UFA Update: December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas and happy holidays from your friends at United Fishermen of Alaska!


UFA welcomes NEW “Sea Class” business member Fred Wahl Marine Construction and “Bay Class” business members City of Hoonah and Nomar.

Support UFA Business members on our website HERE.

From the Executive Director:

Dear UFA members and friends,

The holidays and the end of the year are a time for reflection and for looking forward. In my last note to you as the Executive Director of UFA, I would like to take this time to remind you about the importance of UFA and your local and individual gear group organizations.  Without your support, UFA cannot effectively represent your interests when issues are being discussed at the legislature in Juneau, with state officials or with our elected officials in Washington, D.C.

The seafood industry has increased our visibility and effectiveness over the past few years and it is ONLY with your support that we can continue to grow in order to help promote Alaska’s largest private sector employer. 2016 will be a very challenging year for the seafood industry on a state level with a proposed increase in taxes (both seafood and marine fuel), painful proposed reductions to both the ADF&G and the ASMI budgets, potential changes to limited entry and financing programs, and the possibility of a voter initiative that would put fellow fishermen out of business.

Help protect your seafood business, your community and the support businesses that rely on the industry by continuing to support the organization that works for you every day. This holiday season, reach out to your local or individual gear group organization and express your continued support.

It has been an honor to represent you at the legislature and at UFA. As always, please reach out if you have any questions or issues you would like to discuss.

-Julianne Curry, Executive Director (through 12/31/2015)

Looking to help lead UFA? – Executive Director Job description and application instructions are online at:

http://www.ufafish.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/UFA-ED-Job-Description-v3-111215.pdf (closes December 31)

The UFA Spring 2016 meeting will be held February 16-18, 2016 at St. Ann’s Parish Hall in downtown Juneau

Help support 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 Fish Calendar: http://www.ufafish.org/calendar/


Contents:

Take the AK Fish and Game Board Process Survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/akboards


Statewide

  1. Governor Walker Releases 2017 Budget Legislation, includes fish tax increase
  2. Fish, game boards take testimony on cuts
  3. Kenai effort to host 2017 BOF gets unfriendly reception
  4. CFEC audit recommends major overhaul but no move to Fish and Game
  5. ISER posts report on Fiscal Effects of Commercial Fishing, Mining, and Tourism
  6. Gunnar Knapp to Retire as UAA ISER Director, While Continuing Research and Public Outreach
  7. Scott Kelley named ADFG Commercial Fisheries Director
  8. Alaska 2035 Long Range Transportation Policy Plan Update
  9. Alaska ferry system could face more budget cuts
  10. BOF Committee on Coastal Erosion Impacts on Set Gillnet Operations
  11. Yukon salmon fishery numbers show strong season
  12. Board of Fisheries to Meet in Fairbanks, January 12-16, 2016 – AYK Finfish
  13. In memoriam: Juneau mayor Greg Fisk



National

  1. Murkowski Champions Alaska Priorities in Year-End Budget Bill
  2. Congressman Don Young Shares Thoughts on Passage of Omnibus Appropriations Package
  3. NPFMC December Newsletter
  4. User conflicts over halibut, salmon on horizon for 2016
  5. IPHC staff presents 2016 halibut harvest recommendations
  6. UW’s Hilborn creates project to boost consumer confidence, monitor global fisheries
  7. Senate Passes Legislation to Combat Pirate Fishing
  8. Sen. Sullivan Reacts to EPA’s Illegal Use of Lobbying and Propaganda to Promote WOTUS Rule
  9. Got 2016 health Insurance? Deadline January 31 for 2016 open enrollment (possible tax penalties)
  10. Senate Unanimously Passes Coast Guard Authorization Bill
  11. Who Controls Alaska’s Waterways? – Supreme Court to decide.


 

Marketing

  1. ASMI names executive director Alexa Tonkovich & directors
  2. Renaming ‘Alaska Pollock’ may curb Seattle fleet’s Russian rivals
  3. NY Times Ask Well: Canned vs. Fresh Fish
  4. Study finds Alaskan seafood is still radiation-free
  5. Tidal Vision’s new clothing line made of crab shells expected by summer
  6. Marketing Alaska fish to Alaskans – Kelly Harrell wins Stanford fisheries business competition
  7. NOAA Fisheries Launches FishWatch.gov (10/20)


 

Fish Farm & Environmental

  1. FDA must develop plan to label genetically engineered salmon, Congress says
  2. FDA approves genetically engineered salmon
  3. Comment Deadline January 25 on FDA Guidance for Industry for Voluntary GM Salmon labeling
  4. Center for Food Safety Will Sue FDA over GM salmon approval
  5. Appeals filed in Chuitna water reservation case (1 of 3 were granted)
  6. Southeast Alaska leaders urging stronger international safeguards in shared watersheds
  7. Tongass Forest advisers finish review of logging transition plan
  8. Comment deadline February 22, 2016 on Tongass Plan Amendment
  9. Forest Plan Amendment Public Open House and Subsistence Hearing Schedule – January 2016
  10. Comment deadline January 11 on SE State forest mining restrictions
  11. EPA updates Fish Advisory program with new websites
  12. Pebble withdraws subpoenas in lawsuit against EPA


 

Aquaculture / Enhancement

  1. CIAA Plans Martin Pond sockeye project
  2. David Landis named new SSRAA general manager
  3. Regional Planning Team Planning team holds off on Thomas Bay chum release
  4. Alaska Shellfish Growers Learn about Seaweed Farming


 

Subsistence

  1. Subsistence fishing case may set legal precedent on other limits
  2. Summary posted from Board of Fisheries (BOF) Federal / State Subsistence Committee
  3. Secretaries revise regulations governing rural determination process
  4. Federal Subsistence Board publishes final rule on nonrural determinations


 

Other

  1. Senator Sullivan’s Christmas message – featuring Alaska Seafood Newburg Recipe
  2. Fishlines – the Alaska Sea Grant newsletter for December, 2015 – & FishBiz website
  3. AMSEA Upcoming classes, Freezing Spray comments, and farewell to Becky Martello
  4. Laine Welch’s Fish Radio – Recent Items
  5. NIOSH Live to be Salty program promotes PFD use

 

Inclusion of an item does not mean that UFA endorses or agrees.


 

Statewide

First, the Board of Fisheries looks for your input on cost savings –

Take the AK Fish and Game Board Process Survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/akboards

  1. Governor Walker Releases 2017 Budget Legislation, includes fish tax increase

Reduces Overall State Spending By 21 Percent Since FY2015…

December 15, 2015 ANCHORAGE – Governor Bill Walker released the FY2017 (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017) appropriation and revenue bills today as part of the Walker-Mallott Administration’s New Sustainable Alaska Plan. Rolled out last week in Anchorage, the plan addresses the state’s $3.5 billion budget deficit using a combination of spending cuts, new revenue, wealth management and investment…

Governor Walker press release 12/15/2015: https://www.omb.alaska.gov/ombfiles/17_budget/PDFs/PR_15-163_Governor_Walker_Releases_2017_Budget_Legislation.pdf

& Walker-Mallott Administration Rolls out New Sustainable Alaska Plan

Press release: https://www.omb.alaska.gov/ombfiles/17_budget/PDFs/PR%2015-160_Press_Release_120915.pdf

OMB FY2017 Governor’s Proposed Budget home page:

https://www.omb.alaska.gov/html/budget-report/fy2017-budget/proposed.html – scroll down to ADFG.)

