Plan Team recommends Slight Decrease in Southeast Outside Sablefish Quota

The Plan team met and set it’s recommendations which will be given to the NPFMC at their December meeting.  The Southeast Outside sablefish recommended TAC is 3,353 compared to the 2007 TAC of 3,370.  The list of all recommendations can be viewed at http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc/CouncilSpecs1007.pdf

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Dr Hogarth Resigns

Dr. William Hogarth, NOAA’s Assistant Administrator for Fisheries announced his intention to leave NOAA at the end of December.  He has taken a new job as Interim Dean for the College of Marine Science at the University of South Florida.

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ADFG Release Bromley Report

ADFG released a copy of the Bromley report.  the following links will take you to the report titled “Rethinking Fisheries Policy in Alaska: Options for the Future and a cover letter by ADFG.

ADFG Cover Letter to Bromley Report

Rethinking Fisheries Policy in Alaska: Options for the Future

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ADFG Releases SE Pink Salmon Forecast for 2008

Ketchikan. . . The Southeast Alaska pink salmon harvest in 2008 is predicted to be below average, with a

point estimate of 19 million fish (80% confidence interval: 10–34 million fish). An actual harvest of 19

million pink salmon would be 40% of the recent 10-year average of 47 million pink salmon. The 2008

forecast is a “model average” of two forecasts: 1) a forecast of the trend in the harvest, and 2) the forecast

trend adjusted using 2007 pink salmon fry abundance data provided by the NOAA Fisheries, Alaska

Fisheries Science Center, Auke Bay Laboratories. A brief discussion and description of the forecast

methods can be found at:

http://www.cf.adfg.state.ak.us/region1/pdfs/salmon/2008_pink_forecast.pdf

Department staff will be available to discuss this forecast and plan for the 2008 season at the SE Alaska

Purse Seine Task Force Meeting scheduled for November 27, 2007 in Sitka.

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Gov Palin Issues Press Release on NPFMC Appointments

November 9, 2007, Juneau, Alaska – Governor Sarah Palin today forwarded her nominations of Robert “Ed” Dersham, Mike Heimbuch and Roland Maw to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce as her candidates to fill the remainder of the term of resigning North Pacific Fishery Management Council member Ed Rasmuson.
“Each of these nominees is knowledgeable about Alaska fisheries and would bring a balanced perspective to the council table,” Governor Palin said.  “The council faces challenging fishery management decisions, and I’m confident that these candidates will put the interests of Alaska first.”
Governor Palin thanked Rasmuson, who resigned from the council in October, for his four years of dedicated service on the board. 
“Membership on the North Pacific council is a serious commitment. I appreciate the willingness of all of these experienced Alaskans to serve our state,” she said.
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional councils established by the 1976 Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act, later renamed the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, to oversee management of the nation’s marine fisheries.  The council has jurisdiction over 900,000 square miles of ocean from three to 200 miles off Alaska’s shores, and the primary responsibility for managing pollock, cod, halibut, sole and other groundfish.
The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires governors of specific coastal states to provide a minimum of three candidates for each applicable vacancy, from which the Secretary of Commerce makes a final selection. 
Robert “Ed” Dersham of Anchor Point is a 23-year charter boat operator in Lower Cook Inlet who has served on the Alaska Board of Fisheries for more than eight years, including three years as chair and two years as vice-chair.  He was involved in developing and chairing the joint protocol committee for coordination between the fisheries board and the North Pacific council.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Oregon and is a retired from a career as a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency.  Dersham is Governor Palin’s recommendation for appointment.
Mike Heimbuch of Homer is a lifelong Alaskan and commercial fisherman who has fished for halibut, herring, cod, shrimp and salmon around the state since 1963.  He has served on a variety of civic and local government commissions, including the fish and game advisory committee and the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Association.  He is an active political writer in Alaska newspapers and is currently a member of the Homer City Council.  He majored in music and education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Roland Maw of Kasilof is executive director of United Cook Inlet Drift Association and is co-owner of a charter and salmon research business based in Homer.  He has served on the United Fishermen of Alaska’s board of directors, on the Kenai Peninsula Fish and Game Advisory Committee and on the Joint Legislative Salmon Task Force Governance Committee.  Maw earned a doctoral degree in forestry and wildlife management from the University of Alberta in 1988.

