Commercial fishing is a bedrock industry in Alaska, and has been for more than a century. Every year scores of fishermen net millions of migrating salmon, challenge the icy Bering Sea to trap king crabs, lay miles and miles of baited hooks for halibut, and scoop up enough pollock for a zillion fish sticks. And when fishermen aren't out fishing, they're usually talking about fishing. That's what this blog by Wesley Loy has been all about for the two years he has written it.
Last set - 4/10/2009 7:36 pm
Seeking a PFD fishermen will actually wear - 4/10/2009 7:28 pm
Advice for mariculture: Grow West - 4/10/2009 7:26 pm
Anti-Pebble pitch to Anglo American - 4/10/2009 7:19 pm
Safety issues send two boats back to Hoonah - 4/9/2009 5:35 pm
Palin’s board pick draws fire - 4/2/2009 10:46 am
Cook Inlet fisherman named to board - 4/1/2009 4:51 pm
Wrangell deal back on? - 3/31/2009 9:56 am
Posted: January 29, 2009 - 10:18 am
State legislators on the Cook Inlet Salmon Task Force will meet at noon today in Juneau to hear from University of Alaska Anchorage economist Gunnar Knapp.
Knapp will talk about two recently released studies on the economic impact of sport and commercial fishing in Alaska (The Highliner, Jan. 14 and 21). You can catch the hearing live or later on Gavel to Gavel.
The presentation is part of work leading up to an expected report from the task force to the full Legislature.
That report was expected to come right at the start of the legislative session, which began Jan. 20, but task force chairman Rep. Craig Johnson, R-Anchorage, asked his colleagues for a one-month delay until Feb. 19.
Posted: January 28, 2009 - 11:30 pm
As regular visitors to The Highliner know, we’ve been posting updates about payouts of punitive damages collected from the Exxon Valdez oil spill lawsuit.
As the distribution process continues, thousands of commercial fishermen, Native subsistence gatherers, cannery workers and others who claimed harm from the spill will be eager to know how much they’ll receive and when.
But one group might be taking an especially keen interest.
The group includes more than 100 fishermen and ex-fishermen who might never see a check because they pledged their Exxon money to the Alaska Division of Investments as collateral against state boat and permit loans that in many cases went bad.
Posted: January 22, 2009 - 10:31 am
Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the Exxon Valdez oil spill case had hoped a judge would sign off by Jan. 30 on the second payout of punitive damages (The Highliner, Jan. 20).
But federal Judge H. Russel Holland indicates in this order that his decision will come no sooner than Feb. 9.
Posted: January 21, 2009 - 6:17 pm
Here's a note from our managing editor about the decorum we expect of persons posting comments on this and other adn.com blogs.
A follow up to last week's post about comments:
For the most part we've seen a significant reduction in the number of offending comments. You'll see a few comments posted about how we're deleting the comments we disagree with. Some say we're doing it because we don't like Gov. Sarah Palin. Some say we're doing it because we're "in the tank" for Palin. A fair read of the comments shows that people on all sides of issues get to have their say if they stay within the rules. The vast majority of e-mails we're getting thank us for tightening up.
Posted: January 21, 2009 - 4:54 pm
If Alaska were a country instead of a state, it would rank ninth among the world's nations in terms of total seafood catch.
That’s just one of the many superlatives in a new report released today about Alaska’s multibillion-dollar seafood industry.
Anchorage-based Northern Economics Inc. prepared the report for three leading trade groups – the Marine Conservation Alliance, the At-sea Processors Association and the Pacific Seafood Processors Association.
Posted: January 20, 2009 - 8:54 pm
Lawyers representing thousands of plaintiffs in the Exxon Valdez case filed papers today seeking a judge’s permission to pay out a second round of punitive damages.
The first round of payments, you might recall, was in December. In that round, a total of 11,742 payments went to "oiled" commercial salmon fishermen and Native subsistence plaintiffs in 13 of the case’s 52 claim categories. Those payments totaled nearly $156 million.