Draft fisheries tax legislation:

https://www.omb.alaska.gov/ombfiles/17_budget/PDFs/Fish_Tax_-_Draft_-_12-15-15.pdf

For proposed ASMI budget see DCCED Proposed Operating budgets at https://www.omb.alaska.gov/html/budget-report/department-table.html?dept=DCCED&fy=17&type=Proposed & scroll down to Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute

Proposed FY17 ADFG budget see https://www.omb.alaska.gov/html/budget-report/department-table.html?dept=Fish&fy=17&type=Proposed

Proposed FY17 Department of Transportation budget:

https://www.omb.alaska.gov/html/budget-report/department-table.html?dept=Trans&fy=17&type=Proposed

UFA Resolution 2015 -01  – A resolution supporting the Governor and Legisature taking action to solve the State’s fiscal crisis and achieve long-term fiscal stability (November 5, 2015)

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  1. Fish, game boards take testimony on cuts

By Molly Dischner, KDLG, Dec 15, 2015

While Alaska’s governor was unveiling his budget proposal on Dec. 9, the state Boards of Fisheries and Game were grappling with how to accommodate future budget cuts…

The board support component of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game faces a budget shortfall this year, and is looking for ways to make the additional cuts that are expected in the years to come. A joint committee that included members from each board met in Anchorage, to consider how to reduce spending on the process for developing fish and game regulations. The board took no action, and had little discussion, mostly listening to testimony from more than a dozen members of the public…

http://kdlg.org/post/fish-game-boards-take-testimony-cuts

More Board of Fisheries coverage by KDLG’s Molly Dischner: http://kdlg.org/people/molly-dischner

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  1. Kenai effort to host 2017 BOF gets unfriendly reception

By Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter

Local efforts to host a Board of Fisheries meeting on Upper Cook Inlet issues in the Kenai area have again netted no results.

In a somewhat circuitous discussion Dec. 8, the Alaska Board of Fisheries underlined its decision from a year before to hold its 2017 Upper Cook Inlet meeting in Anchorage, rather than moving it to the Kenai Peninsula.

The board hasn’t held an Upper Cook Inlet meeting on the Kenai since 1999, despite regular pleas from municipal governments, fishing organizations, business groups and individuals to do so. The board first decided on Anchorage in October 2014 during a work session held in Juneau, but a problem with the venue led the scheduling issue to resurface in October this year, prompting another round of requests to hold the meeting on the central Kenai Peninsula. Gov. Bill Walker was among those writing letters asking the board to consider a location change for the Upper Cook Inlet meeting, even pledging to come to the meeting if it’s held on the central peninsula…

https://redoubtreporter.wordpress.com/2015/12/17/bof-no-kenai-bff-effort-to-host-board-of-fish-gets-unfriendly-reception/

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  1. CFEC audit recommends major overhaul but no move to Fish and Game

(October 22) A legislative audit recommends a sweeping overhaul of the troubled body that handles lucrative limited-permit entries for Alaska’s commercial fishing industry, including a backlog of applications that goes back decades.

But the audit of the state’s three-member Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission recommends against a move to bring the commission under the umbrella of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game…

ADN Story: http://www.adn.com/article/20151022/cfec-audit-recommends-major-overhaul-no-move-fish-and-game

KDLG: Audit recommends changes for CFEC (10/26). http://kdlg.org/post/audit-recommends-changes-cfec

Legislative Audit: http://legaudit.akleg.gov/docs/audits/special/dfg/30081rpt-2015.pdf

HB 112 Legislation tracking page: http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Bill/Detail/29?Root=HB%20112

Current version CSHB 112(FSH): http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/29/Bills/HB0112B.PDF

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For UFA’s recommendations on the CFEC please contact the UFA office at ufa@ufa-fish.org .


 

  1.  ISER posts report on Fiscal Effects of Commercial Fishing, Mining, and Tourism.

Research Matters No. 96. Commercial Fishing, Mining, and Tourism: State Revenues and Spending (12/2). How do taxes and other revenues the state government collects from the commercial fishing, mining, and tourism industries compare with what the state spends to manage them? That’s the specific question the Alaska Division of Economic Development asked ISER researchers Bob Loeffler and Steve Colt to answer.

In a new study, the researchers report their findings, but they first emphasize that their study is not a broad analysis of all the benefits and costs of these industries, which would also weigh many other factors—including the substantial income and thousands of jobs the industries generate for Alaskans. The researchers also point out that the state’s management goals for these industries include many things besides collecting taxes, and that their study does not say anything about what taxes on these industries should be…

All three industries pay more in combined state and local taxes than the state spends to manage them. Revenues from tourism and commercial fishing are especially important to local governments: 60% of the revenue from tourism and 40% from fishing goes to local governments, while less revenue from mining goes to local governments. Counting only state revenues (excluding local revenues), the state spends more to manage fishing than it collects from the industry. State revenues from tourism roughly equal what the state spends for management. Mining brings in about six times more than the state spends to manage it.

Summary: http://www.iser.uaa.alaska.edu/Publications/2015-ResearchSummary.pdf

Full Report (2.6 MB): http://www.iser.uaa.alaska.edu/Publications/2015_12-FiscalEffectsOfCommercialFishingMiningTourism.pdf
ISER announcement: http://www.iser.uaa.alaska.edu/news/?p=1195

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In the long run, you’re better off with a well than a water tank.


 

  1. Gunnar Knapp to Retire as UAA ISER Director, While Continuing Research and Public Outreach (December 2nd, 2015)

Gunnar Knapp, ISER’s director since 2013 and a professor of economics at ISER for 35 years, has announced he will retire from the University of Alaska Anchorage in June 2016. But after retiring he plans to work part-time with ISER, in particular continuing his research and public outreach to help Alaskans understand the big fiscal challenges the state faces. He will also continue his decades-long research on Alaska’s salmon industry and salmon markets, which has earned him an international reputation as a fisheries economist.

ISER announcement: http://www.iser.uaa.alaska.edu/news/?p=1170

Knapp retirement letter http://www.iser.uaa.alaska.edu/news/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/2015_12_02-KnappRetirementLetter.pdf

Congratulations Dr. Knapp!


 

  1.  Scott Kelley named ADFG new Commercial Fisheries Director

By Molly Dischner, KDLG, Oct 20, 2015

The state has a new director of commercial fisheries.

Scott Kelley is Alaska’s new director of commercial fisheries as of Oct. 21, replacing Jeff Regnart, who retired at the start of October. Kelley has worked for the Department of Fish and Game for nearly 25 years, all of it in division of commercial fisheries and a since-merged research arm.

