Herring Gillnet Sac Roe 2011 Fishery Quotas Announced

ADFG announced the following quotas for herring gillnet sac roe fishery for 2011 today (Feb. 24, 2011).
Seymour GHL of 835 tons.
Hobart Bay/Port Houghton (Dist. 10) no fishery
Kah Shakes/Cat Island – no fishery
West Behm (Section 1-E) – The GHL has been revised to 1,276 tons. The West Behm Canal fishery by regulation requires a 2-1/4″ minimum mesh size. SEAFA submitted an emergency petition to the Board of Fish that will be considered at the current Cook Inlet Board of Fish meeting and the Dept will announce the Board’s decision during the first week of March.
ADFG expects the Southeast Alaska Sac Roe Herring Management Plan in March.

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Jeff Regnart Appointed Director of Commercial Fisheries Division

Feb. 17, 2011
Jeff Regnart was appointed as Director of the Division of Commercial Fisheries starting today. He was teh regional supervisor position within the Division of Commercial Fisheries, Central Region.

During his career, Regnart has held diverse and increasingly complex positions within the Dept, in addition to serving on numerous fishery panels and forums. In his recent position as regional supervisor for the central region, he was responsible for program administration and supervision of all management and research activities including those for Bristol Bay, Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound. Before being appointed regional supervisor in 2003, Regnart worked his way up from a Biologist I in 1990 to Biologist IV in 19998. He started his career with the Department as a fish and wildlife technician in 1984.

Regnart attained a BS in biology from Western Washington University and attended Humboldt State University where he completed his MS in fishery management.

Regnart will continue to work out of the Anchorage area.

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WEATHER SURVEY

AOOS, in partnership with the Marine Exchange of Alaska, is developing a program to stream weather and seas information through the AIS (Automated Identification System) used by many vessels. To ensure the program meets user needs, we are surveying the boating community on how to improve the dissemination of weather information to Alaska mariners. The survey takes about 10 minutes and asks about how people currently receive weather information on their vessels.

The survey is here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/marinerweathersurvey

More information about AOOS, as well as real-time ocean data and forecasts, can be found on our website www.aoos.org. A key part of our mission is to provide real-time conditions to mariners to improve marine safety. Please let me know if you have any questions, or have other ideas on how to circulate this survey to the broadest possible audience.

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SHRIMP TASK FORCE MEETING MATERIALS

     Here are the documents for the shrimp task force meeting on Tuesday February 8th, 2011 at 9:00 am to Noon.
     Task Force members and interested participants can attend teh meeting at the ADFG offices in Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Douglas, Haines and Sitka or by teleconference if you live in an outlying community. Please contact the SEAFA office if you need the teleconference number.
     Topics for discussion at this meeting will include: 1) a review of the department’s policy and procedures for setting seasonal GHL in shrimp fishing districts throughout the region, 2) a review of stock status information from department research surveys and from inseason fishery performance data and how these types of information compare, and 3) discussion of new regulatory proposals for the 2012 Alaska Board of Fisheries Southeast Alaska shellfish meeting in Petersburg.

NEW REVISED  STF Comparison of fishery based and survey data 2.7.11

STF Comparison of Fishery-based and Survey Data Utility 2.4.11

STF NR 020111 Shrimp TF Meeting 2.4.11

STF Shrimp GHL Memo for 2010 Season 2.4.11

STF Shrimp summary 2010 2.4.11

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IPHC Announces 2011 Halibut Catch Limits

The IPHC has now posted the results of their meeting on their website at http://www.iphc.int/

On Friday January 28th at the conclusion of the week long IPHC meeting and announced the following.
In area 2A 0.91
In area 2B 7.65 Remember the 2B catch limit includes all recreational removals.

In area 2C      2.33
In area 3A      14.36
In area 3 B       7.51
In area 4A       2.41
In area 4B       2.18
In area 4CDE   3.72

The Commission went with staff recommendations and the biology. Commissioners spoke to the economic hardship that they recognized the fishermen in area 2C will be facing.

