UFA Update: July 6, 2015

From the Executive Director:

Announcement from the UFA office:

Greetings to our UFA members and friends! We hope that you are having a safe and prosperous summer. In an ongoing effort to enhance our communications with you, we are now using a mail service to deliver our updates. You can still expect the same high level of detail and information in your update with a new look and feel. With UFA’s use of the Mailchimp update delivery system, you will need to add UFA’s email addresses to your “approved/safe sender” list, even if you already have. It may take a few mailings for your email system to send UFA updates to your inbox instead of the junk mail box.

In order to continue to receive UFA updates in the future, please add both ufa@ufa-fish.org and jcurry@ufa-fish.org to your “approved/safe sender” list.

United Fishermen of Alaska is the statewide commercial fishing trade association, representing 35 Alaska commercial fishing organizations participating in fisheries throughout the state and its offshore federal waters.   – End —

Join UFA online HERE

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

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

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

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


Note to members and subscribers:

In this issue we are using Mailchimp for the first time for delivery.

Please note the links at the bottom for unsubscribing or updating your address. As always, members can update their email address with their membership dues notices or by sending an email to ufa@ufa-fish.org.

If you have suggestions as to how best to keep you informed, please contact us at the UFA office at 907-586-2820, or jcurry@ufa-fish.org for executive director Julianne Curry, or ufa@ufa-fish.org for administrator Mark Vinsel.


Salmon harvest information:

For up to date salmon harvest information by district, see the ADF&G “Blue Sheet” at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=commercialbyfisherysalmon.bluesheet

Contents:

Statewide

1. Governor Walker Signs Budget Bills into Law – FY16 $1.1 Billion Less than FY15; $200 Million Vetoed
2. Fish and Game still finalizing budget – interview with Jeff Regnart
3. Report: $1.2 billion of output from Southcentral Alaska fishing
4. Anti-setnet group scrubs site after submitting signatures
5. Group backing Alaska ballot initiative to ban urban setnets delivers signatures
6. Changes to setnets would reduce king catch – op-ed by Brent Johnson
7. Comment deadline July 31 on DNR Setnet Lease Regulations
8. Across state, early salmon catches underweight
9. KDLG Bristol Bay Fisheries Report July 5, 2015
10.  ADFG 2015 Inseason Alaska Commercial Salmon Summary
11.  Gov. Walker Changes Wade Hampton Census District Name to Kusilvak
12. Gov. Walker: Conversations with Alaskans aim to build a sustainable future
13. Alaska falls furthest among states affected by oil price collapse
14. Notice of adopted changes to Alaska Board of Fisheries regulations –from this spring’s meetings
15. Comment deadline July 27 on ADFG Sport Fish Strategic Plan 2015-2020
16. Kenai Peninsula Borough Habitat Protections Face Possible Repeal
17. Chemical tags in ear bones track Alaska’s Bristol Bay salmon
18. Comment by July 21 on AMHS 2015-2016 Winter Ferry Schedule –mtg. 7/22
19. Abandoned vessels litter Alaska’s shorelines while officials work on a fix

National 

20. Alaska trollers outraged by low king salmon quota set by Pacific Salmon Commission
21. Bill Strengthens Coast Guard, Protects Alaska’s Fishermen, Transfers Federal Lands to Alaska, Buoys Expansion of Icebreaker Fleet
22. North Pacific Council cuts halibut bycatch caps; critics say it’s not enough
23. NPFMC June Newsletter now online – items from the June meeting.
24. Comment on NOAA’s Bycatch Efforts – deadline July 10
25. Comment deadline August 21 on Amendment 80 fleet Information Collection
26. U.S. Commerce Department announces 2015 regional fishery council appointments
27. Murkowski Urges Federal Action on Abandoned and Derelict Vessel Danger in Alaska
28. Murkowski Blasts “WOTUS” Rule on Senate Floor
29. State Joins Lawsuit Challenging EPA and Corps over EPA Waters of the US
30. NMFS removes three VMS EMTU units from approved list
31. ‘Northern Edge’ Navy Exercises Marred By Communication Problems
33. NOAA Spring 2015 Semiannual Agenda of Regulations
34. CIE peer review on AK Crab General Model and BB Red King Crab Assessment June 29-July 1, Seattle
35. Comment deadline now July 27 on USCG Seafarers’ Access to Maritime Facilities Advance Notice of proposed Rulemaking
36. Council Coordination Committee meeting June 22-25, Key West Florida
37. Nominations sought for open positions on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee, deadline July 20, 2015.
38. NMFS posts Final Rule on Alaska Charter halibut regulations
39. IUU Task force seeks input on minimum info for seafood traceability – by July 31
40. NOAA Recommends $25 Million in Saltonstall – Kennedy Grant Projects
41. Reminder: Comment deadline July 20 on ESA Humpback Whale de-listing
42. Ketchikan Resource Advisory Committee meets July 22
43. What If the Oceans Were National Parks?

Marketing 

44. ASMI budget cuts force group to refocus marketing strategy
45. Silver Bay calls for binding arbitration to resolve MSC salmon dispute
46. Community-supported fishery program expands to bring fresh seafood to Fairbanks
47. Supporting sustainable fisheries, one bite at a time
48. Paine & Partners Enters into Agreements to Sell Icicle Seafoods

Fish Farm and Environmental 

49. My Turn: Red Chris mine poses great risk By Rep. Dan Ortiz
50. Transboundary mines: Concerned Alaska Native, First Nation representatives attend Seabridge Gold annual meeting
51. Mount Polley mine spill report released by B.C. Information and Privacy Commissioner
52. Federal judge allows Pebble case against EPA to continue
53. Conflicting Water Rights at the Heart of Chuitna Mining Debate
54. Comment deadline July 31 on Mulchatna / Stuyahok River water reservations for fish
55. Comment deadline August 3 on Gulf of Alaska Oil & Gas exploration
56. NOAA Fisheries mobilizes to gauge unprecedented West Coast toxic algal bloom
57. Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Study Impacts of Ocean Acidification
58. Freshwater fish threatened by acidification (BC pink salmon study)
59. Rising CO2 levels redistributing the world’s food fish: UBC study
60. BP Agrees to Pay $18.7 Billion to Settle Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Claims
61. Comment deadline August 18 on USCG info collection for claim forms under OPA 90 from oil spills.
62. Tongass National Forest posts Notice Of Intent To Prepare An EIS..
63. EPA posts Final Updated Ambient Water Quality Criteria for the Protection of Human Health
64. NOAA Restoration Center PEIS posted

Enhancement 

65. Kachemak Bay Park Residents Oppose Re-homing Hatchery Fish in Tutka Bay
66. Alaska shellfish hatcheries endangered by ocean acidification, study says

Subsistence

67. Operational plan submitted for Kenai, Kasilof Subsistence gillnets
68. Feds return management of Kuskokwim to state amid low salmon numbers
69. Subsistence Fishermen Struggle on the Yukon despite Strong Commercial Chum Harvest
70. Federal Subsistence Board to Hold Work Session in Anchorage, July 28-29
71. Federal Subsistence Fisheries Update for the week of June 7-13, 2015
72. National Park Service Subsistence resource Commission meetings July 22, 23 & August 5

Other

73. Fishlines – the Alaska Sea Grant newsletter for June 2015
74. AMSEA Free Ergonomics Training: Reduce Injury, Increase Productivity
75. Laine Welch’s Fish Radio – Recent Items
76. Live to be Salty program promotes PFD use

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


Statewide

1. Governor Walker Signs Budget Bills into Law – FY16 $1.1 Billion Less than FY15; $200 Million Vetoed

July 1, 2015 JUNEAU—Governor Bill Walker on Monday signed into law House Bill 2001, the state’s operating budget, and Senate Bill 26, the state’s capital budget, for fiscal year 2016 (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016).

With vetoes, the governor and lawmakers reduced the state’s unrestricted general fund spending for fiscal year 2016 to $4..95 billion, a reduction of $1.1 billion, or 19 percent, from the fiscal year 2015 budget adopted last year.  Total spending for fiscal year 2016 will be $12.1 billion.

Governor Walker used his line-item veto to reduce a $700 million appropriation for refundable oil exploration expenditures to $500 million. These are direct payments to oil companies that have no current tax liability. This has no impact on companies that are currently producing oil and gas.

“My administration is looking at cutting services to seniors and low-income Alaskans and freezing Medicaid rates; schools will be increasing class sizes; ferries are reducing services,” Governor Walker said. “The state is tightening our belt and it’s only right that we do the same with the payments to oil companies. I absolutely understand that the industry is the state’s life blood. Unfortunately, in these fiscally challenging times, everyone must be part of the solution.”

… To view the detailed budget reports, visit https://www.omb.alaska.gov/html/budget-report/fy-2016-budget/enacted.html .

Governor’s press release in AK Business Monthly:

http://www.akbizmag.com/Government/Governor-Walker-Signs-Budget-Bills-into-Law/

&

Alaska Senate, House approve compromise budget

By Dan Joling, The Associated Press, Alaska Journal of Commerce, June 11

The Alaska Legislature approved a compromise budget Thursday, paving the way for adjournment of special sessions that have lasted eight weeks past the original 90-day session.

The state House voted 32-7 for the $5 billion measure with a handful of Democrats and one Republican, Rep. Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River, voting no. The Senate vote was 16-3, with three Democrats dissenting.

The budget was the top issue in the Legislature as lawmakers tried to agree on a spending plan in the face of a dramatic fall in oil prices. Alaska general fund spending is upward of 90 percent dependent on revenue from the petroleum industry.

Approval of the budget would avoid a partial shutdown of state government starting in early July. Gov. Bill Walker was in a meeting Thursday afternoon and not immediately available to comment on the compromise.

