Pre-Filed State of Alaska Legislation

The first batch of pre-filed State of Alaska legislation is now available.  We have reviewed the legislation submitted to date and found the following legislation would have an effect on commercial fishing.  Legislature starts on January 20, 2009.

HB 12 An Act establishing the Alaska Council on Invasive Species in the Department of Fish and Game
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/26/Bills/HB0012A.PDF
 

HB 20 An Act relating to commercial fishing loans for energy efficiency upgrades
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/26/Bills/HB0020A.PDF
 

HB 41 An Act relating to participation in matters before the Board of Fisheries by members of the board and to the definition of ‘immediate family member’ under the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act as that Act applies to members of the Board of Fisheries; and providing for an effective date
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/26/Bills/HB0041A.PDF
 

HB 43 An Act relating to aquatic farm permitting involving geoducks and to geoduck seed transfers between certified hatcheries and aquatic farms
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/26/Bills/HB0043A.PDF
 

SB 3 An Act authorizing an Alaska regional development organization to use the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission as an informational resource
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/26/Bills/SB0003A.PDF
 

SB 14 An Act expanding the motor fuel tax suspension period
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/26/Bills/SB0014A.PDF
 

HB 53 An Act relating to eligibility for membership on state boards, commissions, and authorities
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/get_fulltext.asp?session=26&bill=HB53

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ASMI Sustainability Platform Session

The ASMI Technical Program will conduct a briefing and training session on the Alaska Seafood Sustainability Platform on Monday January 26th, from 9:30am until 11:30 am, at the Westmark Baranof Juneau, Gastineau Suite.
 

As you know, the seafood sustainability issue is an important factor in promoting Alaska seafood. ASMI has prepared a number of materials for use in explaining the sustainability of Alaska seafood and will conduct this session in order to provide answers and information on key questions and issues that arise. Topics that will be covered include Alaska management approach, United Nations Food and Agricultural (FAO) standard, 3rd party NGO certification schemes, the Top 10 things important in seafood sustainability, and ecolabels. This session is intended to provide Alaska seafood suppliers with a deeper understanding of the sustainability issue, and provide the resources that will facilitate the understanding that Alaska Seafood sustainability can stand on its own, without the need for outside certifications.
 

In order for us to prepare materials for attendees, kindly RSVP by Wednesday, January 21 to:
 

Melissa Gonzales
mgonzales@alaskaseafood.org
or 206-352-8920
 

We look forward to seeing you on January 26, 2009. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Randy Rice
ASMI Technical Program Director
206-352-8920

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Agencies Ask Redfern Resources in-depth Questions

ADFG, DNR and DEC have submitted an in depth set of questions regarding the Tulsequah Chief Mine barging Proposal.  In addition, ADFG is asking the Commissioner of ADFG to designate the sections of the river that the barging proposal cover to be considered important habitat.  If this designation is granted it requires a higher standard to be met under the Alaska Coastal Zone Management plan consistency review.

Redfern Information Request 12.30.08

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Pacific Coast Dungeness Crab Season Going Poorly

All reports have the West coast dungeness crab season going poorly this year.  Many West Coast crab fishermen have quit early because of the lack of crab not making it worth the time, effort or expense.  They feel that the crab are cylical in nature and that the have not reached the low years of the cycle after having some really good seasons.

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No Quota Share Transfers in January

Remember that your cost recovery fee is due if you haven’t paid it yet!

NMFS RAM division is not transferring any quota share during the Month of January.  Transfers will occur as normal starting in Feb.  No reason given for the halt on transferring during January.

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Tanner Season News Release Correction

The news release on the Southeast commercial Tanner crab fishing season issued on December 19, 2008 incorrectly stated the guideline harvest level (GHL) that will be targeted in the 2008/09 commercial Tanner crab fishery. The GHL that will be targeted in the 2008/09 commercial Tanner crab fishery is 931,000 pounds. The season length used to target this GHL will be the same as announced in the December 19, 2008 news release.

