UFA Update: January 8, 2015

Mark your calendar: The UFA semi-annual spring board meeting will be held February 18th-20th in downtown Juneau at the Rockwell restaurant upstairs ballroom. Please make your reservations soon if you plan to attend. 

Welcome new UFA business member The Pac Ocean Group, providing financial guidance and resources you’ll need to keep moving forward, embracing your future and pursuing your goals with confidence. 

From the Executive Director:

As 2015 begins, it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming legislative session. On January 20th, Alaska’s 20 state senators and 40 representatives will convene in Juneau for the start of another session. If you haven’t already, please be sure to visit or contact your senator and representative and talk to them about the importance of the seafood industry to your family and community. To find out who represents you, see the lookup feature here.

You can see the new legislative website HERE. Be sure to keep an eye on pre-filed bills which will be released on January 9th and 16th.

Alaska is facing a significantly declining budget in the coming years. As a result, the seafood industry needs to rally together to explain to decision makers the value of commercial fishing to the state. It is more important than ever to contact your legislators and discuss the importance of the budgets that impact your fishing business such as ADF&G, ASMI, and others.

In other news, the dates for the inaugural balls for Governor Bill Walker and Lt. Governor Byron Mallott have been announced. The seafood industry is encouraged to purchase tickets and to consider sponsoring an event. Here are the dates and locations for the upcoming inaugural balls:

(Jan. 3 – Valdez)

Jan. 10 – Juneau

Jan. 17 – Nome

Jan. 24 – Fairbanks

Jan. 30 – Kenai

Jan. 31 – Anchorage

Feb. 6 – Wasilla

Mar. 7 – Ketchikan

Happy New Year 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

New this year, ADF&G salmon summaries for each region in Alaska. Please pass this info on to others. http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fishsummaries.main

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. Gov. Bill Walker: The hard truth about Alaska’s oil revenue

2. Chinook research funding a casualty of Walker budget cuts

3. Alaska Joint Board of Fisheries and Game to meet Jan 14 on ADFG commissioner names

4. Four vie to be Fish and Game commissioner, including Walker’s interim pick

5. Cook Inlet fish wars dominate headlines again in 2014

6. Voices of the Peninsula: Setnet ban initiative is an anti-salmon initiative (& others’ opinions)

7. Date Change – AK Board of Fisheries Meeting Wrangell, January 21–26, 2015 on Southeast and Yakutat Crab, Shrimp, and Miscellaneous Shellfish

8. Training opportunity: How to be Effective at Board of Fisheries Meeting

9. Catch limit to increase for Chitina dip-netters

10. NEW THIS YEAR: ADF&G Salmon Season Summaries by region

11. Upper Cook Inlet sockeye harvest forecasted to beat 2014 numbers

12. Inclusive transition team earns high praise

13. Transition – OMB FY 2016 Work in Progress Budget

14. Board of Fisheries 2015-2016 meeting cycle proposal deadline April 10, 2015

15. Alaska Symphony of Seafood – coming to Juneau, Seattle and Anchorage

16. Comment deadline Jan. 20. on DNR 29014 Shore fishery lease applications.

National

17. Healthcare: Deadline February 15 to sign up for individual health insurance to avoid tax penalties.

18. Alaska’s New U.S. Senator Takes the Oath

19. Update your contacts: Senator Dan Sullivan

20. Three-year respite from EPA small vessel regulation passes Congress

21. EPA requests additional comments on e-only NPDES reporting – deadline Jan. 30

22. Young to take lead on Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization

23. NPFMC Items from December meeting – Newsletter Online

24. Alaska council members seek emergency halibut bycatch cut

25. Halibut bodies to meet amid growing bycatch concerns

26. NPFMC Meeting February 2-10, Seattle & Joint NPFMC/IPHC Mtg Feb 5

27. Sealaska land transfer bill passes Congress

28. Comment deadline January 23 on BSAI Crab Rationalization Program Amendment 31 changes

29. Department of Commerce Fall 2014 Semiannual Regulatory Agenda

30. Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee to meet January 12 by teleconference

31. NMFS final rule on at-sea scales for catcher/processors, effective Dec 18

32. Comment deadline Feb. 6 on CDQ groundfish & halibut, and AFA AI Pollock and Amendment 80  new cost recovery program

33. Comment by January 23 on information collection – buyback programs

34. Comment deadline February 27 on USCG Seafarers’ Access to Maritime Facilities Advance Notice of proposed Rulemaking

35. Comment reopened – deadline Feb 4 on USCG rules re C/F vessels dispensing petroleum

36. NMFS posts MMPA List of Fisheries for 2015

37. NMFS final rule on FFP vessel transit through Round Is. & Cape Pierce Walrus Protection Areas

38. NOAA finds Pinto Abalone ESA listing not warranted

39. Lawsuit Filed to Protect Endangered Steller Sea Lions

40. Study puts Steller sea lion declines into context

41. NOAA final rule on BSAI Steller Sea lion protections

42. Comment deadline March 9, 2015 on ringed seal critical habitat

43. Comment by April 30, 2015 on NOAA’s nautical chart catalogs

44. NOAA final rule on Amendment 97 GOA non-pollock groundfish Chinook bycatch

45. NMFS final rule on GOA Trawl Economic Data Report Program

46. NMFS adjusts 2015 GOA Pollock and Pcod TAC

47. NMFS final rule on Amendment 103 Pribilof Islands Habitat Conservation Zone Pcod pot gear closure

48. Comment deadline June 3, 2015 on USCG Port Access Route Study for Chukchi Sea, Bering Strait and Bering Sea

49. ESA annual notice of candidate species, findings & progress

50. NMFS Notification of Standard Ex Vessel Prices for Groundfish & Halibut Observer Program

51. Comment by Feb 13 on BSAI King and Tanner Crab allocation

52. Comment by January 20 on Presidential IUU Task Force recommendations

53. Why the White House wants to go after seafood pirates

54. USCG Implementation of New Requirements for Commercial Fishing Vessels

55. SeaShare Needs Help Feeding Another One Million People

Marketing

56. ASMI Opens Public Consultation on Alaska RFM Conformance Criteria – deadline Feb 3.

57. Alaska Sablefish (Black Cod) Fishery Completes 3rd Annual Alaska RFM Audit

58. ASMI Seafood Market Bulletin – Winter 2014

Fish farm & Environmental

59. Obama protects Alaska’s Bristol Bay from oil and gas drilling

60. Pebble Partnership vs. the EPA — a yearlong conflict

61. Judge clarifies order in Pebble Mine case

62. Canada OKs KSM mine’s environmental plans

63. “A Fishy Tale” farmed fish documentary showed at Anchorage Film Festival

64. Kulluk grounding – Shell contractor Noble Drilling pleads guilty to 8 felonies

65. Comment deadline February 26, 2014 on USCG mobile offshore drilling units standards

66. Detecting Japan Tsunami Marine Debris at Sea: A Synthesis of Efforts and Lessons-Learned

67. Tongass Advisory Committee meets January 20-23 in Juneau

68. Forest Service bets on second-growth logging in Alaska

69. Comment deadline extended to Jan. 19 for Coffman Cove Timber Sale

70. Neighbors, village corp. clash over Kodiak Island logging operation

71. DEC posts updated wastewater discharge permit issuance plan for 2015-2016

72. DEC Comment deadline January 12 on APDES Log Transfer Facilities General Permit


Enhancement

73. Comment deadline Feb. 1 on KRAA Karluk Lake Enrichment Prelim Environmental Assessment

Subsistence

74. Federal Subsistence Board meets January 21-23 in Anchorage

75. Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils to Hold Meetings Statewide Feb. & March

76. Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture Appoint Members to Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils

77. Deadline Jan. 23 for Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils applications

78. Deadline February 2 for Subsistence Student Art Contest – fish & shellfish theme

79. Rule allows trust status for Alaska tribal lands

80. BOF Kuskokwim Subsistence Salmon Panel meeting Jan 15-16, Bethel

And other…

81. Laine Welch’s Fish Radio – Recent Items

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


TOP

Statewide

1. Gov. Bill Walker: The hard truth about Alaska’s oil revenue

Imagine your family’s biggest source of income plummeting by 80 percent in one year. At today’s oil prices, that’s Alaska’s situation. The state’s oil and gas production tax is expected to bring the state $524 million in the current fiscal year, a shocking drop from the $2.6 billion collected last year.

