Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Court Approves Proposed Set Net Ballot Initiative

An Alaska Superior Court judge has cleared the way for a proposed ballot initiative designed to ban commercial set net harvests in urban areas of Alaska.

The decision handed down in late July in Anchorage by Superior Court Judge Catherine Easter came in a case brought by a group of sport anglers organized as The Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance, against Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who earlier rejected the proposed initiative.

Easter found that the proposed ballot initiative did not appropriate a public asset, did not result in a give-away program or usurp legislative control over the salmon allocation process. She ordered that the proposed initiative be certified.

The ruling allows the Alaska Division of Elections to prepare signature packets, so that supporters of the measure can begin gathering enough signatures to put the measure on the Alaska primary election ballot in August 2016.

The alliance says its goal is to protect fish in non-subsistence areas that are threatened by overfishing or incidental harvest.

Bob Penney, a director of the Alliance, and board member of the Kenai River Sportfishing Association, called the set net ban initiative “a conservation-based approach that is limited to one style of fishing – set nets. They are a wasteful means of fishing that kill or maim everything in their path,” he said.

The Kenai Peninsula Fishermen’s Association, which represents commercial set net fishermen, said its members were “saddened by the Alaska Superior Court’s decision to allow the dishonest and un-Alaskan initiative effort to ban set nets in urban areas of Alaska to move forward.”

The initiative, said KPFA, “has nothing to do with conservation. It has everything to do with greed and a sense of entitlement by a small group of people. If Alaska allows management of its resources at the ballot box, our entire resource-based economy is at risk.”

The set net fishery on the Kenai Peninsula supports more than 700 family owned small businesses and thousands of related processing jobs, KPFA said.

Jim Butler, president of Resources for All Alaskans, a statewide coalition of concerned citizens and organizations from fishing communities, said the set netter ban “would destroy jobs and have a massive, negative impact on the businesses, industries, and communities that they support throughout Southcentral Alaska.

“The precedent set by this initiative alone will have permanent negative effects on Alaska industry and development,” Butler said. “If we allow groups to allocate specific resources by initiative, who will be next? Mining? Oil and Gas? It’s wrong and fundamentally un-Alaskan.”

His organization is reviewing the Superior Court opinion and is strongly encouraging the office of Alaska’s Attorney General to appeal “because we think it is wrong on the law,” Butler said. “We think the initiative is an inappropriate allocation of state assets.”

Industry Again Asked to Reduce BSAI Halibut Mortalities

Federal fisheries managers are asking all industry sectors to voluntarily undertake efforts to reduce halibut mortalities in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands, by 10 percent from the current five-year average levels, through the 2014-15 fisheries.

To evaluate progress in these efforts, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council also requested in a motion passed June 8 during its summer meeting in Nome, that industry report back to the council on measures being implemented and developed, and, to the extent possible, the effectiveness of those measures in terms of absolute reductions in halibut mortality.

During its summer meeting, the NPFMC also approved motions initiating an analysis of Chinook and chum salmon bycatch measures in the Bering Sea pollock fishery with five alternatives, and an observer program motion to develop a draft 2015 annual deployment plan for council review with several considerations.

Halibut Bycatch
The halibut bycatch motion encouraged the National Marine Fisheries Service to continue working closely with the Amendment 80 sector to develop deck sorting procedures and technologies that could reduce halibut mortalities, in order to initiate regulatory changes for a full-scale program.

The council also asked NMFS to work with the International Pacific Halibut Commission to provide halibut bycatch and discard size data from the observer program in a form that can be better incorporated into IPHC stock assessments.

And the council asked NMFS to evaluate the potential for the Amendment 80 flatfish flexibility program, a change to the Amendment 80 trawl season opening date from Jan. 20 to Jan. 1, and changes to the current Amendment 80 area closures, to reduce halibut prohibited species catch use.

Council member Duncan Fields, of Kodiak, said he was supporting the action with reluctance, saying the motion did not go far enough fast enough.

