Written by Linc Bedrosian
ANCHORAGE — The National Marine Fisheries Service announced Thursday it will consider listing a population of harbor seals that live in a freshwater Alaska lake as a threatened or endangered species, a decision that could affect the massive Pebble Mine development project.
The agency said it has accepted a petition filed in November by the Center for Biological Diversity, kicking off a status review of the seals that live in Iliamna Lake 200 miles southwest of Anchorage.
The animals are the only known U.S. freshwater population of harbor seals, but a listing carries the added importance of possible effects on the Pebble Mine. The proposed open-pit copper and gold mine would require a 140-mile road to Cook Inlet. About 50 to 60 miles would pass along the lake shore, where the seals hunt for salmon.
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NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.
The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.Read more...
Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.
Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.Read more...