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/Breaking-News-2015/House-passes-budget-bill-on-to-Senate/

&&&

Legislature Passes Budget, Erin’s Law

June 11, 2015 ANCHORAGE – Governor Bill Walker applauded the Alaska Legislature today for passing a fully funded FY 2016 budget, and for passing the Alaska Safe Children’s Act. The move comes after months of negotiations between both legislative bodies, and ends the possibility of a partial government shutdown.

Governor Walker press release: http://gov.alaska.gov/Walker/press-room/full-press-release.html?pr=7203


2. Fish and Game still finalizing budget – interview with Jeff Regnart

By Molly Dischner, KDLG

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is still finalizing a plan to for the most recent cut to its budget, but Bristol Bay shouldn’t see too many more cuts, said Commercial Fisheries Director Jeff Regnart during a recent visit to Dillingham.

http://kdlg.org/post/fish-and-game-still-finalizing-budget


3. Report: $1.2 billion of output from Southcentral Alaska fishing

By DJ Summers, Alaska Journal of Commerce

Seafood employs more people in Southcentral than mining in the entire state, pays out more in Anchorage than building construction, and has enough management and logistics infrastructure in Anchorage to potentially rival that of Seattle, according to a new report and Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce statistics.

Juneau-based economics firm McDowell Group released a report on the economic impacts of the Alaska seafood industry on the Southcentral Alaska region on June 10.

The Alaska Salmon Alliance, a commercial fishermen organization, commissioned the study. Arni Thomson, the ASA executive director, said he wanted the study to combat the misconception that fishing is reserved for the more far-flung areas of the state.

“So many in the region are focused on oil, gas, mining and construction to make a living,” wrote Thomson in an email. “They completely overlook the economic significance of our hidden seafood industry in Southcentral Alaska.”

According to the report, the seafood industry is a major engine for Southcentral Alaska, with 2,168 active commercial fishing permits, 35 processing plants, and three salmon hatcheries working to produce $1.2 billion of total economic output for the region.

Of the total, $685 million came from first wholesale value of seafood products, and $501 million came from gross value added through secondary impacts.

Secondary impacts include transportation, retail, fuel services, storage, boat building, materials, and fisheries management.

AK Journal of Commerce: http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/June-Issue-3-2015/Report-12-billion-of-output-from-Southcentral-fishing/

McDowell Southcentral report:

http://www.mcdowellgroup.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/McDowell-Economic-Impact-of-SC-AK-Seafood-Industry-Final-6.10.2015.pdf

McDowell Economic Value of the Alaska Seafood Industry page – with Industrial Support sector and Ties that Bind reports:

http://www.mcdowellgroup.net/portfolio-posts/economic-value-of-the-alaska-seafood-industry/

Alaska Salmon Alliance: http://www.aksalmonalliance.org.


4. Anti-setnet group scrubs site after submitting signatures    

By DJ Summers Alaska Journal of Commerce, June 10

After the Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance submitted 43,000 signatures on June 10 to the Alaska Division of Elections seeking a 2016 ballot initiative that would ban setnets in urban areas of the state, the organization scrubbed its website to remove a link to a group it has previously claimed isn’t related to the effort…

As of the morning of June 10, the AFCA website was offering an invitation and discounted entry to the Kenai River Classic run by KRSA for corporate level sponsors donating $25,000 or more.

When asked about this connection by the Journal at a press conference following the submission of signatures, Penny explained that law would forbid such an offer.

“AFCA is a 501(c)6 organization,” Penny said. “KRSA is a 501(c)3. It is not allowed by law to do any such action like this.”

After the press conference, the offer was taken off the website but the Journal was able to take a screen capture earlier in the day.

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/Breaking-News-2015/Anti-setnet-group-scrubs-site-after-submitting-signatures/

 


5. Group backing Alaska ballot initiative to ban urban setnets delivers signatures

A group looking to ban commercial setnets in Alaska’s urban areas submitted 43,000 signatures to the Division of Elections on Wednesday, asking that voters consider the ban in the August 2016 primary election.

The Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance needed to submit only 30,000 signatures to advance the effort. The Division of Elections now has 60 days to verify the signatures and determine whether the issue can go on the ballot…

https://www.adn.com/article/20150610/group-backing-alaska-ballot-initiative-ban-urban-setnets-delivers-signatures

Alaska Division of Elections related links:

Status page for the anti-setnet initiative: http://www.elections.alaska.gov/pbi_ini_status_list.php#13pcaf

Information and request form to withdraw your name from an active petition:

https://www.elections.alaska.gov/doc/forms/H39.pdf

We have heard from many who unwittingly signed the petition because they were told it was to save salmon!

 


6. Changes to setnets would reduce king catch – op-ed by Brent Johnson

By Brent Johnson, Clam Gulch, May 26, Kenai Peninsula Clarion

http://peninsulaclarion.com/opinion/letters/2015-05-25/changes-to-setnets-would-reduce-king-catch

In 2012 the Ninilchik-to-Boulder Point setnet fishery was closed for much of the season to conserve king salmon. 2013 and 2014 saw more of the same, though fishery managers handled the handicap with a bit more finesse, which allowed for meaningful sockeye harvests. We should assume 2015 will be a continuation of this problem. Is there anything you and I can do to help?

Yes. Setnetters can make two significant adjustments — fish “shallower” nets and release live kings…

We’ve been experimenting with a stationary seine device I call a Selective Harvest Module (SHM). We were permitted to test this device in 2013 and found that it worked but had numerous needs for improvement. In 2014, we had hoped to make some of those changes but realized that 29-mesh-deep nets offered a way faster change that could lead to significant savings of king salmon. So we dedicated our spring preparations with converting to 29-mesh nets and didn’t have time to also make adaptations to the SHM.

The final method for conserving king salmon is the simplest. If they are alive, just let them go. Fellow setnetters laugh at me and say they are catching the kings we release. Maybe that’s true and maybe it isn’t…

We found in 2014 that about half of the kings we caught were healthy enough to release.

Striving to rebuild king salmon populations isn’t about whether or not setnetters have the right to catch kings. It’s about whether the next generations know what a king looks like.

http://peninsulaclarion.com/opinion/letters/2015-05-25/changes-to-setnets-would-reduce-king-catch

 


7. Comment deadline July 31 on DNR Setnet Lease Regulations

Notice of Public Scoping for Possible Updates and Revisions to DNR Regulations

11 AAC 58, Leasing of Lands, 11 AAC 60, Grazing, 11 AAC 64, Shore Fishery…

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is considering revising its regulations regarding the department’s Leasing of state lands outlined in 11 AAC 58, Grazing on state lands under 11 AAC 60,Shore Fishery Leases on state tidelands under 11 AAC 64, and Material Sales on state lands under 11 AAC 71. Specifically, DNR is seeking to revise portions of, and reorganize these Chapters to update the these regulations and to develop regulations necessary to implement the changes to state land statutes made by the Alaska Legislature under Ch. 27, SLA 2012.

The link to the   Notice of Public Scoping for Possible Updates and Revisions to DNR Regulations is online at:

https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=177320

The link for the page with the individual documents is at:

http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/hottopics/

Shore Fishery under 11 AAC 64

http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/hottopics/reg_changes/ScopingNoticeShoreFishRegsChapter64.pdf

 


8. Across state, early salmon catches underweight

By DJ Summers, Alaska Journal of Commerce, June 24, 2015

“Big run, small fish,” is a Cordova fishermen’s rule of thumb that seems to be holding true for salmon in 2015, particularly in the areas adjacent to the Gulf of Alaska.

Workers statewide from offices of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, or ADFG, are just beginning to notice an early in-season trend of smaller-than-average fish. Throughout the state’s early season salmon fisheries, particularly sockeye and chum, fish are coming in shorter and lighter for their age.

“It’s still pretty early in the game,” said ADFG fisheries scientist Eric Volk. “That being said, fish are a little bit smaller than they usually are. It may not be a pattern this early, but we have seen declines in size-at-age.”

Even seasoned fishermen are puzzled.

“We’ve seen small fish before,” said Jerry McCune, president of both Cordova District Fishermen United and United Fishermen of Alaska. “But nothing like this.”…

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/June-Issue-4-2015/Across-state-early-salmon-catches-underweight/

 


9. KDLG Bristol Bay Fisheries Report July 5, 2015

KDLG by Molly Dischner – July 5, 2015

Still looking for someone to tell us if we’ve hit the peak, but FRI says the crystal ball has a crack in it.

Today we ask Area Manager Tim Sands for a west side update and hear a conversation about fisheries management between KDLG’s Dave Bendinger and Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten.

http://kdlg.org/post/bristol-bay-fisheries-report-july-5-2015

 


10.  ADFG 2015 Inseason Alaska Commercial Salmon Summary

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=commercialbyfisherysalmon.bluesheetsummary

 


11.  Gov. Walker Changes Wade Hampton Census District Name to Kusilvak

July 2, 2015 JUNEAU—Governor Bill Walker announced today the State of Alaska will rename a census district to Kusilvak Census Area.

Governor Walker sent a letter yesterday to the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau, John H. Thompson, informing him of the state’s intention to officially change the name of the area in Western Alaska currently known as the Wade Hampton Census District. The census district stretches along the coast of the Bering Sea and up the Lower Yukon River, surrounding and encompassing the Village of Hooper Bay and 19 other village communities.

“This area is a strong cultural region whose First People primarily speak Yup’ik,” Governor Walker said. “The original naming of this census district was completed over a century ago without the knowledge and consent of the area’s residents. The current name has no connection to the culture or the history of our land or people. I will instead recognize this district as the ‘Kusilvak Census Area’ to honor the wishes of its residents. Alaska’s place names should reflect and respect the diversity of our great state.”

