Issue: January 2022

PFMC Considers Steps to End Bycatch of Marine Mammals, Sea Turtles in Swordfish Fishery

PFMC Considers Steps to End Bycatch of Marine Mammals, Sea Turtles in Swordfish Fishery

Concerns over substantial bycatch of marine mammals and sea turtles in gear used in California’s drift gillnet swordfish fishery have the Pacific Fishery Management Council working anew toward 100% observer coverage for that fishery. The PFMC, meeting virtually because of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, was set to adopt a range of alternatives and preliminary preferred alternatives as appropriate on Nov. 18, to limit and monitor bycatch during the swordfish harvest. A new analysis released on Nov. 15 by the conservation entity Oceana found that participants in California’s drift gillnet swordfish fishery are severely underreporting its catch of marine mammals and sea turtles, including injury and death from entanglement in fishing gear as required by law. Oceana said its rese...
Preparation, Partnerships Pay Off in 17 Mariners Rescues

Preparation, Partnerships Pay Off in 17 Mariners Rescues

U.S. Coast Guard officials are crediting prepared mariners and partnerships with U.S. Native and international partners for the successful rescue of 17 boaters off the coasts of Alaska, California and Micronesia , over a two-day period in mid-November. All three rescues highlight the importance of mariners being properly equipped and trained for survival at sea, as well as government and industry partnerships, said Coast Guard officials in Alameda, California. The crew of a good Samaritan vessel, Nord Rubicon, rescued seven fishermen in a life raft on Nov. 10, 350 miles off the coast of Monterey, California after their 85-foot commercial fishing boat became engulfed in flames. Multiple alerts, via emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB), immediately notified Coast Guard cre...
Seafood Fisheries Legend Chuck Bundrant Dies at 79

Seafood Fisheries Legend Chuck Bundrant Dies at 79

Seafood fisheries giant Chuck Bundrant knew nothing about boats or commercial fishing when he walked the docks at Fishermen’s Terminal in Seattle in the winter of 1961 and landed a job processing crab in Alaska. He just hoped it would pay his way through college. But from that first job, Bundrant went on to become a legend in the industry , by co-founding Trident Seafoods , in 1972. After his death at home in Edmonds, Wash., on Oct. 17, Bundrant was remembered both for his shrewd business skills and the loyalty he attracted from business partners, harvesters included. “He treated his fishermen fair,” said Robin Samuelsen, a veteran Bristol Bay gillnetter who fished for Trident for years. “He provided excellent service; his word was better than gold. When us fishermen had complaints he ...
Pribilof Island Harvesters, SHIP Collaborate to Collect Observations  on Fisheries, Oceans

Pribilof Island Harvesters, SHIP Collaborate to Collect Observations on Fisheries, Oceans

Commercial fishermen harvesting their catch in the far reaches of the Bering Sea are collecting ecological observations, including changes in fisheries and ocean conditions, to help prepare for climate-ready fisheries. Since the program was establishment earlier this year, some 1,697 fishermen have provided their views on climate change via telephone interviews in the Skipper Science program, which is endorsed by 19 Alaska-based fishing trade organizations. Also this year, 100 commercial harvesters signed up for the program, a collaboration of the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island tribal government and SalmonState’s Salmon Habitat Information Program (SHIP). A key tool of the program is a smartphone app that allows fishermen and women to log their observations in real time from fishin...
OBI Seafoods Packaging is Now 100% Recyclable

OBI Seafoods Packaging is Now 100% Recyclable

Seattle-based OBI Seafoods says its canned salmon products are now packaged in 100% recyclable product, with all plastic made from at least 30% recycled materials. In a Tuesday, Nov. 30 announcement, the company said that the recyclable shelf-ready packaging will be used on all of OBI’s domestic canned salmon brand and export products, including cans and lids, can labels, trays and shrink overwrap. The company has said that it plans to utilize recycled content as much as possible, including trays made from 100% recycled content and cans and lids made from 35% recycled content. The plastic shrink overwrap is made of 30% recycled materials, which will exempt the product from an incoming United Kingdom tax on single-use plastics, a regulation that is effective as of April 2022. OBI’s chi...
Sighting of Juvenile North Pacific Right Whale Raises NOAA Hopes For Species

