Critical Habitat Areas Proposed for Beluga Whales

NOAA has proposed critical habitat areas in Cook Inlet for Beluga Whales which were listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in Oct of 2008.  In the formal review of the Cook Inlet Beluga Whales, NOAA Fisheries Service estimated a 26% chance that these whales will become extinct in the next 100 years.  The area being proposed would designate 3,016 square miles including the upper portions of Cook Inlet, where whales concentrate in the summer months, mid-Cook Inlet, the western shore of lower Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay on the eastern side of the lower inlet.  Comments on the proposed area is being accepted through January 31, 2010. 

More information on the comment period and area being proposed can be viewed on NMFS website at: 

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Cod Farming? reported this morning that market analysts in the UK believe it is too late for cod farming as it was based on the presumption that there was a shortage of cod but wild stocks are now rebounding. The only possibility is to rebrand farmed cod into a new product

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Halibut Charter Decision issued by Judge

Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled in favor of sound fishery management  and upheld the one halibut per day for charter clients rule issued by NMFS.  The text of the electronic notice is below and we will post more information as it becomes available. 

ORDER denying [17] Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment; granting [19] Intervenors’ Motion for Summary Judgment; granting [20] Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment; and granting [22] Intervenors’ Motion for Summary Judgment. This case is dismissed and closed. Signed by Judge Rosemary M. Collyer on 11/23/09

Halibut Decision 11.23.09

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Gillnet Task Force Agenda 2009

Southeast Alaska Drift Gillnet Task Force Agenda
Ted Ferry Center, Ketchikan, Alaska
December 7, 2009, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

A.     Introduction of meeting participants, distribute meeting materials, and review agenda 

B.  Review of 2009 season and 2010 season outlook

C.  Hatchery Operators Summaries and Forecast

D.  Discussion Issues

  1. McDonald Lake (stock of concern) update.
  2. Are there other potential stocks of concern?
  3. Mid-week fishing opportunity in District 8 during July and PST considerations.
  4. Potential for additional fishing time in Section 15-C, postage stamp and options for achieving Chilkoot escapement goal.
  5. Provisions for back planting sockeye into Speel River.
  6. Was there foregone chum salmon harvest or deadloss at Deep Inlet?  Was broodstock collection adequate?  
  7. Review  Hawk Inlet seine interception of sockeye returning to Districts 11 & 15.
  8. Review of SSRAA and NSRAA permitted capacities and current production levels.  Are there unutilized or underutilized return locations?

F.  Future Task Force Meetings

G.  Adjourn (on or before 4:00 p.m.)

Gillnet TF Agenda 2009 

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Seine Task Force Meeting Agenda

(Summary)  see attachement below for whole agenda

Southeast Alaska Purse Seine Task Force Agenda
 Ted Ferry Center, Ketchikan, Alaska
December 8, 2009, 8:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

I.          Call meeting to order and introductions – Introduce participants, distribute handouts, and review agenda. 
II.                Review of 2009 season and Preview of 2010 season.
III.       Review Hatchery harvests, forecasts, and plans
IV.              Federal Subsistence
IV.       Discussion of issues identified by Task Force Members.
1)      Plans for 2010: set a start date and review peak season fishing criteria and plan
2)      Review the procedure and considerations for ending the season
3)      Accuracy of fish ticket weights and statistical area reporting
4)      News Releases: review distribution, confidentiality policy, information included
a.       Boat count, double reporting
b.       Should we always consider confidentiality of processors when reporting
5)      Update on status of stocks of interest, and associated concerns
a.       McDonald Lake sockeye
b.       Hugh Smith Lake sockeye
c.       Taku River sockeye
d.       Kanalku Lake sockeye–Ben Van Alen
e.       Other stocks
6)      USFS Harris River habitat rehabilitation project – USFS – Sheila Jacobson
7)      Enforcement Issues:  HFH lines
8)      Review of reasons for different north-south opening duration during late July
V.                 Summary of recommendations, agreements and consensus’s reached.
VI.              Time and location of next meeting.
VII.           Adjourn no later than 3:00 p.m.

2009 Seine TF Agenda

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2010 Pink Salmon Forecast Below Average

     The Southeast Alaska pink salmon harvest in 2010 is predicted to be below average, with a point estimate of 19 million fish (80% confidence interval: 11–32 million fish). An actual harvest of 19 million pink salmon would be 48% of the recent 10-year average of 40 million pink salmon. The 2010 forecast is a “model average” of two forecasts: 1) a forecast of the trend in the harvest, and 2) the forecast trend adjusted using 2009 pink salmon fry abundance data provided by the NOAA Fisheries, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Auke Bay Laboratories. A brief discussion and description of the forecast methods can be found at:
     Department staff will be available to discuss this forecast and plan for the 2010 season at the SE Alaska Purse Seine Task Force Meeting scheduled for December 8, 2009, in Ketchikan. In addition, staff from the NOAA Auke Bay Lab plan to attend this meeting and present their 2010 pink salmon harvest forecast for Southeast Alaska.