Kelley started his career with fish and game as a port sampler at Excursion Inlet, a major processing facility west of Juneau. Since then he’s held a variety of roles in Southeast Alaska, including working on stock assessments, as an area management biologist, and as a regional management coordinator.

Kelley said he took the new position because it poses a challenge…

http://kdlg.org/post/adfg-has-new-director-commercial-fisheries

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Thanks to Jeff Regnart for his service… and welcome to Scott.


 

  1. Alaska 2035 Long Range Transportation Policy Plan Update

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) is updating the statewide long-range transportation plan (LRTP), which will provide future direction for our highways, aviation, transit, rail, marine, bicycle, and pedestrian transportation. The LRTP, written with agency and public collaboration, will develop Alaska’s transportation priorities based on the common interests and needs of stakeholders statewide…

This long-range plan will examine both near-term (10 year) and future (20 year) transportation needs, policy issues, funding opportunities, and prioritized projects, with a target outlook through 2035.

Plan updates and meeting announcements will be posted… or you may sign up for project mailing list for e-mail announcements – see:

http://dot.alaska.gov/stwdplng/areaplans/lrtpp2014/index.shtml

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  1. Alaska ferry system could face more budget cuts

The head of the Alaska Marine Highway System says he expects a $5 million cut to the organization’s operating budget next year.

The budget will likely drop from $96 million to $91 million for next fiscal year, said Mike Neussl, deputy commissioner of the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, at a community meeting in Kodiak Wednesday.

Gov. Bill Walker’s proposed budget, released Wednesday, provides AMHS with about $92.2 million, reported The Kodiak Daily Mirror.

The ferry system has made an estimated $53.5 million in revenue during fiscal year 2015, an increase from the previous year. Operating costs have gone down by about $5.5 million through cutting bars, gift shops, a marketing contract and discounts.

But the ferry system needs to make more cuts as legislative contributions continue to fall…

Juneau Empire (Associated Press from Kodiak Daily Mirror)

http://juneauempire.com/state/2015-12-11/alaska-ferry-system-could-face-more-budget-cuts

DOT FY2017 Budget documents are online at:

https://www.omb.alaska.gov/html/budget-report/department-table.html?dept=Trans&fy=17&type=Proposed

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  1. BOF Committee on Coastal Erosion Impacts on Set Gillnet Operations

The Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) will convene a meeting of its temporary Committee on Coastal Erosion Impacts on Set Gillnet Operations (committee) at 9:00am-12:00pm, January 4, 2016. The meeting will support locations at:

  • Juneau: ADF&G Headquarters Building, 1255 W. 8th Street, Commissioner’s Conference Room, Second Floor
  • Anchorage: Atwood Conference Center, Robert B Atwood Building, 550 W. 7th Avenue, Anchorage, 1st Floor, Room 102. (parking is available at the Lilly Pacillo Parking Garage across from the Atwood Building. Parking tickets may be validated at the Guard Station in the Atwood Building.)
  • Fairbanks:   ADF&G Office, 1300 College Road, Ptarmigan Conference Room

The committee was chartered through BOF Policy 2015-279-FB to develop proposal review criteria to assist the BOF when deliberating on proposals involving coastal erosion impacts on set gillnet operations. This first committee meeting will serve to review factors relevant to the subject. The review will involve input from the departments of Natural Resources, Law, and Public Safety.

A meeting agenda and other meeting materials will be available on the Board of Fisheries meeting information website at

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.meetinginfo

BOF Public notice: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static-f/regulations/regprocess/fisheriesboard/pdfs/2015-2016/coastal_erosion.pdf


 

  1. Yukon salmon fishery numbers show strong season

By Charles Enoch, KYUK – Bethel | December 23, 2015

There were a total of 44 commercial fishing openers for coho and chum in the Yukon River, most of which were held in the lower river districts. Commercial fisherman harvested 191,470 chum and a record-breaking 129,700 coho salmon, raking in almost $1.5 million…

http://www.alaskapublic.org/2015/12/23/yukon-salmon-fishery-numbers-are-in/

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  1. Board of Fisheries to Meet in Fairbanks, January 12-16, 2016 – AYK Finfish

The Alaska Board of Fisheries (board) will meet January 12-16, 2016, at the Alpine Lodge, 4920 Dale Road, Fairbanks, Alaska. During this five day public meeting, the board will meet to consider 57 proposals regarding finfish issues submitted by the general public, fishing organizations, local Fish and Game Advisory Committees, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game…

BOF Arctic / Yukon / Kuskokwim meeting page: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.meetinginfo&date=01-12-2016&meeting=fairbanks

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  1. In memoriam: Juneau mayor Greg Fisk

Juneau Mayor Greg Fisk was a well known leader in Alaska fisheries and in the Juneau community, and worked for Alaska fishermen for decades. He was known for taking ideas and selflessly working to make them happen to help Alaska fishermen. As a Fisheries Specialist in the Division of Economic Development, he worked on dozens of plans to help turn around the salmon industry during some of the hardest years in its economic history. More recently he helped Alaska shrimp fishermen qualify and developed business resources USDA Trade Adjustment Assistance program. Over the last two years, he helped put together a realistic business plan for OceansAlaska to be the first commercial shellfish hatchery in Alaska, among many other significant accomplishments. Most notably he stepped forward in the leadership in his community to be elected as Juneau mayor. Greg had great hopes and inspiration for embracing the seafood industry and moving Juneau forward as the center of Alaska fisheries science and research. He will be missed, and appreciated for his contributions to the Alaska fishing industry.

— Jerry McCune, President of United Fishermen of Alaska

See other comments from the Juneau community at:

http://juneauempire.com/art/2015-12-16/memoriam-juneau-mayor-greg-fisk

&&

Juneau’s Mayor Fisk was many things to many people

Community celebrates life, achievements of Stephen “Greg” Fisk

Juneau residents communed at Centennial Hall on Sunday to pay tribute to a man who in life captured the minds and imaginations of those in Alaska’s capital city, and in his sudden death the attention of the nation.

The hour-long celebration of life held at Centennial Hall for late Mayor Stephen “Greg” Fisk, who passed away at his home Nov. 30, was packed with friends, family and colleagues who shared laughs and tears as those closest to Fisk offered glimpses into the man known for his big ideas and service to anyone who needed it…

http://juneauempire.com/local/2015-12-14/mayor-fisk-many-things-many-people

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National

 

  1. Murkowski Champions Alaska Priorities in Year-End Budget Bill

…As a member of the Appropriations Committee, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) secured a number of initiatives important to Alaska outside of the jurisdiction of the subcommittee on Interior Appropriations, which she chairs. A summary of Alaska-specific provisions in the omnibus bill appears on the following pages.