&&&

New name suggested for Wade Hampton census area named after slave owner

http://www.adn.com/article/20150619/new-name-suggested-alaska-census-area-named-after-slave-owner

UFA Commercial Fishing Facts for Wade Hampton (now Kusilvak) Census District:http://www.ufafish.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/29.-Wade-Hamptom-Census-Area-2014-v4.2.pdf

The Kusilvak Census Area has 1200+ commercial fishermen & crew.

 


12.Gov. Walker: Conversations with Alaskans aim to build a sustainable future

Alaska Dispatch News May 31, 2015

Next weekend, Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott and I will kick off a series of conversations about the future of our state.

The essence of these conversations is: What do we want our state to look like? What services do we want our government to provide? How will we pay for those services?

As most of you know, the price of oil fell precipitously over the past year, and with it, Alaska’s biggest source of revenue. Alaska’s budget for the coming year proposes to spend $5 billion in state general funds. We expect to receive only $2 billion in general fund revenue. That leaves a gap of $3 billion.

When your family’s income plummets, you have two basic options: spend less, and earn more. The State of Alaska is no different.

http://www.adn.com/article/20150531/gov-walker-conversations-alaskans-aim-build-sustainable-future

& Walker Kicks off Dialogue on Fiscal Future – Governor’s press release June 4:

http://gov.alaska.gov/Walker/press-room/full-press-release.html?pr=7199

Home page: Building a Sustauinable Future: Conversations with Alaskans

http://gov.alaska.gov/sustainablefuture

&&&&&

My Turn: Solving Alaska’s budget problem, By Kate Troll

…for the Juneau Empire, June 28, 2015 – 12:07am

Former Gov. Frank Murkowski recently wrote an oped for the Juneau Empire advocating the establishment of a Permanent Fund endowment system for partially funding state government. After attending Gov. Bill Walker’s “Building a Sustainable Future” forum in Fairbanks and listening to excellent presentations on budget and revenue options, I agree with former Gov. Murkowski about creating an endowment plan with the earnings of the Permanent Fund. In particular, I agree with former Gov. Murkowski’s emphasis on the endowment plan being “an important building block in securing Alaska’s future”…

…You can get a taste of what we got to do in Fairbanks by downloading the model at http://gov.alaska.gov/sustainablefuture. Better yet, there likely will be follow-up conversations and forums here in Juneau as those in attendance from the capital city are discussing how best to replicate the Sustainable Future experience for our community…

http://juneauempire.com/opinion/2015-06-28/my-turn-solving-alaskas-budget-problem

 


13. Alaska falls furthest among states affected by oil price collapse

Pat Forgey, Alaska Dispatch News, June 24, 2015

JUNEAU — The nation’s top oil-producing states powered through the last recession with barely a hitch, but now the collapse in oil prices is hobbling budgets in Alaska and elsewhere.

But a new report says none is facing the same budget strains that Alaska is, highlighting differences in state tax structures.

“The oil boom drove North Dakota’s revenue growth, while declines in Alaska oil production and cuts in petroleum taxes pushed Alaska tax revenue down,” the report said, contrasting a near-tripling of North Dakota revenues with a 57 percent decline in Alaska.

The report from the Rockefeller Institute of Government at the State University of New York documents a 2.1 percent increase in state government revenues nationally. Such revenue growth usually lags behind an economic recovery, sometimes because states have intentionally cut their taxes, sometimes because sales taxes haven’t recovered to pre-recession levels because consumer spending hasn’t fully recovered.

But the June report also singled out several states where energy production plays a particularly important part in the economy and the financing of government, including Texas, Louisiana, Wyoming, West Virginia, New Mexico and Oklahoma, along with Alaska and North Dakota.

Nowhere, the Rockefeller report stated, were energy production taxes as important to government finances as in Alaska, where in 2008 they provided 79 percent of tax revenue.

Alaska Dispatch News article: http://www.adn.com/article/20150624/alaska-falls-furthest-among-states-affected-oil-price-collapse

Rockefeller Institute report: http://www.adn.com/sites/default/files/Rockefeller%20Institute%20Report.pdf

 


14. Notice of adopted changes to Alaska Board of Fisheries regulations – Regs from this spring’s meetings

Statewide Shellfish; Supplemental Finfish Issues

During its March 17–20, 2015 Statewide Shrimp, Dungeness Crab, Misc. Shellfish and Supplemental Issues meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, the Alaska Board of Fisheries adopted regulation changes in Title 5 of the Alaska Administrative Code dealing with certain shrimp, Dungeness crab, and miscellaneous shellfish fisheries, the red king crab fishery in Norton Sound, the Tanner crab fishery in the Bering Sea District, and the definition of anchor roller as it applies to salmon seine fishing vessels in the state.

Online Public Notice: https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=177338

&&&

SE Alaska and Yakutat Areas Finfish Fisheries (Part 2)

https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=177339

Board of Fisheries meeting pages:

Statewide Finfish and Supplemental Issues – March 8–12, 2016

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.meetinginfo&date=03-08-2016&meeting=anchorage

Southeast and Yakutat Finfish (including salmon, herring, groundfish) – February 23–March 3, 2015

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

 


15. Comment deadline July 27 on ADFG Sport Fish Strategic Plan 2015-2020

No public notice found but it’s posted on the sportfish home page at:

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

Send comments to dfg.dsf.strategicplan@alaska.gov

Draft plan: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static-f/fishing/PDFs/sport/strategic_plan_2015_draft.pdf

 


16. Kenai Peninsula Borough Habitat Protections Face Possible Repeal

Quinton Chandler/KBBI, Friday, June 26, 2015

The Borough’s Anadromous Waters Habitat Protection areas have been mired in controversy ever since the protections were extended to include all anadromous waterways in the Kenai Peninsula Borough area. The current law prohibits any kind of land development within 50 feet of the protected waters’ shorelines. A few waterways are excluded from the law, including waters in the Seward-Bear Creek Flood Service Area. Assembly Member Wayne Ogle of Nikiski is a cosponsor of ordinance 2015-14 along with Kelly Wolf of Kenai and Dale Bagley of Soldotna. The measure would reduce the anadromous habitat protection areas to just the Kasilof and Kenai River Watersheds.

http://kbbi.org/habitat-protections-face-possible-repeal

UFA Kenai Peninsula Borough fish facts sheet:

http://www.ufafish.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/16.-Kenai-Peninsula-Borough-2014-v4.4.pdf

 


17. Chemical tags in ear bones track Alaska’s Bristol Bay salmon

Michelle Ma – UW Today (May 15)

A chemical signature recorded on the ear bones of Chinook salmon from Alaska’s Bristol Bay region could tell scientists and resource managers where they are born and how they spend their first year of life.

This bone, called an otolith, accumulates layers as a fish grows, similar to trees. These “growth rings” are produced throughout a salmon’s life. Scientists can tell where the fish lived by matching the chemical signatures of the otolith with the chemical signatures of the water in which they swim, according to a study published May 15 in the online, open-access journal Science Advances.

Study:

http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/1/4/e1400124

UW Today story:

http://www.washington.edu/news/2015/05/15/chemical-tags-in-ear-bones-track-alaskas-bristol-bay-salmon/

 


18. Comment by July 21 on AMHS 2015-2016 Winter Ferry Schedule –mtg. 7/22

The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) has scheduled two teleconferences to take public comments on its proposed vessel deployment and 2015-2016 Winter schedule.

A teleconference to hear comments and consider adjustments is scheduled for Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. for Southeast Alaska schedules and at 1:30 p.m. for Southwest and Southcentral Alaska schedules. The meeting will be held at the AMHS Ketchikan Central Office, 7559 North Tongass Highway for participants wishing to attend in person.

The toll free number to participate by teleconference is 1-800-315-6338, conference

code 03902#. The link to access the proposed schedule, draft operating plan and vessel deployment is: http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/share/schedule/considerations.pdf.

Please provide written comments prior to July 21, 2015. Comments may be faxed to 907-586-8365 or emailed to dot.amhs.comments@alaska.gov.

Online public notice: https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=177391

&&&

Ferry sailings take budget hit – Some SE communities will lose service for month

Juneau Empire (July 2): http://juneauempire.com/state/2015-07-02/ferry-sailings-take-budget-hit

 


19. Abandoned vessels litter Alaska’s shorelines while officials work on a fix

Alaska Dispatch News by Lisa Demer – July 4, 2015

BETHEL — Rusting relics of industry gone by cut into the banks of a well-traveled slough off the Kuskokwim River, oozing fuel and gradually disintegrating — a decaying steamboat here, abandoned barges there, even a dismantled tug…

The cost of removing the hundreds of abandoned and derelict vessels littering shorelands around the state is easily in the tens of millions of dollars, say members of a task force trying to turn around the situation…

https://www.adn.com/article/20150704/abandoned-vessels-litter-alaskas-shorelines-while-officials-work-fix

Alaska Clean Harbors Derelict Vessels home page: http://alaskacleanharbors.org/resources/harbor-management/derelict-vessels/

 


National

20. Alaska trollers outraged by low king salmon quota set by Pacific Salmon Commission

Quota of 237,000 Chinook salmon shows broken forecast system

June 26 2015

(SitNews) Juneau, Alaska – Members of the Alaska Trollers Association are expressing outrage that the Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC) has capped Alaska’s harvest of king salmon this summer at 237,000 fish. With the summer troll season set to begin this week, trollers are caught in a technical dispute among commission members over how many king salmon are expected to return to spawn in rivers along the West Coast.

