Board of Fish meets by Teleconference on SE King Salmon sport fish management plan

The Board of Fish will meet by Teleconference Monday, April 28th at 9:00 am to discuss three issues raised by joint petition for consideration in regards to the Southeast sport fish king salmon managment plan.  This includes changing the dates that the inside area are open for the Golden North King salmon Derby which has changed dates since the plan was developed, consider the four fish line regulation and to determine if the ability exists to judge in season the approximate harvest and possibly relax regulations if it doesn’t look like they will reach their allocation by the end of the year. 

for additional information, an agenda and ADFG issues paper on these three items:

http://www.boards.adfg.state.ak.us/fishinfo/meetinfo/fcal.php

The teleconference will be listen only – no public testimony will be taken but you can listen in to the teleconference from the Ketchikan, Petersburg, Sitka or Juneau ADFG offices.


 

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Icicle Seafoods Purchases Smoki Foods and Subsidiaries

Icicle Seafoods reached an agreement to acquire Smoki Foods, a processor of fresh and frozen seafood, along with its subsidiaries, American Gold Seafoods, the only US owned and operated salmon farming company, and Cypress Island Seafoods, a processing plant in Blaine, Washington.

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Gillnet King Salmon Opening Announced in District 8

Wrangell. . . The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today the first opening of the 

Southeast Alaska drift gillnet fishery beginning Monday, May 5, 2008. This opening is directed at returns of Stikine River king salmon and will occur in the following areas: 

District 8: will be open from 8:00 a.m., Monday, May 5 through 8:00 a.m., Wednesday, May 7 with the following restrictions: Stikine River: waters off the Stikine River will be closed north and west of a line from Babbler Point to Hour Point, and north and east of a line from Point Highfield to the southern end of Liesnoi Island to the southern end of Greys Island to the small island near the eastern entrance of Blind Slough to the nearest point of Mitkof Island, and south and east of a line from the prominent point of Mitkof Island nearest Coney Island to the northern end of Coney Island to a point 500 yards north of Jap Creek on the mainland shore. Beacon Point/Point Frederick Area: waters of Frederick Sound will be closed west of a line from the District 10 boundary one nautical mile off the Kupreanof Island shoreline to Sukoi Island Light to Point Frederick. Bear Creek (Eastern Mitkof Island): waters of Frederick Sound will be closed south of 56 42.91’ N. lat., and west of 132 41.38’ W. long. Wrangell Harbor Area: waters off the Stikine River will be closed within one-quarter mile of the shoreline on the western side of Wrangell Island north of the latitude of Cemetery Point. 

 

Gillnet Gear Restrictions: The gear allowed will be the standard length and depth (300 fathoms and 60 meshes); from the first Monday in May through the second Saturday in June, the minimum mesh size is 7 inches. Drift gillnet fishermen are asked to notify management biologists, who will be monitoring the fishery, of any incidences of steelhead catch. Gillnetters will be required to record any steelhead that are retained on fish tickets during the five weeks of the directed king salmon gillnet fishery. 

 

King salmon less than 28” that are harvested in the commercial drift gillnet fisheries may be retained and sold as usual. King salmon less than 28″ in length and those of Alaska hatchery origin will not be counted against the Alaskan share of the Pacific Salmon Treaty harvest. Processors should record the numbers of king salmon less than 28” on the fish tickets as well as the numbers of king salmon 28” or greater. Fish and Game samplers working at the processing facilities will identify hatchery-reared king salmon so those fish are not counted against the Alaskan share of the harvest. 

