Board of Fish Appointments

On Saturday, Governor Parnell announced the reappointment of John Jensen, commercial fisherman from Petersburg and Bill Brown, Juneau business owner of Taku Reel Repair. The Gov. appointed Sue Jeffrey to replace Mel Morris. Our thanks to Mel Morris for his years of service on the Board of Fish.
Jeffrey, of Kodiak, has served as a member of the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly since 2005 and has been the Borough Representative to the Kodiak Fishery Advisory Committee since 2007. She is a commercial salmon fisherman at a Kodiak family set net site, and a subsistence halibut and salmon fisherman. A former reporter and editor of the Kodiak Daily Mirror, Jeffrey has also written and edited a number of fisheries publications. A co-founder of the Kodiak Maritime Museum, she brings a wide variety of fisheries-related experience to the Board.

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Regional Planning Team

The agenda for the Regional Planning Team meeting was just released. They will be meeting in Juneau in the Hickel room of Centennial Hall on Wed. April 6th at 9:00 am.

The following items will be considered during the meeting:
1.) Par for NSRAA to increase permitted capacity of Medvejie Hatchery by 10 million chum salmon eggs, 2.) Par by Kake Native Fisheries Corp (KNFC to change permitted capacity of Gunnuk Creek Hatchery to 65 million chum salmon eggs and 20 million pink salmon eggs from their current permit which reads 65 million chum and/or pink salmon eggs of which no more than 20 million are pink salmon eggs. 3) PAR from KNFC to change permitted capacity of Gunnuk Creek Hatchery to 500,000 coho salmon eggs from 250,000 current permit. 4.) review most recent salmon enhancement allocation data.  In addition the RPT may discuss allocation proposals for the Board of Fish, a proposed transfer of Chinook Salmon eggs from Medvejie to Port Saint Nicholas Hatchery, the SSRAA coho salmon program and a draft basic management plan for Baranof Warm Springs Hatchery and other topics as brought forth.

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Governor Re-nominates Eric Olson for NPFMC

Gov. Parnell on March 16, 2011 nominated Eric Olson for consideration by the US Secretary of Commerce for continued service on the NPFMC. The Governor also named Ragnar Alstrom and Jack Schultheis as alternate nominees.

Eric Olson is finishing his second term on the Council and is the current chair. Olso was born and raised in rural Alaska, is a Bristol Bay Native Corporation shareholder, and is a lifelong commercial fishermen. He is the director of Offshore Fisheries for Yukon Delta Fisheries Developement Association.

Ragnar Alstrom, of Alakanuk, is the executive director of yukon Delta Fisheries Development Association as well as a commercial fisherman, having participated in salmon, halibut, crab and herring fisheries in the Yukon region. Alstrom also serves on the Yukon River Panel and the Bering Sea Fsiehremn’s Association board of directors, in addition to his former service on the NPFMC advisory panel from 1998-2002. He is a former mayor of the City of Alakanuk.

Jack Schultheis, of Emmonak, is the general manager of Kwik’pak Fisheries LLC. He has been involved in processing for 38 years, mostly in western Alaska fisheries, for companies such as 10th & M Seafoods, North Alaska Fisheries, Yukon Delta Fish Marketing Co-operative, ANPAC Fisheries, and Whitney-Fidalgo Seafoods. Schultheis is currently a member of the Alaska Seafood Marketin Institute Board of Directors.

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NOAA/NMFS News Release on SE Halibut Charter 2011 Regulations

Halibut Stock Decline Forces Increased Management Measures for Southeast Alaska Charter Fleet.

NOAA’s Fisheries Service today announced it is implementing the regulatory recommendations of the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) due to concerns over declining halibut stocks. These regulations include limiting the maximum size of a halibut caught by charter anglers in southeastern Alaska to 37 inches, and retaining the one-fish-per-person-per-day rule that began in 2009.

The halibut stock is declining due to reduced numbers of fish reaching a catchable size range, lower growth rates, and higher than target harvest rates. The stock remains at risk of further declines. Conservation of the halibut resource is the primary concern and management objective of the measures.

