UFA Update: April 20, 2015

Welcome new UFA Sea Class business member:

Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association, a vertically integrated seafood company responsibly harvesting, processing and marketing wild Alaska crab, pollock, cod, black cod, halibut and salmon from the Bering Sea and Pacific Ocean in a sustainable manner.

Welcome new UFA Bay Class business members:

Anchor Electric, a hard working crew with great work ethics and vast array of electrical skills to meet your needs in Juneau.

Taku Oil Sales – Crowley Juneau Fuel, distribution and sale of oil and petroleum products.

Crowley Petroleum Distribution Alaska, one of the unquestioned leaders in the Alaska fuel industry, providing transportation, distribution and sales of petroleum products to more than 280 communities across the state.

Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference, a non-profit regional economic development organization for Southwest Alaska.

From the Executive Director:

Attention UFA Individual and Lifetime members! UFA is seeking nominations for At-Large board members to serve on the UFA Board of Directors. UFA Individual and Lifetime members are represented on the UFA board by four at-large board directors, elected by members during odd-numbered years for two year terms. We invite you to bring your experience to the UFA board by seeking one of these board seats in the election that will be conducted via mail in May. UFA is also working to encourage young fishermen to join our board in an At-Large capacity; we hope to see some young nominees!

For more information or to submit an At-Large board nomination, please contact either jcurry@ufa-fish.org or ufa@ufa-fish.org.

UFA spring membership drive! UFA’s spring membership drive is currently underway. In order to better serve our business members, UFA has made some changes to our membership levels. UFA “Sea Class” business membership has decreased to $750, and we have created a new $300 business class membership called “Seafood Community Supporter”. This membership is available to cities, municipalities and boroughs. For all of our potential Crew, Individual, and Lifetime members, your membership includes free subscriptions to both National Fisherman and Pacific Fishing Magazines. UFA members also receive monthly UFA news updates.

Join UFA online HERE

Thank you to our UFA members and friends! As always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions or issues you would like to discuss.

Julianne Curry
Executive Director
United Fishermen of Alaska
Cell: 907.957.4747
Office: 907.586.2820
www.ufafish.org *NEW*
jcurry@ufa-fish.org

 Help support Alaska’s #1 private sector employer and protect your fishing business by joining UFA today! Visit ‘Become a Member’ on our website to see the various membership levels and benefits. UFA members receive free subscriptions to National Fisherman and Pacific Fishing.

ufa mission
To promote and protect the common interest of Alaska’s commercial fishing industry, as a vital component of Alaska’s social and economic well-being.


CONTENTS

Statewide

1. Legislature fails to confirm Ruffner to Board of Fisheries
2. UFA Announces New Officers and Executive Committee
3. ADFG *Revised* Bristol Bay 2015 Outlook for Commercial Salmon Fishing
4. Fish and Game Launches Improved Online Store, Offers Print-and-Go Crew Licenses
5. Uncertainty, risk, money challenging for fishermen
6. Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance Files Set Net Ban Brief with Alaska Supreme Court
7. Deadline September 4 on Board of Fisheries Pollock Proposals for 2015
8. Notice of Changes to BOF regulations: SE AK and Yakutat Areas Finfish
9. Notice of Changes to BOF regulations: SE Alaska and Yakutat Areas Shellfish Fisheries.
10. State ownership of lands under Tanana River affirmed by BLM
11. Help Wanted: Dept. of Revenue Fish Tax Group revenue Audit Supervisor – apply by May 4
12. FISH FACTOR: Subsistence sack lunches; ADFG budget; bycatch breakdown
13. Celebrated Alaska artist Rie Munoz dies in Juneau at 93

National & International
14. NPFMC Tightens Limits on Chinook Bycatch
15. NPFMC Fixed Gear Electronic Monitoring (EM) workgroup teleconference April 27
16. NPFMC BSAI Crab Plan Team to meet May 4-7, Anchorage
17. Help Wanted: NPFMC Administrative Assistant, Anchorage – Deadline April 25
18. National Ocean Council posts first report on implementing the National Ocean Policy
19. NOAA Status of Stocks 2014 Report to Congress: Overfishing and Overfished Stocks Hit All-Time Lows
20. NMFS final rule on BSAI Crab Plan Amendment 31
21. USCG policy on Engineer Officer Endorsements on C/F vessels of 200+ gross tons
22. Coast Guard withdraws Chukchi Sea, Bering Strait and Bering Sea Port Route Access Study
23. NOAA:  Successful conservation efforts recognized in revised ESA Humpback Whale listing
24. BSAI 2015 and 2016 Groundfish Specifications & correction posted
25. Chinook salmon conservation on agenda in Whitehorse talks
26. Congressman Young Leads Charge to Reauthorize and Strengthen Magnuson-Stevens Act
27. MAFAC to meet April 28 – 30 in San Diego
28. (WA State) You’re Not Wanted Here
29. AP Indonesia Investigation: Men forced to work as slaves to catch seafood for global supply

Marketing
30. Major Alaska Salmon Processors Decide to Rejoin MSC
31. PWS Alaska salmon no longer pursuing MSC
32. #EatAlaska: A Parnership Between Alaska Seafood & Alaska Grown
33. TV producer aims to counter ‘Battle on the Bay’ with new Alaska salmon webisodes
34. Help wanted – Bristol Bay RSDA seeks Executive Director
35. BBRSDA Board Member Recruitment Announced – apply by April 24.
36. Hilborn: Simplest way to ensure food safety is country of origin labeling

Fish Farm & Environmental
37. Chuitna Water rights dispute generates thousands of comments
38. Comment deadline April 29 on ADFG proposed Harris River & Indian Creek (POW) water reservations
39. Murkowski Waging Frankenfish Fight in Senate with New Bill
40. Senator Sullivan meets with Canada ambassador re Transboundary mines
41. DEC Workshop on Water Quality Antidegradation policy – May 13-14, Anchorage
42. Senator Sullivan Holds Second EPW Field Hearing on EPA’s WOTUS Rule
43. “The Breach” documentary on wild salmon set for release – 12 city tour begins April 21
44. Deadline April 22 for comments to EPA on oil spill dispersants
45. Yellow Cedar 90 day ESA finding –“warranted”… comment by June 9
46. Comment deadline April 30 on draft Southeast State Forest Management Plan
47. Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force to meet May 6-7
48. Tongass Advisory Committee Seeks Solutions to Land Management on the Tongass
49. New Tongass Deputy Forest Supervisor Tawnya Brummett

Enhancement
50. USFWS Karluk Lake Nutrient Enrichment Proposal update (March 25)
51. Kodiak hatchery shows off new digs
52. B.C. wild sockeye salmon population hurt by hatchery pinks: study finds
53. UAF Research identifies factors affecting salmon spawning

Subsistence
54. State: Supreme Court case could have widespread impact on hunting, fishing
55. Admiralty Island Subsistence proposal passed by State Fisheries Board
56. Federal Subsistence Board discusses special actions regarding Kuskokwim and Yukon Rivers
57. Yup’ik Fishermen Case likely headed for Alaska Supreme court, federal court

And Other…
58. Alaska Sea Grant Fishlines – April newsletter
59. Free AMSEA Safety Workshop for Commercial Fishermen, May 2 in Juneau
60. Laine Welch’s Fish Radio – Recent Items
61. Live to be Salty program promotes PFD use


 

Statewide

1. Legislature fails to confirm Ruffner to Board of Fisheries

Posted: April 19, 2015 By Rashah McChesney, Peninsula Clarion

The Alaska Legislature failed to confirm a Soldotna conservationist for a seat on the Alaska Board of Fisheries.

The confirmation for Gov. Bill Walker’s appointee, Robert Ruffner, was defeated with 29 lawmakers in favor and 30 against, during a joint legislative session on Sunday in Juneau. The board sets fishing regulations for the state and sets allocation in a multi-billion dollar fishing industry.

