Friday, May 31, 2019

Fourth dead gray whale to wash up in Alaska spotted on the Kenai Peninsula

Alaska Daily News: Tegan Hanlon, Madeline McGee
A gray whale has been found dead on the coast of the Kenai Peninsula near Clam Gulch, the fourth to wash up in Alaska so far this year.
A team of marine mammal biologists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration arrived Monday to conduct a necropsy on the whale, which was first spotted May 22 by a family fishing nearby for herring, said Julie Speegle, a spokeswoman for NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region.
The tide hasn’t yet abated enough to allow access to the whale, which Speegle said is only visible at low tide. Biologists believe it is a young male, she said.

As sea ice melts, fish are showing up farther north off Alaska. A federal fishing trip will investigate if they’re sticking around.

By Nat Herz, Alaska's Energy Desk

May 30, 2019

Last fall, Adem Boeckmann, a commercial fisherman who lives outside Nome, pulled up some of the pots he uses to fish for crab on the ocean floor.
“Had 10 24-inch cod in each pot,” Boeckmann said. “I never saw anything like that.”
Cod, which is used in fish sticks and fish and chips, is caught in huge numbers by commercial boats in the Bering Sea. But not near Nome – typically, the fish is caught hundreds of miles south. Historically, the ecosystem where Boeckmann fishes has been centered on the ocean floor, without big populations of large fish...  Read more at KTOO radio website.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Selling more seafood: Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee

Floats idea of national seafood marketing effort for US

By Chris Chase
May 2, 2019

Over 30 years ago, in 1986, the U.S. Fish and Seafood Promotion Act was enacted to do exactly what its title implies: Promote the consumption of the country's domestically harvested seafood by establishing Seafood Marketing Councils. 
Soon after U.S. Congress enacted it, a National Seafood Council was established in 1987. The council ran for five years, before desolving at the end of its funding cycle. While a few marketing efforts it pursued may have gained some attention – some still recall the “Sturgeon General” – a relatively low budget kept the council from ever realizing its potential. 
Now, a panel discussion at a Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee meeting has brought the concept of a national seafood marketing effort, funded by the industry and assisted through partnerships with the federal government, back. 
The concept of an industry-funded marketing service isn’t new, said Megan Davis, the MAFAC council member who has led the investigation into whether a national seafood board is feasible. Other similar food-related industries already have established marketing efforts.
“The agriculture marketing service is 100 percent supported by industry, and they have what they call 22 check-off programs,” Davis said. Those programs cover everything from dairy, to beef, to popcorn; are supported by industry funding; and have budgets of millions of dollars.
A similar program for the seafood industry, said Davis, seems like a welcome idea. She casually surveyed people at Seafood Expo North America in March and found a great deal of enthusiasm. 
“What I found is, after talking with 18 different marketing and promotion groups there, was this resounding yes, that they want this national marketing effort,” Davis said. 

Read More at Seafood Source.

June 6 Meeting in Sitka with IPHC staff & more

North Council staff and Kurt Iverson have arranged for a charter and recreational fishing meeting to be held in Sitka on Thursday, June 6 from 5:30 to 7:00pm.

The roundtable will be held in conjunction with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council's meeting in Sitka.

It will be on Thursday, June 6 from 5:00 to 7:30pm at Harrigan Centennial Hall, 330 Harbor Dr. We will be located in the combined Silver/Chum room, which is the same room used by the Council's Advisory Panel.

Council Member Andy Mezirow will be there, and so will ADFG staff.

The meeting will be informal. We will probably start by giving a quick overview of the Council process, including the annual setting of charter management measures. More than anything though, we want to provide an opportunity for sport fishermen and charter operators to ask questions, discuss their concerns, and identify any priorities.

Please spread the word.

Contact: Kurt Iverson,

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

North Council Tasks Staff to Discuss RQE Funding

Look for the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to explore options for increasing the allocation of halibut to the guided recreational angler sector. Here is the Council motion passed recently directing staff to nail down some alternatives and bring the Recreational Quota Entity (RQE) online:

 RQE Motion for Staff tasking

The Council directs staff to initiate a discussion paper to develop a mechanism for the Recreational Quota Entity (RQE) to fund the purchase of halibut quota share by selling halibut stamps to charter operators.  The discussion paper should examine requiring all charter operators to purchase an RQE halibut stamp from the RQE for each guided angler, each day, that they plan to harvest halibut on a charter vessel operating in IPHC regulatory areas 2C and 3A.  The discussion paper should:

  • Include examples of the design specifications and implementation of numbered stamps used to harvest animals or fish – King Salmon, Duck or Deer tags for example.

  • Inform the Council on the amount of revenue that could be generated by the sale of the stamps for guided halibut trips in regulatory areas 2C and 3A based on past participation. Consider 10 , 15, and 20 dollars per stamp. One day and three day stamps should be considered.

  • Describe the amount of potential fees collected by the RQE from charter operators, and how fees would be used to purchase halibut QS and would also be used to fund administrative costs of the RQE program and all other purposes as dictated by federal law

  • Describe a NMFS approval process for the design specifications of the stamps, and an annual financial review of the Stamps sold and other related RQE expenses.

  • Monitoring and enforcement provisions if all guided halibut fishermen are required to be in possession of a valid RQE Halibut Stamp when harvesting charter halibut.

From the Magnuson-Stevens Act:

  • SEC. 510. FEES.
  • 18  (a) IN GENERAL.—The North Pacific Fishery 
  • Management Council may recommend, and the Secretary of
     Commerce may approve, regulations necessary for the collection of fees from charter vessel operators who guide recreational anglers who harvest Pacific halibut in International Pacific Halibut Commission regulatory areas 2C
    and 3A as those terms are defined in part 300 of title
(b) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section all ref- 1  50, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor regulations).
  • 3  (b) USE OF FEES.—Any fees collected under this section shall be available, without appropriation or fiscal year limitation, for the purposes of financing administrative
    costs of the Recreational Quota Entity program; the purchase of halibut quota shares in International Pacific Halibut Commission regulatory areas 2C and 3A by the recreational quota entity authorized in part 679 of title 50,
     Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor regulations); halibut conservation and research; promotion of the
    halibut resource by the recreational quota entity authorized in part 679 of title 50, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor regulations)