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Comfish News Roundup #05-25-2012

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 17:   Senate Foreign Re...
(Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
Is the US Senate on the verge of ratifying Law of the Sea treaty?
Mia Bennett | Eye on the Arctic | May 23, 2012
Analysis: The Cable reports that President Barack Obama and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) are behind a renewed effort to have the Senate ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Kerry, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, has been trying to set up hearings since last year, but Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), the top-ranking Republican in the committee, wanted to delay hearings until after his primary. Some conservative quarters fiercely oppose the treaty, believing that ratification would weaken American sovereignty. Consequently, it seems that Lugar believed that if he pushed for the treaty's ratification, it could have hampered his re-election campaign. Yet Lugar lost his primary, so now Kerry is free to begin arranging...

Another court case alleging Pebble conflicts embroils Bristol Bay officials
Amanda Coyne | May 23, 2012
The fight over the proposed Pebble mine project, envisioned as one of the world’s biggest gold and copper mines -- which also happens to be near the world’s largest sockeye salmon run -- ratcheted up a notch last week with a lawsuit filed against the mayor and a local Lake and Peninsula Borough assembly member. In the Bristol Bay region of rural southwest Alaska, the mining project has pitted villager against villager, pro-development group against environmental group, and seen other grassroots efforts get involved. One of the most powerful churches in rural Alaska, the Orthodox Church, has tumbled into the debate. The suit is just the latest salvo in a debate full of them. The suit, filed in Superior Court in Dillingham, the hub city in the area, was filed by a borough assembly member and four anti-Pebble activists. Alaska money manager and anti-Pebble crusader Bob Gillam, who owns a....

Security Cove Herring Fishery is Open
For the first time in several years there will be a commercial fishery for herring in Security Cove. KDLG's Mike Mason has the details. (2:44) ....

New Airline to Serve Atka, Nikolski

By Stephanie Joyce
Thursday, May 24 2012

A new airline is entering the Aleutian market. Starting this summer, Anchorage-based Grant Aviation will be flying to Atka and Nikolski as part of the federal government’s Essential Air Service program. The federal EAS program compensates airlines for flying to remote communities where it would otherwise be unprofitable. Atka city administrator Julie Dirks says the community is thrilled about the new air service. “We were concerned that no one would submit a bid and that...

Sitka backs halibut bycatch reduction for trawl fleet
by Robert Woolsey, KCAW
May 24, 2012 6:17 pm
The city of Sitka has gone on record in support of efforts to reduce the amount of halibut wasted in Alaska’s trawl fisheries. The Sitka assembly this week (Tue 5-22-12) unanimously approved asking the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council to lower the cap on trawl bycatch when it meets in Kodiak in June.....

EPA announces public meetings on mine study (through July 23, 2012)
The Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is planning eight meetings to share information about, and gather public comment on, its draft watershed assessment for Bristol Bay...

Processors plan for harvesters on holiday leave
Posted 05/25/2012
by - Cordova Times Staff
Strong salmon runs notwithstanding, processors of Copper River salmon are aware that a number of Russian Orthodox harvesters who deliver to them will not be fishing on days when they are observing religious holidays...

PickFish Tales
Adventures of a Woman Commercial Fishing in Alaska
Friday, May 25, 2012
What do fish prices and anvils have in common?
With three openers under our belts the fishing season here is starting off with a bang.  The first opener, which was 12 hours, the fleet caught 155,000 sockeye salmon verses an anticipated 32, 000 according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) and the price was pretty high at $4.00 a pound!  Not as many kings as anticipated were caught, 1,100 verses an anticipated of 2,100, but at $6.50 a pound, we’ll take it!  The sonar is clicking away steady, counting fish up stream that are returning home.   The cumulative count, as of May 23rd is....

Progress reported in blue king crab research
Posted 05/25/2012
by - for the Cordova Times
Biologists with the Alaska King Crab Research, Rehabilitation and Biology program are reporting increased survival rates in hatching blue king crab through research on effects of microalgae diet supplementation on survival and larval health. Researchers said May 22 that a diet of....

Bringing the first fish to market
Posted 05/25/2012
by Beth Poole - for the Cordova Times
It was hard not to feel the excitement in Cordova last Thursday as the Copper River salmon season got underway with its first 12 hour opener. With beautiful weather, a forecast for a strong season from Alaska Department of Fish & Game, and plenty of sockeye caught during Tuesday's subsistence opener, everyone was predicting a big day. And a big day it was - with 155,000 sockeye and 1,100 king salmon caught, the harvest was nearly record breaking - good news for fishermen, processors and hungry markets across the country. Cordovans weren't the only ones feeling the energy. Several visitors were....

Opinion: Streets of Cordova - Little things I learned from an old salmon butcher
Posted 05/25/2012
by - Gerald Masolini
Don Burch was a real Alaskan. He never let his brother, Jack, forget that while he, Don, had been born in a wall tent, Jack had only been born in a cabin, with all the obvious luxuries. During their growing up winters in Southeast Alaska, Don and Jack's dad trapped along the Stikine River, and when spring came, the Burches would load their possessions into the family skiff and row west 50 miles to Point Baker (that's not a misprint) where they would set up a wall tent camp. Dad would take the skiff and troll commercially for salmon while mom and the boys kept....

Nushagak Cooperative Asked to Financialy Support the New E-911 System for Dillingham
At Tuesday night's meeting the Board of Directors of the Nushagak Cooperative considered a proposal to help support the E-911 system in the Dillingham area. KDLG's Mike Mason was there and filed this report. (4:06) ....

Local group granted $65,000
Posted by Newsroom on May 23rd, 2012
The North Pacific Fisheries Association, a local commercial fishing organization in Homer, was awarded $65,000 by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to develop electronic monitoring in federal fisheries off Alaska. NPFA is partnering with Saltwater Inc., an Alaskan observer company this summer to develop technologies that will enable small boats to carry a camera in lieu of a human observer. The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council and....

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