 

Copies of the “2008 Southeast Alaska Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan” may be obtained at department area offices and from the department web site: 

http://www.cf.adfg.state.ak.us/region1/finfish/salmon/s1mp.php 

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Lynn Canal Herring ESA Listing Decision Announced

NMFS published on April 11 in the federal register, that the listing of hte Lynn Canal Pacific Herring as a threatened or endangered under the ESA is not warranted because this population does not constitute a species, subspecies or distinct population segment (DPS) under the ESA.  However, the Lynn Canal population is part of a larger DPS of Pacific herring that may warrant listing under the ESA, and, therefore, WE INITIATE A STATUS REVIEW TO EVALUATE THE STATUS OF THE SOUTHEAST ALASKA HERRING POPULATION AS A DPS STOCK TO BE A CANDIDATE SPECIES UNDER THE ESA.

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2008 King Salmon Quota Allocations for Individual Gear Groups

Petersburg. . The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today that under management provisions of the Pacific Salmon Treaty, the 2008 Southeast Alaska all-gear harvest quota is 170,000 treaty Chinook. This results in a commercial troll fishery pre-season Chinook salmon harvest allocation of 125,410 fish. These abundance-based harvest levels represent a reduction of approximately 48% from the 2007 quota.
The all-gear quota is allocated among commercial and sport fisheries according to management plans established by the Alaska Board of Fisheries. The Chinook salmon allocations specified by gear group are as follows:
ALLOCATION:
Troll 125,410
Purse seine 7,310
Set and drift gillnet 5,930
Sport 31,350
QUOTA: All-gear 170,000
 

Trollers are advised that the catch allocations presented here do not include the majority of Stikine River Chinook salmon that may be harvested in commercial and sport fisheries in District 8. For more information on this issue, please refer to the news release issued out of the Petersburg office on February 1, 2008. The reduction in the all-gear quota and the troll allocation will likely result in reduced fishing time and harvest opportunities for Chinook salmon in the summer troll fishery. However, because we don’t know what the final harvest of non-Alaska hatchery fish (Treaty fish) will be in the winter and spring fisheries, the magnitude of any reduced fishing time will not actually be known until just prior to the first summer season Chinook salmon opening on July 1. The summer troll quota is calculated by subtracting the winter and spring fishery Treaty Chinook salmon harvest (there is no specific total limit on the number of Treaty Chinook salmon that may be harvested in the spring fishery) from the annual troll allocation and 70% of the total summer allocation is targeted in the first summer Chinook salmon opening. In addition, we do not know if the first summer opening will be managed inseason rather than for a fixed number of days and that decision will also be announced just prior to the July 1 opening.

 

 The preseason Chinook salmon all-gear quota and troll allocation represent very significant reductions from the past six years and are the smallest preseason allowable catches since implementation of the 1999 Pacific Salmon Treaty Agreement.
 

 

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NPFMC Halibut Charter Issue

At the NPFMC meeting,  approximately 77 individuals or representatives of associations testified on the halibut charter issue.  There was a good showing of commercial fishermen testifying at both the Council meeting and in front of the Advisory panel.  We will need to repeat this at the October Council meeting when the final decision on the allocation between the commercial and charter industry will take place along with the rest of the elements in the catch sharing plan. 

During deliberations the State made the original motion which included maintaining the catch sharing plan with a few clarifications requested by staff that were agreed to by both the charter and commercial sectors.  Attached below is the original motion made by the state attached as a word document.  The motion ends on page 6 with the black line.  At the bottom of page 4 the bold and underlined text is providing directions to staff to describe in the analysis why the option had been developed the way it was.  The text came from a discussion amongst charter and commercial representatives while meeting to discuss the questions raised by staff that they wanted clarification of.

Ed Dersham as was expected put an amendment to raise the allocation ranges on the table which failed 6 to 4.  The charter industry was asking for an allocation option of fixed pounds of 2.7 Mlbs in 2C and 5.35 Mlbs in 3A during testimony.  Ed’s motion added an option under fixed percentage of 19.6% in 2C and 17.4% in 3A; and option under fixed pounds of 2.13Mlbs in 2C and 4.69 Mlbs in 3A; and 50% fixed/50% floating allocation of 19.6%/2.3Mlb in 2C and 17.4%/4.69Mlbs.  Voting for the motion was Ed Dersham, Dave Benson, Bill Tweit and Doug Meecum.  Voting against the motion was Denby Lloyd, Sam Cotton, Eric Olson, Roy Hyder, Gerry Merrigan and Duncan Fields.

