UFA Update: March 3, 2015

Welcome new UFA business member Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference, a non-profit regional economic development organization for Southwest Alaska.

From the Executive Director:

Operating budget action alert!

The House Finance Committee will hear public testimony for the operating budget this week. Public testimony schedule for the operating budget can be found HERE and below.

Operating budget public testimony schedule:

Tuesday, March 3rd
1:00 – 3:30 p.m. Juneau
3:30 – 5:30 p.m. Homer, Kenai, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Mat-Su & Seward

Wednesday, March 4th
1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Barrow, Dillingham & Fairbanks
4:00 – 5:30 p.m. Bethel, Cordova, Kotzebue, Nome, Valdez, Wrangell & “off net sites”

Thursday, March 5th
1:00 – 4:30 p.m. Anchorage
4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Sitka, Petersburg, Delta Junction, Unalaska, Glennallen & Tok

Other instructions:

Arrive 15 min early for sign in process.

Arrive 15 min prior to end of allotted time or testimony will close early.

If you would like to phone into the meeting with your comments, these are the times and instructions per the Legislative website (public testimony limited to 2 minutes each).

If you would like to submit written comment, please email them at this address:  lhscfin@akleg.gov

Select a spokesperson if you are part of a group with the same message.

Individuals need to be contacting their representative and senator immediately to talk to them about the importance of the ADF&G and ASMI budgets. Please tell your representative and senator that the seafood industry creates economic opportunity for Alaskans. Deep budget cuts result in less time and area for harvest, and reduced ability to market Alaska’s seafood. Please send written testimony to: lhscfin@akleg.gov If you haven’t already, please be sure to visit or contact your senator and representative and talk to them about the importance of the seafood industry to your family and community. To find out who represents you, see the lookup feature here.

Key facts about the seafood industry:

  • 72% of active permit holders are ALASKA residents.
  • The seafood industry is Alaska’s top private sector employer, with over 63,000 direct jobs per year.
  • 1 in 7 Alaska residents are employed by the seafood industry.
  • Commercial fishing permit holders live in 189 communities throughout Alaska.
  • Estimated earnings by Alaska resident permit holders is $756.2 million.
  • The Seafood industry pays $44.2M in Fisheries Business Taxes and $13.4M Fisheries Resource Landing Taxes, half of those taxes are shared with communities and boroughs.
  • The seafood industry pays $9.6M in Seafood Marketing Assessment taxes which goes to promote the value of Alaska seafood.
  • Deep budget cuts result in less time and area for harvest, and reduced ability to market Alaska’s seafood.
  • Additional facts can be found on the attached UFA Commercial Fishing Fact Sheet Alaska Statewide. Commercial fishing fact sheets by community can also be found on UFA’s website HERE.

Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, DCCED Budget:

DCCED is where the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) and the Division of Investments can be found. 

DCCED Budget Highlights:

  • Ask the Finance Committee to consider the economic impacts to the state of the ASMI budget reductions. The proposed reduction to the ASMI budget represents $2.88 million or a 39% reduction in General Funds. This is a deeper cut than the Governor proposed reduction of 16% for ASMI (the Governor’s budget included $1.67M in UGF plus $4.5M GF Match.
  • Impacts to ASMI budget reduction, form letter, and a sample letter from Julie Decker are attached.
  • Thanks to the DCCED budget subcommittee for funding the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA), a program proven to save lives.
  • Two employee positions from the Division of Investments were deleted in the House Finance Subcommittee budget. While both are currently vacant, both were in the process of being filled. Of particular importance to fishermen is the Anchorage loan officer position.
  • DCCED budget cuts/additions narrative can be found HERE (pdf).

Alaska Department of Fish and Game, ADF&G Budget:

ADF&G Budget Highlights:

  • Thank the ADF&G budget subcommittee for their reasonable reductions to the ADF&G budget and encourage the House Finance Committee to adopt similar numbers. Under the proposed ADF&G budget reductions, the seafood industry will continue to create economic opportunity to benefit the state.
  • Thank the ADF&G budget subcommittee for appropriating CFEC revenues to the ADF&G Division of Commercial Fisheries for management and research which offset further budget reductions by $3.5 million.
  • ADF&G budget cuts/additions narrative can be found HERE (pdf).
  • Specific Division of Commercial Fisheries project/program cuts are also attached on the pdf titled: “FY 16 Com Fish Gov and House Cuts”.
  • ADF&G Division of Commercial Fisheries budget reduction is $4.35 million, a 5.2% reduction from the previous Management Plan for an overall $73.581 million commercial fisheries budget. The Governor recommended a $2.29 million reduction; the ADF&G subcommittee recommended an additional $2.07 million reduction.

Find the House Finance Committee member list HERE.

Legislative Finance Division details/reports can be found HERE.

UGF = Unrestricted General Fund. GF = General Fund. DGF = Designated General Fund.

