Thanks to rejoining UFA Ocean Class business member Trident Seafoods! We greatly appreciate your support.
The UFA reception in February was a huge success, thanks to our generous seafood donations from Jim and Mona Stone of the Alaska Scallop Association for the scallops and amazing catering, Taku Fisheries for the salmon, rockfish, halibut and Tanner crab, Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers for the Bairdi crab, and Trident Seafoods for the Redi Grilled Pollock.
Help support Alaska’s #1 private sector employer and protect your fishing business by joining UFA today! Visit ‘Become a Member’ to see the various membership levels and benefits. UFA members receive a free subscription to National Fisherman and Pacific Fishing.
We have updated UFA’s Alaska Commercial Fishing and Seafood Processing community fact sheets with additional tax revenue from local municipal and borough fish taxes – thanks to the Alaska Department of Commerce and Andy Wink of McDowell Group. The updated sheets are: Aleutians East, Aleutians West, Bristol Bay Borough, Dillingham, Lake and Peninsula Borough, Kodiak, Sitka, and Unalaska-Dutch Harbor.
From the Executive Director,
With the legislative session past the half-way point, we would like to update our members and friends on recent actions. UFA held their semi-annual board meeting February 19-21 in Juneau where 38 action items were taken. The UFA board was also able to meet with 16 members of the Alaska State Legislature, Senator Murkowski, Governor Parnell, and many other officials such as DNR Commissioner Balash and ADF&G Commissioner Campbell. Directly after the UFA meeting, I testified in Washington DC in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard. The hearing was titled: “North Pacific Perspectives on Magnuson-Stevens Act Reauthorization”, and you can watch the video HERE.
The UFA office is also busy keeping an eye on legislative committees, bills, and budgets. With a decline in revenue to the state, the Governor and Legislature are working hard to find ways to reduce the budget. Last session, the Legislature adopted a zero-growth budget and this session they are looking to reduce further. The bottom line is that although Alaska is rich in resources, we are running out of money in the general fund. There will be a lot of belt tightening over the next five years, and the cuts that are being implemented this year may be small compared to what we are facing in the future. The House has passed their version of the Operating Budget which includes a $1 million reduction in the ADF&G budget on top of the $570,000 reduction from the Governor’s budget. The House also adopted a $780,000 reduction to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) budget (the industry contributes over $9.7 million to the general fund in “Seafood Marketing Assessment” taxes), and reversed a 25% reduction to the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) budget (which is funded by state boat registration receipts and does not rely on revenue from the general fund).
Please consider weighing in with your senator or representative on the importance of adequate funding for ADF&G, ASMI, and AMSEA. The seafood industry in Alaska brings in over $130 million in state-levied taxes, self-assessments, and state fees that go into Alaska’s general fund as well as seafood related local government taxes which partially offset the need for state funding and tax revenue from local residents and businesses in some communities. Find who represents you at the Alaska legislative website: http://w3.legis.state.ak.us/index.php
Inclusion of an item does not mean that UFA endorses or agrees.
Table of Contents
- UFA invited to testify at Senate Commerce Oceans subcommittee hearing on Magnuson–Stevens Act (MSA) reauthorization – Feb 27, 2014
- New group supports state denial of setnet ban initiative
- Hearing set April 22 for suit over setnet ban initiative
- ADN Compass by Mark Hamilton: Fish board did well for conservation of Kenai kings
- ADN Compass by Frank Mullen: Board of Fish misses the boat on Kenai kings
- Kenai king salmon could benefit from enhancement
- Board of Fisheries Upper Cook Inlet meeting January 31–February 13, 2014 results
- Boston Seafood Show – March 16-18, 2014
- EPA moves to protect Bristol Bay fishery from Pebble Mine
- EPA extends response deadline on Pebble Mine impacts
- The Atlantic: Is Alaska’s Pebble Mine the Next Keystone XL?
