$53.8 M approved for pink salmon fishery losses
Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman - July 4, 2019
NOAA Fisheries has approved $53.8 million for distribution in Alaska for harvesters, processors and others who suffered financial losses due to the disastrous 2016 Gulf of Alaska pink salmon fishery disaster.
Fish and Game announces full commercial Dungeness crab season
KFSK by Ari Snider - July 3, 2019
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced Friday, June 28th there will be a full commercial Dungeness crab season in Southeast Alaska this year. That’s because crabbers landed 1.37 million pounds during the first week. That number is nearly double the ten-year average for first week’s harvest.
This Week in Bycatch
KBBI by Jeff Lockwood - July 2, 2019
Non-pelagic, or bottom, trawlers in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands regulatory areas recorded just under one hundred thousand pounds of halibut bycatch mortality for the week of June 22, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service, or NMFS. The weekly catch of targeted species, including arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, and rockfish was almost fifteen million pounds. The total month’s halibut bycatch mortality for all gear types through June 29 was 683,000 pounds, or about a third of the two million pounds caught in the same period by the IFQ longline fleet. The jig, pot, non-IFQ longline, and midwater trawl fleets accounted for less than two percent of that total, with non-pelagic trawlers making up the other ninety-eight percent.
Bristol Bay Forecast Revised to 50 Million, Based on Port Moller Test Fishery Results
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - July 5, 2019
In their third interpretation of the Port Moller Test Fishery results this year, Dr. Scott Raborn and Michael Link have increased the estimated total return to Bristol Bay at 50 million sockeye salmon. The former pre-season forecast was just over 40 million sockeyes.
“For now, we can say with confidence that the run is not appreciably early and will at least show an average run timing making the run magnitude come in at or above the pre-season forecast of about 40 million eminent. Given Port Moller has exhibited strong catches to the very end for the last five years, the lower catches indices in recent days may rebound. Even if they fail to do so and continue to decline, the run should still come in closer to 50 million,” they wrote in their July 3 report.
Travel time between the Port Moller sampling stations and the fishing grounds was also updated to be about 8-9 days, although the time it takes salmon to get to different districts may vary.
“Adding together catch and escapment (C+E) projected for July 4-8 across the four districts comes to about 15 million. Modeling the Bay as a whole allows us to extend the projection by a couple of days and indicates that C+E for July 4-10 may be around 21 million,” they wrote.
The test fishery takes samples of salmon at stations extending seaward from Port Moller, which is about 150 miles from the Bristol Bay fishing grounds. The stations are 10 miles apart in a straight line to cover much of the ‘entrance’ to the Bay’s largest salmon districts. Tissue samples are taken and flown to Anchorage for analysis to see where each salmon is heading. With this and other data, Raborn and his crew can help ADF&G biologists with in-season management.
For instance, the prediction that 21 million total sockeyes may be entering the fishing grounds, could result in more than 3 million salmon per day on July 7, 8, and 9.
“C+E to date seems to resemble 2015, the tail of which was mostly comprised of fish from the Kvichak District,” Raborn and Link wrote. “Alternatively, C+E matches that for the 2018 run as well, which was mostly built by the Nushagak District but also by the Kvichak District after July 4. Regardless, the run is more than likely late and near to or over 50 million. Hopefully, the test fishery can tell us how much more in the coming days.
“The recent stock composition for [catches at PMTF on] July 1‐2 show the Kvichak is building, while the Ugashik District has yet to appreciably appear (perhaps a sign the run is late). Alternately, fishing the outer stations may have diluted the Ugashik more than we are used to compared to previous years when only Stations 2‐10 were fished.
“Bay wide, inshore C+E should peak on July 8 or 9; the consistent drop in catch indices at Port Moller since June 30 suggests the run should begin declining (or at least plateau again) around July 10. As always, we will have to wait for more information from Port Moller before we can project beyond this date.”
Catches as of July 3 are 13 million sockeyes, with Nushagak leading at 7.12 million. the Egegik District has landed 3.7 million to date with The Naknek-Kvichak District just coming on at 2 million sockeye so far.
Study on salmon ear stones cited by EPA in Pebble draft EIS comments
KDLG by Alex Hager - July 3, 2019
The EPA's 100-page comment on the Pebble Mine draft EIS cited a study focusing on the growth and development of young salmon in the Bristol Bay watershed.
EPA sharply critical of Pebble draft; ‘preemptive veto’ revisted
Alaska Journal of Commerce by Elwood Brehmer - July 2, 2019
Environmental Protection Agency headquarters leaders want their Pacific Northwest colleagues to again consider rescinding a proposed restriction for the Pebble mine. At the same time, those regional officials have several questions about the thoroughness of the ongoing environmental review of the project.
A giant heat dome over Alaska is set to threaten all-time temperature records
Washington Post by Ian Livingston - July 3, 2019
All-time heat records are at risk in Alaska in coming days as a massive and abnormally intense area of high pressure locks in and strengthens over the region.
Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Trawl Logbook
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 07/05/2019
This interim final rule creates a Federal requirement for vessels using trawl gear in the Pacific Coast Groundfish fishery to complete and submit the trawl logbook form. Historically, the states of Washington, Oregon, and California each administered state logbook form requirements. However, the California Fish and Game Commission repealed its trawl logbook reporting requirement, effective July 1, 2019. In order to not lose data reporting coverage from vessels in California, NMFS is implementing a Federal requirement for catcher vessels using trawl gear in the Pacific Coast Groundfish fishery Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program to complete and submit logbook forms in the absence of similar state regulations.
Coast Guard combats substance abuse at sea
Cordova Times - July 1, 2019
Boaters can anticipate an increased law enforcement presence on waters throughout Alaska as the U.S. Coast Guard marks Operation Dry Water July 5-7.
Coast Guard evacuates ailing fisherman
Cordova Times - July 4, 2019
An ailing crewman aboard the F/V Wonderland northwest of Ketchikan was evacuated by the Coast Guard on July 2 and transported to Bar Harbor in Ketchikan for care from emergency medical responders.
Workforce Wednesday: Seasonal jobs still available
KTVA by John Thompson - July 3, 2019
As the state of Alaska approaches the heart of its summer, seasonal employers continue to search for qualified job candidates.
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