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#02-21-2014 - ComFish News Roundup

Stakeholders ponder protections under Gulf rationalization 
Published: 2014.02.20 12:04 PM
SEATTLE — Fisheries stakeholders gathered Feb. 10 to talk about community protections in the pending Gulf of Alaska rationalization program. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has asked for a discussion paper on how to provide bycatch management tools for the Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries, in particular through a rationalization program that ends the race for fish by...

Magnuson-Stevens Act revisions focus of fishers in 2014 
Published: 2014.02.20 12:01 PM
SEATTLE — Bycatch reporting, transparency and the role of the National Environmental Policy Act in fisheries management are among the proposed Magnuson-Stevens Act amendments the North Pacific Fishery Management Council scrutinized during its February meeting. The act, or MSA, is currently in the process of being reauthorized and amended. House and Senate committees have held hearings on the changes, and in December the House Natural Resources Committee released its draft version of possible new language in the bill. The Senate has not yet produced its version, but will likely do so this spring. The North Pacific council manages federal fisheries offshore from Alaska. The MSA, which....

AIDEA hears proposal for fishery quota loans 
Published: 2014.02.20 03:27 PM
The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority heard a presentation today on a proposal that would allow it to provide loans or loan guarantees on fishing quota purchases for certain entities. Anchorage-based asset management firm Pt Capital, which focuses on the Arctic, made the pitch to the authority, or AIDEA's, board of directors on behalf of three groups interested in such a program: the City of Seward, the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Community Development Association and the Association of Village Council Presidents. Those groups are looking for the amendments to legislation currently in the House and....

Parnell agrees to change controversial HB 77 
Published: 2014.02.20 12:08 PM
JUNEAU — Gov. Sean Parnell has agreed to substantial changes to House Bill 77, his controversial land and water management reform bill that was pulled off the Senate floor on the final day of the 2013 session in the face of growing public opposition. No written copy of the revised bill has been released, but changes disclosed by Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, including removal of the ban on in-stream flow applications by persons, elimination of the broad new authority granted to the commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources and limits on the applicability of....

GOA halibut bycatch limits tightened
Amended fishery management plan could potentially increase amount of halibut available in directed halibut fisheries
Posted 02/20/2014
by - Margaret Bauman
Federal fisheries officials said Feb. 19 they have implemented a plan to tighten limits on halibut bycatch that can be caught in commercial groundfish fisheries in the Gulf of Alaska. Amendment 95 to the fishery management plan is intended to minimize halibut bycatch in Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries to the extent practicable while preserving the potential for the full....

Pollock looks good as halibut bait
By Laine Welch
February 20, 2014
Bait is always a big expenditure for many fishing businesses and pollock could help cut costs for Alaska halibut longliners who fish in the Gulf. Researchers have tested pollock in two projects to see if it might replace pricier chum salmon as halibut bait. Fish biologists use over 300,000 pounds of chums in their stock surveys each year, costing nearly half a million dollars. The baits are used at more than 1,200 testing stations from Oregon to the Bering Sea. A pilot study three years ago in the central Gulf and off of British Columbia showed some promising signs for pollock. “We looked at several different baits – our standard chum salmon, pink salmon, pollock and herring. Pollock showed a very strong indication of both better catch rates and lower bycatch rates, so we were very excited about that,” said Bruce Leaman....

UFA wants legislature to put scallops back on the menu 
Published: 2014.02.20 11:51 AM
he United Fishermen of Alaska are trying to revive the legislative discussion in Juneau about the vessel-based scallop limited entry program as managers and participants prepare for the new open access state-waters fishery that will open July 1. In a Feb. 16 email, UFA Executive Director Julianne Curry wrote to members of the legislature that extending the limited entry program for scallops was a priority for UFA. Curry cited economic concerns for the fleet, and sustainability issues in the fisheries, as...
Parnell Adds $32 million for Susitna-Watana Hydro Project
POSTED: 11:35 AM AKST Feb 20, 2014
Gov. Sean Parnell has proposed an additional $32.7 million for the proposed Susitna-Watana hydro project. But the money is contingent upon the Alaska Energy Authority, or AEA, securing land access permits required for field studies and other work. AEA is the group pursuing the massive project between Anchorage and Fairbanks....

