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#11-20-2013 - ComFish News Roundup

Tanner Crab Fishery Closed for 2014 Season
By Annie Ropeik
Tuesday, November 19 2013
State officials announced this week that the tanner crab fishery would not open for the 2014 seasons in the eastern Aleutian Islands. But Unalaska’s small boat fishermen think they’ve found a way to expand the fishery -- in an area that’s been closed for two decades. Unalaska’s tanner crab fishery opened up for the first time in years in January 2013, only to be shut down again for....

Anti-Pebble Initiative Clears Signature Hurdle
By Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN - Juneau | November 19, 2013 - 5:09 pm
A group opposed to the proposed Pebble Mine has secured enough signatures to get their initiative on the ballot. On Tuesday, the Division of Elections counted 30,210 verified signatures for the Bristol Bay Forever initiative. It needed 30,169 signatures. According to the Division of Elections tally, the group also cleared a threshold requiring that those signatures come from districts spread across the state. The initiative would require legislative approval for large-scale mining operations in the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve for the purpose of protecting the area’s salmon fishery. While...
Kenai Council to discuss contract with Copper River Seafoods, Inc.
Posted: November 19, 2013 - 10:04pm
Ealges on the spit in Homer, Alaska
Ealges on the spit in Homer, Alaska (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Rashah McChesney
Peninsula Clarion
City administration is recommending the Kenai City Council approve a $65,000 a year contract with Copper River Seafoods, Inc., to use cranes, offices and operating area at the Kenai Boating Facility. If approved Copper River Seafoods, the current operator of the facility, will be awarded a...

City tackles capital projects aimed at port improvement
By Hannah Heimbuch
Homer Tribune
Nov 19th, 2013
New restrooms at two Pioneer Avenue locations mark just a few of the capital projects the City of Homer is wrapping up this month. These and several other projects were funded by Alaska’s cruise ship passenger tax, allocated to individual communities through the capital budget and the Alaska Department of Transportation. These projects aim to improve the shore-side experience of cruise visitors, as well as the vessels they arrive on. That’s not to say Homer residents won’t benefit from the upgrades, however, which span from the end of the Homer Spit to downtown. Newly completed projects include bathroom facilities at strategic locations for pedestrians, both downtown and on the Spit. There is one at WKFL park on east...

‘Root beer’ algae bloom found to be nontoxic
By Carey Restino
Homer Tribune
Karenia mikimotoi isn’t exactly a term that rolls off the tongue, but many in Homer are already familiar with it on a different level. Last summer, a massive bloom of the phytoplankton turned much of Kachemak Bay a dark brown root beer color. The plankton species was identified this week, ending a mystery that caused concern last September, especially when dead fish were found in some areas of the bay, said Kris Holdereid, the NOAA manager of Kasitsna Bay Laboratory in Jakolof Bay. The good news? “It’s not a toxic species,” Holdereid said. “It has a couple nasty effects, but it’s not toxic to people.” Holdereid said Karenia mikimotoi blooms so densely that it draws oxygen levels down. In most areas, the water of Kachemak Bay moves too much for that to have an impact on fish and...

Regional oil-spill response team considers looser dispersant policy in Alaska
Yereth Rosen
November 19, 2013
A large swath of marine waters off Alaska would be preauthorized for dispersant use, under a proposal being considered by the Alaska Regional Response Team, the federal-state multiagency cooperative that plans oil-spill responses and snaps into action when marine oil spills occur. If approved, it would change dispersant policy in Alaska from a practice of on-and-off authorizations in small geographic zones to a streamlined system for marine waters that are heavily trafficked by oil tankers and large fuel-laden ships. The proposal is being discussed at a series of public meetings held by the Alaska Regional Response Team. Meetings were held last Wednesday in King Salmon and Friday in Anchorage. Others are...

Murkowski Urges Detailed Arctic Agenda At State Department
Senator Visits with Secretary of State to Push Arctic Conversation Beyond Talking Points - WASHINGTON, DC — Senator Lisa Murkowski today visited the State Department for a face-to-face meeting with Secretary John Kerry, where she continued her work with international global leaders to pave a path towards an effective Arctic strategy for the United States.

During the meeting, Senator Murkowski raised the issue of defining the United States’ action plan in anticipation of the United States assuming the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in May 2015, with Murkowski expressing a desire for increased activity by the State Department to be actively engaged in creating a detailed action plan.  Secretary Kerry agreed with her that a clear agenda laying out concrete goals with input from all stakeholders would be developed.

“Alaskans know the position we’re in at this moment; they read it and hear it every day: ‘America is an Arctic Nation,’ ‘the Arctic is an abundant region, full of opportunities’ and ‘we need to map out an Arctic Future.’ These are all true, broad facts, but the most crucial step is the next one: what next and how do we move forward right now?” said Murkowski. “We must dig in on the details now about what our next steps are – because our neighbors in the Arctic Circle have already begun moving forward and we cannot fall further behind.”
AFN will defend subsistence from State’s “reckless attempt to unravel the precedent set by the lower courts…"
November 19, 2013
Tuesday PM
(SitNews) Anchorage, Alaska - The Alaska Federation of Natives issued a powerful response to the State of Alaska’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court in the legal case State of Alaska v Sally Jewell, Secretary of the United States Department of Interior et al, widely known as the Katie John Case. Alaska Federation of Natives is an Intervening Party in this case in defense of subsistence rights, and has been for over 18 years. The State of Alaska’s petition asks that the Court overturn the federal rules promulgated in 1999 that define Title VIII of ANILCA’s public lands definition to include waters subject to the federal reserved water rights doctrine. “Subsistence is not only a way of life… It is essential to our survival as a people, and no one has the right to ever take it away from us,” said AFN Co-Chair Tara Sweeney, “This latest action by the State of Alaska is an assault upon the people of...
Sea Otter
Sea Otter (Photo credit: goingslo)

Otters, fishing and hunting – finding a balance in Southeast AK
November 19, 2013 by Laine Welch
It’s well known that sea otters are ravaging a variety of shellfish stocks in Southeast Alaska.  A four year study sheds some new light on how far the animals are migrating and their impacts on sea cucumbers, Dungeness crab and other species. What we’re seeing is....

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