National Fisherman

JUNEAU -- A federal agency announced Friday it was taking steps to protect the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon fishery, the largest in the world, but didn't immediately say whether that would lead to an unprecedented administrative veto of the proposed Pebble mine even before developers formally submit plans.

The Environmental Protection Agency has spent three years studying the potential impacts on salmon of a large, open pit mine in the Bristol Bay region, where half of the world's sockeye salmon are produced. Its final study came out in January after two drafts, 1.1 million public comments and two reviews by an independent panel of experts.

"Extensive scientific study has given us ample reason to believe that the Pebble Mine would likely have significant and irreversible negative impacts on the Bristol Bay watershed and its abundant salmon fisheries," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a written statement early Friday.

"It's why EPA is taking this step forward in our effort to ensure protection for the world's most productive salmon fishery from the risks it faces from what could be one of the largest open pit mines on earth. This process is not something the Agency does very often, but Bristol Bay is an extraordinary and unique resource."

Environmental, fishing and Native groups pushed the EPA to block the mine even as Republican political leaders including Gov. Sean Parnell, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young have faulted even the whisper of a veto as extreme "federal overreach."

Read the full story at Anchorage Daily News>>

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 3/10/15

In this episode, Online Editor Leslie Taylor talks with Mike McLouglin, vice president of Dunlop Industrial and Protective Footwear.

National Fisherman Live: 2/24/15

In this episode:

March date set for disaster aid dispersal
Oregon LNG project could disrupt fishing
NOAA tweaks gear marking requirement
N.C. launches first commercial/recreational dock
Spiny lobster traps limits not well received

Inside the Industry

NMFS announced two changes in regulations that apply to federal fishing permit holders starting Aug. 26.

First, they have eliminated the requirement for vessel owners to submit “did not fish” reports for the months or weeks when their vessel was not fishing.

Some of the restrictions for upgrading vessels listed on federal fishing permits have also been removed.

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Alaskans will meet with British Columbia’s Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett, when he visits Juneau next week and will ask him to support an international review of mine developments in northwest British Columbia, upstream from Southeast Alaska along the Taku, Stikine and Unuk transboundary rivers.

Some Alaska fishing and environmental groups believe an international review is the best way to develop specific, binding commitments to ensure clean water, salmon, jobs and traditional and customary practices are not harmed by British Columbia mines and that adequate financial assurances are in place up front to cover long-term monitoring and compensation for damages.

Read more...
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