Supporting Alaska’s Fisheries:

  • Murkowski successfully included a provision that blocks the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from introducing genetically engineered (GE) salmon into the market until it publishes labeling guidelines so consumers are aware of what’s contained in the product they’re purchasing. Further, Murkowski directed the FDA to develop and implement a program to inform consumers whether or not the salmon for sale is genetically engineered.
  • Senator Murkowski included language that expresses the interest of the Appropriations Committee’s to include fish species shown to be nutritious and low in mercury (especially wild Alaska salmon) in WIC Food Packages that serve children age 1 to 4 years and pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women.
  • Includes a provision directing the FDA to ensure that pregnant women receive consistent and understandable nutrition advice on what seafood is safe and healthy to consume that based on the FDA’s latest scientific review of the net effects of seafood consumption.
  • Includes language in this year’s bill prohibiting federal agencies from using outside groups to certify the quality of fish caught in U.S. waters.
  • Funded at $5.6 million dollars, NOAA and NMFS are directed to provide a report to the Senate detailing cost estimates for an electronic monitoring program and to apply practical cost saving measures in the new estimates.
  • Includes a provision that allows only pollock caught in Alaskan waters and U.S. waters out to 200 nautical miles to be marketed as “Alaska Pollock”, to prevent any future low-quality Russian pollock from being falsely marketed as “Alaska” in U.S. stores nationwide.
  • Murkowski secured a provision supporting the J-1 Visa program through 2016 the next fiscal year. This is an important program relied on by many Alaska seafood processors who struggle to fill large numbers of seasonal jobs locally, in-state, or domestically.
  • Additionally, Murkowski was able to secure language to provide additional resources for the prompt processing of foreign labor certificates for the H-2B Visa program, to allow businesses to hire workers from foreign countries for positions and jobs they otherwise cannot, often providing the staffing that is crucial to Alaska’s seafood industry.
  • Funds the Pacific Salmon Treaty at $10.9 million.
  • Provides for $65 million for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery fund, which aims to restore Pacific salmon populations.
  • Senator Murkowski secured robust funding levels for:
    • Data collection, surveys and assessments: $163 million
    • Regional councils and fisheries commissions: $33.5 million
    • Salmon management activities: $33.5 million
    • Electronic monitoring and reporting: $5.6 million

Senator Murkowski press release December 18:

http://www.murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2015/12/murkowski-champions-alaska-priorities-in-year-end-budget-bill

&&&


 

  1. Congressman Don Young Shares Thoughts on Passage of Omnibus Appropriations Package

“End of the year deal making is no way to legislate, but shutting down the government is even worse”…

http://donyoung.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=398555

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  1. NPFMC December Newsletter

The Council Newsletter is now available online. Documents, handouts, and motions are still available through links on that meeting’s Agenda.

Topics include: Charter Halibut Recreational Quota Entity, Council appointments, GOA Groundfish Specs., Halibut DMRs, BSAI Harvest Specs., Spatial and Stock Structure Management, GOC Trawl Chinook PSC Reapportionment, Halibut Management Framework, Amendment 80 Halibut Avoidance, AFA program review work plan, Call for committee nominations (deadline January 22), and more…

NPFMC December Newsletter pdf: http://www.npfmc.org/wp-content/PDFdocuments/newsletters/news1215.pdf

NPFMC home page: http://www.npfmc.org/

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  1. User conflicts over halibut, salmon on horizon for 2016

By: DJ Summers, Alaska Journal of Commerce

The year about to end saw the beginnings of some fisheries regulations and legal battles that will either resolve, or present further issues, in 2016…

http://www.alaskajournal.com/2015-12-22/user-conflicts-over-halibut-salmon-horizon-2016#.VnxgkE8cYbY


 

  1. IPHC staff presents 2016 halibut harvest recommendations

By DJ Summers, Alaska Journal of Commerce 12/02/2015

The International Pacific Halibut Commission’s scientific staff released its recommendations for the 2016 harvest Dec. 1, including the first natural bump the Central Bering Sea, or Area 4CDE, has seen in 10 years, as well as an overall increase from recent recommendations…

http://www.alaskajournal.com/2015-12-02/iphc-staff-presents-2016-halibut-harvest-recommendations

IPHC December interim meeting: http://iphc.int/meetings-and-events/interim-meeting.html

IPHC home page: http://www.iphc.int/home.html

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  1. UW’s Hilborn creates project to boost consumer confidence, monitor global fisheries

International experts in fisheries management have created a new initiative, called Collaborative for Food from Our Oceans Data (CFOOD), aimed at gathering data from around the world and maintaining fisheries databases while promoting accurate seafood sustainability discussions in the media.

“The CFOOD website allows us to offer independent scientific commentary to debunk false claims, support responsible science, or introduce new issues based on recent research,” said Ray Hilborn, professor at University of Washington’s SAFS and founder of the CFOOD initiative, in a press release.

Misinformation in the media hampers consumers’ views of global fisheries, many of which are well-managed, said Hilborn.

The CFOOD project will be headquartered in Seattle, at the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences.

http://www.undercurrentnews.com/2015/10/05/new-initiative-aims-to-boost-consumer-confidence-monitor-global-fisheries/

Collaborative for Food from Our Oceans Data (CFOOD) home page: http://cfooduw.org/

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  1. Senate Passes Legislation to Combat Pirate Fishing

Bill Will Give NOAA, Coast Guard More Enforcement Tools Against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate last night unanimously passed the Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015. In May, Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced legislation to combat the multi-billion dollar threat posed by illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities. The legislation is the House companion to the Senate bill, which passed the House of Representatives in July. The bill now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law. The bill increases enforcement capabilities for a number of international fishery agreements that combat IUU fishing, to protect fisheries in both Alaska and Hawai‘i, and across the entire United States.

“By cracking down on the illegal harvesting of fish, we are leveling the playing field and protecting the livelihoods of the 80,000 Alaskans who are directly or indirectly impacted by our seafood industry,” said Senator Murkowski, Co-chair of the Senate Oceans Caucus. “I thank my colleagues for recognizing the serious economic threat posed by pirate fishing and taking this critical step to ensure our fisheries remain healthy and thriving.”

Senator Murkowski press release (Oct 22): http://www.murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2015/10/senate-passes-legislation-to-combat-pirate-fishing

&&

Obama signs bipartisan IUU fisheries bill into law

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2015/110615-new-law-empowers-us-to-combat-illegal-fishing-and-seafood-fraud-and-promote-the-sustainable-management-of-international-fisheries.html

IUU Task force home page: http://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/ia/iuu/taskforce.html

IUU Task Force Action Plan (Federal Register, October 30):

https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-27780

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  1. Sen. Sullivan Reacts to EPA’s Illegal Use of Lobbying and Propaganda to Promote WOTUS Rule

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) released the following statement today regarding the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) legal decision that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) broke laws when it pushed for public support for the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) Rule in 2014 and 2015. Specifically, the GAO’s report said that the EPA had unlawfully used taxpayer dollars to use social media for lobbying and propaganda purposes.

“The EPA consistently earns it’s moniker as a ‘rogue agency,’ with its persistent disregard for the rule of law,” said Senator Sullivan. “The agency’s Waters of the U.S. Rule – which would give the agency vast new authority over our lands and waters – is a prime example. As we learned today, not only is the substance of the rule an overreach, but the EPA also broke laws in the way that it tried to sell the rule to Congress and the public. Once again, the EPA’s demonstrated that it will go to any lengths to push its extreme environmental agenda.”