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

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

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

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


CONTENTS

Statewide

1. Controversial Fish Board nominee Roland Maw withdraws from consideration

2. Individual, commercial fishing interests clash in Board of Fisheries testimony

3. BGPs added to Statewide shellfish meeting – BB escapement and Kuskokwim fish wheels

4. State waters pollock working group holds final meeting

5. Governor Walker Transition Team reports

6. ‘Worst of all possible times’ to gut fish commission, CFEC chair says

7. Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) Program Review

8. Board of Fisheries, North Pacific Council vacancies await nominations

9. Arctic research vessel Sikuliaq prepares for final trials

10. Laine Welch: Pickled Willy pulls a three-peat at annual ‘Symphony of Seafood’

11. Southwest Conference 27th Annual Economic Summit and Business Meeting March 4–6

12. Alaska Sea Life Center honors Alaska Ocean Leadership Award Recipients

13. New population estimate shows slight decline in Alaska

14. Greater Seattle Chamber 2015 Ties That Bind report highlights Alaska economic impact

National

15. Senator Sullivan Praises Commerce Committee Passage of Vessel Discharge Bill S.373

16. NOAA Fisheries Releases 2015 Report to Congress on IUU Fishing

17. Gotcha: Satellites Help Strip Seafood Pirates of their Booty

18. Supreme Court Sides with Fisherman in Case of the Missing Fish

19. USDA Nutrition Panel: Egg With Coffee Is A-OK, But Skip The Side Of Bacon

20. NBC News: As Oceans Become Killing Field, Fish We Eat Dwindle

21. NPFMC February Newsletter Online

22. Crab review due; full coverage for Gulf trawlers proposed

23. NPFMC Ecosystem Committee to meet March 17-18 in Seattle

24. BSAI Crab Amendment 45- Notice of Availability– comment deadline April 3.

25. Comment deadline June 30 on revisions to National Standards 1, 3, and 7.

26. USCG Mandatory fishing vessel exams October 15, 2015.

27. USCG Final Rule – Vessel Requirements for Notices of Arrival and Departure, and AIS

28. Comment deadline June 1 on USCG Vessel Documentation User Fees

29. USCG Port Access Route Study for Chukchi Sea, Bering Strait and Bering Sea & meetings

30. NMFS posts final 2015 & 2016 GOA groundfish harvest specifications

31. Correction posted to BSAI  2015 and 2016 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish…

32. NMFS announces Amendment 104 Skate Areas of Particular Concern

33. Humpbacks and the Endangered Species Act: A deep dive

34. NMFS ESA 5 year review- Pacific Salmon and Steelhead, Puget Sound Rockfishes…

35. Comment by April 20 on NMFS seafood inspection program information collection

36. Comment deadline April 29 on NMFS Marine Mammal Stock Assessments

37. New Tracking System Keeps an Eye on Commercial Fishing Fleets

Marketing

38. Sustainability dispute in past, Walmart launches ‘The Alaskan’

39. The Birth of the Sustainable Seafood Movement – a video on AK salmon by Steve Minor

Fish Farm & Environmental

40. State moves ahead with Chuitna water rights– Comment by April 9

41. A Historic Moment for Salmon Protection in Alaska, by Bob Shavelson

42. Mount Polley Review Panel Delivers Final Report

43. Pebble Mine debate in Alaska: EPA becomes target by planning for rare ‘veto’

44. Mining geologist set to plead guilty in Western Alaska pollution case

45. DEC Triennial review of Water Quality Standards – comment extended to March 30

46. EPA report finds streams and wetlands affect downstream waters

47. Research finds woody debris benefits fish

48. Tongass Advisory Committee Close to Agreement on Young Growth Management

49. Alaska Board of Forestry to meet March 23-24 in Juneau – w/ Forest & Fisheries Forum

50. Ocean Acidification and How It Affects Alaska’s Fisheries

51. ADFG 2015 Anadromous Catalog of Waters proposed revisions

Enhancement

52. Jury still out on Alaska salmon hatcheries, MSC keeps pressing issue

Subsistence

53. Kuskokwim Fishermen Set Sights on Co-Management

54. Comment deadline April 1 on Federal Subsistence Rural Determination process

55. Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Council meetings scheduled

56. Federal Subsistence Board Acts on Proposals to Change Federal Subsistence Fisheries Regulations

And Other

57. AMSEA Free Safety Workshop for Commercial Fishermen – Juneau, March 28

58. Laine Welch’s Fish Radio – Recent Items

59. Live to be Salty program promotes PFD use

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


Statewide

1. Controversial Fish Board nominee Roland Maw withdraws from consideration

JUNEAU — Kenai River fish wars have claimed another Fish Board nominee, this time Roland Maw, named to the board by Gov. Bill Walker. Maw withdrew his name from consideration Friday (2/20) after facing opposition.

He is former executive director of a commercial fishing group, the United Cook Inlet Drift Association, and a retired drift gillnet fisherman…

http://www.adn.com/article/20150220/controversial-fish-board-nominee-roland-maw-withdraws-consideration

&

Maw drops out, under investigation – AK Journal of Commerce

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/Breaking-News-2015/Maw-drops-out-under-investigation/


2. Individual, commercial fishing interests clash in Board of Fisheries testimony

by Robert Woolsey, KCAW

Many of the players and stakeholders in Southeast Alaska’s salmon and herring fisheries laid out their positions Tuesday morning (2-24-15), as the Alaska Board of Fisheries opened its spring meeting to public testimony.

http://www.kcaw.org/2015/02/25/individual-commercial-fishing-interests-clash-in-board-testimony/

The Board of Fisheries Southeast Finfish meeting summary is expected to be posted soon at:

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


3. BGPs added to Statewide shellfish meeting – BB escapement and Kuskokwim fish wheels

Supplemental notice of proposed changes in the regulations of the Alaska Board Of Fisheries

This is a supplemental notice adding to the notice of proposed changes that was issued on November 3, 2014, hereby incorporated by reference, concerning proposed regulation

changes in Title 5 of the Alaska Administrative Code. This supplemental notice is being

issued to notify the public of the following topic being added to the Board of Fisheries (board)

schedule to be considered at the meeting noted:

The following additional topic will be addressed at the board’s Statewide Dungeness Crab, Shrimp, Miscellaneous Shellfish, and Supplemental Items meeting scheduled for March 17–20, 2015 at the Sheraton Hotel, 401 East 6th Avenue, Anchorage, Alaska:

In the Bristol Bay finfish area: Board generated proposal to consider optimum escapement goals for Bristol Bay sockeye salmon. (Newly assigned Proposal 277.)

In the Kuskokwim River finfish area: Board generated proposal to consider changes to subsistence fishery fish wheel operations during times of king salmon conservation.

(Newly assigned Proposal 278.)

Online notice: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static-f/regulations/regprocess/fisheriesboard/pdfs/2014-2015/notice_2015.pdf

Statewide Dungeness Crab, Shrimp, Miscellaneous Shellfish, and Supplemental Items meeting March 17-20 – documents: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.meetinginfo&date=03-17-2015&meeting=anchorage


4. State waters pollock working group holds final meeting

By DJ Summers, Alaska Journal of Commerce

A limited entry state waters pollock fishery could ease some of the impending Gulf of Alaska rationalization headaches, but the experimental permits fishing for pollock with non-trawl gear haven’t yet proven their value.

A working group of stakeholders and fisheries officials met for the third and last time on Feb. 18 to discuss adding a limited entry state pollock fishery to Alaska waters for both trawl and non-trawl vessels.

The group intended to have a report on the matter the present to the Board of Fisheries for its March 17-20 meeting, but will end up with only a notes package. Board of Fisheries members Sue Jeffrey and John Jensen chaired and co-chaired the group, respectively, and board vice-chairman Tom Kluberton was in attendance. Duncan Fields and Ed Dersham from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council were in the working group as well…

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/March-Issue-1-2015/State-waters-pollock-working-group-holds-final-meeting/


5. Governor Walker Transition Team reports

  • Fisheries
  • Subsistence
  • Wildlife
  • Explanation of Transition Conference Process
  • List of Conference attendees

See http://gov.alaska.gov/Walker/transition-2014.html for more details.


6. ‘Worst of all possible times’ to gut fish commission, CFEC chair says

The three-member commission that oversees Alaska’s lucrative limited-entry commercial fisheries is urging lawmakers not to pursue proposals for elimination for at least another year.

The state Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission is under fire as a more than $3.5 billion budget shortfall looms. A critical report by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game makes a case for overhaul, citing permit processing delays and relatively high payroll costs. Proposed legislation, House Bill 112, would repeal the commission and move its duties to Fish and Game…

The three commissioners are all attorneys: longtime commissioner and chair Bruce Twomley, one-term member Benjamin Brown and former Wasilla Mayor Verne Rupright, appointed last month.

Twomley, appointed in 1982 by the late Gov. Jay Hammond, defended the commission at a hearing before the state House Fisheries Committee on Tuesday morning, urging lawmakers to let the commission finish a historic backlog of 28 undecided cases by next year before making any changes.

Otherwise, he said, fishermen with unresolved permit claims could file legal challenges based on an unfair “divide” between commission-decided cases and those decided by Fish and Game or a new authority.

“This would be the worst of all possible times to suffer a severe reversal and have it applied retroactively,” Twomley told the committee. “That would undo a tremendous amount of work.

https://www.adn.com/article/20150224/worst-all-possible-times-gut-fish-commission-chair-says

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


7. Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) Program Review

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static-f/home/pdfs/cfec_program_review_final_report.pdf

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static-f/home/pdfs/cfec_program_review_appendices.pdf


8. Board of Fisheries, North Pacific Council vacancies await nominations

By DJ Summers, Alaska Journal of Commerce

Gov. Bill Walker will have two appointments to make for the Alaska Board of Fisheries following chairman Karl Johnstone’s resign and Roland Maw’s withdrawal from consideration.

Orville Huntington’s term on the board is set to expire at the end June. He has not submitted an application for reappointment, but is not required to reapply for his own seat.

