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#04-27-2013 - ComFish News Roundup HQ - Washington DC
EPA's "Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment" Released... Public Comment Period Opened
By MIKE MASON - Entities on all sides of the fight over the proposed Pebble Mine are commenting about the new version of the "Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment" that was released Friday by the EPA. KDLG's Mike Mason reports....

Apr 25, 2013 - 12:48 PM AKST
AJOC EDITORIAL: Shame to share for scallop shenanigans
Alaska’s rural communities will lose out after a backdoor move to preserve the status quo in the state scallop fishery backfired in the closing days of the legislative session. The stage for the standoff between Rep. Paul Seaton of Homer and Sen. Donny Olson of Nome was set when Olson attempted to bypass Seaton’s Fisheries Committee by attaching an unrelated permit program onto an uncontroversial House bill to extend the 25-year-old Alaska Regional Development Organization. Known as ARDOR, the program consists of 12 regional organizations that received a total of $1.03 million from the state in the last fiscal year. That doesn’t sound like much, but it generated some....

Spring Whaling Begins In Arctic
By Lori Townsend, APRN - Anchorage | April 25, 2013 - 5:28 pm
Despite the lingering effects of winter, spring whaling has begun in Arctic Alaska and seal hunters are also heading to the coast from Chevak in the Southwest part of the state. Grace Levettte with the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission in Barrow confirmed today that whaling crews on St Lawrence Island have landed a total of three bowheads so far – two for Gambell and one for Savoonga......

Ailing Bering Sea Fisherman Medevaced by Coast Guard
By Jay Barrett, KMXT - Kodiak | April 26, 2013 - 10:31 am
A Kodiak-based Coast Guard helicopter crew hoisted a 52-year-old man from the fishing vessel Katie Ann yesterday afternoon. He was reportedly suffering from symptoms of internal bleeding....

Senate Subcommittee Advances Sealaska Lands Bill
By MARY KAUFFMAN April 26, 2013
(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), testified Thursday before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Public Lands Subcommittee in support of legislation to complete the aboriginal land claims promised to shareholders of the Sealaska Native Regional Corp. more than 40 years ago under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). The Energy Public Lands Subcommittee hearing held in Washington, D.C. Thursday advanced the Sealaska Lands Bill and it is now eligible for markup by the full U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, of which Murkowski is the Ranking Member. If advanced, it would then go next to the full Senate. S. 340 is the product of collaborative work of a varied group of stakeholders interested in the Tongass National Forest. According to Murkowski, more than 175 amendments have been made since the last Congress to address myriad concerns....

Alaska state ferry Tustumena will be out of service until July
Posted: Friday, April 26, 2013 1:30 pm
Associated Press | 1 comment
KODIAK, Alaska - A state ferry will be out of commission longer than expected.
KMXT reports ( the Tustumena won't be back in service until July.....

M/V Malaspina coming to Wrangell for 50th Anniversary celebration
April 25, 2013
With the Alaska Marine Highway System’s maiden ferry, the M/V Malaspina, making a celebratory tour throughout Southeast Alaska next week, the Sentinel is taking a look back in time at some of the events and stories that led up to the development of the system many Alaskans and lower 48 residents rely on every week. During the Malaspina’s docking in Wrangell, guests will be able to tour the bridge, dine onboard, and visit the gift shop for new 50th Anniversary items. The Malaspina will dock in Wrangell at....

ITN Looks to Next Wave of Marine Debris
Brianna Gibbs/KMXT
Apr 26, 2013
Marine debris isn’t a new phenomenon in Alaska. Items have been washing up on shorelines across the state for decades. But when the Japanese Tsunami washed away entire towns in 2011, things changed. North America braced itself for an onslaught of debris. Government scrambled for clean-up funds, and citizen volunteers, armed with bags and good intentions, took to the beaches. Tsunami remnants are still en route, and as KMXT’s Brianna Gibbs reports, the next wave of debris could bring some new obstacles.....

Murkowski Building Coalition to Support Fishery Disaster Relief
Senator Joined by Fifteen Colleagues in Seeking Federal Aid for Afflicted Regions
WASHINGTON, D.C. – - Senator Lisa Murkowski today continued her campaign on Capitol Hill to secure federal disaster relief funds for Alaskan communities damaged by last summer’s low salmon runs, building on the momentum she gained in forming a large and influential bipartisan Senate coalition of sixteen co-sponsors of an amendment  that was adopted to the Senate FY2014 budget resolution.

Senators from Alaska to New England to the Gulf of Mexico joined Murkowski on a letter to the Chairwoman and Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, urging them to allocate relief funds for Alaska Chinook, Mississippi Oysters and Blue Crabs, Northeast Multispecies Groundfish Fisheries and Superstorm Sandy-impacted fisheries – and saying the “severity of the situation” is rising as the delay continues

Earlier this year, Senator Murkowski compared the urgency of the situation for impacted regions to those of farmlands who suffer dry seasons damaging their crops – calling fishery failures “droughts in our rivers and streams” – and saying these areas should receive aid as speedily as farms in the heartland.  (Excerpt below)

In a letter from Senator Murkowski and her colleagues, they write:

Fishing is an integral part of our states’ economies and cultures.  The substantial delay in providing disaster relief is deepening the severity of the situation.  We urge you to support the inclusion of these funds in the FY14 CJS Appropriations bill to provide the relief these communities need.

Reasons to Reject the Law of the Sea Treaty
April 24, 2013
Oceans cover 71 percent of Earth's surface. As the new focal point of the environmental agenda, oceans are the subject of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Treaty, called LOST. With Secretary of State John Kerry recently outlining the importance of oceanic conservation, a new attempt to ratify LOST should not be surprising, though its ratification would be a disaster, say Iain Murray, an adjunct fellow, and H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow, at the National Center for Policy Analysis......


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