Ronnie Sparks Sr.

Long-time fishermen and SEAFA member Ronnie Sparks Sr. passed away.  Ronnie had the fishing vessel Memories and was a resident of Haines. We offer our condolences to his family and friends.

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National Ocean Policy Interim Report Out for Public Comment

Following is the press release announcing the Interim Report and a link to the report. There is a 30 day public comment period.  SEAFA commented on the idea of a national ocean policy during their first request for input.  We have attached a copy of those comments in addition to the report. 

Obama Administration Officials Release Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force Interim Report
     WASHINGTON, DC – Obama Administration officials today released the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force Interim Report for a 30-day public review and comment period.  The Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, led by White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, consists of 24 senior-level officials from Administration agencies, departments, and offices.  The report provides proposals for a comprehensive national approach to uphold our stewardship responsibilities and ensure accountability for our actions. 
     “This Interim Report represents a wide spectrum of views and considerations, not just from within the federal government, but from members of the public, local officials, stakeholders and experts from coast to coast,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.  “It delivers on President Obama’s request for recommendations that will move this country towards a more robust national policy for our oceans, coasts and the Great Lakes and recognizes that we have a responsibility to protect the oceans and coasts for the benefit of current and future generations.”
     “America’s oceans are vital to our prosperity, health, security and quality of life,” said Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  “This is a historic day — for the first time, we as a nation say loudly and clearly that healthy oceans matter.”
     “America’s enduring maritime interests — our reliance on the oceans and Great Lakes for commerce, sustenance, and security — have not changed since our Nation’s founding.  What has changed is the complexity of the pressures on these critical ecosystems and the demand for an effective and integrated national strategy to manage their use, protection, and sustainability,” said Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Thad Allen.  “The recommendations of this Interim Report chart a clear course to address the needs for an integrated national policy and governance structure that will better provide for the safety, security, and stewardship of the maritime environment, now and into the future.”
     “President Obama’s vision for a sustainable and comprehensive strategy for our oceans is vital to the wise management of these critical resources,” said Associate Deputy Secretary of the Interior Laura Davis.  “With 1.7 billion acres in the Outer Continental Shelf — including management responsibilities for offshore renewable and conventional energy resources, 35,000 miles of coastline, and millions of acres of marine-based parks, refuges and national monuments – the Department of Interior and its agencies are front and center in the effort to build the coordinated national ocean policy that our country needs.”
     “The Interim Report provides a clear road map for America’s stewardship of the oceans, coasts and Great Lakes,” said EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water Peter Silva. “EPA is proud to have played a key role in the development of this crucial report, which is inextricably linked with EPA’s mission to protect and safeguard human health and the environment.”
     The Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force was created by Presidential Memorandum on June 12, 2009, to develop a national policy for the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes.   The Memorandum charged the Task Force with developing recommendations that include a national policy for our oceans, coasts and the Great Lakes, a framework for improved Federal policy coordination, and an implementation strategy to meet the objectives of a national ocean policy within 90 days.  Within 180 days, the Task Force is charged with developing a recommended framework for effective coastal and marine spatial planning. 
The Interim Report provides proposals for a comprehensive national approach to uphold our stewardship responsibilities and ensure accountability for our actions.  Additionally, the Interim Report outlines a more balanced, productive and sustainable approach to our ocean resources.  Specifically, it highlights three key areas:
A National Policy: The Interim Report proposes a new National Policy that recognizes that America’s stewardship of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes is intrinsically and intimately linked to environmental sustainability, human health and well-being, national prosperity, adaptation to climate and other environmental change, social justice, foreign policy, and national and homeland security.
A Robust Governance Structure: The Interim Report proposes modifications to the existing governance structure, including a stronger mandate and direction, and renewed and sustained high-level engagement.  Under the proposal, the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Science and Technology Policy would lead an interagency National Ocean Council to coordinate ocean-related issues across the Federal Government and the implementation of the National Ocean Policy.  Such a governance structure, combined with sustained high-level staff involvement, would ensure that these areas are a priority throughout the Federal Government.
Categories for Action: The Interim Report prioritizes nine categories for action, including ecosystem-based management, regional ecosystem protection and restoration, and strengthened and integrated observing systems, that seek to address some of the most pressing challenges facing the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes.  These strategies and objectives provide a bridge between the National Policy and action on the ground.
     The Task Force is now focusing its efforts on developing a recommended framework for effective coastal and marine spatial planning as charged within 180 days.  In addition, the Task Force continues its public engagement activities, including holding at least five more regional public meetings scheduled to take place in the following cities: San Francisco, California; Providence, Rhode Island; Cleveland, Ohio; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Honolulu, Hawaii.  The initial meeting was held in Anchorage, Alaska on August 21, 2009.  Expert briefings will continue while the Interim Report is available for review and public comment.  The Interim Report may be found at www.whitehouse.gov/oceans.  The Task Force will provide a final report with all of its recommendations later this year. 

