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#08-28-2012 - ComFish News Roundup

Arctic skins
Arctic skins (Photo credit: Polar Cruises)
Fish & Wildlife director hears sea otter concerns
by Ed Ronco, KCAW
August 27, 2012 7:38 pm
The head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service came to Sitka over the weekend to hear concerns about sea otters. The marine mammals are protected by federal law, but Alaska Natives are allowed to hunt them. Some of them say the regulations on what they can do with otter pelts are confusing, and have led to scrapes with the law. Meanwhile, commercial fishermen who dive for shellfish in Southeast Alaska say expanding otter populations are wiping out their fisheries.....

Red Salmon Over 2-Million, Pinks Over 16-Million
Aug 27, 2012
Jay Barrett/KMXT
As we mentioned last week on KMXT news, the Kodiak salmon season has been winding down since the pink salmon peak on August 10th. Before the season started, Fish and Game management biologist James Jackson predicted the runs to be about average, and he was spot on. "You know, averages are one of those funny things," he said. "Sockeye catch is a little below average. Pink catch is right between the five and 10 year average. Chum catch is....

Red Sea
At Alaska’s wild Graveyard Point, a Portland family works to reinvent the salmon business
Unknown fisherman stands at the "harbor" in Graveyard Creek, with setnet skiffs in the background.
Image: Corey Arnold
Published Aug 23, 2012 at 5:41 am | Updated Aug 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm
By Tim Sohn
ON A SPIT OF TUNDRA jutting toward Bristol Bay in southwest Alaska, a rough settlement known as Graveyard Point looks like a novelist’s post-apocalyptic vision. Crumbling wooden buildings with rusted corrugated metal roofs stand along boardwalks where every step risks a whack from a loose plank. Curious bears wander the encampment. As erosion wears away the bluff that overlooks the bay and gives the place its name, decades-old caskets tumble down and deposit the cannery’s former residents (or parts of them) on to the beach. Every summer, around a hundred professional fishermen trek to Graveyard Point and carve living quarters out of the ruins. For weeks, they battle surging tides, swarming mosquitoes, brutal wind, thigh-deep mud, and the pulse of near-constant daylight. The lure: millions of sockeye salmon—the world’s largest run—churning out of the Bering Sea to spawn in the lakes, rivers, and streams of the undisturbed tundra that surrounds Bristol Bay. ...

Tsunami debris threatens marine life, state budgets
by Sarah Cuiksa
August 27, 2012 4:03 PM
Somewhere off the western coast of North America…likely floating around the North Pacific…are two, large, concrete docks. The docks are remnants of the March 2011 Japanese tsunami.The tsunami pushed four floating docks from the port of Misawa into the Pacific Ocean. The Japanese were able to reel in one dock, another landed on a sandy Oregon beach back in June, and two docks are not yet accounted for. The missing docks, and what lives on those docks, have long worried scientists. Marine Advisory Agent and University of Alaska-Fairbanks Associate Professor Gary Freitag studies invasive marine species.  Invasive species clinging to debris like the Harley Davidson that landed in British Columbia, or the soccer ball found on.....

Pebble Mine proposal is ethical Armageddon
Posted: August 27, 2012 - 11:00pm
Notes written to Alaska’s two senators on the subject of the Pebble mine proposal receive boilerplate responses in which they each express their neutrality and advise that we should all wait for the permit application process to run its course. Not allowing themselves to get pinned down on either side of this subject is fair enough, but the ‘process’ is not the game that is being played out here, and the corporate strategies of the Pebble Partnership are far more sophisticated than...

Gill netting ban to end commercial fishing on the Columbia?
Posted: Sunday, August 26, 2012 9:00 am
By Shari Phiel
(This is the second of a two-part series examining the support and opposition of Measure 81, which calls for the use of gill nets by commercial fishing operations in the Columbia River.)
In November, voters will head to the voting booth to elect a president, county commissioner, mayor, city councilor and many other positions and ballot measures. Among these is Measure 81, which calls for an immediate end to the use of gill nets in the Columbia River by commercial salmon fishing outfits.
Proposed by the Coastal Conservation Association, the measure bans the use of gillnets, which are placed vertically in the water and often kill far more....

August 24, 2012 | 6:03 PM | By Cassandra Profita
What Happens To The Crab Fishermen Throw Back?
Remember when Oregon’s Dungeness crab fishery became certified sustainable? The Marine Stewardship Council gave the fishery its stamp of approval in 2010. That means Oregon crab has more appeal among eco-conscious consumers and could sell for a higher price. But that’s not the end of the story..... (embed vid)

Arctic Ice Melt Hits Record Low Breaking 2007 Record | Scientists Cite Global Warming as Cause |
Posted on August 27, 2012 at 11:59pm by Liz Klimas
WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — Critical ice in the Arctic Ocean shrank to a record low during this melting season, which scientists say can make weather more extreme far away from the poles. The National Snow and Ice Data Center reported Monday that the extent of Arctic sea ice melted to 1.58 million square miles and is likely to melt more in the coming weeks. That breaks the old record of 1.61 million square miles set in 2007.“By itself it’s just a number, and occasionally records are going to get set,” NSIDC scientist Walt Meier said in a statement. “But in the context of what’s happened in the last several years and throughout the satellite record, it’s an indication that the Arctic sea ice cover is fundamentally changing.” The North Pole region is an ocean that mostly is crusted at the top with ice. In the winter, the frozen saltwater surface usually extends about 6 million square miles, shrinking in summer and....

UAS aboard Coast Guard Cutter Stratton

Unmanned Aircraft System aboard Coast Guard Cutter Stratton 
PACIFIC OCEAN -- Petty Officer 3rd Class John Cartwright, a Coast Guard Cutter Stratton crewmember, releases the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) ScanEagle during a demonstration approximately 150 miles off the Pacific Coast, Aug. 12, 2012. The ScanEagle is being demonstrated as a proof of concept for future deployments of small UAS aboard the National Security Cutter fleet. These capabilities can provide persistent and efficient surveillance in support of all 11 Coast Guard Missions. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Luke Clayton.

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Tender "Lonestar" rolls over in the Mouth of the Igushik River (fishery closed)

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