Sunday, July 24, 2016

Standing up for dipnetters

State Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, last week sent this letter urging the Department of Fish and Game to curtail Cook Inlet commercial fishing to free up more salmon for dipnetters.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Bristol Bay bounty

Gillnetters have had a big year at Bristol Bay.

The sockeye catch stands at 35.9 million fish, with the season now grinding to its conclusion. That's well above the state's preseason harvest forecast of 29.5 million.

Even better, the major processors have posted a base price to fishermen of 75 cents a pound, up from last year's disappointing 50 cents.

The Naknek-Kvichak District has been the most productive of the bay's five fishing zones with a catch of more than 13 million sockeye.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Salmon notes

Here are a few notes on Alaska's commercial salmon season thus far.

• The Bristol Bay harvest stands just shy of 5 million sockeye, and the daily catch topped 1 million fish for the first time on Saturday. The state has forecast a catch of 29.5 million sockeye this year.

• Farther north, the relatively new processing plant at Platinum is closed this season, leaving Kuskokwim fishermen without a buyer. Coastal Villages Region Fund provided this internal memo explaining the closure.

• The general summer troll season started Friday in Southeast Alaska. Trollers are targeting 122,000 treaty Chinook in the first opening.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Atka tragedy

On June 14, a terrible event occurred on remote Atka Island when a van carrying workers from the Atka Pride Seafoods plant rolled over, killing three and injuring several others.

The driver of the van has since been charged with manslaughter, DUI and other offenses.

Deckboss obtained the charging documents, which describe the tragedy.

Atka Pride Seafoods is a subsidiary of Juneau-based Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Laukitis, Peterson confirmed for council

The federal government has approved Alaska Gov. Bill Walker's choices for the North Pacific Fishery Management Council:

Michael "Buck" Laukitis, of Homer
Theresa A. Peterson, of Kodiak

Laukitis and Peterson replace David Long, of Wasilla, and Duncan Fields, of Kodiak, on the council.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Coast Guard keeps busy

A crewman aboard the 79-foot fishing vessel Pacific Star needed a helicopter medevac Saturday after deck rigging struck him in the head, the U.S. Coast Guard reports.

The Coast Guard isn't naming the 26-year-old crewman, who was hoisted off the boat some 74 miles southeast of the city of Kodiak. Here's video of the rescue.

On Friday, a Coast Guard helicopter rescued two fishermen from the disabled 26-foot gillnetter Sunrise southwest of Cordova. Again, we have video.

The rest of the story

Last week came word that Jeff Kauffman, of Wasilla, had resigned from the International Pacific Halibut Commission and that the Obama administration had appointed Linda Behnken, of Sitka, to replace him.

So why would Kauffman resign?

Well, it seems he was involved in a halibut fishing violation.

The boat named in the case, the F/V Saint Peter, belongs to the Central Bering Sea Fishermen's Association, one of Alaska's community development quota companies.

In its most recent annual report, CBSFA lists Kauffman as a company executive with a salary of $126,951.

Federal enforcement officials initially assessed a civil penalty of $61,781 in the Saint Peter case, which settled for $49,000.