National Ocean Policy Interim Report

SEAFA Comments regarding a National Ocean Policy

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University of Alaska Offering Class on Cruise Ship Impacts

Dr. Keith Criddle and Dr. Scott Gende will be offering a class Thursdays 3:40-5:00pm for 1 credit graduate course – public seminar at 101 UAF Lena Point Fisheries Building in Juneau and by videoconference to 138 IRV II in Fairbanks and by video conference or webcast to NPS and other UA other locations as demand warrants (contact fisheries@uaf.edu).  Class is titled Cruise Ship Impacts in the Marine Envirnoment as part of the Current Issues in Marine Policy. 

See attached brochure on class for additional information or list of speakers

Current Issues in Marine Policy – Cruise Ship Impacts on the Marine Environment

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Four Public Meetings in Southeast to Discuss Sport Fish Saltwater Logbook Issues in September

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is hosting public meetings to explain and solicit comments/recommendations on proposed saltwater logbook issues for the 2010 fishing season. Sport Fish Division staff plan to hold four meetings in the region: Sitka- Sept. 8 at the Westmark Banquet Room; Petersburg- Sept. 15 at the Petersburg Medical Center Conference Room; Juneau- Sept. 23 at the Extended Stay Deluxe 1800 Shell Simmons Drive; and Ketchikan- Sept. 29 at the ADF&G Conference Room 2030 Sea Level Dr., Suite 205. All meetings will start at 6:00p.m. The division is planning to hold additional meetings in Anchorage, Soldotna, Homer, Kodiak, Palmer, and Fairbanks during October and November. For additional information contact Troy Tydingco, Sitka Area Management Biologist (907) 747-5379.

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NOAA to Pursue National Policy for Sustainable Marine Aquaculture

On September 3, 2009, NOAA announced its intent to develop a comprehensive national policy for sustainable marine aquaculture in the coming months, providing a framework for addressing aquaculture activity in federal waters. The national policy also will provide context for the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Regulating Offshore Aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico, which took effect on Sept. 3.

“We will develop a national policy that focuses on the protection of ocean resources and marine ecosystems, addresses the fisheries management issues posed by aquaculture, and allows U.S. aquaculture to proceed in a sustainable way,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA Administrator.

The national policy will build on NOAA’s significant work to date to safeguard U.S. coastal and ocean environments, while enabling sustainable domestic aquaculture that adds to the U.S. seafood supply and supports important commercial and recreational fisheries. The policy also will include development of coordinated federal standards for permitting aquaculture facilities in federal waters and strategies to provide the scientific information needed for permitting decisions.

The following documents are also available for viewing or download:

House to Hold Aquaculture Hearing on Sept. 9

The House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife, led by Del. Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-GU), will hold an oversight hearing on Offshore Aquaculture on Sept. 9, 2009, at 10:00 a.m. in Room 1324 of the Longworth House Office Building in Washington, DC. The hearing will be webcast via the House Resources website. For more information on the hearing, click here. For a link to the live webcast on the day of the hearing, go to: http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/index.php. Look for the “webcasts” logo on the pick list to the left.

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Survey of Coastal Sea Floors includes Alaska

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke announced 40M funding from the economic stimulus plan for the survey to survey and chart coastal seafloors.

Locke says contractors will conduct 39 surveys in the Chesapeake Bay and the coastal waters of Alabama, Alaska, California, Florida, Louisiana, Virginia, and Washington.  The work will include mapping the sea floor, measure the water depth, search for debris and record coastal sea beds natural features and aquatic life.  Data will also be collected to update nautical charts and to aid in maritime planning.

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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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