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ADFG Releases Summary of the 2007 Salmon Season

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 7, 2007                                                                   No. 07-27 

Contact: Geron Bruce, Assistant Director, Division of Commercial Fisheries  (907) 465-6151 

 

ADF&G Releases Summary of the 2007 Salmon Season 

This year’s harvest was the 4th largest since Statehood 

 

(JUNEAU) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Commercial Fisheries today posted its preliminary end-of-season estimates of commercial harvest and value for the 2007 salmon season.  All estimates of salmon prices at this time are preliminary and usually underestimate the final value of the commercial salmon harvest.  

            This season, commercial fishermen harvested 212 million salmon, which had an estimated total value of $374 million. The harvest was the 4th largest since statehood, about 33 million fish above the preseason forecast, and above the most recent 10-year average of 164 million fish.  The preliminary 2007 statewide total exvessel value of the 2007 salmon harvest was nearly $28 million higher than the final exvessel value in 2006, and significantly higher than the most recent 10-year average of $277 million. 

As of today, preliminary estimates of the statewide average prices for sockeye and pink salmon are $.75 and $.17 per pound respectively, comparable to last year’s final exvessel prices.  Average Chinook salmon prices in 2007 were $2.68, below the final prices in 2006; however, prices for winter troll-caught Chinook salmon are currently averaging more than double these levels.  Preliminary coho salmon prices are below the final prices in 2006, decreasing from $1.04 per pound in 2006 to $0.83 per pound in 2007, while preliminary chum salmon prices are slightly lower than last year, at $.30 per pound compared to final 2006 prices of $.32 per pound.  Bristol Bay’s sockeye salmon harvest of 29.5 million fish was the 10th largest since 1893. The preliminary exvessel value of $106 million was slightly lower than the final 2006 Bristol Bay sockeye salmon value of $108 million. 

The statewide pink salmon harvest of 143 million fish is the 3rd largest harvest since Statehood.  It compares to the all time record harvest of 161 million fish in 2005, and is well above the long term historical average of 64.8 million fish. The statewide chum salmon harvest of 17.3 million fish ranks within the top 10 harvests of all time, with an exvessel value of $39.5 million, compared to the most recent 10-year average of $32 million. 

The Norton Sound coho salmon harvest of 126 thousand fish ranks second only to the 2006 record harvest of 131 thousand fish.  In the Port Clarence District, there was a commercial salmon fishery, targeting sockeye salmon, for the first time since 1966.  

More complete information will be available after processor annual reports have been received and compiled during the spring of 2008.  These reports provide the most complete and accurate information on the prices paid for salmon by various processors operating in Alaska, including any post-season adjustments or bonuses.  A revised estimate of salmon prices and values will then be released around July 1, 2008. 

 

 

Details on the numbers and pounds of fish, average fish weight, average price per pound, and exvessel value for each of the salmon species, by area as well as statewide, can be found on the ADF&G website under “2007 Preliminary Season Summary” at http://www.cf.adfg.state.ak.us/geninfo/finfish/salmon/catchval/blusheet/07exvesl.php . 

Copies are also available from Mike D. Plotnick, who can be reached by phone at (907) 465-6133.  These estimates are considered preliminary. Some fisheries, such as the salmon troll fishery, are still in progress. Revised estimates will be available during the summer of 2008 after fish ticket data have been finalized and ADF&G has received final prices from processors’ annual reports. 

 

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US Supreme Court to Hear Exxon Valdez Case

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court has stepped into the long-running battle over the $2.5 billion in punitive damages owed by Exxon Mobil for the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989.

A federal appeals court already had cut in half the $5 billion in damages awarded by a jury in 1994.

The justices today said they would consider whether the company should have to pay any punitive damages at all.

If the court decides some money is due, Exxon is arguing that $2.5 billion is excessive under laws governing shipping and prior high court decisions limiting punitive damages.

In its brief to the court, the company said the damages were, by far, the largest ever approved by federal appeals judges.

The company says it has already has paid $3.4 billion in clean-up costs and other penalties resulting from the oil spill.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs, some of whom are deceased, say the damages award is “barely more than three weeks of Exxon’s net profits.”

The plaintiffs still living include about 33,000 commercial fishermen, cannery workers, landowners, Alaska Natives, local governments and businesses.

The case probably will be heard in the spring.

Eleven millions gallons of oil spilled into Prince William Sound when the supertanker ran aground on a reef. 

