Astoria Fisheries Auction

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pebble Proponents Selling Off Surplus Equipment, Still Seeking Investor

Canadian investors in a massive mining project near the headwaters of the Bristol Bay watershed have begun selling off surplus equipment at the exploration site, while continuing to look for a new investment partner to advance the project.

Mike Heatwole, spokesperson for the Pebble Limited Partnership in Anchorage, says that the PLP, a subsidiary of a global Canadian mining group, made a decision recently to sell off a number of items that were sitting idle and depreciating in value, but will retain sufficient inventory to advance once a new partner is chosen.

“There is a lot of interest,” he said. “It is still a world class discovery.”

A list of the equipment, which has been posted in several villages in the Bristol Bay watershed, includes fuel tanks, tank stands, fuel containment, water pumps, generators, shop tools, exercise equipment, kitchen equipment, radios, SAT phones, tractors, shipping containers, light tower, thermoelectric heaters, building material, tools, buildings, tents, wood tables, chainsaws, specialty tools and much more.

Heatwole said that there has been considerable interest in the equipment, whose sale is being handled by the Iliamna Corp., the Alaska Native village corporation for the community closest to the mine site.

The Iliamna firm has been a partner in the venture, providing housekeeping, fuel sales, catering and site support services, he said.

The site is currently idle, with three people serving as caretaker staff, as the PLP continues its search for a new investor to develop the massive deposit of copper, gold and molybdenum. The PLP and past partners have already spent millions of dollars in the exploration phase and have yet to secure permits to proceed with development of the mine.

Proponents of the mine, some 200 miles southwest of Anchorage, say development of the project would significantly boost the economy of the region and the state, and provide enough copper to supply one third of domestic needs for years to come.

But there is much opposition to the project from commercial, sport and subsistence harvesters of Bristol Bay’s run of wild sockeye salmon, hunters, environmental groups and others, who say the mine could adversely affect salmon habitat, destroying a multi-million dollar fishery on which thousands of people and area wildlife depend on for income and sustenance.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that large-scale mining poses risks to salmon and the tribal communities that have depended on them for thousands of years. The risks, the EPA concluded, would include destruction of up to 94 miles of salmon supporting streams and 5,350 acres of wetlands, ponds and lakes.

More information on the EPA study, undertaken in 2010 at the request of several Bristol Bay Alaska Native tribes, is online at http://www.epa.gov/bristolbay.

NOAA Sea Surveys Planned to Obtain Crucial Management Data

NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center has another busy summer season of surveys planned to gather data needed by fisheries managers to determine sustainable fishery harvest levels.

During this year’s annual Eastern Bering Sea continental shelf survey and biennial Gulf of Alaska continental shelf survey, federal fisheries scientists will sort, weigh and count species collected by each trawl, with an emphasis on biological data for target species. They will also collect specimens and data on various species, as requested by cooperating scientists, agencies and institutions, including the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

NOAA has been conducting annual bottom trawl surveys in the Eastern Bering Sea for the past 40 years. The primary biological information collected includes relative abundance and size and age data for walleye pollock, Pacific cod, yellowfin sole, northern rock sole, red king crab and snow and tanner crab. Scientists will also collect physical data, including surface and bottom temperatures.

“The continental shelf area of the Eastern Bering Sea is one of the most productive fishing areas in the world in terms of both species abundance and commercial value,” noted Bob Lauth, lead scientist for the Eastern Bering Sea survey.

NOAA has chartered the F/V Alaska Knight and F/V Vesteraalen to survey the Bering Sea shelf between the depths of 20 meters and 200 meters from Bristol Bay northward to latitude 62 degrees North, from June through August.

In the Gulf of Alaska, the surveys will begin near the Islands of Four Mountains, some 180 miles southwest of Dutch Harbor, and continue eastward to the US-Canada border near Dixon Entrance. The survey will conclude in Ketchikan in early August. The three chartered vessels, the F/V Sea Storm, F/V Alaska Provider, and R/V Cape Flattery, will be marked “US Research.”

All three vessels will conduct standard 15-minute bottom trawl hauls at 800 pre-assigned stations using specially-designed nets with small meshes to capture fish and invertebrates.