Peninsula Clarion: http://peninsulaclarion.com/news/2015-04-19/legislature-fails-to-confirm-ruffner-to-board-of-fisheries

Related letters & op-ed pieces:

Alaska Board of Fish nominee Robert Ruffner makes his case

http://www.adn.com/article/20150415/alaska-board-fish-nominee-robert-ruffner-makes-his-case

Anchorage needs a voice on the Alaska Board of Fisheries

Karl Johnstone, March 31, 2015

http://www.adn.com/article/20150331/anchorage-needs-voice-alaska-board-fisheries

Johnstone fires first salvo in Fisheries Board confirmation battle

Chip Treinen, April 5, 2015

http://www.adn.com/article/20150405/johnstone-fires-first-salvo-fisheries-board-confirmation-battle

Johnstone’s idea for Anchorage seat on Alaska fish board is completely wrong

Bruce Weyhrauch, April 8, 2015

http://www.adn.com/article/20150408/johnstones-idea-anchorage-seat-alaska-fish-board-completely-wrong

Sport anglers have good reason to demand fair representation on Board of Fisheries

Kevin Delaney, April 13, 2015

http://www.adn.com/article/20150413/sport-anglers-have-good-reason-demand-fair-representation-board-fisheries

Fish board needs a thoughtful nomination process

Peninsula Clarion editorial, March 5, 2015

http://peninsulaclarion.com/opinion/2015-03-05/fish-board-needs-a-thoughtful-nomination-process


2. UFA Announces New Officers and Executive Committee

April 17, 2015

(SitNews) – United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA), the largest statewide commercial fishing industry trade association representing 35 member organizations, announces the re-election of Jerry McCune of Cordova District Fishermen United as President. Joining President McCune is Matt Alward of North Pacific Fisheries Association as Vice President, and Megan O’Neil of Petersburg Vessel Owners Association as a co-PR & Membership Chair…

http://www.sitnews.us/0415News/041715/041715_ufa.html


3. ADFG *Revised* Bristol Bay 2015 Outlook for Commercial Salmon Fishing

(PDF 376 kB) http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static-f/applications/dcfnewsrelease/522889559.pdf

2015 Bristol Bay Management Outlook (PDF 438 kB): http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/applications/dcfnewsrelease/522889559.pdf

2015 Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon Processing Capacity Survey Summary (PDF 996 kB): http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/FedAidPDFs/SP15-12.pdf

2015 Salmon Run Forecasts and Harvest Projections (PDF 959 kB): http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/FedAidPDFs/SP15-04.pdf


4. Fish and Game Launches Improved Online Store, Offers Print-and-Go Crew Licenses

(Juneau) — The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) recently launched a new online store where the public can purchase sport fishing and hunting licenses, commercial crewmember licenses, king salmon stamps, duck stamps, and big game tags.

With new and improved features, customers can now print their licenses at home…

ADFG press release: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=pressreleases.pr03312015

Online store at www.adfg.alaska.gov/store/.


5. Uncertainty, risk, money challenging for fishermen

KODIAK — Uncertainty, risk and money have been making it harder for fishermen to make a living in the Kodiak archipelago and Bristol Bay, and have contributed to the “graying” of the fleet as fewer young people join the business, researchers say.

University of Alaska Fairbanks scholars have been documenting the problem in a multi-year study, The Kodiak Daily Mirror reported. They also plan to suggest policy changes that could potentially slow the graying.

The average age of fishing permit holders in Alaska is 50, about 10 years higher than it was in the 1980s, said Danielle Ringer, a master’s student involved in the research…

http://www.newsminer.com/business/uncertainty-risk-money-challenging-for-alaska-fishermen/article_ebf0aee8-e64b-11e4-9beb-cfed5a02150b.html

NPRB Graying of the Fleet project browser page:

http://project.nprb.org/view.jsp?id=daf3ebce-77df-48fc-9e4d-5f677ff9c14c

Alaska’s Next Generation of Fishermen Study – Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/nextgenerationofalaksafishermen


6. Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance Files Set Net Ban Brief with Alaska Supreme Court  

The Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance (AFCA) today filed its final legal brief before the Alaska Supreme Court in support of a ballot initiative to ban commercial set net fishing in the five urban, non-subsistence areas of Alaska. If allowed by the court the initiative would be on the Alaska Primary Election Ballot in August of 2016.

The Alaska Supreme Court will next get a reply from the State of Alaska and oral arguments on the case are expected later this year. A decision will follow the oral arguments. There is no specific timeline for a decision.

http://www.akbizmag.com/Fisheries/Alaska-Fisheries-Conservation-Alliance-Files-Set-Net-Ban-Brief-With-Alaska-Supreme-Court/

To follow AFCA appeal case, see http://www.appellate.courts.state.ak.us/main.asp and enter Appellate Case Number: S15662


7. Deadline September 4 on Board of Fisheries Pollock Proposals for 2015

Revised Call for Proposals… The Alaska Board of Fisheries calls for proposed changes in the subsistence, personal use, sport, guided sport, and commercial fishing regulations for Bristol Bay finfish, Arctic / Yukon / Kuskokwim finfish, Alaska Peninsula / Bering Sea – Aleutian Islands / Chignik finfish, statewide finfish general provisions, and pollock in all areas of the state.

Two-part proposal deadline:

Proposals (except pollock proposals) – 5:00 p.m. Friday, April 10, 2015

Pollock proposals – 5:00 p.m. Friday, September 4, 2015

Pollock related proposals must be received by 5:00 p.m. Friday, September 4, 2015 at the Boards Support Section office in Juneau. A postmark is NOT sufficient for timely receipt.

Online public notice: https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=176255

Board of Fisheries home page: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.main


8. Notice of Changes to BOF regulations: SE AK and Yakutat Areas Finfish

Notice of adopted changes to Alaska Board of Fisheries regulations; SE Alaska and Yakutat Areas Finfish Fisheries (Part 1)…

During its February 23 – March 3, 2015 Southeastern Alaska and Yakutat Areas Finfish Fisheries meeting in Sitka, Alaska, the Alaska Board of Fisheries adopted regulation changes in Title 5 of the Alaska Administrative Code dealing with finfish fisheries in the Southeastern Alaska Area and Yakutat Area.

The regulation changes were reviewed and approved by the Department of Law, filed by the Lieutenant Governor on April 9, 2015, and will go into effect on May 9, 2015. The new regulation changes will be printed in Register 214, July 2015 of the Alaska Administrative Code. These regulation changes are included in a Part 1 to the project and only include the changes that needed to be expedited.  The remaining changes are expected to be in effect sometime in June and will be contained in Part 2 to the project.

Online public notice:

https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=176383

BOF SE finfish Sitka meeting page: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.meetinginfo&date=02-23-2015&meeting=sitka

Board of Fisheries home page: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.main


9. Notice of Changes to BOF regulations: SE Alaska and Yakutat Areas Shellfish Fisheries.

During its January 21–24, 2015 Southeastern Alaska and Yakutat Areas Shellfish Fisheries meeting in Wrangell, Alaska, the Alaska Board of Fisheries adopted regulation changes in Title 5 of the Alaska Administrative Code dealing with shellfish fisheries in the Southeastern Alaska Area and Yakutat Area…

Online public notice:

https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=176384

BOF SE & Yakutat Shellfish (Wrangell) meeting page: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.meetinginfo&date=01-21-2015&meeting=wrangell


10. State ownership of lands under Tanana River affirmed by BLM

(Anchorage, AK) –   The State of Alaska last week was informed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management that the federal agency has relinquished any claims to ownership of more than 550 miles of lands underlying the Tanana River.

In its written decision, known as a Recordable Disclaimer of Interest (RDI), the BLM agreed that the State of Alaska has clear title to these submerged lands as promised under the Alaska Statehood Act. This clarifies that Alaskans seeking authorizations to use these lands for uses such as docks or mining would obtain those from the State of Alaska rather than the BLM.

“These disclaimers represent a mutual agreement between the State of Alaska and the BLM that a river is navigable and therefore belongs to the State,” said Ed Fogels, deputy commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources…

DNR’s Public Access Assertion and Defense Unit and the Department of Fish and Game worked with BLM to implement a successful federal RDI program that is unique in the country. “Generally speaking, this is a more cost-effective and mutually beneficial way to clear title to the State’s ownership of lands than litigation,” Fogels said.

Since issuance of the first RDI in 2003, the State of Alaska has cleared title to submerged lands underlying more than 2,546 river miles. For a fact sheet and information on the state’s RDI filings, go to http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/nav/.

