UFA Update: May 29, 2015

From the Executive Director:

Reminder! UFA Individual and Lifetime members- UFA’s At-Large election is currently underway. Ballots must be postmarked by Monday, June 1st. UFA Individual and Lifetime members are represented on the UFA board by four at-large board directors, elected by members during odd-numbered years for two year terms. UFA is proud to report that we had a record number of nominees and many of them are the next generation of fisheries leaders. This increase in interest in serving on the board in an At-Large capacity can be attributed to UFA’s increased visibility and impact. Thank you to those who submitted their names to serve on the UFA board.

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

Join UFA online HERE
Become-a-UFA-Member

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. Group continues effort to get setnet ban on 2016 ballot
2. Backers of initiative to ban set-netting misleading public
3. Ruffner doesn’t win legislative approval
4. Legislature narrowly rejects Ruffner for Board of Fisheries
5. AJOC EDITORIAL: Legislature votes for factions over fish
6. AJOC GUEST COMMENTARY: Time for Kenai-area community to cut its ties with KRSA
7. Sportfishing group drives wedge into community
8. No ‘voice’ for Peninsula on BOF
9. An Outdoor View: Fish board
10. GUEST COMMENTARY: Equal voice for personal use and sport anglers is key on Board of Fisheries
11. Voices of the Peninsula: Political manipulation doesn’t benefit community
12. Board of Fisheries seat open again after Ruffner rejection
13. Mumford tapped for Board of Fisheries
14. Gillis resigned over board appointment
15. Former Fish Board appointee Roland Maw fined $7k in Montana charges
16. Board of Fisheries Meeting Information page:
17. A changing view: the seasonal migration of a fishing family
18. Help Wanted: ADFG seeks Habitat Division Director – apply by June 5.

National

19. Murkowski Lauds Commerce Committee Passage of Anti-Pirate Fishing Bill
20. Senators Sullivan, Schatz Work to Pass International Fisheries Bills out of Commerce Committee (5/20)
21. Comment deadline June 8 on IUU Task Force principles to determine species at risk
22. Young dismisses White House Magnuson-Stevens veto threat
23. South Coast Today: White House putting politics ahead of fishery science
24. Obama threatens veto of Magnuson-Stevens
25: Barack Obama: “Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 1335
26: Senate Commerce Hearing: Improvements and Innovations in Fishery Management and Data Collection
27. National Ocean Policy Coalition update, May 8, 2015
28. Nearly 70 Groups Submit National Ocean Policy Letter To Congress
29. Deadline June 4 for IPHC Nominations – comment by July 9
30. Polar Code approval is timely for busy Bering Strait
31. Comment deadline June 22 on Observer Programs Information Collection that can be gathered only through questions.
32. Comment by July 20 on Proposed Information Collection – Alaska Observer Program
33. NOAA North Pacific Groundfish and Halibut Observer Program 2014 Annual Report
34. NPFMC Observer Advisory committee to meet May 29, Anchorage
35. NPFMC to meet June 1-9 in Sitka
36. Halibut bycatch issue: A poster child for complex fisheries policy in Alaska
37. Unalaska City Council punts on halibut bycatch position
38. Alaska members of council appeal recusals
39. Marine Protected Areas Advisory Committee meets June 3 in Tacoma
40. Comment deadline July 20 on Kenai National Wildlife Refuge proposed changes
41. Labeling meat by country of origin on the way out
42. Murkowski Efforts Promote Alaska Ports, Harbors and Roads
43. Comment deadline July 20 on ESA petition regulation changes
44. EPA releases final rule on “Waters of the U.S.”
45. Sullivan & Delegation React to EPA’s Final WOTUS Rule
46. NFWF announces 2015 Fisheries Innovation Fund Grants
47. Comment by July 20 on USFWS survey re National Initiative to Understand and Connect Americans and Nature
48. Proposed Information Collection – Gulf of Alaska Trawl Groundfish Fishery Rationalization Social Study—Catcher Processor Socio-Cultural Survey.
49. Deadline July 7 for USDA Value added grants May 8 fed reg.
50. NMFS lowers fee rate for SE Salmon Seine buyback to 1%
51. Comment period reopened on USCG Seafarers’ Access to Maritime Facilities
52. Comment deadline July 20 on ESA Humpback Whale de-listing

Marketing

53. Mediation proposed for salmon sustainability certification squabble
54. Alaska governor implores MSC to ‘work with us’ to get MSC certificate for 2015’s salmon catch
55. Marine Stewardship Council Statement on wild Alaskan salmon certificate sharing
56. ASMI looks to expand sustainability certification program, elects Collier to chair board
57. ASMI Seafood Market Bulletin – Spring 2015 edition
58. New Juneau business to bring salmon skin wallets, crab shell shirts to the masses
59. What makes Alaska a world leader in sustainable fisheries?
60. Murkowski Defending Alaska-Caught Pollock Against Inferior Russian Product
61. The Piscivore’s Dilemma By: Tim Zimmermann, May 27, 2015, Outside Online
62. Pacific Marine Expo seeks topics & speakers – deadline June 17.

Fish Farm & Environmental

63. Supreme Court backs group fighting Pebble mine
64. Appeals court tosses Pebble Mine suit against EPA; arguments begin in another
65. EPA’s Dennis McLerran: The EPA Is Right to Be Careful About Pebble Mine Plan
66. Pebble, EPA agree that lawsuit should continue
67. Bobby Andrew, leading voice in anti-Pebble fight, dies at 73
68. Lt. Governor outlines state stake in British Columbia issues
69. Alaska turns up the heat on proposed B.C. mines
70. Tongass Advisory Committee releases recommendations
71. Chuitna water reservation decision delayed until this fall
72. Comment deadline June 22 on Exxon Cook Inlet Geotechnical survey discharge permit
73. Comment deadline June 26 on Cook Inlet Energy Discharge Plan renewal & combining…
74. Notice of Adjudicatory Hearing on Large Commercial Passenger Vessel Wastewater Discharge General Permit
75. Commercial fishermen protest Navy War Games
76. Canadian Risk Assessment Finds GMO Salmon Susceptible to Disease
77. Comment by June 22 on ESA 90-Day Finding on Delisting Snake River Fall-Run Chinook Salmon “may be warranted”

Enhancement

78. Alaska salmon hatcheries report robust yields
79. Hatchery cos. dispute study faulting pink salmon releases
Subsistence
80. Final Rule posted on Subsistence Fishing regs – UFA & others seek reconsideration
81. Article: Fight over Kenai River gillnets is on after reg publishes
82. Murkowski introduces bill to restore subsistence rights to Saxman
83. Federal Subsistence Board Adopts Section 804 Determination along the Kuskokwim River
84. USFWS Partners for Fisheries Monitoring Program – funding opportunity for AK Native and Rural subsistence participation – deadline August 31.
Other
85. Help Wanted: ADFG seeks Habitat Division Director – apply by June 5.
86. AMSEA Free Ergonomics Training: Reduce Injury, Increase Productivity
87. Fishlines – The Alaska Sea Grant newsletter for May 2015
88. Laine Welch’s Fish Radio – Recent Items
89. Live to be Salty program promotes PFD use

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

Statewide

1. Group continues effort to get setnet ban on 2016 ballot
By MOLLY DISCHNER, Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A proposed voter initiative to ban setnets in urban parts of Alaska is making its way toward the ballot, while a lawsuit over its legality continues.
The Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance has been collecting signatures throughout the state to put the proposed ban on the August 2016 ballot.
President Joe Connors said in an emailed statement that the signature-collecting is going well.

“We are confident we will reach our goal,” he wrote.
Setnets are vertical nets let out from shore that catch fish. Commercial setnetters primarily target sockeye salmon, but proponents of the ban have said they are concerned that they incidentally catch too many other fish, including king salmon, in the process.
The alliance, a nonprofit advocacy group, in 2013 proposed a ballot initiative asking voters whether to ban commercial setnets in parts of the state that are classified as nonsubsistence.

That would primarily affect the commercial setnet fishery in Upper Cook Inlet. According to information from the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission, there are about 734 active Cook Inlet setnet permits in 2015…
http://peninsulaclarion.com/news/2015-05-02/group-continues-effort-to-get-setnet-ban-on-2016-ballot


2. Backers of initiative to ban set-netting misleading public
By Bob Correia , Kasilof (May 4)
These must be exciting times for the Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance. If their campaign is successful, they will use Alaska voters to try to end the careers and lifestyles of some of our most historic Kenai Peninsula families…

What’s most troubling about this whole issue is that the sponsors and supporters of this set-net ban initiative drive, AFCA, KRSA, KRPGA, which are Kenai River guide groups, made their careers catching Kenai River king salmon right where they have returned to spawn. Their main target was the “biggest” of the kings, the historically giant females that spawn in the main stem of the Kenai River — the ones that are now mostly gone.
…It’s up to us that live here on the Peninsula to “out” these guide groups for what they are and to figure a way to derail their agenda . Their vision of the future does not include most of the rest of us — the ones that feel responsible for protecting the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers and the salmon that return there.

http://peninsulaclarion.com/opinion/letters/2015-05-04/backers-of-initiative-to-ban-set-netting-misleading-public


3. Ruffner doesn’t win legislative approval
By Cristy Fry, Homer News (4/22)
The support from commercial fishermen and local governments apparently prevented a nominee for the Alaska Board of Fisheries with no commercial fishing experience whatsoever from being confirmed by the Legislature.
The nominee, Robert Ruffner, lost on a 30-29 vote.

The strongest opposition came from Sen. Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak, who spent nearly nine minutes of the 35 minutes of discussion about Ruffner talking not about Ruffner’s lack of qualifications, but about how much unprecedented support Ruffner had.
He used the word “unprecedented” eight times during his testimony. Read more: http://homernews.com/homer-features/seawatch/2015-04-22/ruffner-doesn%E2%80%99t-win-legislative-approval


4. Legislature narrowly rejects Ruffner for Board of Fisheries
By DJ Summers, Alaska Journal of Commerce, April 22.

Another Board of Fisheries nominee has fallen victim to the aggressive politics of the Cook Inlet fish wars.

