Young Fishermen's Bill Introduced in US Senate

For Immediate Release: June 12, 2017

Contact:

Shannon Carroll, Alaska Marine Conservation Council; shannon@akmarine.org907-382-1590

Alyssa Russell; Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association alfa.outreach@gmail.com907-747-3400

YOUNG FISHERMEN’S BILL INTRODUCED IN U.S. SENATE

FCC Initiative Gains Momentum as Senators Sullivan (AK), Murkowski (AK), Markey (MA) & Cantwell (WA) Champion Effort to Assist Next Generation of Commercial Fishermen

Washington, DC – The Fishing Communities Coalition (FCC) today applauded Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ed Markey (D-MA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) for cosponsoring the Young Fishermen’s Development Act (S.1323). The bipartisan and bicoastal bill, a top FCC priority (watch our new video released today), would give fishing communities a needed boost by addressing steep and growing obstacles – including high cost of entry and limited entry-level opportunities – facing the next generation of America’s commercial fishermen.

“The growing bipartisan momentum behind this bill is very encouraging and shows that leaders in both parties understand that fishermen in today’s world need to know a lot more than simply how to fish,” said John Pappalardo, CEO of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance. “We appreciate Senator Markey’s leadership in getting this program off the ground because it will give the next generation of fishermen training in fisheries management, business planning and market development tools they’ll need to make a good living bringing sustainable seafood to Americans.”

The Senate legislation, which aligns closely with a House version introduced in April by U.S. Reps. Don Young (R-AK) and Seth Moulton (D-MA), would launch the first coordinated, nationwide effort to train, educate and assist the next generation of commercial fishermen, providing grants of up to $200,000 (totaling $2 million annually) through NOAA’s Sea Grant Program. The FCC recently debuted a short video about the bill that features the voices of current and aspiring fishermen.

FCC member organizations, including Alaska Marine Conservation Council (AMCC) and the Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association (ALFA), represent small-boat commercial fishermen who share a commitment to the sustainable management of Alaska's fisheries. Both organizations consulted on the development of the legislation, leveraging their experiencing building capacity among (and providing training opportunities to) young fishermen.

 

“From what we have seen in Alaska, we believe that the kind of mentorship and training opportunity that this bill would provide is key to helping new fishing operations get off the ground and onto the water,” said Linda Behnken, Executive Director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association.  

 

 “As one of those dependent on the long-term success of our working waterfronts, I’m very grateful to Senators Sullivan and Murkowski for supporting legislation that recognizes the challenges today’s fishermen face,” said Hannah Heimbuch, an Alaska commercial fisherman who also works for the Alaska Marine Conservation Council. “By supporting independent fishermen with this action, we have an opportunity to bolster American food security and the health of coastal communities.”

The bill 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. Young fishermen representing FCC members from every U.S. coast recently traveled to Washington, DC, to urge legislators to support the initiative. 

 “Fishing employs more Alaskans than any other industry in the state, but high barriers and costs remain for newer generations attempting to fill the ranks of this vital sector of our economy,” said Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK)“This legislation will coalesce regional efforts to lower these barriers through new grants, training opportunities and an apprenticeship program that will help harness the experience of seasoned fishermen. Replenishing the stocks of qualified stewards of our fisheries will help ensure Alaska remains the superpower of seafood.”

 

“For centuries, fishing has been at the heart of coastal communities in Massachusetts, but it is an increasingly challenging one for new fishermen to join,” said Senator Ed Markey (D-MA). “This legislation will help make sure that our fishing industry continues to attract future generations of fishermen. These training programs will help young men and women be able to push off the dock into new careers and make vital economic contributions to their communities.”

About the Young Fishermen’s Development Act

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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.

Fishing families workshop June 9th in Juneau

Attention fishermen: a fishing families workshop will be held on Friday, June 9th in Ballroom 3 in Centennial Hall at 5:15 pm in Juneau.

"The purpose of the workshop is to identify areas of future research on fishing family dynamics that are most relevant and important to fishing participants in the North Pacific and to preliminarily capture viewpoints on these issues. We will discuss several key themes at the workshop including family roles and gender division of labor; the impacts of management, environmental, and socioeconomic conditions on these roles; and the future of fishing families and women in Alaska's fisheries. Following the workshop, we will provide participants with a summary of the major themes that we heard at the workshop. This will provide you with another opportunity to clarify your viewpoint and to offer more information."

Contact marysia.szymkowiak@noaa.gov for more information.

Chatham Annual Sablefish Harvest Objective Announced

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) announced on May 31 that the 2017 Chatham commercial sablefish fishery annual harvest objective (AHO) is 720,250 round pounds.

There are 78 valid Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) permits for 2017, so the individual equal quota share (EQS) is 9,234 round pounds – a 10.7% increase from the 2016 EQS of 8,343 round pounds.

Read the full press release here

Photo courtesy of Steve Fish.

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.

NEW RESEARCH ABOUT JUVENILE SABLEFISH

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

BY MONICA GOLDBERG

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.