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NOAA Publishes One Fish Rule for Southeast

The Southeast Charter fleet is having a one fish daily bag limit proposed with comments accepted through January 21, 2009

The Proposed rule may be viewed at:  http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/prules/73fr78276.pdf

Analysis for proposed rule (Secretarial Draft) http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/analyses/halibut/halibut2c_earirirfa1108.pdf

The NOAA Press Release:

NEWS RELEASE
December 22, 2008
Sheela McLean, Public Affairs
(907) 586-7032
NOAA Proposes Rule to Reduce Charter Halibut Catch
NOAA today proposed reducing the number of halibut that charter vessel anglers in southeast Alaska can keep, from two each day to one.
     “Sport charter fishing has grown in southeast Alaska while halibut abundance has decreased,” said Doug Mecum, NOAA’s Fisheries Service acting regional administrator for Alaska. “We’re proposing to reduce the charter halibut catch to protect the halibut resource.”
The proposed rule, which would take effect this spring, would allow each charter vessel client to use only one fishing line, and no more than six lines targeting halibut would be allowed on a charter vessel at one time. The rule would prohibit guides and crew from catching and retaining halibut while charter halibut clients are on board.
     NOAA’s Fisheries Service put a similar rule in place last spring, but sport charter halibut operators challenged it on procedural grounds and the agency withdrew the rule.
     Public comment on the proposed rule is open through January 21, 2009. After considering public comment, NOAA expects to publish a final rule in the spring of 2009. To read the proposed rule and see how to submit comments, go to http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/halibut/charters.htm.
     Charter halibut operators in southeast Alaska waters have exceeded their guideline harvest level of 1.43 million pounds for the past four years. The actual sport charter harvest was 1.75 million pounds in 2004, 1.95 million pounds in 2005, 1.86 million pounds in 2006, and 1.92 million pounds in 2007. The guideline harvest level dropped to 0.93 million pounds for 2008. Managers expect that it will have been exceeded for 2008 when the harvest numbers are final.
     The International Pacific Halibut Commission, with representatives from the U.S. and Canada, annually estimates halibut abundance in each halibut fishing area along the Pacific Coast. NOAA’s Fisheries Service, in cooperation with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, establishes the charter vessel guideline harvest levels based on the commission’s abundance estimates.
The commission annually establishes the commercial halibut fishery catch limits in each area, taking into account charter vessel harvests and other sources of halibut mortality in order to protect the halibut resource from overharvest.    

     The commission has reduced the commercial halibut catch in southeast Alaska from nearly 11 million pounds annually between 2004 and 2006 to just over six million pounds for 2008. The final commercial harvest level for 2009, proposed at four and a half million pounds, will be set by the International Pacific Halibut Commission in January.
 

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CFEC Licensing Available On-line

You may now renew limited entry permits and vessel permits on-line through a secure site for 2009.

http://www.cfec.state.ak.us/

 

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Tulsequah Chief Mine Permit Process Suspended For Now

Indefinite Extension of Tulsequah Barging Proposal Comment Periods due to Requests for Additional Information
December  17, 2008 at 5:00PM was the deadline under the Alaska Coastal Management Program (ACMP) rules for submittal of agency Requests for Additional Information (RFAI’s) to the Division of Coastal and Ocean Management (DCOM).  DCOM received several information requests and is compiling those requests into a consolidated RFAI that will be submitted to the applicant, Redfern Resources Ltd (Redfern).  That consolidated RFAI will be posted to the state’s webpage for the Tulsequah project barging proposal,
http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/mining/largemine/tulsequah/publicnotice.htm
when it’s complete.
The submittal of the agency information requests stopped the ACMP clock at 5:00PM on December 17, 2008.  This means the review and comment periods for both ACMP Consistency and the Land Use Permit are indefinitely extended. 

     Because the stoppage of the ACMP clock occurred on Day 13 (the RFAI Deadline) of the Consistency Review schedule,  the clock will re-start on Day 14, after receipt of responses to the RFAI questions and agency determination of their adequacy.  The close of the ACMP comment period, per ACMP regulations, will be at 5:00PM on Day 17 of the review schedule.  Because the Land Use Permit is dependent on first having an ACMP Consistency Determination, the comment period for the Land Use Permit is also indefinitely extended, pending the re-start of the ACMP clock.  Comments on the Land Use Permit will be accepted at least through ACMP Clock Day 30.
Updates about the ACMP clock stoppage and the indefinite extension will be posted to: http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/mining/largemine/tulsequah/publicnotice.htm
 

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2009 Tanner Season Length Announced

Petersburg . . . The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today the season length for the 2008/09 commercial Tanner crab fishery in Southeast Alaska. The 2008/09 season will open by regulation at 12:00 noon on Sunday, February 15, 2009. The season will close in ‘core’ fishing areas after six fishing days at 12:00 noon on Saturday, February 21, 2009 and close in ‘non-core’ areas after eleven fishing days at 12:00 noon on Thursday, February 26, 2009. Written descriptions of closed, core, and noncore areas, and a map for visual reference, are included in this news release.

For the full news release click on link below.

http://documents.cf1.adfg.state.ak.us/AdfgDocument.po?DOCUMENT=19985 

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