Wayne Palsson, lead scientist for the Gulf of Alaska survey, noted that elevated ocean temperatures have been seen this year along the entire West Coast. He said scientists would be looking for species not typically seen that may have moved farther north due to the warmer waters.

The Gulf bottom trawl survey began in 1984 and has been conducted in odd-numbered years since 1999. This will be the 14th survey of the region.

More information and, later, survey results, will be found online at http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/RACE/groundfish/ebs.htm.

Halibut Users Mount Effort to Reduce Bycatch in Groundfish Fisheries

Pressure is mounting on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to substantially reduce the amount of Pacific halibut taken incidentally in Bering Sea/Aleutian Island groundfish fisheries. A diverse group of halibut users, including commercial, recreational and subsistence harvester, halibut dependent communities, community development quota groups, and an environmental organization, is asking Alaska’s congressional delegation to support their request for lower bycatch.

Their appeal comes on the heels of a letter to the council from a bipartisan group of Alaska legislators who want the federal fisheries managers to reduce bycatch limits on halibut by 50 percent in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands groundfish fisheries.

Sixteen halibut user groups this past week appealed for support from Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and Rep. Don Young. They said that while the directed halibut fisheries have seen extreme cuts in their quotas over the past decade, those catching the halibut as incidental harvest have been permitted by regulation to catch and discard halibut up to the limit set more than 20 years ago, when the halibut resource was double what it is now.

The current BSAI halibut bycatch limit of 4,426 metric tons legally allows up to 7.32 million pounds of halibut to be caught and discarded overboard as bycatch in groundfish fisheries, they said. Meanwhile, this year directed commercial halibut harvesters in the Bering Sea are limited to 3.815 million pounds.

Last year BSAI trawl fisheries caught and discarded seven times more halibut than the directed fishery landed in the BSAI, they said.

The letter was signed by the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, Alaska Marine Conservation Council, Alaska Trollers Association, Aleut Community of Saint Paul Tribal Government, Aleutians East Borough, Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Corp., Central Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association, City of St. Paul, Coal Point Seafood Co., Fishing Vessel Owners’ Association, Halibut Association of North America, Homer Charter Association, North Pacific Fisheries Association, Pioneer Alaskan Fisheries, Inc., Tanadguxic Corp., and United Fishermen’s Marketing Association.

Any comments from the congressional delegation, plus those of the 12 legislators are likely to be among dozens heard as the federal fisheries management group takes final action during its June meeting in Sitka on a measure that proposes up to a 50 percent reduction in the cap on halibut bycatch in BSAI fisheries.

Participants in the groundfish fisheries have told the council that they have already been reducing the bycatch by a combination of efforts ranging from equipment to exclude halibut to avoiding certain areas where halibut are abundant.

The council has scheduled nearly three entire days of its June 1-9 meeting in Sitka for this issue.

Red, Blue King Crab Included in 2015 Research Project

Biologists at the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery in Seward, Alaska, are growing red and blue king crab larvae this spring in the continued effort of the Alaska King Crab Research, Rehabilitation and Biology Program.

The red king crab egg-bearing broodstock for the project were captured in pots in Alitak Bay on Kodiak Island, and transported to the NOAA lab in Kodiak before being shipped to Seward. Hatching of the larvae began in early March, and biologists stocked over 400,000 larvae in 1,200-liter tanks during that month.

Larvae from many females are being raised to maximize the genetic diversity of larvae reared at the hatchery. Larvae eat enriched Artemiaand microalgae.

After molting to the first juvenile stage, the red king crab are scheduled to go to Kodiak for the third year of experimental release of hatchery-raised juveniles to the natural environment, for the purpose of learning more about release strategies and natural dispersion. The blue king crab larvae were collected near St. Matthew Island sent to Seward. When they began to hatch in mid-March, 15,000 larvae were stocked into rearing tanks.

Blue king crab have fewer offspring than red king crab, and the blue king crab broodstock incubate their embryos for two years instead of one. Monitoring of embryo development and female behavior of the blue king crab will continue this summer with two females that will hatch their larvae next year, biologists said.

