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#11-18-2012 - ComFish News Roundup

Task force meets, talks kings
Posted: November 17, 2012 - 8:43pm  |  Updated: November 17, 2012 - 9:20pm
The proposed bridge would cross Knik Arm north...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Rashah McChesney
Peninsula Clarion
The first meeting of the Upper Cook Inlet Task Force generated questions about allocation issues, marine mortality, historical catch rates and the overall health of salmon in the inlet. Board of Fisheries members Tom Kluberton, of Talkeetna, and Vince Webster, of King Salmon, co-chaired the meeting that focused on defining the scope of the Upper Cook Inlet king salmon problem and looked for suggestions both from task force members and a room full of affected users. Webster said he joined the task force because he has been “tight” on approving petitions and agenda change requests to the Board of Fisheries. “What I think they do, they take the public out of the process,” Webster said. “It became apparent....

Sudden 6.5 quake in long-quiet Alaska region sets off alarms
Jennifer Gibbins | The Cordova Times | Nov 17, 2012
English: A cheery tsunami warning sign at Moon...
English: A cheery tsunami warning sign at Moonlight State Beach in Encinitas, California, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
CORDOVA -- A 6.5 magnitude earthquake rolled through the neighborhood earlier this week. The quake took place at 10:42 a.m. on Monday, 165 miles south of Cape Yakataga in the Gulf of Alaska. While one or two locals felt a little shake, rattle and roll, the event went mostly unnoticed -- except at the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska. "Oh yeah, the alarms were going off," said Cindi Preller, tsunami program manager at the center. "The seismometers are live, real-time feeds. The first alarm that goes off is a voice alarm. Then a beeping alarm. We knew within two minutes the location and magnitude." Because of the quake's location, more than 150 miles offshore, a tsunami....

Anchorage schools try out healthy meals on kids
by Michelle Theriault Boots / Anchorage Daily News
Nov 17, 2012
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - At Scenic Park Elementary in East Anchorage, lunch begins with thundering footsteps and the distribution of plastic-wrapped ham sandwiches, pineapple slices and a three-bean concoction called "Cowboy Confetti." Kids with faces flushed from recess line up to buy Anchorage School District lunches that are, starting this year, federally mandated to be healthier. New U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines that require schools to restrict calories, serve fruits and vegetables every day and reduce saturated fat and sodium went into effect at the beginning of this school year. If schools don't comply, they risk losing federal money for free and reduced-price lunch....

Laine Welch: Salmon catch and value were down this year
Published: November 17, 2012
By Laine welch — Fisheries
Alaska's salmon harvest and value for 2012 came in well below last year, dropping 21 percent and 30 percent, respectively. According to preliminary state tallies, the value of the salmon catch totaled nearly $506 million at the docks this summer on a statewide catch of 124 million fish. That compares to a 2011 take of 177 million salmon valued at just more than $641 million.......

Federal government and Cook Inlet gas explorer Furie fight in federal court #JonesAct
Published: November 17, 2012
By WESLEY LOY — Petroleum News
Federal officials are asking a court to dismiss the lawsuit an Alaska gas explorer filed in an effort to avoid a $15 million fine for an alleged violation of the Jones Act. Furie Operating Alaska LLC sued federal authorities, including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, on Aug. 7 in U.S. District Court in Anchorage.The suit concerns the ocean transport of a jack-up drilling rig in 2011 from Texas to Alaska's Cook Inlet, where Furie is exploring for natural gas.......

Oil Rig in Alaskan Critical Habitat Area
Posted by Michael McBride of The Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge on November 17, 2012
Kachemak Bay in Lower Cook Inlet lies 125 miles south of Anchorage. It’s been statistically documented as one of the world’s richest and most biologically diverse marine ecosystems, and has been properly called the “Jewel in Alaska’s Coastal Crown” because of its remarkably rich terrestrial and marine resources.....

Red tape awaits international travelers carrying walrus ivory, baleen
Published: November 17, 2012 Updated 10 hours ago
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service CITES certificate. Don't leave home without it. Not if you're traveling overseas with art or jewelry made from walrus ivory and want to bring it back to America. Diane Kaplan of Anchorage found that out last month when she and her husband returned from a trip to Turkey via O'Hare Airport in Chicago. "We were going through customs," she said. "They asked, 'What's your necklace made out of?' I said, 'Ivory.' And they said, 'I'm going to have to get the Fish and Wildlife agent.' " Kaplan's necklace was walrus ivory. It is legal to possess in the United States under provisions of the Marine Mammals Protection Act -- but it became the ticket to a bureaucratic Twilight Zone once it left the country. A uniformed Fish and Wildlife officer quizzed....