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#12-29-2012 - ComFish News Roundup

Sunrise in the Gulf of Alaska
Sunrise in the Gulf of Alaska (Photo credit: Scott SM)
Longliners Seek Delegation’s Support For Electronic Monitoring
By Robert Woolsey, KCAW - Sitka | December 28, 2012 - 4:43 pm
A major gear group is pushing back against rules set to take effect this January that will put human observers aboard some smaller fishing boats. The Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association has enlisted the help of the state’s congressional delegation to try and delay implementation of the observer program for small boats, and to adopt a more efficient electronic monitoring program instead. The fisheries that take place in federal waters off of Alaska’s coast have had on-board human monitors for years. The monitors provide critical data on the number and species of fish coming over the rail, and are particularly important in counting bycatch – king salmon and halibut, for...

Central, Western Gulf trawl fisheries up on NPFMC's February agenda
Posted 12/29/2012
by - Margaret Bauman
Western Gulf of Alaska harvesters interested in being part of a proposed catch share program for Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries will have opportunity to state their case when federal fisheries managers meet in Portland, OR, Feb. 4-12. At the December meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in Anchorage, the council received testimony from those involved in the Western Gulf of Alaska trawl fishery, who asked that the trawl fishery in that management area be included in any catch share program considers for Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries.They also asked that a control date be included to prevent a race for history in this fishery. The council had initially suggested that such a program be limited to Central Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries, but after hearing from Western Gulf harvesters, the council asked participants in the...

Year in Review: Bristol Bay
December 28th 9:20 pm | Hannah Heimbuch      
Another 12 months have come and gone, and once again Alaskans are nestled in the bustle of the holidays, fast approaching the New Year. Looking back on 2012, there's been plenty to talk about in the Bristol Bay region. Though perhaps nothing so frequently discussed as the looming possibility of Pebble Mine. The battle for Pebble The controversy surrounding the proposed mineral exploration project dubbed Pebble Mine only gained momentum during 2012. The reportedly massive copper, gold and molybdenum mine is supported for its potential lucrative lode, job creation, state tax revenue, and ability to reduce reliance on foreign materials. Opponents have major concerns about the potential effect on the entire Bristol Bay watershed, and the consequences that would have for the bay's world-class fisheries and other natural elements. Seafood industry reps are also concerned about what a nearby mine might do to the market for Bristol Bay seafood. They argue that even....

Year in Review: Aleutian Chain
December 28th 9:17 pm | Jim Paulin      
Since the world didn't end last week, we can still bring you the year in review of top stories from the Dutch Harbor Fisherman. Ice was in the news all the way into June. Record ice covering the snow crab fishing grounds frustrated fishermen and led to several extensions of the fishing season until June 15. The extensions helped fishermen get within a percentage point of the total quota. No doubt the ice will make dramatic footage for the misnamed television show Deadliest Catch, where once again, nobody died. The show made local news when its application to video-record the medical treatment of injured fishermen was shot down by the board of directors of Iliuliuk Family and Health Services. The long hard winter was felt onshore as well, with Unalaska road crews racking up overtime plowing snow. "Constant, almost every day, our road crew has gotten called out to either plow, sand or snow. It's been a long five....

Senator Murkowski Attempts to Ensure Final Bill Addresses Emergencies and Response Efforts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : December 28, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – As Alaskans continue to grapple with the hardships from recent disasters – fisheries shortfalls and tsunami debris washing ashore – Senator Murkowski today voted in support of the Supplemental Appropriations Bill H.R. 1 that will provide a financial response to federally-recognized disasters across the country, from Alaskan fisheries to East Coast communities still reeling from Hurricane Sandy.

However, when spending was proposed that did not serve the purpose of relief or response  – whether future anti-flood construction projects or paying the millions to put out wildfires in advance of fire season – Senator Murkowski cast her vote against those measures to craft the leanest bill possible.

“This Supplemental Bill delivers on the promise from the federal government for disaster relief,” said Murkowski.  “This is not a perfect bill by any means, but it is a bill that addresses the urgent concerns of millions of Americans – including the Alaskans who suffered economically from this summer’s low king salmon runs as well as the coastal Alaskans who regularly see a new and possibly dangerous piece of debris in their waters or off their beaches.”

Thanks in part to Senator Murkowski’s work on the Appropriations Committee, the Supplemental Funding bill includes: $150 million dollars in fishery disaster relief, to be shared among multiple states, and $56 million for marine debris efforts in several states. More >>