At its annual meeting in January, the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) recommended the maximum size rule for charter anglers in Area 2C off southeastern Alaska as a way to maintain charter harvests at the annual guideline harvest level of 788,000 pounds in 2011. The Southeast Alaska charter fleet has exceeded its harvest level every year since 2004.

The IPHC’s recommendation is based on the analysis and methods adopted by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. Because of particular concerns for impacts on small businesses in southeast Alaska, NOAA’s Fisheries Service intends to ask the council to review the methodology used to determine maximum size limits, including a 42-inch limit. If the council chooses to adopt a different limit than the IPHC has recommended, NOAA will go back to the IPHC to ask that they modify their recommendation to match that of the council.

“The declining halibut stock is impacting both charter and commercial halibut fishers all along the west coast from Washington State to Alaska,” said Alaska Fisheries regional administrator Dr. James Balsiger. “NOAA’s Fisheries Service is committed to working cooperatively with our international partners in Canada to jointly manage this important stock for the long-term benefit of both our countries.”

NOAA’s Fisheries Service has implemented numerous restrictions on the Area 2C charter fleet in an attempt to more closely align charter harvest with the limit, but those measures have been insufficient. Even with the one fish bag limit in 2010, charter halibut operators exceeded their harvest limit by 491,000 pounds, or 62 percent. Each year that the charter fleet exceeds its harvest limit, it leads to a lower fixed quota for the commercial fishery the following year. The commercial catch limit in area 2C is 73 percent lower in 2011 than it was in 2003.

The purpose of the rule is to allow charter halibut fishermen to continue their operations while staying within the harvest limit, and minimizing adverse effects on the charter fishery, its sport fishing clients, and the coastal communities that serve as home ports for the fishery. Allowing halibut to rebuild will best serve the economic interests of both the charter and commercial fisheries over the long term.

The harvest limit was adopted by the NPFMC and implemented by NOAA Fisheries in 2003. It is expected to be replaced by a catch sharing plan in 2012, which would establish management measures designed to prevent overharvesting of the halibut resource and result in a sustainable fishery.

For more information: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/halibut/sport.htm

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Spring Troll Meeting Schedule

ADFG will be holding their yearly spring commercial troll public meetings. Meeting topics will include, but are not limited to, plans for the 2011 spring and summer troll fisheries, a review of the 2010 troll season, the upcoming Board of Fisheries Meeting, and the Pacific Salmon Treaty. Anyone with an interest in the troll fishery is welcome to attend.

Ketchikan      Mon.  April 4     Fish and Game Conference Room     6:30 pm
Craig                Tues. April 5      Craig City Hall                                          11:00 am
Petersburg    Wed. April 6     Fish & Game Conference Room          12:30 pm
Wrangell        Wed. April 6      Wrangell Fire Hall                                     7:00 pm
Juneau            Thurs. April 7  ADFG Headquarters Conference Room    6:00 pm
Pelican            Mon.  April 11  Pelican City Hall                                        10:00 am
Hoonah          Mon April 11     US Forest Service Office                          1:00 pm
Yakutat         Tues April 12     Yakutat School Auditorium                  2:00 pm
Sitka               Thurs. April 14  NSRAA Conference Room                      6:30 pm

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2011 Statewide Commercial Salmon Forecast

The Statewide forecast for 2011 is estimated to total 203 million salmon of all species. This would be the fifth largest total harvest, and fourth highest pink salmon harvest, since Alaska became a state adn took over the management of its fisheries in 1960. All major pink salmon producing areas are expected to produce abundant harvests. Statewide sockeye and chum salmon are also expected to generate excellent harvests, with chum salmon predicted to provide the fifth largest harvest since 1960.

the Statewide Chinook forecast is not yet available, because the Southeast harvest quota is set under the terms of the Pacific Salmon Treaty and won’t be released until late March or early April.

The 2011 harvest forecasts for the other four salmon species are 45.1 million sockeye salmon, 4.7 million coho salmon; 133.7 million pink salmon and 19.2 million chum salmon.

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FAQ’s Regarding the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act

The Coast Guard has developed a set of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the safety provisions in the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act. Click on the link below for the 4 page document.

FV SAFETY FAQ USCG Auth Act 2010

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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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