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#01-18-2014 - ComFish News Roundup

Sunrise in the Gulf of Alaska
Sunrise in the Gulf of Alaska (Photo credit: Scott SM)
Halibut fishermen face another year of cuts
Published: 2014.01.17 10:43 AM
SEATTLE – Halibut fishing in the Pacific Ocean will open March 8 for most regulatory areas, with a coastwide catch of about 27.515 million pounds from Northern California to the Bering Sea. The International Pacific Halibut Commission wrapped up its annual meeting in Seattle...
Federal fishery law changes leave fishing communities vulnerable
Darren Platt
January 17, 2014
OPINION: On behalf of families and communities that depend on fishing, many of them in Alaska, national lawmakers in both parties should be able to effectively address, the re-authorization of the Magnuson Stevens Act, the federal law dictating how US fisheries are managed. During this era of great dysfunction, Washington, D.C., has become paralyzed by increasingly powerful special interest influence, partisan bickering, and in-party disputes. In a time when the country is in need of great reform, the population is stuck with two impotent parties seemingly incapable of drafting meaningful laws. Recently, Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray held a press conference to celebrate the passing of a congressional budget, as if such a feat should be considered a great accomplishment despite the fact that this is simply part of their job and should be expected of them. Those laws that the parties have been able to push through, such as the Affordable Care Act, are poorly conceived and corrupted by special interests. Health care reform may just be too ambitious and contentious of an issue to tackle during this seemingly endless run of ineffectiveness on Capitol Hill. However, there are issues that both parties should be able to effectively address, despite ideological disparities. One of these is the re-authorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the....

2:31 PM FRI JANUARY 17, 2014
Bristol Bay Commercial Fishing Groups Praise the Findings in the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment
A couple of groups that represent large numbers of Bristol Bay commercial fishermen are praising the findings in the new Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment. KDLG’s Mike Mason has the story.....

Johnson Proposing Harvest Module Permit
Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:18 pm
A new development in fisheries may get Board approval next month after Brent Johnson, a Clam Gulch commercial fisherman, submitted a proposal to allow Selective Harvest Modules to be used in Cook Inlet....

Council Takes Stand Against Fish Board Proposals
Aaron Selbig
Friday, January 17, 2014
 A set of five proposals before the Alaska Board of Fisheries has stirred up some controversy between Cook Inlet commercial fisherman and Mat-Su Valley sport fishermen. Officials with the City of Homer decided this week to official take sides. The Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting is still a couple of weeks away but the war of words is heating up. Frank Mullen was one of a handful of Cook Inlet drift fishermen who testified before the Homer City Council Monday night. Mullen has been fishing Cook Inlet for 50 years. He says....

USDA To Purchase $20M of Alaska Pink Salmon for Food Banks
Chris Klint Chris Klint, Senior Digital Producer
POSTED: 12:36 PM AKST Jan 17, 2014    UPDATED: 03:41 PM AKST Jan 17, 2014
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will purchase $20 million in canned Alaska pink salmon for nationwide distribution to hungry Americans, with a suggestion from Sen. Lisa Murkowski playing a part in the decision. According to a Friday statement from Murkowski’s office, the purchase follows $126 million in produce acquired last week by USDA’s The Emergency Food Action Program. The Alaska Republican was the lead GOP signer of a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack from a bipartisan group of more than....

US, Russia Drafting Voluntary Bering Strait Passage Regulations
By Anna Rose MacArthur, KNOM - Nome | January 17, 2014 - 5:03 pm
Vessel traffic is increasing through the Bering Strait, and no regulations exist to monitor that movement. The United States Coast Guard wants to change that. No country owns the Bering Strait waters, and no international law manages vehicle movement through the passage. As ice melts and traffic increases, this absence of regulation creates hazardous conditions for vessels. United States Coast Guard Admiral Thomas Ostebo says the growing risk is his primary concern for the Arctic. “There is no traffic light. There’s no traffic lane. There’s no northbound on this side, southbound over on this side reporting in requirements at all for going through the Bering Strait,” Ostebo said. With no standard routing or.....

(Photo credit: U.S. Missile Defense Agency)
Kodiak Launch Complex puts dock project on hold
Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2014 8:34 am
Associated Press
KODIAK, Alaska - The Alaska Aerospace Corp. has put a new barge dock project in Pasagshak on hold after it failed to receive a federal grant. The corporation sought a construction grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. However, the only Alaska project to receive DOT funding in the program was for street improvements in Alakanuk, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported....

2:14 PM FRI JANUARY 17, 2014
Defendants in Lone Star Lawsuit Seek To Move Case to Federal Court in Anchorage
If the case goes to federal court, an eventual jury trial to fault and damages over the Lone Star would be in Anchorage, not Dillingham. Two of the defendants sued by Manokotak fishermen after the sunken tender Lone Star ruined their season are attempting to have the case moved out of 3rd Judicial District Court. KDLG's Dave Bendinger has more.....

New science released on how human-made sounds impact marine mammals
By Lisa Phu
Posted on January 16, 2014 at 8:44 pm
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is asking for public comment on guidelines updating the effects of human-made sounds on marine mammals. Marine mammals rely on their sense of sound for survival. “They use it for feeding, locating mates, and just generally understanding what’s going on in the world around them,” says NOAA fisheries biologist Amy Scholik-Schlomer, who is also an acoustic specialist. She says the guidelines update the levels at which human-made sounds affect marine mammals temporarily and permanently. NOAA calls these threshold shifts. A marine mammal....

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