DNR press release: http://dnr.alaska.gov/shared/mediareleases/dsp_media_release.cfm?id=2145&title=State%20ownership%20of%20lands%20under%20Tanana%20River%20affirmed%20by%20BLM


11. Help Wanted: Dept. of Revenue Fish Tax Group revenue Audit Supervisor – apply by May 4

The Tax Division is recruiting for a Revenue Audit Supervisor I to lead and manage the Fish Tax Group. The position is located in our Juneau Office.  This recruitment is open to Alaska Residents Only… Workplace Alaska:

http://agency.governmentjobs.com/alaska/default.cfm?action=viewJob&jobID=1123293&hit_count=yes&headerFooter=1&promo=0&transfer=0&WDDXJobSearchParams=%3CwddxPacket%20version%3D%271.0%27%3E%3Cheader%2F%3E%3Cdata%3E%3Cstruct%3E%3Cvar%20name%3D%27CATEGORYID%27%3E%3Cstring%3E%3C%2Fstring%3E%3C%2Fvar%3E%3Cvar%20name%3D%27PROMOTIONALJOBS%27%3E%3Cstring%3E0%3C%2Fstring%3E%3C%2Fvar%3E%3Cvar%20name%3D%27TRANSFER%27%3E%3Cstring%3E0%3C%2Fstring%3E%3C%2Fvar%3E%3Cvar%20name%3D%27FIND_KEYWORD%27%3E%3Cstring%3E%3C%2Fstring%3E%3C%2Fvar%3E%3C%2Fstruct%3E%3C%2Fdata%3E%3C%2FwddxPacket%3E


12. FISH FACTOR: Subsistence sack lunches; ADFG budget; bycatch breakdown  

By Laine Welch, Fish Factor/For the Journal; Published: 2015.04.16 09:34 AM

Caribou instead of corn dogs…salmon instead of Trout Treasures… seal meat in place of spaghetti — all could soon be available to more Alaskans if traction continues on a new bipartisan bill before the Alaska legislature.

The bill, House Bill 179, allows schools, senior centers, hospitals, child care centers and other facilities to accept and serve fish, game, plants and eggs that are donated by subsistence and sport users.

Currently, well-meaning state laws intended to prevent the commercial sale of wild game make the practice illegal if a program accepting food donations charges for the meal at any point before it is consumed. This means schools and senior centers, for example, are unable to provide meals containing subsistence- or sport-caught wild food if they accept any payment, including from federal or state meal programs.

Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, D-Sitka, introduced the measure, saying: “It will nourish Alaska’s children and elders, both physically and spiritually. It will limit the amount of expensive and unhealthy processed food shipped to communities that have incredible food available just a short boat or snow machine ride away. Children will develop an appreciation where their food comes from and elders will be able to keep eating the foods they love.

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/April-Issue-3-2015/FISH-FACTOR-Subsistence-sack-lunches-ADFG-budget-bycatch-breakdown/

HB 179 bill & tracking: http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Bill/Detail/29?Root=HB%20179


13. Celebrated Alaska artist Rie Munoz dies in Juneau at 93

Rie Munoz, whose popular paintings expressed the joy and wonder of life and Alaska, died of a stroke Monday in Juneau. She was 93.

Munoz’s bright watercolors centered on everyday life — berry picking, hanging laundry, fishing — with a sense of celebration. She was particularly known for her depictions of people in Alaska Native villages and Southeast. Her work got wide distribution through prints, tourist items and book illustrations…

A celebration of life will take place at 3 p.m. April 23 in Centennial Hall in Juneau.

http://www.adn.com/article/20150407/celebrated-alaska-artist-rie-munoz-dies-juneau-93

Sustainability In Plain English – ASMI Consumer Friendly Guide to Alaska’s Seafood Sustainability – illustrated by Rie Munoz (2010)

http://www.alaskaseafood.org/retailers/pdfs/SIPE%20eBook/


National & International

14. NPFMC Tightens Limits on Chinook Bycatch

The Bering Sea pollock fleet is about to face tougher restrictions when it comes to salmon. This weekend, federal regulators agreed to tie the cap on Chinook bycatch to the health of Western Alaska’s runs.

When the North Pacific Fishery Management Council first set up a hard limit on Chinook salmon, they set it in stone.

Now, they’ll check each year to make sure at least a quarter-million salmon got out of the Bering Sea and back up the river system. Otherwise, the pollock fleet will lose a quarter of their Chinook limit.

Council member Sam Cotten represents the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. He introduced the measure.

“At this point, any additional fish returning to those rivers improves the ability to meet escapement goals, which is necessary for the long-term sustainability of the stock — and the people reliant on that fishery,” Cotten said…

http://www.alaskapublic.org/2015/04/13/npfmc-tightens-limits-on-chinook-bycatch/ v

Items from the NPFMC April 6 – 14 meeting will be posted soon at the NPFMC home page: http://www.npfmc.org/


15. NPFMC Fixed Gear Electronic Monitoring (EM) workgroup teleconference April 27

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) Fixed Gear Electronic Monitoring (EM) workgroup will meet by teleconference… The meeting will be held on April 27, 2015, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Alaska time…

The agenda is to discuss 2015 fieldwork and data review, and discuss progress on 2016 pre-implementation including developing a strawman deployment plan and establishing funding sources.

The Agenda is subject to change, and the latest version will be posted at http://www.npfmc.org/

Federal Register April 10: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-08180


16. NPFMC BSAI Crab Plan Team to meet May 4-7, Anchorage

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (NPFMC) Bering Sea Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Crab Plan Team (CPT) will meet in Anchorage, AK… The meeting will be held May 4-7, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m… at the Anchorage Hilton Hotel, 500 W 3rd Avenue, King Salmon/Illiamna Room, Anchorage, AK.

Federal Register April 16 2015: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-08717


17. Help Wanted: NPFMC Administrative Assistant, Anchorage – Deadline April 25

The Council office is seeking a person to provide administrative support for the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, performing a variety of wordprocessing, clerical, and secretarial tasks in support of the activities of the Council and its staff… Deadline for application April 25, 2015

http://www.npfmc.org/wp-content/PDFdocuments/MISC/AdminVacancy415.pdf


18. National Ocean Council posts first report on implementing the National Ocean Policy

Highlighting our National Ocean Policy…

Since President Obama created America’s first National Ocean Policy in 2010, Federal agencies have made tremendous progress to meet its objectives – working every day with communities across the Nation and stakeholders on the ground to improve the health of our oceans, support our economy, bolster safety and security, and better understand how our activities impact the ocean.

Today, we are releasing the first Report on the Implementation of the National Ocean Policy, which highlights the progress we’ve made since we released an action plan last year. From supporting the ocean economy to ensuring the security of our ports and waterways, and from improving coastal and ocean resilience to providing local communities with tools to plan for a better future, we’ve made tremendous strides in undertaking our role as responsible stewards of this Nation’s great oceans…

Announcement:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/03/27/highlighting-our-national-ocean-policy

Report on the Implementation of the National Ocean Policy (3 mb. pdf) https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/nop_highlights__annual_report_final_-_150310.pdf


19. NOAA Status of Stocks 2014 Report to Congress: Overfishing and Overfished Stocks Hit All-Time Lows 

The number of domestic fish stocks listed as overfished or subject to overfishing has dropped to an all-time low since 1997, when NOAA began tracking stock status, according to the 2014 Status of U.S. Fisheries report to Congress.

The report, produced annually since 1997, highlights the United States’ continued progress towards sustainably managing fish stocks. This progress is a result of the combined efforts of NOAA Fisheries, the regional fishery management councils, the fishing industry, and other partners…

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/mediacenter/2015/04/04_StatusofStocks2015.html

NOAA Status of Stocks 2014 page: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/news/2015/status_of_stocks_2014.html


20. NMFS final rule on BSAI Crab Plan Amendment 31

NMFS issues regulations to implement Amendment 31 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (FMP). These regulations revise the rules governing the acquisition, use, and retention of quota share established for captains and crew, known as crew quota share or C shares, under the Crab Rationalization Program (CR Program)…

Federal Register March 26, 2015: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-06928

BSAI Crab home page: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/crab/crfaq.htm


21. USCG policy on Engineer Officer Endorsements on C/F vessels of 200+ gross tons

The Coast Guard announces the availability of an updated policy letter entitled “Engineer Officer Endorsements on Uninspected Commercial Fishing Industry Vessels.” The letter provides guidance to Coast Guard officers with respect to the upcoming enforcement of existing requirements for the proper credentialing of engineering officers. Some accident investigations have found that engineers were not properly credentialed to serve in their assigned positions. This notice promotes the Coast Guard’s maritime safety and stewardship missions.

