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#12-28-2013 - ComFish News Roundup

Appeals Court Reinstates Overfishing Charges Against Kookesh, Two Others
By Casey Kelly, KTOO - Juneau | December 27, 2013 - 4:05 pm
Overfishing charges against former State Senator Albert Kookesh and two other men have been reinstated by the Alaska Court of Appeals. In 2009, Kookesh and three others – Rocky Estrada, Sr., Stanley Johnson, and Scott Hunter – were fishing for sockeye salmon at Kanalku Bay near his hometown of Angoon. A state wildlife trooper observed them catching more salmon than allowed under their subsistence permits, and issued citations. Kookesh, Estrada, and Johnson challenged, saying the Alaska Department of Fish and Game cannot establish catch limits. They argued the only way to enact limits is through the Alaska Board of Fisheries. A District Court judge agreed, and....
Recent Pebble mine comments deserve scrutiny
Andy Josephson
December 27, 2013
Alaska has seen the development of successful mines at places like Fort Knox, Greens Creek, and Red Dog. Some mines produce positive benefits for both Alaska and the mining industry. Not all mines are the same, however. Recently, Northern Dynasty’s chief executive, Ron Thiessen, made the following comments about the Pebble Prospect that deserve serious scrutiny and challenge:
1.  “Pebble is Alaska’s.” “(Pebble) can and will be built.”
In a recent speech before the Resource Development Council and in comments to Alaska media, Mr. Thiessen repeatedly refers to the Pebble site as “Alaska’s.” Subject to state approval, however, the right to develop the mine claim belongs to Northern Dynasty -- and no one else. Make no mistake, under current law, almost all of the profits would belong to Northern Dynasty. Next, Mr. Thiessen’s foreclosing any possibility that the mine won’t happen is hubris -- a type of corporate arrogance. While all advocates can commit acts of “puffing” (I confess to occasional lapses), Northern.....

Fisheries group files suit against Chum, LLC
December 27th 11:48 am | Jillian Rogers
Just in time for Christmas, after two years without, Kotzebue Sound commercial fishermen got their annual bonuses. The 65 permit holders that fished Kotzebue Sound this summer and sold chum salmon to Washington-based Great Pacific Seafoods were left in the dark for two years after members of former Kotzebue Sound Fisheries Association jumped ship in 2011 and formed Chum, LLC. The new Kotzebue Sound Fisheries Association, Inc., reformed in the spring of 2013, filed a civil suit last month against Chum, LLC after the latter allegedly took possession of money — upwards of $350, 000 — and equipment that belonged to the association. The association is a nonprofit entity that exists to support its members — Kotzebue Sound commercial fishermen — by negotiating fish prices with the buyer and providing access and equipment.  "The Kotzebue Sound Fishermen's Association board of directors, which consists of seven members elected by the fishermen and women in our region, unanimously voted to file this civil suit," said Bish Gallahorn, president of the new...

Fish board meets in Kodiak Jan. 7-10
Posted 12/28/2013
by - Cordova Times Staff
Alaska's Board of Fisheries will consider 19 proposals for the Kodiak region at Kodiak Jan. 7-10, including one requiring 100 percent observer coverage on groundfish trawl vessels in state waters of Cook Inlet, Kodiak and Chignik management areas. Four other groundfish proposals will also be up for consideration. These include prohibiting....

Hundreds of radio-tagged sharks tweet warnings at Australian swimmers
Automated system reaches farther, updates faster than radio or newspaper alerts.
by Lee Hutchinson - Dec 27 2013, 12:54pm AST
Western Australia's beachgoers are a bit more informed as to the whereabouts of the region's shark population this summer, thanks to a scientific initiative that has fitted transmitters to more than 300 sharks of various types. The transmitters are picked up by underwater receivers, and when a tagged shark comes within a kilometer of the shore, a tweet appears in the Surf Life Saving Western Australia twitter feed (@SLSWA > ).......

Fish Factor
2013 Fishing Notables and Fish Picks and Pans!
December 27, 2013
(SitNews) - Alaska’s seafood industry worked hard again in 2013 to ramp up its message to policy makers, most of whom still tend to overlook the industry’s economic significance to the state and beyond.  What is that message? That “the industry” is made up of thousands of small businesses – the fishing boats that each supports one or several families. That the seafood companies in coastal towns provide one of the state’s biggest tax bases. And together, fishing and processing provide more jobs in Alaska than oil/gas, mining, tourism and timber combined.  Seafood also is Alaska’s top export, far exceeding all other natural resources. Here are fishing notables from 2013, in no particular order, followed by my annual ‘fish picks and pans’: Thousands of tiny red king crab raised at the Kodiak Fisheries Research Center were released into island waters, marking the first time hatchery-raised Alaska crab have been introduced into the wild. Divers will....