The Legislature voted 30-29 against confirming Gov. Bill Walker’s Board of Fisheries nominee Robert Ruffner during the end of session confirmation hearing on April 19.

Walker nominated Ruffner to the position following the resignation of Karl Johnstone as the board chair and subsequent withdrawal by Roland Maw after criminal charges were filed against him in Montana over receiving resident hunting and fishing licenses.

Ruffner is a well-credentialed conservationist, which coincides with Walker’s stated goal to rid the Board of Fisheries of politics in favor of science-based, “fish first” management. Ruffner is the director of Soldotna-based Kenai Watershed Forum, and has led several successful conservation efforts for the waterway. His stated goal was to represent all groups equally with conservation of the habitat and stock in mind.

Ruffner’s largest opposition in the Legislature came from the House Republicans from Anchorage, the Mat-Su, and the Upper Railbelt, whose 18 delegates voted unanimously against Ruffner. Read more: http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/April-Issue-4-2015/Legislature-narrowly-rejects-Ruffner-for-Board-of-Fisheries/


5. AJOC EDITORIAL: Legislature votes for factions over fish
By Andrew Jensen, Managing Editor, Alaska Journal of Commerce
2015.04.22 02:25 PM

The mantra “Fish come first” has been exposed as nothing more than a fish tale.
Gov. Bill Walker’s second crack at a Board of Fisheries nominee was defeated April 19 in the Legislature by a 30-29 vote when Robert Ruffner of Soldotna became the latest trophy — though likely not the last — mounted by the Kenai River Sportfishing Association.

Just as it did two years ago to oust board member Vince Webster by an identical 30-29 vote, KRSA engaged in a heavy-handed lobbying effort of distortions and character assassination, this time against a candidate who has devoted his professional career to conservation as the executive director of the Kenai Watershed Forum.

While KRSA claims “Fish come first” in its slick propaganda to mask its true purpose as a guided fishing lobbying group, Ruffner has actually lived that motto.

By engaging in a campaign to smear a man who does the work KRSA claims to believe in, the group revealed itself as representing a faction first — not the fish.

For an organization that downplays the linkages between its members and the Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance trying to ban setnets in Cook Inlet via a ballot initiative, the guilt by association aspect of its attacks on Ruffner was particularly brazen. Read more: http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/April-Issue-4-2015/AJOC-EDITORIAL-Legislature-votes-for-factions-over-fish/


6. AJOC GUEST COMMENTARY: Time for Kenai-area community to cut its ties with KRSA
By Dwight Kramer, Published: 2015.04.22 02:25 PM

Last weekend the Alaska Legislature voted against the confirmation of Soldotna resident Robert Ruffner for a seat on the Board of Fisheries. Robert is well respected locally, in-state and nationally for his work on habitat and clean water issues and their relationship to providing good salmon rearing conditions.

He is also a resource user that participates in the sport and personal use fisheries. With his scientific background he was probably the best qualified applicant this position has seen in a long time.

So what went wrong? Kenai River Sportfishing Association, or KRSA, decided they would not be able to wield their power and influence over the Board of Fisheries process as well if Robert was a sitting member of the board. Read more: http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/April-Issue-4-2015/GUEST-COMMENTARY-Time-for-Kenai-area-community-to-cut-its-ties-with-KRSA/


7. Sportfishing group drives wedge into community
Peninsula Clarion, April 30, 2015, By John McCombs , Ninilchik
Dwight (Kramer, Peninsula Clarion, April 24) got it right. Regarding Ricky Gease’s op-ed (Peninsula Clarion, April 27), equal and fair is very misunderstood in this context.
Here are a few people that have been treated unfairly by KRSA: Mel Morris, Brent Johnson, Vince Webster, Roland Maw, and most recently, Robert Ruffner.
KRSA eavesdropped on a UFA meeting to scuttle Vince Webster. They got the teleconference code and dialed in only to be found out after a review of UFA phone records listed an unknown 262 number.

KRSA lobbied in Washington, D.C. to cut $100,000 from Ruffner’s water quality study. People need to know these things. The main reason Mr. Gease was not lobbying in Juneau for the last 3 weeks is because he has been in D.C. lobbying for the gulf red snapper allocations against current Magnuson-Stevens policy.

To be clear, the Kenai Classic now targets coho salmon — and late run Kenai kings that are main stem spawners still in the river. Sure they are released, but do they spawn? Did you ever wonder, how can there be a Kenai Classic when there are no more classic kings?
To be clear Mr. Gease, you and your fish initiative boss are driving a wedge into the heart of a community.

http://peninsulaclarion.com/opinion/letters/2015-04-30/sportfishing-group-drives-wedge-into-community


8. No ‘voice’ for Peninsula on BOF
By Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter, Homer Tribune

Unless Gov. Bill Walker finds a third time the charm, the Kenai Peninsula will not have a voice on the Alaska Board of Fisheries, as the appointment of Robert Ruffner was voted down in a joint session of the Legislature held Sunday.
Read more: http://homertribune.com/2015/04/no-voice-for-peninsula-on-bof/


9. An Outdoor View: Fish board
By Les Palmer , Peninsula Clarion, April 23, 2015 – 3:43pm

I was disappointed Sunday when state legislators voted against confirming Soldotna resident Robert Ruffner’s appointment to the Alaska Board of Fisheries. It would’ve been so good, so right, having just one board member who is there to do what’s best for the fish, not there to do the bidding of fishing guides, commercial fishermen and the others who are in it mainly for the money.

The 29-30 vote was close, but close doesn’t count in this game. To win takes a simple majority. Read more: http://peninsulaclarion.com/outdoors/2015-04-23/an-outdoor-view-fish-board


10. GUEST COMMENTARY: Equal voice for personal use and sport anglers is key on Board of Fisheries
By Ricky Gease (April 24) Alaska Journal of Commerce
Many of the folks who choose to live in Alaska are here for quality of life opportunities, especially the opportunity to hunt and fish.

More than half of all Alaskans live in the Cook Inlet region where the Kenai River supports the state’s largest sport and personal use fisheries. This one magnificent river puts food in family freezers, cash in hundreds of registers and life-long memories for hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors.

While only one percent of the total harvest of fish and game in Alaska comes from personal use and sport fisheries, that one percent generates more than a quarter of the state’s economic values derived from fisheries. Read more: http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/Breaking-News-2015/GUEST-COMMENTARY-Equal-voice-for-personal-use-and-sport-anglers-is-key-on-Board-of-Fisheries/


11. Voices of the Peninsula: Political manipulation doesn’t benefit community
Peninsula Clarion, May 12, 2015, By Ken Tarbox, Soldotna
The recent shenanigans of Kenai River Sport Fishing Association (KRSA) against local and well-respected Kenai Peninsula Borough citizen Robert Ruffner were a classic demonstration of political manipulation. These were employed for one purpose only, to thwart the governor’s appointment of Ruffner to the Board of Fisheries. I assert KRSA was successful due to the use of three major strategies: 1) building relationships; 2) corporate mentality; and the most important, 3) willful ignorance by the public and legislators…
In summary, KRSA plays the political game very well, but is that the game we as Alaskans want to support? In our Kenai Peninsula community do we want a mentality of win/lose, anything goes, and ignorance is bliss or do we want to stand up to organizations like KRSA and say no, enough is enough? The choice for each business and individual is now clear. The Ruffner experience no longer allows one to hide behind willful ignorance.

http://peninsulaclarion.com/opinion/2015-05-12/voices-of-the-peninsula-political-manipulation-doesnt-benefit-community


12. Board of Fisheries seat open again after Ruffner rejection
By DJ Summers, Alaska Journal of Commerce (4/29)

Editorial note: this article has been updated. Roberta Quintavell possesses a certificate from Harvard School of Business’s Program for Management Development in 2001. It is not a degree.

Gov. Bill Walker has yet another appointment to make to a shorthanded Board of Fisheries, and this time the Legislature won’t be in the equation.

After the second of his two board nominations failed to replace resigned chairman Karl Johnstone, Walker will have to appoint a new name from a long list of applicants by May 19. There is no official call for applicants, but any applicants are recommended to submit resumes to the governor’s Boards and Commissions office no later that May 15.

There will be no confirmation hearing for whomever Walker nominates to the vacant seat. That person will serve as a fully powered out-of-session appointee for the year until the 2016 legislative confirmation hearing. Read more: http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/May-Issue-1-2015/Board-of-Fisheries-seat-open-again-after-Ruffner-rejection/


13. Mumford tapped for Board of Fisheries
By DJ Summers, Alaska Journal of Commerce
Gov. Bill Walker’s office announced on May 20 that Robert Mumford has been appointed to the vacant seat on the Alaska Board of Fisheries.

“I am pleased to announce Bob Mumford as my appointee to the Board of Fish,” Walker said. “His vast range of experience in multiple fields — as a commercial pilot, hunting instructor and fish and game State Trooper — has taken him all over the state.”

Mumford is making a lateral move from one board to another after being denied a reappointment by Walker earlier this year. He currently serves on the Board of Game, and his term is set to expire June 30. Kip Fanning was confirmed by the Legislature to replace Mumford on April 19…
http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/May-Issue-4-2015/Mumford-tapped-for-Board-of-Fisheries/

Governor Walker Press Release: http://gov.alaska.gov/Walker/press-room/full-press-release.html?pr=7181


14. Gillis resigned over board appointment
By DJ Summers, Alaska Journal of Commerce
Karen Gillis, Gov. Bill Walker’s former director of Boards and Commissions, resigned in protest of an appointment Walker’s office said never happened.