Federal Register March 20, 2015: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-06480


22. Coast Guard withdraws Chukchi Sea, Bering Strait and Bering Sea Port Route Access Study

The Coast Guard published a document in the Federal Register of February 19, 2015, (80 FR 8892) concerning the Port Access Route Study (PARS) in the Chukchi Sea, Bering Strait and Bering Sea. The February 19, 2015, PARS document was erroneously published and should be disregarded in its entirety.

Federal Register March 18: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-05372

Erroneous Feb. 19 Federal Register post https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-03332


23. NOAA:  Successful conservation efforts recognized in revised ESA Humpback Whale listing

(Comment deadline July 20?)

Reclassification into 14 distinct population segments will provide more tailored management approach…

April 20, 2015

NOAA Fisheries proposed today to reclassify the humpback whale into 14 distinct population segments under the Endangered Species Act, providing a more tailored conservation approach for U.S. fisheries managers. Protection and restoration efforts over the past 40 years have led to an increase in numbers and growth rates for humpback whales in many areas.

The humpback whale is currently listed as endangered throughout its range. The proposed rule finds that ten of those 14 populations do not warrant ESA listing…

“The return of the iconic humpback whale is an ESA success story,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. “As we learn more about the species — and realize the populations are largely independent of each other — managing them separately allows us to focus protection on the animals that need it the most.”

Approximate locations of proposed humpback whale distinct population segments: 1. West Indies, 2. Cape Verde Islands/Northwest Africa, 3. Western North Pacific, 4. Hawaii, 5. Mexico, 6. Central America, 7. Brazil, 8. Gabon/Southwest Africa, 9. Southeast Africa/Madagascar, 10. West Australia, 11. East Australia, 12. Oceania, 13. Southeastern Pacific, 14. Arabian Sea. (Credit: NOAA)

The two populations proposed as threatened – the Central America and the Western North Pacific – at times enter U.S. waters. Two other populations that do not enter U.S. waters – in the Arabian Sea and off Cape Verde Islands/Northwest Africa – would remain listed as endangered.

NOAA Fisheries is opening up a 90-day public comment period for this proposed rule. During this time, NOAA Fisheries welcomes public comments and any new information to ensure that our final determination is based on the best available scientific and commercial information.

NOAA press release: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2015/20150420-successful-conservation-efforts-recognized-in-revised-esa-humpback-whale-listing.html

Federal Register pre-notice, to be posted April 21, 2015: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2015-09010.pdf

UFA Humpback Whale Delisting Support Letter (August 26, 2014):

http://www.ufafish.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/UFA-Humpback-Whale-Delisting-SUPPORT-Letter-8-26-2014.pdf


24. BSAI 2015 and 2016 Groundfish Specifications & correction posted

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 2015 and 2016 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish…

Federal Register 3/5/15

https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-05041

Correction to table- Federal Register 3/17/15

https://federalregister.gov/a/C1-2015-05041


25. Chinook salmon conservation on agenda in Whitehorse talks

Yukon River Panel meets to plan this year’s strategy to increase dwindling stocks

Delegates from Yukon and Alaska are in Whitehorse this week to come up with a conservation strategy for the declining Chinook salmon stocks in the Yukon River for the coming season.

Chinook, or King, salmon runs in the Yukon River have dwindled in recent years. In the 1990s, the Chinook run averaged more than 300,000 fish. Since 2008, fewer than half that number have returned to the Yukon River…

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/chinook-salmon-conservation-on-agenda-in-whitehorse-talks-1.3031481


26. Congressman Young Leads Charge to Reauthorize and Strengthen Magnuson-Stevens Act

Washington, D.C., Mar 19

Washington, D.C. – Alaskan Congressman Don Young today announced the introduction of H.R. 1335, the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act, legislation he sponsored to reauthorize and strengthen the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). H.R. 1335 would provide a number of modest but necessary updates to the MSA, including efforts to increase flexibility and transparency for fisheries managers, authorize the use of electronic monitoring for data collection, research and compliance, and create predictability and certainty for those coastal communities that are dependent on stable fishing activities.

Congressman Don Young press release 3/19/15:

http://donyoung.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=398177

H.R. 1335 bill page at Congress.gov: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1335

Bill text: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1335/text


Op-ed follow up:

Don Young: Stosh Anderson misrepresents Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization

http://www.adn.com/article/20150410/don-young-stosh-anderson-misrepresents-magnuson-stevens-reauthorization

In response to:

Don Young seeks to unwind ‘Alaska Model’ for fisheries in Magnuson-Stevens Act

Stosh Anderson, April 8, 2015

http://www.adn.com/article/20150408/don-young-seeks-unwind-alaska-model-fisheries-magnuson-stevens-act


27. MAFAC to meet April 28 – 30 in San Diego

The meeting is convened to hear presentations and discuss policies and guidance on the following topics: Climate impacts on the Pacific coast, the NOAA Fisheries Draft Climate Science Strategy, improving recovery of protected resources, cooperative research and management, marine recreational information program, implementation of the recreational fisheries policy, and proposed revisions to National Standard 1…

The meeting will be held April 28-30, 2015, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m… at the Andaz San Diego Hotel, 600 F Street, San Diego, CA…

The meeting is convened to hear presentations and discuss policies and guidance on the following topics: Climate impacts on the Pacific coast, the NOAA Fisheries Draft Climate Science Strategy, improving recovery of protected resources, cooperative research and management, marine recreational information program, implementation of the recreational fisheries policy, and proposed revisions to National Standard 1…

The complete charter and summaries of prior meetings are located online at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ocs/mafac/

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-07947


28. (WA State) You’re Not Wanted Here

By Chris Phelps, Fishermen’s News

March 1, 2015 | Vol 71, No 03

A bipartisan group of Washington State lawmakers – 13 in the House of Representatives and ten in the Senate – have sponsored matching bills (SB 5844 and HB1660) to effectively eliminate commercial fishing in Washington State.

The legislators find that “…the state of Washington has the weather, infrastructure, amenities, location, and fisheries resources to become a world class sports fishing and tourism destination that attracts out-of-state tourism money to rural communities.”

This pandering to out of state discretionary income is intended to fill the coffers of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, which receives revenue from sport licenses, while commercial fishing revenues are realized in the form of taxes and economic multipliers. While the commercial fishery brings much more revenue to the state, some legislators aren’t clever enough to make the distinction. Instead, these legislators feel Washington’s fisheries resources “…are known worldwide for their high quality, culinary attributes, flavor, and dietary healthfulness. These attributes not only attract in-state and out-of-state sports fishers to Washington’s waters, but can be enjoyed by Washingtonians through the sizable commercial markets served by tribal fishers.”

Yes, apparently tribal fishers can cover the sizable commercial markets. Are you getting the picture?

http://www.fishermensnews.com/story/2015/03/01/todays-catch/youre-not-wanted-here/307.html

Washington State Legislature HB 1660 Bill tracking: http://app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=1660&year=2015

Washington State Legislature SB 5844 Bill tracking: http://app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5844&year=2015


29. AP Indonesia Investigation: Men forced to work as slaves to catch seafood for global supply

…Here, in the Indonesian island village of Benjina and the surrounding waters, hundreds of trapped men represent one of the most desperate links criss-crossing between companies and countries in the seafood industry. This intricate web of connections separates the fish we eat from the men who catch it, and obscures a brutal truth: Your seafood may come from slaves.

