5 Gillnetters were Cited for Wanton Waste Violations

In October of 2007, Alaska Wildlife Troopers began investigating chum salmon roe deliveries made by commercial fishermen,  The law requires that the salmon carcass must be utilized, but in some cases the carcasses were disposed of after the roe was removed.  The fishermen were charged with Class A misdemeanors which require a court appearance.  Besides the wanton waste violations,  some of the fishermen were also charged with failure to record a landing of salmon and processing without a current DEC permit.

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Tulsequah Comment Period Extended to Feb 4, 2008

Comments on the Tulsequah Chief Mine have been extended by an additional 15 days with comments now due by Feb 4th, 2008 and the public meeting in Juneau moved to January 24, 2008.  Alaska permits that are under consideration have to do with the river barging operation.  In the application for a Fish Habitat Permit and Land use Permit along with the Alaska Coastal Zone Management consistency review the proposed activity is described as a river barging operation.  “The primary fleet includes two air cushion barges, one marine tug, one shallow draft tyg and two amphitracs.  Secondary vessels that will accompany the fleet include a small power boat or jet boat that will operate during the open-water season on the river and snow machines that will be employed during the winter season.  These ancillary vessels will assist in navigation and to provide support in teh event of emergencies.  In addition to these vessels, an additional barge and shallow draft tug will be available to provide extra transport capacity at times when additional trips are required to make up for delays due to bad weather, maintenance, etc.”

Additional information on the Tulsequah Mine at the State websites:

http://www.alaskacoast.state.ak.us/ look at right hand side of page under projects

http://www.dnr.state.ak.us/mlw/mining/largemine/tulsequah/index.htm

http://www.hovertrans.com/hover_barges.htm  Shows videos of hoverbarges

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State Charter Limited Entry Discussion Looks At Professional Licensing

The taskforce on state charter limited entry met in late November and started looking at professional occupational licensing as the first step towards limited entry in the charter industry.  The Big Game Guide licensing and board are being looked at as a model on how to design a program.  One of the purposes in  looking at this issue is to get a handle on the “unguided-guiding” (bare-boat rental, outfitting etc).  The next meeting of the workgroup is January 8-9, 2008 in Anchorage. 

More information  can be viewed or comments submitted to the Department on their website at

http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/statewide/guides/GSpecIssues.cfm

Look at the bottom of the page under related discussion – project plan

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Clay Bezenek and Alan Andersen appointed to Fishermen’s Fund Advisory Board

Governor Palin appointed Alan Andersen and Clay Bezenek to the Fishermen’s Fund Advisory and Appeals Council. 

The Council oversees the administration of the Fishermen’s Fund, a state-run program which provides medical benefits to Alaska’s licensed commercial fishermen who are injured or become ill while commercial fishing in Alaska.  The Fund receives a portion of resident and nonresident commercial fishing license and permit fees, and uses those funds to pay benefits to injured fishermen.  The Council also reviews appeals of decisions by the Fund administrator. 

Andersen, of Sitka, began commercial fishing with his father at age 12, and has spent 33 years in Southeast Alaska fisheries, as a salmon troller, and halibut and herring fisherman.  He has served as a director of the Seafood Producers’ Cooperative for 18 years, helping build the Sitka plant that processes two-thirds of its members’ catch.  He has served for 10 years on the board of the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association, a self-sustaining salmon hatchery operation.  He has also worked in tax accounting.  Andersen earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics from Western Washington University in Bellingham.  He was appointed to represent District 2, northern Southeast Alaska. 

Bezenek, of Ketchikan, has been a commercial fisherman in Alaska for 24 years, fishing for crab, herring, halibut, black cod and salmon variously in the Bering Sea, Southeast, and Bristol Bay, and participating in shellfish dive fisheries in Southeast.  He has owned a seafood processing plant in Craig since 1983.  He was a founding member, and for three years a board member, of Southeast Alaska Regional Dive Fisheries Association (SARDA).  Bezenek also served on Ketchikan’s advisory board for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.  He studied biology at Concordia College in Moorehead, Minnesota, and holds a U.S. Coast Guard 50-ton license.  He was appointed to represent District 1, southern Southeast Alaska. 

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Southeast Tanner and Golden King Crab Fishery starts Feb. 12th / Registration deadline Jan 14th

Douglas . . . The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today that the seasons for the 2007/08 commercial Tanner and golden king crab fisheries in Southeast Alaska will open by regulation at 12:00 noon on Tuesday, February 12, 2008. The season start for the Tanner and golden king crab fisheries was changed by the Alaska Board of Fisheries in 2005 to: “the smallest Juneau tidal range between February 10 and February 17” [5 AAC 35.110. and 5 AAC 34.110 (b)], with the intention of minimizing gear loss in the golden king crab fishery at the beginning of the season and minimizing the intensity in both fisheries by maintaining the golden king crab season concurrent with the Tanner crab season. The registration deadline for both fisheries will be Monday, January 14, 2008. According to SEC 16.05.065(b), registrants after that date will be required to pay a $45.00 late fee. The Department is in the process of finalizing the details of the Tanner crab fishery. These details will be announced in a subsequent news release. The guideline harvest levels (GHLs) for the upcoming golden king crab fishery will not change from the 2006/07 fishery. These GHLs and other details will be announced in a subsequent news release. Both the Tanner and GKC 2007/08 news releases will be announced during the week of January 7, 2008. 