Now the lawyers aim to distribute another $62.5 million to 5,331 more claimants in those same 13 categories.
But many of these people will receive only partial payment, or none at all.
Posted: January 20, 2009 - 11:07 am
Here’s the news release from the International Pacific Halibut Commission’s 85th annual meeting last week in Vancouver, British Columbia.
No surprises here on what we previously reported with regard to catch limits and season dates (The Highliner, Jan. 17).
We note, however, some apparently tough language from the commission on the issue of a proposed one-fish bag limit for charter boat anglers in Southeast Alaska (Area 2C). The current limit is two retained fish per angler per day.
Posted: January 17, 2009 - 7:07 pm
Searchers have located the offshore supply boat Monarch.
It's on the bottom right near the Cook Inlet oil platform where the vessel sank Thursday.
Here's a U.S. Coast Guard press release:
U.S. Coast Guard, 17th District
Jan. 17, 2009
Update: Monarch located, response continues
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The sunken offshore supply vessel Monarch was located today near the southwest leg of the Granite Point oil platform in Cook Inlet, about 16 miles from Nikiski.
Posted: January 17, 2009 - 12:56 am
Here’s the upshot from the International Pacific Halibut Commission annual meeting, which wrapped up Friday in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Commissioners cut the halibut catch limit in Southeast Alaska (Area 2C) a good bit less than feared, while Southcentral (Area 3A) was cut a little more than expected.
Also, the season will open two weeks later than last year. The fishery will begin on Saturday, March 21, and close on Nov. 15. Last season opened March 8.
Now here are the 2009 catch limits by area, in millions of pounds, and the percentage change from last year:
Posted: January 16, 2009 - 10:18 pm
Here's the alert the U.S. Coast Guard is broadcasting about the Monarch, the abandoned offshore supply boat adrift somewhere in Cook Inlet.
ALASKA-GULF OF ALASKA-COOK INLET-OBSTRUCTION TO NAVIGATION
THE OFFSHORE SUPPLY VESSEL MONARCH HAS SANK IN THE VICINITY OF THE GRANITE POINT DRILLING PLATFORM IN APPROXIMATE POSITION 60-57.5N, 151-19.8W. THE MONARCH IS A 166 FOOT, 297 GROSS TON VESSEL WITH A BLUE HULL AND SUPERSTRUCTURE WITH WHITE TRIM. IT IS EXPECTED THAT THE VESSEL WILL NOT REMAIN IN ITS CURRENT LOCATION, BUT WILL BE SUBJECT TO MOVEMENT BASED ON STRONG TIDAL CURRENTS IN THE AREA. THE SUNKEN VESSEL IS NOT MARKED IN ANY WAY. TWO 10-MAN LIFERAFTS MAY HAVE BEEN DEPLOYED FROM THE SUNKEN VESSEL, AND MAY EITHER BE TETHERED TO THE SUNKEN VESSEL OR DRIFTING FREELY. SIX 4½ FOOT STAINLESS STEEL TANKS AND ELEVEN 55-GALLON DRUMS CONTAINING FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS WERE ON THE VESSEL AT THE TIME OF THE SINKING. DUE TO THEIR CONTENTS, MARINERS ARE ADVISED TO REMAIN CLEAR OF THE TANKS AND OR DRUMS. ALL VESSELS TRANSITING COOK INLET ARE REQUESTED TO EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION AND REPORT ANY SIGHTINGS TO COAST GUARD SECTOR ANCHORAGE AT (907) 271-6769.
Posted: January 16, 2009 - 9:51 pm
Reliable friends in Juneau tell The Highliner that Bob King, press spokesman for former Gov. Tony Knowles, is joining the staff of newly installed U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska.
King will help with fisheries, Coast Guard and other issues for Begich, who has been given a seat on the important Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
King knows Alaska fisheries well, especially the state’s most valuable salmon fishery at Bristol Bay.