But that’s only part of the story. The state offers tax credits to oil and gas companies as a way to encourage investment that will, it is hoped, increase oil production. Once all the credits are factored in, our production tax is expected to generate negative returns to the state. You read that right: this year, for the first time in state history, we are making less than zero from a tax meant to compensate Alaska for the taking of its oil resources…

https://www.adn.com/article/20150108/gov-bill-walker-hard-truth-about-alaskas-oil-revenue 

&

Politicos have tough hands to play in 2015

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/January-Issue-1-2015/Politicos-have-tough-hands-to-play-in-2015/


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 2. Chinook research funding a casualty of Walker budget cuts

By DJ Summers, Alaska Journal of Commerce (Jan 8)

Gov. Bill Walker’s plans for Alaska involve a lot of budget cutting, and a vital research project for king salmon is on the slab.

As petroleum prices dive and Alaska finances look grim, the Chinook Salmon Research Initiative is one of many items Walker cut from former Gov. Sean Parnell’s proposed capital budget, potentially halting several ongoing programs and complicating an Alaska fishery regulatory item.

Parnell introduced the $30 million initiative into his budget in 2012 to study declining Alaska chinook salmon stocks. Parnell’s plan gave an initial $10 million to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, or ADFG, and was to include an additional $20 million over the subsequent four years for a total $30 million, five-year effort. To date, the state has given $15 million of the planned $30 million in two payments of $7.5 million. Parnell had proposed $5 million in the fiscal year 2016 budget…

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/January-Issue-2-2015/Chinook-research-funding-a-casualty-of-Walker-budget-cuts/

For more transition and ADFG budget items see items #12 – 13 below…


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3. Alaska Joint Board of Fisheries and Game to meet Jan 14 on ADFG commissioner names

 Notice is given that the Alaska Joint Board of Fisheries and Game (Joint Board) is holding a meeting of the full joint board on January 14, 2015, for the purpose of developing a list of qualified persons for the position of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game commissioner for consideration by the governor, in accordance with responsibilities under AS 44.39.030. The Joint Board may also develop a policy and process for future commissioner nomination efforts.

The full Joint Board will meet in-person and by teleconference at 8:30 a.m. January 14, 2015 to develop the list of qualified persons to forward to the Governor. The Joint Board is expected to review applicant information and may choose to interview applicants at the meeting. The Joint Board will not take public comment during the meeting.  The listen-in only site is at the Westmark Baranof Hotel located at 127 North Franklin Street, Juneau, Alaska. A live internet audio stream of this meeting will also be available from the Joint Board website at:  http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=process.jointboard.

Online public notice:

http://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=175129

Joint Board page: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=process.jointboard


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 4. Four vie to be Fish and Game commissioner, including Walker’s interim pick

Nathaniel Herz, Alaska Dispatch News

December 29, 2014

A six-figure salary and the opportunity to supervise some 1,700 employees has enticed just four people to apply to be commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game under new Gov. Bill Walker.

The state boards of fish and game, which vet applications and forward qualified candidates to Walker, advertised with Alaska newspapers and fish and game organizations — and even on Monster.com.

 But they received just two applications from Alaska residents: one from acting commissioner Sam Cotten, and another from Roland Maw, the executive director of a Cook Inlet commercial fishermen’s association.

http://www.adn.com/article/20141229/4-vie-be-fish-and-game-commissioner-including-walkers-interim-pick


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 5. Cook Inlet fish wars dominate headlines again in 2014

Alaska Journal of Commerce by Molly Dischner, December 23, 2014

A federal judge ordered National Marine Fisheries Service to update its assessment of the observer program to see if it loses data quality at low levels of coverage.

The Upper Cook Inlet fisheries were tense in 2014, with an emotional Board of Fisheries meeting in the winter and new restrictions in the summer.

Alaska’s Board of Fisheries met in Anchorage in late January and early February to discuss management plans for Upper Cook Inlet. By the end of the two-week meeting, the board for the first time approved changes that paired restrictions for sport and commercial fishermen.

The board considered 236 proposals at the meeting. Among the proposals that passed were those amending the Kenai River late-run king salmon management plan. The paired restrictions meant that this summer, Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s commercial fisheries managers had to take certain actions when the sport fishery was restricted.

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/December-Issue-4-2014/Cook-Inlet-fish-wars-dominate-headlines-again-in-2014/


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 6. Voices of the Peninsula: Setnet ban initiative is an anti-salmon initiative (& others’ opinions)

Peninsula Clarion, December 20, 2014 – 3:24pm By Andy Hall

As you’re out shopping this holiday season, someone wielding a clipboard might approach you and ask if you want to save king salmon. Don’t be fooled. The petition being peddled by professional signature collectors throughout the state won’t save Alaska’s iconic king salmon. In fact, it will hurt our great salmon runs and result in smaller harvests for everyone except a small group of Kenai River sportfishing guides, lodges and private landowners.

The goal of this petition is to put a misleading initiative in front of Alaska voters that, if passed, would end setnet fishing in Cook Inlet, put hundreds of Alaska families out of work, destroy one of the Kenai Peninsula’s biggest economic drivers and, most important, weaken the salmon runs on which Cook Inlet’s commercial, sport and personal-use fishermen depend.

Initiative sponsors claim conservation as their goal but this initiative isn’t about saving fish, it’s about putting more king salmon in the river for the sport fishery to catch.

That’s not conservation. It’s greed…

http://peninsulaclarion.com/opinion/2014-12-20/voices-of-the-peninsula-setnet-ban-initiative-is-an-anti-salmon-initiative

&&&

Voices of the Peninsula: Set net ban initiative based on conservation

Posted: December 27, 2014 – 5:55pm By Joe Connors

The initiative to ban set nets in urban areas of Alaska is an environmental issue…

http://peninsulaclarion.com/opinion/2014-12-27/voices-of-the-peninsula-set-net-ban-initiative-based-on-conservation

&&&

Voices of the Peninsula: Solving fishery issues requires honest dialogue

By Robert Ruffner, Kenai Watershed Forum

… What does it say about how we react to an issue where passions and emotions run high? The recent op-ed from Joe Connors is very disappointing and everyone in our community needs to know why and to know we can and should do better than this.

One of the worst things that can happen when a legitimate concern — be it environmental, social or otherwise — comes into the view of the more casual, wider public audience is for one viewpoint to take the concern and manipulate it to their individual benefit and to the detriment of a legitimate contribution to problem solving.

Calling for the permanent banning of setnets and sticking an environmental cause and effect label on it is categorically false…

http://peninsulaclarion.com/opinion/2015-01-01/voices-of-the-peninsula-solving-fishery-issues-requires-honest-dialogue


 Guest Commentary: Conservation isn’t the goal of the anti-setnetter initiative

By Andy Hall, AK Journal of Commerce, December 23, 2014

As you’re out shopping this holiday season, someone wielding a clipboard might approach you and ask if you want to save king salmon. Don’t be fooled. The petition being peddled by professional signature collectors throughout the state won’t save Alaska’s iconic king salmon.

In fact, it will hurt our great salmon runs and result in smaller harvests for everyone except a small group of Kenai River sportfishing guides, lodges and private landowners.

The goal of this petition is to put a misleading initiative in front of Alaska voters that, if passed, would end setnet fishing in Cook Inlet, put hundreds of Alaska families out of work, destroy one of the Kenai Peninsula’s biggest economic drivers and, most important, weaken the salmon runs on which Cook Inlet’s commercial, sport and personal-use fishermen depend.

Initiative sponsors claim conservation as their goal but this initiative isn’t about saving fish, it’s about putting more king salmon in the river for the sport fishery to catch.