Bill Tweit made a motion to add another alternative of allocation options that would have provided for a percentage allocation options that in years of lower biomass the allocation would be determined by the percentage of a combined commercial and charter catch but there would be a ceiling of 1.43 to 1.90 Mlbs in 2C and 3.65 to 4.15 Mlbs.  This motion failed with a vote of 7 to 3. 

Duncan Fields made a motion that failed on a 5 to 5 vote that would require commercial quota share holders from leasing their QS converted to charter fish (GAF) two out of three years or four out of five years.

Gerry Merrigan made a motion that added the Element 1 stairstep sub options to the main motion (page 6 of the motion) which passed.

The main amended motion passed unanimously.

State Halibut Motion 4.08

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NPFMC Finishes Monday Morning on Halibut Issues

THe NPFMC moved forward the package pretty much as it was with a few technical correction but nothing of substance and no changes in the allocation ranges.  Thanks to all the fishermen who came and testified or wrote in.  Will post the motion later when I have access to an electronic copy.

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ADFG Announces the 2008 Chinook All Gear Quota

(Juneau) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game today announced that under the guidelines of the abundance-based management system of the Pacific Salmon Treaty, this year’s all gear Southeast Alaska Chinook salmon harvest quota is 170,000 fish.  This is a decrease of 159,400 fish from last year’s quota, and is the lowest catch level since 2000.

Utilizing data on the strength of West Coast Chinook salmon stocks that contribute to Southeast Alaska fisheries, the Pacific Salmon Commission’s Chinook Technical Committee has determined that the 2008 Abundance Index for Chinook salmon in Southeast Alaska is 1.07. As specified in the 1999 Pacific Salmon Treaty Agreement, this translates into an allowable all-gear catch for Southeast Alaska of 170,000 treaty Chinook.  Most Chinook salmon produced in Alaska hatcheries are not factored into the Abundance Index, and may be caught by harvesters in addition to the treaty limit.

Chinook salmon returns to many West Coast rivers from Oregon to Alaska have declined from the very high levels seen from 2003 to 2005.   While the factors affecting the abundance of Chinook on the West Coast are complex, it is widely recognized that unfavorable ocean conditions in 2005 and 2006 likely were a significant cause of the poor survival of Chinook in the early part of their four to five year life-cycle.  Some of these ocean conditions have moderated substantially and appear to be returning to a status more favorable to salmon populations.

The treaty Chinook salmon harvest will be allocated to sport, commercial troll, and commercial net fisheries according to the management plans specified by the Alaska Board of Fisheries.

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Division of Investment Lowering the Interest Rate

The Division of Investments will be lowering their interest rate for the next quarter by as much as 2%.  If you have a loan at a higher interest rate of 8%, contact the Division of Investments to see if refinancing would be worthwhile. 

The new interest rates will be:

Commercial Fish  8.00% 

CF Product Quality Improvement 4.00% 

Rural Development Initiative Fund – Bus loan  (state)  6.00% 

Small Business Economic Development – Bus loan (fed)   4.00% 

  1-800-478-5626 – Div. of Investments phone number.

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Halibut Charter Allocation up for Discussion at April NPFMC in Anchorage

Don’t forget to send in your testimony to the NPFMC by March 26th and make your plane and hotel reservations to go and testify.  If you need help writing testimony, call the SEAFA office at 586-6652.  SEAFA also has a price break on hotel rooms if you can go to Anchorage and testify.  Call us for the details.

The allocation/interim plan analysis is now available on the web at:

http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc/current_issues/halibut_issues/Area2C3A_CatchShare408.pdf

 

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