This Week's Fish News

January 26, 2024

I missed a couple weeks and we have some catching up to do, so bear with me! 

In what seems like a rare nugget of good news these days, the Supreme Court said "hard pass" to the Dunleavy Administration's request to overturn the EPA’s veto of Pebble Mine. 

The commercial fishing vessel 'Alaska Rose' is presumed to have sunk after taking on water near Chiniak on Sunday. Three crew were rescued by a Good Samaritan vessel and one was lifted by a Coast Guard helicopter.

A recent opinion piece points out the contradictions in Alaska's debate over hatchery salmon, highlighting the successful coexistence of hatchery and wild stocks across the state.

Peter Pan Seafoods is keeping its King Cove plant closed this winter, opting not to buy cod, crab, and whitefish this season. Although the company hasn't announced plans to stay closed for the salmon season, fishermen are understandably nervous. 

On a related note, Kevin Bixler, CEO of Peter Pan Seafoods, has stepped down after just over one year on the job.

Brian O'Leary has been promoted to chief operating officer of OBI Seafoods.

Ray Melovidov was elected as the new president of the Central Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association, a Bering Sea CDQ group.

Alaska Native groups representing almost 100 tribes in Western Alaska have requested the Department of Commerce to make an emergency rule instituting a king salmon cap of zero for Alaska's pollock fleet.

Trident Seafoods has pulled out of the National Fisheries Institute, over disagreements regarding US imports of Russian seafood.

The Board of Fisheries put out a call for proposals for Southeast and Yakutat finfish and shellfish, PWS finfish and shellfish, and all other statewide shellfish for consideration in the 2024–25 meeting cycle. Deadline to submit is April 10

Trident Seafoods sold its shares in Japan-based salmon roe processor Niigata Reizo, a move which the company says is unrelated to restructuring efforts in Alaska. 

The Alaska Bycatch Advisory Council will meet January 30 and is expected to continue discussion on bycatch utilization measures. (This is the state advisory council).

The Wild Fish Conservancy, the same group behind the effort to shut down trollers in Southeast last season, filed a petition to list king salmon as an endangered species. The feds have 90 days to review and decide whether or not to accept the petition, which would kick off a yearlong review of salmon stocks statewide and could have far reaching affects on commercial fisheries. 

US Senators are seeking more clarity on NOAA fishery disaster determinations, requesting a tracking system that would allow stakeholders to track the process of the determination, among other things.

Last week's Alaska Fisheries Report: "At the Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting in Kodiak compromises are crushed, but gear gets an update for set net salmon fishermen." 

This week's Alaska Fisheries Report: "Theo Greenly’s extensive interview with Wesley Loy about the pollock TAC for KUCB, and Davis Hovey’s report on the end of the Kodiak Tanner crab season from KMXT."

This year, the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) will examine their policy on transferring limited entry permits, like salmon permits, to minors

Some U.S. politicians are supporting legislation put forward by Senator Murkowski that would exempt seasonal seafood processors from the annual cap on H-2B visas for temporary workers. 

Many of Alaska's harbors are in dire need of repair. Meanwhile, moorage and other user costs continue to rise.

The Homer City Council approved additional funding of nearly $290,000 for the feasibility study looking at Homer's harbor expansion.

new study from Oregon State University suggests that "Marine heat waves appear to trigger earlier reproduction, high mortality in early life stages and fewer surviving juvenile Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska," patterns which seem to persist even after heatwaves have passed.

Tribal groups are pleased to see three Alaska Natives on the NPFMC Advisory Panel, but note that the AP is non-voting and that the Council itself still lacks any Alaska Native representation.

AMSEA has plenty of upcoming drill conductor classes: Bellingham, WA on Feb 8-9; Westport, WA on Mar 7-8; Ilwaco, WA on Mar 22-23; and Seward on April 8-13.