The research program is sponsored by the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, NOAA Fisheries, the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery, along with several community groups, industry members and Alaska Sea Grant.

More information on the program is online at www.seagrant.uaf.edu.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Seafood Harvesters of America Adds Two Fisheries Organizations

Seafood Harvesters of America has announced the addition of the Midwater Trawlers Cooperative and Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association to its membership list.

The umbrella association, based in Washington DC, represents 16 commercial fishing organizations from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico.

“The organization has an excellent track record and is a proven advocate for commercial fishermen across the country,” said Heather Mann, executive director of the trawlers cooperative, a non-profit industry trade association with members on the West Coast and communities throughout the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska.

Her organization is looking forward to working with the Harvesters to promote accountable, thriving commercial fisheries along the Pacific Coast and nationwide far into the future, she said.

The Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association has been following the many successes of the Harvesters and looks forward to joining the leadership to help keep commercial fishermen here in Massachusetts and across the nation fishing for years to come,” said Beth Casoni, who serves as executive director.

Harvesters Chairman Chris Brown heralded the addition of the two new member organizations on April 20, saying they demonstrate a dedication to the broader fishing community as well as the resources upon which they depend.

They reflect the important mission we have as a voice for commercial fishermen in our nation’s capital, as well as the results we have delivered since our founding last year, he said.

Other member organizations include Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, Alaska Whitefish Trawlers Association, American Shark Fishery partnership, Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance, Fishing Vessel Owners Association, Fort Bragg Groundfish Association, Georges Bank Cod Fixed Gear Sector, Inc., Gulf Fishermen’s Association, Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholder’s Alliance, New Hampshire Groundfish Sectors, North Pacific Fisheries Association Purse Seine Vessel Owners Association, Rhode Island Commercial Fishermen’s Association, South Atlantic Fishermen’s Association, and United Catcher Boats.

NOAA Proposes to Revise ESA Humpback Whale Listings

Federal fisheries officials, hailing the success of the Endangered Species Act in increasing humpback whale populations, is proposing a listing change that would remove ESA protections for most of the humpbacks worldwide.

The humpbacks are currently listed as endangered throughout their range, but the proposed rule, announced April 20, finds that ten of those 14 distinct population segments do not warrant ESA listing.

While commercial whaling severely depleted humpback whale numbers, population rebounds in many areas result in today’s larger numbers, with steady rates of population growth since the United States first listed the humpbacks as endangered in 1970, NOAA Fisheries officials said.

Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center for Biological Diversity in Washington D.C. cautioned that while she is heartened by some humpback whales recovering, “it’s premature to remove protections when so many threats, like climate change and ocean noise, are increasing.

“Since commercial whaling ended, humpbacks have enjoyed protection, but they’re still drowning in fishing gear and getting hit by ships,” she said.

Humpback whales, known for their long “pectoral” fins, which give them increased maneuverability to slow down or even go backwards, can measure up to 15 feet in length. They delight whale watchers, with their breaching, and by slapping the surface with their pectoral fins, tails or heads, in summer in the Gulf of Alaska, and in winter in their calving grounds in the Hawaiian Islands and other tropical waters.

Eileen Sobeck, assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries, hailed the increased numbers of humpbacks as a success of the ESA.

Under the proposed rule the Central America and Western North Pacific distinct population segments would retain threatened status, while the Arabian Sea and off Cape Verde Islands/Northwest African distinct population segments would stay on the endangered species list.

If the proposal is finalized, the humpback whale populations that would no longer be listed under the ESA would remain protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. A 90-day public comment period, which began April 21, will play a role in NOAA’s final decision.

The proposal’s Federal Register notice is also online, at https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2015-09010.pdf.

The public may comment via electronic submissions or the post service.

Send electronic comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal by going to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0035, and clicking on the “comment now!” icon, then completing required fields and entering or attaching your comments.

Comments may be mailed to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1215 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

CRS Readies New Processing Facility for Bristol Bay Harvest

Copper River Seafoods, an Alaskan owned professional food manufacturing firm renowned for its wild salmon products, and more, is expanding its processing facilities into the Bristol Bay fishery.