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President Bush signs Executive Order to Preserve Recreational Fishing on Striped Bass and Red Drum

On October 20th, at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in Maryland, President Bush signed an executive order to set a policy to conserve striped bass and red drum fish for the recreational, economic and environmental benefit of present and future generations of Americans.  This order would prevent the sale of striped bass and red drum caught in federal waters,promotes more accurate scientific records about fish population levels and to improve the quality of the data, the federal government will be building a recreational saltwater registry that wil collect information from sportsmen about local fish stocks, which will help us better protect striped bass, red drum and all our fisheries.  The executive order also helps the federal government work with state and local officials to find innovative ways to conserve these species for future generations. 

During the presentation the President stated the following, “Listen, it’s important to be a commercial fisherman; I understand that. But the commercial fishermen and the sport fishermen don’t have to be antagonistic. It’s not a zero-sum game. Good policy will help our commercial fishermen and good policy will help our sport fishermen. And that’s what we’re here to talk about. And it’s important to recognize here in America that sport fishing is a important industry; a lot of people make a living because of sport fishing. I don’t know if people know this, but millions of Americans are spending about $40 billion a year on sport fishing. I know in our state, Walter, there’s a lot of people, a lot of entrepreneurs making a good living — they’re fishing guides. A lot of bait shops and small business owners are doing well as a result of good sport fishing policy.

And finally, the executive order encourages states to take a look at their own management of the fish stocks. See, we believe in cooperative conservation. That means cooperation at the federal, state and local levels. We believe in a collaborative approach. The federal government ought to work with all stakeholders to achieve common consensus. And I respect the state’s role in the management of the natural resources under their care. So I’m directing federal agencies to work with state officials to find innovative ways to help conserve striped bass and red drum.

And one such way is to use the state designation of “gamefish” where appropriate. I hope the state officials take a serious look at gamefish designation; it is an effective tool to protect endangered or dwindling species. See, it prohibits commercial sales, which removes the incentive to catch the fish for anything other than recreational purposes. State designations of gamefish have helped the recovery of species such as trout and large-mouth bass and tarpon and snook. People need to take a look at this tool to make sure that the fisheries are robust. Strong fisheries mean local sales. Local sales means better local economy. ”

Louis Daniels, director of North Carolina‘s division of marine fisheries, said “It’s an executive order to close two fisheries that are already closed.  That will definitely inflame tensions between recreational and commercial fishermen, because it’s an allocation issue that’s being dictated. What’s the practical implications of this? Nothing,” he said. “But it does remove flexibility to reopen the EEZ in the future, at least for commercial fishermen.”

Press Release: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/10/20071020-3.html

News Article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071019/ap_on_go_pr_wh/bush_going_fishing

 

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Lynn Canal Herring Petition being Reviewed at Juneau Fish and Game Advisory Committee

The Juneau Douglas Fish and Game Advisory Committee will be holding a meeting on the Lynn Canal Herring ESA Petition on Wednesday November 7, 6:30 pm at Centennial Hall.  There will be representatives from the Juneau Sierra Club, NMFS and ADFG to answer questions.  Public Testimony will also be heard by the Advisory Committee.  The AC plans on submitting written testimony to NMFS by the December 10th deadline.

http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/protectedresources/herring/default.htm

 

 

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Alaska Public Health Issues fish consumption Guidelines

Today, on Oct. 15th the joint departments of Public Health and Social Services (HSS) and Dept of Environmental Conservation (DEC) published a news release with new fish consumption guidelines.  The news release states that “the health benefits from eating fish far outweigh any potential risk from the small amounts of contaminants found in most Alaska fish.”  The concern is over the wide variation of mercury content among the 23 species of fish sampled from Alaska waters between 2001 and 2006.  Mercury is very low in all species of Alaska salmon and the State’s ongoing free program that monitors mercury levels in the hair of Alaska women has received no reports of unsafe mercury levels.

“Only five species of sport-caught Alaska fish had high enough mercury levels to warrant limiting consumption to two meals or less per week for these sensitive groups (women who are or can become pregnant, nursing mothers and children under the age of 12).  Yelloweye rockfish, large lingcod (40-45 inches) and large halibut (50-90 lbs) can be eaten as often as twice a week , while salmon shark and spiny dogfish, very large lingcod (over 45 inches) and very large halibut (over 90 pounds) can be consumed as often as once a week.  Because commerically caught halibut weigh an average of about 33 pounds, halibut purchased from stores or restaurants is safe for this group to eat up to four times a week.”

HSS Fish Facts and Consumption guidelines homepage:  http://www.epi.hss.state.ak.us/eh/fish/default.htm

News release:  http://www.hss.alaska.gov/press/2007/pdf/pr101507fish-consumption.pdf

 

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