According to director of Boards and Commissions Karen Gillis, Walker has until April 1 to make new appointments, which will need legislative confirmation by the end of the session.

Walker said Feb. 24 hasn’t had time to think about appointments during his recent trip to Washington, D.C., and that he will begin vetting applicants now that he’s back in Juneau.

Johnstone’s vacant seat has been traditionally held by sport fishing representatives since the 1980s.

The governor’s Boards and Commissions office keeps records of applicants going back to 2007. In 2015, 10 have applied for a seat: Dwight Kramer, Dan Ernhart, Bruce Morgan, Roy Ashenfelter, Glenn Angelo Carlo, Robert Charles Wright, Robert Sanderson, Beverly Hoffman, Allen Barrette and Karen Louise Linnell…

Alaska Journal of Commerce: http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/March-Issue-1-2015/Board-North-Pacific-council-vacancies-await-nominations/


9. Arctic research vessel Sikuliaq prepares for final trials

By Dan Joling, Associated Press

SEWARD — A floating Arctic laboratory four decades in the making has arrived at its home port and stands poised to begin unlocking mysteries of one of the wildest places on Earth.

The 261-foot Sikuliaq next month will leave Seward, sail around the Aleutian Islands and tuck into sea ice in the Bering Sea. The voyage will be the final trial for its reinforced hull, propulsion system and array of cranes and booms that will deploy instruments ranging from small submarines and plankton nets to buoys that weigh a ton…

The $200 million-plus vessel is designed to conduct research 24 hours per day. It will cost about $45,000 per day to operate…

http://juneauempire.com/state/2015-03-02/arctic-research-vessel-sikuliaq-prepares-final-trials

UAF R/V Sikuliaq home page: https://www.sfos.uaf.edu/sikuliaq/launch/

Music Composed for Sikuliak Research Vessel http://sewardcitynews.com/2012/10/music-composed-for-sikuliak-research-vessel/


10. Laine Welch: Pickled Willy pulls a three-peat at annual ‘Symphony of Seafood’

Record crowds turned out to taste and vote on the latest seafood products debuted last Saturday at the 22nd annual Alaska Symphony of Seafood.

The new seafood items always are judged first in early February by a private panel in Seattle, with criteria including packaging and presentation, overall eating experience, price and potential for commercial success…

The People’s Choice Award was a surprise three-peat this year — Kodiak’s Pickled Willy’s Black Cod Tips (known jokingly in town as “crack cod”) won the popular vote at all three venues.

“That was very unusual,” said Julie Decker, executive director of the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation, host of the seafood event. “That was wonderful to see, and a real testament to what a good product it is.”

http://www.adn.com/article/20150302/laine-welch-pickled-willy-pulls-three-peat-annual-symphony-seafood


11. Southwest Conference 27th Annual Economic Summit and Business Meeting

March 4 – 6, 2015, Hotel Captain Cook, Anchorage

DAY 3 Friday, March 6h – Fisheries and Politics Day

Meeting home page: http://www.swamc.org/html/2015-conference.php

Agenda: http://www.swamc.org/html/2015-conference/agenda.php


12. Alaska Sea Life Center honors Alaska Ocean Leadership Award Recipients

Seward, Alaska (January 29, 2015) – The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) is proud to announce the 2015 Alaska Ocean Leadership Awards. These awards are given annually to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the awareness and sustainability of the state’s marine resources…

Al Burch will receive the prestigious Walter J. and Ermalee Hickel Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Alyeska Vessel of Opportunity Program will receive the Stewardship & Sustainability Award.

Alisa Aist will receive the Ocean Youth Award,

Benjamin Carney received the Marine Science Outreach Award.

Jacqueline Grebmeier and Lee Cooper received the Marine Research Award,

http://sewardcitynews.com/2015/01/alaska-sealife-center-announces-alaska-ocean-leadership-award-recipients/


13. New population estimate shows slight decline in Alaska

By Associated Press
Posted on January 19, 2015 at 4:40 am
Category: Recent News, State Government

The state demographer estimates Alaska’s population is shrinking — slightly.

Eddie Hunsinger tells the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that Alaska’s estimated population has fallen by 61 people to 735,601, a drop of less than a hundredth of 1 percent.

The federal census occurs every 10 years. State estimates in the years between the federal census are based in part on surveys of military and shared-housing facilities, Alaska Permanent Fund dividend applications and Internal Revenue Service records.

The estimate released Thursday looked at the population from July 2013 through June 2014.

The estimate shows losses in interior Alaska tied to military personnel fluctuations matched by a gain of about the same number of people in the Anchorage and Mat-Su region.

http://www.ktoo.org/2015/01/19/new-population-estimate-shows-slight-decline-alaska/


14. Greater Seattle Chamber 2015 Ties That Bind report highlights Alaska economic impact

The Seattle Metro Chamber today released a new study that finds Alaska’s economic impact on the Puget Sound region continues to grow. Ties that Bind: The Enduring Economic Impact of Alaska on the Puget Sound Region, with research conducted by the McDowell Group, found that Alaska accounted for approximately 113,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs in the six-county region in 2013, and that these jobs generated $6.2 billion in wages…

Greater Seattle Chamber:

http://www.seattlechamber.com/home/business-tools/community-news/detail/2015/02/06/ties-that-bind-puget-sound-to-alaska-stronger-than-ever

Link to report:

http://www.seattlechamber.com/docs/default-source/Events-and-Programs-Documents/ties-that-bind-report-feb-2015.pdf?sfvrsn=2


National

15. Senator Sullivan Praises Commerce Committee Passage of Vessel Discharge Bill S.373

Friday, February 27, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), applauded the Senate Commerce Committee’s passage of legislation he co-sponsored that would permanently exempt Alaska’s fishing vessels, and commercial vessels less than 79 feet in length, from Environmental Protection Agency incidental discharge regulations.  S. 373, the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act, introduced earlier this month, is widely supported by the maritime and fishing industries.

“Permanently exempting these vessels from the EPA’s burdensome regulations will provide Alaskan fishermen with some much needed regulatory certainty,” said Sen. Sullivan…

Summary of Major Provisions:

– Authorize and implement uniform and enforceable national standards to regulate vessel discharge – such as ballast water;

– Permanently exempt commercial vessels under 79 feet and all fishing boats from regulations regarding incidental discharge.

Senator Dan Sullivan press release:

http://www.sullivan.senate.gov/content/sullivan-praises-commerce-committee-passage-vessel-discharge-bill

&

Murkowski Bill Would Provide Permanent Protection from “Nonsensical” EPA Discharge Regs for Fishing Boats

Senator Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Exempt Fishing Fleet from Onerous E.P.A. Permit and “Fish Gut” Fines

http://www.murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2015/2/murkowski-bill-would-provide-permanent-protection-from-nonsensical-epa-discharge-regs-for-fishing-boats


16. NOAA Fisheries Releases 2015 Report to Congress on IUU Fishing – to work with 6 nations to address illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing

NOAA Fisheries has released its 2015 Biennial Report to Congress highlighting U.S. findings and analyses of foreign illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities and of bycatch of protected species and shark catch on the high seas for foreign fleets.

Six nations-Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Portugal-were identified in the 2015 Report as having vessels engaged in IUU activity. On behalf of the United States, NOAA Fisheries will engage in consultations with each of the nations to press for corrective action to address these activities and improve their fisheries management and enforcement practices relating to IUU fishing.