- Alaska residents decry permitting bill HB 77
- Murkowski Tells Foreign Relations Committee: Alaskan Fisherman Need a Level Playing Field
- Begich, Rubio Team Up to Fight EPA Regulations on F/V incidental discharge
- Reminder – March 31 is deadline for ACA Health Insurance enrollment
- Self-employed fishers prepare for ACA mandate
- Reminder: Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend Application deadline is March 31
- Crystal Lake hatchery building, eggs destroyed in fire
- Proposal to bring tourists to Pelican raises eyebrows
- Southeast Geoduck Dive Fishery Opens; Market Found
- Chinese ban of US shellfish to continue
- Murkowski Urges FDA Involvement in Lifting China Shellfish Ban
- Murkowski Takes Frankenfish Fight to FDA in Hearing
- Six fisheries in U.S. to receive fishery disaster relief funds
- Congressman Young: Vital Alaskan Causes Advance in Coast Guard Bill
- Southeast sees record tanner crab harvest
- Succulent sockeye from Cordova a triple crown winner in Alaska’s Symphony of Seafood
- B.C. Mines Spark Worry in Southeast Alaska
- Southeast Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership recognized by National Fish Habitat Board
- University, state timber offerings planned near Petersburg
- Governor Parnell Makes Nomination to Fishery Council
- NPFMC February newsletter
- Laine Welch’s Fish Radio – items from this week:
- Alaska Board of Forestry Meets in Juneau March 19-20
- Alaskan Seafood Processing Notice of Data Availability & Docket on Effluent Guidelines
- Comment Deadline April 16 on Alaska Water Quality Antidegradation regulations
- State establishes quarantine for five aquatic invasive plants
- Kenai Peninsula leads fight against elodea
- Comment deadline March 28 on Elodea removal in Kenai Peninsula Lakes
- Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute releases new eCookbook for kids
- AK Sustainable Salmon Fund Call for Proposals – & info meeting March 19
- Comment deadline April 30 on DNR Aquatic farm Regulations
- USCG Final Rule on Waiver of Citizenship Requirements for Crewmembers on Commercial Fishing Vessels
- NOAA posts Halibut Catch Sharing Plan final rule
- IPHC Scholarship application deadline June 30
- Weather slows halibut opener, first prices similar to 2013
- NMFS posts Amendment 95 Final Rule re Halibut PSC limits
- NOAA final rule on Halibut & Sablefish IFQ vessel ownership requirements
- NMFS posts 2014 & 2015 BSAI & GOA Groundfish Harvest Specifications
- Comment deadline May 30 on NMFS information request on IUU nations
- National Organic Standards Board to meet April 29 – May 2 in San Antonio
- NOAA posts MMPA List of Fisheries for 2014
- FisherPoets Astoria starts Kickstarter campaign to publish 7 book Anthology
- ComFish Alaska – Kodiak ComFish Alaska – April 17-19, 2014
- Deadline April 10 for 2014-2015 Board of Fisheries Proposals – SE, PWS, Upper Copper / Upper Susitna…
- Deadline March 21 on Applications for Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils
- Deadline March 28 on federal Subsistence Fish and Shellfish Proposals
- AMSEA Drill Conductor, Stability, Ergonomics and others classes schedule online
1. UFA invited to testify at Senate Commerce Oceans subcommittee hearing on Magnuson–Stevens Act (MSA) reauthorization – Feb 27, 2014
Archived video and written testimony from speakers:
Dr. James W. Balsiger, Regional Administrator, Alaska Region, National Marine Fisheries Service
Mr. Chris Oliver, Executive Director, North Pacific Fishery Management Council
Mr. Tim Andrew, Director of Natural Resources, Association of Village Council Presidents
Mr. Joseph Plesha, Chief Legal Officer, Trident Seafoods
Ms. Lori Swanson, Executive Director, Groundfish Forum
Ms. Linda Behnken, Executive Director, Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association
Mr. Ricky Gease, Executive Director Kenai River Sportsmen’s Association
Mr. Michael LeVinem, Pacific Senior Counsel, Oceana
Ms. Julianne Curry, Executive Director, United Fishermen of Alaska
Video online at:
2. New group supports state denial of setnet ban initiative
By Molly Dischner, Alaska Journal of Commerce
A new commercial fisheries group is getting involved in the lawsuit over the proposed ballot initiative to ban setnets.
Resources for All Alaskans, or RFAA, filed an amicus brief March 6 supporting the State of Alaska’s decision that the setnet ban initiative was unconstitutional and sponsors could not attempt to collect enough signatures to put it on the August 2016 primary ballot.
The ballot initiative to ban setnets in urban parts of the state was proposed by the Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance, or AFCA. If the initiative made it on to the ballot and passed, its primary effect would be to eliminate Cook Inlet setnetters…
RFAA is registered in Kenai, but has a statewide focus. Board members include Kodiak setnetter and North Pacific Fishery Management Council member Duncan Fields, United Fishermen of Alaska President and Cordova District Fishermen United President Jerry McCune and Trident Seafood Executive Vice President John Garner.
Snug Harbor Seafood co-owner Paul Dale and former Lt. Gov. Loren Lehman, a Cook Inlet setnetter, are listed as members of the group’s advisory council. Dale was also listed as president when the group was founded…
3. Hearing set April 22 for suit over setnet ban initiative
Oral argument in the Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance’s appeal of the Lieutenant Governor’s decision not to certify its proposed ballot initiative is scheduled for April 22 in Anchorage.
The alliance, or AFCA, wants to ask voters whether to ban setnets in urban parts of the state. If the initiative made it on to the ballot and passed, it would eliminate setnetters in Cook Inlet…
4. ADN Compass by Mark Hamilton: Fish board did well for conservation of Kenai kings
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) for its dedication during the recent two-week Upper Cook Inlet management hearings. Nowhere else are fisheries managed through a more open public process than the one used here in Alaska…
5. ADN Compass by Frank Mullen: Board of Fish misses the boat on Kenai kings
By FRANK MULLENMarch 15, 2014
Mark Hamilton, president of the Kenai River Sportfishing Association, recently opined that the Board of Fish meetings had produced a “clear victory for Kenai kings.” I disagree and believe that any objective person would disagree as well.Many have suggested that the blame for the lack of kings lies with the offshore fisheries. Scientific studies show that minimal interception actually occurs. (Google NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-AFSC-244.) Others suggest that Cook Inlet setnet interception is the culprit, but science does not support this theory either.
The study noted in Mullen column – Turbidity Monitoring on the Lower Kenai River 2008 – 2010 – Kenai Watershed Forum, is online at http://dec.alaska.gov/water/wnpspc/protection_restoration/KenaiRiverWQ/pdfs/KWF_KENAI_RIVER_TURBIDITY_REPORT.pdf
6. Kenai king salmon could benefit from enhancement
By Glenn Gillam, Kenai and Las Vegas
The last two weeks have been busy for the Board of Fisheries. As a guide, lodge manager and avid fisherman, I was listening intently to as much as I could, especially regarding the Kenai and Kasilof king salmon returns.
