Alaska Fisheries Report
KMXT by Maggie Wall – July 17, 2018
Federal investigators find that a Bering Sea crabber that went down last year did so because it was coated with heavy ice.
Southeast trollers finish the first summer fishery for king salmon.
Board rejects emergency petition over pink salmon hatchery production
Alaska Journal of Commerce by Elwood Brehmer – July 17, 2018
The Valdez Fisheries Development Association can move ahead with its plan to increase its pink salmon production after the Alaska Board of Fisheries rejected an emergency petition from groups led by the Kenai River Sportfishing Association who oppose the plan.
Largest component of Southeast hatchery chums not meeting expectations
KFSK by Joe Viechnicki – July 17, 2018
Operators of fish hatcheries in Southeast Alaska are a little puzzled with early returns of chum salmon this summer. The numbers of four-year-old dog salmon are not living up to expectations, while younger and older fish are making up a bigger portion of this season’s catches.
South Alaska Peninsula Fleet Opposes Further Cuts Linked to Chignik Salmon Failure
SEAFOODNEWS.COM – July 17, 2018
Sand Point, AK – South Alaska Peninsula commercial fishermen are pushing back on the latest petitions added to today’s emergency meeting of the Board of Fisheries, noting that first, there is no connection between Peninsula salmon stocks and those destined for Chignik, some 130 miles northeast, and second, any further cuts would have “devastating effects on families and communities” in the peninsula east of the Aleutian Island chain.
The Board of Fish will meet today at 1 p.m. Alaska time to discuss a growing number of petitions, mostly on salmon and the significantly low returns to river systems from Yakutat to the Yukon.
The meeting was initially called to hear the Kenai River Sportfishing Association’s May 16, 2018 petition opposing increased hatchery production in Prince William Sound. But as the summer progressed and the salmon did not show up in Chignik, three other petitions were received.
The Bristol Bay Native Association’s June 22, 2018 resolution 2018-13, the Chignik Fish and Game Advisory Committee’s July 2, 2018, and the Chignik Regional Aquaculture Association’s July 12, 2018 petition regarding the Chignik Lake late-run sockeye salmon run petition asked for Board action on sockeye salmon regulations for the Chignik, Kodiak, and the Alaska Peninsula management areas. These petitions would “severely restrict fisheries in the South Peninsula of Area M and Kodiak, aiming to conserve sockeye salmon destined for Chignik,” according to the Aleutians East Borough organization, which submitted comments strongly opposing all three petitions.
“While we understand concern for recent low return of the early Chignik sockeye run, there is no evidence that this circumstance is tied to either the June or Post-June South Peninsula (or any other) fisheries. The fisheries have operated for decades under detailed management plans developed through public process and adopted by the board. Under these plans, with the exception of this year’s early run, Chignik has never failed to achieve its targeted escapement goal since 2008. The 25% reduction in June fishing time as a result of these measures has had significant, negative impacts on fishermen and the communities within the Aleutians East Borough,” Aleutians East Borough Mayor Alvin Osterback said.
In June, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) took the unprecedented step of reducing commercial fishing time to 40 hours (down from 88) for South Alaska Peninsula commercial fishermen in the last two openings of the South Unimak and Shumagin Islands June fisheries. The action was taken out of concern for the early Chignik sockeye run.
Although ADF&G took action in June as a conservation measure, harvest rate data from the Western Alaska Salmon Stock Identificaiton Program (WASSIP) studies (2006 – 2008) show that few early run Chignik fish were likely conserved by this action in late June, according to the AEB’s release.
“We believe that these emergency actions should carefully weigh possible conservation benefits, as evidenced by available data, against economic and social impacts,” Osterback said.
The Unga Tribal Council, located in Sand Point, stated in written comments to the Board of Fisheries that it is concerned and dismayed about the emergency petitions submitted by the Chignik Advisory Council and BBNA.
Unga Tribal Council President John Foster said for many fishermen, record low volumes of fish have been caught, and many boats and crew members haven’t made any money. He said many have a deficit account at the processing facilities this fishing season.
“These unfortunate low salmon runs are occurring throughout the Gulf of Alaska this year, and are likely caused by other factors, not fishermen fishing in the waters off the Southern Peninsula,” Foster said in his comments.
The Pauloff Harbor Tribe, located in Sand Point, also expressed its opposition to the petitions submitted to the Board.
“While a complete closure of the South Peninsula fishery will not have a significant impact on the Chignik run, it will most certainly create long-lasting damage to the South Peninsula,” the Tribe stated in its letter to the Board. “The fishermen, their families, the businesses and all the communities dependent upon this historic salmon fishery will suffer from a loss of this magnitude. This is not merely an economic issue from the Tribe’s perspective, but a community health and well-being issue.”
Two other petitions will be heard today by the Board of Fisheries. The Native Villages of Grayling, Anvik, Shageluk, and Holy Cross’s July 3, 2018 petition regarding drift gillnet chum salmon fishing on the Yukon River and the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe July 10, 2018 petition regarding sport fishing on the Situk River.
The Energy 202: Controversial fishing bill divides anglers and environmentalists
Washington Post by Dino Grandoni – July 16, 2018
Recreational fishermen are applauding and environmentalists are decrying a proposed overhaul to a 1976 fishing law credited with regrowing fish populations off the nation’s coasts.
ShoreZone Coastal Habitat Surveys Continue in Alaska
NOAA – July 13, 2018
Scientists involved in the Alaska ShoreZone program have been steadily imaging and mapping Alaska’s rich coastal habitats since 2001. Over ninety percent of Alaska’s approximately 80,000 km of coastline has been completed, but gaps remain. During NOAA Fisheries’ Habitat Month in July 2018, imaging experts are filling in one of those gaps – Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska’s southeast panhandle.
Maritime Works: High dollar, blue collar careers in Maritime
Alaska’s maritime sector employs over 70,000 people, from our largest cities to our smallest villages. Almost half of these jobs are currently held by non-residents, and we’d like to change that! The maritime sector has a huge potential to positively impact the economies in many of our communities.
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