National Fisherman

In response to requests by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, the Homer Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center and the Alaska Charter Association, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries announced it had extended the comment period on its controversial halibut Catch Sharing Plan -- but only by 14 days. The new comment period ends Aug. 26.

"I think it's absolutely silly," said chamber Executive Director Monte Davis. "We asked for enough time so that people in their busiest time of year would have time to comment."

Begich also expressed disappointment.

"Giving Alaskans just two weeks more during the busy summer fishing season to comment on a contentious plan on how we manage our state's halibut fishery is a disservice," he said.

Begich and Murkowski had asked for a 45-day extension and the chamber requested a 60-day extension.

In a press release, NOAA Fisheries said it recognized the concerns of working fishermen who want the chance to comment. However, extending the comment period longer would jeopardize the prospects of implementing it for the 2014 fishing season, NOAA Fisheries said.

The proposed regulations would replace the current charter guideline harvest level with a percentage allocation of the commercial and charter combined catch limit for each area. Many fear that would mean a one-halibut-per-day limit for clients of the sport charter fishing fleet. As it does now, the catch limit is determined by the International Pacific Halibut Commission each year. Allocations would vary based on changes in halibut abundance.

Read the full story at the Alaska Dispatch>>

Inside the Industry

The Center for Coastal Studies recently announced that Owen Nichols, Director of the Center for Coastal Studies’ Marine Fisheries Research Program, has been selected as this year’s recipient of the John Annala Fishery Leadership Award by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. 

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Cummins  announced the opening of a new Alaska service location on Kodiak Island last week that will serve as a service and support location for commercial marine applications.

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