National Fisherman


Kodiak's waterfront is bedecked with hundreds of "7-bys," the big, heavy crab pots, as boats stack their gear for major fisheries in the Bering Sea.

The Bristol Bay red king crab season is set to open Oct. 15, with a harvest of 8.6 million pounds, similar to last year. A reopened Tanner crab fishery will produce a 3 million-pound catch; the numbers for Bering Sea snow crab, Alaska's largest crab fishery, will be out next week.

The fisheries are set to open on schedule, said Heather Fitch, regional manager for ADF&G at Dutch Harbor. However, due to the federal government shutdown, the season could be stalled because crabbers won't know how much they can catch. The Bering Sea crab fisheries operate under a catch share system and federal workers who compute the shares are off the job.

Nearly 500 eligible vessels and companies have applied for 2013/2014 crab quotas, said market expert John Sackton. Furthermore, the crab fishery depends on a share-matching system between harvesters and processors. That can't be determined until the exact amounts of quota for each shareholder are determined by federal regulators.

The agency lacks the manpower to process applications and issue federal fishing licenses, said Alaska region director Jim Balsiger at the North Pacific council meeting this week in Anchorage. Balsiger said he was appealing to the federal Commerce Department to make personnel available.

Read the full story at the Anchorage Daily News>>

Inside the Industry

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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Last week, Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski (R), Dan Sullivan (R) and Rep. Don Young (R) asked Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate with Canadian leaders to make sure appropriate environmental safeguards are in place for mine development in Southeast Alaska.

The congressional delegation explained the importance of this issue to Alaskans and the need for assurances that the water quality in transboundary waters between Alaska and Canada will be maintained.

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