The men the AP interviewed on Benjina were mostly from Myanmar, also known as Burma, one of the poorest countries in the world. They were brought to Indonesia through Thailand and forced to fish. Their catch was then shipped back to Thailand, where it entered the global stream of commerce…

http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2015/03/24/ap-investigation-are-slaves-catching-the-fish-you-buy


Marketing

30. Major Alaska Salmon Processors Decide to Rejoin MSC

Alaska Salmon Producers Decide to Rejoin MSC; All Bristol Bay Sockeye to be MSC Certified

SEAFOODNEWS.COM    by John Sackton  10:31 PM April 10, 2015

Virtually all of Alaska’s abundant wild salmon will be harvested under MSC certification as well as the existing RFM certification this summer.   The major processors representing more than 70% of Alaskan Wild Salmon who withdrew from the MSC program in 2010, are in discussions with the Marine Stewardship Council and the existing client group to offer MSC certified salmon.

Ocean Beauty, Peter Pan, Trident, Icicle, Alaska General Seafoods, Leader Creek and North Pacific Seafoods, Kwikpak Fisheries LLC, Triad Fisheries and Yukon Gold have joined with Copper River Seafoods, Silver Bay, Double E Foods, 10th & M and some smaller producers to land and process salmon that will be eligible for the Marine Stewardship Council chain of custody certification.

This agreement comes about as both the salmon market and the certification landscape have changed significantly since 2010.  It was announced late Friday in Seattle.

Seafood.com story:

http://www.bbrsda.com/2015/04/alaska-salmon-producers-decide-to-rejoin-msc-all-bristol-bay-sockeye-to-be-msc-certified/


Facing tough market, salmon processors plan return to certification program

Jeannette Lee Falsey, Anchorage Dispatch News, April 15, 2015

Several Alaska salmon processors have decided to rejoin one of the world’s best-known sustainable seafood certification programs, after breaking away about three years ago.

Whether the decision to resume membership in the Marine Stewardship Council will help salmon processors sell more fish is a key question given the unusually large numbers of wild salmon forecast to enter Alaska’s rivers this season and an abundance of frozen and canned fish from last season. And the glut may coincide with depressed global demand given the strength of the U.S. dollar, which makes American products relatively more expensive to foreign buyers.

“It is important that as many global retailers as possible have access to our abundant supply,” said Barry Collier, president and CEO of Peter Pan Seafoods.

http://www.adn.com/article/20150415/facing-tough-market-salmon-processors-plan-return-certification-program


31. PWS Alaska salmon no longer pursuing MSC

Alaska salmon region Prince William Sound (PWS) is no longer a part of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) process.

Alaska Salmon Processors Association (ASPA) — the organization managing Alaska salmon’s MSC certification process — withdrew the PWS portion from the fishery’s MSC certification program in February, thus evading the likely reality that the MSC would drop the region from assessment in a matter of months over hatchery concerns.

http://www.undercurrentnews.com/2015/04/16/pws-alaska-salmon-no-longer-pursuing-msc/


32. #EatAlaska: A Parnership Between Alaska Seafood & Alaska Grown

by Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute; Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 3:22PM EDT

Local Alaskan chefs and food bloggers have developed new recipes using Alaska seafood and Alaska Grown certified products in a promotional partnership between ASMI and Alaska Grown.

These recipes, along with reusable tote bags will be distributed at summer events, farmers markets, seafood counters and restaurants across the State in an effort to encourage people to choose local, Alaska products. ASMI teamed up with a group of Alaskans to style and photograph the recipes, which will be available on our website soon!

KTUU News Alaska Bites feature:http://www.ktuu.com/news/news/Alaska-Bites-Food-Photography/32139860

ASMI announcement:

http://www.perishablenews.com/index.php?article=0043808


33. TV producer aims to counter ‘Battle on the Bay’ with new Alaska salmon webisodes

April 15, 2015, 4:00 pm. Jeanine Stewart, Undercurrent News

“Toothless fishing hooligans raping the oceans.”

TV producer Craig Caryl recently overheard this reference to Alaska salmon fishermen while standing in line at Whole Foods.

“I know that nothing could be farther from the truth,” he told Undercurrent News…

Caryl aims aims to set the record straight this summer when he takes footage of gillnet fishermen at work in Alaska’s Southeast, which he’ll use to create ten five-minute “webisodes” on Alaska salmon fishing, shareable on YouTube, company websites and through social media.

Yet another example of edu-tainment in today’s highly digitized media world, he envisions the films as marketing tools…

But it’s the lesser-seen real-time experience of Alaska salmon fishing that these webisodes aim to get at for several sectors in the Copper River Delta and Prince William Sound: drift gillnet fishing, set gillnet fishing and purse seining.

“I plan on taking a 360 degree view of the environment,” Caryl said. This includes everything, right down to escapement goals and “three generations of fishermen sitting around the table, talking about that particular day of the week, or season”.

Although less dramatic than tales of fishermen aiming to cash in on some of the most prized fishing species in the ocean, Caryl’s depiction does touch on consumers’ growing interest to know how their food is sourced.

http://www.undercurrentnews.com/2015/04/15/tv-producer-aims-to-counter-battle-on-the-bay-with-new-alaska-salmon-webisodes/


34. Help wanted – Bristol Bay RSDA seeks Executive Director

The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) is recruiting for an executive director. The job description is attached. Applications for this position will be reviewed by the BBRSDA’s Board of Directors.

Depending on the timing of this recruitment, the BBRSDA board may consider hiring an interim director, whose duties will be to work closely with the association’s fiscal administrator, assist in ongoing operations and in the recruitment of a permanent executive director.

Letters of interest and professional resumes for either or both positions are invited to be emailed to board@bbrsda.com.

BBRSDA Announcement & Job Description: http://www.bbrsda.com/2015/04/recruitment-for-executive-director-position/


35. BBRSDA Board Member Recruitment Announced – apply by April 24.

It is with sincere regret that we announce that founding member and BBRSDA President, Robert Heyano, has tendered his resignation from BBRSDA’s Board of Directors. Without Robert’s foresight and diligence, there would likely be no BBRSDA today. Words are inadequate to describe the impacts Robert’s vision and efforts have had on the Bristol Bay fishery over his many years of commitment to the resource and the way of life it supports. It would take a book to describe the extent of Robert Heyano’s work on behalf of the BBRSDA. Simply, Robert, thank you for your countless hours of selfless dedication, your passion, and your leadership.

Consistent with our bylaws, the board will fill this vacancy by developing a slate of candidates and choosing a new member by a two-thirds vote. The board is now inviting letters of interest from Alaska resident holders of Bristol Bay drift permits interested in serving the balance of the Seat A term, ending in mid-2016. (Seat A is designated as an Alaska-resident position.)

Please submit 350-word letters of interest by email to board@bbrsda.com through Friday, April 24, 2015. The board will meet via teleconference the first week of May to select its new member.

For more information about serving on the BBRSDA board, please contact sitting board members (board@bbrsda.com ).

BBRSDA announcement: http://www.bbrsda.com/2015/03/bbrsda-board-resignation-accepted-board-member-recruitment-announced-2/


36. Hilborn: Simplest way to ensure food safety is country of origin labeling

March 3, 2015, 10:10 am, Undercurrent News

A United States marine scientist says country of origin labeling is the simplest way for consumers to know what seafood is safe to eat, as environment groups press the Australian government to include what method was used to catch the fish and a sustainability rating…

http://www.undercurrentnews.com/2015/03/03/hilborn-simplest-way-to-ensure-food-safety-is-country-of-origin-labeling/

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) page: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/COOL

Thanks to the late Senator Ted Stevens, Senator Frank Murkowski and Senator Lisa Murkowski for their instrumental work with UFA to require COOL including wild & farmed labeling for seafood in the early 2000s.


Fish Farm & Environmental

 

37. Chuitna Water rights dispute generates thousands of comments

By Ben Boettger, Peninsula Clarion; April 11, 2015 – 7:22 pm

On Thursday, a controversial and precedent-setting decision on whether to grant water rights for a west-side Cook Inlet stream to the salmon conservation group Chuitna Citizens Coalition passed an important milestone.

Dave Schade, Chief of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources’ Water Resources Section, said that his office had received an estimated 5,000 comments since the coalition’s application for instream flow rights for Middle Creek, a tributary of the Chuitna River, opened for public comment on Feb. 23 of this year…

As part of the campaign to generate comments, Alaskans First produced “Chuitna: More than Salmon on the Line,” a documentary film about the conservation efforts of Chuitna-area residents, which toured Alaska beginning in February. Heilman said other efforts have involved direct interactions with the public.

