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#12-02-2012 - ComFish News Roundup #AlaskaWhaleBabyBoom

More humpbacks could cause problems
by Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska News
December 1, 2012 9:23 pm
There’s a baby boom going on with Alaska’s humpback whales.
Slow-but-steady population growth is good news for the species, as well as whale-watchers. But it could be bad news for boaters, hatcheries and the herring fleet. The healthy population was visible during a boat tour held as part of the Sitka WhaleFest Science Symposium, held Nov. 1-4. “There’s a few more whales further out. I’m not sure if they’re whales we’ve had close views of this morning, but we’ll find that out,” says Capt. John Dunlap as he pilots a catamaran through a protected area of Sitka Sound. The Allen Marine vessel is carrying several dozen passengers, plus expert marine biologists. One is Jan Straley, festival science director and a University of Alaska professor who’s studied the marine mammals for more than 30 years....

Laine Welch: Commission considers plan that would cut halibut catches
Published: December 1, 2012 Updated 8 hours ago
By Laine welch — Fisheries
Halibut catches could be cut by 33 percent next year if proposed numbers get the nod by the International Pacific Halibut Commission next month. That would mean a coast wide harvest of just 22.7 million pounds for fisheries in California, Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska. Alaska's share of the halibut catch would be 17.4 million pounds, down from about 25 million this year....

A Quarter of the Population in the Lake and Peninsula Borough Fished Commercially in 2011
Some new data from the United Fishermen of Alaska indicates that 20-percent of the population of the Lake and Peninsula Borough fished commercially last year. KDLG's Mike Mason has the details. (1:43).......

UFA Releases "Fact Sheet" for Western Bristol Bay
The exact scope and impact of the commercial fishing industry on coastal communities in Alaska is hard to gauge but the United Fishermen of Alaska have "given it a shot". KDLG's Mike Mason looked at the data for the western part of Bristol Bay for this report. (2:03)... / Archive >
Grounded tug, barge recovered from Aleutian island
Published: December 2, 2012
The Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA — The tug and barge that ran aground last month along the Aleutians and leaked diesel fuel have been recovered. The state Department of Environmental Conversation says in a release late Saturday that the vessels were recovered from the grounding site and will undergo inspections and repairs.... // Archive >

Port MacKenzie helps the Interior
by Patty Sullivan
Dec 02, 2012
Community perspective
While Alaska works on increasing the throughput in the oil pipeline and on pinning down a natural gas project, it has another important resource development project underway — the Port MacKenzie Rail Extension. The 32 miles of new track from the mainline at Houston to Port MacKenzie will be more than transportation infrastructure — as valuable as that is. The extension makes tremendous mineral development possible. What kind exactly? Minerals, including copper, molybdenum, zinc, silver and lead, have been identified along a 100-mile-wide corridor of the Alaska Railroad from Mat-Su to Fairbanks and beyond. Professor...