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#02-01-2013 - ComFish News Roundup

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Residents, Congressional Delegation Outraged by Izembek Road Decision
By Stephanie Joyce
Tuesday, February 05 2013
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service came out against a controversial proposed road through the Izembek National Wildlife refuge Tuesday. Residents of King Cove are disappointed, but say they’re not giving up on the project. Locals have been lobbying for a road to connect King Cove and and the all-weather airport at Cold Bay for decades. They say it would save lives by making medevacs safer. But environmentalist activists have consistently opposed the project, contending it would devastate critical habitat for migratory birds. In a more than two thousand page environmental impact statement, the Fish and Wildlife Service came down on the side of the activists. Agency spokesperson Bruce Woods says given the....
EPA plans final Bristol Bay assessment this year
Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 11:15 am | Updated: 11:16 am, Tue Feb 5, 2013.
Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to issue a final report this year on the impacts of large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay region, regional director Dennis McLerran said.
McLerran, in prepared remarks to the Alaska Forum on the Environment, set to be delivered Tuesday, said the EPA plans to release a revised draft report this spring for public comment and additional peer review. The EPA said it will consider the additional input as it prepares its....
Protect salmon - oppose these bad bills
Posted: February 6, 2013 - 12:00am
You know that salmon stream you love? The governor doesn’t think you should have the right to keep enough water in it for salmon to spawn. On Jan. 27, Governor Sean Parnell wrote: “Alaskans have the right to have a say over......

Alaska Marine Highway renews interest in free Susitna ferry
Suzanna Caldwell
February 4, 2013
With pressure mounting over what to do with the star-crossed Susitna Ferry, the Alaska Marine Highway System said it will conduct an analysis to see if the much-maligned vessel fits into its fleet. Marine Highway spokesman Jeremy Woodrow said legislators and officials from the Matanuska-Susitna borough have asked the system to explore the possibility of new routes where the M/V Susitna could be used and provide an analysis that includes operating and capital costs associated with acquiring the ferry. Woodrow said that analysis is still in its early stages and lacks a rigid completion date. The analysis is a shift from the agency’s previous stance that the Susitna wouldn’t fit into Alaska Marine Highway System, a primary transportation link for many Alaska coastal communities. Woodrow said the 200-foot Susitna, which is....

Oregon giving the finger to ‘Franken-fish’
Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 6:00 pm
By TED SHORACK For the Observer
Elected officials in Oregon are the latest to weigh in on genetically engineered salmon, a man-made creation that many opponents have called “frankenfish.” A decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could potentially allow production of the genetically engineered fish. On Jan. 3, sponsors of Washington state Initiative 522 submitted boxloads of petitions to the Washington Secretary of State’s office dealing with labeling of most....

Report predicts windfall for Alaska if federal lands, water opened to drilling
By Peter Granitz, APRN - Washington DC
Posted on February 6, 2013 at 6:54 am
A new report from an oil and gas trade association is predicting a windfall for Alaska if the government opened federally owned lands and water to drilling. The Institute for Energy Research estimates as many as sixty-one-thousand new jobs could be created from opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge alone. That’s a number that could catch the eyes of lawmakers who hold the fate of drilling in ANWR. Tom Pyle is....

Great white sharks may be listed as endangered species
By Paul Rogers
Created:   02/05/2013 04:19:39 PM PST
They've been called everything from killing machines to misunderstood predators who are key to healthy ocean environments. Now great white sharks may be called something else: endangered. California's Fish and Game Commission on Wednesday will decide whether to take the first steps to add the ocean's most storied marine predator to the state endangered species list. Meanwhile, the National Marine Fisheries Service is expected to decide this summer whether to include great whites on the federal endangered list. If the sharks -- which in California waters can grow to 21 feet long and 4,000 pounds -- join other struggling species, like California condors and sea otters, on the lists, it could mean tougher rules on gill net fishing. It might even create a new legal tactic for environmental groups to fight coal-fired power plants, since some white sharks have high levels of mercury, which comes from burning coal, in their tissues. "There is a lot of evidence that white shark population numbers are very low," said Emily Jeffers, an attorney in the.........  formal petition with the state in August asking that the population of white sharks in the northeastern Pacific Ocean be declared endangered. The groups noted that two recent studies have estimated the population -- which ranges between Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska -- at 339 adults and "sub-adults" in counts off the Marin County coast and Mexico....

Editorial: 'Sacred Cod' is NOAA's sacred cow
With strict new limits on Gulf of Maine cod, "there's not enough to sustain the fishery. The game is over." Those words from Gloucester's Vito Giacalone, chief policy advocate for the Northeast Seafood Coalition, marked an all-too realistic assessment of the New England fishery's 2013 prospects after the New England Fishery Management....

One fisherman's tale shows plight of many
For a gillnet fisherman, these are trying times — with worse yet to come. Captain Don Smith, a 57-year-old transplanted Mainer whose family roots are in Nova Scotia and has fished commercially from Gloucester for more than 30 years, doesn't need to be prodded to speak to that. Working for his friend and first cousin Richard Burgess, the owner of a fleet that.....

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