Alaska/Pacific Coast

Sockeye harvest still below forecast
Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman – May 31, 2018
It wasn’t for lack of trying that all the sockeyes and kings delivered to processors in Cordova during the third Copper River salmon opener once again failed to come close to the forecast.
https://www.thecordovatimes.com/2018/05/31/sockeye-harvest-still-below-forecast/

Kuskokwim Tribes and Feds Clash Over Management Needed to Protect 2018 Chinook Salmon Run
SEAFOODNEWS.COM  – May 31, 2018
In back-to-back meetings on Tuesday, the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission pleaded their case to shift management of the river’s salmon fisheries from state to federal a few weeks early to protect the incoming king salmon., but Ken Stahlnecker, who manages the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, said the few hundred kings that would be taken would have a “fairly minor” impact on the continued viability of the Chinook salmon population, according to reporter Anna Rose MacArthur of KYUK radio station.

But Ken Stahlnecker, who manages the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, said the few hundred kings that would be taken would have a “fairly minor” impact on the continued viability of the Chinook salmon population, according to reporter Anna Rose MacArthur of KYUK radio station.

The Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission’s Executive Director Mary Peltola had sent two letters in recent weeks asking for federal management of the lower Kuskokwim to protect the chinook run.

Already, the river’s 33 tribes have acknowledged that subsistence needs will not be met this year.

ADF&G estimates that 116,000 to 150,000 kings will return this year. The Commission wants three-quarters of those to reach their spawning grounds. That leaves a range of between 6,000 and 25,000 kings for subsistence harvest. The average Kuskokwim harvest is 84,000 king salmon.

In a May 24 KYUK story fishing closures to protect king salmon were announced. “Over the coming weeks, a series of gillnet fishing closures, as well as limited openings, will hit the Kuskokwim River as king salmon begin moving upstream,” MacArthur reported.

Last Friday the first closure of gillnets from the mouth of the river to half a mile upstream occured. “More closures will follow, shutting down another section of river every five days.

“The early closures began in 2016 as a way to protect the first pulse of king salmon from heavy fishing and give them a better chance of reaching the upper river. During these gillnet closures, a range of other live release gear can be used including hook and line, dip nets, beach seines, and fish wheels with live boxes. By regulation, any king salmon caught in this gear must be immediately released alive to the water,” wrote MacArthur.

On June 12 the federal and tribal managers take over the lower river, but before that the state opens weekly gillnet fisheries to target non-salmon species such as whitefish and lush. Fishermen are allowed to use four-inch mesh set nets, anchored close to shore to avoid king salmon.

KYUK’s MacArthur reported that Stahlnecker claimed the decision to maintain state management until June 12 and to continue the two gillnet openings before that time were made in agreement with the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission in-season managers.

But Commission Executive Director Mary Peltola explained that the agreement was made between two groups with unequal power: Stahlnecker, who has the authority to take over the federal waters, and the Fish Commission, which only gains management authority once the waters have been federalized, MacArthur reported.

“He made it clear that there was no intent to federalize the river,” Peltola told KYUK. “So what were the in-season managers supposed to do? They basically have to agree with him.”

“We felt that our points were substantive,” Peltola said,  “that 200 to 300 Chinook bycaught does have an impact on the run.”
https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1105280/Kuskokwim-Tribes-and-Feds-Clash-Over-Management-Needed-to-Protect-2018-Chinook-Salmon-Run

Politics

Alaska lawmakers call for alliance with other states on Canadian mining issues
10 legislators call for partnership as Montana, Washington deal with pollution from Canadian mines
Juneau Empire by Kevin Gullufsen – May 28, 2018
A group of Alaska lawmakers wants to team up with Montana and other U.S.-Canada border states in a push to protect Southeast watersheds they say are threatened by rapid Canadian mining development.
http://juneauempire.com/news/state/2018-05-28/alaska-lawmakers-call-alliance-other-states-canadian-mining-issues

International

 NPAFC Plans for International Year of the Salmon
Fishermen’s News – May 30, 2018
Planning is underway for the 2019 International Year of the Salmon. In the coming months, core partners from Canada, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States will be working with the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC) to plan and announce details of a North Pacific opening event in Vancouver, BC in October of 2018, as well as a Gulf of Alaska signature project scheduled for March 2019 and detailed research plans. Research and outreach projects and events started in 2018 will continue through 2022.
http://fnonlinenews.blogspot.com/2018/05/npafc-plans-for-international-year-of.html

Plans underway for International Year of the Salmon
Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman – May 31, 2018
Fisheries interests from Canada, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States are collaborating through the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission to plan the International Year of the Salmon in 2019.
https://www.thecordovatimes.com/2018/05/31/plans-underway-for-international-year-of-the-salmon/

Environment/Science

Questions about the Annual Extent of Cold Water in the Southeastern Bering Sea Loom Large
NOAA-Alaska Fisheries Science Center – May 31, 2018.
Researchers are curious to see if they will come across a “cold pool” during this year’s annual Southeastern Bering Sea Shelf Bottom Trawl Survey given the unusually warm winter and the limited sea ice coverage in 2017/2018. They suspect they might not, and that would be a first.
http://alaska-native-news.com/questions-about-the-annual-extent-of-cold-water-in-the-southeastern-bering-sea-loom-large/35407/

FYI’s

Teachers Bring the Ocean Floor to Students at the 8th Annual Dockside Discovery Day
KUCB by Chrissy Roes – May 30, 2018
The 8th Annual Dockside Discovery Day was last Wednesday, May 23rd at the Robert Storrs Small Boat Harbor. Coordinated by Missy Good from the UAF Alaska Sea Grant program, students from the Eagles View Elementary and from Unalaska City School spent the day learning about our local marine life and much more.
http://kucb.org/post/teachers-bring-ocean-floor-students-8th-annual-dockside-discovery-day

Snug Harbor’s fishing tender has a long history in crabbing
Peninsula Clarion by Elizabeth Earl – May 30, 2018
Commercial fishermen delivering to Snug Harbor Seafoods are attended by a tender vessel with a long history and more equipment than it needs for the job.
http://peninsulaclarion.com/local/news/2018-05-30/snug-harbor-s-fishing-tender-has-long-history-crabbing

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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E-mail: pspafish@gmail.com; Website: www.pspafish.net
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June 1, 2018