Tuesday, September 15, 2020

September 15, 2020

Alaska

State funding dries up for SE hatchery king salmon programs
KFSK by Joe Viechnicki - September 14, 2020
The state of Alaska has told hatchery operators in Southeast Alaska it is ending a program that provides funding for king and coho salmon production. That announcement leaves the future of the Crystal Lake Hatchery on southern Mitkof Island near Petersburg up in the air.
https://www.kfsk.org/2020/09/14/state-funding-dries-up-for-se-hatchery-king-salmon-programs/

Unalaska's Biggest Seafood Processor Sees Spike In COVID-19 Cases As 100 Workers Arrive For Fall Cod
KUCB by Hope McKenney - September 14, 2020
UniSea has seen five positive cases of the coronavirus among its employees and employee family members since late August.
https://www.kucb.org/post/unalaskas-biggest-seafood-processor-sees-spike-covid-19-cases-100-workers-arrive-fall-cod


West Coast
New Rules Coming for Oregon Crab Fishermen for the 2020-2021 Season
SeafoodNews.com by Susan Chambers - September 14, 2020
Dungeness crab fishermen will have to comply with new rules designed to reduce the risk of whale entanglements this year.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission on Friday adopted measures they hoped will balance out with the economic impacts of Oregon's iconic and important fishery.

The new rules will be effective during the upcoming crab season, which can open Dec. 1, 2020. Starting May 1 each season, the new rules reduce crab pot limits by 20 percent, and restrict gear to inside 40 fathoms, which the commission opted to adjust from 30 fathoms, to avoid deeper waters where humpback whales are more abundant. A season tag requirement to identify gear used after May 1 and a three-year sunset to evaluate these measures were also adopted.

In related action, the Commission adjusted state biotoxin management measures in the crab fishery, aligning buffer area management and effective date of management measures to be consistent with the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s crab biotoxin rules.

The new rules are the result of several industry and public outreach meetings and discussions at management meetings over the last few years. Some proposed changes were delayed for further discussion and development.

All three West Coast states are modifying their state Dungeness crab management to mitigate or avoid whale entanglements. Many fishermen have voiced concern this issue and some of the proposed changes would be promoted to favor either the big boats or the small boats, taking emphasis away from the real reason -- whale entanglement risk -- to give some vessels a greater advantage in the fishery.

Written testimony from environmental groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, who signed on to a letter from Oceana, urged the state to go further with pot reductions, to 30 percent instead of 20. They also suggested the state consider area management, among other ideas.

Already this year, the Department requested fishermen move their gear shallower in an area of the South Coast where humpback whales were seen feeding.

Wildfire updates

The Commission also heard from ODFW staff about the impacts of Oregon’s current wildfires on its properties. Several fish hatcheries are in areas evacuated or burned by recent wildfires including Rock Creek, Clackamas, McKenzie, Leaburg, Minto, Marion Forks, Salmon River and Klamath hatcheries, according to an ODFW press release.

Most importantly, no lives were lost among ODFW hatchery staff and their families who had to evacuate, ODFW said. Unfortunately, critical infrastructure was lost and fish were also lost, with Rock Creek Hatchery on the North Umpqua River sustaining the most severe damage followed by Klamath, Leaburg, and Minto. In some cases, staff were able to transfer some adult fish to other facilities, or fish were released.

As of Friday, a few other ODFW facilities were at Level 1 or 2 evacuation status, including the Clackamas regional office, South Santiam/Foster, Dexter, Roaring River, Sandy and Cole Rivers. Staff were moving equipment offsite and have developed contingency plans for fish holding or release if moved to Level 3.

“We are still very much in the emergency response phase. The safety and security of our staff is priority one, and we have dozens of staff who have been impacted by the evacuations from their homes,” ODFW Deputy Director Shannon Hurn said in the statement. “As the state sees more stability and abatement of active fires, we will determine over the next week or two the extent of the fish loss and damage. Then, it will be time for long-term planning for repairing, replacing and funding the recovery of our infrastructure.

"On behalf of the Department I would like to say thank you to all the firefighters and those volunteer on the front lines. We are very aware that the damage at several of our hatcheries would have been much more extensive without them,” Hurn added. “Also, I’d like to say thank you to Oregon’s law enforcement, cities, counties and other community services for the relief they are providing. It is heartening to see these small forested communities rally together in the face of such devastation.”
https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1180454/New-Rules-Coming-for-Oregon-Crab-Fishermen-for-the-2020-2021-Season


Environment/Science
Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management Strengthens Resilience to Climate Change
NOAA Fisheries - September 14, 2020
Alaska’s fisheries management strategy may forestall climate-driven fishery declines, providing a critical window for fisheries and communities to prepare and adapt to change.
Ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) has been applied in Alaska for decades with great success. Alaska’s valuable commercial fisheries are among the most productive and sustainable in the world. However, current EBFM policies were not designed to address climate change.
https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/ecosystem-based-fisheries-management-strengthens-resilience-climate-change

Filled reservoirs and better salmon survival are silver linings from this wet, dreary summer
KTOO by Matt Miller - September 9, 2020
There are a lot of downsides to the kind of heavy, prolonged rainfall that has blanketed Southeast Alaska this year. It can flood rivers and streams, saturating the ground and leading to mudslides. A rainy summer season can also affect the mood and mental health of people living here.
https://www.ktoo.org/2020/09/09/for-hydro-plants-and-salmon-southeasts-dismal-summer-had-a-silver-lining/


FYI’s
VIRTUAL BRISTOL BAY WILD SALMON CELEBRATION 2020
September 14 - 17, 2020
Beautiful Bristol Bay, Alaska is home to one of the largest wild salmon runs on Earth. For the last several years, we have been proud to bring a taste of the region to our nation’s capital as part of an in-person event. This year, the Bristol Bay Wild Salmon Celebration is a week-long virtual commemoration of the fish that are so vital to the region, as the foundation to its subsistence culture and an economy built on commercial fishing, sport fishing and tourism.
http://www.bbnc.net/2020-salmon-week/
 

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