Friday, July 13, 2018

Another emergency petition aimed at South Peninsula fishermen - this time from CRAA

The Alaska Board of Fisheries meets at the Egan Center July 17th to decide six emergency petitions.  Three of these petitions propose to shut down the South Alaska Peninsula salmon fisheries. You can read all of the petitions including from the BBNA, the Chignik AC and the Chignik Regional Aquaculture Association that would close down the Area M South Peninsula fisheries, at this link.
You can submit comments at the Board of Fish website by clicking the 'Comment on Emergency petitions' button and writing your comment to the Board. The deadline to submit comments for the emergency petitions meeting has been extended until July 16th. There will be no opportunity for public comment at the July 17th meeting. You can find the fifth revised meeting notice here.


There is a regular Board meeting scheduled in February to discuss Chignik and South Peninsula salmon fisheries. The Board should deny the BBNA and Chignik petitions and address the concerns at the upcoming February 2019 Board meeting.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Comment period on five emergency petitions to the Board of Fish extended until July 16th

The Alaska Board of Fisheries meets at the Egan Center July 17th to decide five emergency petitions. Two of these petitions propose to shut down the South Alaska Peninsula salmon fisheries. The deadline to submit comments for the emergency petitions meeting has been extended until July 16th. There will be no opportunity for public comment at the July 17th meeting. You can find the fourth revised meeting notice here.
You can read the petitions by BBNA and the Chignik AC that would close down the Area M South Peninsula fisheries at this link.
You can submit comments at the Board of Fish website by clicking the 'Comment on Emergency petitions' button and writing your comment to the Board by the extended deadline of July 16th.
There is a regular Board meeting scheduled in February to discuss Chignik and South Peninsula salmon fisheries. The Board should deny the BBNA and Chignik petitions and wait to discuss the concerns at the upcoming February meeting.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Aleutians East Borough Letter to ADFG Commissioner Cotten 06/20/18


On June 18, 2018 ADFG Sand Point released Commercial Salmon Fishery Announcement #5 an Emergency Order that slashed 48 hours from the 88 hour openings beginning June 20th for seine and drift fishermen and June 22th for set net. Although there was no explanation accompanying the original announcement, it became clear the fishery managers were taking the action as an emergency measure to help the failing Chignik first run of Sockeye salmon. Commissioner Sam Cotten  held a teleconference on the 19th to answer stakeholder questions, and on June 21st ADFG released the Emergency Order including justification for the action. On June 20th Mayor Alvin D. Osterback considered AEB options. The letter that follows is the AEB's initial response to the Emergency Order.

June 20, 2018

Commissioner Sam Cotten
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
333 Raspberry Road
Anchorage, AK 99518

Commissioner Cotten,

The recent emergency management action taken by ADFG to restrict fishing on the South Peninsula was designed to address a failing first Chignik sockeye run. However, data from the WASSIP study suggests that very few Chignik fish will be conserved by restrictions proposed in some areas.

The table below shows numbers of Chignik fish harvested in each of four South Peninsula areas in the last third of June (Appendix D1-D3)[1] and the Chignik run size, for 2006, 2007, and 2008 (Tables 3-5)[2]. The figures are derived by multiplying estimated harvest numbers for each district in the last part of June, by the mean Chignik stock proportion in that fishery period for that year. If one divides that Chignik harvest number by the Chignik run size, the result is a harvest rate estimate for that fishery location and period on Chignik fish. In Shumagin, Unimak, and Ikatan, the harvest rate on Chignik fish is 1% or less for June 20-30. This means that for a Chignik run of 100,000, roughly 1,000 might be saved if no fishing occurred in these areas. In Unimak and Ikatan, the harvest rate is more like 0.5%, saving less than 500 fish.

(numbers in thousands)
2006
Chignik Harvest Rate
2007
Chignik Harvest Rate
2008
Chignik Harvest Rate
Chignik Run size
2,300

1,650

1,500

Shumagin catch of Chignik sockeye
18.1
0.008
14.3
0.009
17.0
0.011
Dolgoi catch of Chignik sockeye
88.1
0.04
8.8
0.005
6.77
0.005
Ikatan catch of Chignik sockeye
4.0
0.002
0.85
0.001
3.84
0.003
Unimak catch of Chignik sockeye
-
-
0.79
0.000
4.9
0.003

We suggest that the department adopt a more targeted and meaningful strategy that still provides some positive impact on the Chignik run, by restricting the Dolgoi area only. We know from the WASSIP study that a higher proportion of Chignik fish is harvested here. Clearly, actions in Unimak and Ikatan, will provide little impact on the troubled Chignik run. This would help alleviate substantial negative impacts on coastal communities of the South Peninsula. 

Sincerely,

Alvin D. Osterback, Mayor


[1] Stock Composition of Sockeye Salmon Harvests (WASSIP), 2006-2008.  ADFG Special Publication No. 12-22
[2] Harvest and Harvest Rates of Sockeye Salmon Stocks (WASSIP), 2006-2008.  ADFG Special Publication No. 12-24

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Alaska Marine Forecast format - options change

Marine weather forecasts are critical to the livelihoods of fishermen in the Aleutians East Borough. Lives of families in our communities can depend on knowing the forecast, particularly the marine forecast including the wind direction and speed. If you watch the 'Alaska Weather' TV show on channel 9 in one of our communities, you know that the last 5 minutes of the program, after the aviation weather and the 'segment', is the all important part of the broadcast - marine weather.
The internet is now the quickest way to get updated forecasts, but it came as a shock to some residents when previous links to find the NOAA Alaska Region marine weather forecasts on the web no longer worked. Alaska Region has made changes to the weather site.
The good news - there are now more choices than before to view the marine forecast:
All of these options can also be found on the AEB Natural Resources Department page - www.aebfish.org.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