Unfortunately, but obviously, there was much disagreement among the attendees and the various fishing interests involved. I am convinced that there will probably never be a consensus.
However, one significant proposal received little attention. That was stocking or enhancing the Kenai salmon runs. From what I was able to hear, ADF&G has the ability to enhance a run without prior approval. The question then becomes, why hasn’t this happened?
7. Board of Fisheries Upper Cook Inlet meeting January 31–February 13, 2014 results
Meeting Summary – list of actions: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static-f/regulations/regprocess/fisheriesboard/pdfs/2013-2014/uci/uci_soa_2014.pdf
Board of Fisheries home page: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.main
8. Boston Seafood Show – March 16-18, 2014
Seafood Expo North America and Seafood Processing North America
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
9. EPA moves to protect Bristol Bay fishery from Pebble Mine
Agency action begins process to prevent damage to world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery
(Washington, D.C.—Feb. 28, 2014) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is initiating a process under the Clean Water Act to identify appropriate options to protect the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska from the potentially destructive impacts of the proposed Pebble Mine. The Pebble Mine has the potential to be one of the largest open pit copper mines ever developed and could threaten a salmon resource rare in its quality and productivity. During this process, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cannot approve a permit for the mine.
This action, requested by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, reflects the unique nature of the Bristol Bay watershed as one of the world’s last prolific wild salmon resources and the threat posed by the Pebble deposit, a mine unprecedented in scope and scale. It does not reflect an EPA policy change in mine permitting.
“Extensive scientific study has given us ample reason to believe that the Pebble Mine would likely have significant and irreversible negative impacts on the Bristol Bay watershed and its abundant salmon fisheries,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “It’s why EPA is taking this step forward in our effort to ensure protection for the world’s most productive salmon fishery from the risks it faces from what could be one of the largest open pit mines on earth. This process is not something the Agency does very often, but Bristol Bay is an extraordinary and unique resource.”
EPA Press release:
EPA Bristol Bay page: http://www2.epa.gov/bristolbay
10. EPA extends response deadline on Pebble Mine impacts
By Associated Press
A federal agency is providing more time for the state and the group behind the proposed Pebble Mine to provide information showing development at the site would not result in “unacceptable” environmental impacts…
The state, Pebble Limited Partnership and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had 15 days from the Feb. 28 announcement to submit information showing no “unacceptable adverse” impacts to waters would occur or to show that actions could be taken to prevent such impacts.
The state and Pebble requested the process be stayed until permit applications are submitted and reviewed.
EPA has instead extended the response deadline to April 29.
11. The Atlantic: Is Alaska’s Pebble Mine the Next Keystone XL?
The push to open a gold-and-copper mine in a rich fishing area has split Alaskans along unusual political lines.
12. Alaska residents decry permitting bill HB 77
JUNEAU — “Extremism,” “anti-democracy” and “legislative trash” were just a few of the phrases Alaskans used to describe a controversial permitting bill that was resurrected by the Parnell administration this week.
The Senate Resources Committee would have heard even more creative descriptions for House Bill 77, but many dozens still were waiting for their two minutes to testify when chairwoman Sen. Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, promptly ended testimony after the allotted 90 minutes passed.
Parnell agrees to change controversial HB 77
By Bob Tkacz, For the Journal
JUNEAU — Gov. Sean Parnell has agreed to substantial changes to House Bill 77, his controversial land and water management reform bill that was pulled off the Senate floor on the final day of the 2013 session in the face of growing public opposition…
HB 77 would increase permitting process efficiency
By Joe Balash, Alaska Commissioner of Natural Resources
DNR’s efforts through House Bill 77 to increase the efficiency of our land and water-use authorizations did not pass last year. It is important to note that most provisions of the bill did not trigger wide opposition. However, three did, regarding general permits, water reservations and appeals.
DNR staff, along with legislators, met with the public and stakeholder organizations to look for ways to address their concerns about HB 77. We are pleased to support amendments recently incorporated by the Senate Resources Committee chair for consideration. These include the following notable changes…
HB 77 latest version: http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/28/Bills/HB0077C.PDF
Bill tracking & documents: http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/get_bill.asp?bill=HB%20%2077&session=28
13. Murkowski Tells Foreign Relations Committee: Alaskan Fisherman Need a Level Playing Field
Senator Testifies on Economic Threat of Pirate Fishing
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations about the multi-million dollar economic threat posed by illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing to Alaska’s seafood industry, and the need for Senate ratification for the Port State Measures Agreement. Murkowski’s testimony took a unique and personal tone when she recounted that her own son is just returning to port after a season fishing crab, saying that strengthened laws have resulted in “a much better world for our crabbers and fisherman than just years ago.”
“It is important that Alaskan and U.S. fishermen have a level playing field when it comes to our fishing opportunities. Russian IUU crab has been a serious problem for Alaska since at least 1990.”
Begich: No More Parlay for Pirates
Senator Applauds Advancement of Anti-Pirate Fishing Measures
14. Begich, Rubio Team Up to Fight EPA Regulations on F/V incidental discharge
Senators Lead Bipartisan Effort to Cut through Red Tape for Saltwater Vessels
Cutting through red tape created by a confusing jumble of state and federal regulations, U.S. Senators Mark Begich (D-AK) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) today introduced a bipartisan bill to set uniform standards for regulating ballast water and other incidental discharges from vessels, and clarify requirements for fishermen and other small boat users.