Ten nations identified as having vessels engaged in IUU in the previous 2013 Report to Congress-Colombia, Ecuador, Ghana, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Panama, Spain, Tanzania, Venezuela-received a positive certification following consultations with the U.S. Government and taking appropriate action through amending laws or adopting new laws and regulations, sanctioning the vessels, and improving monitoring and enforcement. However, due to bycatch of endangered sea turtles, certification of Mexico has been delayed until May 2015. Mexico has made meaningful progress in adopting a regulatory program to address the problem and NOAA Fisheries will continue to consult with Mexico to expedite its implementation.

Combating IUU fishing continues to be a top priority for NOAA Fisheries and the United States, as is demonstrated by the establishment of the Presidential Task Force to Combat IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud. NOAA will continue to work with foreign governments to track, expose, and deter these and other unsustainable fishing practices.

To view the full report, see http://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/ia/slider_stories/2015/02/2015_iuu_report.html

Report: http://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/ia/iuu/msra_page/2015noaareptcongress.pdf


17. Gotcha: Satellites Help Strip Seafood Pirates of their Booty

Most of the seafood Americans eat comes from abroad. And a lot of that is caught illegally — by vessels that ignore catch limits, or that fish in areas off-limits to fishing.

No one knows how much of it is illegal, because the oceans are too big to patrol. Or at least, they were. Now environmental groups have harnessed satellite technology to watch pirate fishing vessels from space — and they’ve already caught some of them…

NPR story:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2015/02/05/383562379/gotcha-satellites-help-strip-seafood-pirates-of-their-booty


18. Supreme Court Sides with Fisherman in Case of the Missing Fish

Commercial fisherman John Yates and his crew were fishing for red grouper in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Cortez, Fla., in 2007. His vessel was boarded by John Jones, a state Fish and Wildlife officer who was working on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration…

Prosecutors said he told his crew to throw the undersized fish overboard. He was convicted of destroying evidence to impede a federal investigation and sentenced to 30 days in jail. He appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, arguing the law applied only to documents and records, not fish…

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act makes it a crime to destroy, alter or cover up “any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to … impede or obstruct” the investigation of “any matter within federal jurisdiction.”

Today, the court narrowly agreed with Yates, and reversed judgments by lower courts…

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/02/25/389005176/supreme-court-sides-with-fisherman-in-case-of-the-missing-fish


19. USDA Nutrition Panel: Egg With Coffee Is A-OK, But Skip The Side Of Bacon

NPR story:

If you like a cup of coffee and an egg in the morning, you’ve got the green light.

A panel of top nutrition experts appointed by the federal government has weighed in with its long-awaited diet advice.

Their conclusions are that daily cup of joe (or two) may help protect against Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. And an egg a day will not raise the risk of heart disease in healthy people…

The committee says Americans should shift to a pattern of eating that includes more plant-based foods. And, the panel concludes, Americans should eat less sugar and meat, specifically red meat and processed meat.They say an optimal pattern of eating includes a broad range of foods including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, as well as fish and low-fat dairy…

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2015/02/19/387517506/nutrition-panel-egg-with-coffee-is-a-ok-but-skip-the-side-of-bacon

USDA page: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015.asp

Report (11 megabyte pdf):

http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report/PDFs/Scientific-Report-of-the-2015-Dietary-Guidelines-Advisory-Committee.pdf


20. NBC News: As Oceans Become Killing Field, Fish We Eat Dwindle

The oceans are running low on the fish we like to eat, making room for the kind of sea creatures we don’t eat.

The oceans have become a killing field. Thanks to giant trawlers armed with technology and massive nets, the seas are running low on the fish we like to eat, like halibut and cod, making room for the ones we don’t like.

Over the past century, the biomass of predatory fish in the world’s oceans has declined by about two thirds, according to fisheries scientists. In the voids left by the cod, halibut, salmon, and tuna are increasing populations of forage fish, which are short-lived and vulnerable to environmental change such as ocean waters that are warming and becoming more acidic in response to global climate change.

“What this doesn’t boil down to is the sea is suddenly full of sardines and anchovies and other small things that we like to eat,” Villy Christensen, an ecosystem modeler at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, said. “It is to a large extent small fish that we don’t eat that have benefited; because sardines and anchovies, those are fisheries … we keep fishing those.”

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/economy/oceans-become-killing-field-fish-we-eat-dwindle-n312716


21. NPFMC February Newsletter Online

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

Bering Sea Halibut Bycatch

Pcod CDQ Development

Electronic Monitoring

Norton Sound Red King Crab

GOA Tendering

AI Pacific Cod

GOA Trawl Observers

BSAI Crab 10- year Review

…online at http://www.npfmc.org/npfmc-newsletters/

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


22. Crab review due; full coverage for Gulf trawlers proposed

By DJ Summers, Alaska Journal of Commerce

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council had more to think about than just halibut at its February meeting in Seattle Feb. 4-10.

A 10-year review of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands crab rationalization program is due in 2015, 100 percent observer coverage for all Gulf of Alaska trawlers is up for discussion, a new Pacific cod CDQ fishery is opening, and two fishery governance bodies are losing senior members…

AK Journal of Commerce: http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/February-Issue-4-2015/Crab-review-due-full-coverage-for-Gulf-trawlers-proposed/


23. NPFMC Ecosystem Committee to meet March 17-18 in Seattle

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) Ecosystem Committee will meet in Seattle, WA.

The meeting will be held March 17-18, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Mountaineers Seattle Program Center, 7700 Sand Point Way NE., Cascade Room, Seattle, WA.

The Committee will discuss the following issues: (1) Ecosystem Vision Statement; (2) updates on Essential Fish Habitat 5-year review, Norton Sound king crab research, deep-sea corals research, Bering Strait Marine Life and Subsistence Data Synthesis, Aleutian Islands Risk Assessment, Arctic and Bering Sea shipping, Alaska Arctic Policy Commission final report, AOOS ocean acidification workshop; (3) Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan.

The Agenda is subject to change, and the latest version is posted at http://www.npfmc.org/committees/ecosystem-committee/.

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-03716


24. BSAI Crab Amendment 45- Notice of Availability– comment deadline April 3.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) submitted Amendment 45 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (Crab FMP) to NMFS for review. If approved, Amendment 45 would establish, for a limited period of time, a process to permanently remove Pacific cod catch limits, known as sideboard limits, which are applicable to certain hook-and-line catcher/processors in the Central and Western Gulf of Alaska (GOA) Regulatory Areas. This action would authorize NMFS to remove these Pacific cod sideboard limits in the Central or Western GOA if all eligible participants in the hook-and-line catcher/processor sector in a regulatory area sign and submit to NMFS an affidavit requesting that NMFS remove the sideboard limit. Eligible participants would be required to submit an affidavit to NMFS within 1 year of the date of publication of a final rule implementing Amendment 45, if it is approved by the Secretary of Commerce. Amendment 45 is necessary to provide participants in the Central and Western GOA hook-and-line catcher/processor sectors with an opportunity to cooperatively coordinate harvests of GOA Pacific cod through private arrangement to the participants’ mutual benefit, which would remove the need for current regulations that impose sideboard harvest restrictions on some participants in the sectors…

Submit comments on or before April 3, 2015…

Federal Register: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-01842

&&&&&

BSAI Crab Amendment 45- Proposed rule– comment deadline March 16

NMFS issues a proposed rule that would implement Amendment 45 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (Crab FMP)…

Submit comments on or before March 16, 2015.