The Pacific Salmon Commission implements the U.S.- Canada Pacific Salmon Treaty, which governs how many king salmon can be caught by Canada and Alaska…

The 2015 forecast predicts the third-largest fall run, and other Columbia River stocks are already making a huge showing, causing fishermen to doubt the validity of the low abundance estimate for Alaska.

http://www.sitnews.us/0615News/062615/062615_salmon_quota.html

&&&

Salmon abundance model will be focus of treaty negotiation

By DJ Summers, Alaska Journal of Commerce

An international treaty is broken, Southeast fishermen say, and nobody seems to care except Alaska.

The Pacific Salmon Commission has allocated half as many chinook salmon to Southeast troll fleets this year as it did in 2014, even though the Southeast and Pacific Northwest king stocks are predicted to be as healthy as they’ve ever been…

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/July-Issue-1-2015/Salmon-abundance-model-will-be-focus-of-treaty-negotiation/

 


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

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) thanked members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation for approving S. 1611, the Coast Guard Authorization Act, with several key provisions vital to Alaskans’ interests. Senator Sullivan is an original cosponsor of this legislation.

“I want to thank my colleagues for passing from the Committee a bill that demonstrates a renewed commitment to the U.S. Coast Guard, which serves countless Alaskans in every corner of our state,” said Senator Sullivan. “This bill also includes important provisions for Alaska’s commercial fishermen, transfers federal lands back into the hands of Alaskans, and encourages progress on expanding our icebreaker fleet.”

Specifically S.1611 includes:

•         The Maritime Lien Reform Act, which would protect the permits of commercial fishermen from being subject to maritime liens, which makes them vulnerable in federal bankruptcy courts.

•         The Port Spencer Land Conveyance Act, which conveys land at Point Spencer to the Bering Straits Native Corporation and the State of Alaska for potential infrastructure development.

•         A land conveyance in Tok, which will allow the Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) to continue operating the Tok Area Counseling Center, the only behavioral health center in the region.

•         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.

•         Language that would pave the way for growing America’s polar icebreaker fleet by allowing the Coast Guard to pay for a polar icebreaker incrementally, rather than requiring full funding in a single year. The bill would also require the Coast Guard to determine the feasibility of refurbishing the icebreaker, “Polar Sea,” which has been laid up since suffering a catastrophic engine failure in 2010.

In addition, Senator Sullivan championed the following four amendments that were adopted by the Commerce Committee:

•         The Pribilof Islands Transition Act Amendments of 2015, which would finalize land transfers and conveyances owed to the people of St. Paul under the Fur Seal Act Amendments of 1983 and the Pribilof Transition Act of 2000.

•         The Vessel Incident Discharge Act, which provides a permanent exemption from Environmental Protection Agency incidental vessel discharge regulation for commercial vessels under 79 feet in length, and all fishing vessels. The current exemption expires in December 2017.

•         Cosponsored an amendment sponsored by Sen. Cantwell (D-WA), which extends combat-related special compensation to members of the Coast Guard, commensurate with other branches of the military.

•         Cosponsored an amendment sponsored by Sen. Cantwell (D-WA), which authorizes $4 million in FY2016, and $10 million FY2017 for a feasibility study, specification development, and any other pre-acquisition activities necessary for procuring a polar icebreaker.

S.1611 would authorize funding to support the mission and needs of the Coast Guard through 2017. The Coast Guard Authorization Act next advances to the Senate floor…

Senator Dan Sullivan press release in AK Business Monthly 6/29):

http://www.akbizmag.com/Government/Bill-Strengthens-Coast-Guard-Protects-Alaskas-Fishermen-Transfers-Federal-Lands-to-Alaska-Buoys-Expansion-of-Icebreaker-Fleet/

S. 1611 – Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015  – bill text and tracking: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.uscongress/legislation.114s1611

 


 22. North Pacific Council cuts halibut bycatch caps; critics say it’s not enough

By Rachel Waldholz, KCAW – Sitka | June 8, 2015

After several days of emotional testimony, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council voted on Sunday afternoon to reduce limits on halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea – by 21 percent overall.

Many in the groundfish fleet say it will take a big toll on their industry. But halibut fishermen in the Bering Sea say the cut isn’t big enough to save their communities.

The debate pitted small boats against big boats, and Alaskans against fleets largely based in Seattle — and in the end, didn’t please many people.

AK Public Media story & audio: http://www.alaskapublic.org/2015/06/08/north-pacific-council-cuts-bycatch-caps-critics-say-its-not-enough/

NPFMC Halibut Bycatch Overview: http://www.npfmc.org/halibut-bycatch-overview/

 


23. NPFMC June Newsletter now online – items from the June meeting.

…Documents, handouts, and motions are still available through links on that meeting’s Agenda.

Halbiut bycatch… Next steps for BSAI Halibut… Observer Program 2014 Annual Report and Supplemental EA… BSAI Trawl CV Observers.., Electronic Monitoring, Tendering.. and call for nominations…

The Council is soliciting nominations for an Amendment 80 representative for the Observer Advisory Committee. Additionally, nominations are being taken for a Ecoystem Committee seat that has subsistence and rural Alaska interests.

Nominations for both these seats are due June 25…

Meeting page: http://www.npfmc.org/upcoming-council-meetings/

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

 


24. Comment on NOAA’s Bycatch Efforts – deadline July 10

NOAA Fisheries wants to hear your thoughts on how we can better address bycatch…

New Agency Bycatch Strategy

We are taking a fresh look at our approaches to reducing bycatch and release mortality with a view toward revising the NOAA Fisheries Bycatch Strategy. With your help, we will build on past successes to develop new, innovative approaches to reduce and minimize bycatch.

Examining Various Approaches

Bycatch is a complex issue that involves many topics including monitoring, research, implementation and management, enforcement, and evaluating program effectiveness. We also strive to communicate to ensure our efforts are well understood and to foster effective partnerships. We are interested in hearing your opinions and ideas on effective solutions to managing bycatch within these areas.

Questions to Consider

We are particularly interested in your feedback on the following questions:

•           What do we do well?

•           What can we do better? How can we improve our effectiveness?

•           Are there specific science and management approaches we should emphasize?

•           How should we prioritize our activities?

•           What kind of incentives would help fishermen to minimize bycatch?

•           How can we use partnerships to be more effective?

Please provide your input by July 10 to nmfs.bycatch@noaa.gov. We will provide additional information and opportunities for input throughout this process.

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/by_catch/comments.html

 


 25. Comment deadline August 21 on Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Progress Report on Cooperative Halibut Prohibited Species Catch Minimization (Amendment 80 fleet)

This request is for revision of an existing information collection.

The purpose of this collection is for each sector in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI) groundfish fisheries to inform the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council (Council) of their progress on voluntary, non-regulatory methods they are using within their fishery cooperatives to reduce halibut mortality and to report the effectiveness of those actions in absolute reductions in halibut mortality.

Federal Register notice June 22: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-15235

 


26. U.S. Commerce Department announces 2015 regional fishery council appointments

The U.S. Commerce Department today announced the appointment of 30 new and returning members to the eight regional fishery management councils that partner with NOAA Fisheries to manage ocean fish stocks. The new and reappointed council members begin their three-year terms on August 11…

North Pacific Council

The North Pacific Council includes members from Alaska and Washington. The appointees for 2015 will fill two obligatory seats for Alaska and an obligatory seat for Washington.

Obligatory seats:

*Howard “Dan” Hull (Alaska)

Andrew D. Mezirow (Alaska)

*Craig A. Cross (Washington)

http://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/mediacenter/2015/06/19_06_council_appts_2015.html

 


27. Murkowski Urges Federal Action on Abandoned and Derelict Vessel Danger in Alaska

Senator, Colleagues Send Letter to Federal Government Seeking Answers, Follow Through for Rural Alaska Safety Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski joined 21 members of Congress in reaching out to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), seeking answers and follow through from the federal government to address the national concern of abandoned and derelict vessels.

Scattered in many coastal or riverfront locations across Alaska, these ships pose serious navigational challenges by obstructing boat traffic flow and creating potential environmental risks if remaining fuel on board were to leak into the water.  In rural Alaskan communities, abandoned and derelict vessels also create dangerous hazards for snowmachiners when rivers are frozen over.

Over twenty years ago, the GAO conducted a study of the national problem posed by abandoned vessels; it confirmed the local threats posed by them – yet little action and follow through has taken place based off this report.  In a letter (attached) to the GAO, Senator Murkowski and her colleagues stressed the risks posed by these vessels, writing:

Derelict vessels block waterways impacting marine transportation and some have also become major sources of pollution.  The last time the GAO reviewed abandoned and derelict vessel policies was in 1992 (GAO/RCED-92-235).  At the time, GAO found that these vessels posed a significant threat to the environment and coastal economies.  The report made federal policy recommendations to both Congress and the Coast Guard to highlight this issue and proposed preventive solutions.  Yet some twenty years later, derelict vessels continue to impact our economies, and our environment.

The letter closes with a series of questions and calls to action…

Senator Murkowski press release June 2, 2015:

http://www.murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2015/6/murkowski-urges-federal-action-on-abandoned-and-derelict-vessel-danger-in-alaska

 


28. Murkowski Blasts “WOTUS” Rule on Senate Floor

Senator: Alaska Facing “Hike Costs” and “Suffocating” Delays

In a speech on the U.S. Senate floor, Senator Lisa Murkowski today outlined the wide range of threats to Alaska posed by the Environmental Protection Agency’s new “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule, which significantly expands the EPA’s ability to regulate more of Alaska’s land and water.