Begich is the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and the Coast Guard and Rubio serves as the ranking member. The bill, The Vessel Incidental Discharge Act, has broad bipartisan support with 20 Democrat and Republican co-sponsors, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski. It is widely supported by the maritime industry.
EPA Vessel Discharge home page: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/home.cfm?program_id=350
Commercial Vessel Discharge Reform Act gains support – Cordova Times
15. Reminder – March 31 is deadline for ACA Health Insurance enrollment
Reminder of the March 31 deadline for enrolling in health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (www.healthcare.gov ) is below, and in flyer attached from Senator Begich’s office
The United Way Alaska navigator help page is at http://www.alaska211.org/ .
Enroll Alaska, a for-profit entity is online at http://www.enrollingalaska.com/home.aspx .
16. Self-employed fishers prepare for ACA mandate
By Molly Dischner, Alaska Journal of Commerce
As the March 31 deadline for the individual insurance mandate under the Affordable Care Act nears, Alaska’s fishers are still navigating the changes.
“My sense is, a lot of fishermen are still in a wait and see mode,” said United Fishermen of Alaska Executive Adminstrator Mark Vinsel.
Fishermen and charter operators are often self-employed, and the mandate for Americans to procure health insurance will directly affect them.
Officially, the mandate went into affect in January, but enrollment through the new health insurance exchanges is available until March 31, and penalties will not be assessed for those who enroll by that date. Those that don’t enroll will face a tax penalty…
“It was a big pain to wade through the process, and the process is far from perfect,” he said.
Ultimately, however, they saved about 80 percent on better insurance.
“As a self-employed fisherman, I had a multitude of choices, which I’ve never had in the past,” Meintel said…
16. Reminder: Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend Application deadline is March 31
17. Crystal Lake hatchery building, eggs destroyed in fire
By Joe Viechnicki – KFSK, Petersburg
Fire destroyed a salmon incubation building and over a million eggs at Crystal Lake Hatchery on Mitkof Island south of Petersburg early Tuesday morning.
The hatchery buildings are owned by the state of Alaska and the hatchery is operated by the Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association, based in Ketchikan. It produces king and coho salmon.John Burke is general manager with the regional non-profit hatchery association. He says the incubation room burned down and fuel tanks and generator room were also damaged in the blaze…
18. Proposal to bring tourists to Pelican raises eyebrows
Counter-offer to purchase crab plant with aim to expand seafood processing…
In the old Pelican Seafoods, Inc. crab plant — a huge dilapidated aluminum building next to the largely defunct fish processing plant on the west end of 1.7-mile long town — Steve Daniels walked through the egg room, formerly used to process salmon eggs, and the salt room, a storage space used to preserve fish caught by commercial fleets fishing in Cross Sound…
Daniels and his business partner Kent Craford are proposing investing $2 million to transform the slumbering plant, fish house and adjacent properties into a world-class fishing destination. The two pitched their redevelopment proposal to the city council back in August under their business license Fairweather Development LLC…
The proposal not only raised eyebrows from some local residents, who are reluctant to give up the blue-collar feel of the small remote fishing community some 70 miles away from Juneau, but it also gave rise to a counter-offer from a second interested party whose vision for the property is perhaps more aligned with those who see Pelican’s future in reviving its past…
19. Southeast Geoduck Dive Fishery Opens; Market Found
Southeast Alaska divers were out fishing for geoducks Thursday, for the first time in about two months.
Phil Doherty of the Southeast Alaska Regional Dive Fisheries Association says they decided to move forward with fishing after meeting last week with some processors. He says those processors found markets other than China for the clams.
“We did our PSP sampling on Sunday. We sent the geoducks up to DEC lab on Monday, got the PSP results on Tuesday and of the six areas that we sampled, three of them passed PSP levels, so we were able to fish,” he said…
APRN story & Audio:
20. Chinese ban of US shellfish to continue
BREMERTON, Wash. (Feb 1) — The Chinese ban of shellfish imports from the U.S. West Coast will continue indefinitely, according to a letter sent by Chinese officials to a U.S. agency.
21. Murkowski Urges FDA Involvement in Lifting China Shellfish Ban
Senator Gets Assurance from FDA Director They’ll Be Available to Support Effort “24 Hours a Day”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today took the opportunity of the Food and Drug Administration Director’s appearance on Capitol Hill to get answers for Alaskans about FDA’s role in resolving China’s ban on West Coast shellfish imports. Her focus was on an upcoming meeting with officials in China that will be the next important step towards lifting the ban.
The China trip – which Senator Murkowski urged federal agencies to schedule quickly – was confirmed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Tuesday for next Friday, March 21st. The U.S. Delegation will include representatives from NOAA, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and the Foreign Agriculture Service of the Department of Agriculture. Since the FDA has primary jurisdiction over food safety issues in the U.S., Murkowski was concerned that FDA will not be there, asking “I want to know what FDA’s role will be in these discussions and whether you’re attending. And if not, why not?”
Senator Murkowski press release:
22. Murkowski Takes Frankenfish Fight to FDA in Hearing
Senator Gets Director’s Word that Safety Must Be Certain Before Approval
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today took the opportunity of the Food and Drug Administration Director’s appearance on Capitol Hill to remind the FDA of Alaskans’ deep concerns over genetically-engineered salmon, urging her repeatedly to not approve Frankenfish and to look critically at the wide range of threats it poses. After Murkowski’s remarks and questioning, the FDA Director committed to her that unless safety can be guaranteed, then approval will not be granted…
23. Six fisheries in U.S. to receive fishery disaster relief funds
February 26, 2014
… NOAA Fisheries announced that $75 million appropriated by Congress as part of the Fiscal Year 2014 federal budget will be allocated to six fisheries across the country that were declared fishery disasters by the Department of Commerce in 2012 and 2013.