That’s not conservation. It’s greed…

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/December-Issue-4-2014/GUEST-COMMENTARY-Conservation-isnt-the-goal-of-the-anti-setnetter-initiative/


TOP

 7. Date Change – AK Board of Fisheries Meeting Wrangell, January 21–26, 2015 on Southeast and Yakutat Crab, Shrimp, and Miscellaneous Shellfish

The Alaska Board of Fisheries (board) will meet January 21–26, 2015, at the Nolan Convention Center, 296 Campbell Drive, Wrangell, Alaska. The meeting was previously scheduled to end on January 27, but due to a reduced number of proposals and board process efficiencies, the meeting is now scheduled to end January 26. During this six day public meeting, the board will meet to consider 56 shellfish proposals submitted by the general public, fishing organizations, local Fish and Game Advisory Committees, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

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


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 8. Training opportunity: How to be Effective at Board of Fisheries Meeting

The Boards Support Section is offering a new training course, How to be Effective at Board Meeting. The training course is open for public and advisory committee members. It will be at the Nolan Center in the main meeting area, starting at 7:00 p.m. on January 20. Call Boards Support, 907-465-4110, for more information…

These are in the announcement at: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static-f/regulations/regprocess/fisheriesboard/pdfs/2014-2015/southeast_crab/press_release_2015_crab.pdf

BOF meeting information page: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.meetinginfo


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 9. Catch limit to increase for Chitina dip-netters

Fairbanks News Miner— Salmon bag limits are going up in Chitina next year, according to the Chitina Dipnetter’s Association.

The Alaska Board of Fisheries voted this weekend to increase the personal-use fishery to 25 salmon for the permit holder plus 10 additional salmon for each member in a permit holder’s household. The fishery is open to Alaska residents.

http://www.newsminer.com/news/local_news/catch-limit-to-increase-for-chitina-dip-netters/article_369b0342-7f38-11e4-bb42-fbfa8abe4682.html


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 10. NEW THIS YEAR: ADF&G Salmon Season Summaries by region:

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fishsummaries.main

Regions:

Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (AYK) Salmon – 2014 Season Summary (PDF 1,221 kB)

Bristol Bay Salmon – 2014 Season Summary (PDF 648 kB)

Cook Inlet Salmon – 2014 Season Summary (PDF 1,208 kB)

Copper River & Prince William Sound Salmon – 2014 Season Summary (PDF 468 kB)

Kodiak & Alaska Peninsula Salmon- 2014 Season Summary (PDF 441 kB)

Southeast Alaska Salmon – 2014 Season Summary (PDF 1,165 kB) (with Dungeness crab season summary included)


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 11. Upper Cook Inlet sockeye harvest forecasted to beat 2014 numbers

By Rashah McChesney, Peninsula Clarion, December 8, 2014

 If everything goes as forecast, Upper Cook Inlet fishermen should see a total run of 5.8 million sockeye during the 2015 fishing season.

Of those, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game estimates that about 2.1 million will make it past boats, beach nets, dipnets and individual lines in the water to their natal streams — leaving a harvest of about 3.7 million fish.

Fish and Game staff on Monday released the 2015 Upper Cook Inlet Sockeye Salmon Forecast; the document outlines harvest predictions in several major systems in the Cook Inlet including the Kenai and Kasilof rivers, the Susitna River, the Crescent River and Fish Creek.

http://peninsulaclarion.com/news/2014-12-08/upper-cook-inlet-sockeye-harvest-forecasted-to-beat-2014-numbers


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 12. Inclusive transition team earns high praise

By Cristy Fry, Homer News

The newly elected “unity team” of Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott have received praise from all sides about their inclusive transition team of 250 Alaskans from all walks of life and all areas of expertise, open to the public and press.

The fisheries component was by far the largest team, made up of 25 members who can mainly be described as diverse, with people from all over the state, all political persuasions and all types of fisheries…

http://homernews.com/homer-news/business/2014-12-03/inclusive-transition-team-earns-high-praise


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 13. Transition – OMB FY 2016 Work in Progress Budget

“Available for your information – This budget is not endorsed by Governor Walker…”

OMB FY2016 draft budget page: https://omb.alaska.gov/html/budget-report/fy-2016-budget/work-in-progress.html

PDF documents:

ADFG  https://omb.alaska.gov/ombfiles/16_budget/Transition/FY15_MP_Binder_FG.pdf

Commerce Task#1 https://omb.alaska.gov/ombfiles/16_budget/Transition/FY15_MP_Binder_DCCED.pdf

& Performance Measures:

Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute: https://omb.alaska.gov/html/performance/details.html?p=18

Department of Fish and Game: https://omb.alaska.gov/html/performance/program-indicators.html?p=55


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 14. Board of Fisheries 2015-2016 meeting cycle proposal deadline April 10, 2015

For Bristol Bay Finfish, Arctic / Yukon / Kuskokwim Finfish, Alaska Peninsula / Aleutian Islands / Chignik Finfish, and Statewide Finfish General Provisions.

Proposal deadline – 5:00 p.m. Friday, April 10, 2015

The Alaska Board of Fisheries (board) is accepting proposed changes to the subsistence, personal use, sport, guided sport, and commercial fishing regulations for Bristol Bay finfish, Arctic / Yukon / Kuskokwim finfish; Alaska Peninsula / Aleutian Islands / Chignik finfish, and Statewide finfish general provisions for consideration by the board in its 2015–16 meeting cycle. “Statewide finfish” refers to regulatory proposals applicable to statewide and general provisions. Finfish includes salmon, herring, trout, other freshwater finfishes, and groundfish, including Pacific cod. The board may also consider subsistence proposals for other areas under the subsistence proposal policy, 5 AAC 96.615, if proposals are submitted within this deadline and the board determines they meet the criteria in either 5 AAC 96.615(a)(1) or (2).

To ensure the proposal book is finished in advance of the board meetings, the board sets 5:00 p.m., Friday, April 10, 2015, as the proposal deadline.

Proposals may be submitted online, email, mail or fax at:

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

Email:  dfg.bof.comments@alaska.gov  (Adobe PDF documents only)

Mail:   ADF&G, Boards Support Section, P.O. Box 115526, Juneau, AK 99811-5526

Fax:    (907) 465-6094

Proposals must be received by 5:00 p.m. Friday, April 10, 2015 at the Boards Support Section office in Juneau. A postmark is NOT sufficient for timely receipt….

Online public notice: http://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=174842

BOF home page (see email signup to be notified directly of Board of Fisheries notices): http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.main


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 15. Alaska Symphony of Seafood – coming to Juneau, Seattle and Anchorage

Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation announces Call for Product to enter contest now available

The new product category this year is called “Beyond the Plate” and will broadly include by-products of many types..

Press release: http://www.afdf.org/wp-content/uploads/2015-Call-for-Product-Press-Release.pdf

Symphony of Seafood Dates to be announced soon… see AFDF Symphony of Seafood page: http://www.afdf.org/symphony-of-seafood/

We have just been notified that the Juneau event will be held on February 17 – hope to see you there!


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 16. Comment deadline Jan. 20. on DNR 29014 Shore fishery lease applications.

The Shore Fishery Leasing Program within the Department of Natural Resources is evaluating Shore Fishery lease applications and amendments submitted during the 2014 application period.  The public is welcome to review and comment on the proposed actions.  To review the new application materials and view the associated maps, please visit the Shore Fishery website at:  http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/shore/index.cfm  and click on the 2014 Applications link under the Shore Fishery Index.  Please follow the directions outlined at the end of this notice to submit any comments or protests.  The deadline to submit written comments or protests is on or before January 30, 2015.

DNR Shore Fishery Lease home page:

http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/shore/index.cfm

Fact sheet: http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/factsht/shorefish_fs.pdf


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 National

17. Healthcare: Deadline February 15 to sign up for individual health insurance to avoid tax penalties.

February 15, 2015 is the last day to enroll in 2015 coverage. If you miss this deadline, you can’t sign up for a health plan inside or outside the Marketplace for the rest of 2015. The only exception is if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period…

Dates and deadlines, and individual coverage links:

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

The SHOP marketplace for small business (50 or fewer employees): https://www.healthcare.gov/small-businesses/


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 18. Alaska’s New U.S. Senator Takes the Oath

By Liz Ruskin, APRN | January 6, 2015

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan was sworn in today in the U.S. Senate Chamber, by Vice President Joe Biden. Sullivan is celebrating the milestone in a series of parties and dinners in Washington this week, attended by scores of Alaskan supporters and family members.

… (I thought) maybe 20 or 30 Alaskans would come. And I think at last count we had well over 200 Alaskans!” Sullivan said, to hoots and applause.