The rule includes provisions that give EPA control over areas within 4,000 feet of a jurisdictional “water”– using a dubious methodology that fails to take into account the on-the-ground reality for states like Alaska.  The rule poses additional obstacles to responsible economic development and private construction in Interior areas like Fairbanks and coastal areas like Juneau.  At the same time, it will significantly hike costs and delay renewable hydropower projects in Southeast Alaska…

Senator Murkowski press release June 25: http://www.murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2015/6/murkowski-blasts-wotus-rule-on-senate-floor

&&

Murkowski Blocks “Waters of the U.S.” Rule Through Interior Bill (6/15/2015)

http://www.murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2015/6/murkowski-blocks-waters-of-the-u-s-rule-through-interior-bill

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

 


29. State Joins Lawsuit Challenging EPA and Corps over EPA Waters of the US

June 29, 2015 JUNEAU – Governor Bill Walker announced today that the State of Alaska will join North Dakota and 10 other states in challenging the recently finalized “waters of the United States” rule adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps). The new rule attempts to define what waters are covered by the Clean Water Act, resulting in the need for a federal permit. However, instead of clarifying federal law, the rule has left states with more questions.

“This final rule will likely have detrimental impacts on development in Alaska,” said Governor Walker. “In addition to being incredibly expansive, the rule is also unclear. It will only lead to more expensive permitting and legal fights over ‘what is in’ and ‘what is out’ under the federal law.”

Governor Walker press release 6/29/2015: http://gov.alaska.gov/Walker/press-room/full-press-release.html?pr=7220

 


30. NMFS removes three VMS EMTU units from approved list

This document provides notice that three enhanced mobile transceiver units (EMTU) that were previously approved for use to comply with vessel monitoring system (VMS) requirements in United States federal fisheries are no longer approved for use. This document also provides a link to the continually updated, online list of NOAA Fisheries Service Type-Approved VMS Units…

To obtain copies of the list of NMFS-approved VMS mobile transmitting units and NMFS-approved VMS communications service providers (including specifications), please go to: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ole/about/our_programs/vessel_monitoring.html, and click on the “Approved VMS Units” link.

You may also contact the VMS Support Center at phone (888) 219-9228, fax (301) 427-0049, or write to NMFS Office for Law Enforcement (OLE), VMS, 1315 East West Highway, Suite 3301, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910…

Federal Register notice June 5, 2015: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-13675

NOAA Fisheries Vessel Monitoring page: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ole/about/our_programs/vessel_monitoring.html

Approved VMS units (528K pdf download):

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ole/docs/2015/040815_noaa_fisheries_service_type.pdf

 


31. ‘Northern Edge’ Navy Exercises Marred By Communication Problems

By Zachariah Hughes, KSKA – Anchorage | June 25, 2015

The military is winding down Northern Edge, the largest training exercise held in Alaska. Assets from across all branches of the military were brought in for war games in Anchorage and the Gulf of Alaska since June 15th. Normally, the exercise happens every two years, but in 2013 budget sequestration led to its cancellation. That irregular time gap contributed substantially to feelings among environmentalists and coastal communities that communication from the military has been inadequate…

AK Public Media story: http://www.alaskapublic.org/2015/06/25/northern-edge-gets-a-mixed-welcome-in-alaska/

On edge: Planned Gulf of Alaska military exercise stirs opposition in coastal towns

http://www.adn.com/article/20150604/edge-planned-gulf-alaska-military-exercise-stirs-opposition-coastal-towns

 


32. NOAA National Ocean Service podcast – An Ocean of Commerce

From exports to imports, production jobs, and tourism, the ocean dollar stretches from the coast all the way to the heartland.

http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/podcast/june15/dd61-oceaneconomy.html

Economics – National Ocean Watch dataset through 2012:

http://coast.noaa.gov/dataregistry/search/collection/info/enow

 


33. NOAA Spring 2015 Semiannual Agenda of Regulations

In compliance with Executive Order 12866, entitled “Regulatory Planning and Review,” and the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended, 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. Rulemaking actions are grouped according to prerulemaking, proposed rules, final rules, long-term actions, and rulemaking actions completed since the fall 2014 agenda. The purpose of the Agenda is to provide information to the public on regulations that are currently under review, being proposed, or issued by Commerce. The agenda is intended to facilitate comments and views by interested members of the public…

Commerce’s spring 2015 regulatory agenda includes regulatory activities that are expected to be conducted during the period April 1, 2015, through March 31, 2016…

Alaska items include…

43. • Revision of Skate Maximum Retainable Amounts in the Gulf of Alaska Groundfish Fishery

56. Amendment 97 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska To Establish Chinook Salmon Prohibited Species Catch Limits for the Non-Pollock Trawl Fisheries

61. Amendment 100 to the FMP for Groundfish of the BSAI Management Area and Amendment 91 to the FMP for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska To Add Grenadiers to the Ecosystem Component Category

62. Implementation of a Gulf of Alaska Trawl Fishery Economic Data Collection Program

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

84. Amendment 96 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska To Revise the Community Quota Entity Program

88. Steller Sea Lion Protection Measures for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Groundfish Fisheries Off Alaska

Federal register notice June 18, 2015: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-14504

 


34.CIE peer review on AK Crab General Model and BB Red King Crab Assessment June 29-July 1, Seattle

NMFS has requested the Center for Independent Experts (CIE) meet to conduct a peer review of the agency’s stock assessment of the General Model for Alaskan Crabs Stocks (GMACs) and its implementation for Bristol Bay Red King Assessment (BBRKC)…

The workshop will be held June 29-July 1, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m… at the Alaska Fishery Science Center (AFSC), 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Building 4, Conference Room, Seattle, WA.

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-13989

 


35. Comment deadline now July 27 on USCG Seafarers’ Access to Maritime Facilities Advance Notice of proposed Rulemaking

The Coast Guard is reopening the public comment period for the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled “Seafarers’ Access to Maritime Facilities,” which published in the Federal Register on December 29, 2014. The NPRM proposed 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…

Federal Register notice May 27, 2015 – reopening of comment period: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-12657

Federal Register June 9 – date correction only: https://federalregister.gov/a/C1-2015-12657

Original comment notice December 29, 2014: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-30013

 


36. Council Coordination Committee meeting June 22-25, Key West Florida

CCC home page: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/management/councils/ccc/ccc.htm

Federal Register notice:  https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-13087

 


37. Nominations sought for open positions on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee, deadline July 20, 2015.   

The Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC) is seeking nominations to fill vacancies coming this fall due to term limits.  MAFAC advises the Secretary of Commerce on all living marine resource matters that are the responsibility of the Department of Commerce.  The Committee draws on its members’ expertise and other sources to evaluate and make recommendations to the Secretary and NOAA on the development and implementation of Department regulations, policies, and programs critical to the mission and goals of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

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

Alaska’s representatives Julie Bonney and Heather Brandon’s terms are not up for renewal this year.

 


38. NMFS posts Final Rule on Alaska Charter halibut regulations

NMFS issues regulations that revise Federal regulations regarding sport fishing guide services for Pacific halibut in International Pacific Halibut Commission Regulatory Areas 2C (Southeast Alaska) and 3A (Central Gulf of Alaska). The regulations remove the requirement that a guided sport (charter) vessel guide be on board the same vessel as a charter vessel angler to meet the definition of providing sport fishing guide services. This final rule clarifies that all sport fishing for halibut in which anglers receive assistance from a compensated guide would be managed under charter fishery regulations, and all harvest (except halibut harvested under the Guided Angler Fish Program) would accrue toward charter allocations. This final rule aligns Federal regulations with State of Alaska regulations. This final rule makes additional minor changes to the regulatory text pertaining to the charter halibut fishery to maintain consistency in the regulations with these new definitions. This action is necessary to achieve the halibut fishery management goals of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council…

https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-15085

NOAA Alaska sport halibut page: https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/halibut/sport.htm

 


39. IUU Task force seeks input on minimum info for seafood traceability – by July 31

Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud Action Plan for Implementing Recommendations 14/15; Determining Types of Information and Operational Standards Related to Data Collection…

The National Ocean Council Committee on IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud (NOC Committee) is seeking public input on the minimum types of information necessary for an effective seafood traceability program to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud, as well as the operational standards related to collecting, verifying and securing that data…

Comments must be received by July 31, 2015…

Federal Register notice 7/1/2015 https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-16185

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

 


40. NOAA Recommends $25 Million in Saltonstall – Kennedy Grant Projects

Funds Will Benefit U.S. Fisheries, Fishermen, and Coastal Communities

June 25, 2015

Today, NOAA Fisheries announced that it is recommending 88 projects for a total of $25 million under the 2014-2015 Saltonstall-Kennedy (SK) Grant Program. This is the most significant amount of funding ever granted by NOAA under this decades-old program. The recommended projects — which represent every region of the country and U.S. territories — are listed below.

The goal of the SK program is to fund projects that address the needs of fishing communities, optimize economic benefits by building and maintaining sustainable fisheries, and increase other opportunities to keep working waterfronts viable. This year’s recommended projects fall into four broad themes and touch on every aspect of marine research, including socioeconomics, fishing gear and bycatch, aquaculture, fisheries management, and the effects of climate. The four themes are:

Maximizing fishing opportunities and jobs,

Improving key fisheries observations,

Increasing the quality and quantity of domestic seafood, and

Improving fishery information from U.S. territories.

At this point in the selection process, the application approval and funds obligation is not final…

(Six Alaska projects are recommended see them at the link below)

NOAA Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program home page:

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/mb/financial_services/skhome.htm

 


41. Reminder: Comment deadline July 20 on ESA Humpback Whale de-listing

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

Federal Register April 21, 2015: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-09010

NOAA Humpback Whale ESA page: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals/whales/humpback-whale.html

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

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

 


42. Ketchikan Resource Advisory Committee meets July 22

The Ketchikan Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet in Ketchikan, Alaska. The committee is authorized under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (the Act) and operates in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The purpose of the committee is to improve collaborative relationships and to provide advice and recommendations to the Forest Service concerning projects and funding consistent with Title II of the Act. The meeting is open to the public. Additional RAC information, including the meeting agenda and the meeting summary/minutes can be found at the following Web site: https://wwwls.usda.gov/pts/ .

