New Protections for Puget Sound Killer Whales Proposed

NOAA Fisheries Service is proposing new rules on vessel traffic aimed at further protecting the endangered Southern Resident killer whales in Washington State’s Puget Sound . While Southern Resident whales are also threatened by degraded water quality and lack of prey (primarily salmon), biologists believe that vessel traffic is also tied to their low numbers. The whales, which depend on their highly sophisticated sonar to navigate and find food, can be affected by underwater noise from boats and disturbed by vessels that approach too close or block their paths. The proposed rule would prohibit vessels from approaching any killer whale closer than 200 yards and forbid vessels from intercepting or anchoring in the path of a whale. In addition, there would be a half-mile-wide zone along the west side of San Juan Island where no vessels would be allowed from May 1 through the end of September. T here would be exemptions to the rules for some vessels, including those actively fishing commercially, cargo vessels traveling in established shipping lanes, and government and research vessels. The no-go zone would also have limited exceptions for landowners accessing adjacent private property. NOAA Fisheries Service will hold public meetings on September 30 in Seattle, and October 5 in Friday Harbor, WA. Comments may be sent to www.regulations.gov until October 27, 2009. More information is available online.

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Krill Gets Additional Protection on Pacific Northwest Coast

NMFS extends the ban for commercial fishing for Krill from 3 miles to the 200 mile limit providing additional protection off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California. 

The rule goes into effect on August 12, 2009. Krill are a small shrimp-like crustacean and a key source of nutrition in the marine food web.  “Krill are the foundation for a healthy marine ecosystem,” said Mark Helvey, NOAA’s Fisheries Service Southwest Assistant Regional Administrator for SustainableFisheries. “Protecting this vital food resource will help protect and maintain marine resources and put federal regulations in line with West-Coast states.”  While the States of California, Oregon and Washington currently have regulations prohibiting the harvesting of krill within three miles of their coastlines, there was no similar federal restriction within the three to 200-mile confines of the EEZ.

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Gov. Palin Makes Board of Fish Appointment

July 22, 2009, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sarah Palin today announced the appointment of Janet Woods to the Alaska Board of Fisheries. 

 

“I appreciate Janet’s willingness to serve on the Board of Fisheries,” Governor Palin said.  “She has a great passion for the resource.  I’m confident Janet will work hard to protect the resource and make decisions in the best interest of all Alaskans who rely on our tremendous fisheries.” 

Woods, of Fairbanks, has subsistence-fished, -hunted, and -trapped in Rampart with her family since the early 1970s.  She is currently employed as a pump station administrative assistant with Alyeska Pipeline Service Company and has also worked for the Yukon Flats School District.  She attended Alaska Methodist University, Seattle Pacific College and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Distance Delivery Program. 

 

The seven members of the Alaska Board of Fisheries are appointed by the governor to conserve and develop the fishery resources of the state.  This involves setting seasons, bag limits, and methods and means for the state’s subsistence, commercial, sport, guided sport and personal use fisheries, and it involves setting policy and direction for the management of the state’s fishery resources. 

 

The board is charged with making allocative decisions, while the Department of Fish and Game is responsible for management based on those decisions.  Appointees are subject to legislative confirmation. 

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Rainforest Wild Election Results are In

The Rainforest Wild Regional Seafood Development Association (RSDA) vote by the Southeast Alaska gillnet fleet failed with 212 votes submitted, 132 (62%) voting no and  80 votes voting yes (38%).  The Gillnet fleet had previously voted no several years ago.

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Gov Palin announces her Resignation

Gov Palin on July 3rd announced her resignation as Governor of the State of Alaska on July 26th as we celebrate the country’s birthday on July 4th and the State of Alaska’s 50th year of statehood. Lt Gov Sean Parnell will be sworn into office as Governor on July 26th.  Her press release announcing her resignation is attached below. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                               No. 09-167
GOVERNOR PALIN ANNOUNCES NO SECOND TERM
 
NO LAME DUCK SESSION EITHER
 
July 3, 2009, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sarah Palin announced today that she will not seek a second term as Governor of the State of Alaska and will relegate the power of governor to Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell in order to serve Alaska’s best interests.  Lieutenant General Craig Campbell will move into Parnell’s current role.
“People who know me know that besides faith and family, nothing’s more important to me than our beloved Alaska,” said Governor Palin.  “Serving her people is the greatest honor I could imagine.”
 
Standing outside her home in Wasilla, Alaska, Governor Palin reflected upon some of the administration’s accomplishments for Alaska as she approaches her final year in office.
 
