NEW Halibut Catch Shares – Comments Due Aug 26th
See Calendar for more!
Troll (907) 465-8765 / (907) 747-8765 / (907) 772-3700 / (907) 225-6870
Groundfish (907) 747-4882
Enforcement (907) 478-3377
2013 Chinook Quota
ADFG Troll Summer Management Plans
ADFG Summer Harvest Update
NEW Southeast Chinook Mitigation Program
A $15 million Chinook mitigation program was authorized by Congress to help offset the impacts of Chinook quota reductions in Southeast Alaska under the 2009 Pacific Salmon Treaty agreement. Since 2011, funds have been used to assist trollers and anglers with a combination of direct payments, enhancement, and infrastructure projects. The Stakeholders Panel is a collaborative team of trollers, sport fishermen, processors, guided operators, Southeast communities, and the state. This group works to define project areas for mitigation funds. The Panel will convene in fall 2013 and make recommendations to the Governor for the remainder of the mitigation funding. ATA has begun its work to identify priority projects for 2014 and requests feedback from the fleet – contact the office with your ideas and any questions.
For more specifics on the program visit the state’s webpage: Chinook Mitigation.
US Coast Guard
NEW USCG Terminates 2 MHZ Distress Watchkeeping Service
Effective 01 August, 2013, the U. S. Coast Guard will terminate its radio guard of the international voice distress, safety and calling frequency 2182 kHz and the international digital selective calling (DSC) distress and safety frequency 2187.5 kHz. Additionally, marine information and weather broadcasts transmitted on 2670 kHz will terminate concurrently.
The Coast Guard will continue to maintain a continuous watch on VHF FM channel 16 (156.8 MHz) and on existing voice and DSC frequencies in the 4/6/8/12 MHz bands as described in the Coast Guard Navigation Center website.
NEW Safety Rules (still) on Horizon
The USCG informs us that no new safety rules will be in place during the 2013 season. Regulations could be published for public review sometime this fall. Monitor the Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Program and USCG websites for the most current updates.
Clarification: Dockside Inspections
This has been a source of particular of confusion. Here is the rule as of summer 2012:
Dockside inspections are NOT required until fall 2015 unless you have to carry an observer, then they are mandatory. Safety inspection decals are only good for 2 years.
In October 2010 the president signed into law the USCG Authorization Act of 2010. In January 2012 Congress passed the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2012. Congress included in both of these laws a number of new safety rules for the commercial fishing industry. Changes include: a revised boundary line definition (3NM from land); new safety equipment and construction standards for uninspected commercial fishing vessels operating beyond the boundary; mandatory dockside inspections every 2 years; onboard logbook requirements for safety gear maintenance and drills; operator training; and revised survival craft requirements - life floats and buoyant apparatus will no longer be allowed as a substitute for a liferaft. Here is an overview of the potential changes: Safety Requirements
Timeline for implementation of these requirements remains unclear. Some provisions, such as load-line rules, will undergo additional rulemaking. You can help keep watch on new developments by monitoring the websites linked above. Be sure to comment on any proposed regulations and you are also encouraged to write the Commercial Fishing Safety Advisory Committee with your concerns. Read ATA’s most recent comments here.
Alaska Marine Safety Education Association is currently offering free training to commercial vessel owners, skippers, and crew. Funding for this program is always an issue, so if you haven’t had a chance to get in on these excellent classes, call soon. Contact AMSEA for more information on locations and course schedules.
Infectious Salmon Anemia Virus (ISAv) Suspected B.C. Rivers
In late 2011, it was announced that a European strain of a virus potentially dangerous to fish, but harmless for humans, had been found in juvenile and adult sockeye, chum, and Chinook salmon from Rivers Inlet and Fraser River in British Columbia. Testing was done by several labs. Since then, a number of conflicting declarations have been seen in the press regarding these findings. ATA is deeply concerned about the likelihood that farmed salmon can spread diseases to wild Pacific salmon stocks. We have repeatedly made clear our fleet’s concerns about lax regulatory process and fish farm expansion. Fishermen are also uneasy about negative impacts to the salmon industry that could occur either from a disease outbreak, or as the result of false or inaccurate reporting of disease threats. In recent months there has been some disturbing outfall as a result of the 2011 findings, including the loss of credentials by a key reference lab.
