Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Alaska NOAA Team Examines Dead Endangered Sperm Whale

"It was a rare find: a dead sperm whale washed up on a beach in Alaska’s famed Inside Passage in Southeast Alaska. Sperm whales, which are endangered, usually hang out in deeper, offshore waters. This one—a 48-foot long male—was found beached on the east side of Lynn Canal, north of Berners Bay near Juneau.

Johanna Vollenweider/NOAA.A team of marine mammal experts perform a necropsy on a male sperm whale.

This is the first time NOAA Fisheries has had a report of a dead sperm whale in the Inside Passage. Its discovery provided a unique opportunity for marine mammal experts from NOAA Fisheries, Alaska Department of Fish & Game, Sitka Stranding Network, and University of Alaska to perform a necropsy (or animal autopsy).

“This is an exceptional opportunity for a marine mammal biologist,” said Kate Savage, NOAA Fisheries lead veterinarian on the necropsy. “There are a lot of unknowns around sperm whale biology and life history in Alaskan waters, so we could learn a lot from this stranding.”


Saturday, April 6, 2019

ACA Support's Forrest Braden's Appointment to IPHC Management Strategy Advisory Board

The ACA submitted a letter of support to the IPHC on behalf of Forrest Braden, who is currently Executive Director of the Southeast Alaska Guides Organization. We have worked with Forrest for many years and fully support his appointment to the committee at the IPHC that reviews the science and strategy for Pacific halibut management.

In our letter to Dr. David Wilson, Executive Director of the IPHC, we wrote, "Mr. Braden has been a successful charter fishing captain for decades and has been active in the IPHC process as well as federal fishery management at the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. He serves on the board of the Southeast Alaska Guides Organization, and is currently their Executive Director. We’ve worked with him over the years and recognize him for his good judgement, professional approach and aptitude for data analysis. Mr. Braden has a rare understanding of the overall management of halibut for our industry. The IPHC will be well-served by his participation in the MSAB. The ACA wholly supports his application as the Alaska recreational representative on the MSAB."

HILLCORP Postpones Plans for Seismic Testing in Cook Inlet

In a brief message to stakeholders, Hillcorp spokesperson Jill Schaefer announced, "As you may be aware, Hilcorp has experienced delays in the permitting process, in part due to the government shutdown, required to begin our seismic survey this April.  We understand the waters of lower Cook Inlet are a shared resource.  Therefore our team has made the decision to delay the survey until after the height of fishing and tourist season.  We are actively engaged in discussions with our contractor to delay the survey.  Our commitment to keep the community’s interests and concerns at the forefront will continue as we work to revise our schedule and work plan."

Fishermen have expressed serious concerns about the seismic blasts and its affect on fish and fishing industries in Cook Inlet. Hillcorp previously announced that they would be conducting testing in the waters off the Kenai Peninsula during the middle of the salmon migration this year. Local charter captains expressed relief that the testing has been pushed back to a later date.

Richard Yamada Officially Re-Appointed to IPHC Through 2021

ACA President Richard Yamada has been appointed by President Donald Trump to complete the remainder of his temporary appointment to the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC). In the same press release, the White House also reappointed Yamada to serve an additional 2-year term, expiring December 21, 2021.

In the same press release, the White House announced the official re-appointment of Bob Alverson, the long-time representative of the West Coast commercial longline vessel owners, to complete his 3-year term, which expires December 12, 2019.

When Richard Yamada was appointed to the Commission last year, it was a temporary assignment to fill out an uncompleted term. His official appointment this year brings stability to the international body that sets catch limits in the management of the Pacific halibut fishery.