Alaskan guests included Gov. Bill Walker, and state legislators Click Bishop, Lynn Gattis and Bill Stoltze. Alaska Political consultants Art and April Hackney mingled with D.C. strategists like Carl Forti and Mike Dubke. Former Attorney General Gregg Renkes attended, as did developer Bob Penney and Washington lobbyists with long ties to the Alaska delegation

http://www.alaskapublic.org/2015/01/06/132426/


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 19. Update your contacts: Senator Dan Sullivan

Senator Dan Sullivan

Republican-Alaska

B40A Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

Phone: 202-224-3004

http://www.senate.gov/senators/114thCongress/Sullivan_Daniel.htm


From Capitol basement, Sullivan talks staff, committees and Senate hash browns

http://www.adn.com/article/20141213/capitol-basement-sullivan-talks-staff-committees-and-senate-hash-browns

&

Sen.-elect Dan Sullivan names chief of staff, other staffers

Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, December 8, 2014

Republican U.S. Sen.-elect Dan Sullivan on Monday announced he’d hired former state Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash as his chief of staff.

http://www.adn.com/article/20141208/sen-elect-dan-sullivan-names-chief-staff-other-staffers


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 20. Three-year respite from EPA small vessel regulation passes Congress

By Laine Welch, Fish Factor/For the Journal, Dec. 18, 2014

It went down to the wire, but fishermen were relieved to learn they can continue to hose down their decks without fear of violating the Clean Water Act.

Congress voted unanimously Dec. 10 to extend a moratorium for three years that exempts commercial fishing vessels 79 feet and under from needing incidental discharge permits from the Environmental Protection Agency for deck wash. The current moratorium, which affects 8,500 Alaska vessels, was set to expire on Dec.18.

The regulation is aimed at preventing fuels, toxins or hazardous wastes from entering the water. That makes sense, said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, but needing permits for hosing down a boat is going overboard — especially when recreational boats, even 300-foot yachts — are exempt from the rule..

.http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/December-Issue-3-2014/FISH-FACTOR-Three-year-respite-from-EPA-small-vessel-regulation-passes/

Laine Welch’s Fish Factor appears regularly at the AK Journal opinion page at http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/Opinion/


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 21. EPA requests additional comments on e-only NPDES reporting – deadline Jan. 30

On July 30, 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule that would require electronic reporting instead of current paper-based NPDES reports…

Comments must be received on or before January 30, 2015…

Federal Register notice December 1: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-27918


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 22. Young to take lead on Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization

Alaska Journal of Commerce by DJ Summers, December 23, 2014

Alaska’s fishing interests will still be well represented in Washington, D.C., despite a recent shuffling of the legislative deck after former Sen. Mark Begich lost his reelection bid and his chairmanship of a key Senate subcommittee.

Though Begich is gone, longtime Alaska U.S. Rep. Don Young will take the lead for the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act in the 114th Congress and continue on the House Natural Resources Committee.

Begich was chair of the Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, and as one of his final acts introduced a reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, or MSA, the law governing federal fisheries.

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/December-Issue-4-2014/Young-to-take-lead-on-Magnuson-Stevens-reauthorization/


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 23. NPFMC Items from December meeting – Newsletter Online

The Council Newsletter, which summarizes the latest Council agenda items is now available online…

http://www.npfmc.org/npfmc-newsletters/


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 24. Alaska council members seek emergency halibut bycatch cut

By DJ Summers, Alaska Journal of Commerce (12/23)

After a motion failed at the North Pacific Fishery Management Council by a single vote with an Alaska delegate absent, another effort is underway to reduce halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea in the face of rapidly sinking catch limits for the directed fisheries.

Interim Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten and the other five Alaska members of the North Pacific council signed a letter to National Marine Fisheries Service Assistant Administrator Eileen Sobeck on Dec. 18 asking for an emergency reduction in Bering Sea halibut bycatch.

If approved by the Secretary of Commerce, the emergency order would lower the halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands by 33 percent in 2015…

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/December-Issue-4-2014/Alaska-council-members-seek-emergency-halibut-bycatch-cut/


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 25. Halibut bodies to meet amid growing bycatch concerns

By DJ Summers, Alaska Journal of Commerce

Few fish have to swim through more red tape than the Pacific halibut.

Halibut has been governed by two regulatory bodies for more than 40 years, and 2015 will hopefully see an increase in mutual understanding between the two, as well as a welcome public display of cooperation.

At a joint meeting Feb. 5 in Seattle, the two bodies that control the halibut fishery — the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and the International Pacific Halibut Commission — will review processes of mutual interest, including collection issues relating to stock assessment, bycatch assessment, mortality accounting framework, and abundance-based bycatch limit considerations…


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 26. NPFMC Meeting February 2-10, Seattle & Joint NPFMC/IPHC Mtg Feb 5

The Council will meet the week of Feb. 2-10 in Seattle. Additionally, there will be a Joint Council/IPHC meeting February 5…

NPFMC Agenda: http://legistar2.granicus.com/npfmc/meetings/2015/2/918_A_North_Pacific_Council_15-02-02_Meeting_Agenda.pdf

NPFMC Schedule: http://www.npfmc.org/wp-content/PDFdocuments/meetings/SCHEDULE215.pdf

Joint Council/IPHC meeting agenda: https://npfmc.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=A&ID=371956&GUID=91092778-42BF-4617-94FE-D34F62FBF9EA

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

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NPFMC Fixed Gear Electronic Monitoring (EM) workgroup meets Jan 12-13 in Anchorage

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-30315

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NPFMC NW Crab Industry Advisory Committee to meet January 12 in Seattle

https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-30304

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NPFMC Crab Modeling Workshop & Crab Plan Team Meeting Jan. 13-16 in Seattle

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-30413


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 27. Sealaska land transfer bill passes Congress

Associated Press, December 15, 2014

JUNEAU — Officials with Sealaska Corp. are pleased by passage of federal legislation that will transfer about 70,000 acres within the Tongass National Forest to the Alaska Native corporation.

The provision, included within a defense bill, passed Congress late last week. It represents a compromised worked out by Sen. Lisa Murkowski and is intended to make final the land claims owed to Southeast tribes under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

The land transfer includes more than 68,000 acres available for logging, as well as land for renewable energy and tourism projects and cemetery and historic sites. It also includes about 150,000 acres of old-growth timber in new conservation areas.

http://www.adn.com/article/20141215/sealaska-land-transfer-bill-passes-congress


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 28. Comment deadline January 23 on BSAI Crab Rationalization Program Amendment 31 changes

NMFS issues a proposed rule that would implement Amendment 31 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (FMP). The proposed rule would make several changes to regulations 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 notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-30155

BSAI Crab Management home page: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/Sustainablefisheries/crab/default.htm


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 29. Department of Commerce Fall 2014 Semiannual Regulatory Agenda.

…the Department of Commerce (Commerce), in the spring and fall of each year, publishes in the Federal Register an agenda of regulations under development or review over the next 12 months…

Including:

201. Regulatory Amendment To Change the Definition of Sport Fishing Guide Services for Pacific Halibut in International Pacific Halibut Commission Area 2C and Area 3A…

219. Amendment 105 Bering Sea Flatfish Harvest Specifications Flexibility…

Implementation of a Gulf of Alaska Trawl Fishery Economic Data Collection Program…

267. Designation of Critical Habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean Loggerhead Sea Turtle DPS and the Determination Regarding Critical Habitat for the North Pacific Ocean Loggerhead DPS…

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-28929


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 30. Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee to meet January 12 by teleconference

The meeting is scheduled for January 12, 2015, 3-4:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.