Those receiving allocations from the disaster relief fund include: commercial fisheries in American Samoa following the tsunami of 2009; commercial fisheries in Mississippi following the Mississippi River flood of 2011; the New England multispecies groundfish fishery for the 2013 season; Alaska’s Chinook salmon fishery for 2011 and 2012; the Florida oyster fishery in the Gulf of Mexico due to a drought in 2012; and fisheries in New York and New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
NOAA Press Release:
Murkowski Fisheries Failure Funding Fight Secures Over $20M for Alaska
Senator’s Persistence in Building ‘Coastal Caucus’ Reaps Results After Uphill Battle
Senator Murkowski Press release: http://www.murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=d2201df4-1d56-46ba-a68d-1cd530e88c36&ContentType_id=b94acc28-404a-4fc6-b143-a9e15bf92da4&Group_id=c01df158-d935-4d7a-895d-f694ddf41624&MonthDisplay=2&YearDisplay=2014
24. Congressman Young: Vital Alaskan Causes Advance in Coast Guard Bill
Washington, D.C. – Former Chairmen and senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
Congressman Don Young today addressed a bipartisan bill to improve the United States Coast Guard’s (USCG) essential mission of protecting our nation’s oceans and waterways. H.R. 4005, the Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014, advances a number of vitally important Alaskan causes such as repealing overbearing regulations facing fishermen and vessel owners, improvements to USCG lands and housing infrastructure, and the replacement and modernization of aging USCG assets including the nation’s deteriorating icebreaker fleet…
Congressman Young’s Maritime Lien Reform Act was included in H.R. 4005 and works to protect the earning power and livelihood of Alaska commercial fishing permits owners by prohibiting maritime liens from being imposed on their fishing permits. Alaska law currently prohibits liens of Alaska limited entry permits, but court rulings have subjected fishing licenses to maritime lien under the Federal Admiralty Law…
Congressman Don Young press release (Feb 11):
25. Southeast sees record tanner crab harvest
By Joe Viechnicki – KFSK, Petersburg
Southeast Alaska commercial crab boats caught around 1.25 million pounds of Tanner crab last month, the biggest catch in over a decade.
Crab fishing opened Feb. 12, two days after the scheduled start date because of bad weather. The fleet had six days of fishing in the most popular areas, and a total of 11 days in the rest of the Panhandle.
Joe Stratman is lead crab biologist for the region for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
“This 1.25 million pound harvest just slightly exceeded last season’s harvest by 12,000 pounds,” Stratman said. “So the harvest was very similar to last year but it was the largest Tanner harvest we’ve had in the last 13 seasons. You’d have to go back to the 2000-2001 season to find a larger harvest.”
26. Succulent sockeye from Cordova a triple crown winner in Alaska’s Symphony of Seafood
Margaret Bauman, The Cordova Times
CORDOVA — A family with deep roots in Cordova put their cold-smoked Alaska sockeye salmon recipe to the test in the 2014 Alaska Symphony of Seafood and came away a triple-crown winner.
Tilgner’s Ruby Red Ole World Scottish Style Cold Smoked Sockeye Salmon captured the grand prize, first place in smoked products competition and the Anchorage People’s Choice award, voted on by participants in the gala soiree earlier this month.http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/20140223/succulent-sockeye-cordova-triple-crown-winner-alaskas-symphony-seafood
27. B.C. Mines Spark Worry in Southeast Alaska
Paula Dobbyn – SitNews
Concern is mounting among Southeast Alaska fishermen, community leaders and tribes about a mining boom in British Columbia that could affect wild salmon and other species on the U.S. side of the border.
Spurred by the construction of a major power transmission line, and relaxed environmental regulations in Canada, a rash of mining activity is occurring in the transboundary region, a remote area laced with salmon rivers that joins Alaska and British Columbia. At least ten B.C. mine projects are in various stages of development, according to published reports. Five are located on salmon rivers that flow into Alaska’s southern panhandle, home to the lush, 17-million-acre Tongass National Forest. The mining push comes as B.C.’s provincial government tries to promote development in the sparsely populated region. In a jobs plan unveiled two years ago, B.C. Premier Christy Clark vowed to see eight new mines constructed and nine others expanded by 2015…
28. Southeast Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership recognized by National Fish Habitat Board
The National Fish Habitat Partnership now has 19 Partnerships Focused on Habitat Conservation
(Washington, DC) – On Monday, March 10 during the second day of the National Fish Habitat Board’s spring meeting the Southeast Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership (SEAKFHP) was granted full recognition status. Fish Habitat Partnerships are the primary work units of the National Fish Habitat Partnership and take the lead in bringing partners together to put conservation projects “on-the-ground” that make a difference for fish and their habitats across the nation…
The Southeast Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership spans the entire southern panhandle of Alaska including the dynamic watersheds and waterways that make up the Alexander Archipelago… The mission of the Southeast Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership is to support cooperative fish habitat conservation, restoration, and management in freshwater, estuarine and marine ecosystems across Southeast Alaska with consideration of economic, social, and cultural interests of local communities in its endeavors…
Press release: http://fishhabitat.org/
Southeast Alaska FHP home page: http://www.seakfhp.org/
National Fish Habitat Partnership home page: http://fishhabitat.org/
29. University, state timber offerings planned near Petersburg
by Joe Viechnicki, KFSK Petersburg, March 17
The University of Alaska lands office is offering two timber sales on Mitkof Island south of Petersburg this year. The lands on the southern and western side of the island would be helicopter logged. Meanwhile, the state of Alaska is also in the early stages of writing a plan for Southeast’s new state forest lands…
30. Governor Parnell Makes Nomination to Fishery Council
March 6, 2014, Juneau, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell today nominated Simon Kinneen for consideration by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce for service on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC). The governor also named Ragnar Alstrom and John Moller as alternate nominees.