On April 21, less than a month before the wild salmon begin returning to the Copper River in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, CRS was busy getting its newest processing facility ready to handle some of what is predicted to be a significant harvest.

Scott Blake, president and chief executive officer of the company, announced the acquisition of a Naknek facility previously known as Extreme Salmon, to be his firm’s new salmon processing plant.

“The timing couldn’t be better,” said Blake. “We’re increasing processing capacity and supporting fishermen of the region during a projected banner year.”

“We are working swiftly to ensure the plant is fully operational in time for the start of the 2015 Bristol Bay sockeye salmon season and plan to invest several million dollars in the Naknek plant over the next three years,” said Rodger May, a partner in the new operation.

The sockeye salmon resources of Bristol Bay are the next logical step in CRS’s ongoing statewide expansion, he said.

The Naknek operations are expected to create approximately 70 new seasonal jobs in the region, adding to the company’s workforce of 600 people at peak season statewide.

“Our plan is for the Naknek operations to produce a mix of frozen headed and gutted sockeye salmon and fresh sockeye fillets, increasing our total production by four million to five million pounds,” Blake said. The company also has facilities in Anchorage, Cordova, Kenai, Togiak and Kotzebue, and will offer seafood processed with the same certifications, he said.

That includes the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Responsible Fisheries Management sustainability plan, the Marine Stewardship Council’s sustainability plan, and the US Department of Commerce Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point Quality Management Program. In addition to these certifications, the Naknek facility will operate under Global Food Safety Initiative Standards, Blake said.

A fourth generation commercial fisherman, Blake partnered with three other fishermen back in 1996 to establish CRS.

The company today helps provide economic sustainability for Alaskan fishermen and the state of Alaska, by operating in Alaska, using Alaskan resources and creating Alaskan jobs, said Blake, adding “for me, that’s what it’s all about.”

Alaska Legislators Urge Big Cut on Halibut Bycatch

A bipartisan group of Alaska legislators whose constituencies are dependent on the halibut resource are asking federal fisheries managers to reduce bycatch limits on halibut by 50 percent in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands groundfish fisheries.

The 12 legislators noted in a letter to Dan Hull, chairman of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, that over 62 million pounds of halibut has been caught, killed and discarded as bycatch in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands over the past decade. Meanwhile, landings of halibut as the target species “have declined from an already alarmingly small 52 percent of the total removals to only 34 percent,” they said. It’s a situation, they said, that has continued for too long.

In 2014 alone, the BSAI trawl fisheries killed and discarded seven times more individual halibut than the directed fishery in the same region landed, with the bycatch total overwhelmingly comprised of juveniles weighing less than five pounds on average, they said.

In tagging studies conducted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission, 70 percent to 90 percent of halibut tagged in the Bering Sea were removed in the Gulf of Alaska, so therefore, the waste allowed in the BSAI is adversely affecting halibut users far beyond the Bering Sea, they said.

The impacts of this bycatch on Alaskans have been considerable, they said. Meanwhile conservation measures implemented over the past 15 years to address declining halibut stocks have fallen disproportionately onto the backs of halibut harvesters all over the state.

The bycatch limits for the BSAI trawl fleet has hardly changed in decades, but catch limits for holders of individual fishing quota have been cut by 70 percent and charter fleet harvests have been reduced by 50 percent in some waters, they said.

The letter was signed by Senators Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel; Donny Olson, D-Golovin; Dennis Egan, D-Juneau; and Peter Micchiche, R-Soldotna, and Representatives Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham; Bob Herron, D-Bethel; Neal Foster, D-Nome; Cathy Munoz, R-Juneau; Paul Seaton, R-Homer; Johnathan Kreiss-Tomkins, D-Sitka; Dan Ortiz, NA-Ketchikan; and Jim Colver, R-Palmer.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Alaska Legislators Consider Special Day to Celebrate Salmon

Alaska Rep. Bryce Edgmon, a Democrat from Dillingham, has asked fellow legislators to honor the state’s beloved wild salmon with a day of its own, Alaska Wild Salmon Day, to be celebrated every Aug. 10.

