(FAA) Part of the ColdBay airport could be left in the
dark. The Federal Aviation Administration is considering decommissioning the
approach lights on one of the runways, which could impact air travel to the Aleutian region.
SEATTLE — Less than
a year after telling the public Gulf of Alaska halibut bycatch
would be reduced in 2012, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council has bowed
to a variety of pressures from bureaucratic to biological, and cuts won’t take
effect until at least 2014.
Many scientists are
raising concerns about the impacts of ocean acidification on fish and shellfish
species across the globe. A new publication from the Alaska Sea Grant Marine
Advisory Program outlines how the phenomenon could impact Alaska.
KDLG's Mike Mason has the details. ()
House OKs bill
opening ANWR to oil drilling
Bill is likely to die in the Senate, backers say.
Daily News, February 17, 2012
The U.S. House once
again passed a bill to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil
drilling, voting 237-187 Thursday on a measure expected to die in the Senate.
The House passed a $150 billion economic packageFriday,
extending for the rest of the year a payroll tax
holiday for 160 million workers and unemployment benefits for millions of
others. The bill now goes to the Senate for its expected approval.
NOAA released its
detailed budget document today, and the top line for the National Marine
Fisheries Service is a requested appropriation of $1.001 billion, a decrease of
$15 million from the actual 2010 enacted budget. NOAA says 'This budget request
supports NOAA and the Department of Commerce's (DOC) efforts to conserve,
protect, and manage living marine resources in a way that ensures their
continuation as functioning components of marine ecosystems, affords economic
opportunities, and enhances the quality of life for the American public.' The
decrease has come primarily from reductions in headquarters expenditure.
Overall, employment will rise by about 75 positions. Total NMFS employment is
2,897 full time equivalent positions. The largest increase in funding ($36
million) goes to a new line called national catch share programs. However, the
agency does not predict an increase in catch share programs over the next five
years. Instead, most of this money is to pay for implementation, observer
coverage, monitoring and other costs that cannot be passed on for cost recovery
to the industry at this time, especially in the Northeast. The budget document
says "Key catch share programs, such as the Northeast Multispecies
sector program, the West Coast Trawl Individual Quota program and the Gulf
of Mexico Grouper and Tilefish
program will be supported by this increase. The transition in New
England, which began in 2009, to sector management (a type of
catch share program) for the Northeast multispecies
fishery will improve the economic health of the fishing industry while also
meeting conservation mandates. The Northeast Multispecies
Fishery is one of the most important U.S.
fisheries. The fishery has problems with overcapacity and quotas have been
significantly reduced in order to end overfishing and
rebuild those stocks, causing significant short term revenue losses to the
industry. NOAA's investment in this catch share
program, particularly for fishery monitoring, is critical to ensure that the
program succeeds and the fishery is maintained until the stocks rebuild
further, revenues increase and the industry can pay more of the costs."
The rationale for catch shares is that NOAA believes these programs are the
best way to rebuild fish stocks to maximum sustainable yield, which would lead
to a 54% increase in overall value of US fisheries when achieved, worth more
than $2 billion at the dock. Other budget highlights include an increase of $5.5M
to support the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Stock assessments and fisheries research will increase by $15 million.
"The Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) mandates establishment of annual catch
limits (ACLs) in all fisheries by 2011 to prevent overfishing. NMFS will increase capacity to conduct stock
assessments in FY 2012. Adequate stock assessments increase economic
opportunities by allowing optimum catch levels to be set without risking overfishing and harm to the marine ecosystem. NMFS will
prioritize assessments using the following criteria: 1) valuable stocks and
associated fishery-limiting stocks with high uncertainty influencing ACLs, 2) intensity of fishing, 3) stock abundance, 4)
updating outdated assessments, 5) economic and ecologic importance of the
stock, and 6) synergistic factors. " Also $3
million additional will be spent for recreational fisheries assessment and
monitoring. One very negative feature in the budget is a transfer of about $17
million from cooperative research programs to the catch share program.
Cooperative research is used for the payments NMFS makes to industry, often
including matching industry funds, for work involving commercial vessel, gear
modifications, and other developments which have had spectacular success in
areas such as bycatch reduction. Many in the industry
are strongly opposed to any weakening of commitments to cooperative research.
