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#03-07-2013 - ComFish News Roundup

Mar 6, 2013 - 04:34 PM AKST
Board votes 4-3 to limit Area M fishing
The state Board of Fisheries asked fishermen to compromise at its Alaska Peninsula meeting in Anchorage Feb. 26 to March 4. The board was tasked with discussing changes to Area M fishing, at the far end of the Alaska Peninsula. Some proposals — seeking to limit fishing there — were put forth by area fishermen. Others were brought forward by fishermen elsewhere, as it is their belief that salmon caught in Area M are intercepted on their way to other fisheries. The board agreed in a 4-3 vote to delay the opening of the June salmon fishery in the South Unimak and Shumagin Islands. That was proposed by the Southern Norton Sound Advisory Committee, although the proposal that passed was a compromise version amended by board.....

Salmon Prove a Great Snack for Iditarod Sled Dog Teams
Four-time Iditarod Sled Dog Race champion Lance Mackey was all smiles when asked how much wild Alaska salmon he had packed for the 2013 race. “For me or the dogs?” He shot back. In fact the popular veteran musher, also a champion of the Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race, packed up about 30 pounds for smoked salmon for himself and another 600 pounds of king and chum salmon for the dog team. Another Iditarod champion, Mitch Seavey of Seward, Alaska, was also packing smoked salmon....

Harvesters urge swift release of updated watershed assessment
Posted 03/06/2013
by - Margaret Bauman
A harvester group supported by over 100 commercial fishing organizations and business around the country is asking the federal government to release its updated draft Bristol Bay watershed assessment by March 19. That will ensure that commercial fishermen from Bristol Bay and around the country have ample opportunity to comment and participate in the process before fishing season begins in late spring....

Chuitna residents win against Parnell administration
By Naomi Klouda
Homer Tribune
An Alaska Superior Court decision issued last week is gaining interest as the Alaska Legislature takes up discussions on House Bill 77 and Senate Bill 26. The bills take away the right of Alaska Tribes and residents to intervene for salmon stream protections. The bills give those rights to federal and state agencies.
On Feb. 25 the Superior Court ruled that the Department of Natural Resources violated its own regulations by denying Alaskans their right to input claims. The decision in Chuitna Citizens Coalition vs. Dan Sullivan, Commissioner, Alaska Department of...

State touts Alaska 'marketing opportunities'
Posted: March 7, 2013 - 12:09am  |  Updated: March 7, 2013 - 1:16am
As part of an initiative to promote Alaska’s key industries and economic potential, senior Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development officials will meet with mining companies, travel media, national and international seafood leaders, and the cruise industry at a series of major East Coast conferences and events this month, the....

Swanson: Seaton’s bill takes on invasive specie threat in needed wake-up call
by Mark Swanson
Mar 6th, 2013
Hats off to Representative Paul Seaton of Homer.
Seaton has introduced legislation, House Bill 89, that directs the state Department of Fish and Game to set up a rapid response plan to deal with incipient aquatic invasions. Other state agencies with responsibilities for the health of state waters would be drawn in, as well. Seaton’s measure also establishes an aquatic invasive species fund. Aquatic invasive species are a well-known problem in Alaska, and it’s high time for such action here, in perhaps the most marine and freshwater-dependent state in the country. Once introduced, aquatic invaders are difficult to eradicate, and can have a permanent effect on the environment including catastrophic damage to...

New version of fish fraud bill introduced
Friday, March 08, 2013, 01:00 (GMT + 9)
Representative Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) this week introduced a new bipartisan version of a bill that fights seafood fraud. Markey drafted this second version of his legislation in response to recent studies which revealed that seafood is mislabelled 33 per cent of the time across the US, whether at restaurants, supermarkets or other retailers. This second draft includes reflections from discussions with fishers, consumer and conservation groups and federal agencies. “Fish fraud is a national problem that needs a national solution. This bill finally tells....

Bristol Bay fishermen raise bar on salmon quality
By Izetta Chambers
March 06, 2013
Having grown up in a fishing family in Bristol Bay, I have watched and taken part in the slow and sometimes painful journey to improve salmon quality. When I was little, I remember how fishermen used pews—essentially pointed stakes—to stab the fish in the head or belly and fling them into a delivery truck. It was an irreverent way to treat food. Fortunately, the practice stopped in the late 70s or early 80s. In those days, nobody used ice or refrigerated seawater. Bleeding the freshly caught salmon was unheard of. But I remember people on the Naknek beach being proud to deliver their fish in a timely manner. My family never let their fish sit long in the boats. It was a matter of pride to deliver the catch quickly.....

Two New Vessels Coming Online to Groundfish Fisheries in May
By Margaret Bauman
Harvesting of wild Alaska pollock, the nation’s largest commercial fishery, is under way in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska for 1,387,146 metric tons of the whitefish, up 3.8 percent over last year’s allowable harvest. A year ago the total allowable catch was 1,335,944 metric tons, with the harvest measured at 1,207,726 metric tons, the second highest since 2007 when the TAC was 1,481,317 metric tons and fishermen brought in 1,408,66 metric tons. The Pacific cod TAC for this year is 320,600 metric tons, down from 326,701 metric tons in 2012. In 2011, when in which the cod TAC was 293,050 metric tons, the highest since 2007....

Symposium to focus on impacts of climate change on Arctic marine ecosystem
March 06, 2013
(SitNews) - Sea Ice covering the Arctic Ocean melted away to a record low in 2012, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The steady loss of arctic sea ice is perhaps the most obvious sign of a warming planet. Far less obvious is how individual marine species - from arctic cod that live just below and sometimes within the sea ice, to seals, whales, polar bears and ultimately humans—will respond to the loss of sea ice and other consequences of a warmer Arctic....

Agencies can soon use herbicides, pesticides on state lands without permit
by Matt Lichtenstein
March 6, 2013 3:31 pm
As of March 7th, State agencies no longer need a Department of Environmental Conservation permit to use herbicides and pesticides on state property and rights of way. That’s unless it’s sprayed from an aircraft or directly into water. The DEC recently did away with the public review and permitting requirement for using the chemicals on state land. The agency called the permit process “burdensome” and said was not commensurate with the risk. Critics say that by eliminating public oversight, the DEC is endangering human health as well as fish and wildlife habitat. Matt Lichtenstein has more on the story...

Proposed Dam Presents Economic and Environmental Challenges in Alaska
Published: March 6, 2013
At a time when large dams are being taken down, not put up, the state of Alaska is proposing to construct one of the tallest and most expensive hydroelectric dams ever built in North America. The Alaska Energy Authority is planning to build a 735-foot, $5.2 billion structure on the Susitna River in a largely empty south-central part of the state, which is watered by runoff from the arc of the Alaska Range. The dam, designed to...

Project to archive Exxon Valdez records continues
Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 1:46 pm | Updated: 6:42 pm, Wed Mar 6, 2013.
Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska — A project to archive records related to the Exxon Valdez oil spill is continuing after the state sought to address concerns raised by a federal judge. U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland, in a written notice to attorneys last month, said he had become aware of the project and expressed concern it could inadvertently affect an ongoing dispute in the case....

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