“No other of our fish plays such a prevalent role in our lives, and arguably, no other is as nourishing and appetizing,” said Edgmon, in his sponsor statement for House Bill 128. “According to a survey conducted during the summer of 2011, 96 percent of Alaskans feel that salmon is essential to their way of life.”

Edgmon noted that subsistence fishing for salmon has sustained Alaska Natives for thousands of years, that recreational fishing for salmon is a lifelong pursuit for urban and rural residents alike, and that commercial salmon fishing has been a mainstay industry in Alaska for well over a century.

“Establishing Aug. 10 as Alaska Wild Salmon Day will encourage celebrations of these Alaskan ways of life, pastimes, and professions,” he said.

House Bill 128 sailed through the House on unanimous consent and in the second week of April was awaiting a hearing in the Senate State Affairs Committee.

The bill, as written by Edgmon, would “celebrate the enormous bounty that wild king, sockeye, coho, chum and pink salmon bring to the state every year.”

The measure calls for educational and celebratory events, projects and activities to honor wild salmon.


“In addition to Wild Salmon Day being a great opportunity for Alaskans to celebrate these iconic fish, it will also provide fun and nutritious marketing opportunities, Edgmon said. “Members of the Alaska tourism industry are eager to make salmon lovers of visitors to the state, and Alaska Airlines officials have talked about using their “Salmon Thirty Salmon” jet to mark the special day.”

As Fishery Nears, Salmon Processors Face Certification Issues

On the eve of what is forecasted to be a very robust wild Alaska salmon harvest, sustainable certification issues, plus a substantial inventory of unsold canned and frozen 2014 salmon, have many processors scrambling to meet market certification demands.

Several years after major processors of wild Alaska seafood opted to switch from the Marine Stewardship Council’s sustainable seafood certification program to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Association’s Responsible Fisheries Management certification program, those processors are seeing an economic need to now engage in both certification programs, but getting back into the MSC fold could be a problem.

Add to that concern the current strength of the dollar over the euro, the yen and the ruble, which reduces the buying power of European and Japanese buyers, and the selling power of sockeye salmon buyers in Russia.

One Alaska processor, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a European client who had been buying headed and gutted chum salmon at $2 a pound said with the current value of the euro to the dollar he would have to pay $1.20 a pound for the same value.

That said, most major European buyers have been so successful over the years in selling MSC’s promise of certifying only sustainable fisheries that now they want to offer their customers only MSC certified products.

When most of those major processors opted out of MSC, Silver Bay Seafoods resisted, and now, as the existing client group, gets to decide whether to let the others back into their group. Negotiations are under way to determine if the client group and applicant companies can work this out.

Stefanie Moreland, director of government relations and seafood sustainability for Trident Seafoods, said that the companies seeking to join the current MSC Alaska salmon client group also asked that the client provide opportunity for any other interested Alaska salmon producer to join. Each producer or direct marketer will need to make their own decision on whether there is value in joining the client group and establishing chain of custody certification for use of the MSC program, she said.

Also, not all European markets are the same, said Moreland, speaking on behalf of Trident, Ocean Beauty, Peter Pan, Icicle, Alaska General Seafoods, Leader Creek and North Pacific Seafoods, Triad Fisheries, KwikPak Fisheries and Yukon Gold.

“For some customers, Alaska salmon meets their objective-based sustainability policies. Others require third-party certification and are satisfied by use of the MSC program or the Alaska RFM program, she said.


Of those some customers demand use of the MSC label, and yes, there is a fee associated with that. Others just require MSC certified product without use of the MSC label. Some customers have found the MSC label to be a distraction from their own, while others promote it, she said.

Pot Longline Gear Approved for Gulf of Alaska Sablefish IFQ Fishery

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has approved the use of pot gear in sablefish individual fishing quota fishery in the Gulf of Alaska. Final action reached at the council’s meeting on April 12 includes provisions for identifying tags on the pots, retention of halibut caught incidentally and a review of the effects of this fishery three years after implementation.