Any member of the public wishing to attend may contact Heidi Lovett, (301) 427-8004; … The Committee is convening to discuss and finalize recommendations on the candidates for the new Climate and Marine Resources Task Force and the Aquaculture Task Force for submission to the NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator. Other administrative matters may be considered. This agenda is subject to change…

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-30213

MAFAC  home page: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ocs/mafac/


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 31. NMFS final rule on at-sea scales for catcher/processors, effective Dec 18

NMFS issues regulations to revise the at-sea scales program for catcher/processor vessels (C/Ps) and motherships that are required to weigh catch at sea. This action makes three major changes to current regulations…

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-27081


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 32. Comment deadline Feb. 6 on CDQ groundfish & halibut, and AFA AI Pollock and Amendment 80  new cost recovery program

NMFS issues a proposed rule to implement cost recovery fee programs for the Western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program for groundfish and halibut, and three limited access privilege programs: The American Fisheries Act (AFA), Aleutian Islands Pollock, and Amendment 80 Programs. The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) authorizes and requires the collection of cost recovery fees for the CDQ Program and limited access privilege programs. Cost recovery fees recover the actual costs directly related to the management, data collection, and enforcement of the programs…

Comments must be received no later than February 6, 2015…

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-30841


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 33. Comment by January 23 on information collection – buyback programs

This request is for an extension of a current information collection…

Written comments must be submitted on or before January 23, 2015…

The information collected by NMFS involves the submission of buyback requests by industry, submission of bids, referenda of fishery participants and reporting of collection of fees to repay buyback loans…

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-27646


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 34. Comment deadline February 27 on USCG Seafarers’ Access to Maritime Facilities Advance Notice of proposed Rulemaking

Notice Of Proposed Rulemaking, Notice Of Public Meeting.

Summary: The Coast Guard proposes to require each owner or operator of a facility regulated by the Coast Guard to implement a system that provides seafarers and other individuals with access between vessels moored at the facility and the facility gate, in a timely manner and at no cost to the seafarer or other individual. Generally, transiting through a facility is the only way that a seafarer or other individual can egress to shore beyond the facility to access basic shoreside businesses and services, and meet with family members and other personnel that do not hold a Transportation Worker Identification Credential. This proposed rule would help to ensure that no facility owner or operator denies or makes it impractical for seafarers or other individuals to transit through the facility, and would require them to document their access procedures in their Facility Security Plans. This proposed rule would implement section 811 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010…

The Coast Guard will hold a public meeting in Washington, DC to solicit comments on the proposals in this notice on January 23, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The deadline to reserve a seat is January 16, 2015…

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-30013


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 35. Comment reopened – deadline Feb 4 on USCG rules re C/F vessels dispensing petroleum

The Coast Guard is reopening the public comment period on the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled “Commercial Fishing Vessels Dispensing Petroleum Products,” published in the Federal Register on August 20, 2014. The notice of proposed rulemaking included an incorrect docket number, USCG-2013-0195, and has been reopened with the correct docket number, USCG-2014-0195, to facilitate public comment…

Comments and related material must be submitted online via http://www.regulations.gov, or reach the Docket Management Facility, on or before February 4, 2015…

Federal Register notice and link to comment: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-30810


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 36. NMFS posts MMPA List of Fisheries for 2015

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) publishes its final List of Fisheries (LOF) for 2015, as required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The final LOF for 2015 reflects new information on interactions between commercial fisheries and marine mammals…

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-30375

NOAA List of Fisheries home page: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/interactions/lof/


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 37. NMFS final rule on FFP vessel transit through Round Is. & Cape Pierce Walrus Protection Areas

NMFS issues this final rule to implement Amendment 107 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI FMP), as prepared and submitted by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), and approved by the Secretary of Commerce. This final rule allows vessels designated on Federal Fisheries Permits (FFPs) to transit through Walrus Protection Areas in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) near Round Island and Cape Peirce from April 1 through August 15, annually. These actions are necessary to restore the access of federally permitted vessels to transit through Walrus Protection Areas that was unintentionally limited by regulations implementing Amendment 83 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA FMP) and to maintain suitable protection for walruses on Round Island and Cape Peirce. This final rule maintains an existing prohibition on deploying fishing gear in Walrus Protection Areas by vessels designated on an FFP…

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-30817


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 38. NOAA finds Pinto Abalone ESA listing not warranted

Notice of 12-Month Finding on Petitions To List the Pinto Abalone as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)

We, NMFS, announce a 12-month finding on two petitions to list the pinto abalone (Haliotis kamtschatkana) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We have completed a comprehensive status review of the pinto abalone in response to these petitions. Based on the best scientific and commercial information available, we have determined that the species does not warrant listing at this time. We conclude that the pinto abalone is not currently in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range and is not likely to become so within the foreseeable future. The species will remain on the NMFS Species of Concern list, with one revision to apply the Species of Concern status throughout the species’ range (Alaska to Mexico). We also announce the availability of the pinto abalone status review report…

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-30345

ADFG Pinto Abalone page: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=abalone.main


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 39. Lawsuit Filed to Protect Endangered Steller Sea Lions

Wednesday, December 24, 2014 :: Staff infoZine

Anchorage, AK – infoZine – Conservation groups filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday challenging the National Marine Fisheries Service’s decision to roll back protections for the western Steller sea lions, a population protected under the federal Endangered Species Act…

“Steller sea lions in the Western Aleutians are still in decline and they still need protection,” explained Earthjustice attorney Colin O’Brien. “Allowing industrial fishing fleets to come in and scoop up their food will harm the Steller sea lion. Federal actions that may lead to the extinction of a species are not legal under the Endangered Species Act.”

http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/60676/


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 40. Study puts Steller sea lion declines into context

Cristy Fry, Homer News…November 19, 2014…

A recent study published in the journal “Fish and Fisheries” by anthropologist and archeologist Dr. Herbert Maschner sheds a more historical and prehistorical light on Steller sea lion populations in Western Alaska, and the effects of human interaction…

http://homernews.com/homer-news/business/2014-11-19/study-puts-steller-sea-lion-declines-into-context

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Fox News: Study: Sleeper sharks may kill Steller sea lions

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/10/20/university-study-says-sleeper-sharks-may-kill-steller-sea-lions-contribute-to/


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 41. NOAA final rule on BSAI Steller Sea lion protections

…NMFS issues regulations to implement Steller sea lion protection measures to insure that groundfish fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI) off Alaska are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the western distinct population segment (WDPS) of Steller sea lions or destroy or adversely modify their designated critical habitat…

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-27658

NOAA Steller sea lion page: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/stellers/default.htm


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 42. Comment deadline March 9, 2015 on ringed seal critical habitat

On December 3, 2014, we, NMFS, published in the Federal Register a proposal to designate critical habitat for the Arctic subspecies (Phoca hispida hispida) of the ringed seal (Phoca hispida) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Due to a clerical error, that document contained numerous errors. To avoid confusion, we are withdrawing that proposed rule and reproposing the correct document through this action…

Comments on this proposed rule must be received by March 9, 2015. Four public hearings on the proposed rule will be held in Alaska (Anchorage, Barrow, Kotzebue, and Nome). The dates and times of these hearings will be provided in a subsequent Federal Register notice…

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-28808

December 3 Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-28229

NOAA ringed seal home page: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals/pinnipeds/ringedseal.htm


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 43. Comment by April 30, 2015 on NOAA’s nautical chart catalogs

The Office of Coast Survey is transitioning its nautical products to a wide range of digital formats and web mapping services to enable more frequent updating and allow easier uptake by users…

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-28091


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 44. NOAA final rule on Amendment 97 GOA non-pollock groundfish Chinook bycatch

NMFS adopts a final rule to implement Amendment 97 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP). Amendment 97 limits Chinook salmon prohibited species catch (PSC) in Western and Central Gulf of Alaska (GOA) non-pollock trawl catcher/processor (C/P) and catcher vessel (CV) fisheries…

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-28096


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 45. NMFS final rule on GOA Trawl Economic Data Report Program

NMFS issues a final rule to implement the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) Trawl Economic Data Report Program to evaluate the economic effects of current and potential future fishery management measures for the GOA trawl fisheries. This data collection program will provide the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and NMFS with baseline economic information on harvesters, crew, processors, and communities active in the GOA trawl fisheries, which will be used to assess the impacts of anticipated future GOA trawl groundfish management measures on stakeholders…

Federal Register notice Dec. 2: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-28093


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 46. NMFS adjusts 2015 GOA Pollock and Pcod TAC

NMFS is adjusting the 2015 total allowable catch (TAC) amounts for the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) pollock and Pacific cod fisheries. This action is necessary because NMFS has determined these TACs are incorrectly specified, and will ensure the GOA pollock and Pacific cod TACs are the appropriate amounts based on the best available scientific information for pollock and Pacific cod in the GOA…