“I wish there were more tools at our disposal to address the halibut PSC concerns,” Fields said, in comments addressed to the council through Chairman Eric Olson.

“The bottom line is, mister chairman, the industry, which is a wonderfully, hard working, productive, innovative industry, is still taking five to six million pounds of halibut out of the Bering Sea on an annual basis, and I appreciate all the reasons that halibut is needed but I also appreciate the need for conservation, the need to recognize the impact of PSC both in the Bering Sea as well as in the Gulf of Alaska.

I think we are taking a tepid step in the right direction,” he said. “I will support the motion, but I personally don’t believe we are going far enough fast enough, given all we know about the halibut resource, and what I suspect we will learn about that resource in the next couple of years.”

In testimony prior to passage of the motion, the Alaska Concerned Halibut Users asked the council to take several immediate steps, including initiating a fast-tracked process to allow changes in deck sorting procedures on vessels in some groundfish fisheries to reduce halibut mortality, as has been suggested by the Amendment 80 fleet. The coalition also urged a voluntary groundfish industry sector reduction in halibut bycatch by 300 metric tons in the near term, and for periodic reports on industry progress.

They also asked that subsequent analysis should consider the accuracy of existing observer protocols relative to estimating halibut bycatch mortality.

The coalition was organized in response to the declining status of halibut in the Bering Sea, as well as the need to reduce bycatch in groundfish fisheries.

Signers of that testimony included Ernie Weiss, Aleutians East Borough; Linda Behnken, executive director, Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association; Ken Weaver, city manager of St. Paul; Buck Laukitis, North Pacific Fisheries Association; Ragnar Alstrom, executive director, Yukon Delta Fisheries Development Association; Larry Cotter, chief executive officer, Aleutian Pribilof Island Development Corp .; Phillip Lestenkof, president, Central Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association; Per Odegaard, president, Fishing Vessel Owners’ Association; and Jeff Stephan, manager, United Fishermen’s Marketing Association.

“While halibut populations and directed fisheries have declined dramatically, the halibut PSC limits in the BSAI have remained relatively unchanged, and PSC numbers have declined at a much lower rate than the directed fisheries,” said Kelly Harrell, executive director of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, in her written testimony. “In 2013, the Bering Sea bycatch was 5.2 million pounds – significantly greater than the directed harvest in the same area. By regulatory area the comparisons are even more stark: in area 4A bycatch represented 89 percent of the directed fishery landings and 205 percent in area 4CDE.

“In this context of a declining resource and declining catch limits, it is imperative that bycatch limits are also reduced.”

Cuts in catch limits “have and will continue to have dramatic effects on our fisheries, businesses, economies and communities that depend on the halibut resource. Each halibut caught as bycatch has a direct effect on the spawning biomass and yield available to other sectors now and in the future,” she said.

Harrell also urged an immediate reduction in halibut PSC limits in the Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries. “To serve conservation needs, we need the halibut currently wasted as bycatch to have an opportunity to mature and contribute to the spawning biomass,” she said.

IPHC Commissioners Robert Alverson and Donald Lane, both representing the United States on that international council, suggested in their testimony that the council ask for all industry gear sectors to set a short-term goal of 18 months to reduce the bycatch of halibut by 300 metric tons and a long term goal of a 20 percent reduction.

“If there is a lack of effort from industry to participate in these goals, the council should take regulatory actions to require the industry to meet reduction goals,” Alverson and Lane said. “If there was an industry effort to reduce bycatch by 300 metric tons in the next 18 months, this would go a long way in helping the commissioners not take the additional 33 percent reduction in Areas 4 CDE for 2015. This reduction by the IPHC would likely have the effect of closing the Bering Sea to directed halibut fishing and leaving the bycatch fisheries.”

Also among letters of written testimony was one from Jan Standaert, president of the Deep Sea Fishermen’s Union in Seattle.