Gillis, who was named Boards and Commissions director this past December, said in an interview on May 20 that she quit her position on May 13 after learning that Walker had decided to appoint Roberta “Bobbi” Quintavell to a vacant seat on the Alaska Board of Fisheries…
http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/May-Issue-4-2015/Gillis-resigned-over-board-appointment/


15. Former Fish Board appointee Roland Maw fined $7k in Montana charges
http://www.adn.com/article/20150518/former-fish-board-appointee-roland-maw-fined-7k-montana-charges


16. Board of Fisheries Meeting Information page:
Preliminary summary actions are posted from the March 17–20, 2015 meeting –
Statewide Dungeness Crab, Shrimp, Misc. Shellfish (except Southeast and Yakutat) and Supplemental Issues…
http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.meetinginfo


17. A changing view: the seasonal migration of a fishing family
Sara Loewen, May 23, 2015 Alaska Dispatch News
… In the days leading up to our first salmon opener in June, we close up our house and ship a summer’s worth of supplies to the west side of Kodiak. Peter flies out early to unload shrinkwrapped, 500-pound pallets, and take the skiffs out of storage in Larsen Bay, the village closest to our fishsite. He unboards the cabins and connects waterlines, and starts hauling out fishing gear and anchors…
http://www.adn.com/article/20150523/changing-view-seasonal-migration-fishing-family


18. Help Wanted: ADFG seeks Habitat Division Director – apply by June 5.
This job posting has appeared in the Juneau Empire, but we are unable to find it online at Workplace Alaska or on ADFG website. For details contact Abby Smith at (907)465-6141.

National

19. Murkowski Lauds Commerce Committee Passage of Anti-Pirate Fishing Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today commended the Senate Commerce Committee for unanimously passing the Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing (IUU) Enforcement Act out of committee. The bill was introduced by Senator Murkowski Lisa and Senator Dan Sullivan last week to step up the crackdown of IUU fishing, and she had the following remarks afterwards:

“I thank my Senate colleagues in the Commerce Committee for recognizing the importance of this legislation and expeditiously passing it out of committee. Pirate fishing poses a serious threat to the livelihood of many in Alaska, and takes money out of the pockets of hardworking men and women. This is a tremendously important step to protect the 80,000 Alaskans directly or indirectly impacted by our state’s robust seafood industry. As fishing season in Alaska ramps up, it’s appropriate timing for this bill to move forward.”

This legislation will increase enforcement capabilities for a number of international fishery agreements that combat IUU fishing, and the bill now heads to the Senate floor for further consideration.

Senator Murkowski press release:
http://www.murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2015/5/murkowski-lauds-commerce-committee-passage-of-anti-pirate-fishing-bill


20. Senators Sullivan, Schatz Work to Pass International Fisheries Bills out of Commerce Committee (5/20)
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Senate Commerce Committee unanimously approved several bills, including a group of international fisheries bills championed by U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Brian Schatz (D-HI). These include S. 1334, the Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act; S. 1335, the North Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act; and S. 1336, the South Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act.

Senator Dan Sullivan press release: http://www.sullivan.senate.gov/content/senators-sullivan-schatz-work-pass-international-fisheries-bills-out-commerce-committee


21. Comment deadline June 8 on IUU Task Force principles to determine species at risk
Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud Action Plan Recommendations 14/15 Identifying Species “At Risk” of IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud..

The National Ocean Council Committee on IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud (NOC Committee) is seeking public input on principles to be used in determining seafood species “at risk” for IUU fishing and seafood fraud…
Comments must be received by June 8, 2015.

According to NOAA, in 2013, U.S. fishers landed 9.9 billion pounds of fish and shellfish worth $5.5 billion. Globally, illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud undermine the sustainability of U.S. and global seafood stocks and negatively impact general ecosystem health. At the same time, IUU fishing and fraudulent seafood products distort legal markets and unfairly compete with the products of law-abiding fishers and seafood industries.

On March 15, 2015, the Presidential Task Force on Combating IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud (Task Force), co-chaired by the Departments of Commerce and State, took an historic step to address these issues and published its action plan to implement Task Force recommendations…

Federal Register notice April 30: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-10125

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


22. Young dismisses White House Magnuson-Stevens veto threat
By DJ Summers, Alaska Journal of Commerce… Published: 2015.05.27 02:58 PM

President Barack Obama’s administration gave an early promise to stop Rep. Don Young’s changes to national fishing laws before the bill has even seen the light of a full House discussion.

The Magnuson-Stevens Act, or MSA, governs all fisheries in the federal waters from three to 200 miles off the U.S. coast, and authorizes eight regional fishery management councils, including the North Pacific Fishery Management Council that oversees fishing in the waters off the Alaska coast. It was first passed in 1976 and most recently reauthorized and amended in 2006.

Young authored and introduced the current amended reauthorization, entitled the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act. The update intends to allow more management flexibility for the fishery councils, relieve duplicative processes, and incorporate the latest developments in fisheries management science.

It has not yet been heard in a full House session.

The White House objects to several of the MSA changes, accusing Young of complicating a successful process and thereby putting the environment at risk…
http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/May-Issue-5-2015/Young-dismisses-White-House-Magnuson-Stevens-veto-threat/


23. South Coast Today: White House putting politics ahead of fishery science

Something happened Monday that made us wonder if there wasn’t finally some progress being made in fisheries management.

About 150 businesses, organizations and individuals with interests in the fishing industry on the East, West and Gulf coasts expressed their support for the U.S. House of Representatives’ Natural Resources Committee work on reauthorizing the act that regulates U.S. fisheries.

After years of losing battles with regulators, of finding too many deaf ears in Congress, of jaw-dropping incredulity over what appeared to be indiscriminate or capricious management that has decimated the Northeast groundfishing fleet, we thought it remarkable to read their letter to the committee chairman:

“This bill is the product of two years of hearings … and strikes a good balance between maintaining the essential conservation goals of the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and improving that Act with some carefully crafted amendments to provide fisheries managers with needed flexibility. If enacted, HR 1335 will continue the rebuilding of depleted fish stocks, provide transparency, streamline the management process, and ensure that more scientific information is available to deal with data-poor fish stocks. We believe HR 1335 builds on the conservation tenets which are already part of the Act while providing economic relief to those coastal communities that have been frustrated by the rigidity of the Act.”

Now, however, we see a letter to the Natural Resources Committee from the White House stating that presidential advisers would recommend a veto of House Resolution 1335 if it were to pass in its current form…

South Coast Today: http://www.southcoasttoday.com/article/20150522/OPINION/150529761/101095


24. Obama threatens veto of Magnuson-Stevens
Posted on May 20th, 2015, TradeOnlyToday

Despite widespread support for a bill that would change the rules and requirements around saltwater fishing, the Obama administration said it will veto the bill if it passes.
On Saturday a diverse group of 20 businesses, 51 organizations and 80 individuals representing fishermen and fishing communities from the East, West and Gulf coasts jointly signed a letter supporting HR 1335, the “Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act.”

They delivered the letter to Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, supporting the bill, which would reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the document that governs saltwater fishing regulations for the commercial and the recreational industries.

Supporters of the reauthorization, which was authored by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, said it would maintain the successful aspects of fisheries management under Magnuson-Stevens while providing much-needed flexibility and economic relief to fishing communities.

The letter does state opposition to a proposed amendment that would give states control over red snapper management, saying that “one radical sportsmen’s group … insists on taking the fishery out of jurisdiction of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.”

“This proposed change, supported largely by recreational fishing interests, would, according to the signatories of the letter, undermine the process in place under existing law to deal with the complex issues surrounding this fishery,” said a statement from the advocacy group Saving Seafood.

A statement the White House issued Tuesday said the bill would impose “arbitrary and unnecessary requirements that would harm the environment and the economy.”
“The MSA currently provides the flexibility needed to effectively manage the nation’s marine commercial, recreational and subsistence fisheries,” the statement read. “In contrast, H.R. 1335 would undermine the use of science-based actions to end and prevent overfishing.”

The bill also would “severely undermine the authority of the Gulf of Mexico Regional Fishery Management Council by extending state jurisdiction over the recreational red snapper fishery to nine miles in the Gulf of Mexico,” the statement read…
http://www.tradeonlytoday.com/2015/05/obama-threatens-veto-magnuson-stevens/?utm_source=Obama+threatens+veto+of+Magnuson-Stevens&utm_campaign=Obama+threatens+MSA+veto&utm_medium=email


25: Barack Obama: “Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 1335 — Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act,” May 19, 2015.
Online at the American Presidency Project: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=110138.

Bill tracking and text: H.R.1335 – Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act
https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1335


26: Senate Commerce Hearing: Improvements and Innovations in Fishery Management and Data Collection
May 20 2015 2:30 PM
http://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Hearings&ContentRecord_id=0d31f7df-1cb0-476a-9d64-a848b874b1a7&ContentType_id=14f995b9-dfa5-407a-9d35-56cc7152a7ed&Group_id=373e344f-29c8-446a-87a8-ca27d7eb5e06

Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard Subcommittee Committee home page:
http://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=OceansAtmosphereFisheriesandCoastGuard


27. National Ocean Policy Coalition update, May 8, 2015
I. Mid-A RPB to Hold Public Webinar, Proposals Sought for Ocean Assessment
II. NE RPB Releases Additional Information on Stakeholder Forum/Next Meeting
III. Northeast RPB Holds Ecosystem-Based Management Workshop
IV. Gulf of Mexico Alliance Event in June to Include Marine Planning Meeting
V. Report on West Coast Ocean Summit Addresses Possible New Regional Body
VI. NOPC Submits Comments on NOAA Fisheries Draft Climate Science Strategy
VII. NOAA Issues Updated Framework for Nat’l. System of MPAs
VIII. EBM Approach Proposed for Hawaiian Nat’l. Marine Sanctuary
IX. Nat’l Ocean Council Committee Seeks Input on IUU Fishing/Seafood Initiative
X. Registration Now Open for Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2015
XI. MPA Federal Advisory Committee to Hold Public Meeting
Online at http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=6bb66fed099f6eb4e4253667e&id=55223581c8&e=9001490418


28. Nearly 70 Groups Submit National Ocean Policy Letter To Congress
A letter signed by nearly 70 commercial and recreational groups has been submitted to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging the inclusion of language in FY 2016 appropriations bills that would trigger a one-year pause in implementation of two of the National Ocean Policy’s components: Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning and Ecosystem-Based Management.

http://www.ecomagazine.com/news-briefs/nearly-70-groups-submit-national-ocean-policy-letter-to-congress.html


29. Deadline June 4 for IPHC Nominations – comment by July 9
In January 2013, NOAA Fisheries publicly solicited nominations for two presidential appointments to serve as U.S. Commissioners to the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC). This multi-step nomination process provided for extensive participation by stakeholders in the Pacific halibut fishery and resulted in the appointment of two highly qualified individuals to serve in this important position. U.S. Commissioners to the IPHC Commission are appointed for a term not to exceed 2 years, but are eligible for reappointment. In order to ensure that the views of relevant stakeholders and others with an on-going interest in the Pacific halibut fishery are adequately reflected, NOAA is again soliciting nominations for two individuals to serve as U.S. Commissioners to the IPHC. Nominations are open to all qualified individuals and may include current Commissioners…

Nominations must be received by June 4, 2015. A list of nominees will be published on the NMFS Alaska Regional Office Web site (http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/) by June 9, 2015. Public comments relating to this list of nominees will be accepted until by July 9, 2015.

