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#RadioChatter #04-21-2012 Comfish News Roundup

Petition seeks cut in Gulf of Alaska halibut bycatch
Posted 04/20/2012
by - Cordova Times Staff
A petition being circulated to commercial and sport fishermen, coastal residents and other stakeholders seeks to reduce halibut bycatch in the Gulf of Alaska by at least 15 percent, the maximum reduction being considered at this time....

State high court rules in favor of 2008 Sitka citizen initiative
by Robert Woolsey, KCAW
April 20, 2012 2:33 pm
The Alaska Supreme Court ruled today (Friday 4-20-12) that a controversial 2008 citizens’ initiative in Sitka was legal, and should have gone before voters. The proposed initiative was seen by many as way to control further development at Sitka’s former pulp mill site — including a possible cruise ship dock. But the litigation doesn’t mention ships at all. The underlying issues may be much larger. A group called “Sitkans for Responsible Government” proposed a ballot initiative in the summer of 2008 that would have required any disposal of city real estate worth over $500,000 to be approved by voters. Current municipal code, in fact, already requires a public vote for large land disposals, but exempts sales or leases at Sawmill Cove Industrial Park. Property sales there require only the approval of an appointed board of directors, and then an assembly resolution...

Another sorry salmon season expected on Yukon
State and federal agencies have come out with the Yukon River salmon outlook for this year, and it's not great...

Apr 20, 2012 - 08:56 AM AKST
Budget has $20 million in new loan pools for fishing
The operating budget passed April 15 by the state Legislature includes $20 million in spending to fund three new loan pools designed to benefit local fishing economies in Alaska. House Bill 121, which was introduced in 2011 by Gov. Sean Parnell, creates four new revolving loan pools with a total of $22.5 million for charter halibut permits, mariculture, Community Quota Entities, or CQEs, and business microloans. Loans will be available through the state Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development when the new fiscal year begins July 1.....

Alaska Ferry Service to Start Up Again for Sitka, Angoon
By the Associated Press
Channel 2 News
6:38 a.m. AKDT, April 20, 2012
JUNEAU, Alaska— Alaska Marine Highway officials say ferry service between Angoon and Sitka will resume in May....,0,5617362.story

Apr 20, 2012 - 10:04 AM AKST
FDA: Gulf seafood safe despite oil spill concerns
WASHINGTON (AP) — Photos of fish with sores may raise concern about long-term environmental effects of the massive BP oil spill — but federal health officials say the Gulf seafood that's on the market is safe to eat. After all, diseased fish aren't allowed to be sold, said Dr. Robert W. Dickey, who heads the Food and Drug Administration's Gulf Coast Seafood Laboratory. "It's important to emphasize that we're talking about a low percentage of fish," Dickey stressed. "It doesn't represent a seafood safety hazard." Two years after the oil spill, scientists cite lesions and other deformities in some Gulf fish as a sign of lingering environmental damage. They can't say for sure what's causing the fish ailments or if there really are more sick fish today than in the past........

Boating Without the Boys Workshop
April 19, 2012
(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - The University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan is sponsoring a one-and-a-half-day workshop Friday, May 11 from 12:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, May 12 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This workshop is for young women, ages 14-24, who are interested in learning boating skills and safe boating practices. The workshop, funded through a Carl Perkins grant, provides young women the opportunity to explore maritime career paths by talking with female......

Persistent Ice Slows Snow Crab Season
By Stephanie Joyce, KUCB - Unalaska | April 19, 2012 - 5:20 pm
Record-breaking ice in the Bering Sea continues to take a toll on the snow crab industry. Crabbers, processors and regulators met last week to discuss the possibility of extending the season. The inability to forecast the ice has everyone frustrated. Last week marked a new low point for the Bering Sea snow crab fleet. With sea ice covering most of the fishing grounds and more than half of the fleet tied up in harbor, boats only managed to deliver one and half million pounds of crab. That’s the lowest weekly delivery so far in what’s already been an unusually slow season....

EPA, state debate Bristol Bay assessment
April 20th 3:43 pm | Carey Restino      
A fiery letter drafted last month by the state Attorney General Michael Geraghty to the United States Environmental Protection Agency questioned the federal agency's right to conduct a watershed assessment of the Bristol Bay watershed. The effort, which was initiated in response to requests by nine tribes, two commercial fishing organization, the Bristol Bay Native Corporations and others requesting the EPA step in and restrict certain mining efforts in the watershed, was criticized by the state, which said the EPA was reaching beyond its jurisdiction....

Roads and runways in Senate budget
April 20th 3:42 pm | Staff Report
Aleutian Islands and Bristol Bay communities are in line for $93 million in state construction grants, including airport projects in Cold Bay, King Salmon, Unalaska, and Dillingham. Other big ticket items include sewage treatment projects in Dillingham and Unalaska, a new school in Koliganek, a bridge in Aleknagik, major maintenance for the state trooper patrol boat Wolstad, hydroelectric projects in Chignik Lagoon and King Cove, and a fire station in New Stuyahok.
The Senate Finance Committee has released its version of Senate Bill 160, the capital budget bill, according to State Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D, Bethel. His district covers the Aleutian Islands, Bristol Bay and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta....

African Social Networks Thrive in a Mobile Culture
New and fast-growing mobile social networks could challenge Facebook's growth on the continent.
When young maize crops began failing in parts of Kenya earlier this month, the bad news—as well as information about where farmers could get seeds for other crops—spread on many Internet sites, including Facebook, which has 38 million users in Africa. But it was a mobile platform called iCow—which allows 11,000 farmers and other members to receive livestock-management and other agricultural information—that helped cover the crucial "last mile" to older farmers. When a message from iCow passed along a tip already posted on Facebook about disease-free seeds available from the Kenya Agri Research Institution, that institution was, within two hours, besieged with hundreds of calls......

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