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#01-05-2014 - ComFish News Roundup

Fish Factor
In Deep Winter Alaska’s Largest Fisheries Get Underway
English: Hall Island, Bering Sea, Alaska
Hall Island, Bering Sea, Alaska (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
January 04, 2014
(SitNews) - Salmon will always be the heart of Alaska’s fisheries. That’s why many people think of summer as “the fishing season.” But that’s not the case. The deep of winter is when Alaska’s largest fisheries get underway each year. On January first, hundreds of boats with hook and line gear or big pots will begin plying the waters of the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska for Pacific cod, rockfish and other groundfish. Then on January 20th trawlers take to the seas to target Alaska pollock, the world’s largest food fishery with harvests near three billion pounds. Crab boats out on the water for golden kings along the Aleutians and snow crab in the Bering Sea, Alaska’s largest crab fishery. Early March sees the start of the eight month long halibut and sablefish seasons. March also marks the...

Scientists focus on harbor seals as 'samplers of the environment'
By Cat Ferguson
Santa Cruz Sentinel
POSTED:   01/04/2014 06:11:58 PM PST
MOSS LANDING -- From basking sea lions to surfacing whales, no vacation to the Central Coast is complete without a sighting of a marine mammal. But holiday snapshots are not the only pictures the charismatic ocean dwellers have to offer. Scientists are increasingly finding ocean mammals are valuable sources of information about diseases and toxins found in coastal waters. The most recent research has focused on harbor seals, who live from birth to death just off shore. "I view them as samplers for the environment," said Stephanie Hughes, a recent graduate of the Moss Landing Marine Labs and....

Originally published Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 4:02 PM
Discussions under way about a possible smelt season this year
Any chance to harvest smelt would be on a limited basis
By Mark Yuasa
Seattle Times staff reporter
There was a time when millions of migrating Pacific smelt would jam the Lower Columbia River en route to tributaries, while thousands of sport dip-netters lined the shores to catch them by the bucket loads. By the late 1990s, these small silver-colored fish started falling off the map, and fisheries dwindled to the point where National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) listed them as threatened under...