Alaska/Pacific Coast

Oil pays bills in Alaska, while resource-extraction giants like fishing and mining skate

Alaska Dispatch News by Craig Medred – December 30, 2014
Oil is us. Face it.

Alaskans went all-in long ago on the idea we could live off the fat of one natural resource, and once again it appears we’re about to pay the price. Wiser folks might have figured things out when oil prices tanked in the mid-80s and many walked away from their mortgages and fled the state.

Wiser folks might have tried to diversify the state’s tax base instead of keeping nearly all the eggs in the oil-industry basket. From time to time over the last 50 or so years, we’ve tried to be wise folks by holding round-tables, panels and conferences to address the inevitable problem of declining oil revenue. But we’re clearly not wise folks.

Roll this number around in your head a bit: $7.1 million.

Strong forecasts, busy regulatory year ahead for fisheries

Alaska Journal of Commerce by DJ Summers – December 31, 2014

Bristol Bay salmon boats will be busy in 2015 if the forecast comes true. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game predicts a total return to Bristol Bay rivers of more than 54 million sockeyes, allowing for a potential commercial harvest of as much as 40 million fish.

The coming year should prove a lucrative year for Alaska fisheries, even in the face of the doom and gloom surrounding the chinook salmon declines and a sketchy halibut situation.

The largest volume fishery, pollock, and the most valuable fishery, salmon, both have positive forecasts and large projected harvests; escapements for Alaska’s iconic king salmon were largely achieved in 2014; and various regulatory bodies have a full schedule to deal with both hurting and flourishing stocks.

Fish and Game Commissioner: All Resources Important

APRN by Lori Townsend – December 31, 2014
Fish and Game resources are important to nearly every Alaskan and the state’s new acting commissioner of Fish and Game says he’ll take that to heart as he makes decisions. Sam Cotten is a former Democratic state lawmaker. More recently, he’s been a commercial fishermen and a member of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council.

North Pacific Groundfish and Halibut Observer Program Sees Changes in 2015

KBBI by Shady Grove Oliver – December 30, 2014
The overall feeling at the meeting seemed to be discontent with a grain of salt. Many fishermen who attended voiced their frustration with the observer program in general. But, many also said that they understand what its purpose is.

. . . . Lefled says the greatest change will be to the way observers are placed on partial coverage category vessels. Starting in 2015, observers will be placed when a vessel is selected through the Observer Declare and Deploy System or ODDS.

In the past, large vessels with 100% coverage and vessels greater than 57.5 feet fishing with trawl gear or hook-and-line fixed gear fell under what is called trip selection. Vessels between 40 and 57.5 feet fishing with hook-and-line and pot gear were previously under vessel selection.

Oil lobby sues feds over threatened Alaska ringed seals

KTUU by Chris Klint – December 31, 2014
Two oil-industry groups have teamed up to file a lawsuit challenging federal scientists’ designations of the Arctic ringed seal as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The lawsuit also targets the National Marine Fisheries Service’s plan to label a 350,000-square-mile expanse of Alaska waters as critical habitat for the seals.

Pribilof Islanders Ask NOAA Fisheries to Reduce Bering Sea Halibut Bycatch

Fishermen’s News – December 30, 2014

NOAA Fisheries is being asked by the state of Alaska and representatives of the Pribilof Island community of Saint Paul to institute emergency action to lower halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea groundfish fisheries.

The request to Assistant Administrator of NOAA Fisheries Eileen Sobeck came in late December from Central Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association, the city of Saint Paul, the Tribal government of Saint Paul and Tanadguix Corp., an Alaska Native village corporation.


Oregon will use drones to collect data on fish, birds

State government news — Pilot project’s aims are less risk to humans, less cost to agency

Pamplin Media Group – December 31, 2014
SALEM — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to purchase drones next year to test how well the aircraft collect data on fish and bird populations.

Employees of the agency hope drones will help them collect better information, at less physical risk and a lower cost.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission signed off on nearly $50,000 for the project at a meeting this month. The project cost approved by the commission included two “quadcopter” drones, plus equipment and training for agency staff.

ANTARCTIC: Sea Ice Extent – Day 363 – Highest Global Sea Ice and Highest Antarctic Sea Ice For The Day

Sunshine Hours- December 30, 2014


Chinook salmon at risk of ‘catastrophic loss’ under global warming, new study reveals

Global warming is hard on the hearts of chinook salmon
Vancouver Sun by Larry Pynn – December 23, 2014


An anesthetized juvenile chinook salmon positioned on top of an electrode, which was used to measure heart rate with increasing temperature. Photograph by: Nicolas Muñoz, Special to the Vancouver Sun
VANCOUVER — Global warming is hard on the hearts of chinook salmon. A new study published in the journal, Nature Climate Change, finds that chinook can adapt to a warming environment — but only to a point.

Anthony Farrell, a professor of zoology and land and food systems at the University of B.C., explained that a juvenile chinook’s heart beats faster with warming water until, at 24.5° Celsius, it can beat no faster and “slows or goes arrhythmic.”


Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association

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January 2, 2014