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

Marine Debris Bill Introduced Last Week

On March 29th, Alaska's Senator Sullivan introduced a bill to amend the Marine Debris Act. You can see the bill here

Below is an overview of the bill from Sullivan's office: 

Oceans and waterways across the planet are congested with debris that threaten critical habitat, pose a danger to wildlife, and litter shorelines. Because of ocean currents, intact marine debris from foreign countries travel great distances and pose problems for nations who are not responsible for the mismanagement of this waste. This is particularly true in the United States whose shores require the constant cleanup of foreign-sourced marine debris. As it currently stands, authorizations for important programs responsible for the removal of these debris have expired. Further, there are insufficient resources available to address this important problem.

The Marine Debris Act Amendments received a zero score from the Congressional Budget Office.

Severe Marine Debris Events

This legislation would allow the NOAA Administrator to declare severe marine debris events and authorize funds to assist with cleanup and response. The Governor of the affected state may request the NOAA Administrator make this declaration.

Reauthorize NOAA’s Marine Debris Program

This legislation would reauthorize NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration’s Marine Debris Program through FY2022. Its mission is to conduct research on the source of marine debris and take action to prevent marine debris. The NOAA Marine Debris Program was authorized by the Marine Debris Act of 2006, and was last amended in 2012.

Encourage Action from the Administration

The Marine Debris Act Amendments express that it is the sense of the Senate that the Executive Branch and U.S. Department of State should become more engaged in the understanding, prevention, and response to marine debris internationally. It would encourage that studies be conducted that would determine:

• The primary means by which marine debris enter the oceans.

• The manner in which waste management infrastructure can be most effective in preventing debris from reaching the oceans.

• The economic benefits of decreasing the amount of marine debris in the oceans.

• The long-term economic impacts of marine debris on the national economies of the countries in the


The language also encourages the Executive Branch to enter into negotiations with the leaders of foreign countries that produce large amounts of trash to learn about and find solutions to the contributions of these countries to marine debris in the world’s oceans. It would also support federally-funded research into the development of bio-based and other alternatives to materials that result in municipal solid waste. It would also encourage the creation of marine debris to be considered in future U.S. trade agreements.


• This language is supported by the American Chemistry Council.

• Original Cosponsors include Senators Inhofe, Whitehouse, Peters, Murkowski, and Coons.

Please contact Alex Schenck in Senator Dan Sullivan’s (R-AK) office with any questions or concerns -Alex_Schenck@Sullivan.Senate.Gov - 6-6760

Board of Fisheries Call for Proposals Due April 11, 2016

The Alaska Board of Fisheries (board) issued its 2017/2018 Call for Proposals on November 22, 2016 seeking proposals for changes in the subsistence, personal use, sport, guided sport, and commercial fishing regulations for the Southeast and Yakutat finfish and shellfish, Prince William Sound (including Upper Copper River and Upper Susitna River) finfish, and Statewide (except Southeast and Yakutat) Dungeness crab, shrimp, and other miscellaneous shellfish. The board may also accept subsistence related proposals from other regions if they meet criteria identified in 5 AAC 96.916(a).

The deadline for proposals is April 11, 2017.

Proposals may be submitted online, email, mail or fax at:

Online:            www.boardoffisheries.adfg.alaska.gov

Email:             dfg.bof.comments@alaska.gov (Adobe PDF documents only)

Mail:                ADF&G, Boards Support Section

P.O. Box 115526

Juneau, AK 99811-5526

Fax:                 (907) 465-6094

Proposals must be received by Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at the Boards Support Section office in Juneau. A postmark is NOT sufficient for timely receipt.

The Board of Fisheries proposal form, including the online proposal form, is available at the Boards Support website, http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.forms. Proposal forms are also available at any Boards Support office. Proposals must be submitted on the current approved form. Any additional information provided with the form, such as tables, Internet web links, or charts, will not be included in the proposal book.

The completed proposal form must contain a contact telephone number and address. Email addresses are appreciated. Please print or type the individual’s or organization’s name as appropriate.

