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#01-26-2013 - ComFish News Roundup

In New Campaign, McDonald's Plugs Alaskan Pollock - All mum re: Russia?
By Lauren Rosenthal
Friday, January 25 2013
This week, McDonald’s doubled down on its commitment to Alaskan pollock. The chain announced that it will stop using other fish and switch to 100 percent Alaskan pollock in all 14,000 of its United States restaurants....... But regardless, the designation has given Alaskan fishermen an edge over their major competitors in Russia. Alaska’s pollock is more expensive, but considered more sustainable than Russian fish. But now, the Russian fishing industry is now pursuing the MSC designation as well. One segment of the Russian fishery just passed its sustainability study with the lowest required score. Ettefagh says that’s a big letdown for Alaskan fishermen....
Western Gulf fishermen join discussion on catch sharing
January 25th 2:40 pm | Hannah Heimbuch
Come February, a federal fisheries council will continue to discuss catch-sharing programs in Alaska trawl fisheries - this time with a bigger voice from southwest fishermen. This winter the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council (NPFMC) has heard from concerned parties in the state's south central ground fisheries, regarding a change over to catch sharing. The Council took action in October, said NPFMC member Dan Hull, identifying the purpose and need for a Central Gulf catch share plan. Community members from Kodiak in particular were organized and vocal in their goals and ideas for such a plan, he said. "The focus on the action was limited to the Central Gulf trawl fishery because it's the sector with the greatest issues to address in terms of bycatch," Hull said. Fishermen hope that new fishery management will help them to....

Loss of federal disaster funds disappoints Begich
January 25th 3:31 pm | STAFF
Early last week, the U.S. House of Representatives removed funds destined for the federal- and state-declared disasters surrounding Alaska's suffering Chinook fishery and tsunami debris cleanup effort. The funds were part of a natural-disaster funding bill going through the House. The bill passed - minus a few dollars intended for Alaska.....

Alaska seismologist details Southeast earthquakes
by Leila Kheiry
January 25, 2013 3:44 PM
A Jan. 5th earthquake shook Southeast Alaska, triggering tsunami alerts and evacuations. But it wasn’t the largest temblor to hit the region. A seismologist from the Alaska Earthquake Information Center talked with KRBD about recent and historic seismic activity along the Queen Charlotte Fault.....

My Turn: 'Ripple effect' of more than one new ferry
Posted: January 24, 2013 - 12:05am
In your Jan. 12 editorial, “Ripple effect,” the Ketchikan Daily News raised several concerns that deserve an accurate response and fuller context to be given. Governor Sean Parnell’s commitment to Ketchikan is unwavering. Under his leadership, our administration has been a strong advocate for both the growth of the shipyard in Ketchikan, and for establishing a fund so that we can build Alaska ferries right here in Alaska. Over the past three years, the governor has pushed hard to grow jobs and economic development in....

Silver Bay sets course for Bristol Bay
January 25th 2:45 pm | Hannah Heimbuch      
A relatively new Alaska processor has set out to expand its horizons by entering the Bristol Bay salmon processing market in the coming years. Sitka-based Silver Bay Seafoods, which has plants in Valdez, Sitka and Craig, hopes to be processing Bristol Bay salmon and Togiak herring by the 2014 summer season. News of the state-of-the-art facility first surfaced in November, when Alaska writer Wesley Loy of the blog Deckboss received confirmation that the plant was a go. The Times-Fisherman has been unable to reach Silver Bay representatives for comment as of yet. According to Loy, eight acres of industrial-zoned property near Leader Creek Seafood's facility on the Naknek River is....

Jan 25, 2013 - 09:04 AM AKST
Invasive pike thriving on salmon, other species
(AP) — A federal and state study of two Alaska salmon streams indicates that nonnative northern pike can eat significant numbers of salmon smolt and will thrive on other species even when the salmon population declines. The study by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game suggests that invasive pike and native salmon can co-exist in streams and rivers if their habitat does not overlap, but where they do, salmon recovery may depend on suppressing pike....

Panels Hear Governor's Bill to Water Down Cruise Discharge Standards
By Bill McAllister
Story Created: Jan 25, 2013 at 4:27 PM AKST
Story Updated: Jan 25, 2013 at 5:08 PM AKST
ANCHORAGE - Governor Parnell’s bill to loosen wastewater discharge standards for large cruise ships was the subject of public hearings in both the House and Senate Resources Committees.
The bill would allow for so-called mixing zones, areas into which cruise ships could discharge wastewater that doesn't meet clean water standards immediately as it comes out of the pipes.....

Kodiak: City Considers Land Lease For Maritime Exhibit
Jan 26, 2013
Brianna Gibbs/KMXT
The Thelma C  fishing vessel exhibit is nearing fruition. The historic salmon seiner was recently renovated and plans to permanently install it near Oscar’s Dock on the spit are underway. Toby Sullivan is the Executive Director of the Kodiak Maritime Museum and spoke to the Kodiak City Council during a work session on Tuesday night. He said the design and plans for the exhibit are done and now the details of location and parking need to be worked out......

Groups to conduct new study of effects of offshore projects
Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013 12:00 am
FAIRBANKS — Two federal agencies announced Friday that they will study how a wide range of potential offshore Arctic oil and gas projects could affect marine life, Alaska Native communities and other resources.
The notice from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management was hailed by members of Alaska’s congressional delegation, who had criticized an earlier environmental report by NOAA on the region.....

US senators clash over merits of LNG export study
Washington (Platts)--25Jan 2013
435 pm EST/2135 GMT
The expansion of US liquefied natural gas exports is shaping up as the first significant clash between the top Republican of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and its incoming chairman. In a letter sent Friday to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Senator Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, forcefully backed a DOE-commissioned study on LNG export which Senator Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat and soon-to-be committee chair, has called "seriously flawed." In her letter, Murkowski said....

Web of environmental rules threatens Gulf Coast businesses with jail, steep fines
By Barnini Chakraborty
Published January 26, 2013
When Burt Rico was caught using a deer feeder equipped with lights while hunting in Louisiana, he was slapped with a $1,051 fine and sentenced to 60 days in jail. He was cited for hunting without a big-game license, failing to wear hunter orange and hunting deer with an artificial light. Until he was cited, he didn’t know he had done anything wrong, he claims. Rico’s case isn’t an isolated one. According to a new report by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, thousands of people are being prosecuted for environmental crimes every day they didn’t know were even on the books. They’ve been threatened, fined and thrown.....

Japan's LNG consumption up in 2012 as Alaska officials eye resource potential
Alaska Dispatch | Jan 25, 2013
As Alaska officials eye the possibility of a large-scale liquefied natural gas project for exportation to Asia, news comes that Japan’s LNG use rose 15 percent in 2012, according to Bloomberg News. The 2011 tsunami that devastated nuclear power plants in Fukui and Aomori...

Davos: WWF calls for global seafood traceability system
Friday, January 25, 2013, 05:00 (GMT + 9)
In a groundbreaking statement issued at this week’s World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has joined private and public sector leaders in calling for a new global seafood traceability system to give consumers, businesses, and governments full access to information about marine fishing practices.  The pronouncement is the first multi-stakeholder call for such a system, and could herald an important role for the World Economic Forum in support of sustainable fisheries. The statement, issued by the Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Oceans, recognizes....