“Simon’s strong background and experience with subsistence, sport fishing, and commercial fishing, will make a great contribution to the NPFMC,” said Governor Parnell. “Each of these nominees is committed to continue to improve fishery management for the benefit of the resource, the commercial fishing industry, and for individuals who depend on the food source.”
31. NPFMC February newsletter
The Council Newsletter , which summarizes the latest Council agenda items is now available online. Documents, handouts, and motions are still available through links on that meeting’s Agenda…
Newsletter topics include Observer program, Guided halibut management, Area 4A Pots, Grenadiers, BSAI halibut bycatch, Steller Sea Lions, Ecosystem Policy, and more…
February meeting agenda & documents: http://legistar2.granicus.com/npfmc/meetings/2014/2/876_A_North_Pacific_Council_14-02-03_Meeting_Agenda.pdf
NPFMC home page: http://www.npfmc.org/
32. Laine Welch’s Fish Radio – items from this week:
Pet treats from pollock skins = using every part of the fish
FrankenFish is a Sitting Duck!
Finding clues to disappearing king crab
Politics, Fisheries, and Economics Served up by SWAMC
Homemade robot takes high rez images of ocean floor
These and more, online at http://www.alaskafishradio.com/
33. Alaska Board of Forestry Meets in Juneau March 19-20
The Board of Forestry will meet to discuss statewide forestry issues on Wednesday, March 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Thursday, March 20, from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. The meeting will be held in Juneau and will be teleconferenced.
The agenda will include reports on the following topics:
•Proposed Fiscal Year 2015 forestry, forest practices, and monitoring budgets,
•The Susitna State Forest and negotiated timber sales bill (HB79),
•2013 forest practices compliance monitoring results,
•A 20-year study of Forest Practices Act effectiveness in protecting fish habitat and water quality,
•Assessments of Forest Practices Act effectiveness from the departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Conservation, and Fish and Game,
•Dept. of Environmental Conservation consideration of state assumption of Section 404 permit authority,
•Wood energy in Alaska and state timber sales for wood energy projects,
•· Federal forest management in Alaska including Tongass and Chugach national forest planning, Roadless Rule implementation, Southeast land ownership initiatives, and Southeast Conference review of Tongass conservation and management,
•Alaska Timber Jobs Task Force recommendations and implementation,
•Reforestation standards review process for Interior and Southcentral Alaska,
•University of Alaska Fairbanks forestry research program update, and
•Division of Forestry program updates and organization.
Online Public Notice: http://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=171194
34. Alaskan Seafood Processing Notice of Data Availability & Docket on Effluent Guidelines
EPA has published information it gathered recently from seafood processing facilities in Alaska and other publicly available sources. These data relate to the Alaskan seafood subcategories of the Seafood Processing Effluent Guidelines at 40 CFR Part 408. The Agency is providing preliminary results of analyses of the updated data and indications of how these results might be reflected in revised regulations which it may promulgate.
EPA Seafood Processing Data Availability:
EPA Docket and comments received at Regulations.gov Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2013-0652:
35. Comment Deadline April 16 on Alaska Water Quality Antidegradation regulations
…the public comment period for Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s draft antidegradation implementation regulations has been extended to 4:30 pm on April 16, 2014.
Notice of comment period extension: http://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=171700
Public Notice January 9, 2014: http://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=170773
DEC Anti-degradation regulations home page: http://dec.alaska.gov/water/wqsar/Antidegradation/index.html .
36. State establishes quarantine for five aquatic invasive plants
(Palmer, AK) – The Alaska Division of Agriculture has established a quarantine at the boundaries of Alaska to prevent the entry and spread of five specific aquatic invasive weeds. Management efforts are being implemented to address current Elodea infestations and establishing the quarantine stops further importation of the pests listed below which are popular for use in classrooms and in the aquarium trade. The Division of Agriculture is in the process of amending current Plant Health and Quarantine Regulations (11 AAC34) and will be adding the five aquatic plants below to the Noxious Weed listing. For additional information go to http://plants.alaska.gov/invasives/elodea.htm .
Quarantined aquatic Invasive plants listed below.
Canadian waterweed (Elodea canadensis)
Western nuttallii (Elodea nuttallii)
Brazilian waterweed (Egeria densa)
Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata)
Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum)
This list is comprised of the most recent and accepted scientific and common names of the quarantine plant species. Regulated status also applies to all synonyms of these botanical names.
QUARANTINE RESTRICTIONS: It is prohibited to import, transport, buy, sell, offer for sale, or distribute plants or plant parts of the regulated species within the state of Alaska. It is further prohibited to intentionally transplant wild plants and/or plant parts of these species within the state of Alaska.