Read today’s New York Times story on the report here…

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/15/us/politics/epa-broke-the-law-by-using-social-media-to-push-water-rule-auditor-finds.html?_r=2

Senator Dan Sullivan press release:

http://www.sullivan.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/sullivan-reacts-to-epas-illegal-use-of-lobbying-and-propaganda-to-promote-wotus-rule

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  1. Got 2016 health Insurance? Deadline January 31 for 2016 open enrollment (possible tax penalties)

Healthcare.gov dates and deadlines: https://www.healthcare.gov/quick-guide/dates-and-deadlines/

Alaska Health Insurance Marketplace navigator help: http://dhss.alaska.gov/amhb/Pages/InsuranceNavigation.aspx

Enroll Alaska (Northrim Benefits assistance service) no fee to customer:

http://www.enrollingalaska.com/ (or call toll free 855-385-5550)

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  1. Senate Unanimously Passes Coast Guard Authorization Bill

Bill Strengthens Coast Guard, Protects Alaska’s Fishermen, Transfers Federal Lands to Alaska, Buoys Expansion of Icebreaker Fleet…

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, today welcomed unanimous passage of the Coast Guard Authorization Act, which included several key provisions vital to Alaskans’ interests.

“…Working with members of the Senate Commerce Committee as well as Senator Lisa Murkowski and Congressman Don Young, I am pleased to have included important provisions for Alaska’s commercial fishermen, the transfer of federal lands back into the hands of Alaskans, and for the expansion of our icebreaker fleet.”..

Specifically, the Coast Guard Authorization Act includes…a provision that would reduce the cost of building a new fishing vessel, thereby encouraging new construction by providing a safe alternative to requiring costly certification by classification societies…

Senator Dan Sullivan press release 12/18:

http://www.sullivan.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/senate-unanimously-passes-coast-guard-authorization-bill

Senate Commerce press release and complete text of the Senate bill may be found at:

http://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2015/12/senate-passes-coast-guard-reauthorization

&&&

Coast Guard Authorization Unanimously Passes House

Bill Protects Coast Guard, Mariners and Fishermen, Sends Federal Lands back to State and Local Ownership

H.R. 4188 advances a number of important Alaskan causes offered by Congressman Young, including…

Fishing Vessel Classification: Language secured by Congressman Young to create an alternative vessel classification compliance program for the construction of new fishing vessels and fishing tenders from 50 to 79 feet in length. Since coming into effect, new classification rules have caused uncertainty in classification costs, which has had negatively impacted the construction of newer, safer fishing vessels. Through alternative compliance, safety can be achieved without arbitrarily expensive requirements.

Congressman Don Young press release: http://donyoung.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=398552

We expect pertinent changes for Alaska fishermen to be posted when available at:

www.FishSafeWest.info

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  1. Who Controls Alaska’s Waterways? – Supreme Court to decide.

Right now, the Supreme Court is hearing a case that could take away the federal government’s ability to regulate rivers in 100 million acres of Alaskan wilderness

By: Jimmy Tobias

Dec 15, 2015

In September 2007, John Sturgeon motored his personal hovercraft up the Nation River in Alaska’s sprawling Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. It was hunting season, and Sturgeon was trying to reach the preserve’s lush, moose-filled meadows. Two miles upstream, though, the vehicle had engine issues and Sturgeon landed on a gravel bar to do some repairs. Three National Park Service rangers approached Sturgeon on the riverbank and informed him that the use of a hovercraft on the river violated park rules…

For Alaska, though, the stakes are high. If the Supreme Court reverses the lower courts, and decides the case in favor of Sturgeon, conservationists say that many of Alaska’s 350,000 miles of river could lose crucial federal protection or oversight. In a state with few roads, where rivers are the main access point to millions of acres of public land, that’s a big loss…

http://www.outsideonline.com/2041426/who-controls-alaskas-waterways

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Marketing

 

  1. ASMI names new executive director Alexa Tonkovich (October 22)

the US’ Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) has appointed Alexa Tonkovich to take over as its executive director, the group announced.

Tonkovich, who previously served as the organization’s international program director, will be responsible for overseeing the overall management of ASMI, a public-private partnership between the state of Alaska its seafood industry…

https://www.undercurrentnews.com/2015/10/22/asmi-names-new-executive-director/


Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute Hires Technical; Sustainability Directors

December 1, 2015

Juneau, Alaska: The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) announced two additions to the seafood marketing team that represents the Alaska seafood industry which accounts for nearly 60% of United States seafood.   Susan Marks SM was brought on board to oversee ASMI’s Sustainability program, which includes the management of the AK RFM certification program while Michael Kohan will head the seafood technical program…

ASMI press release: http://pressroom.alaskaseafood.org/alaska-seafood-marketing-institute-hires-technical-sustainability-directors/
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  1. Renaming ‘Alaska Pollock’ may curb Seattle fleet’s Russian rivals

Hal Bernton, Seattle Times, December 16, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Russian fishing companies would no longer be able to market their pollock catch as “Alaska Pollock” under a provision included in a congressional spending bill expected to gain approval later this week…

Pollock is the biggest volume fishery in the U.S., and huge schools can be found in U.S. waters off Alaska and also in Russian waters. Most of the pollock fleet is based in Washington state.

The Food and Drug Administration’s official listing for the fish’s name is “Alaska Pollock.” And U.S. fishermen have long been frustrated that Russian fishing companies can legally market their catch with the Alaska name attached to it.

The bill’s provision would change the FDA listing to just “Pollock,” so that Russian-caught could not be legally labeled as “Alaska Pollock.”

(this bill passed – see # above)

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/renaming-alaska-pollock-may-curb-seattle-fleets-russian-rivals/


Next step for pollock: Ramped up marketing efforts

After successfully changing the market name of “Alaska pollock” to “pollock” in the US, the next step for the Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP) will be ramping up marketing efforts as well as bringing about similar changes in European markets…

https://www.undercurrentnews.com/2015/12/22/next-step-for-pollock-ramped-up-marketing-efforts/


 

  1. NY Times Ask Well: Canned vs. Fresh Fish

By Karen Weintraub

Yes, fresh and canned fish have roughly the same nutritional value, according to experts and the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database. And whether to eat one over the other isn’t an obvious choice, because each has advantages and disadvantages, said Alice Lichtenstein, a professor at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

Canned tends to be cheaper and easier than fresh, with a longer shelf life. But it also tends to have more sodium than fresh, she said, and many people prefer the taste of fresh…

“Bottom line,” Ms. Kirkpatrick said, “it’s important to get your omega-3s, and one of the easiest and most affordable ways to do that is to go canned. You won’t be skimping on nutrition.”

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/10/07/ask-well-canned-vs-fresh-fish-2/?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0
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  1. Study finds Alaskan seafood is still radiation-free

By Hannah Colton • Dec 1, 2015

Alaska health authorities working with the FDA have again pronounced Alaskan fish free from radioactive contamination connected to the nuclear disaster in Japan more than four years ago.