“We’ve been at the (Great Alaskan Sportsman Show, in Anchorage) for four days, and we’ve been talking to people all over,” Heilman said.

Other groups have campaigned opposing the reservation, including the Alaska Industry Support Alliance and the Resource Development Council, an association including Alaska business, industry, and labor groups, and state and federal government agencies.

Peninsula Clarion April 11 story: http://peninsulaclarion.com/news/2015-04-11/water-rights-dispute-generates-thousands-of-comments

Chuitna Citizens Coalition: http://chuitna.org/

For remaining showings of Chuitna: More Than Salmon on the Line see: http://www.trustees.org/chuitna-more-than-salmon-on-the-line/

DNR Chuitna large mine page: http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/mining/largemine/chuitna/


38. Comment deadline April 29 on ADFG proposed Harris River & Indian Creek (POW) water reservations

Notice for seven proposed Reservation of Water within Harris River, near Hollis AK

Pursuant to AS 46.15 and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, notice is hereby given that seven applications, with priority dates of June 1, 2007, were received from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, 333 Raspberry Road, Anchorage, Alaska 99518, to reserve water within Harris River, near Hollis, Alaska, for the purpose of maintaining specified instream flow rates to protect fish and wildlife habitat, migration, and propagation.  The Department of Natural Resources is adjudicating these applications for the Alaska Department of Fish & Game for Harris Creek and applies to five reaches and two points within the river and its floodplain…

Objections must be submitted in writing by email (kimberly.sager@alaska.gov), fax (907-269-8904), or delivered to the Department of Natural Resources, 550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1070, Anchorage, Alaska 99501-3514 by April 29th, 2015, before 5:00 PM to be considered.  Similarly, comments that might otherwise assist the Division in its determination of the public interest pursuant to AS 46.15.080(b) are also requested and must be received by the above deadline.  Any facts tending to show that the rights of any person or the public interest would be positively affected must also be submitted in writing as directed above…

Online public notice (Harris River)  https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=176343


Online public notice: (Indian Creek water reservation)

https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=176344


39. Murkowski Waging Frankenfish Fight in Senate with New Bill   

AK Business Monthly; March 13, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today announced she is introducing bipartisan legislation cracking down on the potential introduction of Genetically Engineered Salmon, or “Frankenfish.”  Murkowski’s bill is being co-sponsored by Senators Maria Cantwell, Martin Heinrich and Jeff Merkley, and would add two conditions: compulsory labeling of the product if it proceeds to market, and a stringent Environmental Impact Study be done beforehand assessing the potential risks and threats posed by the synthetically-manufactured creatures.

“When you’re splicing the genes of an Atlantic Salmon with an Ocean Pout that basically adds ‘antifreeze’ to its system, that sounds more like ‘Jurassic Park’-science than something I want on my plate,” said Murkowski.  “Alaskans are united in our wariness of Frankenfish and the havoc they could wreak on our sustainable fisheries; if the FDA insists on putting this science experiment on grocery store shelves, they must let consumers know what they are buying…”

http://www.akbizmag.com/Government/Murkowski-Waging-Frankenfish-Fight-in-Senate-with-New-Bill/


40. Senator Sullivan meets with Canada ambassador re Transboundary mines

By Katie Moritz, Juneau Empire: March 25, 2015 – 12:09am

With the Mount Polley mine disaster still on the minds of many Southeast Alaskans, Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, met with the Canadian ambassador to the United States on Tuesday to talk transboundary mine issues.

In early August 2014, a breach of the Canadian copper and gold mine’s tailings pond caused huge amounts of mining waste to flow into adjacent salmon-supporting river systems, spurring concerns about increased mining efforts on watersheds shared with Alaska. Commercial fishermen, Native groups, governments and Alaskans are concerned their hands may be tied when it comes to mine permitting and safety across the border and fear of an impact on the state’s fisheries.

Sullivan said Tuesday from Washington, D.C., that he had a “very constructive meeting” with Ambassador Gary Doer about “our concerns about the transboundary issue in Southeast” and “what happened with the Polley dam,” among other topics.

http://juneauempire.com/local/2015-03-25/sullivan-meets-canadian-ambassador-mine-issue

Juneau Empire Editorial: On the topic of transboundary mines, a response to Mr. Bill Bennett

http://juneauempire.com/opinion/2015-03-22/empire-editorial-topic-transboundary-mines-response-mr-bill-bennett

My Turn: Disagreements over mining require dialogue

By Bill Bennett for the Juneau Empire: April 12, 2015 – 12:03am

Like any industrial activity, when it comes to mining there will always be disagreements about where, when and how such activity should take place. That’s why it is important to have an open dialogue so we can work together to understand each other. As part of that dialogue, I want to address a number of items the Juneau Empire raised in its last editorial…

http://juneauempire.com/opinion/2015-04-12/my-turn

Alaskans should take note of B.C. mines, by Susan Schrader

http://juneauempire.com/letters/2015-04-19/alaskans-should-take-note-bc-mines?utm_source=Recommendation_Widget&utm_medium=desktop&utm_campaign=qrec&utm_content=noimage


41. DEC Workshop on Water Quality Antidegradation policy – May 13-14, Anchorage

Workshop to address proposed regulations for establishing implementation methods for water quality antidegradation policy…

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Water will be holding an in person public workshop May 13-14 in Anchorage at the Performing Arts Center Voth Hall, 621 West 6th Ave., and by simultaneous state-wide teleconference. The workshop hours are 1:00-5:00 p.m., May 13 and 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., May 14. Participants will discuss proposed regulation revisions in Title 18, chapter 70 of the Alaska Administrative Code (18 AAC 70) which establishes implementation methods for water quality antidegradation policy found at 18 AAC 70.015.

The purpose of the workshop is to review five key issues identified by DEC staff based on comments received during the initial public notice period in 2014.  Participants will discuss potential solutions or alternatives. The key issues that were identified by DEC staff include the following: the complexity of the draft regulations, the 401/404 permit approval and certification process, the alternative analysis, the de minimis provision, and the antidegradation analysis for general permits…

Those who wish to participate in the workshop by teleconference or in person should fill out and send in a registration form by May 1.  The form is available on the DECwebsite at:  http://dec.alaska.gov/water/wqsar/Antidegradation/index.html .

Division of Water Antidegradation web page: http://dec.alaska.gov/water/wqsar/Antidegradation/index.html .

DEC online public notice: https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=176279


42. Senator Sullivan Holds Second EPW Field Hearing on EPA’s WOTUS Rule

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

FAIRBANKS, AK – Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), chairman of the Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife subcommittee for the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today chaired his second field hearing in Alaska on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Waters of the United States rule.

Held in Fairbanks, AK, the hearing examined the impacts of the EPA’s Waters of the United States rule on state and local governments and stakeholders.

Senator Sullivan opened the hearing by expressing his concerns for the rule.  “Alaska has some of the cleanest waterways in the world leading to our vibrant, world class fisheries, and award-winning drinking water,” Sen. Sullivan said.  “Concerns over this rulemaking are not at all aimed at jeopardizing those characteristics that are fundamental to the identity of Alaska.  Instead, my efforts are about clarifying jurisdiction and pushing back on federal agencies that are asserting authority over even more features—such as roadside ditches, culverts, storm water systems, isolated ponds—and activities on adjacent lands,  bypassing Congress and ducking Supreme Court rulings.”

