National Fisherman


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today questioned Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank on several critical ocean policies facing Alaskan coastal communities during a Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, and was informed that NOAA’s national marine debris removal program is being increased twenty percent, mostly to deal with tsunami debris.

Among the topics raised in a rapid-fire question and answer period were: tsunami marine debris relief; issues surrounding the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program and an update on the controversial coastal and marine spatial planning program.

In her questioning, Senator Murkowski pressed Secretary Blank on how NOAA planned to respond to incoming tsunami marine debris floating west to the United States. “An estimated 1.5 million tons of debris is floating out there in the ocean,” said Senator Murkowski. “We’ve seen it come up on the shores in Hawaii, out in Oregon, in Alaska, and we know it will still come our way years after the fact.” Secretary Blank indicated the Commerce Department is working to provide increased funding levels to deal with future marine debris in impacted states, bumping up its funding from $5 million to $6 million in FY14.

Read the full story at Alaska Business Monthly>>

Inside the Industry

Legislators from Connecticut and Massachusetts complained about the current “out-of-date allocation formula” in black sea bass, summer flounder and scup fisheries in a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce earlier this week.

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The Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance recently announced that the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has awarded the organization a Hollings Grant to reduce whale entanglements in Alaska salmon fisheries by increasing the use of acoustic whale pingers to minimize entanglements in fishing gear.

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