Federal Register: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-02911

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


25. Comment deadline June 30 on revisions to National Standards 1, 3, and 7.

NMFS proposes revisions to the guidelines for National Standards (NS) 1, 3, and 7 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) and to the General section of the NS guidelines. This action is necessary to improve and clarify the guidance within the NS guidelines. The purpose of this action is to facilitate compliance with requirements of the MSA to end and prevent overfishing, rebuild overfished stocks and achieve optimum yield (OY)…

Written comments must be received on or before June 30, 2015…

Federal Register: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-00586

& Meeting announcement:

NMFS announces a public meeting to solicit comments on the proposed revisions to the General section of the National Standard (NS) guidelines and the guidelines for NS1, NS3, and NS7 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA)…

The meeting will be held on March 25, 2015, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern time. Written comments accepted through June 30, 2015… at the following location: The NOAA Science Center, 1301 East West Highway, Silver Spring, MD, 20910; telephone: 301-427-8563.

https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-02889


26. USCG Mandatory fishing vessel exams October 15, 2015.

Coast Guard HQ just released a Marine Safety Information Bulleting (MSIB) on implementating the requirement for fishing vessels to get an exam.

All fishing vessels that operate 3 nautical miles beyond the territorial base line (marked on most nautical charts) will have to get an exam before Oct 15th 2015.

The Coast Guard recommends getting your exam done well before the due date to avoid the rush. Coast Guard dockside examiners say that it normally takes two or more visits to the vessel before issuing the Dockside Exam Decal…

http://www.uscg.mil/D13/CFVS/default.asp

http://www.uscg.mil/D13/CFVS/News/Mandatory.asp


27. USCG Final Rule – Vessel Requirements for Notices of Arrival and Departure, and Automatic Identification System

Consistent with statutory requirements and provisions, the Coast Guard is expanding the applicability of notice of arrival (NOA) and automatic identification system (AIS) requirements to include more commercial vessels. This final rule amends the applicability of notice of arrival requirements to include additional vessels, sets forth a mandatory method for electronic submission of NOAs, and modifies related reporting content, timeframes, and procedures. This final rule also extends the applicability of AIS requirements beyond Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) areas to all U.S. navigable waters, and requires that additional commercial vessels install and use AIS, consistent with statutory requirements, and in limited cases, the Secretary’s discretionary authority. These changes will improve navigation safety, enhance our ability to identify and track vessels, and heighten our overall maritime domain awareness (MDA), thus helping us address threats to maritime transportation safety and security…

Federal Register: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-01331

USCG Fish Safe West page: http://www.uscg.mil/D13/CFVS/News/NOA_AIS.asp


28. Comment deadline June 1 on USCG Vessel Documentation User Fees–Annual Renewal Fee

The Coast Guard seeks public comment on whether to increase the period of validity for renewing endorsements on Certificates of Documentation. A separate fee of $26 for annual renewals of endorsements upon the Certificate of Documentation was established in a recent rulemaking. The Coast Guard is considering options for implementing multiyear renewals and updating the fee for services, and seeks information on factors to consider when implementing these changes…

Comments and related material must either be submitted to the online docket via http://www.regulations.gov on or before June 1, 2015 or reach the Docket Management Facility by that date…

Federal Register: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-03651


29. USCG Port Access Route Study for Chukchi Sea, Bering Strait and Bering Sea – meetings scheduled

The Coast Guard announces three public meetings to receive comments on a port access route study (PARS) published in the Federal Register on December 5, 2014, under the title “Port Access Route Study: In the Chukchi Sea, Bering Strait and Bering Sea.” The goal of this study is to help reduce the risk of marine casualties and increase the efficiency of vessel traffic in the region. The recommendations of the study may lead to future rulemaking action or appropriate international agreements…

The first meeting will be held in Juneau, Alaska on March 9, 2015 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. The second meeting will be held in Anchorage, Alaska on March 30, 2015 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. The third and final meeting will be held in Nome, Alaska on April 2, 2015 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m…

Federal Register notice of meetings: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-03859

Previous item:

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

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

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


30. NMFS posts final 2015 & 2016 GOA groundfish harvest specifications

NMFS announces final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications, apportionments, and Pacific halibut prohibited species catch limits for the groundfish fishery of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2015 and 2016 fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the GOA…

Federal Register: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-03896

North Pacific Groundfish Stock Assessments page: http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/REFM/Stocks/assessments.htm


31. Correction posted to BSAI  2015 and 2016 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish…

Originally posted  December 8, 2014.

Federal Register:

https://federalregister.gov/a/C1-2014-28633


32. NMFS announces Amendment 104 Skate Areas of Particular Concern

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces the approval of Amendment 104 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP). Amendment 104 to the FMP designates six areas of skate egg concentration as Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPC). The HAPC designations for the six areas of skate egg concentration in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI) are intended to highlight the importance of this essential fish habitat for conservation. This action promotes the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the FMP, and other applicable laws.

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-00170


33. Humpbacks and the Endangered Species Act: A deep dive

by Rachel Waldholz and Ellen Chenoweth, KCAW

Humpback whales may be coming off the endangered species list soon: federal officials are expected to announce a decision within the next few weeks.

Along with virtually all the great whales, humpbacks were hunted to near-extinction by the mid-20th century.

They were one of the first species protected under the Endangered Species Act when it passed in 1973.

Forty years later, their numbers have grown, and the State of Alaska has petitioned the federal government to declare victory, and take at least some of the Pacific’s humpbacks off the list.

In this series, KCAW reporter Rachel Waldholz and University of Alaska Fairbanks PhD student Ellen Chenoweth delve into the history and science behind humpback numbers and the Endangered Species Act, and ask: to de-list or not to de-list?

Part 1: The origins of the Endangered Species Act

How some of America’s most enduring environmental laws came out of the office of a president who didn’t consider himself much of an environmentalist. Plus, whaling as a matter of national security and why, without whales, there might not even be an endangered species list.

Part 2: Counting humpbacks, fluke by fluke

How do you count all the whales in the sea? Fingerprint them. In this episode, we ask, how many humpbacks are out there, anyway?

A page from a humpback whale fluke matching catalog. (Photos by Jan Straley, NOAA Fisheries permit #14122)

Part 3: The secret history of Soviet whaling

Data hidden in a potato cellar, an archive in eastern Russia: how researchers are piecing together the history of illegal Soviet whaling in the North Pacific.

Part 4: To de-list or not to de-list?