He currently lives in Juneau and works with the Marine Conservation Alliance, a nonprofit association of seafood harvesters, processors and communities.
Posted: January 16, 2009 - 9:34 pm
Here's an update we're printing in tomorrow's newspaper about the Monarch, the offshore oil supply boat that sank Thursday in Cook Inlet.
By WESLEY LOY
The U.S. Coast Guard and salvage crews have lost track of the offshore supply boat that sank early Thursday near a Cook Inlet oil platform.
“To be perfectly honest, we don’t know where it is,” Coast Guard Petty Officer Sara Francis said.
Searchers with sonar scanned the icy, high-current waters around the Granite Point platform for hours Friday but failed to locate the sunken boat.
Posted: January 16, 2009 - 12:33 am
Tom Casey, a Seattle fisheries consultant with a penchant for poetry and reading the fine print, steered me to a curious word he found in the dense crab motion the North Pacific Fishery Management Council passed last month (The Highliner, Dec. 15).
The word is “auction.”
Here’s the context.
The council is considering changes to its controversial management scheme for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands crab fisheries, which in 2005 were “rationalized.” That is, divided into catch shares known as individual fishing quotas.
Posted: January 15, 2009 - 10:57 am
Here’s the complete story running in our Friday newspaper:
Ice sinks boat at oil platform
By WESLEY LOY
When drifting sea ice jammed their supply boat against an offshore oil platform – and then started piling up on deck – the seven crewmen realized they had no choice but to abandon ship and fast.
So they did, clambering up a catwalk on the platform as the boat swamped and ultimately sank Thursday in the frigid waters of Cook Inlet, said spokesmen for the boat's owner and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Posted: January 14, 2009 - 3:19 pm
The Department of Fish and Game today released its study on the economic impact of sportfishing in Alaska.
I’ve not reviewed the study yet, but I wanted to go ahead and post this press release with a link to the report.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Jan. 14, 2009
ADF&G Releases Results of Sportfishing Economic Study
JUNEAU – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) today released the results of a study measuring the economic importance of sport fishing to Alaska. The report, “Economic Impacts and Contributions of Sportfishing in Alaska,” confirms that spending associated with sportfishing in Alaska is considerable and is a significant component of the statewide and regional economies.
Posted: January 14, 2009 - 10:15 am
Just a note to say the International Pacific Halibut Commission is meeting through Friday in Vancouver, British Columbia.
We’re reported already that scientists are recommending the six-member commission dial down catch limits significantly this year in some areas (The Highliner, Nov. 25).
Aside from this, I’m hearing reports that some industry players might ask the commission to delay the season start by up to three weeks to allow inventory to clear out.
The worry is that a lot of fish in cold storage could depress prices for fishermen, especially during this time of recession.
Posted: January 12, 2009 - 3:20 pm
Wrangell Seafoods Inc., a Southeast Alaska fish processor, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.
Here’s the petition.
Sorry, dear readers, I don’t have time at the moment to analyze it for you.
I do note, however, that one of the main creditors is a government agency, the Alaska Fisheries Marketing Board. The unsecured claim is $764,346.
Posted: January 9, 2009 - 12:08 pm
The legislative session starts Jan. 20, and lawmakers today unveiled a list of 121 prefiled bills and resolutions.
I found seven bills of interest to the fishing industry.
Here’s a rundown:
House Bill 20 relates to commercial fishing loans for energy efficiency upgrades. Sponsor is Rep. Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham.
House Bill 41 relates to conflicts of interest and the Board of Fisheries. Sponsor is Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer.
Posted: January 8, 2009 - 5:25 pm
Alaska legislative leaders were meeting in Girdwood today to plan for the Jan. 20 session start, and word is the House Special Committee on Fisheries will have a new chairman.
Looks like Rep. Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, will hold the gavel, replacing Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer.