Raffle Tickets Are Here!

ALFA's annual fish raffle fundraiser is underway!  You can purchase your tickets from an ALFA Board Member, at the ALFA Office, or at Old Harbor Books.  And if you run into Gary Egerton, Steve Fish, Eric Jordan, or Jeff Farvour, please thank them for donating fish to ALFA's only fundraiser!

Marine safety information bulletin released: official Coast Guard document renewal process

A message from Steve Ramp:

Your Southeast Alaska Fishing Vessel Examiners have been getting
numerous complaints from owners of commercial fishing vessels regarding a
new company that is sending out unsolicited letters and offering to perform
Documentation services for them.  We (led by Mr. Jim Paul at MSD Ketchikan)
have worked with the Coast Guard's Vessel Documentation Office and the
Seventeenth District legal office in Juneau and have been able to get the
attached Marine Safety Information Bulletin developed which provides
information to vessel owners concerning the Coast Guard's official document
renewal process.

Please give this document the widest dissemination possible to your
Association's membership.  As always, anyone is welcome to contact me if
they have any questions concerning this issue.


First observations of fine-scale juvenile sablefish movements in the wild reveal behavioral patterns that may influence survival

By: Christine Baier

Sablefish, butterfish, black cod – by any name, people call this fish delicious. Its delicate texture, buttery flavor and rich omega-3 content add up to a high value fishery: while sablefish make up a small portion of commercial catch by volume, their high price generates a lot of income for Alaska’s seafood industry—a big economic bang per fish. 

To keep a fishery productive over time, managers need to know how fish populations respond to environmental changes and human activity. Understanding how these factors influence survival of vulnerable juvenile fish is crucial to predicting and ensuring recruitment (the number of fish that grow to a size commercially profitable to catch) to the fishery. 

Despite their value in the seafood industry, there is a lot we don’t know about sablefish. 

“Sablefish are kind of mysterious,” says Karson Coutré, a NOAA Fisheries affiliate with Earth Resources Technology, Inc. at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. “Adults live far offshore in deep water, and their range is vast. They spawn in winter, when rough seas and weather make research difficult. Young sablefish live close to shore, but they can be difficult to find – they show up at unpredictable times and places.” 

Coutré is lead author of a new NOAA Fisheries study that documents for the first time fine-scale vertical movements of juvenile sablefish in the wild. The study begins to fill a gap in our knowledge of the behavioral patterns that influence juvenile sablefish survival in nearshore habitats.

Read the full post here. 


Photo: A juvenile sablefish, tagged and ready to be released back into the wild.  Photo: Kari Fenske, NOAA Fisheries

There's nothing modern about overfishing


A recently-filed bill with the upbeat title “The Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act,” H.R. 2023, would unfortunately do just the opposite.  By gutting one of the most important improvements of modern fisheries law, we believe that this bill would move us backwards to a time of widespread overfishing.

Read the full post. 

Hybrid Propulsion Vessels in Alaska's Longline and Troll Fisheries

This summary for fishermen was written by researchers that audited fishing vessels as part of ALFA's fuel efficiency program to determine which energy inefficiencies exist in typical fishing vessel use. 

Through their study, the authors found that retrofitting a vessel with an advanced power system will likely save one to three thousand gallons of fuel per year, depending on the type of power system installed and the design of the original system. The cost, risk, and time required to implement each proposed propulsion system will need to be assessed separately to determine whether the fuel savings warrant investing in one of these new systems.

Report Introduction: 

Fuel savings can be achieved in troll and long line vessels by installing a hybrid drive system. A hybrid drive has two independent power sources that can turn the propeller shaft, allowing the main engine to be powered off under light load conditions. Further savings can be achieved on freezer vessels that often run two engines simultaneously. Additional maintenance cost savings may be achieved by reducing engine hours, particularly on the main.

Quantifying the fuel savings is the critical next step in designing a hybrid fuel system. The Fishing Vessel Energy Efficiency Project (FVEEP) has collected enough data over the last three years to profile the power demand on freeze-troll vessels. The load profile can be used to estimate total annual fuel consumption with various power system designs. Capital cost estimates can then be developed for the designs that offer the most fuel savings to determine whether the fuel savings warrant the investment. 

Read the full report here. 

Fish Tales Happy Hour in DC

Will you be in Washington, DC on April 25th? Please join the Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association at the Fish Tales happy hour event to meet young fishermen from around the country! 

ALFA is bringing several local fishermen to DC next week to educate lawmakers about the importance of the Magnuson Stevens Act, the Young Fishermen's Development Fund bill, and other issues that are important to small boat communities along with the Fishing Communities Coalition, a national advocacy group. 

Below you can see more details and the flyer for the event:

Letter from fishermen: more funding to Alaska's Observer Program

Read this letter from Alaskan fishing industry leaders representing Gulf of Alaska longline, trawl, & pot fishing vessels requesting support to restore supplemental funding to Alaska's Observer Program.  This supplemental funding is needed to increase at-sea coverage rates while the NPFMC and industry develop long term solutions to maintain the necessary coverage levels. 



Bill to Establish National Young Fishermen’s Program Introduced

Above photo: Josh Roper/ASMI

FCC Initiative Gains Momentum as Reps. Young (AK), Moulton (MA) Sponsor Legislation to Empower Next Generation of Commercial Fishermen   

Washington, DC – Representatives Don Young (R-AK) and Seth Moulton (D-MA) have introduced the Young Fishermen's Development Act of 2017 (H.R. 2079), a bill that would establish the first national program to support young men and women entering the commercial fishing industry. The bipartisan, bicoastal bill, which would provide grants of up to $200,000 (totaling $2 million annually) through NOAA’s Sea Grant Program, marks a big step forward in the Fishing Communities Coalition’s (FCC) push to launch the first coordinated, nationwide effort to train, educate and assist the next generation of commercial fishermen.

“Young commercial fishermen are facing bigger challenges than ever before,” said Rep. Young (AK). “This legislation is about supporting the livelihoods that support entire fishing communities in Alaska and around the country. I am extremely proud to stand up with them.”

Despite daunting challenges that have made it harder than ever for young men and women to start a career in commercial fishing – including the high cost of entry, financial risks and limited entry-level opportunities – there is not a single federal program dedicated to training, educating and assisting young people starting their careers in commercial fishing. The legislation introduced in Congress is modeled after the USDA’s successful Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, which is credited with preparing hundreds of young farmers and ranchers for rewarding careers in agriculture.

“Congressman Young understands the challenges young fishermen face, and we thank him for his strong leadership on this vital issue,” said Linda Behnken, Executive Director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association. “Empowering the next generation of young fishermen is essential to economic opportunity, food security and our way of life.”

Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have expressed initial support for the legislation, as dozens of FCC members, including commercial fishermen from New England, Alaska, California and the Gulf Coast, have met with them to promote this and other priorities of small-boat community-based commercial fishermen.

“Representatives Moulton and Young understand that the success of young fishermen is vital to the survival of fishing communities in New England and across the country,” said John Pappalardo, CEO of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance. “We look forward to working with them on this important effort to ensure the next generation of commercial fishermen are on the water and ready to sustainably harvest America’s seafood.”

“The fishing industry is vital to the Sixth District and to our entire region, but we’re at a crossroads,” said Rep. Moulton (MA). “This legislation will help to sustain the fishing industry by ensuring that our young people not only have a future in fishing, but are also empowered with the training and resources necessary to thrive in the 21st-century economy. I’m grateful to Congressman Young for his collaboration on this bill and broader efforts to support our young fishermen.”

At the end of the month, young fishermen representing FCC members from every U.S. coast will travel to Washington to encourage Congress to pass this important legislation. 


The Fishing Communities Coalition is the united voice for small-boat, community-focused, commercial fishermen from around the country who strive to bring their stewardship vision to bear on national issues. We believe that together, fishermen from around the United States who believe in community-focused ideals, science-based management and forward-looking policies can build a national movement that protects fish, fishermen and fishing communities for this and future generations.

For Immediate Release: April 12, 2017

Contact: Alyssa Russell - alfa.outreach@gmail.com- 907-747-3400

Contact: Linda Behnken- alfafish@acsalaska.net - 907-747-3400