Responsive proposals received by the proposal deadline will be considered by the Board of Fisheries during the October 2017 through March 2018 meeting schedule.

White House Budget Puts Fishing at Risk

The Fishing Communities Coalition (FCC), an association of community-based, small boat commercial fishermen, is a national advocacy organization of which ALFA is a member. 

Yesterday, the FCC urged Congress to reject the President’s proposed cuts to programs that are vital to the viability of the American commercial fishing industry and their communities.

In a letter delivered to lawmakers responsible for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) annual budget, the FCC emphasized that President Trump’s FY 2018 budget request would risk recent progress in halting overfishing and rebuilding overfished stocks. 

Below are excerpts from our letter:

“Members of the Fishing Communities Coalition (FCC) know firsthand that the proposed elimination of the Sea Grant program and the prospect of significant cuts to other vital NOAA fisheries programs could result in job losses throughout our industry and put entire fishing communities at risk.” 

On the Sea Grant program

“In Alaska, Sea Grant is helping our members with workshops that help young fishermen launch their careers; on Cape Cod, Sea Grant is working with our fishermen to develop a thriving aquaculture industry; and in Maine Sea Grant is assessing the impacts of invasive species on critical shellfish stocks. For the members of FCC, Sea Grant is an important federal partner that helps create economic development and jobs and cultivates future leader.”

On NOAA Fisheries Funding

“Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), we have made remarkable progress in halting overfishing and rebuilding overfished stocks. Since 2000, 40 depleted marine fish stocks have been fully rebuilt, with many others seeing measurable progress. The outstanding results of this science-based fisheries management approach have benefitted the U.S. commercial fishing industry, the nation’s seafood supply chain and American consumers alike…

 “…The NOAA Fisheries program, which constitutes less than .03 percent of the federal budget, is critical to this economic success story. The vital scientific information it gathers – including data collection, fish stock surveys, analysis and assessments – provides the stable foundation for informed fishery management…

 “…On behalf of the more than 1,000 fishermen we represent and the fishing communities they support, we ask you to reject the Administration’s proposed elimination of the Sea Grant program and to provide full funding to NOAA Fisheries.”

Please let us know if you would like to hear more about FCC and our efforts on behalf of the nation’s small-boat fishermen.

Using Sablefish Pot gear- FAQ's from NOAA

NOAA recently released an informational document with FAQ's regarding the recently approved sablefish pot fishery in the Gulf of Alaska. See the full FAQ document by clicking here. 

Why is NMFS authorizing longline pot gear for the GOA sablefish IFQ fishery?

Beginning in 2009, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and NMFS received reports from fishermen that there have been numerous whale interactions with the sablefish IFQ fleet in the GOA. Sperm whale depredation on hook-and-line fishing gear is most common in the Central GOA, West Yakutat District, and Southeast Outside District sablefish areas and killer whale depredation is most common in the Western GOA and Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands. While sperm whale depredation events are difficult to quantify on a per-vessel basis, fishery participants indicated that depredation continues to be a major cost to the sablefish IFQ fishery through reduced catch per unit effort and increased operating costs. The Council and NMFS determined that authorizing longline pot gear in the GOA sablefish IFQ fishery could reduce the adverse impacts of depredation for those vessel operators who choose to switch from hook-and-line gear. The Council recommended and NMFS implemented regulations to authorize, but not require, the use of longline pot gear in the GOA sablefish IFQ fishery beginning with the 2017 fishing season.



Halibut/Sablefish Fisheries set to open on time

NMFS published two information bulletinsfor the 2017 sablefish IFQ fisheries. The halibut fishery is also set to open on March 11th.

Here is a link to the information bulletin announcing the March 11, 2017, opening date for the sablefish fixed gear fisheries.

Here is a link to the information bulletin announcing the March 11, 2017, effective date for the final rule to authorize longline pot gear in the Gulf of Alaska sablefish IFQ fishery. The bulletin also provides a link to the pot gear frequently asked questions document posted on the NMFS web site.

Big thanks to the folks at NMFS and our Congressional delegation who helped move this through quickly!