Wednesday, July 30, 2014

More backing for Begich

Another commercial fishing group, Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, is supporting the re-election bid of U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska.

Read the endorsement here.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

'We are saddened'

Cook Inlet fishermen respond to the court order on a proposed ballot initiative to ban setnets.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Parnell seeks salmon bailout

Alaska's salmon industry is stuck with a crushing inventory of pinks, and it would really, really help if the federal government would buy a bunch (again).

That's the upshot of this letter from Gov. Sean Parnell to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Anti-setnet initiative revived

A judge has issued an order reversing Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell's rejection of a proposed ballot initiative to ban commercial setnets in Cook Inlet and elsewhere.

It means Alaska voters could have a chance to vote on the ban, which supporters believe is necessary to protect king salmon.

Assistant Attorney General Lance Nelson tells Deckboss: "The state will go through its normal evaluation process before deciding whether to appeal the ruling."

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Troopers say six boats seized at Togiak

Alaska Wildlife Troopers say they seized six commercial drift gillnet boats recently after they were spotted fishing well outside the Togiak salmon district of Bristol Bay.

Troopers identified the six boats as the Five Gs, the Skammin, the Kalena Annielyse, the Good Deal, the Inuli and the Hammer Time.

A news release posted yesterday said troopers on July 8 conducted a patrol of the Kulukak Bay area after receiving reports of illegal fishing.

A trooper few the area in a Piper Super Cub and discovered multiple vessels operating gear one to two nautical miles outside the district, the news release said.

"The trooper photographed and documented the locations where boats were fishing, and was able to land on the water and interview one of the fishermen," the release said.

A few days later, troopers executed search warrants resulting in the seizure of the six boats.

Several people aboard the vessels were charged with commercial fishing in closed waters, a misdemeanor.

All those charged were said to be from Togiak. They include:

• Rodney Gosuk, 39, owner and permit holder on the Five Gs
• Anthony Poulsen, 46, owner and operator of the Skammin
• Norma Ayojiak, 44, permit holder on the Skammin
• Michael Poulsen, 21, crewmember on the Skammin
• Alvaro Sutton, 35, owner and permit holder on the Kalena Annielyse
• Kevin Harless, 52, owner and permit holder on the Good Deal
• William Byayuk, 22, owner and permit holder on the Inuli
• Leroy Fox, 54, owner and operator of the Hammer Time
• Will Fox, 18, permit holder on the Hammer Time

Most already have pled guilty and been sentenced in Dillingham District Court, troopers said. The troopers didn't specify what the sentences involve.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bristol Bay prices — a disappointment?

We now hear that one major Bristol Bay salmon processor, Alaska General Seafoods, is paying a base price of $1.20 per pound plus 15 cents for chilled fish.

Other major processors are apparently also paying $1.20.

That's the word from AIFMA, the Alaska Independent Fishermen's Marketing Association.

Most likely, this price will disappoint Bristol Bay fishermen. Coming into the season, many expected $2 per pound or more for sockeye.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Bristol Bay salmon surprise keeps growing

The Bristol Bay sockeye catch now stands at almost 27 million fish, or about 10 million more than state biologists expected for the season.

Daily production has held steady at around 1 million fish for the past week.

Of the bay's five fishing districts, the Naknek-Kvichak zone has been the star with a tally of more than 13 million sockeye.

Still no word on what processors intend to pay gillnetters for the fish.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A curious culinary note

During a recent trip, Deckboss perused his in-flight magazine and found an article that says: "More and more chefs are putting bycatch on the menu."

Crewman goes overboard, dies near King Cove

A crewman fell off the commercial fishing vessel Matt Michelle and died near King Cove, the Alaska State Troopers report.

Troopers said the U.S. Coast Guard notified them of the mishap shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday.

Here are further details from a press release:

Preliminary investigation revealed the vessel was occupied by two persons, the skipper and one crewmember. As the anchor was being retrieved a large swell hit the side of the vessel causing the victim to be thrown into the water. The skipper, identified as Raymond Leslie Koso Jr., 48, of King Cove, radioed a distress call as he attempted to rescue the victim from the sea. Koso deployed a life ring and other means but was unsuccessful as the current carried the victim farther from the vessel. Koso eventually managed to reach the victim with a long line and was able to tow him closer to shore. After donning a survival suit, Koso entered the water and pulled the victim ashore. Eventually, Koso was joined onshore by crewmembers of the fishing vessel Miss Roxanne, who responded to the distress call. Efforts to resuscitate the victim were unsuccessful. The body of the victim, identified as Rudy Paul Dushkin Jr., 53, of King Cove, was returned to King Cove aboard the Matt Michelle and efforts are under way for the body to be sent to the state medical examiner's office in Anchorage for further investigation. No personal floatation devices were worn at the time of the incident.

Monday, July 7, 2014

20 million and counting

The Bristol Bay sockeye salmon harvest has topped 20 million fish.

That's substantially more than state biologists had forecast for the season — fewer than 17 million.

The total could climb a good bit higher depending on how much strength remains in the sockeye run. Hundreds of boats continue to work the bay.

Follow the daily tally here.

For you trivia buffs, the record catch in Bristol Bay was 44.3 million sockeye in 1995.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Crew safe after seiner capsizes at Valdez

Details in this news release from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Shutting them down on the Yukon

State and federal officials yesterday took action to stop subsistence fishermen from abusing the rules to target Chinook salmon.

Read the details here.