Federal Register notice 5/5: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-10507
IPHC home page: http://www.iphc.int/


30. Polar Code approval is timely for busy Bering Strait
Yereth Rosen, Alaska Dispatch News, May 25, 2015
The Bering Strait, the narrow chokepoint between the Pacific and Arctic Oceans, has been a watery crossroads for millennia. Skin boats paddled by indigenous residents were followed by commercial whaling ships, which were followed in the 20th century by vessels supporting the newcomers who mined for gold and drilled for oil.

Now, with summer Arctic sea ice dwindling, commercial and resource-extraction ambitions are expanding — and so is Bering Strait ship traffic. Crossings of the straight by large vessels more than doubled from 2008 to 2012, going from about 220 to more than 480, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. And at the Port of Nome, the closest thing the United States has to a full-service Arctic port, vessel use has exploded, from 34 recorded dockings in 1990 to 446 in 2014.

The Bering Strait will likely be an even busier place in the future as shippers seek to take advantage of Arctic opportunities. “That’s where the action’s going to be,” said Kevin Harun, Arctic program director with Pacific Environment

So a set of new international vessel standards — the Polar Code, which won final approval last week from the International Maritime Organization — is timely for the region.
Already, a series of marine tragedies, accidents and near-misses have raised concerns.


31. Comment deadline June 22 on Observer Programs Information Collection that can be gathered only through questions.
Observer programs primarily obtain information through direct observations by employees or agents of NMFS; and such observations are not subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). However, observer programs also collect the following information that requires clearance under the PRA: (1) Standardized questions of fishing vessel captains/crew or fish processing plant managers/staff, which include gear and performance questions, safety questions, and trip costs, crew size and other economic questions; (2) questions asked by observer program staff/contractors to plan observer deployments; (3) forms that are completed by observers and that fishing vessel captains are asked to review and sign; (4) questionnaires to evaluate observer performance; and (5) a form to certify that a fisherman is the permit holder when requesting observer data from the observer on the vessel. NMFS seeks to renew OMB PRA clearance for these information collections…

Federal register April 22: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-09250


32. Comment by July 20 on Proposed Information Collection – Alaska Observer Program
This request is for extension of a currently approved information collection…
Electronically submitted landing information submitted by managers of shoreside processors and stationary floating processors (SFPs) is used to assess the observer fee liability for each landing. Managers of shoreside processors and SFPs access reports generated by NMFS’ Web-based application for a receipt of the observer fee liability associated with each landing. NMFS makes electronic monitoring available as an alternative tool for fulfilling observer coverage requirements. The electronic monitoring option does not change the funding mechanism or fee amount, but does provide an alternative to carrying a human observer.

Written comments must be submitted on or before July 20, 2015…
https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-12155


33. NOAA North Pacific Groundfish and Halibut Observer Program 2014 Annual Report
Online at https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/observers/annualrpt2014.pdf


34. NPFMC Observer Advisory committee to meet May 29, Anchorage
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) Observer Advisory Committee (OAC) will meet in Anchorage, AK…

The meeting will be held on May 29, 2015, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m…at the Coast International Inn, 3450 Aviation Avenue, Susitna room, Anchorage, AK…

Federal Register notice May 13: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-11570

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


35. NPFMC to meet June 1-9 in Sitka
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and its advisory committees will hold public meetings, June 1-9, 2015…

The Council will begin its plenary session at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, June 3, continuing through Tuesday, June 9, 2015. The Scientific Statistical Committee (SSC) will begin at 8 a.m. on Monday, June 1 and continue through Wednesday, June 3, 2015. The Council’s Advisory Panel (AP) will begin at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, June 2, and continue through Saturday, June 6, 2015. All meetings are open to the public, except executive sessions. The Council’s Legislative Committee will meet Tuesday, June 2 at the Westmark Hotel, 330 Seward Street, Founders Room, Sitka, AK 99835, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m…
All meetings except for the Legislative Committee meeting will be held at the Centennial Hall, 330 Harbor Drive, Sitka, AK…

Agenda: http://legistar2.granicus.com/npfmc/meetings/2015/6/925_A_North_Pacific_Council_15-06-01_Meeting_Agenda.pdf

Schedule: http://www.npfmc.org/wp-content/PDFdocuments/meetings/Schedule615.pdf

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-11865

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


36. Halibut bycatch issue: A poster child for complex fisheries policy in Alaska
Shirley Marquardt, Alaska Dispatch News, May 25, 2015
What a conundrum.

How does the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council respond to the proposed 50 percent reduction of halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands groundfish fishery requested by halibut fishermen in the region, without significantly impacting the Amendment 80, Trawl and Freezer Long Line vessels in their stead?

Regardless how you look at it or what your personal involvement in any of the above fisheries is, major policy shifts in any of the multiple fisheries in the Bering Sea can absolutely impact fishery dependent communities such as ours negatively, and the catch is that if nothing is done, it could do the same to communities in the region who depend on the small vessel halibut fishery instead. How do you find the balance?

In Unalaska, we are dependent on sustainable, accountable fisheries policy and we understand that there are differences of opinion regarding council action between our different participants due to gear types, vessel size and species. We have always done our best to stay out of allocative issues because of this, but also feel it is vitally important to stay actively involved in the NPFMC process of policy development and regulation…
http://www.adn.com/article/20150525/halibut-bycatch-issue-poster-child-complex-fisheries-policy-alaska


37. Unalaska City Council punts on halibut bycatch position
By Jim Paulin, Alaska Journal of Commerce, Published: 2015.05.27 02:58 PM
http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/May-Issue-5-2015/Unalaska-City-Council-punts-on-halibut-bycatch-position/


38. Alaska members of council appeal recusals
By DJ Summers, Alaska Journal of Commerce

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will spend the first four days of its weeklong meeting in Sitka beginning June 3 deciding on a series of deep cuts in the halibut bycatch allocation for the Bering Sea groundfish bottom-trawl fleet, but it may do so without a majority of the votes on the final decision coming from the Alaska delegation.

The council, which has 11 members with six appointed from Alaska, could hold a final vote without two Alaska members, David Long and Simon Kinneen, unless the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, reconsiders its decision to recommend them for recusal.

The council is considering cuts of up to 50 percent to the current annual bycatch allocation of 7.8 million pounds to the Amendment 80 fleet, a group of about 18 catcher-processor trawlers that harvest flatfish species.

Kinneen and Long were both recommended for recusal from the final vote on May 12 by the council’s designated NOAA General Counsels, Lauren Smoker and John Lepore, in consultation with the Department of Commerce Office of the General Counsel, Ethics Law and Programs Division…

Kinneen, Long and Cotten sent letters on May 22 to Mary Beth Ward at the NOAA Office of the General Counsel requesting a review of the recusals.

“For a council member to be recused from voting on a council decision,” wrote Cotten, “there must be a ‘close causal link between the decision and an expected and substantially disproportionate benefit to the (member’s) financial interest.’ Here, as NOAA repeatedly emphasized, the council decision will have ‘no direct effect’ on the pollock fishery.”

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/May-Issue-5-2015/Alaska-members-of-council-appeal-recusals/


39. Marine Protected Areas Advisory Committee meets June 3 in Tacoma
Notice is hereby given of a meeting of the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee (Committee) in Tacoma, Washington…

The meeting will be held Tuesday, June 2, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday, June 3, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Thursday, June 4, 2015, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. These times and the agenda topics described below are subject to change. Refer to the Web page listed below for the most up-to-date meeting agenda.

The meeting will be held at the Hotel Murano, 1320 Broadway Plaza, Tacoma, WA 98402…

The agenda is subject to change. The latest version will be posted at http://marineprotectedareas.noaa.gov/.

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-09313

MPA Advisory Committee home page: http://marineprotectedareas.noaa.gov/fac/


40. Comment deadline July 20 on Kenai National Wildlife Refuge proposed changes
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to amend our public use regulations for Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (Kenai NWR or Refuge) to clarify the existing regulations; implement management decisions from our June 2010 Kenai NWR revised comprehensive conservation plan (CCP); establish regulations for managing wildlife attractants, including food, refuse, and retained fish; and revise the regulations for hunting and trapping…

To ensure that we are able to consider your comments on this proposed rule, we must receive them on or before July 20, 2015…

Federal Register May 21: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-12099

USFWS Kenai NWR page:
http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Kenai/visit/proposed_public_use_regulations.html


41. Labeling meat by country of origin on the way out
May 25, 2015 3:00 am by MARY CLARE JALONICK Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A House committee has voted to get rid of labels on packages of meat that say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered.

The House Agriculture Committee voted 38-6 to repeal a “country-of-origin” labeling law for beef, pork and chicken Wednesday — just two days after the World Trade Organization ruled against parts of the law. The labels tell consumers what countries the meat is from: for example, “born in Canada, raised and slaughtered in the United States” or “born, raised and slaughtered in the United States.”

The WTO ruled May 18 that the U.S. labels put Canadian and Mexican livestock at a disadvantage, rejecting a U.S. appeal after a similar WTO decision last year…
http://thetandd.com/business/agriculture/labeling-meat-by-country-of-origin-on-the-way-out/article_39a05e5b-f5ed-558f-ab1f-13f2021b0e86.html

&&&
World Trade Organization rules against U.S. country-of-origin labeling
http://www.theindependent.com/news/ag_news/world-trade-organization-rules-against-u-s-country-of-origin/article_4887658c-fdd2-11e4-8df4-c33b1e9ff71e.html


42. Murkowski Efforts Promote Alaska Ports, Harbors and Roads
(May 21) Senator’s Committee Work Boosts State’s “Circulatory System”
Senator Lisa Murkowski today succeeded in leveraging her position on the Energy and Waters Appropriations Subcommittee to deliver resources in the 2016 funding bill that will initiate or maintain infrastructure projects in Alaska. The appropriations bill, which passed the full Senate Appropriations Committee today, will fund studies, research, port projects and energy innovations that will boost Alaska’s economy.