The season opening date will be March 12th at 12:00 am and the closing date will be November 18th at 12 noon.

The Commission took the following action to keep the halibut charter sector to their GHL allocation by the adoption of a 37″ maximum size limit in IPHC regulatory area 2C (Southeast Alaska).  (equates to approx.  22 lb fish/ 17lb dressed fish)

Staff was directed to look at: 

A range of size limits for the commercial fishery:

To develop a regulatory proposal for  the use of jaw tags for accounting puposes; and

Have the bycatch project team led by the Commission chair and vice chair to look at the amount of bycatch, better understanding of impacts of bycatch, options to reduce the bycatch, and options to mitigate the effect of bycatch taken in one area to another area.

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More State Legislation Introduced

Several more bills introduced regarding fishery issues:
HB 99 introduced by Rep. Miller, Kawasaki, Kerttula is “An act relating to labeling of farmed fish and genetically modified fish.”

HB 100 introduced by Reps. Kawasaki, Miller & Kerttula is “An Act prohibiting growing or cultivating genetically modified fish in the state.”

HB 102 introduced by the House Rules Committee by the Request of the Governor is “An Act suspending the motor fuel tax.”

HJR 8 introduced by Kawasaki, Miller & Peggy Wilson is a resolution “Urging the United States Food and Drug Administration to deny an application to sell genetically engineered salmon in the United States; urging compliance with the provision of P.L. 110-85 (FDA Amendments Act of 2007) that requires the Commissioner of Food & Drugs to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service of the NOAA regarding a report on environmental risks associated with genetically engineered seafood products; and urging that product labeling requirements include the words “Genetically Modified” prominently displayed on the front of the package if the application is approved by the United States FDA.

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Sport Fishing Guide License Revoked and Jail imposed for Illegal Acts

On Jan 19th AK Dept of Public Safety issued a press release regarding Arthur Aho of Ninilchik, a halibut sport fishing guide who was sentenced to 90 days in jail, 80 suspended, a $5K fine, 40 hours community service and a prohibition for two years against purchasing a new sport fish guide license. He was previously convicted in 2006.

The press release stated,  “at the sentencing on Janaury 18, 2011, the State argued that sport fishing guides like Mr. Aho, who are given the privilege to make a living off of the resources of this state, act as stewards of the resource as opposed to violators of sport fish and game laws.  The people of the State of Alaska should not have to rely upon Troopers conducting covert activities to ensure that such guides comply with fish and game laws.”

Press Release http://www.dps.state.ak.us/PIO/press.aspx

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2nd Batch of Pre-Filed State Legislation

In the second batch of pre-filed bills only 2 pieces of legislation are fishery related.

HB 85 “An Act requiring the Department of Environmental Conservation to collect and make available to the public certain information relating to water pollution; prohibiting certain mixing zones in freshwater spawning waters; and requiring a public comment period for certain sewage system or treatment works modifications.” Rep. Seaton

HB 86 “An Act prohibiting mixing zones in freshwater spawning waters.” Rep Gara

The Governor submitted legislation on Jan 14th to suspend the motor fuel tax for 24 months.  He stated, “Alaskans are feeling the pinch of rising fuel costs when purchasing fuel for their vehicles, boats, snow machines and planes.  While suspending the motor fuel tax would provide a temporary reduction in the cost of motor fuel, action is necessary for long-term solutions to high energy costs.”  Suspending the $0.08 per gallon of state fuel tax will save Alaskans money at the pump.

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Alaska Lodge Guilty of Sale of Sport Fish

State of Alaska Dept of Public Safety issued a press release on Jan 13, 2011 stating that Doc Warner’s Lodge received a sentence today for feeding sport caught fish as part of the paid package during their stay. Employees admitted that fish fed to clients was sport caught by other clients and/or employees.