Alaskan fish tested in 2015 contained no detectable radioactive cesium, potassium, or iodine from Fukushima.

Alaska seafood is still free of radiation from Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster, according to a report from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation…

KDLG story: http://kdlg.org/post/study-finds-alaskan-seafood-still-radiation-free

AK DEC press release Nov 30: No Fukushima-Related Radiation Detected in Alaska Seafood : https://dec.alaska.gov/commish/press_releases/2015/no-fukushima-related-radiation-detected-in-alaska-seafood.pdf

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  1. Tidal Vision’s new clothing line made of crab shells expected by summer

Fish Factor By Laine Welch | for the CAPITAL CITY WEEKLY

Alaska crab shells are fueling an eco-revolution that will drive new income streams for fabrics to pharmaceuticals to water filters. And for the first time, it is happening in the US and not overseas.

The entrepreneurs at Tidal Vision in October made the leap from their labs in Juneau to a pilot plant outside of Seattle to test an earth-friendly method that extracts chitin, the structural element in the exoskeletons of shellfish and insects. Their first big run a few weeks ago was tested on a 60,000 pound batch of crab shells delivered by Trident Seafoods from St. Paul Island.

The end-product they are going for is chitosan, a fibrous polysaccharide which, among other things, can be woven into fabrics and textiles, and has no end of commercial and biomedical uses.

Chitosan can fetch from $10 to $30,000 a pound depending on quality and usages, and up to $150,000 a pound for pharmaceutical grades, said Craig Kasberg, former fisherman and now Tidal Vision’s Captain Executive Officer…

http://www.capitalcityweekly.com/stories/122315/out_1265097787.shtml
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  1. Marketing Alaska fish to Alaskans – Kelly Harrell wins Stanford fisheries business competition

Laine Welch, December 11, 2015

“Caught by Alaskans for Alaskans” is a business concept that bested 170 others in a global fisheries business competition last month at Stanford University.

The contest, sponsored by the organization Fish 2.0, rewards creative approaches that build demand for sustainable seafood, reduce waste and support fishing towns. The Alaska Community Seafood Hub model, presented by Kelly Harrell of Anchorage, won $5,000 and is in the running for more money awarded this month…

http://www.adn.com/article/20151211/marketing-alaska-fish-alaskans
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NOAA Fisheries Launches New FishWatch.gov (10/20). October is National Seafood Month, and NOAA Fisheries has launched our first-ever mobile-friendly website to enable our users to access the nation’s database on sustainable seafood anywhere, anytime, on any device.
FishWatch offers the same great seafood information, but now it’s easier to use on the go from your phone or tablet. More

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Fish Farm and Environmental

 

  1. FDA must develop plan to label genetically engineered salmon, Congress says

The sprawling federal spending bill unveiled this week on Capitol Hill included a small passage with potentially big implications in the food world.

In two paragraphs on page 106, lawmakers instructed the Food and Drug Administration to forbid the sale of genetically engineered salmon until the agency puts in place labeling guidelines and “a program to disclose to consumers” whether a fish has been genetically altered. The language comes just a month after FDA made salmon the first genetically modified animal approved for human consumption and represents a victory for advocates who have long opposed such foods from reaching Americans’ dinner plates. At the very least, they say, consumers ought to know what they are buying.

Washington Post (December 17): https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/12/17/congress-to-fda-no-genetically-engineered-salmon-in-supermarkets-unless-it-is-labeled/

Alaska legislation SB25 (2005) requiring labeling of GM seafood:

http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Bill/Text/24?Hsid=SB0025Z

Thanks to the Alaska Joint Legislative Salmon Industry Task Force and former State Senator Kim Elton for this forward thinking legislation.


 

  1. FDA approves genetically engineered salmon

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued Nov. 19 the first approval for a genetically engineered animal intended for food. The agency has approved AquaBounty Technologies’ application for AquAdvantage Salmon, an Atlantic salmon that has been genetically engineered to grow more quickly than non-genetically modified farm-raised counterparts…

“The FDA has thoroughly analyzed and evaluated the data and information submitted by AquaBounty Technologies and determined that they have met the regulatory requirements for approval, including that food from the fish is safe to eat,” said Bernadette Dunham, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine…

The FDA held a Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee meeting on the sufficiency of the scientific review and a hearing to gather opinions on the labeling of food from AquAdvantage Salmon. The agency received and reviewed comments from the meetings. The agency also released a draft environmental assessment and preliminary finding of no significant impact for public comment; these comments were also reviewed prior to the agency’s final decision.

The agency is accepting public comment for 60 days via instructions in the Federal Register on “Draft Guidance for Industry: Voluntary Labeling Indicating Whether Food Has or Has Not Been Derived from Genetically Engineered Atlantic Salmon.” (see below to comment).

http://www.agriview.com/briefs/regional/fda-approves-genetically-engineered-salmon/article_c18e17c6-60a1-5227-81fe-928c0e39294b.html

FDA Announcement November 19: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm473249.htm


 

  1. Comment Deadline January 25 on FDA Guidance for Industry for Voluntary GM Salmon labeling

The Food and Drug Administration is announcing the availability of a draft guidance for industry entitled “Voluntary Labeling Indicating Whether Food Has or Has Not Been Derived From Genetically Engineered Atlantic Salmon: Guidance for Industry.” We developed the draft guidance to assist food manufacturers that wish to voluntarily label their food product or ingredients (for humans or animals) derived from Atlantic salmon as either containing or not containing products from genetically engineered (GE) Atlantic salmon…

to ensure that FDA considers your comment on the draft guidance before it begins work on the final version of the guidance, submit either electronic or written comments on the draft guidance by January 25, 2016…

Federal Register notice November 24: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-29904

Regulations.gov comment page:

http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FDA-2015-D-4272-0001

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  1.  Center for Food Safety Will Sue FDA over GM salmon approval

…The Center for Food Safety in Washington DC quickly announced plans to sue the FDA to block the agency’s approval for sale and consumption of the genetically modified fish. The Center’s executive director, Andrew Kimbrell, said that the FDA “has neglected its responsibility to protect the public.”

The Center contends that the FDA’s review process was inadequate, failed to fully examine the likely impacts of the genetically modified salmon’s introduction and lacked a comprehensive analysis. “CFS will hold FDA to their obligations to the American people,” Kimbrell said…

http://fnonlinenews.blogspot.com/2015/11/center-for-food-safety-will-sue-fda.html?utm_source=FN+Online+112515&utm_campaign=FNOnline&utm_medium=email

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  1. Appeals filed in Chuitna water reservation case (1 of 3 were granted)

JUNEAU (AP) — Business and industry groups have appealed a state agency decision to grant a water reservation to conservationists who want to protect fish from the potential development of a coal mine in southcentral Alaska.

Earlier this month, the Department of Natural Resources’ Water Resources Section approved one of three water reservation applications from the Chuitna Citizens Coalition. The approved application was for a section of water outside boundaries of the mine plan that PacRim Coal is pursuing…

Homer News story:

http://homernews.com/homer-news/business/2015-10-29/appeals-filed-in-water-rights-case

DNR Decision on Water Reservation Applications in Chuitna River Watershed:

http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/water/reservations/chuitna.cfm

DNR Large Mines – Chuitna mine page

http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/mining/largemine/chuitna/

Note – comment letters on whether DNR should accept the appeal of the one water reservation that was granted can be sent to:

Mark Myers, Commissioner
Department of Natural Resources
550 W. 7th. Avenue, Suite 1400
Anchorage, AK 99501

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  1. Southeast Alaska leaders urging stronger international safeguards in shared watersheds

Sitnews, December 10, 2015

Southeast Alaska leaders yesterday delivered a letter to Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Mallott urging them to join municipalities, Tribes, fishermen, the Alaska congressional delegation and thousands of Alaskans in asking the U.S. Department of State and the Canadian federal government to work together on stronger international safeguards for water quality, fisheries and communities in shared watersheds. The letter specifically recommends the State of Alaska seek such help before finalizing non-binding negotiations with the Province of British Columbia (B.C.).

The letter delivered yesterday was signed by nearly 100 entities across Southeast Alaska and beyond, ranging from municipalities, Tribal citizens, commercial and sport fishermen, seafood processors, and sport fishing and tourism companies. The letter urges the Alaska governor to:

“…wait to transmit or sign this Statement of Cooperation until Secretary Kerry has communicated to Canada’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs a request for action under the Boundary Waters Treaty. Of course, your help in securing that request is key to its success. An International Joint Commission reference for the transboundary region would engage the U.S. State Department, elevate the issue to the federal level in both countries, and provide opportunities to secure much needed federal resources.”

http://www.sitnews.us/1215News/121015/121015_transboundary_issue.html

&&&

Tribal groups weigh in on trans-boundary issue

JUNEAU, Alaska — A group of southeast Alaska tribal governments wants Gov. Bill Walker to stop work on an agreement with British Columbia while seeking help from the federal government in addressing concerns with Canadian mining development.

http://www.newsminer.com/news/alaska_news/tribal-groups-weigh-in-on-trans-boundary-issue/article_6f710286-a078-11e5-a9ef-5f7f4d80ce10.html

&&

Alaska, British Columbia ink transboundary agreement

Ed Schonfeld, KTOO, (November 25)

http://www.ktoo.org/2015/11/25/alaska-british-columbia-ink-transboundary-agreement/

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  1. Tongass Forest advisers finish review of logging transition plan

By Katarina Sostaric, KSTK – Wrangell | December 7, 2015

The Tongass Advisory Committee ended a 16-month series of meetings Thursday, formally completing its effort to advise the Tongass National Forest in a transition from old to young growth logging.

The committee met in Ketchikan last week to finalize its recommendations to the U.S. Forest Service and review the agency’s draft Environmental Impact Statement for a forest plan amendment.

The plan would transition the Tongass to second-growth logging in 16 years…

http://www.alaskapublic.org/2015/12/07/tongass-forest-advisers-finish-review-of-logging-transition-plan/

TAC recommendations: http://merid.org/TongassAdvisoryCommittee/~/media/Files/Projects/tongass/May%20Meeting/TAC%20Recommendations%20Draft%20pending%20final%20edits%205-11-15.pdf


 

  1. Comment deadline February 22, 2016 on Tongass Plan Amendment

Amendment and Draft EIS Documents –

http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/tongass/landmanagement/?cid=STELPRD3801708

Tongass Forest Plan Amendment Newsroom – Press releases and Federal register notices:

http://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/tongass/landmanagement/?cid=stelprd3828076&width=full


 

  1. Forest Plan Amendment Public Open House and Subsistence Hearing Schedule – January 2016

The Open Houses/Subsistence Hearings will be held in following locations from 5:00-7:00 p.m. for the Open Houses, and from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. for the Subsistence Hearings:

January 11 – Craig/Thorne Bay /Klawock
January 12 – Ketchikan
January 13 – Wrangell
January 14 – Petersburg
January 19- Juneau
January 20- Sitka
January 21 – Hoonah
January 22- Yakutat

Formal comments can be made on the Proposed Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan

Amendment and DEIS, and will be accepted until February 22, 2016, when the comment period closes. Both the written comments and the testimony from Subsistence Hearings will be considered during the preparation of the Final EIS and Draft Record of Decision…

http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd485801.pdf

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  1. Comment deadline January 11 on SE State forest mining restrictions

The Department of Natural Resources, Division of Mining, Land and Water, in coordination with the Division of Forestry, proposes to restrict mineral entry to lands within the Southeast State Forest to provisions of the leasehold location system under the authority of AS 38.05.205. This will prevent the staking of new mining claims under AS 38.05.195. This proposed action will apply to approximately 46,592 acres of state land within the Southeast State Forest (41.17.500). The draft Leasehold Location Order was referenced but not included in the draft Southeast State Forest Management Plan that was reviewed by the public between March 9 and April 30, 2015.

The public is invited to review and comment on the proposed Leasehold Location Order No. 40…Comments must be received by the Division of Forestry no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, January 11, 2016 to ensure consideration…

Online public notice: https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=179373 (scroll down to attachments for Leasehold Location Order, maps and the Administrative Finding documents)

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  1. EPA updates Fish Advisory program with new websites

The EPA’s Fish Advisory Program website has undergone a significant transformation. The content has been streamlined into two websites: a Microsite for the public audience and a Technical Resources website for the technical audience. These websites include content from across the Agency on this topic and serve as the one-stop-shop for all fish-related information pertaining to human health.

EPA Fish and Shellfish Advisory Microsite: http://www2.epa.gov/choose-fish-and-shellfish-wisely

Technical Resources: http://www2.epa.gov/fish-tech

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  1. Pebble withdraws subpoenas in lawsuit against EPA

By Molly Dischner, KDLG, November 24

The company interested in building what would be the world’s largest gold and copper mine in Bristol Bay has downsized its information requests in its lawsuit over federal efforts to block the project, dropping subpoenas in two other states and Alaska…

But after U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland ruled against some of the subpoenas, the company withdrew additional subpoenas, said Pebble spokesman Mike Heatwole…

(Trustees for Alaska attorney) Sinnott said Holland’s decision indicated that the information Pebble was looking for was irrelevant…

http://kdlg.org/post/pebble-withdraws-subpoenas-lawsuit-against-epa

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Aquaculture

 

  1. CIAA Plans Martin Pond sockeye project

By Elizabeth Earl, Peninsula Clarion (December 17)

A proposal to introduce hatchery sockeye salmon to a stream system near Homer met with some opposition at the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association’s Regional Planning Team meeting Wednesday.

The association presented the idea of introducing sockeye salmon from its Tutka Bay lagoon hatchery into a pond at the mouth of the Martin River system, an anadromous stream near the head of Kachemak Bay. Adding hatchery salmon that imprint on the Martin River could make the system salmon-bearing and add to the wild stock.

However, the system already has a small wild population, and geneticists with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game worried that introducing a large number of hatchery fish could wipe out a genetically distinct group of fish…

http://peninsulaclarion.com/news/2015-12-17/ciaa-plans-martin-ponds-sockeye-project

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  1. David Landis named new SSRAA general manager

Ketchikan Gateway Borough Mayor David Landis has been hired as the new general manager of the Southern Southeast Alaska Regional Aquaculture Association. Landis has served on the SSRAA board for 11 years. He was formerly a manager in Saxman with the Cape Fox Corporation and worked for Alaska Title Agency in Ketchikan for the past several months. Landis says he has always enjoyed being involved with SSRAA, and saw this as a great opportunity. He says it also feels like a good fit…

http://www.krbd.org/2015/12/08/landis-named-new-ssraa-manager/

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  1. Regional Planning Team Planning team holds off on Thomas Bay chum release

by Robert Woolsey, KCAW

A controversial plan to release millions of chum salmon in a popular sport fishing area near Petersburg has been put on hold, while the state gathers more information about the proposal.

The six-member Northern Regional Planning Team voted unanimously (on 12-3-15) to table a request from the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association to develop a remote release site for chum fry in Thomas Bay, about 12 miles north of Petersburg. Two other permit requests from NSRAA, however, won the team’s approval…

http://www.kcaw.org/2015/12/04/planning-team-holds-off-on-thomas-bay-chum-release/

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  1. Alaska Shellfish Growers Learn about Seaweed Farming

Sitnews – December 18, 2015

Ketchikan, Alaska – With edible kelp driving a $5 billion industry worldwide, Alaska shellfish farmers are exploring seaweed as the next step in their small industry. About 40 farmers learned about kelp growing methods, markets, biology, and state programs to expand mariculture during a workshop at the Alaska Shellfish Growers Association meeting in Ketchikan. The workshop was supported by a NOAA–National Sea Grant aquaculture grant to Alaska Sea Grant, for mariculture diversification training and demonstration projects…

http://www.sitnews.us/1215News/121815/121815_shellfish_ktn.html

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Subsistence

 

  1. Subsistence fishing case may set legal precedent on other limits

By Jennifer Canfield, KTOO – Juneau | November 20, 2015

Charges against three Southeast subsistence fishermen — including former Sen. Albert Kookesh — have once again been dismissed. In an opinion issued Friday, the Alaska Supreme Court found that because the regulation used to cite the men was not created lawfully, it’s unenforceable.

The decision could have a major impact on Department of Fish and Game bag limits across the state…

APRN story:

http://www.alaskapublic.org/2015/11/20/estrada-subsistence-fishing-case-may-influence-other-bag-limits/

AK Supreme Court decision: http://www.courtrecords.alaska.gov/webdocs/opinions/ops/sp-7062.pdf

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  1. Summary posted from Board of Fisheries (BOF) Federal / State Subsistence Committee

The Board of Fisheries (BOF) Federal / State Subsistence Committee (committee) met on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 in Anchorage at the Egan Convention Center. The purpose of the meeting was to review the committee purpose and receive updates on subsistence issues related to federal and state management…

Meeting Summary: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static-f/regulations/regprocess/fisheriesboard/pdfs/2015-2016/subs/summary_subsistence.pdf

Federal/State Subsistence Committee – December 9, 2015 – Meeting materials page:

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.meetinginfo&date=12-09-2015&meeting=anchorage

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  1. Secretaries revise regulations governing rural determination process

Office of Subsistence Management, 11/4/2015

On Nov. 4, 2015, the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior revised the regulations governing the rural determination process for the Federal Subsistence Management Program in Alaska. The Secretaries have removed specific guidelines, including requirements regarding population data, the aggregation of communities, and the decennial review. This change will allow the Federal Subsistence Board to define which communities of Alaska are nonrural (all other communities and areas would; therefore, be rural). This new process will enable the Board to be more flexible in making decisions and to take into account regional differences found throughout the State. The process will allow for greater input from the Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils, Federally recognized Tribes of Alaska, Alaska Native Corporations and the public.

This rule is effective on Nov. 4, 2015. This rule and public comments received on the proposed rule may be found at www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R7-SM-2014-0063. Board meeting transcripts are available for review at the Office of Subsistence Management, 1011 East Tudor Road, MS 121, Anchorage, AK 99503-6199 or on the Federal Subsistence Management Program website located at www.doi.gov/subsistence.

Federal Subsistence press release: https://edit.doi.gov/subsistence/news/general/secretaries-revise-regulations-governing-rural-determination-process

Regulations.gov docket: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-R7-SM-2014-0063

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  1. Federal Subsistence Board publishes final rule on nonrural determinations

Office of Subsistence Management, 11/4/2015

On Nov. 4, 2015, the Federal Subsistence Board published a direct final rule revising the list of nonrural areas in Alaska. Based on the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior review of the rural determination process, and the subsequent change in the regulations governing this process, the Board is revising the current nonrural determinations to the list that existed prior to 2007. Accordingly, the community of Saxman and the area of Prudhoe Bay will be removed from the nonrural list. The following areas continue to be nonrural, but their boundaries will return to their pre-2007 borders: the Kenai area; the Wasilla/Palmer area; the Homer area and the Ketchikan area. Only residents of areas that are rural are eligible to participate in the Federal Subsistence Management Program on public lands in Alaska.

https://edit.doi.gov/subsistence/news/general/federal-subsistence-board-publishes-final-rule-nonrural-determinations

Federal Subsistence home page:

http://www.doi.gov//subsistence/index.cfm

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Other

 

  1. 52. Senator Sullivan’s Christmas message – featuring Alaska Seafood Newburg Recipe

https://outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/view_newsletter.aspx?id=100607&c=DSullivan


 

  1. Fishlines – the Alaska Sea Grant newsletter for December, 2015 – & FishBiz website

Newsletter Online at: https://seagrant.uaf.edu/news/fishlines/2015/december.php

New Fish Biz website: http://fishbiz.seagrant.uaf.edu/

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  1. AMSEA Upcoming classes, Freezing Spray comments, and farewell to Becky Martello

AMSEA Development Director Becky Martello Accepts Executive Director Position at BBRSDA

Seeing Freezing Spray and Icing on your Vessel? NOAA Wants to Hear from you!

Bruchure: http://media.wix.com/ugd/b66831_ae7910bfd8a046298a507cf29e66aa4c.pdf

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

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  1.  Laine Welch’s Fish Radio – Recent Items
    -Free phone app tracks vessel stability

-The Feast of Seven Fishes and other holiday seafood traditions

-Jellyfish sightings (or not) wanted for science

-AK groundfish stocks strong, big catches through 2017

-Better Brakes Program protects salmon from copper

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

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  1.  Live to be Salty program promotes PFD use

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

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PFDs That Work: NIOSH 2013 study in different AK fisheries: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2013-131/

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Thanks to NIOSH and AMSEA for their part in helping Alaska fishermen suffer no fishing fatalities in the federal fiscal year that ended in September.

 

Be safe out there folks!

 

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Compiled by staff of United Fishermen of Alaska
ufa@ufa-fish.org
PO Box 20229
Juneau AK 99802
(907) 586-2820

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