National Fisherman


JUNEAU — Build-out of a large-scale mine near the headwaters of a world-class salmon fishery in Alaska could wipe out as many as 90 miles of streams and alter stream flows, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a revised assessment released Friday.

The report said mining activity would claim at least 24 miles of streams in the Bristol Bay region, based on the scenarios evaluated, with the loss of wetlands ranging from 1,200 to 4,800 acres.

The EPA focused on the Pebble deposit and took into account information related to the proposed Pebble Mine but also noted the potential for multiple mines in the region, given the resource base, which it said would lead to further elimination or blocking of streams and wetland losses.

EPA initiated the review process in response to concerns raised by tribes and others about the impact large-scale mining could have on Bristol Bay fisheries. Critics of the EPA review — including the Pebble Limited Partnership, the group behind the proposed Pebble Mine — fear it could lead to the agency vetoing mining activity in the region.

Pebble Partnership CEO John Shively said the review was unnecessary, flawed and "consistent with the demands of those who want to deny the Pebble Partnership the right to submit a permit application."

The Alaska Department of Law also issued a statement.

"We believe the assessment is premature, as well as any action EPA might take based upon it," the state agency said. "Any consideration of impacts should be made within the context of an actual proposal and a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit application."

Read the full story at the Juneau Empire>>

Inside the Industry

NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.

The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.

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The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

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