Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Senators Call for 3-Year Moratorium on Discharge Permits for Commercial Vessels

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) have introduced a bipartisan bill (S.3372) this month that extends the current moratorium on permit requirements for commercial and charter fishing vessels and other commercial vessels under 79 feet long. The legislation calls for a three-year extension of the moratorium on permits for discharges under the Clean Water Act.

The current two-year moratorium is scheduled to expire on July 31, 2010. The Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) and the Coast Guard were instructed to conduct a study to examine the effects of discharges incidental to the normal operation of such vessels. The senators say the results of the study have not been fully analyzed, and it will be nearly impossible for the EPA to issue the permits by July 31. That would put the vessels in violation of the Clean Water Act for any kind of incidental discharge. The senators say more time is needed to evaluate the study before determining whether these discharges need to be regulated.

Click on the title of this blog post to read more in the press release.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

ADF&G To Hold Pre-Season Fishery Stakeholders' Meeting in Sand Point and King Cove

Below is a press release from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game:


The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will be conducting a preseason fishery stakeholder's meeting at the Aleutians East Borough building in Sand Point at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 2 and at the Harbor House in King Cove at 6:00 p.m. Thursday, June 3. The purpose of these meetings is to provide all interested parties an opportunity to discuss the upcoming salmon season with ADF&G staff.

Topics covered will include:

* 2010 regulatory changes
* 2010 salmon outlook
* 2010 management strategy
* 2010 department test fisheries
* Other topics as time permits

To obtain further information, please contact the Sand Point Fish and
Game office at (907) 383-2066.

NPFMC Meets June 9 - 15, 2010 in Sitka

Major Issues Include Chum Bycatch, Rockfish Catch Share Program

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) is scheduled to meet June 9 - 15, 2010 in Sitka at Centennial Hall. The Council plans to review a discussion paper on the Bering Sea Aleutian Islands (BSAI) chum salmon bycatch issue and finalize alternatives for analysis. The Council will also get an update on chum and Chinook salmon genetics research and sampling design.

Other major issues include the Central Gulf of Alaska Rockfish Program, the Amendment 80 Program and the Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod sideboards for crab vessels. The Council plans to take final action on the rockfish catch share program. The NPFMC is also expected to take final action on the amendment for lost vessel replacement (Amendment 80 Program). In addition, there will be an initial review of an analysis for the Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod sideboards for crab vessels. Currently, some crab boats are restricted from fishing for cod in the western Gulf. A proposal was put forth to allow these boats to fish in the fall if it appeared that the federal B season cod was not likely to be harvested. However, there may be little interest in this proposal now because of the Pacific cod sector split that was approved late last year. For more information, click on the title of this post to read the draft agenda.