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-30835


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 47. NMFS final rule on Amendment 103 Pribilof Islands Habitat Conservation Zone Pcod pot gear closure

NMFS issues this final rule to implement Amendment 103 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI FMP). This rule closes year-round the Pribilof Islands Habitat Conservation Zone (PIHCZ) to directed fishing for Pacific cod with pot gear to minimize bycatch and prevent overfishing of Pribilof Islands blue king crab (PIBKC)…

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-28113


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 48. Comment deadline June 3, 2015 on USCG Port Access Route Study for Chukchi Sea, Bering Strait and Bering Sea

This study is a continuation of and an expansion of scope to the Port Access Route Study (PARS) the Coast Guard announced in 2010. Based on comments received from the 2010 notice the Coast Guard has developed a potential vessel routing system for the area. The Coast Guard requests comments on how consolidating vessel traffic into a defined vessel routing system may impact or benefit the region. The goal of the study is to help reduce the risk of marine casualties and increase the efficiency of vessel traffic in the region. The recommendations of the study may lead to future rulemaking action or appropriate international agreements…

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-28672


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 49. ESA annual notice of candidate species, findings & progress

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Review of Native Species That Are Candidates for Listing as Endangered or Threatened; Annual Notice of Findings on Resubmitted Petitions; Annual Description of Progress on Listing Actions..

In this Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR), we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), present an updated list of plant and animal species native to the United States that we regard as candidates for or have proposed for addition to the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended…

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-28536


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 50. NMFS Notification of Standard Ex Vessel Prices for Groundfish & Halibut Observer Program

NMFS publishes standard ex-vessel prices for groundfish and halibut for the calculation of the observer fee under the North Pacific Groundfish and Halibut Observer Program (Observer Program). This notice is intended to provide information to vessel owners, processors, registered buyers, and other participants about the standard ex-vessel prices that will be used to calculate the observer fee liability for landings of groundfish and halibut made in 2015.

NMFS will send invoices to processors and registered buyers subject to the fee by January 15, 2016. Fees are due to NMFS on or before February 15, 2016.

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-29348


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 51. Comment by Feb 13 on BSAI King and Tanner Crab allocation

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) submitted Amendment 31 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (FMP) to NMFS for review. If approved, Amendment 31 would amend the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program (CR Program) within the FMP…

Comments on the amendment must be submitted on or before February 13, 2015…

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-29217

NOAA BSAI Crab page: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/Sustainablefisheries/crab/default.htm


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 52. Comment by January 20 on Presidential IUU Task Force recommendations

Recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud

Comments must be received by January 20, 2015…

The Task Force is directed to report to the President within 180 days with “recommendations for the implementation of a comprehensive framework of integrated programs to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud that emphasizes areas of greatest need.” Those recommendations have now been provided to the President through the National Ocean Council. This is a request for comments from the public to advise the Task Force on how to most effectively implement these recommendations. Specific questions are posed…

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-29628

IUU Task Force home page: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ia/iuu/taskforce.html


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 53. Why the White House wants to go after seafood pirates

NPR, December 11

Americans eat more seafood than just about anyone else. Most of it is imported from abroad. And a lot of it — perhaps 25 percent of wild-caught seafood imports, according to fisheries experts — is illegally caught…

Mark Gleason runs the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers organization. He says crab from Russian waters has swamped the U.S. market.

“If you look at the imports of Russian king crab over the last three years,” Gleason says, “you see a huge spike in those, and we’ve seen about a 40 percent decline in our price.”

A lot of the spike in crab prices, for example, comes from illegal crab caught by boats that ignore Russia’s own catch quotas. And American crabbers can’t compete.

Rauch at NOAA agrees that illegal fishing puts U.S. fleets at a disadvantage, since they follow rules and quotas that can raise the price of domestically caught seafood…

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/12/11/370150656/the-white-house-is-finally-going-after-seafood-pirates


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 54. USCG Implementation of New Requirements for Commercial Fishing Vessels

Marine Safety Information Bulletin, December 12, 2014 – Mandatory Dockside Safety

The purpose of this Bulletin is to remind the commercial fishing industry about safety and equipment requirements established by the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 and the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2012. The Acts made significant changes to Chapters 45 and 51 of Title 46 United States Code (USC) that will be reflected in amended regulations (Parts 28 and 42 of Title 46 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)). These new requirements are scheduled to go into effect by the date(s) set forth under the law. The specific provisions to be implemented are discussed and explained in this Bulletin…

See info on: Examinations, Survival Craft, Newly-Built Vessels, Load Lines, Alternate Safety Programs…

http://www.fishsafe.info/USCG%20MSIB%20018-14%20(cor)-%20CFVS%20Requirements%20Update.5PC.pdf

From www.Fishsafe.info

scroll down to “Implentation Of New Requirments For Commercial Fishing Vessels” (sic)


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 55. SeaShare Needs Help Feeding Another One Million People

SeaShare, the Seattle-based non-profit organization that focuses on seafood as a nutrition source for hungry Americans, launched a month-long campaign on Dec. 1 to provide an additional one million seafood servings to food banks…
http://fnonlinenews.blogspot.com/2014/12/seashare-needs-help-feeding-another-one.html

SeaShare new web page: https://www.seashare.org


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 Marketing

56. ASMI Opens Public Consultation on Alaska RFM Conformance Criteria – deadline Feb 3.

… the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) opens its Alaska Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) Conformance Criteria, (Version 1.2), September 2011, for public review and comment. The 60-day online consultation will close on Monday, February 3, 2015.

http://certification.alaskaseafood.org/public-consultation

ASMI home page: www.alaskaseafood.org/


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57. Alaska Sablefish (Black Cod) Fishery Completes 3rd Annual Alaska RFM Audit

The Alaska Sablefish (Black Cod) fishery has earned continued certification against the Alaska Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) conformance criteria. This third annual audit of the Alaska Sablefish (Black Cod) fishery was completed on December 18, 2014. The objective of the audit is to monitor any changes since the previous assessment in 2013.

…To view a copy of the surveillance report or to submit a comment, see:

http://certification.alaskaseafood.org/black-cod-certification


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 58. ASMI Seafood Market Bulletin – Winter 2014

Including:

-Salmon Harvest Summary

-Alaska Salmon Price Report, May-August 2014

-Alaska Seafood Q3 Export Update

-Ex-Vessel Price/Value and Harvest Volume: 2010-2014

http://www.alaskaseafood.org/industry/market/winter2014/


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Fish Farm & Environmental

59. Obama protects Alaska’s Bristol Bay from oil and gas drilling

By Maria L. La Ganga, Los Angeles Times

In a boon to commercial fishermen, conservationists and Native Alaskans, President Obama withdrew the waters of Alaska’s Bristol Bay from oil and gas development, vowing to protect the world’s biggest sockeye salmon fishery.

Calling the region “one of America’s greatest natural resources and a massive economic engine, not only for Alaska but for America,” Obama said he was taking it “off the bidder’s block” and would “make sure that it is preserved into the future.”

 “Bristol Bay has supported Native Americans in the Alaska region for centuries,” Obama said in a video message released Tuesday. “It supports $2 billion in the commercial fishing industry. It supplies America with 40% of its wild-caught seafood. It is a natural wonder, and it’s something that’s just too precious to be putting out to the highest bidder.”…

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-bristol-bay-leases-20141216-story.html

5 Things You Need to Know About Alaska’s Bristol Bay –Whitehouse.gov blog:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/12/16/5-things-you-need-know-about-alaska-s-bristol-bay

YouTube video of President Obama on Bristol Bay:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gH9mXrB2sWA&feature=youtu.be


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 60. Pebble Partnership vs. the EPA — a yearlong conflict

By Alaska Journal of Commerce December 23, 2014.

The legal sparring between Pebble Limited Partnership and the Environmental Protection Agency drew headlines throughout the year.

…Pebble gained a significant victory in court Nov. 24 when a federal judge ordered the EPA to stop its 404(c) process as a second suit against the agency plays out. The mining group is alleging that the EPA was drafting plans to kill the mine years before work on the assessment even began.