It is important to get to the truth. ISA outbreaks were responsible for a 70% drop in Chile's farmed salmon production in 2007 and significant recent year losses. The disease is common at the farms in Europe and the Eastern U.S.A. Scientists have many questions about the susceptibility of Pacific salmon to ISA (v). Still, the 2011 ISA findings in B.C. salmon have been summarily dismissed by key agencies and the fish farm industry.
Further analysis and testing continues on the Pacific Coast, as agencies and interest groups work to sort out whether ISA virus is present in wild salmon. Participants in one effort, launched at the urging of several US Senators, report that they so far have found no evidence of disease. Great news, but there are many reasons that diseases can go undetected in the wild. Surprisingly, fish at the farms are not being tested as part of these studies, which begs the question whether all of the information is on the table. ATA will continue to monitor and report.
The Cohen Commission held hearings on salmon declines in British Columbia and added several days to explore the ISA (v) issue. The commission released its report in October 2012.
ATA Opinion Piece on ISA Virus
US Senators Call for West Coast Testing
Alaska Congressional Delegation Introduces Legislation on GE Salmon
No word yet on FDA's decision on whether or not to allow the sale of genetically modified salmon. In the meantime, a number of efforts continue by the Alaska congressional delegation and others, to prevent the sale of modified seafood, or at minimum, label the product so that consumers can make a choice.
Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich and Congressman Don Young have introduced companion bills dubbed The PEGASUS Act, which among other things would prohibit shipping, selling, purchasing, raising GE salmon, or releasing them into a natural environment.
Congressional Bills: S. 246 / H.R. 1667
US House Debate on GE salmon (10:00pm on the video)
ATA Comment on FDA Proposed Approval of GE Salmon
Alaska Legislature Urges FDA to Deny GE Approval
The Alaska Legislature this year passed HJR5 LINK opposing the approval of GE salmon. Alaska in 2005 was the first state in the union to outlaw the possession and sale of GE salmon, since that time a number of other states have considered and/or passed similar rules.
ATA Comment on HJR5
ATA Opinion Piece on GE salmon
Congressman Young Introduces Fish Farm Bill
Congressman Don Young has submitted H.R.753, which would prohibit the permitting of commercial finfish farming in the EEZ until a federal law is passed to specifically provide for the activity.
NOAA and US Department of Commerce aquaculture policies.
Sealaska Lands Claim
The Alaska Delegation has introduced Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement Finalization and Jobs Protection Act to complete a transfer of lands to Sealaska under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). Both S.340 and H.R.740 provide land for both timber and non-timber based development, as well as cultural and historic sites. The bills have cleared key committees in both the House and Senate.
The legislation allows land selections to be made outside of the areas originally requested by Sealaska and defined in ANCSA. It also allows the rollback of 100' buffer strips in key riparian areas and is vague with respect to permissible forms of development.
ATA agrees that it is important to finalize Sealaska's land claims and appreciates that the Alaska delegation and Sealaska took time to discuss these bills with local citizens. This has resulted in a number of positive changes. However, there are still questions to be answered and the lack of adequate buffer strip protection is unacceptable. It is our hope that the delegation will reconsider key elements of this legislation prior to final passage.
The Tongass 77 is a legislative concept being advanced by Trout Unlimited AK (TU AK) and others, to permanently protect approximately 1.9 million acres of high-value salmon watersheds in the Tongass National Forest. New areas would be designated LUD II under the Tongass Land Use Management Plan. TU AK is currently seeking a congressional sponsor for the proposal. You can learn more about the Tongass 77 and the science behind the watershed selections at: American Salmon Forest .
ATA has informed the Alaska congressional delegation of its support for additional habitat protection in the Tongass. There are still details to be ironed out, but ATA thinks TU AK’s concept and watershed analyses have merit and provide Southeast residents valuable information to advance the discussion.
The recent cycle of punishing weather and geologic events has affected the lives of so many around the world. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the millions of families whose lives have been severely disrupted. So often we focus intently on these far away disaster situations when they are front page news, then go back to our daily lives while others struggle to pick up the pieces. We encourage the members of our industry to prepare your family and property, donate to an emergency relief fund of choice, and consider volunteering your time to local and outside response groups.
- West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center
- U.S. State Department
- Red Cross
- Japan Earthquake and Other Relief Options
- Emergency Preparedness
- Tsunamis and SE Alaska