Senator Murkowski press release: http://www.murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2015/5/murkowski-efforts-promote-alaska-ports-harbors-and-roads


43. Comment deadline July 20 on ESA petition regulation changes

We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, propose changes to the regulations concerning petitions, to improve the content and specificity of petitions and to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the petitions process to support species conservation. Our proposed revisions to the regulations would clarify and enhance the procedures by which the Services will evaluate petitions under section 4(b)(3) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. These revisions would also maximize the efficiency with which the Services process petitions, making the best use of available resources…

We will accept comments that we receive on or before July 20, 2015…
Federal Register notice May 20: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-12316


44. EPA releases final rule on “Waters of the U.S.”
Prepublication version: http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-05/documents/rule_preamble_web_version.pdf

www.regulations.gov Docket No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880
Direct link to Docket: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880

EPA Clean Water Rule page: http://www2.epa.gov/cleanwaterrule/clean-water-rule-documents-related-clean-water-rule


45. Sullivan & Delegation React to EPA’s Final WOTUS Rule
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) released the following statement today after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule.

“With Alaska already home to more waters under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act than any other state in the country, the EPA’s attempt to expand the definition of what constitutes the Waters of the United States impacts no state more than my own,” said Sen. Sullivan. “After multiple hearings both in Washington and in Alaska, it is clear that Americans from vastly different industries, ideologies and regions are clearly opposed to the scope of this rule and the process through which it was crafted. Despite this strong opposition, and dubious legal authority, the EPA has chosen to disregard Congress, and move ahead with a rule that could severely impact the nation.”

“It is imperative that we move to quickly pass S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, bipartisan legislation that I co-sponsored, which would not only help to clarify jurisdiction and prevent unlawful federal overreach, but it would also help to ensure that the protection of Alaska’s precious resources remain in the hands of those who live near and rely on them.”…
http://www.sullivan.senate.gov/content/sullivan-reacts-epa%E2%80%99s-final-wotus-rule

&

Young Condemns Administration’s Massive Expansion of Federal Jurisdiction Under Clean Water Act

Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young today released the following statement in response to the Obama Administration’s massive expansion of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act through the release of a final rule redefining the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS).
Congressman Don Young press release:
http://donyoung.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=398287

&
Senator Murkowski: WOTUS Rule Represents Unprecedented Expansion of Federal Authority
http://www.murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2015/5/murkowski-wotus-rule-represents-unprecedented-expansion-of-federal-authority

&
Obama administration’s controversial water regulation raises alarm among some Alaskan
http://www.adn.com/article/20150527/obama-administrations-controversial-water-regulation-raises-alarm-among-some


46. NFWF announces 2015 Fisheries Innovation Fund Grants
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced the fifth round of grant awards from its Fisheries Innovation Fund, a program launched in 2010 to support sustainable fisheries in the United States. The goal of the Fisheries Innovation Fund is to sustain fishermen while at the same time rebuilding fish stocks. The grants announced today will aid in the design and implementation of projects that provide technical and practical support for fishing communities across the country. http://www.nfwf.org/whoweare/mediacenter/pr/Pages/FIF_2015_Grants_PR_150504.aspx#.VWfNTFIcYbb


47. Comment by July 20 on USFWS survey re National Initiative to Understand and Connect Americans and Nature
We (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) will ask the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve the information collection (IC) described below…

Nature and the outdoors have always been an important part of the fabric of American life. But, there are major questions about the present and future role of nature and the outdoors in our increasingly diverse, technologically oriented, and rapidly changing society. For our programs to remain relevant to American life today and tomorrow, we must be aware of public sentiment toward the part nature plays in the quality of our lifestyles.

Federal Register May 19: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-12052


48. Proposed Information Collection – Gulf of Alaska Trawl Groundfish Fishery Rationalization Social Study—Catcher Processor Socio-Cultural Survey.

This request is for a new information collection…
… A data collection was conducted in 2014 (OMB Control No. 0648-0685) to obtain relevant socio-cultural information about current participants in most sectors of this fishery.

The proposed data collection complements this 2014 effort by collecting comparable information from individuals participating in the catcher processor fleet that operates in the North Pacific. The data collected will be used to develop a baseline description of the catcher processor sector operating in the North Pacific that can be used to analyze impacts that future fisheries management changes, such as the new bycatch management changes being developed for the Gulf of Alaska trawl fishery, may have on catcher processor businesses, as well as individuals and communities that are dependent on this sector. The measurement of these changes, combined with those noted in the 2014 survey, will lead to a greater understanding of the social impacts new management measures may have on the individuals and communities…

Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov or fax to (202) 395-5806.

Federal Register notice 5/28: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-12885


49. Deadline July 7 for USDA Value added grants May 8 fed reg.
This Notice announces that the Rural Business-Cooperative Service (Agency) is accepting fiscal year (FY) 2015 applications for the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. Approximately $30 million in funding is available to help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities for FY 2015…

Note that the program Final Rule is clear that fishermen are eligible:
“So for example, a logger who has a legal right to access and harvest logs from the forest that are then converted into boards would be an eligible applicant, as would a fisherman
that has the legal right to access and harvest fish from the ocean or river that are then processed.”

Federal Register May 8, 2015: Final Rule: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-10441
Notice – deadline July 7: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-10440

Home page:
http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/value-added-producer-grants


50. NMFS lowers fee rate for SE Salmon Seine buyback to 1%
NMFS issues this notice to decrease the fee rate to repay the $13,133,030 reduction loan for the fishing capacity reduction program in the Southeast Alaska purse seine salmon fishery…

The initial fee applicable to the Southeast Alaska purse seine salmon program’s reduction fishery was 3.0% of landed value and any subsequent bonus payments, which was decreased in June 2013 to 1.5%. NMFS has determined this fee rate is more than is needed to service the loan. Therefore, NMFS is decreasing the fee rate to 1.0% of landed value and any subsequent bonus payments which NMFS has determined is sufficient to ensure timely loan repayment…

Federal Register notice May 19: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-12092

SE Salmon Seine fishery buyback home page: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/mb/financial_services/southeast_alaska_purse_seine_salmon_buyback.html


51. Comment period reopened on USCG Seafarers’ Access to Maritime Facilities Advance Notice of proposed Rulemaking – comment by July 1
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. As originally published, the comment period for the NPRM closed on February 27, 2015. Several members of the public have requested additional time to comment on the NPRM, citing various timing constraints. In order to provide interested members of the public an additional opportunity to submit comments on the NPRM, the Coast Guard is reopening the public comment period for 60 days. We are particularly interested in comments on our estimate that there is a 10.3 percent non-compliance rate of facilities with respect to providing seafarers’ access. In addition to comments on this topic, we will consider all public comments on the NPRM received during the reopened comment period. We request that you not re-submit comments already in the docket…

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

Federal Register notice 5/27: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-12657
Previous notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-30013


52. Comment deadline July 20 on ESA Humpback Whale de-listing
We, NMFS, have completed a comprehensive status review of the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and announce a proposal to revise the listing status of the species. We propose to divide the globally listed endangered species into 14 distinct population segments (DPSs), remove the current species-level listing, and in its place list 2 DPSs as endangered and 2 DPSs as threatened. The remaining 10 DPSs are not proposed for listing based on their current statuses. This proposal also constitutes a negative 12-month finding on a petition to delineate and “delist” a DPS of humpback whales spanning the entire North Pacific and a positive 12-month finding on a petition to delineate and “delist” a DPS in the Central North Pacific (Hawaii breeding population)…

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

Marketing

53. Mediation proposed for salmon sustainability certification squabble

By Molly Dischner, KDLG – Dillingham via APRN, May 27, 2015
The Marine Stewardship Council will facilitate mediation for the salmon processors who disagree about who can participate in the client group that has the council’s sustainability certification.

Back in April, ten of Alaska’s major salmon buyers asked to rejoin the label they dropped in 2012, saying it will help them tap back into picky European markets.
Chris Hladick, the state’s new commissioner of commerce, community and economic development, said the department is keeping an eye on the process.
“They will provide a mediator in Seattle between the groups,” Hladick said.
“APSA is the group that has the MSC certification, and then there’s a host of other processors that want to join in to the MSC certificate so they can sell their fish in Europe this summer.”

Alaska Governor Bill Walker sent a letter to the MSC on May 18 about the issue.
Hladick said the state doesn’t have a role in the mediation process, and doesn’t plan to apply for certification right now…
http://www.alaskapublic.org/2015/05/27/mediation-proposed-for-salmon-sustainability-certification-squabble/


54. Alaska governor implores MSC to ‘work with us’ to get MSC certificate for 2015’s salmon catch
http://www.undercurrentnews.com/2015/05/26/alaska-governor-implores-msc-to-work-with-us-to-get-msc-certificate-for-2015s-salmon-catch/


55. Marine Stewardship Council Statement on wild Alaskan salmon certificate sharing
For immediate release: 20th May 2015
The MSC’s Board convened on Tuesday 19th May to consider a request from Trident (on behalf of several other named processors) for assistance with MSC certificate sharing for wild Alaskan salmon….
http://www.scribd.com/doc/266186143/MSC-statement-on-Alaska-salmon-certification


56. ASMI looks to expand sustainability certification program, elects Collier to chair board
Bristol Bay Times: The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute elected Barry Collier, CEO of Peter Pan seafood, as the new board chair for the organization earlier this month.

The institute, jointly funded by fishermen, processors, the state of Alaska and the federal government, works with foodservice, fishermen, and global fishing businesses to promote increased consumption and awareness of Alaskan-caught seafood.

