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#01-25-2013 - ComFish News Roundup

McDonald's fish sandwich to carry 'sustainable' labeling
By The Associated Press
on January 24, 2013 at 3:25 PM
NEW YORK -- McDonald's says it will be the first national restaurant chain to carry a label from a group that certifies sustainable fishing practices. The blue "ecolabel" from the Marine Stewardship Council certifies that the Alaskan Pollock used in McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwiches come from suppliers with sustainable fishing practices. Major retail chains including Wal-Mart and Whole Foods already use the council's label. The nonprofit group is paid a royalty fee from companies that use its label. For .....

Jan 24, 2013 - 10:53 AM AKST
Spring test set for Gulf salmon excluders
Gulf of Alaska fishermen could receive a new tool to reduce salmon bycatch if gear modification research is successful. This spring, two trawlers targeting pollock in the Gulf will have an extra piece of gear in the water. The boats will be fitted with the newest version of a salmon excluder, and a recapture net, as part of an effort to adapt the excluders for Gulf use. John Gauvin from the North Pacific Fisheries Research Foundation, is trying to develop the excluder for Gulf use. Ideally, it will let salmon escape from pollock trawls while keeping the pollock inside. Currently, salmon and halibut excluders are used in other fisheries. In the Bering Sea, the excluder is a flapper that is weighted down in the tapered portion of the net, providing a sort of false ceiling. Craig Rose, from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, said it works in part because salmon are......

Pollock season opens without prices set
Posted 01/25/2013
by - Margaret Bauman
Groundfish fisheries for the pollock A season got underway on Jan. 20 with a quota of about 1.258 million metric tons, up slightly from a year ago, with no announced base prices on the multi-million dollar fishery. Frank Kelty, resource analyst for the city of Unalaska, estimated on Jan. 22 that the municipality....

Local fisherman jumps in to help
Posted 01/25/2013
by - Jennifer Gibbins
Since its inception in 2009, Cordova's fishing net recycling program has resulted in more than 33 tons of net being recycled, meaning that old web that used to get dumped in Cordova's landfill, is now shipped out of town and re-processed to manufacture new products like telephones, computer parts, toothbrushes, carpeting and bicycle seats among others. "This program is great," said Vicki Simpson, manager, Cordova Redden Marine. "We really want to see it continue." While community web recycling programs often fail over time because of a lack of resources to maintain them, Cordova's program is a shining example of success, closing in on its five year....

Jan 24, 2013 - 10:54 AM AKST
AJOC EDITORIAL: State should foot the bill for salmon disaster
Effective Jan. 22, the federal government made official what has been the policy since statehood in 1959: Alaska is in charge of its salmon fisheries. The first fishery management plan approved after the passage of the original Magnuson Act in 1976 was the Alaska salmon FMP delegating that responsibility to the Department of Fish & Game. After revisions to what later became the Magnuson-Stevens Act were passed in 2006, all FMPs were required to be updated within five years to meet new requirements for setting annual catch limits and accountability measures. The result was the North Pacific Fishery Management Council amending the salmon FMP in 2011 to officially remove waters near Cook Inlet, Prince William Sound and the Alaska Peninsula from federal control. The only state-managed salmon fishery that officially remains within the federal.....

Who's afraid of Frankenfish?
Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013 11:56 am
Mary Lochner
Coming soon to a grocery store near you: a genetically engineered, fast-growing Atlantic salmon. It’s got a little of this, a little of that: a little eel DNA here, a little King salmon DNA there. Calling the fish genetically engineered, or GE, might be a little dated. In its own research literature, the biotech industries insist on calling their DNA-diddled plant and animal products “genetically improved.” Of course, biotech critics (voices of reason? Anti-science luddites? Take your pick) have a more pejorative term: “frankenfood.” Whether you see GE fish as an improvement on nature or a violation of it, the stuff, it appears, is here to stay, and soon it’ll be on the forks and down the gullets of U.S. citizens. AquaBounty’s GE salmon...

Processors, harvesters, commissioners talk halibut catch limits
Jan 24, 2013 - 12:39 PM
Work on the 2013 catch limits continued this morning at the International Pacific Halibut Commission. The Conference Board, Processor Advisory Group delivered their suggestions during a joint session with the IPHC this morning. The recommendations coming from each body were fairly similar. The Processors called for a total coastwide harvest of 27.56 million pounds. For Alaska, the recommendation was 3.76 million pounds in Area 2C, 9.24 million pounds for 3A, 2.73 million....

SE Gillnet Sac Roe GHL’s Announced
Posted on January 23rd, 2013
Seymour Canal (Section 11-D): The Guideline Harvest Level (GHL) for the Seymour Canal sac roe fishery is 1,014 tons....

The Alaska Fisheries Report with Jay Barrett
Jan 24, 2013
Coming up this week, a Rhode Island professor says individual catch shares are bad for fishing communities, the National Marine Fisheries Service is testing electronic observing methods, and we get the mixed forecast for Prince William Sound salmon. All that, and the Department of Fish and Game briefs the legislature. We had help from KMXT’s Brianna Gibbs in Kodiak, KCAW’s Robert Woolsey in Sitka, KCHU’s Tony Gorman in Valdez and KDLG’s Mike Mason in Dillingham.....

The Board of Fish will Consider a Dual Setnet Proposal for Bristol Bay at Next Month's Area M Meeting 
The Alaska Board of Fisheries will take up a proposal in late February that could allow for dual permits in Bristol Bay’s setnet fishery. The previous dual permit system went away at the end of 2012. KDLG’s Mike Mason has the details. (3:01)....

