Friday, September 30, 2022

Russian fish pirate?

A U.S. Coast Guard enforcement report to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council includes this:

Following an increase of foreign fishing vessel activity in the vicinity of the U.S.-Russia Maritime Boundary Line earlier in May, the Russian F/V Ikhtiolog committed a total of nine incursions into the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone between May 31 and June 3. Based on the vessel's course, speed and duration inside the U.S. EEZ, it was assessed that this vessel was fishing in U.S. waters. As a result, the U.S. Coast Guard increased surface and air presence along the MBL to deter future incursions, including several C-130 flights and the Coast Guard cutter Bertholf patrolling the MBL and issuing the vessel warnings over VHF radio. The Russian Border Guard investigated our report and fined the owner of the vessel for failing to notify the Russian Federation of an MBL crossing. Since these incursions by F/V Ikhtiolog, the Coast Guard has not detected any other incursions along the U.S.-Russia MBL.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

IPHC update

Jon Kurland is the new U.S. government commissioner on the International Pacific Halibut Commission.

Kurland heads the National Marine Fisheries Service in Alaska.

He fills the IPHC seat previously occupied by Glenn Merrill, who was a high-ranking official in the NMFS Alaska office before leaving for the private sector.

Public notice

Federal officials recently issued the following:

Public notice of fraudulent permit website

NOAA Fisheries is issuing a public notice because it has come to our attention that there is a fraudulent website claiming that it processes both state and federal fishing permits. The fraudulent website is Please do not use this website to apply for a state or federal fishing permit.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Chinese, Russian naval vessels in the Bering

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

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Marine sanctuary opposition

The city of Unalaska will fight a proposed Pribilof marine sanctuary.

A city memo says "the city's federal lobbyists have been directed to begin work on a strategy for aiding the city and its trilateral partners to advocate against the marine sanctuary. As proposed, a 100-mile boundary would surround the Pribilof Islands (possibly more) and would negatively impact processing communities in Alaska."

Friday, September 23, 2022

Bristol Bay's super season

This season's commercial harvest of 60.1 million sockeye at Bristol Bay was the largest on record, 36 percent greater than the previous record of 44.3 million set in 1995, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports in this season summary.

The sockeye paid an average ex-vessel price of $1.15 per pound, for a preliminary total harvest value of $351.1 million.

The sockeye remained on the small side at an average weight of 5.1 pounds.

A bigger council?

Alaska's new congresswoman, Democrat Mary Peltola, is proposing an expansion of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

The council currently has 11 voting members, including three from Washington state, one from Oregon, and the rest from Alaska.

Peltola this week offered an amendment calling for "adding two additional Alaska Native tribal seats" to the council.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Sounding the alarm

A proposed rewrite of the Magnuson-Stevens Act could unleash "chaos" in the U.S. fishing industry, including fishery shutdowns, rampant litigation, job losses, and higher consumer seafood prices, warns a national coalition of seafood interests.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Mary Peltola's fish man

Deckboss hears reliably that Tyson Fick will be fisheries aide to Alaska's newly installed U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola.

Fick is a familiar name in the fishing industry, having worked as communications director for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and as executive director of Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers.

In recent years, he's fished commercially.

He was a Peltola supporter on Facebook, posting on Sept. 1 after her election: "Mary is one of my absolute favorite people."

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Canada's salmon unrest

This parliamentary petition demands a renegotiation of the Pacific Salmon Treaty to address "interceptions" of Canadian salmon in Alaska fisheries.

BBRSDA's new board member

Peter Andrew has been appointed to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board of directors, filling an Alaska resident seat recently vacated by George Wilson.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

A change in Oregon's council seat

Steve Williams will now represent Oregon on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, replacing Steve Marx.

The council, based in Anchorage, helps regulate federal fisheries off Alaska. It has 11 voting members from Alaska, Washington and Oregon, with Oregon holding only one seat.

Mary Peltola sworn in as Alaska's U.S. rep

Here's her congressional website.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Are you catching seabirds?

A recent press release from the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership says an independent audit identified "high potential bycatch risks" in fisheries supplying seafood to UK retailing giant Tesco.

Among the flagged fisheries:

Alaskan salmon set/drift gillnet fisheries pose a significant risk to seabirds.

"Tesco is ... working with suppliers who use gillnets to investigate their potential removal and where removal is currently unfeasible, introduce mitigation measures into those fisheries as soon as possible," the press release says.

This has Deckboss wondering: Does Alaska salmon gillnetting really have a seabird bycatch problem?

Friday, September 9, 2022

A blow to state fisheries management

A federal appeals court has ruled that Metlakatla tribal members may fish commercially in waters off their Southeast Alaska reservation — specifically, in districts 1 and 2 — and they don't need a state permit to do so.

This startling court opinion would seem to knock a serious hole in the state's fishery management authority, in particular the limited entry program.

A death in the Aleutians investigated

From the Alaska State Troopers:

Location: Aleutian Islands
Type: Deceased person
On 9/7/22 at approximately 1445 hours, Alaska State Troopers received a report of human remains and a survival raft found on a beach at the west end of one of the Aleutian Islands. Investigation is ongoing. The specific information on the island and location is being withheld pending investigation.

More personnel news

The Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission has brought aboard Alysha Guthrie as executive director.

Guthrie's prior work experience includes a hitch at the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

A significant CDQ hire

Michael Link is the new president and CEO of Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp., one of Alaska's six community development quota companies.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

'Frustrated fishermen'

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game, in a Friday update on the salmon fisheries, reported this from the Taku-Snettisham area near Juneau:

The story we heard on the grounds was of periods of terrible weather hampering effort and large numbers of seals working the nets of frustrated fishermen.

Friday, September 2, 2022

The continuing crab crash

The situation with Alaska crab remains dismal, according to preliminary survey results the National Marine Fisheries Service posted today.

Male and female populations of Bristol Bay red king crab "remain low across all size classes," the agency says.

And survey estimates for mature male and female Bering Sea snow crab are even lower than in 2021.

The results suggest the red king crab fishery will remain closed this season, and the snow crab fishery, which opened with a small quota last season, might be shuttered as well.

The outlook isn't entirely bleak.

"The positive news is that we saw a significant increase in immature snow crab abundance, both males and females. Depending on how many of these young crabs actually survive to adulthood, this could be one bright spot for the fishing industry in a few years," said Mike Litzow, survey lead and director of the agency's Kodiak Laboratory.