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.
NMFS extends the ban for commercialÂ fishing for Krill from 3 milesÂ to the 200 mile limit providing additional protection off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California.Â
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.Â â€œKrill are the foundation for a healthy marine ecosystem,â€ said Mark Helvey, NOAAâ€™s Fisheries Service Southwest Assistant Regional Administrator for SustainableFisheries. â€œProtecting this vital food resource will help protect and maintain marine resources and put federal regulations in line with West-Coast states.â€Â 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.
July 22, 2009, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sarah Palin today announced the appointment of Janet Woods to the Alaska Board of Fisheries.Â
â€œI appreciate Janetâ€™s willingness to serve on the Board of Fisheries,â€ Governor Palin said. Â â€œShe has a great passion for the resource.Â Iâ€™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.â€Â
Woods, of Fairbanks, has subsistence-fished, -hunted, and -trapped in Rampart with her family since the early 1970s.Â 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.Â She attended Alaska Methodist University, Seattle Pacific College and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Distance Delivery Program.Â
The seven members of the Alaska Board of Fisheries are appointed by the governor to conserve and develop the fishery resources of the state. Â This involves setting seasons, bag limits, and methods and means for the stateâ€™s subsistence, commercial, sport, guided sport and personal use fisheries, and it involves setting policy and direction for the management of the stateâ€™s fishery resources.Â
The board is charged with making allocative decisions, while the Department of Fish and Game is responsible for management based on those decisions. Â Appointees are subject to legislative confirmation.Â
The Rainforest Wild Regional Seafood Development Association (RSDA) vote by the Southeast Alaska gillnet fleet failed with 212 votes submitted, 132 (62%) voting no andÂ 80 votes voting yes (38%).Â The Gillnet fleet had previously voted no several years ago.
Gov Palin on July 3rd announced her resignation as Governor of the State of Alaska on July 26thÂ 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.Â Her press release announcing her resignation is attached below.Â
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â No. 09-167
GOVERNOR PALIN ANNOUNCES NO SECOND TERM
NO LAME DUCK SESSION EITHER
July 3, 2009, Anchorage, Alaska â€“ 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 Alaskaâ€™s best interests.Â Lieutenant General Craig Campbell will move into Parnellâ€™s current role.
â€œPeople who know me know that besides faith and family, nothing’s more important to me than our beloved Alaska,â€ said Governor Palin.Â â€œServing her people is the greatest honor I could imagine.â€
Standing outside her home in Wasilla, Alaska, Governor Palin reflected upon some of the administrationâ€™s accomplishments for Alaska as she approaches her final year in office.
â€œI am determined to take the right path for Alaska even though it is not the easiest path,â€ said Governor Palin after the announcement.Â â€œOnce I decided not to run for re-election, I also felt that to embrace the conventional â€˜Lame Duckâ€™ status in this particular climate would just be another dose of â€˜politics as usual,â€™ something I campaigned against and will always oppose.Â It is my duty to always protect our great state.Â 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.Â I look forward to helping others â€“ 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.â€
The transfer of power will occur following the Governorâ€™s picnic in Fairbanks on July 26.Â 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.
Board Support has posted all the Board of Fish proposals for the winter of 2009/2010.
The proposalsÂ can be viewed at: http://www.boards.adfg.state.ak.us/fishinfo/meetinfo/fprop.phpÂ – Statewide proposals have proposals and issuesÂ that will affect Southeast Alaska for the March 2010 meeting.
The Board of Fish CalendarÂ (which isÂ still subject to change) is posted at: http://www.boards.adfg.state.ak.us/fishinfo/meetinfo/fcal.php
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.
ADFG has announced that District 11A will be closed to commercial and personal use red & blueÂ king crab fishing in 2009.Â The personal use season generally opens on July 1st.Â The closure announcement is the result of their annual stock assessment survey for the Juneau area which was completed on June 10th.Â 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.Â
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.Â 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.Â Unfortunately the regulations have not worked their way through the system and are not effective yet.Â 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.Â
Judge Rosemary Collyer issued her opinion on the preliminary injunction yesterday, granted intevenor status toÂ (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.Â The court briefing schedule isÂ as follows: Â Federal Defendants shall fÂ¡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.Â Judge Collyer denied the preliminary injunction to halt implementation of the one halibut daily bag limit per charterÂ client in SE AK (Area 2C) on June 4th, the day before the rule went into effect.Â Â Preliminary Injunction Opinion
The Chatham Black cod quota was announced for the 2009 season at 1,071,000 pounds.Â this is a 29% drop from the 2008 allowable harvest.Â There are currently 88 permits so eachÂ equal share will beÂ 12,170 round lbs.Â The full news release canÂ be accessed at the following link.
News Release:Â nr-062209-nsei-sablefish-fishery-2.pdf