The council’s action still faces a lengthy regulatory process and is not likely to go into effect until 2017, said Glenn Merrill, head of NOAA Fisheries’ Alaska Region division of sustainable fisheries.

Merrill also noted that the International Pacific Halibut Commission would have to change its regulations to allow halibut to be retained by vessels using pot gear.

That action had support from United Fishermen’s Marketing Association at Kodiak, the North Pacific Fisheries Association, in Homer, Alaska, and the Petersburg Vessel Owners Association, but opposed by the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association at Sitka.

Jeff Stephan, manager of UFMA, told the council that without the introduction of pots into the sablefish fishery in the Gulf an expanding whale population would continue to feed off of longline gear.

Megan O’Neil, executive director of PVOA, said their nearly 100 members supported the legalizing of pots to fish for sablefish throughout the Gulf.

But Jeff Farvour, of Sitka, who trolls for salmon and halibut, urged the council not to allow pot fishing for sablefish in the Gulf until effective, enforceable mitigation measures could be identified to protect the longline sablefish fleet from the impact of sablefish pots, which were banned in the Gulf in the 1980s. “The most effective way to do this is not allow pots to fish in the same area as longline,” Farvour said. Linda Behnken, executive director of ALFA, told the council that the introduction of pots to the Gulf sablefish fishery has the potential to create significant gear conflicts and grounds preemption with vessels that continue to target sablefish with hook and line gear.

Twice as many boats fish black cod in Southeast Alaska than in the western Gulf, she told the council.

“Given that most small boats cannot convert to pots for safety, logistic or economic reasons, the impacts will be borne by the small boat fleet,” Behnken said.

“It is clear that the introduction of pots to the Southeast sablefish fishery will drive quota share consolidation and likely eliminate small boats from this historically important fishery.”

Copies of all written testimony on this issue online at www.npfmc.org

NPFMC Reduces King Salmon Bycatch Limit

Federal fisheries managers have reduced the allowable incidental catch of Chinook salmon in the Bering Sea pollock fishery, in a policy change aimed at boosting returns of kings to western Alaska rivers.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s approval of the action on April 11, at its spring meeting in Anchorage, would reduce the prohibited species catch limit of kings to 45,000 fish and the performance standard limit to 33,318 fish in years of low Chinook salmon abundance.

The council’s decision still must proceed through the federal regulatory process, and is not likely to be activated before 2017, according to Glenn Merrill, head of NOAA Fisheries’ Alaska Region division of sustainable fisheries.

The Bering Sea salmon bycatch motion introduced by Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten also included revising regulations to incorporate chum salmon avoidance into the Amendment 91 incentive plan agreements. That would include a requirement that the IPAs include, among other details a rolling hot spot program for salmon bycatch avoidance and an agreement to provide notifications of closure areas and any violations of the rolling hot spot program to at least one third party organization representing western Alaskans who depend on salmon and do not directly fish in a groundfish fishery.

The council’s action came on the heels of letters from fishing and tribal entities representing 118 Alaskan communities, who told the council of the severe socio-economic and cultural impact that depleted salmon runs have had on them.

While spokespersons for the pollock fleet have said repeatedly that they are taking all steps possible to keep salmon bycatch low, tribal and fishery groups in Western Alaska told the council that was not enough.

“There is a trust responsibility here,” said Sky Starkey, an attorney for the Tanana Chiefs Conference, a trust responsibility of NOAA to assure that Alaska Natives are able to harvest enough fish to preserve their way of life.

“The state successfully persuaded the council to reduce bycatch by about 30 percent, “ said Duncan Fields, a council member from Kodiak. “Now it wasn’t as far as we would have liked to have gone, but the fact that this occurred is a huge win for the state.”

The council’s action adopts abundance indices that trigger the imposition of these revised incentive caps and hard caps. Based on salmon abundance in the Unalakleet, Upper Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers, as determined by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, they would be implemented.

“This is significant,” he said. “This is a large policy change, a large expansion of the council’s involvement in protecting chum resources, and will prove significant over time in terms of the chum savings for western Alaska fisheries.”


Copies of all written testimony on this issue is online at www.npfmc.org

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