“Asking for a 300 metric ton reduction in the halibut bycatch, with a long term goal of 20 percent of the PSC, is a very reasonable and a comforting action for the many fishermen who are looking toward the future,” Standaert said.

Salmon Bycatch
The council said the current chum salmon bycatch reduction program does not meet the council’s objectives to prioritize Chinook salmon bycatch avoidance, while preventing high chum salmon bycatch and focusing on avoidance of Alaska chum salmon stocks, allowing flexibility to harvest pollock in times and places that best support those goals. Incorporating chum salmon avoidance through the incentive plan agreements should more effectively meet those objectives by allowing for establishment of chum measures through a program that is sufficiently flexible to adapt to changing conditions quickly, the council said.

The alternatives include one to revise federal regulations to lower the performance standard in years of low Chinook salmon abundance, with low abundance defined as fewer than 500,000 king salmon. Sectors that exceed the applicable performance standard in three out of seven years would be held to their proportion of the hard cap of 47,591 in perpetuity, with options of a 25 percent reduction (36,693) or 60 percent reduction (19,036).

In testimony prior to passage of the salmon bycatch motion, the council also heard lengthy testimony, including a request to initiate emergency regulations and ensure that appropriate bycatch limits are in place.

Five entities, including the Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association, the Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association, and three Alaska Native organizations, urged the council to develop a problem statement and move forward with an analysis for Chinook salmon bycatch that includes reducing the overall hard cap and performance standards under the current Amendment 91 structure from 60,000 to 20,000, and a performance standard/cap without incentive programs from 47,591 to 14,500.

The group also asked for consideration of regulatory provisions to shorten the pollock season end dates when Chinook salmon rates increase while pollock catch rates decline in late September/October, and for additional changes to the incentive plan agreements to further reduce bycatch to be adopted by industry, but not as an alternative to regulatory mechanisms.

Observer Program
The council motion on the observer program asks the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Alaska Fisheries Science Center to develop the draft 2015 annual deployment plan for council review with several considerations.

The motion notes the council’s support of NMFS recommendations to move participants in the vessel selection pool into the trip selection pool. The council also requested that NMFS maintain a higher observer coverage rate for all trawl vessels and fixed gear vessels over 57.5 feet in the revised trip selection pool, in order to expand coverage on PSC limited fisheries, consistent with past council recommendations.

Copies of all advisory panel and scientific and statistical committee reports, as well as issues and reports heard at the council meeting are online at

The council’s June newsletter summarizing events during the Nome meeting will be online later in the month at .

NOAA: Ocean Acidification Will Hurt Alaska Economy

A new federal study says communities dotting coastal regions of Southeast and Southwest Alaska will face the highest risk from ocean acidification, because they rely on fisheries expected to be most affected by such chemical changes in the ocean.

The study, “Ocean Acidification Risk Assessment for Alaska’s Fishery Sector, published July 29 in the periodical Progress in Oceanography, says these coastal communities are especially vulnerable because they rely on fishery harvests for nutrition and income, and, among other factors, they lack alternative employment.

The term “ocean acidification” refers to the process of ocean water becoming more acidic as a result of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Such changes are affecting marine life, particularly the ability of shellfish, corals and small marine critters in the early stages of the food chain to build skeletons or shells.

Studies show that red king crab and tanner crab grow more slowly and don’t survive as well in more acidic waters, and Alaska’s coastal waters are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification because of cold water, which can absorb more carbon dioxide, and unique ocean circulation patters, which bring naturally acidic deep ocean waters to the surface.

“Prior studies of the potential impacts of ocean acidification have focused only on direct economic losses from commercial harvests,” said Sarah Cooley, co-lead of the study and science outreach manager at Ocean Conservancy. “Our research shows much greater threats to rural communities in Alaska related to their food security, but there are solutions that the state can implement today to help the boroughs weather the changes.”

The study was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management, the state of Alaska, and The Energy Foundation.