Unalaska Bay Trawl Closure Proposal Resurfaces
By Stephanie Joyce
Thursday, January 24 2013
The Unalaska Fish and Game advisory committee will address a proposed ban on trawl fishing in Unalaska Bay at their meeting Thursday night. The controversial proposal comes from the Unalaska Native Fishermen’s Association or UNFA. President Vince Tutiakoff says the proposed ban is in response to several issues, starting with an observed decline in the abundance of other species in the bay, like salmon, halibut and crab. “And we have seven or eight small boats that fish the bays and they have gear issues out here. Several of them have lost gear due to trawling. And, you know, replacement of gear for a small boat....

POW borough draft report submitted for review
by Leila Kheiry
January 23, 2013 4:19 PM
The first draft of a Prince of Wales Island borough formation study shows that a new borough might need to impose taxes in order to function. The study by Sheinberg Associates estimated a revenue gap between zero and $2.5 million. That range takes into account estimated state and federal funds the borough might receive, and the types of services the borough would provide.....

Suddenly, Dillingham city budget slips into red by $560,000
Jim Paulin | Dutch Harbor Fisherman | Jan 24, 2013
It hadn’t happened for a while, but finally it did. The city of Dillingham overspent its budget last year by more than a half-million dollars. “It was just one of those years you hope doesn’t happen, but one of those years you have to plan for,” Mayor Alice Ruby said. In the fiscal year that ended June 30, the city was $560,000 over budget, she said. Fortunately the city was able to pay its bills by dipping into its savings account, or fund balance. “We had a history of underspending from the fund balance for the last few years,” Ruby said. Last January, the city-owned senior center flooded and was shut down for extensive repairs. It eventually reopened, and insurance covered most -- but not all -- of the expenses. The public works building had a big problem with its sprinkler system. And lawyers' fees for negotiations with labor....

Juneau: City, State balance sheets face $11 billion in unfunded retirement
Posted: January 23, 2013 - 9:23pm  |  Updated: January 24, 2013 - 12:10am
Recent changes to federal code could saddle the state and its schools and municipalities with over $11 billion in unfunded PERS and TRS liability. If the new rules do not change by the middle of 2015, the City and Borough of Juneau and the.....

Restaurants buying Alaska produce get a boost from the state
Suzanna Caldwell | Jan 24, 2013
If you've seen more local foods in restaurant menus recently, it's no coincidence. For the last year, restaurants across the state have been quietly taking advantage of a program designed to incentivize the use of Alaska Grown produce. In its one-year existence, the Alaska Grown Restaurant Rewards Program has already begun to see results. Restaurants see it as a way they can afford local produce, which generally is much more expensive, smaller in quantity and harder to get. Farmers and small-scale food distributors are able to produce more, given in the built-in market. The state sees it as an extension of the “Alaska Grown” brand that in-turn that helps build a small -- yet steady -- agriculture industry, according to state division of agriculture program assistant Kristi Krueger. “A lot of farmers want to sell product to restaurants, but a lot of restaurants can't afford to buy it,” Krueger said. “This is that stepping stone.”.....

Feds Offer Microloans for Beginning Alaska Farmers
By KTUU News Staff
Channel 2 News
6:20 p.m. AKST, January 24, 2013
Every year, hundreds of farmers call Alaska home and the Feds are now offering microloans for beginning growers and ranchers.....,0,4488468.story

Martinac launching big fishing boat in dawn ceremonies next week
Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on Jan. 17, 2013 at 11:45 am
The largest fishing vessel built in the Northwest in two decades will hit the water in Tacoma’s Thea Foss Waterway in an early bird ceremony next week. The Northern Leader’s launching ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 4:30 a.m. Jan. 26. The boat will slide down the ways at  J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding Co. about 45 minutes later. The launch is timed to coincide with high tide. The launching will be visible from the west side of the Foss near Johnny’s Seafood’s retail store. The shipyard is on the opposite shore.....

Jan 24, 2013 - 10:53 AM AKST
Wave of new vessels will boost Alaska, Washington shipyards
Alaska’s fishing fleets are aging, but new vessels are making their way onto the water. According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, 1,646 fishing vessels participated in federal fisheries offshore from Alaska in 2010. The majority — more than 900 — were built in the 1970s and 1980s. The first new vessels operating in Alaska waters will be longliners fishing in the Bering Sea with Alaskan Leader Fisheries’ Northern Leader and Alaska Longline Co.’s Arctic Prowler scheduled to start fishing this spring. Alaskan Leader Fisheries is jointly owned by the Alaska Leader Group of Lynden, Wash., and Dillingham-based Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp. BBEDC is one of six Western Alaska.....

Blogs - McClatchy DC Headlines
Friday, Jan. 25, 2013
Alaska Native-owned subsidiary under investigation in Gulf of Mexico oil explosion
By Sean Cockerham - McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON — A subsidiary of Alaska’s Native-owned NANA Development Corp. is under investigation by members of Congress and federal regulators after the deaths of three workers in an offshore oil platform explosion in November in the Gulf of Mexico. The NANA subsidiary, Grand Isle Shipyard of Louisiana, also is battling a lawsuit from former workers who allege they were forced into “involuntary servitude” and inhumane conditions after being lured from the Philippines with false promises of good-paying jobs. “Defendants have in fact for years operated what is essentially a labor camp for Filipino workers,” alleges the lawsuit. “Plaintiffs and other Filipino workers were essentially imprisoned by defendants from the minute they set foot in Louisiana.”.....

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