In our final episode we examine the arguments for and against taking humpbacks off the endangered species list, and ask, what’s at stake for the whales, and for…

http://www.kcaw.org/2015/01/06/humpbacks-and-the-endangered-species-act-a-series/


34. NMFS ESA 5 year review – Pacific Salmon and Steelhead, Puget Sound Rockfishes, and Eulachon

We, NMFS, announce 5-year reviews of 32 species listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA): 17 evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) of Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.); 11 distinct population segments (DPSs) of steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss); the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin DPSs of yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus), canary rockfish (S. pinniger), and bocaccio rockfish (S. paucispinis); and the southern DPS of eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus). The purpose of these reviews is to ensure the accuracy of the listing classifications of these threatened and endangered species. The 5-year reviews will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the reviews; therefore, we request submission of any such information on these ESUs and DPSs that has become available since the original listing determinations, or since the species’ status was last updated. Based on the results of these 5-year reviews, we will make the requisite determinations under the ESA…

Dates: To allow us adequate time to conduct these reviews, we must receive your information no later than May 7, 2015. However, we will continue to accept new information about any listed species at any time…

Federal Register: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-02337

NOAA Salmon & Steelhead 5 year review page: http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/publications/status_reviews/salmon_steelhead/salmon_steelhead_esa_status_reviews.html


35. Comment by April 20 on NMFS seafood inspection program information collection

The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995…

Written comments must be submitted on or before April 20, 2015…

This request is for extension of a currently approved information collection.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) operates a voluntary fee-for- service seafood inspection program (Program) under the authorities of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, as amended, the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956, and the Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1970. The regulations for the Program are contained in 50 CFR part 260. The program offers inspection grading and certification services, including the use of official quality grade marks which indicate that specific products have been Federally inspected. Those wishing to participate in the program must request the services and submit specific compliance information. In July 1992, NMFS announced new inspection services, which were fully based on guidelines recommended by the National Academy of Sciences, known as Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP). The information collection requirements fall under § 260.15 of the regulations. These guidelines required that a facility’s quality control system have a written plan of the operation, identification of control points with acceptance criteria and a corrective action plan, as well as identified personnel responsible for oversight of the system…

Federal Register: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-03131


36. Comment deadline April 29 on NMFS Marine Mammal Stock Assessments

NMFS reviewed the Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific regional marine mammal stock assessment reports (SARs) in accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act. SARs for marine mammals in the Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific regions were revised according to new information. NMFS solicits public comments on the draft 2014 SARs…

Comments must be received by April 29, 2015…

In the Alaska region, SARs for 21 Alaska stocks (19 “strategic”, 2 “non-strategic”) were updated. All stocks were reviewed and the following stocks were revised for 2014: Steller sea lion (western U.S. and eastern U.S. stocks), northern fur seal (eastern Pacific stock), spotted seal (Alaska stock), bearded seal (Alaska stock), ringed seal (Alaska stock), beluga whale (Beaufort Sea, eastern Chukchi Sea, eastern Bering Sea, Bristol Bay, and Cook Inlet stocks), killer whale (AT1 transient stock), harbor porpoise (Southeast Alaska, Gulf of Alaska, and Bering Sea stocks), sperm whale (North Pacific stock), humpback whale (Western North Pacific and central North Pacific stocks), fin whale (northeast Pacific stock), North Pacific right whale (eastern North Pacific stock), bowhead whale (western Arctic stock)…

Federal Register: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-01751


37. New Tracking System Keeps an Eye on Commercial Fishing Fleets

Will fishermen stray into the recently protected Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument? Activists will be watching.

January 13, 2015·By Patti Epler

Commercial fishing fleets operating around the world are now doing so under the watchful gaze of environmentalists who are concerned with overfishing and other violations that have long been going on unnoticed far out to sea.

But a new real-time tracking system built by two organizations — Oceana and SkyTruth — in partnership with Google promises to quickly blow the whistle on vessels that move into areas where they’re not supposed to be…

http://www.civilbeat.com/2015/01/new-tracking-system-keeps-an-eye-on-commercial-fishing-fleets/


Marketing

38. Sustainability dispute in past, Walmart launches ‘The Alaskan’

Walmart announced on Jan. 28 the launch of an in-store brand, The Alaskan, for sale in every Alaska Walmart Supercenter and 20 Washington stores, as well as a 14 additional products of wild Alaskan cod, salmon, rockfish, sole, and crab to its general stock.

The new items are on shelves just a couple years after Alaska seafood in Walmart stores was in jeopardy following a company plan to only stock seafood products carrying the Marine Stewardship Council certification for sustainability.

Since then, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, or ASMI, has developed an alternative sustainability certification called Responsible Fisheries Management, or RFM, and Walmart reversed course on barring seafood not carrying the MSC label.

AK Journal of Commerce: http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/February-Issue-2-2015/Sustainability-dispute-in-past-Walmart-launches-The-Alaskan/


39. The Birth of the Sustainable Seafood Movement – a video on AK salmon by Steve Minor

http://youtu.be/3QiiRHgEvfE


Fish Farm & Environmental

40. State moves ahead with Chuitna water rights filed by strip-mine opponents – Comment by April 9

WASILLA — The state is taking comments on a precedent-setting and long-sought water-rights petition filed by a citizen group fighting a coal mine west of Cook Inlet.

At stake, supporters say, is whether the water in Middle Creek goes to protect salmon runs or to Delaware-based PacRim Coal LLC for its proposed Chuitna coal mine near Tyonek.

A series of water-rights applications filed in 2009 by the Chuitna Citizens Coalition ask the Alaska Department of Natural Resources to “reserve” water rights in Middle Creek, a tributary of the Chuitna River (sometimes referred to as the Chuit River). DNR is moving ahead on the applications after a lawsuit pushed the state to act.

ADN story: http://www.adn.com/article/20150224/state-moves-ahead-chuitna-water-rights-filed-strip-mine-opponents

DNR Online Public Notice 2/26– extension of comment period to April 9: https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=175780

DNR Online public notice 2/23 – water reservation details: https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=175701


41. A Historic Moment for Salmon Protection in Alaska, by Bob Shavelson

The Chuitna watershed supports all 5 species of wild Pacific salmon.

Today, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources released a public notice asking Alaskans to comment on whether water should be reserved in Middle Creek to protect wild salmon populations.

This is one of the most important decisions in Alaska history for protecting wild salmon stocks. Take action here…

http://sewardcitynews.com/2015/02/a-historic-moment-for-salmon-protection-in-alaska/

UFA Resolution 2010-3 Opposing Chuitna River Coal Mine Development (September 29, 2010)


42. Mount Polley Review Panel Delivers Final Report

Group of Alaskans Say Mount Polley Mine Report Highlights Threats to Alaska Salmon, Fishing Jobs and Communities from BC Mines

By MARY KAUFFMAN

(SitNews) Victoria, B.C. – The Mount Polley Independent Expert Engineering Investigation and Review Panel recently delivered a Final Report on its investigation into the cause of the failure of the tailings storage facility at the Mount Polley Mine on August 4, 2014. The report was delivered to the Ministry of Energy and Mines, the T’exelc First Nation (Williams Lake Indian Band) and the Xat’sull First Nation (Soda Creek Indian Band). The report also contains recommendations on actions that can be taken to ensure a similar failure does not occur at other mine sites in B.C.

http://www.sitnews.us/0215News/021015/021015_mount_polly_review.html

Full Final Report, Appendices, and Supporting Information
www.mountpolleyreviewpanel.ca

Panel Members Biographies
https://www.mountpolleyreviewpanel.ca/sites/default/files/
Mount%20Polley%20Final%20Report%20BG%20Panel%20Bio%20FINAL.pdf

Mount Polly Tailngs Storage Facility Breach Media Presentation
https://www.mountpolleyreviewpanel.ca/sites/default/files/MountPolley_Media%
20Briefing%20Presentation_Jan%2030_Final_2.pdf


43. Pebble Mine debate in Alaska: EPA becomes target by planning for rare ‘veto’

As early as this spring, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to invoke a rarely used legal authority to bar a Canadian company, Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., from beginning work on its proposed Pebble Mine, citing risks to salmon and to Alaska’s pristine Bristol Bay, 150 miles downstream. The EPA’s position is supported by a broad coalition of conservationists, fishermen and tribal groups — and, most opinion polls show, by a majority of Alaskans. National environmental groups, Hollywood celebrities and wealthy activists have made the defeat of the mine a top priority, raising millions of dollars to campaign against it.