“The people of coastal Alaska, who have always looked to the sea for sustenance and prosperity, will be most affected,” said Steve Colt, a co-author of the study and economist at the University of Alaska Anchorage. “But all Alaskans need to understand how and where ocean acidification threatens our marine resources so that we can work together to address the challenges and maintain healthy and productive coastal communities.”

The study recommends that residents and stakeholders in vulnerable regions prepare for these environmental challengers and develop response strategies that incorporate community values and needs. “This research allows planners to think creatively about ways to help coastal communities withstand environmental change,” Cooley said.

Colt said he hopes teams of scientists, like those who collaborated on this study, will continue to form up to combine their data. “I would hope that NOAA would take it upon itself to be a leader in forming these kinds of teams and that the university would step up to the plate as well.

Alaska Asks USDA to Buy Surplus Humpies to Slow Price Decline

As Alaska’s commercial harvest of humpies surged in late July, the governor’s office asked the federal government to purchase excess inventories of canned pink salmon to help stem a drop in prices already hovering around 28 cents a pound.

Gov. Sean Parnell specifically asked that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack make a $37 million US Department of Agriculture purchase of about one million cans of the one pound talls, those 15.75 ounce cans of salmon.

The current price to fishermen compares with 40 cents a pound in 2013, when the statewide harvest of humpies was a record 219 million fish, and 48 cents a pound in 2012, when the overall pink harvest reached 127.5 million fish.

Such a purchase, Parnell told Vilsack, would not only correct the inventory surplus, but also provide a shelf-stable, high-quality protein for domestic food and nutrition assistance programs.

There was no immediate response from USDA, but it’s a really long process, said Bruce Schactler, food aid program and development director at the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, a partnership of fishermen, processors and the state government that promotes Alaska seafood as a whole, not by individual brands. “It takes a while,” Schactler said. “The Agriculture Marketing Service in the department has to take a close look at detailed analysis of the market.

“This is all about trying to stabilize prices to the fisherman, and by taking surplus product off the market, that should stabilize wholesale prices paid to fishermen,” he said.

Back in March, USDA spent $20 million to purchase half a million cases of canned pink salmon, a purchase that Parnell said was an important first step in reducing inventories to help slow the price decline. Alaska’s record breaking 2013 salmon season resulted in an unprecedented high volume of unsold canned and frozen pink salmon products. The 2013 season exceeded the Alaska Department of Fish and Game estimates by over 100 million fish, resulting in the harvest of 219 million pinks. The previous record high pink harvest was 161 million humpies in 2005.

Parnell noted that fish processors and the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute were already working on marketing the surplus. In 2013, the industry committed over $1.5 million in additional emergency funds, specifically targeted to marketing pink salmon in commercial markets. Still that record harvest has created an inventory oversupply greater than was experienced by the salmon industry in Alaska between 1999 and 2004.

During that period, over 2,000 Alaskan fishermen, many small or minority owned businesses, went out of business and 50 percent of the processors sold or closed their facilities, Parnell said.

Wild Salmon Harvest for Alaska Tops 82 Million Fish

Our Wednesday, July 23 Fishermen's News Online contained errors in data that have since been corrected on the website. The numbers to follow are accurate as of today.

Commercial harvests of Alaska salmon in the 2014 fishery grew to over 82 million fish by July 29, including a preliminary total of nearly 40 million sockeyes, 34 million humpies, 6.7 million chum, more than a million silver and 392,000 Chinooks.

The bulk of the harvest has been in Bristol Bay, and Prince William Sound, with harvests approaching 30 million salmon in each area.

Bristol Bay harvesters alone have delivered to processors a total of 28,702,000 red, 456,000 pink, 434,000 chum, 31,000 coho and 13,000 kings.

In Prince William Sound, fish deliveries to processors reached a total of 25,173,000 pink, 3,258,000 sockeye, 1,116,000 chum, 10,000 king and 9,000 silver salmon.