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AFN Posts their Subsistence Resolution and Others

AFN posted all the resolutions passed at their annual convention in October of 2009 including the resolution regarding subsistence that had a lot of press. They can be viewed at

The Subsistence resolution Therefore be it RESOLVED Clauses are:

1. Seek immediate Congressional oversight hearings in Alaska to be held before the U.S. Senate Committe on Indian Affairs and House Committee on Natural Resources regarding, access to and takings of, customary and traditional subsistence resources by Alaska Natives, Alaska Native Corporations, and the federally recognized tribes; and

2. Seek immediate consultation between Alaska Native corporations, federally recognized tribes in Alaska, and Departments of the Interior, Agriculture and Commerce, to develop recommendations for a new subsistence management scheme that will protect the traditional subsistence way of life of Alaska Natives and other rural residents, and that will ensure full participation of Alaska Natives in the management scheme; and

3. Seek to replace the Federal Subsistence Board with a federally-chartered or authorized entity whose membership will be comprised of subsistence users rather than federal employees; and

4. Encourage President Obama to issue an Executive Order that advises the Federal Subsistence Board and the Office of Subsistence Management that Title VIII is Indian Legislation enacted under the plenary authority of Congress over Indian Affairs, and that directs the Federal Subsistence Board and Office of Subsistence Management to implement a subsistence management scheme or program in accordance with the Executive Order; and

5.  Revoke the 2008 Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Subsistence Board and the State of Alaska, Department of Fish and Game, and to remove the State’s non-voting seat from the Federal Subsistence Board; and

6. Direct the Secretary of the Interior to fully implement his trust responsibility to Alaska Natives, Alaska Native Corporations adn the federally recognized tribes, and to direct the employees within the Department of the Interior to honor this relationship; and

7. Direct the Secretary of the Interior to interpret broadly the scope of federal jurisdiction over the management of subsistence resources on public lands and reserved waters, and to extend by regulation the subsistence priority to waters that run through and adjacent to Native allotments and to waters upstream and downstream from federally reserved waters; and

8. Rescind the Federal Subsistence Board’s determination that the Organized Village of Saxman; and any other Alaska Native Village similarly affected, is not a rural community; and

9.  Amend ANILCA to provide for Alaska Native Peoples customary and traditional hunting, fishing and gathering rights Plus Rural subsistence priority;

10.  Seek legislation that provides Alaska Native Corporations the authority to opt into a provision ensuring a federally protected customary and traditional hunting and fishing right on corporation lands and associated waters for Alaska Natives associated with the ANCSA corporations, and legislation that allows for the taking of moose and other subsistence resources necessary for the potlatch and other ceremonies; and

11.  Advocate for a state and federal Subsistence Support Program in rural Alaska to help offset the drastically increased cost of transportation to harvest subsistence foods; and

12.  Amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to include designated voting seats on the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council for federally tribes and/or Alaska Native organizations representing rural subsistence users;

13. Fully fund co-management initiatives adn infrastructure to ensure Alaska Native participation in the subsistence management process; and

14. Call for federal resources to be made available for research, protection and enhancement of subsistence resources in Alaska, and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the delegates of the Annual Convention of the Alaska Federation of Natives hereby directs the Alaska Federation of Natives that one of the top and ongoing priorities for Alaska Federation of Natives shall be to address this resolution regarding subsistence concerns of all Alaska Natives.

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Russian Salmon fishery earns the MSC Label

The Iturup Island Salmon Fishery is the first in Russia to be awarded the MSC certification for sustainability and the only other salmon fishery besides Alaska to earn the MSC certification.  The certification is for the pink and chum fishery located on Iturup Island and consists of 18 significant rivers and streams including the Kurilijka river, Reidovaya river, Rybatskaya river and Olya river using the fishing method of coastal stationary fish traps.  Recent average harvests have been 18 million pink salmon and 2.6 million chum salmon. 

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40,000 Atlantic Salmon Escape Fish Farm in BC

Marine Harvest Canada fish farm in Port Elizabeth, British Columbia Canada has managed to capture 1,100 of the escaped Atlantic salmon on Saturday of the 40,000 estimated to have escaped.  The commercial gillnet fishery has recovered a few more. This news article link is from the Times Colomnist

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Federal Subsistence Being Reviewed

Sec. of Interior announced during the AFN (Alaska Federation of Natives) convention held last week that the Federal Government will be reviewing the Alaska Federal Subsistence Program.  Since it has now become apparent that the State of Alaska will not be gaining back management control, it is time to review and streamline the federal subsistence process. The plan is to do the review by the end of the year.  AFN passed a 14 step resolution on the subsistence issue.  The Anchorage Daily News provides a little bit of information on this resolution and the ADN article can be viewed at: 

We will post more information on the AFN resolution if or when it is available.

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