Online Public Notice: http://plants.alaska.gov/pdf/aquaticquarantinerelease.pdf
37. Kenai Peninsula leads fight against elodea
A bill to help control Alaska’s elodea infestation was pulled out of the legislature on Monday after the Alaska Division of Agriculture quarantined the invasive aquatic plant from the state.
The bill, sponsored by Reps. Kurt Olson, R-Kenai, Paul Seaton, R-Homer, and House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, called for prohibiting the import, sale, purchase and release of elodea into Alaskan waters.
However, the Division of Agriculture was able to establish the quarantine and immediately make elodea illegal without the legislative process, Olson said…
38. Comment deadline March 28 on Elodea removal in Kenai Peninsula Lakes
DNR Notice of application for permit by the Homer Soil and Water Conservation District to apply herbicide to control invasive elodea in Stormy, Beck, and Daniels Lakes in the Kenai Peninsula area:
39. Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute releases new eCookbook for kids
Alaska Style – recipes for kids – online at: http://www.wildalaskaflavor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/ASMI_KIDSCOOKBOOK_Updated.pdf
ASMI home page: http://www.alaskaseafood.org/
40. AK Sustainable Salmon Fund Call for Proposals – & info meeting March 19
The Alaska Sustainable Salmon Fund (AKSSF) is announcing its statewide Expert Panel meeting and 2014 call for proposals.
Statewide Expert Panel Meeting:
March 19, 2014: 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Residence Inn, Anchorage
1025 E 35th Ave.
AK Sustainable Salmon Fund home page: http://akssf.org
Online Public Notice:
41. Comment deadline April 30 on DNR Aquatic farm Regulations
Greetings aquatic farmers, industry members, and interested parties;
DNR is in the process of updating and revising regulations associated with the Aquatic Farm Statute AS 38.05.083. As a first step toward drafting a new regulatory package (which will be released for review and comment once it is drafted), we are seeking input from aquatic farmers, industry members, interested parties, and members of the general public. Specifically, we are looking for you to identify existing regulations you believe are inconsistent with the statutes (AS 38.05.070 and 38.05.083) and propose alternatives. In addition, we are looking for ways the industry and its members can provide us with a set of measurement standards to evaluate the ‘commercial success’ of an aquatic farmsite.
The Public Comment period will run from March 1, 2014-April 30, 2014 and comments will be accepted via email, USPS, or comment online here.
To facilitate the comment process, we will be hosting a series of informal public scoping meetings.
Meeting dates, time and location are as follows:
- March 10, 2014 6 PM-8PM at the Islands and Oceans Center, Homer, Alaska
- March 24, 2014 6PM-8PM in the Hickel Room, Centennial Hall, Juneau, Alaska
- April 22, 2014 5PM-7PM Webinar, Anchorage, Alaska
42. USCG Final Rule on Waiver of Citizenship Requirements for Crewmembers on Commercial Fishing Vessels
A Rule by the Coast Guard on 02/14/2014
Summary: The Coast Guard amends its regulations to include a description of the procedures for requesting and processing waivers of citizenship requirements on commercial fishing vessels. We seek to improve our efforts to inform the commercial fishing industry of this opportunity by codifying the application procedure policy into the Code of Federal Regulations…
43. NOAA posts Halibut Catch Sharing Plan final rule
The Assistant Administrator (AA) for Fisheries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), on behalf of the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), publishes annual management measures adopted as regulations by the IPHC and accepted by
the Secretary of State governing the Pacific halibut fishery…
Federal Register Notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-05339
NPFMC Halibut Catch Sharing Plan home page:
44. IPHC Scholarship application deadline June 30
The IPHC is currently accepting applications for our scholarship program. Our scholarship provides funding for students with a connection to the halibut fishery pursuing undergraduate or technical degrees. Please consider notifying your members and forwarding our web link to potential candidates. Thank you and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
45. Weather slows halibut opener, first prices similar to 2013
By Molly Dischner, Alaska Journal of Commerce
Commercial halibut fishers began targeting 16.7 million pounds of quota March 8, but bad weather kept many off the fishing grounds.
Individual fishing quota, or IFQ, holders will take the majority of the Alaska commercial catch limit, about 15.9 million pounds, with Community Development Quota landings from the Bering Sea areas making up the remainder of the catch.
Sablefish IFQ holders have access to about 23.6 million pounds this year…
46. NMFS posts Amendment 95 Final Rule re Halibut PSC limits
SUMMARY: NMFS issues regulations to implement Amendment 95 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP). These regulations modify halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) management in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) by establishing halibut PSC limits for the GOA in Federal regulation and reducing the GOA halibut PSC limits for the trawl and hook-and-line gear sectors. The reduction to the trawl gear PSC limit also proportionately reduces a subset of trawl halibut PSC limits (also called sideboard limits) for American Fisheries Act, Amendment 80, and Central GOA Rockfish Program vessels. These regulations also incorporate three measures to minimize adverse economic impacts on fishing industry sectors. First, the reductions for these sectors will be phased-in over 3 years. Second, this action
allows the Amendment 80 sector to roll over unused halibut PSC sideboard limits from one season to the subsequent season. Third, this action combines management of the deep-water and shallow-water halibut PSC limits from May 15 to June 30, which allows the aggregate halibut PSC limit to be used in either the deep-water or shallow-water fishery. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the FMP, and other applicable laws.
DATES: Effective March 24, 2014.
