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#08-04-2012 - ComFish News Roundup

Map of Bristol Bay, Alaska
Map of Bristol Bay, Alaska (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Netting pinks, hooking silvers
August 3rd 2:34 pm | Jim Paulin      
Commercial fishermen in Bristol Bay's Nushagak District had landed 234,000 pink salmon on their way to a harvest goal of 1 million, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Tim Sands in Dillingham said Monday. In the sport fishery, king salmon season ended Tuesday, and luxury lodge anglers were targeting silvers. Sands reported 116 drift boats and 57 setnetters delivering pinks to three processors for a price of 35 cents per pound, for the smallest salmon with an average weight of 3.3 pounds.
Sands projected about another two weeks of pink gillnetting. The three buyers are Peter Pan, Trident, and Icicle Seafoods....

A Silver Horde Bears Down on Monashka Bay
Aug 3, 2012
Jay Barrett/KMXT
Attention Kodiak sport fishermen: There are thousands of coho salmon headed toward Monashka Bay, and the Silver Horde could start showing up soon. "We hope that it may be a giant horde of fish," says Kodiak sportsfish biologist Donn Tracy. "The adult coho salmon returning to Monashka Bay this year from the 2011 smolt releases were just about 90,000 smolt, split evenly between Monashka Creek and Pillar Creek. You can get return rates as high as 10 percent on those.....

Log Jam in Salmon Stream Culvert Proves Immovable
Aug 3, 2012
Brianna Gibbs/KMXT
While the sun was shining brightly Thursday, a group of Kodiak Soil and Water Conservation District employees spent their morning shadowed by a large culvert on the north end of Mill Bay Beach. Their voices echoed in the depths of the culvert, where the crew faced the monstrous task of removing five giant tree stumps piled high and wedged across the small stream. Their motivation was far from aesthetic appeal, but rather a noble attempt to clear a path for pink and silver salmon, expected to arrive at their spawning stream any day. Dave Kaplan is the project coordinator for the conservation group. He says the....

Call to EPA to extend comment period for Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment
August 3rd 2:36 pm | Lisa Reimers and Trefon Angasan
While nine tribal groups and one regional corporation invited the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to initiate an unprecedented 404c process that resulted in a hastily published draft watershed assessment in Bristol Bay, seven of the twelve Alaska Native Regional Corporations, sixteen tribal groups and village corporations, and hundreds of individuals — primarily Alaska Natives — have called upon the EPA to extend the public comment period so that their members and shareholders may have sufficient time to review the document and provide meaningful input into this process. Many made this request after the EPA had indicated it would not extend the public comment window and have started to weigh in as they learn more about what is at stake. The organizations have not taken formal positions about the proposed Pebble Mine Project yet have expressed concerns about the EPA's activities in Southwest Alaska due to...

Feds, State, UAF scientists team up for major marine ecosystem survey in Arctic seas
August 03, 2012
(SitNews) - A team of marine scientists from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, federal, and state agencies is heading to the Arctic to begin the first comprehensive oceanographic and fisheries survey of the Chukchi Sea. The first of two vessels being used for the survey will depart August 6 from Dutch Harbor, Alaska. It’s the first survey that will sample all major components of the marine ecosystem at the same time throughout the U.S. waters of the northern Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea. It covers the entire eastern Chukchi Sea shelf, with sampling in offshore waters at least 50 feet deep from south of Hooper Bay to north of Barrow (61 to 73 degrees latitude). The primary purpose of the survey is to gather scientific data needed to avoid or mitigate effects of potential future offshore oil and gas development projects on....

Save the kings; ban factory trawlers
Published: August 3rd, 2012 07:53 PM
Last Modified: August 3rd, 2012 09:36 PM
On July 20 I stood on the bluff at Erik Hansen Park and looked down at a temporary city of maybe a thousand pickup campers lining both sides of the mouth of the Kenai River.Dipnetters had swelled the city's population and were joyously scooping up red salmon 24 hours a day. Out in the Inlet, the commercial drift fleet was also having a good year catching reds. While reds are abundant this year, king salmon are scarce. For the first time in history, the second run of Kenai kings has been closed to sport fishing. Near me, small groups of trophy king salmon fishers grimly surveyed the scene below......

August 3, 2012, 7:07 p.m. ET
Royal Pain: Alaska Missing Its King Salmon
Disastrous Decline in Seasonal Migration Threatens Commercial Catch, Forces Closing of Kenai River to Fishing Guides
The king-salmon population is crashing in Alaska, a disastrous development that is rippling through the state's tourism-dependent economy. The fish, which can measure up to 58 inches long and weigh up to 130 pounds, are the centerpiece of a sport-fishing industry valued at $1.4 billion annually. But for unclear reasons, mass seasonal migrations from the ocean to the rivers where they spawn—known as runs—have plummeted across the state. Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell last month asked the Obama administration to declare a fishery disaster for the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers and warned one also might be needed on the Cook Inlet fishery, which includes the Kenai River. The Commerce Department said Tuesday it was conducting a preliminary assessment in response to the request. "It's not just a fish crisis," Mr. Parnell said at the time. "It's also an economic crisis." Alaska's fishing officials said the economic fallout for the state could total in the hundreds of millions of dollars. In the Kenai River, which threads through.... // Photos >

Salmonstock celebration draws national audience
August 3rd 2:33 pm | Hannah Heimbuch      
As fisheries issues heat up across the state, salmon lovers from around Alaska and the rest of the country are gathering at Salmonstock for a weekend of celebration.
Joining the performers for the three-day music mash are the New Stuyahok Dancers — favorites from last year's event — and Nondalton's beat box extraordinaire Desiree Cannon. They'll be among thousands of others to populate the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, all in the name of one very influential group of sea dwellers. "Salmon is such an integral part of Alaskans' lives," said Melissa Heuer, Deputy Director of the Renewable Resources Foundation, which puts on the event. "We all relate to it in some way. This is a way to celebrate this resource that.... /// //

Several Salmon Habitat Protection Projects Funded in Alaska 08/04/12
In recent weeks a handful of projects in Alaska to protect salmon habitat have received federal funding. KDLG's Mike Mason has the details. (1:59)...

Fuglvog testimony helps convict fellow Alaska fish pirate
Craig Medred | Aug 03, 2012
Now infamous Alaska fish pirate Arne Fuglvog -- a one-time aide to Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and esteemed member of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council "family" -- has taken a commercial fishing crony down with him, according to the office of the U.S. Attorney for Alaska.....

Construction of the new Coast Guard Headquarters building continues Construction of the new Coast Guard Headquarters building continues
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A construction worker carries building materials during construction of the new Coast Guard Headquarters building at the St. Elizabeths campus on April 30, 2012. Behind the worker is the building facade, which is meant to tie into the rest of the campus. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

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