This Week's Fish News

December 9, 2022

Erik Velsko, a Bering Sea and Bristol Bay fisherman, Homer resident, and previous NPFMC AP member, wrote a knockout opinion piece on bycatch, MSA, and federal fisheries management policy. It's well written, he doesn't beat around the bush, he doesn't get lost in hyperbole, and he poses thought provoking questions. It's absolutely worth a read.

The NPFMC kicked off their December meetings this week, and will decide on a rebuilding plan for Bering Sea snow crab, which the trawlers are effectively exempted from, after the Council concluded that directed fishing and bycatch removals essentially have no impact on the return of the snow crab. Apparently, either they'll come back all on their own (if and when environmental factors improve) ... or they won't. 

The Council will also deliberate the emergency request to temporarily close two Bering Sea red king crab savings zones to all gear types, which the trawlers oppose and argue would have no immediate benefit. Jamie Goen, executive director of the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers association, wrote an opinion piece arguing the importance of that closure.

The recommendations issued by the Alaska Bycatch Review Task Force are far reaching, and would prove quite expensive. The Council will address this report at their current meeting.

Can your car run on crabs? A new study suggests that crab shells (chitin) may be a potential energy source for electric vehicles. Now if only the crabs would stop disappearing...

Remember when the EPA issued its Recommended Determination last week that, if finalized, would effectively veto Pebble Mine? Governor Dunleavy is now threatening to sue.

Planners in Sitka are trying to figure out just how how much boatyard they can build for $8 million and just how quickly they can build it.

A live event, "Boom and bust in the Bering Sea — and the fate of crab and sockeye in a warming world" will be held in Anchorage on Monday, December 12. If you can't make it, tune in virtually here.

The USCG reviewed and renewed the life raft exemption for qualifying Bristol Bay boats.

As a reminder, AMSEA has a few Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor workshops coming up this month and next: Dec. 9 in Sitka, Jan. 10-12 in Kenai, and Jan. 23 in Sitka.