For the westward region, including the Alaska Peninsula, and Kodiak, the harvest had reached nearly 9 million fish.

Processors for the Alaska Peninsula have received 4.2 million salmon, including 2.9 million red, 534,000 chum, 487,000 pink, 261,000 coho and 8,000 kings.

At Kodiak harvesters have brought in 4.7 million fish. That preliminary total includes 2,336,000 pink, 2,088,000 sockeyes, 242,000 chum, 59,000 silvers and 5,000 king salmon.

For all areas of Southeast Alaska, the total preliminary catch estimate was 8.5 million fish, including 3.7 million pink, 3.4 million chum, 618,000 silver, 430,000 sockeye and 350,000 king salmon.

For the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region of western Alaska, the harvest to date is 1.1 million fish, including 805,000 chum, 230,000 pink, 76,000 red, 10,000 silver and some 3,000 king salmon. The bulk of the A-Y-K harvest came from the lower Yukon River, where small boat fishermen have brought in 461,000 chum and 55,000 pink salmon.

Data compiled by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game shows that for the entire 2013 season, fish harvesters delivered a total of 272,630,000 salmon, including a record 219,160,000 pink, 29,257,000 red, 18,578,000 chum, 5,353,000 coho and 281,000 king salmon.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Draft Revision of Magnuson-Steven Act Reauthorization Legislation Now Online

A revised draft of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the primary federal law governing marine fisheries management in U.S. waters, is now online for public review and comment.

This shorter, revised draft incorporates many comments from Alaskans and others around the nation who responded to the initial discussion draft in April, according to Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard.

Public comment is encouraged on the document, which is online at Comments may be submitted to

Pew Charitable Trusts, in a statement released earlier this summer, credited MSA with a role in rebuilding a number of depleted fish populations. The House Committee on Natural Resources’ bill to reauthorize and amend MSA includes provisions that would undermine key reforms that have proved instrumental in rebuilding depleted U.S. ocean fish populations, according to Lee Crockett, writing for the Pew Charitable Trusts in Ocean Views.

Instead of weakening the MSA and putting progress at risk, Congress should require a transition to ecosystem-based fishery management, Crockett said. This, said Crockett, means protecting important habitats, avoiding non-target catch, ensuring that enough forage fish remain in the water to feed larger animals and putting ecosystem planning on the agenda for fisheries managers.

Commercial fisheries is Alaska’s largest private-sector industry, creating some 70,000 jobs annually and driving local economies from the panhandle of Southeast Alaska to the Bering Sea.

Propulsion Choices for Lower Emissions

By Kathy A. Smith

EPA emissions regulations are keeping a lot of engine manufacturers busy as they enhance various existing product lines for fishing applications, while also developing new technologies for after treatment options, in advance of the looming Tier 4 requirements. Meanwhile power generation companies are also working hard to keep pace with today's commercial fishing customer needs.

"Tier 4 is a phased-in emissions regulation and it depends on the engine horsepower," says Geoff Conrad, Director, Marine Business, Cummins Northwest. "The EPA is trying to "emissionize" the bigger engines first because they are the biggest contributors to the emissions issues. It starts with what they call the EPA Tier 4 in 2016, with the balance of engines being done in 2017. This is only for engines above 805 HP or 600 kW."

Engines below that are required to be Tier 3. "When you get into larger medium speed engines, then there is a split on technologies to achieve emissions reductions," Conrad says. "The EPA does not dictate the technology used to achieve this. All they care about is overall emissions reduction, and this is up to the manufacturer."

Cummins has a full line of marine certified Tier 3 products but because of the changes coming down through the various Tiers, conversations with customers are changing. "Most of our conversations with a customer today center around what emissions level are you designing for or needing in your area where you're going to operate. That dictates what options we may have for that customer."