Finally, overall the NOAA budget went up from $4.7 billion to $5.5 billion, an
increase of nearly $750 million. NMFS is losing ground within the overall
budget. At a budget briefing yesterday, this was partly explained as due to the
costs of maintaining the US
satellite network run by NOAA. The Marine Conservation Alliance strongly urged
Congress to fund adequately the satellite program so as not to cripple other
US testing our
Times, 16 Feb, 2012
A TEAM of
scientists has come all the way from the United
States to Port Lincoln to study southern bluefin tuna.
The Russian Government and the European Union (EU)
Fisheries Commission support the North Atlantic Salmon Fund's (NASF) campaign
to curb Norwegian salmon netting. Since 1994, NASF and its international
partners have pushed to close the Norwegian commercial salmon fishery in Finnmark because of the nets' environmental impact.
Columbia packers set roe herring production
projections for this year; the season likely to start late in February at the
earliest. The scale of roe herring fishing in British
Columbia for this coming season has been developed,
with catch allocations established for local packers. According to Canada's
Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), the number of entries finalized on
January 15--indicating the scale of fishing vessels' planned operation--showed
that 249 purse-seine fishing vessels and 1,172 gillnet fishing vessels would
participate. The number of purse-seiners will be more
or less the same as a year before, while that of gillnetters
showed a slightly lower figure. The overall catch quota of 13,000 short tons
will be divided equally among the vessels making entry, with allocation made to
license holders, deciding the estimated catch target of each packer. By packer,
as Ocean, one of major packers, announced to integrate with CFC, the largest
packer, last June, its production will be unified with that of CFC this year.
On the other hand, BelaCoola,
which was absorbed into Ocean, will produce on its own this year based on the
leasing contract with CFC. At any rate, the major focus of attention this
season is whether purse-seine vessels in the Gulf area, which cancelled their
operation last year because of smaller size of fish, can go out for fishing.
Last year, packers reached consensus on trying to restrain overall
landings in a bid to curtail excessive supply. In point of fact, more than half
of the catch quotas--sizably increased after eight years--were left uncaught
last year, with the overall catch volumes falling to
around 7,200 short tons, as purse-seiners in the Gulf
area concentrated on the catch of under-valued small-size fish. This year, however,
good news is reported in the industry: such as exports of roe herring--which
had been banned until last year —are on a track toward resumption on a
realistic tone and sales of herring roe (kazunoko) in
Japan showed a
“very good result” during the end-of-the-year sales season. This favorable
information, for example, prompted gillnet fishing license fee to rise from
$1,500 last year partly to $2,100. Judging from a series of such moves, the
view is prevalent in the industry that purse-seiners
will most probably catch all of their quotas unless the fish size is extremely
small. The fishing season is expected to open around the end of February at the
earliest, depending on fish migration. Last year, first landings from gillnet
fishing were postponed to March 13 as fishermen refrained from catch of
small-size fish at the start of the season. By contrast, in the 2010 season,
the opening was as early as February 26.
In all seasons, fishing started with gillnetting in the
oceans: Scientists close to creating mobile marine protected areas
announces MSC chain of custody certification
[seafoodnews.com] Feb 17, 2012
a major distributor in the WashingtonDC
area operated by OceanPro, Inc., has become the first
distributor in the Potomac region to achieve an MSC
chain of custody designation. This means ProFish may
now sell seafood products bearing the blue MSC ecolabel.
Gregory J. Casten, President, said: “We view this as
a real accomplishment. With our commitment to bringing knowledge regarding
sustainable seafood, having MSC certification was an absolute must.
Traceability in seafood is the way of the future and we are proud to be
entrusted with this certification.” John Rorapaugh,
Director or Sustainable Operations at OceanPro put it
this way: “I feel MSC certification has placed an exclamation point on our
10-year sustainable seafood journey. MSC certification is a sustainable stamp
of confidence that our customers are familiar with and trust.” Kerry Coughlin,
MSC Regional Director, Americas,
said, “We're pleased to welcome ProFish into the MSC
program. They have worked to be in a position to offer a selection of
MSC-certified sustainable seafood and now, with Chain of Custody certification,
they can demonstrate to their customers their commitment, vision and
leadership.” ProFish will now supply its customers
with MSC-certified fresh and frozen seafood products that include salmon, tuna,
cod, haddock, several species of prawn, shrimp, crab, sablefish, pollock, swordfish, flounder, hake, Patagonian toothfish, and Pacific halibut.
editorial: A welcome expansion
Empire, February 17, 2012
editorial first appeared in the Ketchikan Daily News:
The sale of Alaska
Ship & Drydock is the only way to build Ketchikan
Shipyard into a world-class facility.