Press release: http://www.dps.state.ak.us/PIO/press.aspx

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Pre-filed State Legislation

Following below is a summary of legislation affecting commercial fishing or fish and game resources that was introduced in the first set of pre-filed legislation on January 7th. 104 bill were pre-filed.  In some instances we summarized the information and in other instances we used the language contained in the legislation.  You can access any legislation at http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/start.asp

HB 20 “An Act providing for a priority for a fishery that is restricted to residents when fishing restrictions are implemented to achieve a management goal.” Introduced by Representative Stoltze: AS 16.05.251 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: (j) except as provided by AS 16.05.258, when the harvest of a stock or species is limited to achieve a management goal, the Board of Fisheries shall place restrictions on all other fisheries before restricting personal use fisheries. In this subsection, “management goal” means the escapement or estimated population size of the exploited stock that provides the greatest potential for sustained yield as established by the board.

HB 59 “An Act relating to loans made to commercial fishermen under the Commercial Fishing Loan Act for product quality improvements and energy efficiency upgrades; and providing for an effective date.” Introduced by Representative Seaton: (l) For a new loan under AS 16.10.300 – 16.10.370 made on or after the effective date of this Act, the department may provide a reduction of the interest rate of not more than two percent if at least 50 percent of the loan proceeds are used by the borrower for product quality improvements or energy efficiency upgrades if the improvements or upgrades use products manufactured or produced in the state. When the department offers a reduction under this subsection, the department shall provide the reduction to all loan applicants who meet the criterion described in this subsection. In this subsection, “manufactured or produced” means a processing, developing, or making an item into a new item with a distinct character and use.

HB 60 “An Act relating to aquatic farm permitting involving geoducks and to geoduck seed transfers between certified hatcheries and aquatic farms.” Introduced by Representative Seaton: Section 1. AS 16.40.100 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: (g) The Commissioner may not use the absence of wild geoduck stock within a management area described in AS 16.40.145 as the reason for denial of an aquatic farm permit under this section. If, under this section, the commissioner issues a permit for an aquatic farm to culture geoducks in a management area that does not have wild geoduck stocks when the permit is issued, the permit may not allow operations for that purpose in the intertidal habitat or environment. Section 2. AS 16.40 is amended by adding a new section to read: Section 16.40.145 Geoduck seed transfer between a certified hatchery and an aquatic farm. Consistent with AS 16.40.140 (b)-(d), a hatchery certified under AS 16.40.100 may transfer geoduck seed to an aquatic farm located in a fisheries management area established under this title that is contiguous to the Gulf of Alaska.

SB 20 “An act relating to personal use fishing permits; and establishing the personal use fishery fund.” Introduced by Senator Wagoner: This legislation takes personal use fishing out of the current fishing and hunting license and instead would require a separate license. For personal use fishing; in lieu of a sport fishing license, each resident shall obtain a personal use fishing permit and pay a personal use fishing permit fee of $25 for each personal use fishery in which the resident participates during the year. The personal use fishery fund is established and shall be administered by Dept of Revenue. Notwithstanding AS 16.05.110(a), personal use fishing permit fees shall be deposited into the fund and may be appropriated for administrative and other costs incurred by the Dept. of Fish and Game as a result of personal use fisheries. Nothing in this subsection creates a dedicated fund.

SB 24 “An Act establishing the Sport Fishing Guide Services Board and licensing requirements for sport fishing guide-outfitters, sport fishing outfitters, sport fishing assistant guides, and sport fishing transporters; making conforming amendments; allowing the Department of Fish and Game to collect information on guiding services; and providing for an effective date.” Introduced by Senator McGuire: This legislation is 23 pages long and is the result of the State limited entry work group from several years ago that I served on as the lone commercial representative. It closely mimics the Guide Services Board for Hunting interests.

Other legislation – titles only
HB 8 “An Act relating to certain federal regulations and presidential executive orders; relating to the duties of the attorney general; and providing for an effective date.” Rep. Keller

HB 10 “An Act relating to the registration fee for noncommercial trailers and to the motor vehicle tax for trailers” Rep. Stoltze

HB 34 “An Act relating to eligibility to serve on state boards, commissions, and authorities.” Rep. Doogan

HJR 2 “Proposing amendments to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to a biennial state budget and to the duration of regular sessions of the legislature to accommodate a biennial state budget” Rep. Gatto

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