Alaska’s voters resoundingly passed a ballot measure in the Nov. 4 elections that would force large Bristol Bay mines such as Pebble to get legislative approval. Pebble board chair John Shively said the group did not campaign against Ballot Measure 4 because it is unconstitutional and will fail when challenged.

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/December-Issue-4-2014/Pebble-Partnership-vs-the-EPA–a-yearlong-conflict/

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Pebble Mine 2014 Year in Review: “And Then There Were Lawyers . . . .”

Huffington Post Blog – by Joel Reynolds, Western Director and Senior attorney, NRDC, Los Angeles

When someday the story of the Pebble Mine is told, 2014 may be best remembered as the year when all that remained of the once formidable Pebble Partnership was a bunch of lawyers for hire…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joel-reynolds/pebble-mine-2014-year-in_b_6397558.html


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 61. Judge clarifies order in Pebble Mine case

By Becky Bohrer, December 8, 2014

JUNEAU, Alaska — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, while a lawsuit is pending, must stop all work related to a process that could restrict or prohibit development of the Pebble Mine, a federal judge says.

The action comes after U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland last month restrained the EPA from taking any action toward a possible decision to veto a mine project until he ruled on the merits of a lawsuit brought by the group behind the mine, the Pebble Limited Partnership.

The partnership sued earlier this year over an EPA study that concluded large-scale mining posed significant risk to salmon in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region. The study provided the basis for the agency to invoke a rarely used process under the Clean Water Act that mine supporters fear could result in the project’s veto before it goes through the permitting process.

The EPA sought clarification last week on what Holland’s order encompassed…

http://www.idahostatesman.com/2014/12/08/3531435_judge-clarifies-order-in-pebble.html?sp=/99/103/&rh=1#storylink=cpy


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 62. Canada OKs KSM mine’s environmental plans

By Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska News

A controversial mine near Southeast Alaska’s border has won approval from Canada’s federal government. That worries critics, who say the development could pollute salmon-bearing rivers…

The Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell project’s environmental protection plan got the OK from Canada’s Ministry of the Environment…

Brent Murphy, of mine owner Seabridge Gold, says the federal action is an important step.

“It means that the project can proceed. We’ve received both the provincial and federal Canadian governments’ approvals. Essentially, it’s an approval in principle and now we move forward in the permitting phase,” he says.

He says the project has about 100 of the 150 permits it needs. It’s also seeking investors to develop the proposed $5.3 billion mine…

http://www.ktoo.org/2014/12/19/canada-oks-ksm-mines-environmental-plans/


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 63. “A Fishy Tale” farmed fish documentary showed at Anchorage Film Festival

By Thea Card, KDLG, December 8, 2014

Sara Pozonsky wanted to make a documentary to educate and alert Alaskans about the dangers of fish farms…

Sara Pozonsky is from Newhalen and is very proud to be an Alaskan—that’s clear from the moment you meet her in the documentary “A Fishy Tale.” Growing up she spent her summers on her dad’s boat in Bristol Bay. Nowadays, Pozonsky is the co-owner of Wild Alaska Salmon Company and a wild salmon activist…

http://www.thebristolbaytimes.com/article/1450a_fishy_tale_premiers_at_anchorage_film


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 64. Kulluk grounding – Shell contractor Noble Drilling pleads guilty to 8 felonies

Shell contractor Noble Drilling pleaded guilty this morning in federal court to all 8 felony counts…

Federal authorities describe the company’s role in Shell’s 2012 offshore drilling plan as operator of the Noble Discoverer and drilling operator of the Kulluk drilling platform. The Noble Discoverer required extensive repairs after a Coast Guard inspection in Seward turned up numerous environmental and safety violations, while the Kulluk broke free from its tow line and grounded on Sitkalidak Island near Kodiak on New Year’s Eve in 2012. Both vessels were ultimately taken to Asia for repairs…

http://www.ktuu.com/news/news/drilling-company-operator-of-kulluk-platform-admits-to-8-felony-crimes-while-working-for-shell-in-alaska/30120696


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 65. Comment deadline February 26, 2014 on USCG mobile offshore drilling units standards

The Coast Guard proposes to establish minimum design, operation, training, and manning standards for mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs) and other vessels using dynamic positioning systems to engage in Outer Continental Shelf activities. Establishing these minimum standards is necessary to improve the safety of people and property involved in such operations, and the protection of the environment in which they operate…

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-27594


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 66. Detecting Japan Tsunami Marine Debris at Sea: A Synthesis of Efforts and Lessons-Learned

JANUARY 7, 2014 (NOAA) — Imagine this common scenario: you’re looking into the horizon over the ocean, and you have just spotted an object in the distance. It’s faint and you know something is there, but you can’t quite make out what it is. Chances are, unless you get closer, you may never know exactly what you saw.

This is just one of many challenges scientists and responders face when detecting marine debris in the open ocean, according to a report published today by the NOAA Marine Debris Program. The report is a review of the debris detection efforts that took place in the years following the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in 2011, as well as valuable lessons for the future of marine debris detection…

http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/research-japan-tsunami-marine-debris/detecting-japan-tsunami-marine-debris-sea-synthesis-efforts-and?utm_source=Marine+Debris+NEWS%3A+January+2015&utm_campaign=Marine+Debris+%22Monthly%22+News+Google+Analytics+Campaign&utm_medium=email

Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute info on Fukushima radiation concerns

http://pressroom.alaskaseafood.org/alaska-seafood-and-fukushima-radiation-concerns/

&&&

“Adrift! Marine Debris in the Pacific” lecture Jan. 23, 2015 in Juneau

Mendenhall Glacier Fireside Lecture Series

January 23, 2015 6:30pm and 8pm Free and open to the public!

The Pacific Ocean carries waterborne debris from shore to shore. Peter Murphy, Alaska Coordinator for the NOAA Marine Debris Program, tells us how he and others use everything from satellites to citizen science to track and understand marine debris.

907-789-0097

www.mendenhallglacier.net


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 67. The Tongass Advisory Committee meets January 20-23 in Juneau

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-30792

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


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 68. The Forest Service bets on second-growth logging in Alaska

But can timber still keep island communities in the Tongass afloat?

One damp, gray day in June, Gordon Chew, a 59-year-old carpenter, logger and small sawmill owner from the island community of Tenakee Springs, Alaska, was doing something he’s been doing a lot lately: standing inside a decades-old clear cut in the Tongass National Forest, looking around.

The Sitka spruce and western hemlock were growing back nicely, Chew noted, some bigger than expected, some smaller, the old stumps draped in moss and lichen. But like most old clear cuts in the Tongass, this one was hardly ready to log again — at least not by Chew’s standards…

https://www.hcn.org/articles/the-forest-service-bets-on-second-growth-logging-in-alaskas-temperate-rainforest


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 69. Comment deadline extended to Jan. 19 for Coffman Cove Timber Sale

…Extension Preliminary Best Interest Finding and Decision For the Coffman Cove Timber Sale

The comment period for the Preliminary Best Interest Finding and Decision for Coffman Cove has been extending until January 19, 2015, 4:00 PM…

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry, gives formal notice under AS 38.05.945 that the Division has made a preliminary decision under AS 38.05.035(e) regarding the sale of the following commercial timber sale:  Coffman Cove Timber Sale (SSE-1336-K).

Before this sale may be held, the Director of the Division of Forestry will make a written final decision that the sale is in the best interest of the State.  This decision will set out the facts and applicable policies upon which the Director bases his determination that the proposed timber sale will or will not best serve the interest of the State.  The final decision is expected to be available to the public after January 12, 2015.

Online public notice: http://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=175096

Division of Forestry Southern Southeast Area Timber Sale Schedule and Plans: http://forestry.alaska.gov/timber/ketchikan.htm


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 70. Neighbors, village corp. clash over Kodiak Island logging operation

Sean Doogan, Alaska Dispatch News

A Kodiak Island logging operation that has been underway for more than four years is now facing opposition from nearby homeowners, who are tired of the noise, the traffic and the unsightly aftermath of clear-cutting and are concerned that further timber harvests could follow.