The meeting will be held July 22, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. All RAC meetings are subject to cancellation…

The meeting will be held at the Ketchikan Misty Fiords Ranger District, 3031 Tongass Avenue, Ketchikan, Alaska.

A conference line has been set up for those wishing to listen in by telephone..

Federal Register (July 6): https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-16318

 


43. What If the Oceans Were National Parks?

By Matt Thompson, The Atlantic, June 29, 2015

Ocean conservationists want to bring the same approach to the ocean that the century-old National Park Service brought to the land…

Next year will mark the centennial of the U.S. National Park Service. In the 100 years since it was established, the national parks have become one of America’s most popular federal programs. Now, marine scientists and conservationists want to do for the oceans what the National Park Service did for the land…

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/06/oceans-as-national-parks/397133/

 


Marketing

44. ASMI budget cuts force group to refocus marketing strategy

By DJ Summers, Alaska Journal of Commerce, June 24, 2015

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute will have to refocus some of its marketing strategies in the wake of a budget that left few Alaska state agencies unscathed.

Both marketing and management for Alaska fisheries took some hits from the budget deficit and the ensuing cuts to state services.

The Division of Commercial Fisheries in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, funded partially by unrestricted general funds, took a big cut that will hamper salmon research projects throughout the state, according to division director Jeff Regnart.

The Legislature’s cuts to unrestricted general funds also fund the commercial fishing industry’s marketing arm.

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, or ASMI, is a joint operation of the state of Alaska and the seafood industry intended to expand Alaska fish in domestic and international markets. Other private seafood marketing organizations exist, but ASMI has the most funding in part because of its co-ownership by the state.

Roughly half of ASMI’s funds come from a voluntary 0.5 percent fish tax on the ex-vessel price of Alaska seafood landings…

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/June-Issue-4-2015/ASMI-budget-cuts-force-group-to-refocus-marketing-strategy/

 


45.Silver Bay calls for binding arbitration to resolve MSC salmon dispute

By Neil Ramsden, Undercurrent News, June 24, 2015

Trident Seafoods and other companies vying to get back into Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Alaska salmon group, the Alaska Salmon Processors Association (ASPA), are yet to respond on an offer made last week.

Last week, ASPA offered to let salmon processors looking to rejoin the eco-label do so, at the cost of 3% of the first wholesale price of their salmon going to ASPA members.

Now, it has instead requested to take the case to an independent arbitrator.

“We’ve had no definitive statement from the Trident group on either the offer, or arbitration,” Rob Zuanich, ASPA member and managing partner with Silver Bay Seafoods, told Undercurrent News.

Failing the acceptance of this offer — to pay 3% of wholesale prices in order to gain the use of the MSC label — ASPA wishes to take the case to an arbitration. In this instance, an arbitrator’s decision would be binding and final.

“We firmly believe the Alaska salmon industry would be well served by a prompt and equitable resolution of this matter,” said Zuanich. “A binding resolution should achieve that objective.”

http://www.undercurrentnews.com/2015/06/24/silver-bay-calls-for-binding-arbitration-to-resolve-msc-salmon-dispute/

&&&

 Alaska salmon MSC mediation process fails

http://www.undercurrentnews.com/2015/06/09/alaska-salmon-msc-mediation-process-fails/

 


46. Community-supported fishery program expands to bring fresh seafood to Fairbanks

By Kris Capps, Fairbanks News Miner

FAIRBANKS — Not all of us have time to drive to Chitina for the weekend in hopes of catching salmon to fill our freezer. There is, however, another way to make sure fresh salmon is on hand.

For the first time, the Alaska Marine Conservation Council is expanding its Catch of the Season program to Fairbanks.

Catch of the Season is a community-supported fishery (CSF) that allows Interior Alaskans to buy shares of sockeye salmon from Bristol Bay. It’s a one-time delivery offer for this summer if you order by June 24 for delivery July 1 or 2.

“There is a lot of demand for seafood in general but definitely for salmon,” said Samantha Baker of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council.

Last summer, the council launched the program in Anchorage, and according to Baker, “It went gangbusters.”

Fairbanks News Miner: http://www.newsminer.com/features/food/community-supported-fishery-program-expands-to-bring-fresh-seafood-to/article_b446a698-1524-11e5-ae1b-d7df4a8e1400.html

AMCC Catch of the Season home page: http://www.akmarine.org/working-waterfronts/catch-of-the-season/

 


47. Supporting sustainable fisheries, one bite at a time

By Jennifer Nu | For the Capital City Weekly

Summer is here in Southeast Alaska, and the fishing season is off to a glorious start. With the start of the season comes a fresh opportunity to get involved with Alaskan’s Own, a Sitka-based community supported fishery that offers a subscription-based monthly basket of fish to customers in Juneau, Sitka, Anchorage, and Seattle. As Alaska’s only CSF, this summer initiative supports the sustainable fisheries and local ocean conservation efforts of the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust, a nonprofit organization in Southeast Alaska.

Subscriptions are still open for the four-month program until July 12, according to Caroline Lester, the project manager at Alaskan’s Own. A full share provides 40 pounds of seafood for the summer, roughly 10 pounds of seafood per month. Half shares offer 20 pounds of summer seafood at 5 pounds delivered each month….

http://www.capitalcityweekly.com/stories/062415/out_1251996517.shtml

Alaskan’s Own home page: http://www.alfafish.org/alaskans-own.html

Note that Alaskan’s own is no longer Alaska’s only CSF!

 


48. Paine & Partners Enters into Agreements to Sell Icicle Seafoods

NEW YORK, June 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Paine & Partners, LLC (“Paine & Partners”), a global private equity investment firm focused on investing in food and agribusiness, and Icicle Holdings, Inc. (“Icicle” or the “Company”), today announced that they have entered into agreements to sell Icicle to Convergence Holdings, Inc. (“Convergence”) and to Dominion Catchers, LLC (“Dominion”). Under the transactions, Convergence will acquire Icicle’s land-based wild seafood processing and farmed salmon activities, and Dominion will acquire the Company’s harvesting and processing vessels as well as the associated fishing rights.  Convergence and Dominion have agreed to enter into long-term contracts to continue Icicle’s diversified seafood operations following the completion of the transactions.  Financial terms of the transactions and of the agreement between Convergence and Dominion were not disclosed.

“We are pleased about this announcement, under which Icicle will move forward with long-term owners who firmly share Icicle’s commitment to quality and sustainability,” said Chris Ruettgers, Chief Executive Officer of Icicle.  “Convergence and its affiliates have extensive industry experience that will allow for continued investment in Icicle’s business.”

Mr. Ruettgers continued, “On behalf of everyone at Icicle, I would also like to thank Paine & Partners, which has been a valued strategic partner over the last eight years.  With Paine & Partners’ support, we grew our business, enhanced our operations and improved our ability to serve our diverse customer mix.”

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/paine–partners-enters-into-agreements-to-sell-icicle-seafoods-300105529.html

 


Fish Farm and Environmental

49. My Turn: Red Chris mine poses great risk By Rep. Dan Ortiz

For the Juneau Empire… June 28, 2015

I have previously written and spoken about how important the seafood industry is to Alaska’s economy, especially to those of us who live in Southeast Alaska. The industry accounted for 18 percent of all private-sector resident earnings in Southeast Alaska in 2011, according to a McDowell Group report…

Last week, Canada-based Imperial Metals, the same company responsible for last year’s Mount Polley mine tailings dam failure in B.C.’s salmon-rich Fraser River watershed, gained a final operating permit for a similarly designed, much larger copper-gold mine called Red Chris in the transboundary Stikine River watershed.

While our mining industry in Alaska takes great care to design world-class mines that allow Alaskans to have both development and safe salmon, Canada does not ask its mines to reach the same high standards of operation. Red Chris, the first mine to operate in a shared B.C./AK watershed in recent years, poses great risk to Alaska…

http://juneauempire.com/opinion/2015-06-28/my-turn-red-chris-mine-poses-great-risk

 


50. Transboundary mines: Concerned Alaska Native, First Nation representatives attend Seabridge Gold annual meeting

By Mary Catharine Martin, Morris News Service-Alaska/Juneau Empire, June 26, 2015

Alaska Native and First Nation representatives had some questions for a Canadian mining company at its annual meeting, concerned about a project’s potential effects on their ancestral lands.

United Tribal Transboundary Mining Work Group representative Fred Olsen Jr., who is also tribal vice-president of the Organized Village of Kasaan, and Annita McPhee, former president of the Tahltan First Nation in British Columbia, this week attended the annual meeting of Seabridge Gold, the parent company of Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell. KSM is a large mine planned in the Unuk River watershed in British Columbia, which empties into Southeast Alaska. With Olsen and McPhee was Bonnie Gestring of Earthworks, an environmental organization that recently co-released, with Salmon Beyond Borders, a report questioning the investment value of the mine…

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/Breaking-News-2015/Concerned-Alaska-Native-First-Nation-representatives-attend-Seabridge-Gold-annual-meeting/

 


51. Mount Polley mine spill report released by B.C. Information and Privacy Commissioner

CBC News, July 2

Report examines whether or not the province withheld information about dangerous conditions

A report released by B.C.’s Information and Privacy Commissioner about the Mount Polley Mine disaster last summer reveals that the province had information that indicated a potential safety risk that it did not disclose to local residents — but it didn’t have to do so.

The commissioner examined records from the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Ministry of Environment from January 2009 to August 2014.

The report found that the information the ministries had about the mine did not meet provincial requirements to share the risks to residents. However, they did have information about two events — a tension crack and a “freeboard incident” — that they could have disclosed nonetheless.

