NOAA report recommends employing more rural and Native Alaskans

A recently published report by the Alaska Region of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) determined that the agency could improve the representativeness of Alaskans in the agency workforce, particularly rural Alaskans and Alaska Natives. Alaska’s coastal communities are primarily rural areas, and Alaska Natives comprise half of the coastal community population. The agency will begin to work to address the need for a diverse workforce.

The report recognizes that a broader range of local perspectives and skills will be valuable as the agency faces unique challenges, particularly ecosystem changes associated with melting sea ice, warmer weather and related changes to the marine environment. Also, most of the agency’s work occurs in Alaska’s coastal communities, heightening the need for local engagement. Additional benefits that may accrue from a more local workforce include reduced staff turnover and an improved policy decisionmaking process.

Council sets 2019 sablefish quotas

On Thursday, December 6th, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council adopted harvest specifications for the 2019 season. The sablefish quota will be 11,571 metric tons (25.5 million round pounds). The projected harvest will be similar to the 2018 catch of 11,716 metric tons (with deliveries reported through November 8th). The breakdown by fishery area is as follows:

Southeast Outside: 2,984 metric tons/6,578,526 round pounds

West Yakutat: 1,828 metric tons/4,030,008 round pounds

Central Gulf: 5,178 metric tons/11,415,418 round pounds

Western Gulf: 1,581 metric tons/3,485,472 round pounds

Projections are for increased catch limits in 2020, with a total catch limit of over 34 million round pounds with increases of roughly 25 percent in each fishery area.

Federal Communications Commission prohibition on use of AIS for fishing buoys

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued Enforcement Advisory No. 2018-04 on November 28, 2018 advising fishermen and merchants that its rules prohibit the use of Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) frequencies on fishing buoys. The FCC authorizes AIS solely for marine navigation purposes and believes that using it on fishing buoys would disrupt maritime communications and increase the risk of accidents. The FCC may impose substantially monetary penalties - thousands of dollars per day - on anyone advertising, selling, or using non-compliant buoys or other non-compliant AIS equipment.

The full notice is available at:

https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-18-1211A1.pdf

More information is available from the U.S. Coast Guard website at:

https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=AISFAQ.

AMSEA Drill conductor workshop in Sitka December 1st

The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) offers a Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor workshop in Sitka on Saturday, December 1, from 8:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. at NSRAA at 1308 Sawmill Creek Road. The workshop is free to commercial fishermen and will help fishermen meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements for drill conductors on fishing vessels. Online registration is available at www.amsea.org or by phone at 907-747-3287.

New Offshore Aquaculture Bill Threatens Commercial Fishermen

The push to open oceans to industrial fish farming is moving forward. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is prioritizing the development of ocean factory farms, which add pollution, threaten commercial fish species, produce unhealthy seafood and harm coastal communities.

Now Congress is catering to offshore aquaculture. There is now a new bill to amend the Magnuson-Stevens Act introduced in Congress: “Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture” or AQUAA. The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association has prepared a sign-on letter for commercial fishermen. As explained in the letter, “industrial seafood farms threaten the integrity of the wild fish populations that are key to our industry’s success, and the coastal communities we support.”

Farmed fish escape, competing with wild stocks and introduce a host of lethal diseases and parasites to healthy wild fish. Marine pollution degrades the marine ecosystem through wastes, feed, and chemical treatments. ALFA asks fishermen to read and sign on to the letter.

The sign-on letter is available through the following link:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdx6VjmFa3Hkc4saDkDvN2nq0YU5pb8rXmhrD_j7tzRPdJ7UQ/viewform

ALFA Seafood Raffle Winners Announced

On Sunday, ALFA wrapped up its annual seafood raffle by drawing five lucky winners - Ron Hegge, Patty Dick, Milton Farvour, Stephen Rhoads, and Deborah Lyons. each winner will receive a 10 pound box of premium Alaska seafood. Each box will include king salmon, halibut, black cod and rockfish.

Winners will have to decide whether to enjoy the fish themselves or send it it Fedex, at no cost to the winner, to a lucky friend or family member.

Congratulations to the winners and every raffle ticket purchaser who helped to support ALFA’s work to promote sustainable fisheries and thriving fishing communities. ALFA fishermen Jeff Farvour, Phil Wyman, Norm Pillen and Greg Jones donated fish for the raffle. Seafood Producers Cooperative and Sitka Sound Seafoods also provided staff unloading and processing time to contribute to the effort.

Marine Ecosystem workshop in Sitka

The University of Alaska Fairbanks and National Marine Fisheries Service will hold a workshop “Exploring Linkages in the Marine Ecosystem” on November 14, 2018 at the Sitka Sound Science Center’s Karsh Classroom. According to the organizers, the workshop will “discuss how Sitka residents interact with, benefit from, and understand the ecology of their local fisheries.” The workshop will also consider how to track and measure those benefits over time. Organizers encourage Sitka residents to participate in order to inform research about impacts of changing ecosystems and management conditions.

The first workshop will run from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. with a session focused on human dimensions. The objective of that session is to identify ways to measure the relationship between community well-being and fisheries. The second workshop will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on focus on ecological connections. A specific emphasis will be on salmon and sablefish and the biological and environmental factors that drive those fisheries.

The organizers will provide refreshments.

Electronic Monitoring Enrollment Deadline November 1

Upcoming Electronic Monitoring Deadline - November 1


The window of opportunity to participate in the 2019 Electronic Monitoring Program for federal pot and longline fishermen in the North Pacific is closing soon. Vessels wanting to opt-in to the electronic monitoring selection pool, or opt-out, must do so before November 1 through the Observer Declare and Deploy System or “ODDS” website. Those wishing to remain in the selection pool should contact their service providers to have their Vessel Monitoring Plans approved. Electronic monitoring is now fully implemented in the North Pacific for both pot cod and longline halibut after years of volunteer work from commercial fishermen across the state. Last June, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council approved increasing the number of vessels allowed to participate in both the longline and pot fishing selection pools due to expressed interest from commercial fishermen.


Further information can be found at: https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/em-faq

IPHC Regulatory Proposals For Interim Meeting Due October 28th

The IPHC will be accepting proposals for new or amendments to existing IPHC Pacific Halibut regulations for the interim meeting through October 28, 2018. Regulatory proposals for the final meeting have a December 29, 2018 deadline.

The IPHC does not require the submission of draft regulatory proposals for the interim meeting. However, submission by October 28 is highly recommended in order to provide Commissioners and the IPHC with additional time to seek clarification if necessary.

The IPHC has launched a new fishery regulations portal, available at:

https://iphc.int/the-commission/fishery-regulations

Regulatory proposal submission forms are available at:

https://iphc.int/the-commission/form/regulatory-proposal