The ASMI board is made up of four large processors, a small processor and two harvesters, and they provide a strategic direction for the commodity marketing group.

The vice chair position will be taken over by Ketchikan harvester Tomi Marsh.

Typically, the board’s decisions on the direction for ASMI are based on unanimous decisions, and ASMI Executive Director Michael Cerne doesn’t anticipate major changes under the new leadership.

“The board provides a strong overall strategic direction, and the staff execute it,” said Cerne…
http://www.thebristolbaytimes.com/article/1521asmi_looks_to_expand_sustainability


57. ASMI Seafood Market Bulletin – Spring 2015 edition
Contents include:
Alaska Salmon Harvest Summary and Forecast
Alaska Salmon Market Analysis
Forecast for Other Alaska Seafood Production in 2015
Alaska Seafood Exports and Currency Analysis
Online at:
http://www.alaskaseafood.org/industry/market/spring2015/

ASMI home page: www.alaskaseafood.org

Please sign up to receive the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute marketing updates, a useful newsletter including seafood industry marketing news.
http://alaskaseafood.us2.list-manage1.com/subscribe?u=bcd6d5bec392f12ce703f7e00&id=bb976f52af


58. New Juneau business to bring salmon skin wallets, crab shell shirts to the masses
By Elizabeth Jenkins May 27, 201, KTOO
A small Juneau business launched a Kickstarter campaign this week to crowdsource funds for a unique line of apparel and accessories. Tidal Vision is hoping it’s onto the next big thing: garments sewn from discarded salmon skin and crab shells.

Craig Kasberg, the founder of the company, pulls out a wallet from his back pocket. It’s a muted jade color, shiny with a slightly bumpy texture.

“It’s much different than what you see when you throw a skin away in the garbage when you’re cooking up your dinner or something,” he says.

The wallet is made entirely from salmon skin sourced from a processor in Kodiak, and then sewn at a tannery in Washington State…
http://www.ktoo.org/2015/05/27/new-juneau-business-bring-salmon-skin-wallets-crab-shell-shirts-masses/


59. What makes Alaska a world leader in sustainable fisheries?
YouTube video produced by Abundant Oceans for ASMI…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vESglnma9UU


60. Murkowski Defending Alaska-Caught Pollock Against Inferior Russian Product
Senator Pursues Answers on Pollock Labeling Policy
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today reached out to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reasserting her push to change the legal market name of Alaska-caught pollock simply to “pollock.” The change would allow Alaskan-caught pollock to be differentiated by region and better distinguish the fish harvested in Alaskan waters from inferior Russian pollock passing itself off as “Alaskan pollock” in stores nationwide.
Currently, Russian-caught pollock is capitalizing on Alaska’s world-famous reputation for pure, sustainable fish by misleading consumers. Murkowski believes the labeling move is necessary because Alaska’s fisheries are far more rigorously managed than Russian waters, and therefore much higher quality.

Senator Murkowski press release:
http://www.murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2015/5/murkowski-defending-alaska-caught-pollock-against-inferior-russian-product


61. The Piscivore’s Dilemma By: Tim Zimmermann, May 27, 2015, Outside Online
The oceans are in serious trouble, creating a tough question for consumers: Should I eat wild fish, farmed fish, or no fish at all? The author, a longtime student of marine environments, dove into an amazing new world of ethical harvesters, renegade farmers, and problem-solving scientists. The result: your guide to sustainably enjoying nature’s finest source of protein…

“Just tell me what fish I can eat,” my mother pleaded. So I set out to produce a better answer, and what I learned surprised me. Not only might fish offer the best, and least ecologically damaging, solution to global food insecurity in a flesh-eating world, but some seafood is now produced so efficiently that even a vegan might be tempted to rethink his absolutist vows…

So with apologies to Michael Pollan, I’d recommend this for conscientious nonvegans: Eat a lot less meat and a lot more sustainable seafood, wild when you can verify it, and lower on the food chain, but mostly farmed, particularly mussels, clams, and oysters…

http://www.outsideonline.com/1978326/piscivores-dilemma


62. Pacific Marine Expo seeks topics & speakers – deadline June 17.
The Pacific Marine Expo is seeking topic proposals and speaker recommendations for the 2015 Conference Program. The Program is taking place at the Pacific Marine Expo at the CenturyLink Field Event Center, Seattle, WA.

Your suggestions are crucial to discovering topics that are relevant to the industry today. Issues affecting the industry now or within a year of the show will be given the highest preference as conference topics.
**The deadline for submissions is June 17, 2015**

If you are involved in the development of new products, issues, regulations or innovations that affect the commercial marine and commercial fishing industries, now is the time to submit your ideas!

Suggested proposal topics:
• Commercial Fishing
• Processing
• Workboat
• Boat Building
• Safety Technology

Please note: We are not looking for sales presentations.

Submit Your Proposal: http://www.mmsend50.com/link.cfm?r=995706837&sid=74952506&m=10111046&u=DBComm&j=27672195&s=

http://www.pacificmarineexpo.com/conference/call-for-proposal?utm_source=39780+CFP+EM1&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=ExhibitorMktg

Fish Farm & Environmental

63. Supreme Court backs group fighting Pebble mine
Lisa Demer, Alaska Dispatch News, May 29, 2015
In two unanimous decisions, the Alaska Supreme Court on Friday came down solidly on the side of a group fighting the proposed Pebble mine that includes two Alaska icons, former First Lady Bella Hammond and state constitutional convention delegate Vic Fischer.

In one case overturning a 2011 Superior Court decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the state Department of Natural Resources was disposing of a public resource without any public notice or finding that it was managing land for the common good. The disposal was taking place through land and water use permits issued for “intensive mineral exploration on state land,” the justices said.
http://www.adn.com/article/20150529/supreme-court-backs-group-fighting-pebble-mine

Opinion not yet posted, but for documents see Appellate Courts Case Management System: http://www.appellate.courts.state.ak.us/main.asp and search on Supreme Court Cases # S14560 and S14579

Trustees for Alaska press release: Supreme Court Rules that Pebble’s Mining Exploration Requires Public Notice and Analysis
http://www.trustees.org/supreme-court-rules-that-pebbles-mining-exploration-requires-public-notice-and-analysis/


64. Appeals court tosses Pebble Mine suit against EPA; arguments begin in another
A federal appeals court dismissed one of several ongoing court cases over the fate of Pebble Mine Thursday, handing a win to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Pebble Limited Partnership sued over the agency’s decision to review whether the company could get a federal discharge permit for the proposed massive gold and copper mine — even though Pebble had yet to file for a federal permit.

A three-judge panel agreed with a lower court, saying that administrative law doesn’t allow the court to review a decision that isn’t a “final agency action.”

A February 2014 letter announcing EPA’s plans to review the potential impacts of mining on the Bristol Bay watershed “was not the ‘consummation’ of EPA’s decision making process on any issue,” the court said in the ruling. “The letter did not state whether or not EPA will veto the specification of Bristol Bay as a disposal site for dredged or fill material; it merely indicated that EPA was beginning a review process to decide that question.”
http://www.adn.com/article/20150528/appeals-court-tosses-one-pebble-mine-suit-against-epa-while-arguments-begin-another

9th Circuit Opinion (pdf): http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/memoranda/2015/05/28/14-35845.pdf

Or find it online at 9th Circuit – see RULINGS / UNPUBLISHED in left sidebar: Case number 14-35845
http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/memoranda/


65. EPA’s Dennis McLerran: The EPA Is Right to Be Careful About Pebble Mine Plan
…We have merely proposed restrictions on the size of large-scale mining at the Pebble site…
http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-epa-is-right-to-be-careful-about-pebble-mine-plan-1432239867


66. Pebble, EPA agree that lawsuit should continue
Alaska Journal of Commerce (May 15)
Pebble Limited Partnership and the Environmental Protection Agency finally agree on one thing: their court fight should move forward.

Each side filed seven-page briefs May 14 requesting Alaska U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland continue with an oral argument hearing in Pebble’s lawsuit against the EPA scheduled for later this month.

Holland ordered the sides to file short-notice briefs May 4, asking if an Office of Inspector General evaluation of the EPA’s Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment would impact court proceedings and if the lawsuit should be suspended until the Inspector General report is released.

The assessment, released in January 2014, is the agency’s basis for its move to preemptively ban the copper and gold mega-project near Iliamna before Pebble applied for permits or released a mine plan.

Pebble claims the EPA developed the 1,000-plus page Bristol Bay Assessment under false pretense — that the agency used science from biased experts dead-set against the mine project, and decided to use its authority under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act to stop mine development years before the assessment was released.

The EPA has resoundingly denounced Pebble’s allegations in court and through its public affairs campaign.

Holland’s May 4 order indicated the federal judge was unaware of the pending Inspector General review until he read a May 3 Alaska Dispatch News story that summarized the Pebble fight…
http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/Breaking-News-2015/Pebble-EPA-agree-that-lawsuit-should-continue/


67. Bobby Andrew, leading voice in anti-Pebble fight, dies at 73
KDLG: Bristol Bay elder Bobby Andrew, who has been a leading voice in the fight against Pebble Mine, passed away at the age of 73. State troopers say Andrew died of natural causes, and was found at his cabin on Lake Aleknagik Tuesday afternoon…
http://kdlg.org/post/bobby-andrew-leading-voice-anti-pebble-fight-dies-73


68. Lt. Governor outlines state stake in British Columbia issues
By Becky Bohrer, Associated Press (May 14)
JUNEAU — Alaska has clear interests in protecting with extreme vigilance the water quality in rivers that flow into the state that could be affected by mine projects across the border in Canada, Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott said May 11.

