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#02-27-2014 - ComFish News Roundup

Alaska requests Endangered Species Act delisting for humpback whales
Yereth Rosen
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administratio...
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the U.S. logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
February 26, 2014
Humpback whales, once nearly wiped out in the North Pacific by commercial hunters, are now so plentiful in the Alaska-to-Hawaii migration corridor that they should be removed from the Endangered Species Act list, the state of Alaska argues in a petition to federal officials. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game said Wednesday it has submitted a delisting petition to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the federal agency that manages and protects the nation’s whales. The North Pacific humpback population was down to about 1,000 in 1966, the year that....

Chinook Fishermen to Get $20 million for 2012 Disaster
Matthew Smith Matthew F Smith, Digital Producer
POSTED: 10:16 AM AKST Feb 26, 2014
Yukon-Kuskowkim and Cook Inlet fishermen who suffered low Chinook salmon runs in 2012 are getting more than $20 million in federal relief. The Department of Commerce announced Wednesday that $20.8 million will come to Alaska for the fisheries failure. Alaska’s congressional delegation will work with the governor’s office to allocate the relief to affected groups throughout the state. The low returns of Chinook salmon resulted in a continuation of....
Pollock Fleet Holds Out for Fish Roe
By Lauren Rosenthal
Wednesday, February 26 2014
Walleye pollock is the Bering Sea’s biggest and most valuable fishery. But that doesn’t mean that the trawl fleet was ready and raring to go when the harvest opened in late January. KUCB's Lauren Rosenthal has more. In their first week of A season, fishermen brought in just 11,000 metric tons of pollock. That’s 75 percent less fish than last year. Krista Milani has been monitoring the catch for the National....

Fishermen Renew Call for Professional Fish Board
Posted: February 26, 2014 at 12:41 pm
Kenai Peninsula State Legislators described the recent Board of Fish decisions as unfair and inconsistent, leading to public push for a “professional” Fish Board. Three commercial fishing groups were featured during a two-hour Sound Off program this morning, calling for more biology and less politics in the process....

Hearing scheduled for setnet lawsuit 
Published: 2014.02.26 05:31 PM
Oral argument in the Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance’s appeal of the Lieutenant Governor’s decision not to certify its proposed ballot initiative is scheduled for April 22 in Anchorage. The alliance, or AFCA, wants to ask voters whether or not to ban setnets in urban parts of the state. If the initiative made it on to the ballot and passed, it would eliminate setnetters in Cook Inlet. Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell struck down the initiative in January based on a Department of Law opinion that declared it was a prohibited....

USCG’s Cold Bay Crews Conduct 5th Rescue In Two Weeks
By Jay Barrett, KMXT - Kodiak | February 26, 2014 - 5:47 pm
It’s been a very busy couple of weeks for Coast Guard rescue crews in Cold Bay. On Tuesday, they conducted their fifth medevac of crewmen from floating processors in the Bering Sea.....

2014 salmon season promising despite California drought
Peter Fimrite
Updated 6:35 am, Thursday, February 27, 2014
The celebrated king salmon of the West Coast won't be as abundant as last year, but ocean fishermen can still expect to reel them in by the score despite a third year of drought and potentially dire conditions in California rivers, fisheries biologists said Wednesday. The National Marine Fisheries Service predicted Wednesday that 634,650 fall-run chinook salmon from the Sacramento river system would be out in the ocean this year, a good sign for local commercial and recreational fishermen and women whose....

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Industry Lends Support to Commercial Vessel Discharges Reform Legislation
Legislation incorporated into the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014 now before Congress has gained substantial support from commercial fisheries groups from Florida to the Pacific Northwest. They are rallying around the Commercial Vessel Discharges Reform Act of 2013, introduced by Rep, Frank LoBiondo, R-NJ, which was incorporated into the legislation before the House in mid-February. The coalition said that without this legislation they would be exposed to yet...

Is Fukushima Radiation Poisoning California? Yes and No!
Posted: Feb 26, 2014 11:31 PM AST
Updated: Feb 26, 2014 11:31 PM AST
California - When Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant melted down after the powerful earthquake and tsunami in 2011, there were warnings all over the place. Many said the radiation from the world's worst nuclear accident would poison the pacific ocean, the U.S. and the world. Now, some people are using Geiger counters and saying they're finding radiation from Japan in California, but are those claims true? To find out, I went digging and investigated those claims. I didn't want to use government sources because many people don't trust them, but I didn't....

Massive offshore wind farms’ unexpected benefit: Hurricane protection
Wind speed, storm surge slashed when there are 10,000 turbines in storms' path.
by John Timmer - Feb 26 2014, 8:45am AST
At the recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Stanford researcher Mark Jacobson spoke in a session on renewable energy. Jacobson was in the session because he has developed roadmaps to convert the entire US to renewable energy, primarily wind, solar, hydroelectric, and wave/tidal. His detailed analysis includes looking at costs and benefits, including the obvious benefits to human health from the reduced pollution. But he spent one of his slides showing off a very unexpected benefit: the end of destructive hurricanes. We'll get back to his thoughts on energy in a full report, but today Stanford released a video.........

February 27, 2014
Fewer turtles stranded in 2013, NOAA reports
Gloucester Daily Times
GLOUCESTER (AP) — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says fewer sea turtles were stranded in the North Atlantic due to the cold this winter compared to a spike in strandings last year.....

BP fails to halt payments to fishermen
British oil major BP failed in its attempt to halt payments from a commercial fishermen's compensation fund, after alleging some of those named as suffering losses since the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill do not exist. ....

Ocean Summit begins with US proposal for a watchdog
Thursday, February 27, 2014, 04:20 (GMT + 9)
The proposal to create an international body within the UN governing the seas was the focus this Tuesday at the beginning of the Ocean Summit. In this international meeting, world leaders emphasized its fast degradation and increasing pressure to further exploit its resources.....

New Jersey Senators Defend Jones Act in Salt Shortage Crisis
New Jersey Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) have released a joint-statement today in defense of the Jones Act after it was wrongfully blamed for a shortage of road salt in New Jersey.....

World's first land-based-farm sockeye salmon ready for harvest in B.C.
B.C. seafood firm Willowfield Enterprises will begin harvesting next week the world’s first commercial supply of sockeye salmon raised on a land-based farm. The Langley fish farm expects to produce up to 500 kilograms of sockeye a week under the West Creek brand for wholesaler Albion Fisheries, according to company president......

Papp Delivers Final State of the Coast Guard Address
Posted by Eric HaunWednesday, February 26, 2014
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp delivered his final State of the Coast Guard address at Coast Guard Headquarters, St. Elizabeths Campus, Washington, D.C., Wednesday. Papp provided an overview of programs and issues of the last four years and also looked ahead to what......