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#RadioChatter #05-10-2012 Comfish News Roundup

The Bearfoot Inn in the town of Cold Bay, Alaska.
The Bearfoot Inn in the town of Cold Bay, Alaska. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Amid vanishing king salmon, fish wheels may be Kaltag's salvation
Jill Burke | May 09, 2012
No one really knows what's causing one of Alaska's most prized catches to slowly disappear. All anyone can be sure of is that something is interfering with the annual return of Alaska’s mightiest fish, the king salmon, to Alaska's mightiest river, the Yukon. And the failure of these fish to migrate upriver in droves is threatening the livelihoods of struggling Alaskans who need them to survive.Drastic declines in the king runs started in 1998 and have yet to recover. How bad is it? In 1997, the river saw more than 300,000 kings come through. A year later, fewer than 200,000 showed up. By 2000, the run size had plummeted to close to 100,000. Village communities of Alaska's western Yukon River delta and others Interior Alaska riverbanks are preparing for yet another dismal fishing season. No one knows exactly how many kings will return, but some scientists believe 2012 could be nearly as weak as the crash of 2000.... //

Coast Guard Head Warns Of Major Need For New Ice Breaker
By Peter Granitz, APRN - Washington DC | May 9, 2012 - 5:25 pm
The head of the Coast Guard is warning members of Congress it is unprepared for a changing landscape and increased traffic in the Arctic off the coast of Alaska. A major need is a new ice-breaker, and there’s debate about where it will come from. Listen for the full story...

May 9, 2012 - 09:58 AM AKST
New Coast Guard ship has rust, holes in hull
WASHINGTON (AP) — When a boat springs a leak, it's often the Coast Guard to the rescue. But who rescues the Coast Guard when one its new ships does the same thing? Capt. Charles Cashin, who commands the Coast Guard's newest national security cutter, the Stratton, said he called in engineers last month when his crew discovered a trio of "pinholes" and a fourth hole "slightly smaller than a golf ball" in the ship's hull.....

Impassioned Voices Speak Out on King Cove Road
Commercial fisheries veterans were among those whose testimony was heard this past week in Anchorage at a federal public hearing regarding building a road between the fishing community of King Cove and Cold Bay’s all-weather airport. In testimony delivered on behalf of Stanley Mack, mayor of the Aleutians East Borough, the US Fish and Wildlife Service heard an impassioned plea to allow for a land exchange that would allow for construction of a single land road – to be used for medical emergencies – between the two communities......

Unalaska: Residents Divided on Captain's Bay Development
By Stephanie Joyce
Wednesday, May 09 2012
Discussion of how to handle development in Unalaska’s Captain’s Bay dominated Tuesday night’s City Council meeting. City staff brought forward a proposal to rezone a section of tidelands in the bay from subsistence to developable. Changing the zoning would allow for further industrial build-up in the area extending west from Offshore Service Inc....

BB-RSDA to Spend Over $500-Thousand on Grants This Year
The organization that represents all of the drift-net permit holders in Bristol Bay will be spending over $500-thousand dollars to fund several projects this summer in the Bay. KDLG's Mike Mason has the details. (6:51)...

Norton Sound CDQ Applauds Changes in Commercial Crab Guidelines
A community development quota association representing 15 villages in the Bering Strait region is applauding decisions made at the recent Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting regarding guidelines for the Norton Sound red king crab fishery. A change made last summer in how the state Department of Fish and Game estimates the crab population in Norton Sound meant that commercial fishermen risked seeing their quota cut nearly in half this year. Despite all signs pointing to a healthy and thriving crab population, revising the estimate meant that either the commercial harvest or the rule that governed it would have to change if fishermen were going to be able to fish at levels they had for the past decade....

Stevens Recaps Session, Looks to Future
May 9, 2012
Jay Barrett/KMXT
Kodiak Senator Gary Stevens is back in town after the state legislature finally wrapped up, and he dropped by KMXT to be on Talk of the Rock yesterday. For a second year in a row, the session was marked by a deep divide between the Senate and the House over oil taxes....

Tsunami debris could impact Alaskans' health and seafood safety
Alaska Dispatch | May 09, 2012
As marine debris piles up on the shores of Kodiak and elsewhere in the Gulf of Alaska, some scientists warn that the flotsam could harm Alaskans' health -- and the state's prized seafood. Groups monitoring Kodiak's beaches report a dramatic increase in marine debris this year, and while it's difficult to prove it all came from Japan's devastating March 2011 tsunami, there are indicators that much of....

Resources slim in Alaska's fat fight
Alex DeMarban | May 09, 2012
As a new national study weighs in on America's obesity crisis, health-care costs tied to Alaska's ever-widening waistlines continue to explode. Yet the state has thrown scant resources at the epidemic, health authorities say. Alaskans are among the fattest people in America. And obesity -- a precursor to diabetes, heart disease, strokes and other ills -- is the state's costliest health issue. Recently, it's even surpassed tobacco-use. Private insurers as well as the state and federal government paid $459 million in 2009 to fight medical conditions caused by being fat. That compares to $380 million for tobacco-related health issues....