Sighting of Juvenile North Pacific Right Whale Raises NOAA Hopes For Species

The discovery of a juvenile whale named “Phoenix” by NOAA Fisheries biologists, has renewed hope for the survival of the critically endangered eastern North Pacific right whale population. A report on right whale research released by NOAA Fisheries on Monday, Nov. 29, credits NOAA Fisheries scientist Jessica Crance and her work with an international team searching for one of the world’s rarest large whales. Phoenix is estimated to be between 1.5 and 4 years old. The research, already published in marine science journals, tells how researchers over the summers of 2017 and 2018, photographed and identified a total of 15 individual North Pacific right whales, four of them documented for the first time, and one determined to be a juvenile. The whales were spotted during the International...
BC Grants Second Extension to Seabridge Gold on Environmental Assessment Certificate

BC Grants Second Extension to Seabridge Gold on Environmental Assessment Certificate

British Columbia officials have granted a second extension request from mineral exploration company Seabridge Gold for its planned Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell (KSM) project Environmental Assessment Certificate, requested because the mining company contends it has experienced delays and economic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The extension was granted in mid-November by Elenore Arend, chief executive assessment officer for B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office. The extension came with a list of conditions, including a detailed development plan. KSM is an open pit/underground mine proposed just 20 miles from the Alaska border and Misty Fjords National Monument in the headwaters of the Unuk and Mass River systems. The Unuk is a major producer of king salmon and eulachon in Southea...
UFA Hires New Executive Director

UFA Hires New Executive Director

United Fishermen of Alaska, a statewide umbrella group for commercial fishing entities, has brought aboard a new executive director. Tracy Welch, the tribal administrator of the Petersburg Indian Association, which promotes the Native American community, has been hired to head UFA. Her last day with the PIA was Dec. 3; she began her new role with UFA on Dec. 7. Welch, who grew up in Petersburg, Alaska, has a background in commercial fishing, gillnetting and long-lining with her father, according to a recent profile by Petersburg community radio station KFSK. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in political science and German. She earned a law degree from the University of Oregon School of Law and is licensed to practice law in the state of Oregon. Welch, 3...
Bristol Bay 2022 Forecast is for 75.27M Sockeyes

Bristol Bay 2022 Forecast is for 75.27M Sockeyes

Alaska fisheries biologists are predicting a run of 75.27 million sockeye salmon returning to Bristol Bay in 2022, with a potential harvestable surplus of 61.82 million fish. That would be a run, with a range of 61.01-89.54 million fish, that’s 44% larger than the most recent 10-year average of Bristol Bay total runs. It would also be 111% greater than the long-term (1963-2021) average of 35,73 million fish, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game estimates in a forecast released Nov. 16. The overall forecast includes 59.94 million fish in Bristol Bay and 1.88 million fish in South Alaska Peninsula fisheries. A Bristol Bay harvest of this size would be 75% greater than the most recent 10-year average harvest of 34.24 million, which has ranged from 15.38 million to 42.94 million, and 170%...
Commercial Salmon Harvester Sentenced for Fisheries Act Violations

Commercial Salmon Harvester Sentenced for Fisheries Act Violations

A commercial fisherman has been sentenced to pay nearly $89,000 CAD after pleading guilty to 12 counts under the Fisheries Act for violations that occurred between June and September 2017 and in July and August 2018 in waters north of the Haida Gwaii island chain off of Canada’s northern Pacific coast. Fisheries and Oceans Canada revealed Nov. 30 that commercial salmon harvester Garry Dean Stoner was ordered to pay $1,200 in court fines, plus $42,800 in penalties, to be directed towards fisheries management and the conservation and protection of fish and fish habitat. An additional $44,644 penalty was added  by the judge in the case as recovery revenue obtained through the sales of the illegally caught Chinook salmon. Stoner was also prohibited from commercial salmon fishing for 18 mon...