CBC News: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/mount-polley-mine-spill-report-released-by-b-c-information-and-privacy-commissioner-1.3135555

 


52. Federal judge allows Pebble case against EPA to continue

By Elwood Brehmer, Alaska Journal of Commerce, June 10, 2015

Pebble Limited Partnership’s lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency will continue as a federal judge denied the agency’s motion to dismiss June 4.

U.S. Alaska District Court Judge H. Russel Holland concluded that while the EPA may not have established the three “anti-mine” groups as described by Pebble in its complaint — the Anti-Mine Coalition, Scientists and Assessment Team — agency staff could have utilized them to draft the pending determination to block development of Pebble’s copper and gold claims near Bristol Bay.

The mining organization’s attorneys argued during a May 28 hearing that the agency was in cahoots with area tribes and mine opposition groups for years prior to and during the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment process…

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/June-Issue-2-2015/Federal-judge-allows-Pebble-case-against-EPA-to-continue/

 


53. Conflicting Water Rights at the Heart of Chuitna Mining Debate

By Shady Grove Oliver, KBBI – Homer | June 22, 2015

PacRim Coal is proposing a strip mining operation on the west side of Cook Inlet, in the Chuitna watershed. It proposes removing the water completely from a tributary of the Chuitna River, which is a salmon stream.

On August 21st, there will be a public hearing in Anchorage about the reservation of water applications for the area near the proposed mine. The decision that follows could determine the possible future of the watershed…

AK Public Media story: http://www.alaskapublic.org/2015/06/22/conflicting-water-rights-at-the-heart-of-chuitna-mining-debate/

&&

ADN: If you enjoyed battling Pebble mine, you’ll love to fight Chuitna coal

http://www.adn.com/article/20150620/if-you-enjoyed-battling-pebble-mine-youll-love-fight-chuitna-coal

UFA 2010 Resolution Opposing Chuitna River Coal Mine Development

http://www.ufafish.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/2010-3-UFA-Resolution-Opposing-Chuitna-River-Coal-Mine-Dev.pdf

DNR Large Mines Chuitna home page: http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/mining/largemine/chuitna/

 


54. Comment deadline July 31 on Mulchatna / Stuyahok River water reservations for fish

Notice of Applications for Reservation of Water within Mulchatna River… & Stuyahok River …

…notice is hereby given that five applications… were received from the Southwest Alaska Salmon Habitat Partnership in collaboration with Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), Anchorage, Alaska 99518, to reserve water within Mulchatna River, near Dillingham, Alaska, for the purpose of maintaining specified instream flow rates to protect fishand wildlife habitat, migration, and propagation…

https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=177221

&&&

Extension of comment period – now July 31, 2015:

notice is hereby given that Alaska Mining Association requested anextension of the comment period beyond the original deadline of July 1st,2015. …

New comment deadline is July 31, 2015…

https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=177457

 


55. Comment deadline August 3 on Gulf of Alaska Oil & Gas exploration

Notice of Intent to Evaluate Oil and Gas Exploration License Proposal, Request for Additional Proposals, and Request for Comments on Exploration within Solicitation Area

The Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil and Gas (DO&G) intends to evaluate the acceptability of an oil and gas exploration license proposal for the Gulf of Alaska area (AS 38.05.133, AS 38.05.945(b), 11 AAC 82.912, and 11 AAC 82.918)…

Request for Comments on Exploration within the Solicitation Area

DO&G requests comments on exploration for oil and gas resources within the solicitation area (refer to map)…

Comments must be received by 5:00 p.m., August 3, 2015…

A person is eligible to file a request for reconsideration of the commissioner’s decision and file a subsequent appeal to the Superior Court only if the person has meaningfully participated in the process by either submitting written comment during the period for receipt of public comment or has presented oral testimony at a public hearing, if a public hearing was held, and is affected by the final written finding (AS 38.05.035(i))…

Online DNR public Notice:

https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=177009

8 June 2015 Notice of Intent to Evaluate Gulf of Alaska EL SA extended comment period.pdf (1 mb download – includes map)

https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/Attachment.aspx?id=100146

The proposal area extends from Icy Bay to the east side of the Copper River delta.

 


56. NOAA Fisheries mobilizes to gauge unprecedented West Coast toxic algal bloom

Offshore survey will measure extent and severity of largest harmful algal bloom in more than a decade June 2015 Contributed by Michael Milstein

The NWFSC has mobilized extra scientists to join a fisheries survey along the West Coast to chart an extensive harmful algal bloom that spans much of the West Coast and has triggered numerous closures of important shellfish fisheries in Washington, Oregon and California.

The bloom stretches from the Central California Coast north to Washington and possibly Alaska, and involves some of the highest concentrations of the natural toxin domoic acid ever observed in The next link/button will exit from NWFSC web site Monterey Bay and off the Central Oregon Coast. In early June elevated toxin levels led shellfish managers to The next link/button will exit from NWFSC web site close the southern Washington Coast to Dungeness crab fishing, the largest-ever closure of Washington’s multi-million-dollar crab fishery…

http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/news/features/west_coast_algal_bloom/index.cfm

&&

Toxic algae bloom arrives in Southeast Alaska – Juneau Empire June 19:

http://juneauempire.com/local/2015-06-19/toxic-algae-bloom-threatens-shellfish

 


57. Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Study Impacts of Ocean Acidification

Washington, D.C. – Representatives Don Young, Sam Farr (D-CA), and Lois Capps (D-CA) today introduced H.R. 2717, the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring (FOARAM) Act of 2015, to expand NOAA’s efforts to study the impacts of ocean acidification, which could threaten an estimated $350 billion blue economy that employees over 2.9 million people in the United States.

The bill addresses the need for a greater understanding of the economic, social and ecological impacts of ocean acidification. It will expand the current NOAA program by creating an advisory board to increase communication and coordination between the public and private sectors…

Congressman Don Young press release, June 10: http://donyoung.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=398307

 


58. Freshwater fish threatened by acidification (BC pink salmon study)

By Warren Cornwall, Science Magazine, June 29

Acidifying ocean water—a byproduct of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere—messes with saltwater fish in a variety of ways. Rockfish become more nervous. Clownfish can’t always detect predators, whereas the brown dottyback actually avoids the smell of injured prey.

But it turns out that saltwater fish aren’t the only ones affected. Pink salmon reared in CO2-rich fresh water showed many of the same signs as their marine brethren, according to a study published today in the journal Nature Climate Change. They were smaller, less fearful of predators, and less responsive to the chemicals that help guide adult salmon back to the streams where they hatched…

Science Magazine: http://news.sciencemag.org/climate/2015/06/freshwater-fish-threatened-acidification

 


59. Rising CO2 levels redistributing the world’s food fish: UBC study

Acidification, rising temperatures make ocean waters less hospitable to life

By Randy Shore, Vancouver Sun July 2, 2015

Ocean acidification and rising water temperatures caused by increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are changing the distribution of the world’s food fish, according to research led by scientists at the University of British Columbia.

“We can already see that fish in equatorial waters are moving toward the poles seeking cooler water,” said co-author William Cheung, a marine biologist.

Locally, fishing grounds and spawning rivers at the south end of the range for salmon could become inhospitable to them if global output of CO2 is not curtailed, he said…

http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Rising+levels+redistributing+world+food+fish+study/11183609/story.html

 


60. BP Agrees to Pay $18.7 Billion to Settle Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Claims

Settlement includes all federal and state claims

By Daniel Gilbert and Sarah Kent

Updated July 2, 2015 12:02 p.m. ET

82 COMMENTS

BP PLC agreed on Thursday to pay $18.7 billion to settle all federal and state claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in what U.S. authorities called the biggest settlement ever with a corporation.

If approved by a federal judge, the deal would conclude a monumental legal showdown over the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which killed 11 crew members aboard the drilling rig and caused the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The agreement would avert years of litigation over the environmental impact of the spill, which leaked millions of barrels of crude into the Gulf and coated hundreds of miles of sensitive beaches, marshes and mangroves.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/bp-agrees-to-pay-18-7-billion-to-settle-deepwater-horizon-oil-spill-claims-1435842739

 


61. Comment deadline August 18 on USCG info collection for claim forms under OPA 90 from oil spills. 

https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-15139

Hopefully we won’t need these forms again but if you have input on them from prior experience, here’s your chance.

 


62. Tongass National Forest; Alaska; Forest Plan Amendment -Notice Of Intent To Prepare An Environmental Impact Statement; Correction.

Summary

A Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement to amend the 2008 Tongass National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan) was published in the Federal Register (79 FR 30074) on May 27, 2014. The Tongass National Forest is publishing this corrected NOI due to changes in the anticipated dates for the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD, to designate a new responsible official for the plan amendment, and to clarify the pre-decisional administrative review process. The 2012 Planning Rule (36 CFR part 219) includes subpart B, which establishes a pre-decisional administrative review (hereinafter referred to as “objection”) process for plan amendments giving an individual or entity an opportunity for an independent Forest Service review and resolution of issues before the approval of a plan amendment documented with a ROD (reference 36 CFR part 219, subpart B). This Forest Plan Amendment is subject to the objection process…

The draft environmental impact statement is expected to be published in October 2015, which will begin a 90-day public comment period…

Federal Register notice June 23: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-15362

Federal Register notice May 27, 2015: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-12061

Tongass National Forest Land Management Plan home page: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/tongass/landmanagement/planning/?cid=stelprdb5402695

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

 


63. EPA posts Final Updated Ambient Water Quality Criteria for the Protection of Human Health

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published final updated ambient water quality criteria for the protection of human health. EPA updated its national recommended water quality criteria for human health for 94 chemical pollutants to reflect the latest scientific information and EPA policies, including updated body weight, drinking water consumption rate, fish consumption rate, bioaccumulation factors, health toxicity values, and relative source contributions. EPA accepted written scientific views from the public on the draft updated human health criteria from May to August 2014 and has published responses to those comments. EPA water quality criteria serve as recommendations to states and tribes authorized to establish water quality standards for surface waters under the Clean Water Act.