Federal Register Notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-03631
47. NOAA final rule on Halibut & Sablefish IFQ vessel ownership requirements
NMFS adopts a final rule that modifies the vessel ownership requirement for an exemption from the owner-on-board requirement in the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program for the fixed-gear commercial Pacific halibut and sablefish fisheries off Alaska. This rule imposes a 12-month vessel ownership requirement on initial individual recipients of quota share (QS) who wish an exemption from the owner-on-board requirement and who wish to use a hired master to harvest their IFQ. For the 12-month period prior to applying to use a hired master, an individual QS holder must own a minimum 20-percent interest in the vessel that the hired master will use to fish the IFQ on behalf of the individual QS holder. The rule temporarily suspends the 12-month vessel ownership requirement for an initial individual recipient of QS whose vessel has been totally lost, irreparably damaged, or so damaged that the vessel requires at least 60 days for repairs. This action is intended to maintain a predominantly owner-operated fishery in the Pacific halibut and sablefish fisheries…
Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-03910
48. NMFS posts 2014 & 2015 BSAI & GOA Groundfish Harvest Specifications
NMFS announces final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications, prohibited species catch allowances, and closures for the groundfish fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2014 and 2015 fishing years, and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the BSAI (FMP).
NMFS 2014 & 2015 Groundfish Harvest Specifications page:
Federal Register notice – BSAI : https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-04762
Gulf of Alaska: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-04886
49. Comment deadline May 30 on NMFS information request on IUU nations
NMFS is seeking information regarding nations whose vessels are engaged in illegal, unreported, or unregulated (IUU) fishing, bycatch of protected living marine resources (PLMRs), and/or fishing activities in waters beyond any national jurisdiction that target or incidentally catch sharks. Such information will be reviewed for the purposes of the identification of nations pursuant to the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act (Moratorium Protection Act).
DATES: Information should be received on or before May 30, 2014.
Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-04889 .
50. National Organic Standards Board to meet April 29 – May 2 in San Antonio
…the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing an upcoming meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). Written public comments are invited in advance of the meeting,
and the meeting will include scheduled time for oral comments from the public.
DATES: The meeting will be held April 29-May 2, 2014…at the St. Anthony Hotel, 300 East Travis Street, San Antonio, TX 78205, 210-227-4392. Information and instructions about the meeting are posted at the following Web address: http://www.ams.usda.gov/NOSBMeetings .
Agenda topics include:
*Proposal: Aquaculture – Chlorine (for aquatic animals) – petitioned
*Proposal: Aquaculture – Tocopherols (for aquatic animals) – petitioned
*Proposal: Aquaculture – Minerals (for aquatic animals) – petitioned
Proposal: Aquaculture – Vitamins (for aquatic animals) – petitioned
+Proposal: Aquaculture – Biologics: Vaccines (for aquatic animals) – petitioned
Federal Register Notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-05111
51. NOAA posts MMPA List of Fisheries for 2014
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) publishes its final List of Fisheries (LOF) for 2014, as required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The final LOF for 2014 reflects new information on interactions between commercial fisheries and marine mammals. NMFS must classify each commercial fishery on the LOF into one of three categories under the MMPA based upon the level of mortality and serious injury of marine mammals that occurs incidental to each fishery. The classification of a fishery on the LOF determines whether participants in that fishery are subject to certain provisions of the MMPA, such as registration, observer coverage, and take reduction plan (TRP) requirements…
The LOF for 2014 has no changes to fishery classifications or to fisheries that are subject to a take reduction plan…
52. FisherPoets Astoria starts Kickstarter campaign to publish 7 book Anthology
The FisherPoets gathering, held each Feb. in Astoria, Oregon is looking to raise funds to create a FisherPoets Anthology – a seven book set of stories, poems and songs that are all written by commercial fishermen and women celebrating the commercial fishing experience.
We’ve raised half of the $10K needed by May 1…
To learn more see www.inthetote.com or to contribute, see:
53. ComFish Alaska – Kodiak ComFish Alaska – April 17-19, 2014
Alaska’s Premier Commercial Fisheries Trade Show…
54. Deadline April 10 for 2014-2015 Board of Fisheries Proposals – SE, PWS, Upper Copper / Upper Susitna…
The Alaska Board of Fisheries calls for proposed changes in the subsistence, personal use, sport, guided sport, and commercial fishing regulations for the Prince William Sound and Upper Copper/Upper Susitna finfish and Southeast and Yakutat finfish areas, and Southeast and Yakutat crab (king, tanner, dungeness), shrimp, miscellaneous shellfish, and Statewide (except Southeast and Yakutat areas) Dungeness crab, shrimp, miscellaneous shellfish areas…
55. Deadline March 21 on Applications for Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils
Details and Information packet:
Federal Subsistence Management Program home page: http://www.doi.gov/subsistence/index.cfm
56. Deadline March 28 on federal Subsistence Fish and Shellfish Proposals
The Office of Subsistence Management is accepting proposals through March 28, 2014 to change Federal regulations for the subsistence harvest of fish andshellfish on Federal public lands. Proposed changes are for April 1, 2015 through March 31, 2017…
RAC Meeting page: http://www.doi.gov/subsistence/calendars/index.cfm
DOI Federal Subsistence notice: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.meetinginfo&date=03-17-2014&meeting=statewide
57. AMSEA Drill Conductor, Stability, Ergonomics and others classes schedule online
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Compiled by staff of United Fishermen of Alaska, PO Box 20229, Juneau AK 99802 (907) 586-2820