Moving from Tier 3 to Tier 4 is going to be a significant event in Conrad's estimation. All industrial and trucking markets have also had to come to terms with similar changes. "It's almost like you need to be a specialist in chemistry and legal matters," he says. "With Cummins Northwest, we have specialists in our employ whose sole job is to guide customers and our organization on what's allowable under the rules."

In Tier 1, there was a fairly significant reduction of NOx. Conrad says It was achieved by changing the timing of engine, which had minimal impact on the customer back in 2000. In 2007, Tier 2 helped further reduce NOx, with introducing the treatment of particulate matter. During this phase, engines were also beginning to optimize the fuel system and combustion process, which again, was manageable for the end user. "Now you get into Tier 3 and we're now further reducing particulate matter and have almost cut it in half," says Conrad. "That's where we are today."

Cummins places a lot of emphasis on being the emissions leader. "A lot of governments, industry organizations and environmental groups rely on us to give them good and sound technical advice," adds Conrad. "In many cases, we help shape the rules in different regions of the world who are coming to terms with emissions issues. No matter what Tier you're working with, ownership of compliance on an engine is a shared responsibility between the engine manufacturer and the owner/operator of that engine. These EPA emissions levels are the most stringent in the world. But there is a consequence for it. The technology incorporated into the engines, e.g. Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), all require high cost and a high level of technical design. You just can't take an older engine and put this on it and expect it to work."

For Tier 3, which for Scania, began in January of this year, the company offers an inline 6, 13-liter engine that starts at 250 HP and goes up to 675 HP as well as a V-8, 16-liter engine that starts at 550 HP for Tier 3 and goes up to 900 HP for different commercial fishing applications.

"It wasn't much of a challenge to meet Tier 3," says Sheldon Murdock, Sales Manager, Marine Department, Scania USA Inc. "Everything we did was based on existing in-cylinder technology. We just increased the efficiency of the engines, which is part of our normal process. We did drop in power to meet Tier 3 on the higher end in that we had a 1000-HP engine in Tier 2, which went to 900 HP for Tier 3."

Scania AB, the parent company, manufactures on-road Class 8 trucks and buses for various segments and the European emission standards are pretty stringent. So the technology Scania uses for on-highway products usually ends up translating down to their industrial and marine products.

For Tier 4, Scania sees that new standards will mean a SCR after-treatment. They are already developing a new engine product to meet that emission standard which they expect will be available for the US market close to a year before it's necessary in the US.

"It definitely costs our company a lot of money to develop the technology for this," explains Murdock. "I wouldn't say that it has affected our price to the customer drastically. The SCR step definitely will add some extra costs and some extra components to the system, which in the fishing industry becomes a challenge because you have space constraints, depending on the type of boat you're operating. I think the major challenge for Tier 4 is going to be how we incorporate the SCR system into the different fishing vessels. It will be on a case-by-case basis and I think a lot more application engineering will be necessary for some of these vessels."

Since Scania already provides engines for the on-highway truck business in the neighborhood of 70,000 trucks per year, the volume of that business is already paying for the majority of engine after treatment development costs.

Fred Lachlan, Marine Sales Manager, Volvo Penta, Region Americas based in Vancouver, BC, says in Canada with regards to marine engine emissions, the country is following old IMO legislation from about 15 years ago but they're likely follow in the footsteps of the EPA. When this will happen remains to be seen.

Like Scania, Volvo also makes diesel engines for truck, industrial and construction equipment, so in theory they could move ahead to Tier 4. However, as Lachlan points out, "Not only is it going to be an installation problem because you won't be able to fit the whole SCR package in there but the cost will go up at least 20 to 40 percent."

The current big seller for Volvo Penta are engines in the 200-600 HP, 3 to 13 liter range but they don't have an engine today that's complaint. "We do have a new 8L engine coming out down the road but it won't be out until 2016, so we've lost some market share because of that, but our top key focus is to go back and grow our commercial business throughout the US in the fishing market. Today what we have to sell in the US in the commercial business is a D4 and D6 (fully electronic diesel engines). For larger fishing boats, we have a D11, D13 and D16 liter." To that end, Volvo Penta has a contract with a West Coast Builder for some Alaskan boats with a number of 11 liter engines.

