Study: Fishery consolidation in Alaska leaves fishermen vulnerable



Seafood Source: “Alaskan commercial fishermen are specializing more and more, leaving them more vulnerable to the immense uncertainty fishermen have to contend with, according to a new study.

Targeting a diverse array of fish types in different regions can allow fishermen to weather the ups and downs instigated by fish population changes, new regulations, deflating markets and environmental disasters. But fishermen in Alaska are increasingly specializing. Fewer fishermen are on the water than three decades ago, and those who remain are participating in fewer fisheries, according to the study, which was published in Fish and Fisheries.”

To read the whole article on Seafood Source, follow this link:

Fisheries Scientists recommend recreational fishing policy reform

A March 2019 article identifies a need to rethink management of recreation fisheries, including improved data collection and monitoring. While commercial fisheries provide for most global seafood production, the authors explain that in many areas sport fisheries now equal or exceed harvests of some fish species, particularly wild fish stocks in coastal and marine fisheries. Sport fishermen catch 47 billion fish annually at a global level - half released alive and half harvested for food.

The article identifies increasing conservation concerns and socio-economic issues that warrant changes to current management systems which do not adequately lead to sustainability, address stakeholder conflicts, or provide the most desirable experience for sport fishermen. The scientists recommend five policy reforms to improve the sustainability of recreational fishing:

(1) a switch from managing recreational fisheries for yield in terms of food and income to bio-economic management targets for quality fishing experiences;

(2) increased engagement by sport fishing organizations in management processes with a primary goal of cooperative management and conservation rather than a focus on securing access rights;

(3) policy diversity for different ecosystems to provide a range of fishing opportunities;

(4) management policies that more clearly identify fish stocks as a common-pool resource that can be depleted by recreational fishing and encourage angler investments in sustainability and

(5) improved data collection and monitoring.

The article is available online at:

ADF&G Sablefish Industry Meeting April 30th

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will meet with southeast Alaska sablefish fishermen and other interested members of the public on Tuesday, April 30th from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to review the status of Northern Southeast Inside (Chatham Strait) and Southern Southeast Inside (Clarence Strait) sablefish stocks. The meeting will also include presentations on the Gulf of Alaska sablefish stock by federal stock assessment scientists. There will also be presentations on sperm whale interactions and ecology by ALFA and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Meeting locations include:

(1) Sitka - University of Alaska Southeast, Room 106, 1332 Seward Ave.;

(2) Petersburg-Petersburg Library Ruth Sandvik Conference Room, 14 S. Second St.

(3) Juneau/Douglas-ADF&G Regional Office, 802 3rd Street (Douglas)

Fishermen may also participate via web conferencing or teleconference. The news release providing call-in information is available at the link below (or feel free to contact the ALFA office for an electronic copy of the news release):

North Pacific Fishery Management Council Update: rockfish retention requirements to change; observer fee increase delayed

During its April 2019 meeting, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council took final action on a fishery plan amendment to require fixed gear vessels (longline and pot) to retain all rockfish incidentally caught in halibut, sablefish and other groundfish fisheries. The amendment will not be in place until 2020 at the earliest. Up to fifteen percent of retained rockfish relative to other species on board may enter commerce. The remainder must be retained and delivered but will be forfeit at the dock. Demeral shelf rockfish full retention rules and percentages allowed to enter commerce will remain in place. The Council’s purposes for the action include improving catch accounting for rockfish mortality and simplifying existing incidental catch limits.

The Council also considered an analysis to increase the observer fee, initially planned for final action in June. ALFA and other industry groups opposed the increase and the Council will most likely wait until its October meeting to further consider increases. ALFA and other stakeholders identified fundamental changes needed to decrease costs. NMFS staff indicated that observer costs could rise to $1,700 per day over the next few years, with no certainty that fee increases would meet Council monitoring objectives for improved coverage on high volume trawl fisheries. The analysis for the fee program failed to adequately address how pending implementation of electronic monitoring might reduce long-term needs for human observer. Additionally, ALFA and other fishery stakeholders expressed concern that NMFS’ planned increase in the fee looked only at increasing the fee in isolation from the larger fiscal problem with the program - the staggering increase in observer day costs. ALFA will continue to oppose the fee increase while working toward meaningful improvements in the program.

The next Council meeting will be in Sitka from June 3 - 9. ALFA and other fishery groups will hold a Council reception on June 5 - interested fishermen can contact the ALFA office to volunteer, donate fish, or get more information about the pending meeting.

ALFA's annual Spring Fishermen's Expo: April 2, 2019

ALFA's annual Spring Fishermen's Expo: April 2, 2019

The Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (ALFA) is hosting a Spring Fishermen’s Expo on April 2nd to provide educational workshops and technical assistance to local fishermen. During the workshops, fishermen will have the opportunity to attend bathymetric mapping workshops at both beginner and advanced levels, receive technical support on their vessels, and attend a “hydraulics: tackling common problems that cause lost fishing time” session and an “electrical systems for fishing vessels” presentation, both presentations will provide time for questions and troubleshooting.