Mallott, who leads a working group for Gov. Bill Walker’s administration focused on trans-boundary waters, spoke with reporters by phone about a fact-finding and relationship-building trip to British Columbia last week. Mallott said the trip included the start of discussions looking at ways to strengthen the state’s involvement with environmental reviews and the permitting of mines in order to protect Alaska’s interests.
Mallott said he invited the province’s minister of energy and mines, Bill Bennett, to visit Alaska. In an interview with The Associated Press, Bennett said he would like to take Mallott up on his offer, perhaps this summer…

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/May-Issue-3-2015/Lt-Governor-outlines-state-stake-in-British-Columbia-issues/

&&&
Governor Walker press release (May 1): Gov Focuses on Transboundary Water Issues
http://gov.alaska.gov/Walker/press-room/full-press-release.html?pr=7164

http://www.vancouversun.com/Alaska+turns+heat+proposed+mines/11025719/story.html


69. Alaska turns up the heat on proposed B.C. mines
Lt. Gov. Mallott to meet with cabinet ministers, business and First Nations leaders
By Gordon Hoekstra, Vancouver Sun, May 3, 2015

B.C.’s push to develop mines in its shared watersheds with Alaska is under increasing scrutiny from the American side of the border.

Concerns over multiple proposed metal mines near the southeast Alaska border has drawn Alaska’s Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott — and a coterie of commercial fishing, conservation and First Nation groups — to British Columbia this week.

In a visit that coincides with mining week in B.C., Mallott will meet with B.C. Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett, Environment Minister Mary Polak, industry representatives and First Nation leaders.

The Alaskan fishing, conservation and aboriginal representatives are in B.C. to build alliances in their push for more scrutiny of the potential effects on Alaska waters that support a multi-billion-dollar fishery.

They believe that B.C.’s review process is not adequate and want Alaska to have a seat at a table, potentially through an international joint commission, to examine potential cumulative effects on water and salmon. The groups are also concerned about compensation if there is a disaster…

Of greatest concern are the potential effects on the Stikine, Unuk and Taku rivers…
http://www.vancouversun.com/Alaska+turns+heat+proposed+mines/11025719/story.html


70. Tongass Advisory Committee releases recommendations
(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska – After 10 months of detailed deliberation and in reflection of diverse public comment, the Tongass Advisory Committee reached consensus on what they call a robust set of recommendations for transitioning the Tongass National Forest’s timber program to one focused on harvesting young-growth trees…
http://www.sitnews.us/0515News/051115/051115_tac_recommendations.html

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


71. Chuitna water reservation decision delayed until this fall
By Laine Welch, Fish Factor/For the Journal

Alaskans will have to wait until fall to learn if salmon habitat prevails over a coal mine proposed at Upper Cook Inlet.

A decision due earlier this month by the state Department of Natural Resources, or DNR, has been delayed until after a public hearing later this summer, said Ed Fogels, DNR Deputy Commissioner.

At issue are competing water rights claims filed in 2009 by the Chuitna Citizens Coalition and PacRim Coal of Delaware and Texas. The coalition wants to protect spawning tributaries of the salmon-rich Chuitna River, dubbed the Kenai of the West Side; PacRim wants to dewater the streams and dig Alaska’s largest coal mine.

DNR received over 7,500 public comments in favor of water rights for salmon by the May 9 deadline.

It’s no surprise that the coal vs. fish face-off moves on to a hearing, as both sides want a final say.

“This will be a public hearing with testimony to be provided by individuals or groups who filed objection(s) to the reservation of water applications, or to the information and analyses produced by water resources section staff,” Fogels said via email, adding that the hearing details are being worked out.

Should DNR rule in favor of coal over salmon habitat, the decision will set an unsettling state precedent.

“It would be the first time in Alaska’s state history that we would allow an Outside corporation to mine completely through a salmon stream,” said Bob Shavelson, a director at Cook Inletkeeper. “And the sole purpose is to ship coal to China. It’s really a very dangerous precedent because if they can do it here in Cook Inlet, they will be able to do it anywhere in the state. It could soon be coming to a river near you.”…

The hearing is scheduled for Aug. 21 at the U.S. Federal Building Annex in Anchorage. DNR’s Ed Fogels said a decision is expected on or before Oct. 9…
http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/May-Issue-5-2015/FISH-FACTOR-Chuitna-water-reservation-decision-delayed-until-this-fall/

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


72. Comment deadline June 22 on Exxon Cook Inlet Geotechnical survey discharge permit
ExxonMobil Alaska LNG LLC will be conducting a geotechnical survey program in Cook Inlet to inform engineering decisions on the Alaska LNG Project Cook Inlet pipeline crossing and marine terminal. The geotechnical survey program includes 42 boring locations within the areas delineated along the east side and the west side of Cook Inlet.

During geotechnical surveys, industrial discharges will be permitted to occur from:
• Outfall 001 – Geotechnical Drilling Fluids and Drill Cuttings at the Seafloor
• Outfall 002 – Deck Drainage

The discharges of Geotechnical Drilling Fluids and Drill Cuttings at the Seafloor include the authorization of a zone of deposit and two sizes of chronic mixings for turbidity based on borehole locations either on the east or west side of Cook Inlet.

Tentative Determination:
DEC has tentatively determined to issue a new discharge permit to the above listed applicant.

Public Comments:
Written comments or requests for a public hearing on the APDES draft permit must be submitted within 30 days of the issuance of this public notice…
Deadline for written comments or request for public hearing: June 22, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time..

Online public notice: https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=177025


73. Comment deadline June 26 on Cook Inlet Energy Discharge Plan renewal & combining…
Notice of review of an application for an Oil Discharge Prevention and Contingency Plan Renewal for Cook Inlet Energy, LLC for the Cook Inlet Region exploration operations

An application for an Oil Discharge Prevention and Contingency Plan Renewal has been received by the Department of Environmental Conservation for review under Alaska Statute 46.04.030 and Alaska Administrative Code 18 AAC 75. The details are as follows:

Applicant: Cook Inlet Energy, LLC, 604 5th Ave, Suite 310, Anchorage, AK 99501

Proposed Activity: Renewal and combining of separate Cook Inlet Energy (CIE) Oil Discharge Prevention and Contingency Plans into a single plan for Cook Inlet Region exploration operations, supported by adequate resources, demonstrating the applicant’s ability to address oil spill prevention and response measures for exploration drilling on CIE leaseholdings within the Cook Inlet region…

The comment period opens May 28, 2015 and will extend for 30 days to June 26, 2015. Requests for additional information must be received by June 22, 2015..

Online public notice: https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=177055


74. Notice of Adjudicatory Hearing on Large Commercial Passenger Vessel Wastewater Discharge General Permit
(Hearing date not set yet)
Background – The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) Water Division issued a General Permit for wastewater discharge from Large Commercial Passenger Vessels (Cruise Ships). The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council and Cook Inletkeeper requested an adjudicatory hearing on that decision.

Based on the written submittals relating to the request for adjudicatory hearing, the Commissioner issued an order dated May 15, 2015 in which he granted a hearing on the existing record and on written briefs. Copies of the Commissioner’s May 15, 2015 order may be obtained by writing to Gary Mendivil, Hearing Liaison, Office of the Commissioner, Department of Environmental Conservation, Post Office Box 111800, Juneau, AK 99811-1800; by phoning Mr. Mendivil at (907) 465-5061; by faxing a request to (907) 465-5070, or via e-mail to Gary.Mendivil@alaska.gov.

As provided in 18 AAC 15.225,any person who wishes to intervene in proceedings granted by the Commissioner may serve upon the Commissioner a request to intervene that contains the information and meets the requirements specified in 18 AAC 15.200, within fifteen days after publication of notice or mailing of notice under 18 AAC15.220(c), whichever occurs last. A person requesting to intervene must serve a copy of the request to intervene on each party. An existing party may submit an objection to a request to intervene within fifteen days after service of the request.

Online public notice: https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=176947

DEC Large Commercial Passenger Vessel page – general permit and documents: https://dec.alaska.gov/water/cruise_ships/gp/2014dgp.html


75. Commercial fishermen protest Navy War Games
Cordova Times, May 16
Over 100 Vessels surround local fuel dock to raise awareness of impacts of US military Northern Edge trainings to habitat and marine species…

Over 100 commercial fishing vessels turned out today to raise awareness and speak out against the U.S. Navy’s upcoming trainings in the Gulf of Alaska. Vessels paraded from Cordova’s harbor to the local fuel dock where they rafted up in a peaceful protest against the Navy’s “war games.”

In a chant led by James Mykland, a Prince William Sound Area E commercial fisherman, protestors shouted “No Northern Edge. No Northern Edge.”

Scheduled to begin in June, Northern Edge is an Alaska-wide training involving between 6,000 to 14,000 personnel from the U.S. Armed Forces, state of Alaska, federal and local agencies, allied nations and nongovernmental organizations…

http://www.thecordovatimes.com/article/1520commercial-fishermen-protest-navy-war-games

Gulf of Alaska Navy Training Activities Supplemental EIS / OEIS page:
http://goaeis.com/


76. Canadian Risk Assessment Finds GMO Salmon Susceptible to Disease
Newly released documents conflict with FDA findings
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A never-before-seen draft environmental review of AquaBounty Technologies’ (ABTX) genetically engineered (GE) salmon reveals that Canadian government scientists disagree with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on key questions related to the safety and performance of what may be the first GE animal approved for human consumption. In light of these findings, Food & Water Watch, Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth and Consumers Union today called on the FDA to terminate its ongoing review of GE salmon.

The partially redacted, 400-page draft risk assessment from the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans makes startling findings about the welfare and performance of GE salmon, including that GE salmon:

— are more susceptible to Aeromonas salmonicida, a type of disease-causing bacteria, than non-GE domesticated salmon, which indicates unique animal health problems and raises environmental and public health concerns that the FDA has never considered.
— are exhibiting dramatically diminished growth rates in AquaBounty’s commercial facilities, casting more doubt on the widely disputed claims about the accelerated growth rates of GE salmon.
— are displaying widely varied performance, including inconsistent growth rates, suggesting that the growth-hormone gene construct inserted in the fish is not operating in a predictable manner, raising questions about the durability, safety and commercial viability of GE salmon.

“The findings from the Canadian risk assessment show that FDA has based its assessment of this totally unnecessary technology on blind trust,” said Wenonah Hauter. “It’s clear that there are unique safety issues that FDA has failed to consider, which is why we are calling on the agency to terminate its review of GMO salmon.”

