Saturday, November 29, 2014


Deckboss hears reliably that the governor has appointed Frank Homan to the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission. Homan has served previously on the three-member commission, which issues fishing permits and vessel licenses.

We also hear Matt Luck, of Ketchum, Idaho, has resigned from the board of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Parnell appoints two to ASMI board

Outgoing Gov. Sean Parnell today named two people to the board of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

Here's the official announcement:

Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute board of directors

Gov. Parnell appointed Tomi Marsh and Allen Kimball to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute board of directors.

ASMI is a public-private partnership between the state and the Alaska seafood industry established to increase the economic value of our renewable seafood resources.

Marsh, of Ketchikan, has been commercial fishing since 1981 and has owned and operated the F/V Savage since 1990. She has fished crab in the Bering Sea and Pribilofs, longlined in the Aleutians and Gulf, and currently tenders salmon and the various dive fisheries in Southeast Alaska. Marsh is the co-author of "Fishes and Dishes," a popular seafood cookbook promoting Alaska's seafood. She is the president of OceansAlaska, Ketchikan and serves on ASMI's Shellfish Committee. She is appointed to a harvester seat.

Kimball, of Seattle, is executive vice president of international sales for Trident Seafoods, where he has worked since 1999. Prior to that, he was the operations manager for Arctic Alaska Fisheries Corp. and Tyson Seafoods Group, and a foreign fisheries observer with the National Marine Fisheries Service. Kimball received a bachelor's degree in zoology, with a fisheries management emphasis, from Brigham Young University. He is appointed to a large processor seat.

Cook Inlet pollock test fishery planned

The state plans to conduct a special fishery for walleye pollock in the Cook Inlet Management Area.

"The purpose of the test fishery is to determine the effectiveness of seine gear for catching pollock," says this announcement from the Department of Fish and Game.

The fishery will run from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28.

Who earns what from Bristol Bay sockeye?

Here's a new sockeye market analysis from the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association.

Of particular interest is the final section of the 42-page report, which compares fishing and processing revenue from sockeye.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Walker and fish

Bill Walker is relying on input from dozens of Alaskans as he prepares to assume the governor's office. See the full team here.

These are the members of the fisheries subcommittee:

Ragnar AlstromDebra Brown
Denby LloydBrian Gabriel
Mike SzymanskiRicky Gease
Carol Ann WoodyRoland Maw
Albert KookeshBill MacKay
Mary SattlerAlan Austerman
Jerry McCuneErin Harrington
Norm Van VactorLarry Engel
Robert HeyanoBruce Knowles
Russell NelsonMark Jensen
Murray TateLinda Behnken
Tim BristolMike Wood
Lindsey BloomGreg Indreland

Walker will be sworn in as governor on Monday.

He hasn't yet named his fish and game commissioner. Could that person come from the list above?

Salmon season tallies $577 million

This year's Alaska salmon harvest paid almost $577 million ex-vessel, a strong result but short of last year's total.

The salmon value is among highlights contained in this year in review presented at last week's Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle.

Check out the 13-page report for interesting notes by region on salmon, crab, herring and other fisheries.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Humble herring quota set for Sitka Sound

The Department of Fish and Game has set a preliminary guideline harvest level of 8,712 tons for the 2015 Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery.

It's the smallest GHL since 2003, when the quota was 6,969 tons.

This year's fishery produced a harvest of 16,976 tons on a GHL of 16,333 tons.

The 2015 GHL is subject to adjustment prior to the start of the spring fishery. More details in this official announcement.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fishermen's Finest to build advanced trawler

Fishermen's Finest Inc. is planning to build a highly advanced new factory trawler. That's an artist's rendering above.

The Kirkland, Washington, company last week signed a deal with Dakota Creek Industries Inc. to construct the vessel, to be named America's Finest.

Fishermen's Finest says the 262-foot trawler will be "the first carbon-neutral fishing vessel in the world and will fully utilize every fish caught."

The company already operates two factory trawlers, American No. 1 and U.S. Intrepid. Both were built in the late 1970s.

Fishermen's Finest is part of the so-called Amendment 80 fleet, which targets species such as yellowfin sole, cod and Pacific ocean perch in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Western Alaska mining company indicted

Details in this news release from the U.S. attorney's office.

Friday memorial set for UniSea's Terry Shaff

UniSea Inc., which operates a major processing plant at Dutch Harbor, has announced the passing of Terry Shaff, the company president.

A celebration of his life is set for Friday in Seattle. More details here.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Big Bristol Bay sockeye catch expected in 2015

State biologists are forecasting a hefty catch of 38.5 million sockeye salmon next year at Bristol Bay.

Last season's catch was 28.8 million sockeye, well above expectations.

Read the 2015 forecast here.

'Excellent' pink harvest predicted for Southeast

The state is forecasting an "excellent" harvest of 58 million pink salmon next year in Southeast Alaska.

A harvest of that size would be well above the recent 10-year average of 41 million pinks, and would rank among the top 10 harvests since 1960, the Department of Fish and Game says.

Read the forecast here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Former Westward supervisors draw jail time

A federal judge has sentenced two former Westward Seafoods supervisors to jail time in connection with an air pollution case at the company's Dutch Harbor plant.

Here's a lengthy news release from the U.S. attorney's office.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Big news from the shipping world

Matson is taking over Horizon's Alaska operations. Details here.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Silver Bay, StarKist sign investment deal

Tuna giant StarKist and its South Korean parent, Dongwon, are taking a 12.5 percent stake in Sitka-based salmon processor Silver Bay Seafoods.

Here's a press release issued today out of Seoul.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Federal suit challenges hired skippers rule

A lawsuit brought against the National Marine Fisheries Service challenges the new "hired skippers" rule in the halibut and sablefish fisheries.

The plaintiffs, Fairweather Fish Inc. and Ray Welsh, must be pretty serious, with six lawyers signing the 40-page complaint.

Welsh is claiming the new rule discriminates against him because of his disabilities.

The suit is pending in the federal court at Tacoma.

For background, here's an item published in Pacific Fishing magazine that explains the hired skippers rule:

The National Marine Fisheries Service on July 28 published a “final rule” to clamp down on the rising use of hired skippers to harvest halibut and sablefish quota. The two fisheries converted to catch shares beginning in 1995. One goal of regulators was to encourage owner onboard fisheries. However, progress toward this goal was slipping because some initial quota share recipients were acquiring more quota and using hired skippers to go catch it. Initial recipients hiring skippers nearly doubled in the halibut and sablefish fisheries between 1998 and 2009, federal data shows. The final rule, which takes effect Dec. 1, will prohibit using a hired skipper to harvest quota acquired after a cutoff date of Feb. 12, 2010. For holders of such quota, the alternatives include climbing aboard the boat and fishing it themselves, or selling the shares.