Senator Dan Sullivan press release: http://www.sullivan.senate.gov/content/sullivan-holds-second-epw-field-hearing-epa%E2%80%99s-wotus-rule

EPA Clean Water Rule page: http://www2.epa.gov/cleanwaterrule


43. “The Breach” documentary on wild salmon set for release – 12 city tour begins April 21

A  documentary on wild salmon called “The Breach” is set to begin a 12-city national tour on April 21 as it becomes available on Amazon Instant Video and other live streaming options, the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) said in a release…

http://www.undercurrentnews.com/2015/04/08/documentary-on-wild-salmon-set-for-release/

&&&

ADN Commentary: As documentary film ‘The Breach’ shows, saving Alaska salmon requires knowing history

Mark Titus, April 12, 2015

…Alaska is different. Statehood in 1959 brought with it protection of wild salmon as a resource in Alaska’s constitution. Alaska still has a chance to get it right.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the bounty of Bristol Bay, providing 14,000 jobs each year through its salmon fishery, to the tune of $1.5 billion to the U.S. economy….

http://www.adn.com/article/20150412/documentary-film-breach-shows-saving-alaska-salmon-requires-knowing-history

&&& BB Times Opinion: Film provides crucial perspective in fight for salmon

http://www.thebristolbaytimes.com/article/1513film_provides_crucial_perspective_in_fight


44. Deadline April 22 for comments to EPA on oil spill dispersants

Revisions to the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan; Subpart J Product Schedule Listing Requirements

…EPA is proposing to amend requirements under Subpart J of the NCP to incorporate scientific advances and lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The proposed changes would ensure that agents listed on the product schedule have met efficacy and toxicity requirements. The proposed changes would also ensure that product manufacturers provide important use and safety information.

EPA believes the emergency planning and response community will be better equipped with the proper information to make informed response decisions to protect human health and the environment.

The public has the opportunity to comment on this proposed rule. Comments must be received on or before April 22, 2015. Comments will only be accepted through the official docket: EPA-HA-OPA-2006-0090…

Federal Register January 22, 2015: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-00544

EPA webpage: http://www2.epa.gov/emergency-response/revisions-national-oil-and-hazardous-substances-pollution-contingency-plan .

Regulations.gov comment page: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OPA-2006-0090


45. Yellow Cedar 90 day ESA finding –“warranted”… comment by June 9

Federal Register: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-07837

Regulations.gov docket: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-R7-ES-2015-0025-0001


46. Comment deadline April 30 on draft Southeast State Forest Management Plan

…Updated-Public hearings scheduled on draft Southeast State Forest Plan

(Ketchikan, AK) – The Division of Forestry is holding hearings this month in five southeast communities on the draft Southeast State Forest Management Plan.  The draft plan released on March 9 describes how the Division of Forestry intends to manage the 48,000-acre Southeast State Forest.  The 33 forest units are located on 12 islands between Petersburg and Ketchikan, on the mainland in Bradfield Canal and by Crittenden Creek.

Scheduled hearings:

Ketchikan, 6-7:45 p.m., April 14 in the Ketchikan Public Library, 1110 Copper Ridge

Petersburg, 6-8 p.m., April 15 in the Petersburg Indian Assoc., John Hanson Hall (ANB), 102 North Nordic St.

Wrangell, 6-8 p.m., April 22 in the City Hall, 205 Brueger Street

Edna Bay, 6-8 p.m., April 23 at the Edna Bay School, 100 School House Lane

Coffman Cove, 6-8 p.m., April 24 in the Coffman Cove Ferry Terminal

Copies of the draft forest plan were placed in the public libraries in Craig, Ketchikan, Petersburg, and Wrangell.  The draft plan and maps are available online at http://forestry.alaska.gov/whatsnew.htm .  Written comments may be mailed to the Division of Forestry, 2417 Tongass Avenue, Suite 213, Ketchikan, AK 99901, submitted by email to dnr.forsesf@alaska.gov, or through the online comment form on the SESF Planning webpage at http://forestry.alaska.gov/stateforests.htm#sesf.  Comments must be received by the Division of Forestry office no later than 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 30, 2015.

DNR press release:

http://dnr.alaska.gov/shared/mediareleases/dsp_media_release.cfm?id=2144&title=Updated-Public%20hearings%20scheduled%20on%20draft%20Southeast%20State%20Forest%20Plan


47. Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force to meet May 6-7

The ANS Task Force will meet from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6, and Thursday, May 7, 2015, and on Friday, May 8, 2015, from 8 a.m. to noon…at the Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach, 801 Seabreeze Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, Florida…

Meeting Agenda:

Quagga-Zebra Mussel Action Plan Update

Building Policy Consensus in the West: Update on Development of Model Law and Regulations

Addressing AIS Transport at Federally Managed Water Bodies

Fish Passage Need and AIS Threats

Approval of the National Invasive Lionfish Prevention and Management Plan and the National Snakehead Control and Management Plan

ANS Hotline Update

eDNA Information Clearinghouse Web site

Organisms in Trade Project and WebCrawler Tool

Update from the Aquatic Invasive Species Summit: Boat Design and Construction in the Consideration of AIS

Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! Update

Plans for Revitalizing Habitattitude

ANSTF Involvement with National Invasive Species Awareness Week

Detection and Management of Monoecious Hydrilla in the Erie Canal

A National EDRR Framework and Emergency Response Funding Plan

Hydraulic Fracturing for Gas Development as an AIS Pathway

…The final agenda and other related meeting information will be posted on the ANS Task Force Web site at http://anstaskforce.gov .

Federal Register April 17, 2015: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-08921

ANS Task Force home page: http://anstaskforce.gov


48. Tongass Advisory Committee Seeks Solutions to Land Management on the Tongass

SitNews, March 31, 2015

The Tongass Advisory Committee (TAC) held its seventh meeting in Juneau from March 25-27, 2015, in the Juneau Assembly Chambers for this meeting.

During the meeting, and with significant efforts by members between meetings, the Committee made substantial progress on their draft recommendations. Their deliberations continued to focus on providing mutually beneficial outcomes for fish, wildlife, timber, and other values derived from the Forest. To achieve those outcomes, the group further articulated the concept of co-intent – improving habitat conditions and long-term ecological function in young growth stands while simultaneously producing timber volume from those areas – as an important underpinning for their recommendations…

http://www.sitnews.us/0315News/033115/033115_tongass.html

Tongass Advisory Committee home page: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/tongass/home/?cid=stelprdb5444388


49. Beth Pendleton, Alaska Regional Forester, announced the new Tongass Deputy Forest Supervisor Tawnya Brummett

JUNEAU, Alaska, April 16, 2015- Beth Pendleton, Alaska Regional Forester, announced the new Tongass Deputy Forest Supervisor Tawnya Brummett who will report for duty June 14, 2015.

“Tawnya will bring exceptional leadership, innovation, energy and drive to her new role on the Tongass, as well as a keen focus on safety,” said Pendleton…

http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/tongass/news-events/?cid=STELPRD3835359


Enhancement

 

50. USFWS Karluk Lake Nutrient Enrichment Proposal update (March 25)

…Thank you for participating in the recent public review period for the Preliminary Environmental Assessment of the Karluk Lake Nutrient Enrichment proposal. We value your input and have attached a document with an assessment update and a representation of comments received during public review…

March 25 Update: http://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/Region_7/NWRS/Zone_2/Kodiak/PDF/Karluk%20EA%20Planning%20Update(1).pdf

Karluk Lake Environmental Assessment page: http://www.fws.gov/nwrs/threecolumn.aspx?id=2147562300

Refuge home page: www.fws.gov/refuge/kodiak


51. Kodiak hatchery shows off new digs

KODIAK, Alaska – Pillar Creek Hatchery showed off a new building at their annual open house on Saturday as they prepared to send the latest batch of salmon into Kodiak rivers.

The new building provides more office space, storage space, a workshop, and a two-bedroom and two-bathroom apartment for seasonal employees.

The new building is the latest in a string of improvements to the Kodiak Regional Aquaculture Association-run hatchery that has included a roof over some of the fish-containing raceways and a new oxygen generator and wet lab building…

http://www.newsminer.com/news/alaska_news/kodiak-hatchery-shows-off-new-digs/article_3252d8c6-dfb6-11e4-a00d-5f4889b5d990.html


52. B.C. wild sockeye salmon population hurt by hatchery pinks: study finds

Nations around the Pacific Ocean may have to cap the number of hatchery salmon they release if sockeye salmon runs are to return to sustainable levels, according to a new study.