“I am determined to take the right path for Alaska even though it is not the easiest path,” said Governor Palin after the announcement.  “Once I decided not to run for re-election, I also felt that to embrace the conventional ‘Lame Duck’ status in this particular climate would just be another dose of ‘politics as usual,’ something I campaigned against and will always oppose.  It is my duty to always protect our great state.  With that in mind, my family and I determined that it is best to make a difference this summer, and I am willing to change things, so that this administration, with its positive agenda, its accomplishments, and its successful road to an incredible future, can continue without interruption and with great administrative and legislative success.  I look forward to helping others – to fight for our state and our country, and campaign for those who believe in smaller government, free enterprise, strong national security, support for our troops, and energy independence.”
 
The transfer of power will occur following the Governor’s picnic in Fairbanks on July 26.  At that point in time, Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell will be sworn in and Lieutenant General Craig Campbell will assume his role as Lieutenant Governor.
 
Governor Palin will spend July 4th in Juneau.
  

http://www.gov.state.ak.us/exec-column.php

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2010 Board of Fish Proposals Available

Board Support has posted all the Board of Fish proposals for the winter of 2009/2010.

The proposals can be viewed at: http://www.boards.adfg.state.ak.us/fishinfo/meetinfo/fprop.php  – Statewide proposals have proposals and issues that will affect Southeast Alaska for the March 2010 meeting.

The Board of Fish Calendar (which is still subject to change) is posted at: http://www.boards.adfg.state.ak.us/fishinfo/meetinfo/fcal.php

 

 

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Dungeness Crab Season Will be Normal Length

ADFG sent out a news release today stating that the harvest from the first two weeks of the season has the fishery estimated to be over the 2.5 million pound threshold so there will be no changes to season length.

http://documents.cf1.adfg.state.ak.us/AdfgDocument.po?DOCUMENT=21152

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Personal Use & Commercial 2009 Red King Crab Season closed in District 11

ADFG has announced that District 11A will be closed to commercial and personal use red & blue king crab fishing in 2009.  The personal use season generally opens on July 1st.  The closure announcement is the result of their annual stock assessment survey for the Juneau area which was completed on June 10th.  When they ran the numbers they came up with a health designation of “poor” and the resulting harvest rate of “zero.” The assessment revealed adult males at or near the long term average, but that young males and all females are at or near their lowest levels on record. 

ADFG has also announced that the red and blue king personal use king crab fishery will not open on July 1st in the rest of Southeast Alaska region BUT MAY OPEN LATER.  The Board of Fish did pass a proposal to allow ADFG to set the bag limit between zero and 6 crab where previously their only choice was zero or six.  Unfortunately the regulations have not worked their way through the system and are not effective yet.  ADFG may open the personal use season later in the year when the regulation is in effect and the remainder of the king crab surveys are conducted and analyzed. 

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Halibut Charter Lawsuit Update

Judge Rosemary Collyer issued her opinion on the preliminary injunction yesterday, granted intevenor status to (1) commercial fishermen Linda Behnken, Annah Taft Perry, Ryan Nichols, Josh Moore, David Gibson, Sherri and Kurt Wohlhueter, and Christopher Knight; (2) halibut processors Seafood Producers Cooperative, Halibut Association of North America, and North Pacific Seafoods, Inc.; (3) subsistence fisherman Carolyn Heuer; (4) commercial and subsistence fishermen of the Hoonah Indian Association; and (5) the local communities City of Pelican and City of Port Alexander on behalf of the Halibut Coalition, and the Metlakatla Indian Community along with a schedule of the dates court filings would be due.  The court briefing schedule is as follows:  Federal Defendants shall f¡le an Answer and the administrative record by July 6, 2009; Plaintiffs shall file a motion for summary judgment by July 17, 2009; Federal and lntervenor Defendants shall file cross motions for summary judgment combined with oppositions to Plaintiffs’ motion by July 28, 2009; Plaintiffs shall file a combined opposition and reply brief by August 10, 2009; Federal and lntervenor Defendants may file a reply no later than August 17, 2009.  Judge Collyer denied the preliminary injunction to halt implementation of the one halibut daily bag limit per charter client in SE AK (Area 2C) on June 4th, the day before the rule went into effect.   Preliminary Injunction Opinion

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Chatham Black Cod Quota Announced

The Chatham Black cod quota was announced for the 2009 season at 1,071,000 pounds.  this is a 29% drop from the 2008 allowable harvest.  There are currently 88 permits so each equal share will be 12,170 round lbs.  The full news release can  be accessed at the following link.

News Release:  nr-062209-nsei-sablefish-fishery-2.pdf

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