NPFMC tackles important issues during the June 2016 meeting in Kodiak


Gulf of Alaska Trawl Bycatch Management (GOA TBM) was the headline agenda item for the North Pacific Fishery Management Council June meeting in Kodiak, garnering a parade and harbor spit festival organized by the Kodiak trawl industry and processors on Saturday June 11. The Council reviewed the current discussion paper and made some clarifying adjustments to Alternatives 2, 3 & 4. One change would allow electronic monitoring, when it is available for trawl, instead of only 100% human observer coverage.  The Council also added the following language between the Purpose and Needs statement and the Goals and Objectives section:

The overarching goal of the Gulf of Alaska Trawl Bycatch Management program is to provide the fleet tools for effective management and reduction of PSC and bycatch, and promote increased utilization of both target and secondary species while minimizing economic barriers for new participants by limiting the duration of harvest privileges that may be allocated (target species and/or prohibited species) in order to maintain opportunity for entry into the GOA trawl fisheries.”

The Council is moving the GOA TBM action to a ‘preliminary analysis’ phase tentatively set to come back in December.  In the coming weeks NOAA Fisheries will announce in the Federal Register a new public scoping process that will be an important step in an Environmental Impact Statement for the program.  The preliminary compiled June Council motion for GOA TBM can be found at this link.
In other Council agenda items: the NPFMC declared the 10 year Review of the BSAI Crab Rationalization program “complete and final”.  The Council also moved Bering Sea Tanner crab to the list of species exempt from custom processing limits, an action of immediate concern that would allow the full utilization of the upcoming BS tanner season total allowable catch with a now limited number of processors.  During the North Pacific Observer Program Annual Report the Council recommended adding a new strata in the program for vessels that deliver to tenders. The North Pacific Observer Program Annual Deployment Plan will be reviewed by the Council in October. Initial Review of ‘Electronic Monitoring Integration’ is also scheduled for October after a July review by the electronic monitoring workgroup in Anchorage.
The Council paid tribute to 3 non-returning members at an evening reception. Coast Guard Captain Phillip Thorne is moving up the ranks after serving the Council for 4 years, David Long was not reappointed for a second term, and Duncan Fields has completed the maximum 9 consecutive years on the Council. Theresa Peterson, an Advisory Panel member from Kodiak, was nominated by the Governor to replace Fields; Buck Laukitis was nominated to replace David Long. The Secretary of Commerce is expected to announce Council appointments next week.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

New brown bear regulations to impact resident hunters



The Board of Game has been meeting in Fairbanks March 18 - 28, 2016 to consider statewide proposals. The Board passed two proposals that are of particular interest to local resident brown bear hunters – one regulation to extend the brown bear tag fee exemption in certain areas, and one that allows the sale of brown bear hides.

  • PROPOSAL 57 - 5 AAC 92.200(b). Purchase and sale of game. Allow the sale of brown bear hides and/or skulls by resident hunters as follows:  Statewide; allow resident Alaskan hunters to sell the hides with claws attached and/or skulls of legally taken brown bears harvested in units where the bag limit is two or more bears per season.
  • PROPOSAL 129 - 5AAC 92.015. Brown bear tag fee exemption (a) A resident tag is not required for taking a brown bear in certain areas, including within five miles of the communities of Cold Bay, King Cove, Sand Point, and Nelson Lagoon, within five miles of Port Moller and  within three miles of the community of False Pass.  
Currently, brown bear tag fee exemptions must be reauthorized annually or the fee will be automatically reinstated.

Another proposal passed by the Board impacts resident & non-resident black & brown bear hunters.
  • PROPOSAL 56 - 5 AAC 92.220(e). Salvage of game meat, furs, and hides. Prohibits the transport of hide and skull of black or brown bear from the field until edible meat has been salvaged.
You can find more information from the Fairbanks meeting, including a summary of Board actions, here.

Monday, March 7, 2016

South Peninsula State pot cod season opens at Noon March 7



The South Alaska Peninsula state-waters Pacific cod season for pot gear opens today March 7th at noon.  Vessels 58ft and under may participate in the fishery with a limit of 60 pots. The total GHL for the South Peninsula state-waters pot cod is 22,769,927 lbs, up from 21,757,443 lbs last year.  There were 30 vessels registered so far on Friday, vs 42 vessels participating last year. Only tagged pots may be stored after the first week of the season and stored pots should be bait-free with doors secured open.  The P/V Stimson will be patrolling from Kodiak to King Cove beginning March 10, checking fishing and stored gear for tags and licenses aboard vessels.


ADFG groundfish manager Nat Nichols came to King Cove Friday March 4th for a pre-season meeting with fishermen. He emphasized that communication is key to a successful season, as more uncertainty leads to a more cautious approach to management, and he thanked the fishermen for their cooperation in the past.  ADFG will go through the dispatch list each morning, but fishermen should feel free to call in if they miss the initial call or if they have other concerns.  Cooperation with dockside samplers is much appreciated.


The Kodiak pot cod season for a GHL of 6.8 million lbs opened and finished in February and Chignik opened last week  for a 8.5 million GHL.  The Dutch Harbor Sub-district season on the north side is ongoing with virtually double the fishing area as last year and a GHL of 35,979,072, and has attracted boats from the South Pen fishery.  Each of these state pot cod fisheries is exclusive, meaning you may only register for one.  The 2016 Fishery Management Plan for South Alaska Peninsula Pacific cod can be found here.