Record high numbers of pink salmon in the North Pacific coincided with the disastrously small 2009 Fraser River sockeye return, while the unexpectedly large 2010 sockeye return interacted with 40-per-cent fewer pinks, said Brendan Connors, co-author of the article published by the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

The findings have implications for fisheries management and hatchery programs in Russia and Alaska that produce most of the five billion hatchery fish released into the Pacific each year.

http://www.timescolonist.com/business/b-c-wild-sockeye-salmon-population-hurt-by-hatchery-pinks-study-finds-1.1813534


53. UAF Research identifies factors affecting salmon spawning

Sitnews, April 17, 2015, By SHARICE WALKER,

Warmer water and smaller run sizes can increase the rates at which salmon spawn away from their home streams, according to a study led by a University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher.

Peter Westley, assistant professor of fisheries at UAF’s School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, and a research team analyzed 17 years worth of migration data for 19 populations of hatchery-produced chinook salmon in the Columbia River. The data showed that climate variables influence straying rates, according to findings published online by the Ecological Society of America…

“We know not all salmon come back to their home stream. A small proportion of them stray to other streams to spawn instead of coming home…”

“This is among the first papers to look at how climate is shaping rates of straying,” Westley said. “Boiling this down, in terms of what came out of the analyses, when the temperature was higher in the Columbia or in their spawning grounds, they strayed to different watersheds at higher rates.”

In addition to the effect of water temperature, researchers also found a connection between the number of returning fish and the stray rate. Westley explained there is a long-standing assumption in fish ecology work that when many individuals compete in a certain area, some will seek out an area with less competition. His team’s research revealed the opposite; when fewer individual fish returned, the stray rates were higher than when more fish returned together…

http://www.sitnews.us/0415News/041715/041715_salmon_spawning.html


Subsistence

 

54. State: Supreme Court case could have widespread impact on hunting, fishing

Dozens of Alaska Natives poured into a state Supreme Court hearing to show support for subsistence users in a case involving former state Sen. Albert Kookesh, who was cited along with two others in 2009 for exceeding salmon harvest limits while subsistence fishing in Southeast Alaska.

The question before the court is a technical one: Whether the state Board of Fisheries can delegate its authority for setting harvest limits to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The fishermen argue that should not have been done in the subsistence fishery at Kanalku Bay near Angoon…

http://www.adn.com/article/20150310/state-supreme-court-case-could-have-widespread-impact-hunting-fishing

To follow appeal case, see http://www.appellate.courts.state.ak.us/main.asp and enter Appellate Case Number A10893


55. Admiralty Island Subsistence proposal passed by State Fisheries Board

A historic advance for Alaskan subsistence rights was passed in Sitka at the Board of Fish meeting. Advocates

for subsistence rights were encouraged that an immediate and substantial step was taken to balance the

subsistence needs of the Angoon community with the commercial interests of Alaska’s seining fleet…

 

From the combined efforts of Kootznoowoo and the Southeast Alaska Seiners Association, a compromise has

been found and accepted by the Board of Fish. This proposal will close 4 miles of coastline near Basket Bay

(on Chichagof Island) to seine fisheries during the season. Additionally, the waters in front of the community

of Angoon will be closed to seine fisheries. However, from the northwest shore of Admiralty Island to Point

Hepburn (approximately 40 miles northwest of Angoon) will be opened up to the purse seine fishery on July

17th. On July 21st the waters from Fisher Point to Parker Point will be opened to commercial purse seining.

Kootznoowoo press release:

http://www.kootznoowoo.com/Kootz%20ETJ%20Press%20Release%2003132015-1.pdf


56. Federal Subsistence Board discusses special actions regarding Kuskokwim and Yukon Rivers

During its work session held on Thursday, April 16, 2015 the Federal Subsistence Board (Board) discussed fisheries special actions it received on the Kuskokwim and Yukon rivers. The special actions requested the Board to assume management of all salmon stocks as necessary to ensure conservation, important cultural practices and subsistence uses of Chinook Salmon stocks; limit 2015 Chinook Salmon fisheries to Federally qualified subsistence users; and implement an allocation strategy consistent with Section 804 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) among the Native villages, communities and Federally qualified subsistence users in the Kuskokwim and Yukon drainages. Several requested implementation of an interim Tribal co-management system for the 2015 season.

For the Kuskokwim River, the Board unanimously voted (7-0) to defer action on all the Kuskokwim River special action requests (FSA15-02/03/05/07/08) until such time, during the season, the Chair determines it to be necessary for Federal involvement. The Board stated that the Federal in-season manager already has the delegated authority to address many of the proponents’ concerns, and there is a need for cooperative management with the State. If issues arise during the season that necessitate the actions requested by the proponents, such as limiting the pool of Federally qualified subsistence users or to implement an allocation strategy for Chinook Salmon, the Chair will call a meeting for subsequent action…

Additional information on the Federal Subsistence Management Program may be found on the web at www.doi.gov/subsistence/index.cfm  or by visiting www.facebook.com/subsistencealaska.

Federal Subsistence Board news release 4/17/15:

http://www.doi.gov/subsistence/news/general/fsb-work-session-results.cfm

Federal Subsistence office home page: http://www.doi.gov/subsistence/index.cfm


57. Yup’ik Fishermen Case likely headed for Alaska Supreme court, federal court

By Daysha Eaton, KYUK

The Alaska Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court’s decision that Yup’ik Fishermen who fished for King salmon during a state closure should be convicted. The decision was issued Friday (March 27).

The Attorney for the Yup’ik Fishermen is James Davis with the Northern Justice Project. He says the court asked the wrong question…

Davis says there are two right questions he asked the court to consider and they ignored:

“If there were no king salmon to be caught by the Yup’ik fishers, why did the state open up the fishery to allow 20,000 king salmon to be caught the very next week after citing the Yup’ik fishers for catching any king salmon? And the second question which the court ignored as if it hadn’t been asked is, if there were declining runs of  king salmon on the river over the last few years, why did the state continually vote for high salmon bi-catch by the pollock fleet?, which the court of appeals effectively ignored,” said Davis.

Davis says he plans to appeal the case to the Alaska Supreme Court. Myron Naneng is President of the Association of Village Council Presidents, the regional tribal non-profit. He says their organization is pleased the case will be appealed but they are also considering taking the case to federal court.

“We should have gone to the federal court in the first place because the feds did not do their responsibility under title 8 of ANILCA section 807 where they’re required to give priority to rural Alaska and they’re supposed to have federal management first instead of requiring the state of Alaska to issue citations like they did in 2012. That’s something that we’re gong to be looking into,” said Naneng…

http://knba.org/post/4115-yup-ik-fishermen-case-likely-headed-alaska-supreme-court-federal-court


And Other…

 

58. Alaska Sea Grant Fishlines – April newsletter

First Alaska Sea Grant State Fellows

Alaska Sea Grant Meets Standards of Excellence

Guide to Marine Mammals and Turtles of the U.S. Pacific

Data-Limited Fish Stocks Symposium Coming Up

Watershed Monitoring and Sea Week in Anchorage

…online at http://seagrant.uaf.edu/news/fishlines/2015/april.php


59. Free AMSEA Safety Workshop for Commercial Fishermen, May 2 in Juneau

The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) will offer a Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor Workshop in Juneau, Alaska on Saturday, May 2, 2015 from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM at the UAS Technical Education Center, 1415 Harbor Way, Room 133.  This workshop will cover cold-water survival skills; EPIRBs, flares, and maydays; man-overboard recovery and firefighting; immersion suits and PFDs; emergency drills, helicopter rescue, life rafts, and abandon ship procedures.

The workshop meets the training requirements for documented commercial fishing vessels operating beyond the federal boundary line.  It is offered to commercial fishermen at no cost, thanks to support from the United States Coast Guard, the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).  To register or get more information, contact AMSEA in Sitka at (907) 747-3287 or www.amsea.org .

AMSEA home page & schedule: http://www.amsea.org/


60. Laine Welch’s Fish Radio – Recent Items

Who are Alaska’s biggest fishing whiners?

Lost pots in PWS could snag longline gear

New opportunities for scallops, seine pollock fall flat

Herring starts today at Kodiak, Togiak’s next; Sitka price info

Two petitions aim to derail Frankenfish at FDA

These items and more, online at http://www.alaskafishradio.com/


61. Live to be Salty program promotes PFD use 

NIOSH Live to be Salty page: http://www.livetobesalty.org/


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