishery show a value of $643.9 million, up from $295.2 million.This year, there were nearly 234 million fish caught compared to 116.8 million fish in 2020, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The ADF&G’s preliminary figures show that sockeye salmon accounted for about 56% of the total value at $361.4 million and 24% of the harvest at just under 57 million fish. Humpies accounted for about 28% of the value at $178.8 million and 69% of the harvest with under 161 million fish, Chums were nearly 10% of the value at $62.7 million and about 6% of the harvest with 128 million fish. Cohos comprised about 4% of the value at $23.9 million and 1% of the harvest at 2.7 million fish. Chinooks were estima...
Interior Publishes Revised Draft EIS  on Proposed 2022 Cook Inlet Oil and Gas Lease Sale

Interior Publishes Revised Draft EIS on Proposed 2022 Cook Inlet Oil and Gas Lease Sale

Interior Department officials have published a revised draft environmental impact statement for public comment on a proposed 2022 oil and gas lease sale on federal submerged lands in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, an area critical to commercial and subsistence seafood harvesters. The draft EIS analyzes potential environmental impact of the proposed activity that would follow the lease sale. The area identified for the potential sale includes 224 outer continental shelf blocks toward the northern part of the inlet and covers about 1.09 million acres of seafloor, stretching roughly from Kalgin Island in the north to Augustine Island in the south. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management statement said the draft EIS analyzes a range of alternatives to be considered for leasing and the leasing area’s ...
Rockfish Genome Study Identifies Genetic Drivers of Extreme Life Span

Rockfish Genome Study Identifies Genetic Drivers of Extreme Life Span

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley say their study of genomes assembled from Pacific Ocean rockfish have given them new insight into the genetic determinants of aging. At some point, though not in the near future, ways to control the mutation of certain genes could perhaps lead to increased life span of people. Rockfish in the Pacific Ocean exhibit variation in life span from 11 years to as many as 200 years. The research project identified the genes that allow DNA repair pathways and 137 longevity-associated genes that affect life span both directly – through influencing insulin signaling and other pathways – and indirectly, by affecting size and environmental adaptations. The findings illustrate the genetic innovations that underlie the diversity of life histories...