Bristol Bay Fisheries Report July 10, 2016
KDLG by Molly Dischner – July 10, 2016
Did Port Moller just peak, and what does that mean for the 2016 run? We try to figure that out, and we step back to think about how much Alaskans love salmon.
Kuskokwim area may see a commercial fishing opening after all
Alaska Dispatch News by Lisa Demer – July 10, 2016
BETHEL — Washington state fish brokers are traveling to the Southwestern Alaska village of Quinhagak Monday in the hope of quickly setting up a commercial operation for the region’s wild salmon this year.
St. Paul Island Raises Sales Tax For First Time in 45 Years, Reduced Taxes on Some Crab Landings
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – July 8, 2016
While Alaska’s governor is cancelling state sanctioned picnics and lawmakers have been at a standstill to reduce the state’s $4 billion deficit, the tiny island of Saint Paul has passed their first sales tax increase in 45 years.
The citizenry of the 44-square mile Pribilof island, 450 miles west of the Alaska mainland, increased their sales tax by half a percentage point last week bringing the total to 3.5%. The vote was 42 in favor to 30 against. Effective date is July 17, 2016.
“I am proud of the action the residents of Saint Paul and the City Council took,” says St. Paul Mayor Simeon Swetzof, Jr. “They asked questions, became informed, and had a thorough discussion of the pros and cons of raising the sales tax as well as adopting the Community Development Tax Incentive Program,” Swetzof adds.
“The community has faced a double whammy of reduced opilio/snow crab TACs and reduced halibut quotas, which have severely affected the local economy. Snow crab TAC dropped from 67.9 million lbs in the 2014-15 season to 40.6 million lbs in the 2015-16 season. Similarly, the halibut quota the area dropped from 3.7 million lbs in 2011 to 1.28 million lbs in 2014 and 2015, increasing slightly this year to 1.6 million lbs.,” he says.
The increase brings Saint Paul’s sales tax to levels comparable to Akutan and King Cove.
The vote didn’t come easy. In the 45 years since the city was incorporated, the council has discussed it a few times, but stopped short of final approval. This time was different because the stakes were too high.
“The city has had to lay off personnel, cut its budget, and dip into its rainy day account to make ends meet and keep its existing commitments,” adds Swetzof.
The city maintains the harbor, the fuel farm, fresh water tanks, and other infrastructure needed to support the harvesting and processing industries there.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is pursuing a $19 million operations and maintenance project in the Saint Paul harbor this summer. Infrastructure projects such as these often require the City, as the local sponsor, to provide a local match.
While adopting the sales tax increase, the City Council opted to create a Community Development Tax Incentive to increase deliveries of bairdi crab by dropping the sales tax for certain shares of crab quota from 3 to 2 percent.
The plan targets B, C, CP, and CDQ shares of crab which are not regionalized under the Crab Rationalization Program, particularly the newly reopened bairdi/tanner crab fishery.
Deliveries of Bristol Bay red king crab as well as Pribilof red king crab and blue king crab, both of which are currently closed, would also benefit from the sales tax incentive plan.
“We spoke with state, harvester, and processor representatives ahead of this action,” Swetzof says. “They understood our position and primarily asked that we give them plenty of time, before the various crab seasons starting in the fall, to take the changes, as well as the incentive plan into account and allow them to adjust their business plans for the next season.
Steve Minor, managing partner of AbundantOceans Partnership, worked with the city to create the incentive program.
“State and municipal governments throughout Alaska are facing tough financial times,” Minor says. “The City of St. Paul values their partnerhisp with the seafood industry and is demonstrating that there are alternatives to simple tax increases and service cuts. I hope that the seafood industry takes advantage of this program.”
Swetzof agrees. “At the end of the day, Saint Paul is our home, and we can’t just pick up, leave, and go elsewhere if we can’t make ends meet in the fisheries. Hopefully both the snow crab and halibut fishery quotas will become healthier over time, and our efforts to diversify will pay off, but in the meantime, we all have to tighten our belts.”
Bristol Bay sockeye run keeps climbing
Bristol Bay Times by Molly Dischner – July 8, 2016
It’s too early to call the Bristol Bay sockeye run, but late enough to say one thing for certain: The run was not early.
UN Report: People Around the World Are Eating More Fish
New York Times by Associated Press – July 7, 2016
UNITED NATIONS — People around the world are eating more fish and global per capita fish consumption topped 20 kilograms (44 pounds) a year for the first time in 2014, according to preliminary estimates in a U.N. report released Thursday.
Funding Marine Science in Alaska’s Waters: NPRB Passes 100 Million Dollar Mark
North Pacific Research Board by Brendan – July 6, 2016
With decisions made at this spring’s board meeting, the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) has eclipsed $100 million in total funding for marine research off Alaska since its inception in 2002. This milestone comes at a significant point in time for NPRB as it also launched a $15 million Arctic Program (in partnership with Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Collaborative Alaskan Arctic Studies Program, and the Office of Naval Research Marine Mammal and Biology Program) in the same year. The Arctic Program is NPRB’s third of such integrated ecosystem research programs involving multi-disciplinary projects, funding support from additional partners, and broad scientific contribution. Past integrated ecosystem research programs have focused on the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska.
Few clues in ongoing mystery of Alaska whale die-off
Alaska Public Media by Graelyn Brashear – July 8, 2016
Marine researchers were hoping that 2016 was going to be a better year for whales in Alaska.
“We were kind of thinking it was over and just these last couple of weeks things have really picked up,” said Kathy Burek, a veterinary pathologist who does post-mortems on dead whales. She’s been very busy this past year. In 2015, 45 large whales were found dead in the Gulf of Alaska alone—more than five times higher than average for the last five years. A spike this big is called an Unusual Mortality Event, or UME, and NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service works with researchers like Burek to determine the cause.
North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 07/11/2016
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) Electronic Monitoring Workgroup (EMWG) will hold a public meeting on July 26, 2016.
Small Fry event has activities for all
Cordova Times by Meadow Scott – July 9, 2016
The weekend of Salmon Festival has so much to offer including the Small Fry event July 16 with fun, crafty and educational activities put on by organizations around town. Both the young and young at heart can try casting and check out macroinvertebrates, also known as fish food, with the U.S. Forest Service.
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