Dancing with the Kulluk
December 27th 11:48 am | Carey Restino
130103-G-ZZ999-002 (Photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense Current Photos)
Editor's note: A year ago, a handful of mariners from private vessels, U.S. Coast Guard crews, and those contracted to work for Shell Oil headed into a tremendous storm in an effort to save a buoy-shaped oil rig from grounding off Kodiak Island. The Kulluk, a Shell Oil drill rig that had been working in the Arctic, was adrift off the coast of Kodiak Island and the tug that had been pulling it had lost all engine power as it attempted to tow the rig from Unalaska to Seattle through a winter storm. Now, a year later, Shell is applying for permission to return to the Arctic in 2014. As federal officials review the application, the magnitude of the attempt to rescue the Kulluk has only been told in pieces. Here is one man's story of that effort as the chief engineer aboard the responding Crowley tug Alert. For the crew of the Crowley Marine tug Alert, Dec. 29, 2012, was the first normal night of work in months. After a trip to the Seattle drydock, the vessel had returned to its homeport of Valdez only a few days before and was busy installing oil spill response and ship rescue gear and getting ready to resume regular duty escorting oil tankers in and out of Prince William Sound. Finally, everything was back in place, and the 149-foot Crowley Marine Services tug headed out on regular duty. The sea was rough that night as a powerful cyclone moved over Alaska bringing strong winds to much of the state. As the crew was returning from its escort, they were told to return to Hinchinbrook Island at the mouth of...

Maritime economic study links to Ballard
By Shane Harms
An extensive study examining the economic impact of the maritime industry was released last Nov. that quantifies the economic systems at work in Ballard, Washington State, and beyond. The “Maritime Cluster Economic Impact Study” was produced by Community Attributes Inc., Puget Sound Regional Council, Work Force Development Council of Seattle and King County, and supported by the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County. The study serves as a way to quantify the economic impact of the maritime cluster in Washington State and illuminates the strengths and potential for growth. The cluster study broke down the maritime industry into six core categories....

Coalition says Susitna dam would devastate salmon runs
State's proposed 2015 fiscal budget includes 10 million for project
Posted 12/27/2013
by - Margaret Bauman
A coalition of fishermen, hunters and others along Southcentral Alaska's railbelt are revving up their campaign against a proposed hydroelectric project known as the Susitna Dam, saying it would devastate wilderness salmon habitat. "It would kill the fish," said Mike Wood, president of the Susitna River Coalition.
"It's a lot of money to be spent where we could spend it on a lot of other projects, and we are not in a position to be destroying a natural salmon river, when returns are already as low as they are," said Wood, a carpenter and wood worker in residence north of Talkeetna. The proposed flow for the hydroelectric project "would turn the river upside down," said Wood. The Susitna River Coalition, which says it has support from more than 15,000 individuals, groups....

Fukushima Radiation Hits US West Coast
Added by Marisa Corley on December 28, 2013
The meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is nearing its third anniversary and the disaster and radiation are still being felt around the globe, most recently in the North American west coast where the hit is being felt by Canadians, Mexicans and US citizens alike. It is believed that an area of ocean as far as ten miles distant from the nuclear power plant was contaminated by the disaster in March of 2011.  With ocean tides and sea life which is by no means confined to only miles within the ocean, that contamination was easily spread.  It presents its most dangerous form in radioactive seafood and fish, which can be caught nearly.....

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Tender "Lonestar" rolls over in the Mouth of the Igushik River (fishery closed)

The Tender "Lonestar" has Capsized in the Mouth of the Igushik River 2:00 PM SUN JUNE 30, 2013 By MIKE MASON A large vessel, used to transport sockeye salmon from the fishing grounds to a processing facility, has capsized in the mouth of one of the major salmon producing rivers in Bristol Bay. KDLG’s Mike Mason has the details.... SUNDAY, JUNE 30, 2013 Trouble in Bristol Bay The Alaska Department of Fish and Game shut down the local setnet fishery after a salmon tender, the Lonestar, sank this morning in the mouth of the Igushik River....... Coast Guard responding to partially submerged vessel near Dillingham, Alaska Date: June 30, 2013 District 17 Public Affairs Detachment Kodiak KODIAK, Alaska — The Coast Guard is responding to the sinking of a fishing vessel near the mouth of the Igushik River, Sunday. The Coast Guard is de