Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Governor wants expanded fish board

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker today issued the following statement in defense of his choice for the Board of Fisheries.

Finding high-quality Alaskans to serve on the Board of Fisheries is critical, and that is why I was pleased to nominate Duncan Fields of Kodiak to fill the vacant seat on the board.

At the same time, Duncan's appointment underscores the constant struggle to achieve balance on the board. Not only is there an array of user groups — from commercial and sportfish to subsistence and personal use — there are also distinct regions which deserve representation when management issues are considered. It is not always possible to balance every need every year. This is why I believe the board should be expanded to include nine members. While I continue to support Duncan's appointment, I am working to promptly address the concern of balance between user groups.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

IPHC nominees

The National Marine Fisheries Service has announced the nominees for two U.S. seats on the International Pacific Halibut Commission.

Here's the list:

Linda Behnken (current member)
Bob Alverson (current member)
Stephen Joner
Richard Yamada
Andy Mezirow
Duane Edelman

"Nominees will be vetted by the Department of Commerce and Department of State and forwarded to the Office of the President for consideration for presidential appointments," NMFS said.

Calling for cod help

The state has sent a letter requesting a federal disaster declaration for the 2018 Pacific cod fishery in the Gulf of Alaska.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Fields appointed to Board of Fisheries

The governor has appointed Duncan Fields, of Kodiak, to the Alaska Board of Fisheries.

Fields has long been involved in fish politics and policy. He formerly served on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

The governor also has reappointed Orville Huntington, of Huslia, to the board.

Both appointments are subject to legislative confirmation.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Holding hands at Sitka

The Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery is known for aggressive skippers willing to grind hulls in pursuit of a big and rich haul.

But we won't see any combat this year.

That's because the fishery's 48 seine permit holders have notified the state that they have agreed to a "cooperative/equal split fishery."

This means the industry will harvest the herring using far fewer boats, splitting expenses and profits.

The co-op also is seen as something of a peace offering to Native subsistence interests at Sitka, who have long fought to restrict or eliminate the commercial harvest.

The herring fishery is expected to get underway later this month.

The state has issued guidelines and expectations for the cooperative fishery.

We've seen the Sitka herring fleet go co-op before, for various reasons.

The entire 2015 season ran as a co-op, and the fleet formed a co-op at the end of last season as a means of cleaning up the small amount of quota that remained.

Will Bristol Bay processors be ready for a big run?

The state has posted a summary of this year's Bristol Bay sockeye salmon processing capacity survey.

"Results of this survey indicate the 2018 Bristol Bay total intended purchases of 41.71 million fish is approximately 4.12 million fish (10 percent) higher than the forecast harvest of 37.59 million fish," the state says.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Election season for Bristol Bay drifters

The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association has a board election coming up, and several fishermen are competing for two seats.

Seat B — Alaska resident

Bronson Brito, F/V Sea Breeze
Tim Cook, F/V Dead Red
Matthew Hakala, F/V Jenny M
Abe Williams, F/V Crimson Fury (incumbent)

Seat E — Non-Alaska resident

Warren "Buck" Gibbons, F/V West Point (incumbent)
Michael "MJ" Jackson, F/V Kelley J

Candidate statements are posted here.

The BBRSDA represents Bristol Bay driftnet fishermen. They pay a tax on their salmon catches to fund the organization.

Mail ballots from permit holders will be counted after April 13.