In Canada, for marine engine certification all that's needed is a stamp of approval from Transport Canada. In the US you have to have the Tier 3 label affixed. "Yet people are selling non-compliant engines into the market and that hurts us. If the Canadian dollar was weaker to US, there would be more people coming up to buy boats and they'd have to buy a compliant engine. Some owner/operators want a Tier 3 engine regardless, whether they're in Canada or not. It all comes down to the cost."

"Clearly the impacts of emissions regulations, the more advanced technologies being employed and the research and development costs are driving up the cost of everyone's product," says Bill Mossey, Vice President of Pacific Marine Power, a division of Pacific Power Group. "The rate of change of the emissions standards as we migrate through Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 and Tier 4 has caused almost all manufacturers to invest large amounts into emissions development and compliance."

The changes to the engines are significant enough, e.g. for Tier 2 to Tier 3, that in some cases manufacturers are employing technologies that allow fuel efficiency improvement while in others a deterioration of fuel consumption rates occur.

"For Tier 4, with engines that use on-engine solutions, which is normally cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), the engine can't be as fully optimized for fuel consumption as with SCR after treatment-based solutions," explains Mossey. "In addition, cooled EGR requires low sulfur fuels, while SCR has a greater tolerance in the fuel sulfur content. Both technologies, cooled EGR and SCR, add devices and complexity over Tier 3 for maintenance, repair and capital cost."

The compromise with SCR after treatment is having to carry another fluid on the vessel as part of that system. There is an off-engine component, which is the exhaust after treatment device, which is fairly large, takes up space and has to be installed and have certain levels of maintenance. The benefit of SCR exhaust after treatment is that it allows for further optimization of the engine for fuel consumption, normally more than offsetting the costs of the reactant fluid, urea. Depending on the load factor, according to the Mossey, urea consumption will be around three to five percent of fuel consumption.

In the Tier 3 realm, Pacific Power offers MTU engines from 750 to 2,680 HP as well as Tier 3 generator sets from 65 kW to 1,800 kW. Looking ahead to Tier 4, Mossey advises commercial fishing vessel owners to build now to save money and complexity.

"It's a pretty simple story for us right now as far as propulsion goes in the US EPA T3," says Colin Puckett, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Northern Lights, Inc. "We are no longer dedicating product development resources to new models. As a boutique propulsion engine manufacturer with highly specialized applications and fairly low volumes, it doesn't make fiscal sense for us to produce certified EPA engines for the propulsion business. That's why we're focusing on our core markets of power generation and marine climate control."

Northern Lights have been expanding their power generation range and have marine packages from 20 kW up to 500 kW. They're also working on developing a series of auxiliary engines for commercial markets for deck-mounted machinery, pump drives and barge units.

The company still offers their popular Lugger engines for non-EPA projects and they are committed to continue supporting existing customers with parts and service. This summer, they'll be commissioning a newly-built hybrid system in a catamaran application that could prove a good alternative for commercial fishing down the line.

"We understand the hesitancy in the industry about this new technology," says Puckett. "The equipment and installation are neither traditional nor inexpensive. You can't get a hybrid system for the same price as diesel; in many cases, it can be twice the price. You have to have a good reason, plan and understanding of your return on investment profile before you make the leap."

For example, Puckett says for some fishing applications that spend a lot of time loitering and not under power with their main engines, hybrid can make a lot of sense because operating large diesel engines at idle speed for long periods of time is a very inefficient use of the engines. "If you can run that time with a more efficient system or even with battery power to run deck and hydraulic equipment, you can see a real quantifiable return on investment in a reasonably short amount of time."