View the updated human health criteria table, science documents, Federal Register notice, and supporting materials at:

http://water.epa.gov/scitech/swguidance/standards/criteria/health/

Each of the 94 criteria documents can be accessed by clicking on the chemical names in this table.

http://water.epa.gov/scitech/swguidance/standards/criteria/current/index.cfm#hhtable

The Division of Water-Standards section is reviewing the recommended criteria as part of the Triennial Review process. For more information, please see the Water Quality Standards webpage at http://dec.alaska.gov/water/wqsar/wqs/index.htm

Federal register notice June 29: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-15912

 


64. NOAA Restoration Center PEIS posted

Notice Of Availability Of A Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.

…The National Marine Fisheries Service is providing notice that the Final NOAA Restoration Center (RC) Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) is complete and available. The NOAA RC proposes to fund or otherwise implement habitat restoration activities through its existing programmatic framework and related procedures. The NOAA RC programs, which are authorized to conserve and manage coastal and marine resources, will support, fund, or otherwise implement habitat restoration activities throughout the coastal United States.

NOAA RC identified a suite of appropriate restoration approaches that it believes will most effectively conserve and restore the coastal and marine resources, and the ecosystem services they provide under NOAA trusteeship. The PEIS evaluates the potential impacts to the human and natural environment of implementing these approaches and sets the stage so that future decisions by NOAA at the project-specific level can be documented as included under, or effectively tiered from, this programmatic analysis…

Although NOAA RC is not soliciting comments on this PEIS, we will consider any comments submitted that would assist us in preparing future NEPA documents. An electronic copy of the PEIS is available at: http://www.restoration.noaa.gov/environmentalcompliance.

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-14984

NOAA Restoration Center: http://www.habitat.noaa.gov/restoration/index.html

 


Enhancement

65. Kachemak Bay Park Residents Oppose Re-homing Hatchery Fish in Tutka Bay

Quinton Chandler/KBBI, Monday, June 29, 2015

Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association, positions itself as a group responsible for protecting and rehabilitating salmon stocks.

“One of the things we would like to do as an organization is to improve the economic structure of the commercial salmon industry within Cook Inlet. Raising pink salmon for additional harvest does that,” says Gary Fanderi.

Gary Fandrei, Executive Director of Cook Inlet Aquaculture, says right now they have a total of 12 net pens in the Tutka Bay Lagoon. The pens hold immature fish until they are ready to be released. They can handle about 100 million salmon fry. But, that is too many fish for the lagoon.

“The lagoon is a fairly confined area. When we release all 100 million fish from in the lagoon, they return to that lagoon when they return as adults,” says Fandrei.

When the tide is low it becomes nearly impossible to maneuver boats into the lagoon. Fandrei says if they can’t harvest the returning salmon quickly enough overcrowding will stress the stock Cook Inlet Aquaculture needs to breed the next generation. Their solution is to take eight of every ten fish to the head of Tutka Bay. In April 2013 Cook Inlet Aquaculture applied with the Department of Natural Resources for a permit to move the net pens. That application was first denied and then approved on appeal.

But in late May, the Commissioner of DNR rescinded the permit after receiving complaints from Kachemak Bay State Park residents…

http://kbbi.org/park-residents-oppose-rehoming-hatchery-fish-in-tutka-bay

 


66. Alaska shellfish hatcheries endangered by ocean acidification, study says

Erica Martinson, Alaska Dispatch News, July 1, 2015

Alaska’s first shellfish hatcheries could be its last, given the impact of growing ocean acidification, according to a new report published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

The research — by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the University of Alaska and a shellfish hatchery — found that in 25 years, Alaska’s coastal waters may not be able to support shellfish hatcheries unless costly new systems are put in place…

http://www.adn.com/article/20150701/alaska-shellfish-hatcheries-endangered-ocean-acidification-study-says

 


Subsistence

67. Operational plan submitted for Kenai, Kasilof Subsistence gillnets

The Ninilchik Traditional Council has submitted operational plans for both the Kasilof and Kenai rivers subsistence gillnets approved by the Federal Subsistence Board in a hotly contested January decision.

The Federal Register has already published the regulation. Approval of the operational plan is the final requirement; after approval, the gillnets can go into the water. Nets will be allowed within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge…

The official comment period for requesting reconsideration from the Federal Subsistence Board ends July 17…

Alaska Journal of Commerce:

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/July-Issue-1-2015/Operational-plan-submitted-for-Kenai-Kasilof-gillnets/

UFA letter requesting reconsideration: http://www.ufafish.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/UFA-to-FSB-Request-Reconsideration-Kenai-Kasilof-Mahknati-3-17-2015.pdf

 


68. Feds return management of Kuskokwim to state amid low salmon numbers

By Lisa Demer, Alaska Dispatch News, July 2, 2015

Federal managers are returning control of this summer’s subsistence salmon fishing on the Kuskokwim River and its salmon tributaries to the state, but the number of those fish returning to spawn is still alarmingly low.

At the start of the season, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took over management of subsistence salmon fishing within the waters of the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge in order to protect and rebuild troubled king salmon runs.

Neil Lalonde, the federal in-season subsistence manager and refuge manager, announced Wednesday that with most king (chinook) salmon past the refuge boundary at Aniak and chum and red salmon moving into the river in bigger numbers, control would revert to the state Department of Fish and Game…

http://www.adn.com/article/20150702/feds-return-management-kuskokwim-state-amid-low-salmon-numbers

 


69. Subsistence Fishermen Struggle on the Yukon despite Strong Commercial Chum Harvest

By Laura Kraegel, KNOM, July 2, 2015

As Yukon salmon continue their summer runs, subsistence fishermen continue to express frustration about gear restrictions, closures, and — now — potentially infected fish…

http://www.knom.org/wp/blog/2015/07/02/subsistence-fishermen-struggle-on-the-yukon-despite-strong-commercial-chum-harvest/

 


70. Federal Subsistence Board to Hold Work Session in Anchorage, July 28-29

The Federal Subsistence Board (Board) will hold a work session July 28 through July 29, 2015 beginning at 8:30 a.m. The work session will be held at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Office in the Gordon Watson Conference Room (main floor) located at 1011 East Tudor Road in Anchorage. During the work session, the Board will discuss and take action on Rural Determination Process Review, Request for Reconsideration 14-01 regarding the Arctic Village Sheep Management Area Closure for Red Sheep and Cane Creeks and Regional Advisory Council Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Report Replies. Additionally, during a closed executive session, the Board will discuss the Regional Advisory Council nominations and develop recommendations to the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture for appointments. Other business items may be discussed by the Board during this work session. Throughout the session, there may be opportunities for the public to testify on both agenda and non-agenda items.

The public is welcome and encouraged to attend open portions of the work session in person or by teleconference…

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

 


71. Federal Subsistence Fisheries Update for the week of June 7-13, 2015

Office of Subsistence Management, USFWS.

The purpose of the weekly fisheries update is to provide the reader with an overall summary of the status of subsistence related fisheries throughout the state of Alaska…

Pdf:  http://www.doi.gov/subsistence/news/fishing/upload/Fisheries-Updates-No-3-June-7-13-2015.pdf

Updates page:

http://www.doi.gov/subsistence/news/fishing/fishupdate3.cfm

Federal Subsistence home page:

Note the Subsistence page will not be updated through mid July as they prepare a new system.

 


72. National Park Service Subsistence resource Commission meetings July 22, 23 & August 5

…the National Park Service (NPS) is hereby giving notice that the Cape Krusenstern National Monument Subsistence Resource Commission (SRC), the Kobuk Valley National Park SRC, and the Denali National Park SRC will hold public meetings to develop and continue work on NPS subsistence program recommendations, and other related regulatory proposals and resource management issues…

Cape Krusenstern National Monument SRC Meeting/Teleconfernce… Wednesday, July 22, 2015, at the Northwest Arctic Heritage Center in Kotzebue, AK.

Kobuk Valley National Park SRC Meeting/Teleconference… Thursday, July 23, 2015, at the Northwest Arctic Heritage Center in Kotzebue, AK.

Denali National Park SRC Meeting/Teleconference… Wednesday, August 5, 2015, at the Nikolai School in Nikolai, AK…

For more detailed information, teleconference, and if you are interested in applying for membership, see Federal Register notice July 6: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-16487

 


Other

73. Fishlines – the Alaska Sea Grant newsletter for June 2015

UAF Graduate Student Selected as 2016 Knauss Fellow

Fisheries Economists Meet in Ketchikan

PSP Efforts Help Protect Human Health

Communities Celebrate Alaska Seas and Rivers…

Online at: http://seagrant.uaf.edu/news/fishlines/2015/june.php

 


74. AMSEA Free Ergonomics Training: Reduce Injury, Increase Productivity

AMSEA is offering free ergonomics training to seafood processing plants and commercial fishermen to reduce injuries and increase productivity. Call us today at 907-747-3287 to schedule a training in your plant or on your vessel.

http://www.amsea.org/#!Free-Ergonomics-Training-Reduce-Injury-Increase-Productivity/ck6b/554baf040cf273133520c7aa

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

 


75. Laine Welch’s Fish Radio – Recent Items
– AK salmon arrive slow and small; Fishing updates

– Young Sablefish Studied

– Finding clues to disappearing Chinook salmon: Updates

– Pickling with Pride

– AK Mariculture Initiative aims for $1 billion industry

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

 


76. Live to be Salty program promotes PFD use 

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

&

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

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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