News releases web site: http://documents.cf1.adfg.state.ak.us/TopicContents.po. 

Office Ketchikan Petersburg Wrangell Sitka Juneau Haines Yakutat 

ADFG 225-5195 772-3801 874-3822 747-6688 465-4250 766-2830 784-3255 

AWT 225-5111 772-3983 747-3254 465-4000 766-2533 

 

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Federal Subsistence Board rejects Makhnati Island herring proposal

Federal Subsistence Board
News Release
 

For immediate release: December 14, 2007
Contact: Maureen Clark (800) 478-1456 or (907) 786-3953
     E-mail: Maureen_Clark@fws.gov
Federal Subsistence Board Approves Changes to Subsistence Fishing Regulations
 

     The Federal Subsistence Board took action on 18 proposals to change Federal subsistence fishing regulations at its Dec. 11-13 meeting in Anchorage. The new regulations take effect April 1, 2008.
     The Board approved a proposal for use of one temporary subsistence fish wheel for the harvest of salmon on the Kasilof River by residents of Ninilchik. Fish harvested by the fish wheel fishery will be included as part of the annual total harvest limits for the subsistence dip net/rod-and-reel fisheries on the Kasilof.
     A proposal that would have reduced the mesh size of gillnets used by subsistence and commercial fishermen on the Yukon River failed on a tie vote. In addition, the Board rejected a proposal to reduce the depth of nets of Yukon River subsistence and commercial fishermen. The proposals were intended to allow greater passage of large Chinook salmon to spawning grounds.
     The Board also rejected a proposal that would have closed a portion of the Makhnati Island area of Sitka to the commercial harvest of herring. Board members said there wasn’t a conservation concern for the herring stocks in Sitka Sound and it was not clear that a closure of the area to the commercial fishery would benefit subsistence users.
     The Board lifted closures to the harvest of sockeye salmon for non-Federally qualified users in Falls Lake Bay, Gut Bay, and Pillar Bay in Southeast Alaska. The Board found that there were no conservation concerns for sockeye at these locations and removal of these closures would allow all users the opportunity to harvest sockeye without concern for Federal jurisdictional boundaries.
     The Board approved a proposal to move the start date of the Stikine River subsistence salmon fishery to Aug. 1, pending coordination with the Pacific Salmon Commission, and to make subsistence fishing permits for the Stikine fishery valid for the length of the fishing season.
     Federal subsistence fishery regulation books will be published in late March and will be available statewide. The regulations also will be posted on the Federal Subsistence Management Program website, http://alaska.fws.gov/asm/home.html.
-FSB-

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December Council Action on Halibut Charter

The Council continued refinement of the interim plan developed in October.  The charter and commercial sectors are still in agreement with the interim plan.  I am pasting the motion as the State of Alaska presented it.  There was a change in one sentence in the Stakeholder committee management objectives section and in the data collection section in the second paragraph they changed the Stakeholders to the Council.

State Motion Dec 07 Halibut Interim Plan

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IPHC Staff Preliminary Catch Limit Recommendations: 2008

http://www.iphc.washington.edu/halcom/newsrel/2007/nr20071205.htm

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ADFG Sitka Sound Herring Fishery Announcement

Sitka. . . The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today the preliminary guideline harvest

level (GHL) for the 2008 Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery is 13,796 tons.

This fall the department ran several ASA model runs exploring various biological parameters affecting

the Sitka Sound herring stock and other model parameters to improve the fit of the model to the observed

data. The ASA model uses a long time series of abundance and age composition data from department

surveys conducted during the spring fishery. The best fitting ASA model run included splitting the

maturity schedule estimates for the periods 1978-2001 and 2002-2007. The maturity schedule is the

estimation of what age the herring are reaching maturity and capable of spawning. The model is showing

that during the period 2002-2007 a smaller portion of age-3 through age-7 herring are recruiting as mature

herring to the spawning grounds and the fishery. Maturation of herring is a function of growth and in

recent years younger herring have been growing at a slower rate. The department has selected a more

conservative GHL than that forecast using the ASA model because it is not fully understood how changes

in the environment that are affecting herring growth, maturation and survival will affect the herring

population in future years.

The forecast and quota for the 2008 fishery will be finalized in February, 2008 after a winter test fishery

is completed. The preliminary forecast indicates that the spawning stock will consist of 4% age-3, 6%

age-4, 9% age-5, 13% age-6, 12% age-7, and 57% age-8+.

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