Although hybrid is not a one-size-fits-all solution, it is something to consider. "We want to stay ahead of the curve on this because our customers are asking for it," adds Puckett. "As EPA gets tougher, everyone has to comply. Nobody wants to be the guy with black smoke coming out of his stack. We want to help be a part of cleaner technology in the eyes of our customers through a strict compliance program and our contribution to the embodiment of what a clean, modern vessel should look like when they fire up their engines."

Carl Micu, Manager, Engines and Drivetrain Sales, North and South America for John Deere says, "We are not doing anything with after treatment in the marine world as of today because of our power category. Everything we do is below 805 HP."

John Deere offers a wide range of Tier 3-compliant engines, from 4.5 liters to 13.5 liters. The 4.5- , 6.8- and 9-liter engines use high-pressure common rail fuel systems while the 13.5-liter engine uses an electronic unit injection system. All have four valve heads to help with emissions.

The company's 4.5 liter is very popular for the 99-kW power node. "The sales are very strong with this engine today," says Micu. "With Tier 3, we were able to develop the 4.5 liter to produce enough power to meet the emissions requirements, but we've made that package more compact for customers while still offering the same type of performance. We have some engines in Alaska powering various types of vessels for the fishing market. And we also offer auxiliary on-deck engines for winches that are radiator-cooled applications that meet Tier 3 marine requirements. The other benefit is all of our engines are capable of being keel cooled, and that's important in the Northwest for commercial fishermen as they don't want to sea cool anything."

John Deere has taken a building-block approach to engine development and try to keep installation requirements as common as possible for the customer throughout the Tier changes.

"We love the fishing market," adds Micu. "They're good to us and we hope we're good to them. We know some of the seasons are really short, and we understand the importance of ensuring fishing vessels are up and running when they need to be."

John Deere has been providing EPA-compliant engines for commercial boats since 2004 when the EPA regulations began. And as Greg Light, VP Sales and Marketing for Cascade Engine Center, a Seattle based marine and industrial engine distributor says, this is the 10-year anniversary of those EPA regulations.

John Deere has been a great repower product for commercial fishing vessels, providing fishermen a great option that have kept their engines running from the 70s and 80s. One advantage that has given Deere an edge in this market is their single circuit keel cooled engine design. An additional keel cooler can cost up to $8,000 according to Light.

"If you can stay with the single circuit system and maintain the same kind of performance and horsepower, it only makes sense to stay with that single circuit," he says. Dual circuits are generally appropriate for higher horsepower applications, something toward which Deere is moving for future models. Deere also provides auxiliary drives and PTO options. Crankshaft PTO power ratings have recently been increased on many models. Marine engines are available in both 12- and 24-volt models as well as heat exchanged versions.

John Deere engines have repowered crabbers, seiners, gillnetters and trollers that fish throughout the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Currently, Little Hoquiam Boatworks is building several fish boats that are John Deere-powered.

Additionally, Light reports that there have been a significant number of Bristol Bay boats built with Scania power in recent years because of its power-to-weight ratio. Two new seiners have been built at La Conner Maritime Fabrication in La Conner, Washington. "One has just been launched," he says. "They're built to the new Coast Guard guidelines so they are just under 50 feet long and do not have to be classed. Each of them has 16-liter, 900-HP dual circuit Scania engines." Seven vessels were repowered in British Columbia this last year ranging from heavy displacement commercial fishing vessels to high-speed surface drive applications.

According to Light, Yanmar Tier 3 engines have been very popular in the Cordova/Copper River Fishery due to their light weight and high speed which lend themselves well to jet application, both in single and twin. And Cascade has recently added the FPT marine engine line, which adds to their high-performance commercial engine line up.

Regarding future Tier 4 applications in 2017, Light says it's unclear where some manufacturers are headed but there are industry discussions on possible workarounds to meet emissions regulations. "What we're hearing is, for example, if a boat was going to be designed and it needed 2,000 HP, instead of two 1,000 HP engines installed, you might put in three 700-HP engines to stay under the Tier 4 600kW/804hp threshold."

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