Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Bristol Bay red king crab quota holds steady

The Bristol Bay red king crab quota for the 2015-16 season is a modest 9,974,000 pounds, the Department of Fish and Game announced.

That's roughly the same as last season's quota of 9,986,000 pounds.

The season opens at noon Oct. 15.

Monday, September 21, 2015


This year's Alaska Permanent Fund dividend amount is $2,072.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Are Alaska crab quotas headed for a fall?

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council's Crab Plan Team will meet all next week in Seattle, and a key document on the table will be this technical memorandum with the results of this year's Eastern Bering Sea bottom trawl survey.

Deckboss certainly didn't have time to read the full 172-page report, but he did manage to find these intriguing snippets regarding the two most important commercial species:

Bristol Bay red king crab
In 2015, an overall decrease in male red king crabs was observed compared to last year. (page 16)

Bering Sea snow crab
Mature male and female and pre-recruit-male abundance and biomass is substantially down from 2014, and below the previous 10-year average. However, an increase in juvenile abundance over the past 3 years provides hope for strong recruitment in upcoming years. (page 25)

A couple of tables within the report are certainly worth a look: Table 6 for red king crab (page 37) and Table 19 for snow crab (page 50). Each table indicates a big drop in "legal male" biomass in 2015 compared to 2014.

It won't be too long before fishery managers announce catch quotas for the upcoming crab fisheries, which open Oct. 15.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Regnart leaving as commercial fisheries director

Jeff Regnart is stepping down as the state's commercial fisheries director, effective Oct. 2.

That's according to a note sent on behalf of Commissioner Sam Cotten to Alaska Department of Fish and Game employees.

"Jeff has done an exceptional job serving the division, the department and the state in many capacities for over two decades," the note said. "We hate to see him go, but also understand that personal reasons will take him outside the state."

Regnart was appointed commercial fisheries director in February 2011 during the Parnell administration.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

State secures convictions against three trawlers, wins forfeiture of Pacific cod worth $106,326

From the Alaska State Troopers:

Location: Kagalaska Strait
Type: Commercial fish closed waters
On 2/24/15 Dutch Harbor Wildlife Troopers received information regarding three commercial trawl vessels that had fished within closed waters between 175 and 178 degrees W longitude in the Aleutian Islands area. The three vessels were the 296-foot Katie Ann operated by Daniel Skauge, of Oregon; the 102-foot Muir Milach operated by David Willmore, of Washington; and the 88-foot Aleutian Challenger operated by Michael Murdock, of Washington. Investigation revealed the three vessels made multiple tows with their trawls through state waters in violation of state regulations. A non-pelagic trawl used to harvest Pacific cod during the state waters A season may not be more than 60 feet in overall length. Skauge pled guilty to three counts of commercial fishing in closed waters, with a $6,000 fine and forfeiture of 6,989 pounds of cod. Willmore pled guilty to one count of commercial fishing in closed waters, with a $3,000 fine and forfeiture of 248,035 pounds of cod. Murdock pled guilty to one count of commercial fishing in closed waters, with a $3,000 fine and forfeiture of 138,767 pounds of cod. The approximate value of cod forfeited to the state was $106,326.

Editor's note: All three defendants entered their pleas on Aug. 25 in Unalaska District Court.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Icicle sale called off

The sale of Icicle Seafoods announced in June has fallen through.

Details in this press release.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Obama visits Dillingham today

Alaska Dispatch News is running a live blog to track the president's travels in Western Alaska.