But the more consequential fight may be over how the mine is being blocked. By employing a rare preemptive “veto” — a tactic used only once in this manner in 40 years — the EPA has made itself the target of congressional Republicans who say the agency has stepped far outside the boundaries lawmakers envisioned with the adoption of the Clean Water Act in the 1970s…

Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/internal-memos-spur-accusations-of-bias-as-epa-moves-to-block-gold-mine/2015/02/15/3ff101c0-b2ba-11e4-854b-a38d13486ba1_story.html


44. Mining geologist set to plead guilty in Western Alaska pollution case

A career mining geologist accused in an Alaska environmental crimes case involving the dormant Platinum Creek Mine is cooperating with authorities and will plead guilty on Wednesday to three federal charges, according to a plea agreement filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Anchorage.

Robert Pate, 63, is one of five executives and managers with Australian-led XS Platinum Inc. accused of polluting Alaska salmon streams when they restarted the old platinum mine in Western Alaska at the edge of Kuskokwim Bay. It is the first federal case in Alaska charging a mining company with criminal violations of the Clean Water Act…

http://www.adn.com/article/20150302/mining-geologist-set-plead-guilty-western-alaska-pollution-case


45. DEC Triennial review of Water Quality Standards – comment extended to March 30

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Division of Water is extending the deadline for accepting public comments on potential issues and updates to the Water Quality Standards in Title 18, Chapter 70 of the Alaska Administrative Code. The federal Clean Water Act requires states to conduct a review of topics associated with state water quality standards every three years. This process is known as the “Triennial Review” and ensures pollution limits for Alaska’s waters are integrating the latest science, technology, policy, and federal requirements in state water quality regulations.

The Triennial Review is a planning process, not a rule making proceeding and will not directly result in new regulations.

You may comment on topics for consideration during the 2015-2017 Triennial Review cycle by submitting written comments to Brock Tabor, DEC Division of Water, at 410 Willoughby Ave, Suite 303,

P.O. Box 11800, Juneau, Alaska 99811. Additionally, the Division of Water will accept comments by facsimile at (907) 465-5274 and by electronic mail at brock.tabor@alaska.gov. Comments may also be submitted electronically through the Alaska Online Public Notice System at http://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices. The comments must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on March 30, 2015.

Information on the Triennial Review process, high priority issues, and issue-specific fact sheets are located at http://dec.alaska.gov/water/wqsar/trireview/index.htm.


46. EPA report finds streams and wetlands affect downstream waters

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the availability of the final report titled, “Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence” (EPA/600/R-14/475F). The purpose of this report is to summarize the current understanding about the connectivity and mechanisms by which streams and wetlands affect the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of downstream waters…

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-00339

Report: Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence (Final Report):

http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=296414


47. Research finds woody debris benefits fish

January 2015 Contributed by Michael Milstein and Phil Roni.

Findings offer new guidance for effective restoration projects Adding logs and other woody debris to rivers and streams is one of the oldest and most common measures to improve fish habitat. But debates continue over how much benefit logjams and other wood structures provide for fish and how much wood is natural or needed in a given river system.

A comprehensive research review by scientists from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center provides new clarity on the question. Large wood such as logs and root wads has always played a natural role in most river systems, the review found, and most studies have concluded that wood placed in rivers remains stable, improves habitat conditions and increases fish numbers – particularly for salmon and trout…

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

(The study did not consider pink and chum salmon that leave freshwaters as fry; we haven’t found any studies that have been done on LWD effects on pink & chum.)


48. Tongass Advisory Committee Close to Agreement on Young Growth Management on the Tongass

(SitNews) Juneau, Alaska – The Tongass Advisory Committee (TAC) held its sixth meeting in Juneau from February 17-19, and reportedly continued robust discussions regarding possible Forest Plan Amendment recommendations to accelerate the transition to young growth forest management on the Tongass. According to Diana Portner, Mediator and Program Associate of the Meridian Institute, the members are optimistic that they are close to agreement on a framework for the young growth harvest component of the Amendment…

http://www.sitnews.us/0215News/022515/022515_tongass.html

USFS Tongass Advisory Committee page:

http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/tongass/home/?cid=stelprdb5444388

Meeting info: http://merid.org/TongassAdvisoryCommittee.aspx


49. Alaska Board of Forestry to meet March 23-24 in Juneau – w/ Forest & Fisheries Forum

(Anchorage, AK) – The Board of Forestry will meet in Juneau and by teleconference on March 23-24 to discuss statewide forestry issues and participate in a forest fisheries forum. The meeting and forum will be held in Juneau and the public is invited to attend.

The board will discuss statewide forestry issues from 8:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Monday, March 23, and from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24.

The forest fisheries forum will be held from 1:30 to 5 p.m. on Monday, March 23. The forum is being organized by board members and other stakeholders including the Southeast Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership. Speakers will address interactions between forestry and fisheries management and will discuss upcoming forestry-fisheries issues and opportunities to cooperate on management and research.

Topics for the regular board meeting will include:

  • Proposed Fiscal Year 2016 forestry, forest practices, and monitoring budgets,
  • Proposed 2015 legislation related to forestry,
  • Reforestation standards review process for Interior and Southcentral Alaska,
  • State consideration of assumption of authority for Section 404 wetlands program,
  • Wood energy in Alaska and state timber sales for wood energy projects,
  • Southeast State Forest Management Plan,
  • Federal forest management in Alaska including reports on national forest planning, Roadless Rule implementation, Southeast land ownership initiatives, and The Working Forest Group,
  • Annual forest practices compliance and effectiveness monitoring reports,
  • Annual reports from the departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Conservation, and Fish and Game,
  •  Annual Board of Forestry report to the Governor regarding Forest Resources and Practices Act effectiveness,
  • Overview of Kodiak Island timber operations,
  • Petition to list Alaska yellow-cedar under the Endangered Species Act,
  • Overview of Alaska Forest Resources and Practices Act (FRPA) history
  • Overview of the FRPA Detailed Plan of Operation process, and
  • Division of Forestry program updates.

Other forestry matters may be included on the agenda. The meeting is intended to comply with the requirements of AS 41.17.047(b) and (d).

Online Public Notice: https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=175829

DNR Public Information Center: http://dnr.alaska.gov/commis/pic/


50. Ocean Acidification and How It Affects Alaska’s Fisheries

By Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage | February 13, 2015

Shellfish are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification, and colder waters are becoming more acidic than warm waters.  What does this mean for Alaska and its fisheries – especially crabs and oysters? Or for the food chain that feeds other species in the ocean?

Hear the February 13 Talk of Alaska online at:

http://www.alaskapublic.org/2015/02/13/ocean-acidification-and-how-it-affects-alaskas-fisheries/


51. ADFG 2015 Anadromous Catalog of Waters proposed revisions

The Atlas to the Catalog of Waters Important for the Spawning, Rearing, or Migration of Anadromous Fishes and Catalog of Waters Important for the Spawning, Rearing, or Migration of Anadromous Fishes (Atlas and Catalog), which are adopted by reference in 5 AAC 95.011, will be revised and updated…

Several revisions are proposed to be made to the Atlas and Catalog.  The list of rivers, lakes, and streams will be updated, including additions, deletions, and changes to the legal descriptions of many of these waters.  Minor revisions will be made to the introduction of the Catalog and Atlas.  Species-specific information will be used in place of undifferentiated species information wherever possible…

2015 Anadromous Waters Catalog Proposed Revisions

https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=175410

2015 Supplemental Anadromous Waters Catalog Proposed Revisions

https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=175713


Enhancement

52. Jury still out on Alaska salmon hatcheries, MSC keeps pressing issue

Former Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Americas director Kerry Coughlin once described hatcheries as the “golden goose” of the Alaska salmon fishery. Alaska state managers over the past four decades have cranked up production, enhancing the stream of supply for one of the state’s most prized natural resources.