ALFA comments on mitigation funding

ALFA comments on mitigation funding

As you are aware, trollers were hard hit by 2018 salmon management decisions and will suffer even greater reductions in Chinook access as a result of the recently renegotiated Pacific Salmon Treaty. While ALFA does not participate directly in the Pacific Salmon Treaty negotiations, we have become increasingly concerned by the chronic reductions in Alaska’s harvest share and alarmed by the proposed management solutions. Our assessment is that Alaska’s participation and position in the Pacific Salmon Treaty should be reviewed and strengthened. With respect, ALFA requests that Alaska’s Congressional delegation initiate that review.

AMSEA to offer first aid and drill conductor classes in Sitka

The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) will offer a Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor class in Sitka on Thursday, April 4 from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM at the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (NSRAA) building at 1308 Sawmill Creek Road. The class is free to commercial fishermen, and will cost $185.50 for all others. The class will provide hands-on training with marine safety equipment and emergency drills, and meets U.S. coast Guard training requirements for drill conductors on commercial fishing vessels.

On Friday, April 5, AMSEA will offer a first aid, CPR and AED class at the NSRAA building from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The class will cover treatment of various medical treatments and common fishing injuries. Participants will receive a Coast Guard approved certificate. The class cost is $100.00

Participants can register for either or both classes online at, or by phone at (907) 747-3287.

Notification of Upcoming Workshop: Steller sea lion/Salmon Fisheries Interaction Workshop

Meeting: Steller sea lion/Salmon Fisheries Interaction Workshop


April 29 - 11:30-4:30 – coffee, tea, and lunch provided

April 30 - drop in 9:00-nooncoffee, tea, and snacks provided - organizers will be available in the morning for further discussion, brainstorming, planning. If there is interest, we also would be happy to come to the docks to meet with fishermen, look at gear, and have any follow-up discussions in the afternoon.

Meeting Location: NSRAA, 1308 Sawmill Creek Road, Sitka, Alaska 99835

Introduction: We hope to meet with members of the fishing community to listen to fishermen’s concerns and have an open discussion about this problem. Our goals are to connect with fishermen interested in being part of a working group that will work toward developing effective deterrents or gear modifications that could help fishermen avoid catch and gear losses. 

Eric Jordan has agreed to lead discussions. We will have an open discussion on the issue of sea lion depredation and brainstorm ideas that may help reduce this problem. ADF&G and NOAA Fisheries will also give a short presentation on the data we have collected on Steller sea lion - fishery interactions. Mainly, we hope to develop a relationship between the salmon fishing community and biologists to discuss this issue and formulate possible solutions together.

***Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) will be handling logistics and travel for fishermen/women coming from out of town.

To set up travel:

Fill out the attached travel request form and email to Teresa Fairchild at If you have question, please call Teresa at 503-595-3105.

Per Diem: for those coming from outside of Sitka, PSMFC will have a partially prepared travel claim at the meeting that you can complete and mail in for reimbursement.

Stipend: Fishermen/women that attend the full workshop on April 29th can complete a form at the meeting to mail in for compensation for their time.

Deadline for booking travel through PSMFC is March 27, 2019

For additional information, please contact Kim Raum-Suryan at, Lauri Jemison at, or Molly Kemp at Thank you.


FDA lifts import ban on "Frankenfish" salmon

On March 8, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lifted an import ban on genetically engineered salmon. The manufacturer of “AquAdvantage Salmon” intends to transport engineered salmon eggs to a facility in Indiana where the fish will mature. The fish are a combination of genes from Chinook, Atlantic salmon and an eel-like fish that will grow twice as fast as other farmed salmon.

The entry of “frankenfish” into U.S. markets is a threat to Alaska’s salmon fisheries, the environment, and seafood consumers. Alaska fishermen harvest healthy, high quality wild salmon in clear, pristine waters and take pride in providing families across the nation with a sustainable and delicious protein source. It is unlikely that farmed salmon producers will clearly label frankenfish. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s guidelines for genetically engineered foods allow producers to use codes or 1-800 numbers rather than disclose risks to consumers on the label.

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski has repeated expressed concerns about genetically engineered fish and challenged imports of genetically engineered salmon without clear labeling guidelines. In a press release Senator Murkowski issued the following statement in response to the FDA’s action:

“I’m extremely disappointed in the FDA’s short-sighted decision. It is wrong-headed and a bad idea, simple as that. I am not going to back down and will continue my fight to ensure that any salmon product that is genetically engineered be clearly labeled,” said Senator Murkowski. “USDA’s new guidelines don’t require adequate mandatory labeling and don’t suffice as giving consumers clear information. Instead, they will only confuse people. I continue to have serious concerns about splicing DNA from two animals to produce a new marketable fish, essentially creating a new species. America consumers deserve to know what they are purchasing, and ultimately eating.”