Alaska Fisheries Report
Feb. 20, 2014
Coming up this week, reaction is still coming in from the Alaska Board of Fisheries decisions made earlier this month in Anchorage, fines are levied for mishandling fish waste, and Alaska sockeye turns out to be....

Compass: Pebble threat to Bristol Bay salmon is real
February 19, 2014
Bristol Bay produces about half the world's wild sockeye salmon supply and the world's largest, most valuable, sustainable, wild salmon fishery; runs average 20-40 million. According to the University of Alaska's Institute for Social and Economic Research, Bristol Bay's commercial fishery in 2010 created $1.5 billion in U.S. output and 10,000 full-time-equivalent jobs. Alaskans own the majority (1,474) of fishing permits and in 2010, about 7,000 people fished while 5,000 processed salmon. Bristol Bay salmon sustain lucrative recreational fisheries and represent food security for....

2014 Board of Fish meeting: Cynical synopsis by inlet drifter
Posted: February 20, 2014 - 10:07am
By Frank Mullen
The Board of Fisheries has been meeting in Anchorage recently with their focus on Upper Cook Inlet fisheries management.  I was there for most of it, as I have been for nearly 40 years. Remember long ago when the Marlboro man advertised the benefits of smoking?  Many of you are too young for this one, but at one time in the recent past smoking was advertised as....

Buccaneer site comes up empty
Recent setback latest bump in rocky road for oil and gas producer
By Hannah Heimbuch
Feb 18th, 2014
Homer Tribune
After months of preparation and just a few short weeks of drilling, Buccaneer Energy Limited announced on Monday it is pulling out of natural gas exploration efforts at the West Eagle #1 site east of Homer. The drill project, which the Australia-based oil and gas producer initially called a promising prospect, reached 3,700 feet before the company ceased operations. According to a Buccaneer press release, operators found “excellent reservoir qualities” in the drill zone, but did not find evidence of the hydrocarbons they were targeting. Given that analysis, and the risk associated with continuing to drill...

In a warming world, Alaska's icy Bering Sea bucks the trend
Alex DeMarban
February 19, 2014
Like a wayward superstorm in a warming world comes this curveball of an observation: The frigid Bering Sea at the Arctic Ocean’s door has gotten colder and icier in recent decades. That’s according to scientists at the Alaska Climate Research Center who reviewed 33 years of sea ice records in the Bering Sea, the body of water between Russia and Alaska where the ice melts each spring and begins forming again in October.....

Alaska Dispatch
Oregon mining company says it can build northwest Arctic port for Alaska 
Yereth Rosen
February 20, 2014
Worried that the other nations are crushing the United States in the race for Arctic shipping and resource-extraction dominance because we have no deepwater port in northern Alaska? Never fear, Arctic-minded Alaskans. An Oregon mining entrepreneur says he has the answer.....

Judge rejects Oceana groundfish challenge
The government need not face claims that the amended New England fishery program leaves groundfish vulnerable to overfishing, a federal judge ruled....

Oceana Announces $3 Million Grant from Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
Leonardo DiCaprio during press
conference on "The Beach"
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Grant, from proceeds of 11th Hour Auction at Christie's, to protect sharks, marine animals, habitat in Pacific and Arctic
By Oceana
Published: Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014 - 8:06 am
WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2014 -- /PRNewswire/ -- Oceana, the largest international advocacy group to work on behalf of the world's oceans, announced a $3 million grant today from the Leonardo DiCaprio foundation aimed at protecting threatened ocean habitat and keystone marine species such as sharks. The foundation's grant will also support Oceana's work to advocate for responsible fishing measures, including the effort to ban California drift gillnets....

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#01-14-2014 - ComFish News Roundup

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