Consumers likely don’t know about the man-made production behind the “wild Alaska salmon” brand, but does Alaska have anything to hide from a scientific perspective?

The jury is still out, *and the MSC’s new standard for sustainable, wild-caught salmon fisheries continues to ask this question.

*The MSC’s new performance indicator, released with the new salmon standard in October, requires enhancement outcomes to demonstrate that it is “highly likely that salmon enhancement activities do not have significant negative impacts on the adaptation, reproductive performance or productivity and diversity of wild stocks”, MSC fisheries assessment manager Megan Atcheson told conference-goers during the “How Wild is ‘Wild’?” panel discussion at SeaWeb Seafood Summit on Wednesday…

“It wasn’t until 20 years ago that people really stared looking at it,” Ericksen said. Now scientists in multiple realms — from MSC assessors to those with the ADF&G — are looking very closely.

The ADF&G is in the midst of a study on hatchery fish impacts on wild fish, although efforts may become hung up with Alaska’s budget crisis, Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) commercial fisheries division director Jeff Regnart told conference-goers.

“Since oil dollars aren’t available like they used to be, we have to look elsewhere,” ADF&G director of commercial fisheries, Regnart, told Undercurrent.

The ADF&G has spent $7 million so far on its efforts to study the overall fitness of wild salmon to “determine if we need to do something different,” Regnart told conference-goers. He anticipates spending a total of $10m by the time the study is completed, which he anticipates will be in two years for pinks. Regnart anticipates looking to foundations for the remaining funding…

http://www.undercurrentnews.com/2015/02/12/jury-still-out-on-alaska-salmon-hatcheries-as-msc-continues-support/

UFA Resolution 2010-2 Support for Alaska’s Salmon Hatchery Program (September 30, 2010)

http://www.ufafish.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/2010-2-UFA-Resolution-in-Support-of-Hatchery-Program.pdf


Subsistence

53. Kuskokwim Fishermen Set Sights on Co-Management

by Ben Matheson on February 6, 2015

Efforts to establish tribal co-management of Kuskokwim salmon are slowly progressing. A steering committee is in Bethel to sketch out the future of who regulates the river. Kuskokwim fishermen are eager to be managers, instead of simply advisers.

10 members of a steering committee met for the first time in Bethel Thursday. Fisherman from Nikolai at the headwaters down to the mouth began to define what they want to see in tribal co-management. Committee member Bob Aloysius from Kalskag emphasized tribes need to be more than simply advisers.

“Recommendations to go a point, and nothing happens. We need to have authority to implement, maintain, monitor, and enforce whatever we come up with,” said Aloysius…

Audio:  http://kyuk.org/kuskokwim-fishermen-set-sights-on-co-management/


54. Comment deadline April 1 on Federal Subsistence Rural Determination process

The Secretaries propose to revise the regulations governing the rural determination process for the Federal Subsistence Program in Alaska. Under current regulations, the Federal Subsistence Board (Board) defines which community or area of Alaska is rural using guidelines and characteristics defined by the Secretaries. This new process will enable the Board to be more flexible in making decisions and take into account the regional differences found throughout the State…

Comments and proposals to change this proposed rule must be received or postmarked by April 1, 2015…

Federal Register: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-01621

Federal Subsistence Office press release: http://www.doi.gov/subsistence/news/general/rural_determination.cfm


55. Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Council meetings scheduled

  • Southeast Alaska Subsistence Regional Advisory Council  – March 17-19, 2015 in Sitka
  • North Slope Subsistence Regional Advisory Council – March 17-19, 2015 in Barrow
  • Western Interior Alaska Subsistence Regional Advisory Council –  March 3-4, 2015 in Fairbanks.
  • Eastern Interior Alaska Subsistence Regional Advisory Council – March 4-5, 2015 in Fairbanks.
  • Northwest Arctic Subsistence Regional Advisory Council – March 9-10, 2015 in Kotzebue.

Federal Subsistence office announcement page:

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


56. Federal Subsistence Board Acts on Proposals to Change Federal Subsistence Fisheries Regulations

The Federal Subsistence Board met January 21−23, 2015 at the Dena’ina Convention Center in Anchorage to take action on proposed changes to Federal subsistence fishing regulations.  The actions taken by the Board include:

Statewide – Added a definition of “hooks” to allow with or without barbs.

Kuskokwim Area

– Added dipnets as an authorized gear type for the harvest of salmon.

Cook Inlet Area

– Authorized the use of a single gillnet by the community of Ninilchik on the Kenai River after the submission of an operation plan and approval by the in-season fisheries manager and the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Manager.

– Authorized the use of a single gillnet by the community of Ninilchik on the Kasilof River after the submission of an operation plan and approval by the in-season fisheries manager and the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Manager. This will be an experimental fishery that will expire five years after issuance of the first operation plan…

Southeast Alaska Area

– Closed Federal public waters to non-Federally qualified users in the Makhnati Island area to the harvest of herring and herring spawn…

– Required that nets be checked twice a day on the Stikine River; eliminated the subsistence sockeye salmon annual guideline harvest level on the Stikine River pending consideration by the Transboundary River Panel and the Pacific Salmon Commission.

– Closed the Klawock River drainage to the use of seines and gillnets during the months of July and August.

FSB Press release:

http://www.doi.gov/subsistence/news/fishing/nr_01_26_15.cfm

Office of Subsistence Management home page: http://www.doi.gov/subsistence/index.cfm


And Other…

57. AMSEA Free Safety Workshop for Commercial Fishermen – Juneau, March 28

The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) will offer a Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor Workshop in Juneau, Alaska on Saturday, March 28, 2015 from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM at the UAS Technical Education Center, 1415 Harbor Way, Room 133. This workshop will cover cold-water survival skills; EPIRBs, flares, and maydays; man-overboard recovery and firefighting; immersion suits and PFDs; emergency drills, helicopter rescue, life rafts, and abandon ship procedures.

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

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


58. Laine Welch’s Fish Radio – Recent Items

Fish-related budget cuts; Fish Board actions at Sitka

Cod opens, halibut and herring next: Alaska Updates

Abandoned Crab Pots Can Be a Killer

Water rights for wild salmon or coal mine? DNR to decide. Comments extended to April 9

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


59. Live to be Salty program promotes PFD use 

Falling overboard is the second leading cause of death among commercial fishermen nationwide. Of the 182 fishermen who died from falls overboard between 2000 and 2011 NONE of them were wearing a personal flotation device (PFD). Researchers from the NIOSH Alaska Pacific Office conducted an evaluation with commercial fishermen from 4 gear groups to rate the comfort and acceptability of six modern personal flotation devices (PFDs). About 200 fishermen were asked to evaluate a PFD for one month while working on deck so that wearable PFDs could be identified. This document is a supplement to the gear-specific fact sheets we have also published and has guidance for selecting a PFD that will work for you.

NIOSH report: PFDs That Work: Overview

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2013-131/

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


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

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