So what can we expect in the new year?
The Highliner knows it’s risky, but he offers these 10 predictions. Please, no wagering, and I’ll thank you not to rub it in a year from now when I’m proven wrong.
Off we go!
• The Bering Sea crab fisheries will go another calendar year with no fatalities, further making a mockery of that TV show, “Deadliest Catch.”
• Look for consolidation in the Bering Sea pollock fleet. Fishing cooperatives will park some boats with the quota going down substantially. And expect one factory trawler to sell to a bigger competitor.
• Jim Balsiger of Juneau will be named the new director of the National Marine Fisheries Service. Bon voyage, Mr. B.
• The bluster will continue over Pebble, a copper and gold mine that isn’t and might never be.
• Exxon Mobil will emerge the victor in the spill case now before the U.S. Supreme Court.
• Retail halibut prices, already at blueblood levels, will go even higher due to a smaller catch limit. Can you say consumer revolt?
• We might see more public corruption indictments this year, but no fishy ones. And no, The Highliner has no inside information.
• Gov. Sarah Palin, so very popular now, will lose some of her shine in the commercial fishing industry. That’s what happens when you start making decisions.
• Bering Sea trawlers will get that chinook bycatch under control. They’d better.
• Bob Thorstenson Jr., who occasionally swears off The Highliner, will break down and keep posting. And his blogger buddies will gladly take the bait.
Happy New Year!