A group of residents of Chiniak — a small community about 40 miles southeast of the city of Kodiak — is trying to stop commercial clear-cut logging that has been going on in their area since 2010 on land owned by Leisnoi Inc., an Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act village corporation. While Leisnoi’s timber harvest is nearing its end, some Chiniak residents worry it could spill over to nearby Kodiak Island Borough and state lands…

The logging was commissioned by Leisnoi on about 6,500 acres of land it owns in the Chiniak area. After trying to back out of its contract with A-1 Timber Consultants in 2011 — a move that led to litigation and a change in the corporation’s board of directors — Leisnoi said it is committed to the project and wants Chiniak residents to know that the logging is being done within prescribed environmental regulations and with a “sincere respect of the land.” But its new board acknowledges that the immediate effects of clear-cut logging — uniformly cutting down all commercially viable trees in an area — can be shocking.

http://www.adn.com/article/20141207/neighbors-village-corp-clash-over-kodiak-island-logging-operation


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 71. DEC posts updated wastewater discharge permit issuance plan for 2015-2016

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Wastewater Discharge Authorization Program is pleased to announce that an updated Permit Issuance Plan (PIP) for the 2015-2016 time period is now available on our web pages. You may access the PIP via the three web links below. The PIP is located under the Highlights Section on each web page.

http://dec.alaska.gov/water/index.htm

http://dec.alaska.gov/water/wwdp/index.htm

http://dec.alaska.gov/water/TribalCommunication/tribes.html

DEC Wastewater Discharge Authorization Program home page: http://dec.alaska.gov/water/wwdp/index.htm


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 72. DEC Comment deadline January 12 on APDES Log Transfer Facilities General Permit

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is in the process of developing two Alaska Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (APDES) General Permits.

Proposed Permits: Clean Water Act Section 402 Modifications of Section 404 Permits for Log Transfer Facilities in Alaska Which Received a Section 404 Permit Prior to October 22, 1985 (AKG700000), and Log Transfer Facilities in Alaska (AKG701000).

The LTF general permits authorize the discharge of bark and wood debris to marine waters of the United States located in the State of Alaska within site-specific project areas at each LTF. Project area means the entire marine operating area of an LTF…

Review Period: December 7, 2014 through January 12, 2015

Permit documents can be accessed from the  ADEC Wastewater Discharge Authorization Program website under the Public Notice section.

Written comments can be submitted via email to: chris.foley@alaska.gov

Online public notice: http://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=174909


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 Enhancement

73. Comment deadline Feb. 1 on KRAA Karluk Lake Enrichment Prelim Environmental Assessment

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is pleased to announce the availability of the Preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) and Section 810 Evaluation for the Karluk Lake Nutrient Enrichment project. The EA responds to the Kodiak Regional Aquaculture Association’s (KRAA’s) application for a special use permit to conduct a nutrient enrichment project on Karluk Lake within the Kodiak Refuge to increase lake productivity and, ultimately, sockeye salmon populations…

All comments must be mailed by February 1, 2015..

Preliminary Environmental Assessment (3.8 mb) http://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/Region_7/NWRS/Zone_2/Kodiak/PDF/Karluk%20Lake%20Public%20Review%20EA.pdf

Notice of availability: http://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/Region_7/NWRS/Zone_2/Kodiak/PDF/PUBLIC%20NOTICE%20OF%20AVAILABILITY.pdf

Press release: http://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/Region_7/NWRS/Zone_2/Kodiak/PDF/KarlukEAPressRelease.docx.pdf

Karkuk Lake Refuge home page:

http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Kodiak/ .


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Subsistence

74. Federal Subsistence Board meets January 21-23 in Anchorage

The Federal Subsistence Board will meet January 21-23, 2015 to consider proposed changes to Federal subsistence fish and shellfish regulations. The proposals may be viewed at www.doi.gov/subsistence/index.cfm or at www.regulations.gov. The meeting will be held at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center, 600 W. 7th Ave, Anchorage, starting at 8:30 a.m. on January 21. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend either in person or by teleconference. Throughout the meeting, there will be opportunities for the public to testify on both agenda and non-agenda items. At the start of each day, public comments on general subsistence issues are welcome. Any public comments that relate to specific fisheries proposals will be allowed during the period in which the proposals are presented…

Press release: http://www.doi.gov/subsistence/news/general/2015-fsb-meeting.cfm

2015 – 2017 Fisheries Proposals are linked online at: http://www.doi.gov/subsistence/proposal/current/index.cfm


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 75. Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils to Hold Meetings Statewide Feb. & March

The 10 Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils will meet February through March 2015 to discuss subsistence wildlife issues and review proposals to change Federal subsistence hunting and trapping regulations for 2016-2018, as well as other issues affecting subsistence in their regions. The public is encouraged to participate in these meetings in person or by teleconference…

FSB press release: http://www.doi.gov/subsistence/news/general/ma1-8-15racstatewide.cfm


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 76. Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture Appoint Members to Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, with the concurrence of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, has made appointments to the 10 Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils. The Councils advise the Federal Subsistence Board on subsistence management regulations and policies and serve as a forum for public involvement in Federal subsistence management in Alaska…

http://www.doi.gov/subsistence/news/general/nr12-12-14.cfm


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 77. Deadline Jan. 23 for Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils applications

http://www.doi.gov/subsistence/news/general/rac-membership-application.cfm


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 78. Deadline February 2 for Subsistence Student Art Contest – fish & shellfish theme

The Federal Subsistence Management Program is sponsoring its annual art contest for all students in Alaska grades K-12. Deadline for submission is February 2, 2015. This year, the theme for the art contest is fish and shellfish. The winner’s artwork will be published on the cover of the Subsistence Management Regulations for the Harvest of Fish and Shellfish on Federal Public Lands and Waters in Alaska book…

http://www.doi.gov/subsistence/news/general/nr12-16-14.cfm


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 79. Rule allows trust status for Alaska tribal lands

Fairbanks News Miner, December 19

ANCHORAGE, Alaska  – Tribes in Alaska are applauding a regulation that allows them to apply for federal trust status for their lands.

The U.S. Department of Interior published a final regulation this week in a prolonged dispute between tribes, the agency and the state of Alaska.

“This is a huge, wonderful day to see Alaska tribes be able to fully exercise the right to have their petitions considered,” said Native American Rights Fund attorney Heather Kendall Miller…

http://www.newsminer.com/news/alaska_news/rule-allows-trust-status-for-alaska-tribal-lands/article_c7fc9c92-87c6-11e4-a954-3f855bbb1eb7.html

Federal Register notice Dec. 23, 2014: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-30099

BIA Alaska Land Trusts page: http://www.bia.gov/WhoWeAre/AS-IA/ORM/LandTrustAlaska/index.htm

Bureau of Indian Affairs press release:

http://www.bia.gov/cs/groups/public/documents/text/idc1-028734.pdf


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 80. BOF Kuskokwim Subsistence Salmon Panel meeting Jan 15-16, Bethel

Second Notice of Public Meeting and Public Comment Deadline of the Alaska Board of Fisheries Kuskokwim Subsistence Salmon Panel

The Alaska Board of Fisheries (board) will convene a meeting of the Kuskokwim Subsistence Salmon Panel (panel) in Bethel at the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center, 420 Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway, Bethel, Alaska, on January 15 and 16, 2015.

Starting at 1:30 pm on January 15, the panel will hear Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports and take public testimony. Tentative signup time for public testimony on January 15 will run from 1:30-2:30 pm.

On January 16, the panel will begin developing potential tools for equitable distribution of the Kuskokwim River subsistence salmon resource throughout the drainage in times of low abundance. It is tentatively set to start at 9:00am. Based on the outcome of this panel meeting, it may hold follow-up meetings.

Panel meetings are open to the public. Meeting agenda will be available at the meeting, and in advance of the meetings at the Bethel Fish and Game Office, 570 4th Avenue and on the Boards Support Section website at:

Online public notice: http://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=175147

ADFG Kuskokwim Subsistence Salmon Panel page:  http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=kssp.main


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 81. Laine Welch’s Fish Radio – Recent Items

-Updates for upcoming halibut commission meeting – tension mounts

-Energy saving tools for small boats need field testers

-Salmon recap 2014: AK statewide prices, harvests, sales, yearly comparisons

-Groups push for nat’l marine sanctuary at Bristol Bay, Bering Sea shelf

-Kodiak fishermen share thoughts on the biggest fishing challenges

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


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

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

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