The contradictions found in the Canadian risk assessment follow a series of embarrassing missteps in the FDA’s ongoing regulatory review of GE salmon, including the FDA’s failure to document two major biosecurity lapses at AquaBounty, including a storm-related mechanical failure that involved “lost” salmon. Additionally, in 2014, it was discovered that AquaBounty’s production facility in Panama has been operating without legally required permits related to environmental safety.

http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/pressreleases/canadian-risk-assessment-finds-gmo-salmon-susceptible-to-disease/


77. Comment by June 22 on ESA 90-Day Finding on Delisting Snake River Fall-Run Chinook Salmon “may be warranted”
Action: 90 Day Petition Finding, Request For Information, And Initiation Of Status Review.

Summary: We, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), announce a 90-day finding on a petition to delist the Snake River fall-run Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) (Snake River fall-run Chinook) Evolutionarily Significant Unit (ESU) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Snake River fall-run Chinook ESU was listed as threatened under the ESA in 1992. We reviewed the status of the ESU in 2005 and again in 2011 and concluded that the ESU’s classification as a threatened species remained appropriate. We find that the petition presents substantial scientific information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. We hereby initiate a status review of the Snake River fall-run Chinook ESU to determine whether the petitioned action is warranted. To ensure that the status review is comprehensive, we are soliciting scientific and commercial information pertaining to this species…

Federal Register notice April 22: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-09358
NOAA Snake River Fall-Run Chinook Salmon home page: http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/protected_species/salmon_steelhead/salmon_and_steelhead_listings/chinook/snake_river_fall/snake_river_fall_run_chinook.html

Enhancement

78. Alaska salmon hatcheries report robust yields
May 1st 1:32 pm | Laine Welch
Each year more than one third of all the salmon caught in Alaska begin their lives in a hatchery.

There are 31 hatchery facilities in Alaska: 15 privately owned, 11 state owned, two federal research facilities, one tribal hatchery at Metlakatla, and two state-owned sport fish hatcheries.

Alaska’s hatchery program is very different from fish farming, where salmon are crammed tightly into net pens until they’re ready for market. All salmon born in Alaska’s hatcheries come from wild brood stock, and are released as fingerlings to the sea. When those fish return home, they make a huge contribution to the catch.

According to the annual Salmon Enhancement Report by the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game, 58 million hatchery salmon were caught in the common property salmon fishery last year. That equated to 34 percent of Alaska’s 157 million fish harvest, with a dockside value of $113 million…
http://www.thearcticsounder.com/article/1518alaska_salmon_hatcheries_report_robust_yields

ADFG Alaska Salmon Fisheries Enhancement Program 2014 Annual Report (1.7 mb pdf)
http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/FedAidPDFs/FMR15-15.pdf


79. FISH FACTOR: Hatchery cos. dispute study faulting pink salmon releases
By Laine Welch, Fish Factor/For the Journal, May 6.

Alaskan salmon producers are not buying the presumption that growing numbers of pinks are eating too much food in the ocean, causing sockeye salmon to grow slower and smaller.

That’s the claim of a new study by Seattle and British Columbia researchers, who say the race for food ultimately affects sockeye abundance and survival.

“Our data sets extend up to 55 years each. In terms of looking at productivity or survival of salmon, they’ve included 36 sockeye populations,” said Greg Ruggerone, a researcher at Natural Resources Consultants in Seattle and study co-author.

The project was aimed originally at finding causes for declining sockeye runs at British Columbia’s Fraser River in 2009, but has since broadened to include the whole North Pacific…

The report recommends a Pacific Rim approach to managing salmon resources, and more immediately, capping hatchery production.

“Do you think we can control Russia?” quipped said Steve Reifenstuhl, longtime general manager at Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture in Sitka. “If there was a cap, Russia and Japan would quickly move to fill any void,”

Reifenstuhl called the food competition claims “alarmist,” and cited several peer-reviewed reports that refute Ruggerone’s claims.

“My reaction is that he is speculating that there is a correlation, and that it is causative,” Reifenstuhl said. “I would disagree that it’s causative.”

He pointed out that Alaska’s largest pink salmon runs occur at the Panhandle and over 95 percent are wild stocks.

“Certainly increased competition can decrease salmon body size, as we’ve often seen in big runs, but it doesn’t mean more will die,” he added. “Where 10 to 90 percent of the sockeyes do die is in nearshore waters, before they even head out to sea.”

Kodiak hatchery operators agree…

AK Journal of Commerce:
http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/May-Issue-2-2015/FISH-FACTOR-Hatchery-cos-dispute-study-faulting-pink-salmon-releases/

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences – report abstract and pay to download:
http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/cjfas-2014-0134#.VWeV2VIcYbZ

Subsistence

80. Final Rule posted on Subsistence Fishing regs – UFA & others seek reconsideration

Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska-2015-16 and 2016-17 Subsistence Taking of Fish Regulations…

This final rule establishes regulations for seasons, harvest limits, methods, and means related to taking of fish for subsistence uses in Alaska during the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 regulatory years…

Federal Register notice:
https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-11907

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

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

Federal Subsistence Board Request for Reconsideration instructions page:
http://www.doi.gov/subsistence/proposal/reconsideration/index.cfm

UFA letter requesting reconsideration of Kenai & Kasilof in-river gillnets and Makhnati herring closure: http://www.ufafish.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/UFA-to-FSB-Request-Reconsideration-Kenai-Kasilof-Mahknati-3-17-2015.pdf


81. Article: Fight over Kenai River gillnets is on after reg publishes
By DJ Summers, Alaska Journal of Commerce
Published: 2015.05.14 01:48 PM
The Federal Subsistence Board has nearly 100 public comments and requests for reconsideration on the subsistence gillnet on the Kenai River.
The previous record for a board action is six.

The official public comment period for the Federal Subsistence Board is set to begin, according to the Office of Subsistence Management, or OSM. The regulation has been approved by the federal government and is waiting to be published in the Federal Register. OSM representatives said May 12 that the regulation should be published within the week.
The Federal Subsistence Board oversees subsistence hunting and fishing on federal lands and navigable waterways in the state, about 230 million acres and 60 percent of Alaska. It coordinates within the Department of the Interior with the Office of Subsistence Management.

It’s been three months since the board narrowly passed the decision to allow a subsistence sockeye gillnet for the Ninilchik Traditional Council on the Kenai River against state and federal biologists’ recommendations concerning conservation needs for Kenai River king salmon…
http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/May-Issue-3-2015/Fight-over-Kenai-River-gillnets-is-on-after-reg-publishes/


82. Murkowski introduces bill to restore subsistence rights to Saxman
KETCHIKAN — Sen. Lisa Murkowski has introduced legislation that would reverse a 2007 federal decision designating Saxman a nonrural community, which made residents ineligible for subsistence hunting and fishing on federal land.

The bill would reinstate the list of rural Alaska communities as it stood prior to 2007, reports the Ketchikan Daily News.

In that year, the Federal Subsistence Board’s rural determination criteria put Saxman within Ketchikan’s nonrural designation, sparking protest from the Saxman community…
http://www.adn.com/article/20150514/murkowski-introduces-bill-restore-subsistence-rights-saxman


83. Federal Subsistence Board Adopts Section 804 Determination along the Kuskokwim River
In-Season Manager to Make Final Decision…
During its work session held on Thursday, April 16, 2015, the Federal Subsistence Board (Board) deferred action on special action requests for the Kuskokwim River. The Board had previously delegated authority to the Federal in-season manager to take several of the actions being requested if necessary. However, the Board also indicated that it would reconvene at a later time if Chair Tim Towarak were to conclude that circumstances warranted further Board action…
http://www.doi.gov/subsistence/news/general/804-kusko.cfm


84. USFWS Partners for Fisheries Monitoring Program – funding opportunity for AK Native and Rural subsistence participation – deadline August 31.
Notice of Availability of Federal Assistance 2016 Notice of Funding Opportunity

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Subsistence Management is seeking proposals for the Partners for Fisheries Monitoring Program that strengthen Alaska Native and rural involvement in Federal subsistence management. The Partners Program is a competitive grant that is directed at providing funding for biologist/social scientist/educator positions in Alaska Native and rural organizations. The intent of the Partners Program is to increase an organization’s ability to effectively participate in Federal subsistence management and develop capacity-building so that organizations can develop sustainable fisheries programs. Eligible applicants include Regional Native Organizations, such as tribal consortiums representing large regions; rural Non-Profit Organizations that provide programs and assistance with cultural, educational and social opportunities for the betterment of rural Alaskans; and Federally recognized Tribal Governments…
Proposals and required information from the Application Checklist may be submitted through http://www.grants.gov or by email to fisheries_resource_monitoring@fws.gov by 5:00 p.m. (Alaska Standard Time), August 31, 2015.
http://www.doi.gov/subsistence/news/general/2016-nofo.cfm

Other

85. 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/


86. Fishlines – The Alaska Sea Grant newsletter for May 2015
Including:
-Health Study on Copper River Commercial Fishermen
-International Symposium Attracts Fisheries Researchers and Managers
-FFA Marine Technology Program Draws 80 Students
-Online Guide to Gulf of Alaska Coastal Travel Routes
…online at: http://seagrant.uaf.edu/news/fishlines/2015/may.php
Marine Advisory Program home page: http://seagrant.uaf.edu/map/


87. Laine Welch’s Fish Radio – Recent Items
-ASMI Seafood Market Bulletin, Spring 2015: Bleak market outlook for salmon
-Personal use permits, walrus visits, E-vendors added to ADF&G online store
-AK fisheries could get corked due to lawmakers inability to pass a budget
-Pirate fishing criteria, at-risk species being defined by US gov-Comments wanted
-What’s the fishing life like for the wives left behind?
These items and more, online at http://www.alaskafishradio.com/


88. Live to be Salty program promotes PFD use
NIOSH Live to be Salty page: http://www.livetobesalty.org/


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

To support UFA by joining or renewing your membership, visit
http://www.ufafish.org/become-a-member/

Email list additions or corrections? Send to ufa@ufa-fish.org .

If you received this email as a forward and would like to be added to our list, simply REPLY and type SUBSCRIBE in the subject line of this email. To receive no future emails from UFA, simply type UNSUBSCRIBE in all caps in the subject line.
UFA never sells or releases your email information.

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

share

Comments are closed.