Demersal Shelf Rockfish By-Catch Levels Reduced Back to 10%

ADFG released a press release last week reducing the demersal shelf rockfish bycatch levels back to 10%.  For more information contact ADFG or read the full press release http://documents.cf1.adfg.state.ak.us/AdfgDocument.po?DOCUMENT=21105

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US Supreme Court Rules on Kensington Mine Tailing Plan

US Supreme Court Ruled today (June 22) to uphold the Kensington Mine permit for mine tailings using Slate Creek.

Coeur issued the following press release announcing the good news. supreme-court-decision-release-final-6-22-09.pdf

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Court Rules on Exxon Interest

The ninth circuit Court of Appeals ruled today (June 15, 2009) that Exxon must pay 5.9% interest back to the 1996 decision and not as Exxon was asking for from 2008 when the Supreme Court decided the amount of punitive damages.

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Lawsuit against the District 1 & 2 Dungeness Crab Season Change

On June 11th  The Village of Kasaan filed a lawsuit against the Board of Fish for the regulation change that brought the District 1 & 2 dungeness crab season to match with the rest of Southeast.  They also asked for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and a Preliminary Injunction (PI) against implementing the District 2 crab opening.  The State attorney had until 3:00 pm on June 12th to file a response and the TRO hearing was held at 4:00 pm.  The Judge DENIED the TRO at the hearing and a preliminary injunction hearing will likely be held sometime next week. 

Village of Kasaan Complaint

Motion for TRO & PI

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Halibut Charter Lawsuit Update

Lawyers involved in the lawsuit must provide to the courts suggested scheduling information for the various stages of filings by June 19th.  It is expected that by late July the court will have heard the merits of the case and a ruling will be issued.

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SE Gillnetters – Don’t forget to Vote

The Rainforest Wild regional seafood Development association (RSDA) ballots to assess the gillnet fleet 1% must be postmarked by June 16th.  If you haven’t sent in your ballot yet! please do so today.

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Preliminary Injunction Denied

The Court held a preliminary injunction hearing today and denied the request so the merits of the case will be decided in a trial.  Will provide more information as it becomes available.

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Navigational Aids being Vandalized

USCG has noticed a lot of vandalism of navigational aids and is requesting any one noticing missing or damaged aids, or witness anyone vandalizing or stealing aids, are requested to contact the nearest Coast Guard unit or the District 17Command Center at (907) 463-2001.

Persons who vandalize, obstruct or impair the usefulness of aids to navigation in any way are subject to a fine of $2,500 and up to one year in prison.

Vandalism or theft are most often reported in Gastineau Channel, lower Stephens Passage, and Olga and Neva Straits near Sitka.  In 2007, a bouy was shot with a large caliber rifle and the replacement cost was over $28,000.

There are over 800 aids throughout Southeast Alaska year-round. The Coast Guard aims to ensure that all aids to navigation are on station, and displaying proper characteristics.

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Board of Fish Groundfish Regulation Changes Takes Effect May 31st

Sitka… The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today that the new groundfish regulationsapproved by the Board of Fish in February will go into effect on May 31. The new regulation bookletsshould be available by the middle of June. Following is a summary of the new regulations.

LINGCOD

5AAC 28.173(a)(1) The allowable bycatch of lingcod taken by halibut fishermen using longline gear will now be set by emergency order. Prior regulation established a 10% bycatch of lingcod in the Icy Bay Subdistrict and 5% bycatch in the remaining waters of Southeast. With this new regulation, the department has the ability to set the appropriate bycatch percentage to achieve the harvest allocation of lingcod in each management area. Effective May 31, lingcod bycatch allowances for the halibut longline fishery are as follows:

Icy Bay Subdistrict (IBS)- 10%

East Yakutat Section (EYKT)- 10%

Northern Southeast Outside Section (NSEO)- 10%

Central Southeast Outside Section (CSEO)- 15%

Southern Southeast Outer Coast Sector (SSEOC)- 10%

Northern Southeast Inside Subdistrict (NSEI)- 5%

Southern Southeast Internal Waters Sector (SSEIW)- 5%

Fishermen are reminded that lingcod are managed by area and area closures will occur as allocations are taken. Closures will be announced by news release as well as the Coast Guard “Notice to Mariners” report and the National Weather Service broadcast. Updates of area closures will also be available on the Groundfish Hotline at 747-4882.

DEMERSAL SHELF ROCKFISH

5AAC 28.160(c)(1)(A) In the Southeast Outside Subdistrict, the annual allowable catch of DSR is  calculated based on the federal total allowable catch (TAC) of DSR with 84 percent allocated to commercial fisheries and 16 percent allocated to the sport fisheries, after the estimated subsistence harvest has been subtracted from the TAC. Prior to the new regulation, the estimated subsistence harvest was deducted from the commercial allocation after the 84/16 split was computed.  5AAC 28.171(a) The allowable bycatch of DSR in commercial fisheries will be set at 10% of the target  species on board unless the department sets a different bycatch percentage in an emergency order. The prior regulation set a maximum of 10% bycatch of DSR for most fisheries. This new regulation gives the department the ability to set the appropriate bycatch percentage to achieve the harvest allocation of DSR. Effective May 31 the DSR bycatch allowance for commercial groundfish, halibut, and troll fisheries is increased to 15% of the target species on board the vessel, except the DSR bycatch allowances will remain at 1% for sablefish fisheries and 0% in fisheries operating pot gear.

The new regulation also clarifies that the DSR full retention and reporting requirements apply only to permit holders fishing for groundfish or halibut. Permit holders fishing for salmon are exempt from full retention requirements.

BLACK ROCKFISH

5AAC 28.150(e) The prohibition on selling black rockfish taken as bycatch in the closure areas listed in  this regulation has been repealed. Black rockfish taken as bycatch in Sitka Sound and the four other black rockfish closure areas located in NSEO, CSEO, and SSEOC may now be sold, up to the allowable bycatch limit. Directed fishing for black rockfish is still prohibited in these areas.

LOGBOOK REQUIREMENTS

5AAC 28.175(b)(1) The latitude and longitude for start and ending positions must now be reported in degrees and decimal minutes for each set in a longline logbook. This new regulation specifies that the location is recorded in a particular format. Additional information on Southeast Regional Groundfish Fisheries can be found on our web site at:

http://www.cf.adfg.state.ak.us/region1/finfish/grndfish/grndhom1.php

 

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Motion to Intervene In Halibut Charter Lawsuit Filed Today

Commercial fishermen, processors, subsistence fishermen, Hoonah Indian Association, City of Pelican and City of Port Alexander joined together to file a motion to intervene in the Halibut Charter Lawsuit and request for a preliminary injunction to prevent the one halibut daily bag limit from being implemented on June 5th.

A preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for June 4th.

 The Halibut Coalition issued a press release on the Motion to Intervene.

Press Release on Motion to Intervene

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