WASHINGTON -- Purveyors of the proposed Pebble mine aren't done fighting federal, activist and state efforts to stop the massive gold and copper mine in its tracks.

This month, the Pebble Partnership will test its arguments that the Environmental Protection Agency jumped the gun in its efforts to stop the project and illegally colluded with the projects’ opponents before doing so. Meanwhile, the EPA’s independent inspector general is nearing completion of an investigation into the agency’s process.

Federal fisheries scientists will begin surveys of the Gulf of Alaska and the Eastern Bering Sea in mid-May, collecting data needed for fisheries managers to determine sustainable fishery harvest levels.

Doug DeMaster, science and research director for NOAA's Alaska Fisheries Science Center, said April 28 that this year's distinct surveys will be the biennial Gulf of Alaska continental shelf survey and the annual eastern Bering Sea continental shelf survey.

Coming up this week, Togiak herring opened up this week, direct marketing of salmon is getting a boost, and the delegation from the state's largest fishing port decline to sign a letter asking for a huge cut in bycatch.

This weekend marks the 25th anniversary of Juneau’s Blessing of the Fleet. The annual tradition honors those who participate in one of the state’s largest industries.
It’s held at the Alaska Commercial Fishermen’s Memorial on the downtown waterfront. Five names have been added to the memorial’s granite wall this year, bringing the count to 203 men and women.

A nice video the debuted in Brussels last week; check it out!

A terrific video from Ray Hilborn, produced by Steve Minor. CHeck it out and pass it along.

Each year more than one-third of all the salmon caught in Alaska begin their lives in a hatchery.

There are 31 hatchery facilities in Alaska: 15 privately owned, 11 state owned, two federal research facilities, one tribal hatchery at Metlakatla and two state-owned sport fish hatcheries.

Gulf of Alaska whales that dine on hooked black cod are likely to find slimmer pickings in the years ahead.

Under a measure approved late Sunday by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, fishermen will be free to ditch their longline gear that frequently lose the fish to killer and sperm whales.

The fishermen now will be permitted to use pots that trap — rather than hook — the bottom-dwelling fish, and then protect the catch from hungry cetaceans as it’s brought to the surface.

The April 8 opinion piece by Stosh Anderson, "Don Young seeks to unwind 'Alaska Model' for fisheries in Magnuson-Stevens Act," fails to represent the facts of the legislation I introduced to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA).

The price of Alaska sockeye salmon is expected to drop this year as a huge run and leftover cans and frozen fillets from last season cause a glut in supply.

Although fans of the red-fleshed fish may rejoice, the news isn’t good for fishermen in Bristol Bay, the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world. Even without enormous numbers of fish flooding the market, prices are already under pressure.

The Alaska Board of Fisheries system -- to paraphrase Winston Churchill -- is the worst way to regulate fisheries, except for all the others.

Winner of Best International Feature Documentary at the 2014 Galway Film Festival and Best of Fest selection at the 2015 Palm Springs International Film Festival, The Breach will begin a 12 city national tour, and be available on all major VOD platforms (including Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, iTunes, Sony PlayStation, Vudu and Xbox Video) via FilmBuff, starting April 21.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will hold its second meeting of 2015 from April 8-14 at the Anchorage Hilton.

The council's biggest agenda item will be final action on measures to reduce chinook and chum salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock fishery. The alternatives, introduced for public review in December 2014, include both voluntary and regulatory controls to shorten seasons, provide incentives, and reduce bycatch caps.

Finding good employees for remote site work is always a challenge in rural Alaska, aggravating enough to make some managers move everything to Anchorage. But full-time year-round work remains the ideal, and one agency is giving it another shot.

A federal fisheries agency office is reopening in Unalaska as soon as three enforcement officers are hired and trained, according to Kevin Heck, acting deputy special agent in charge in Anchorage.

BBRSDA board president Fritz Johnson announced today that Sue Aspelund is resigning her position as the association’s executive director effective May 15, 2015. Aspelund will continue as BBRSDA’s fiscal officer through the end of July in order to ensure a smooth transition as a new executive director is brought on board.

The board has formed a recruitment and hiring committee to begin the process of selecting an interim or permanent executive director.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will hold its second meeting of 2015 from April 8-14 at the Anchorage Hilton.

The council’s biggest agenda item will be final action on measures to reduce chinook and chum salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock fishery. The alternatives, introduced for public review in December 2014, include both voluntary and regulatory controls to shorten seasons, provide incentives, and reduce bycatch caps.

A study published on the web of the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences in late March says high abundances of sea lice affect the foraging abilities of out-migrating juvenile Fraser River sockeye salmon.

Pathogens threaten wildlife globally, but these impacts are not restricted to direct mortality from disease, said study authors Sean Godwin, Lawrence Dill, John Reynolds and Martine Krkosek.

A new study in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences suggests that increased abundance of pink salmon in the North Pacific Ocean is linked to declining trends in sockeye salmon populations.

Wild Alaska salmon in powdered form is being promoted as a vital nutrient to the diets of people in Asian and African countries served by the International Partnership for Human Development.

Salmon powder, heralded as a success after a Republic of Congo school feeding pilot program, is the latest effort of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, whose goal is to find more ways to market wild Alaska seafood.

A lot has changed in Alaska since commercial vessels began fishing for halibut off the coastline in 1888, but in almost 130 years, halibut has remained a staple of the state’s fishing economy and culture. Along with salmon and crab, no species of fish captures the Alaska imagination and fills Alaska pocketbooks more than halibut.

Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) made public the resignation of president and founding member Robert Heyano in a release on Wednesday "with sincere regret."

The sockeye escapement goals for most of Bristol Bay’s rivers are changing. Members of an 18 month study recommended widening the ranges rather than just raising them, and the Department of Fish and Game has now adopted those ranges. Then the Alaska Board of Fish added language requiring management for the low end of escapement on small run years, and the high end during years with bigger runs.

Wild Alaska salmon processed into a powder is a work in progress of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, in an effort to market millions of pounds of the fish, while providing protein to hungry people worldwide.

Nutritionists contracted by ASMI are currently concentrating on making the salmon powder as “sensory neutral” as possible, said Bruce Schactler, of Kodiak, who heads up ASMI’s global food aid program.

Legislation by Rep. Bryce Edgmon, D- Dillingham, to establish Alaska Wild Salmon Day annually on Aug. 10, is moving through the House, co-sponsored by Representatives Bob Herron, D-Bethel, and Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski.

Egmon's bill would celebrate the enormous bounty that wild king, sockeye, coho, chum and pink salmon bring to Alaska every year.
- See more at: http://www.thecordovatimes.com/article/1513saluting-salmon#sthash.pOTTGb...

Another election cycle is underway for the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, with two candidates each vying for the Alaska resident and non-Alaska resident seats respectively.

Ballots went out on March 11 to the Bristol Bay drift gillnet permit holders represented by the association. To be counted as votes, they had to be postmarked by April 10 and received by the BBRSDA by April 17.

Alaska Congressman Don Young has introduced a bill to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the nation’s primary law governing fishing in federal waters. It leaves fisheries managers some controversial wiggle room.

Previous versions of the law established eight regional councils and required them to set harvest limits based on science to end overfishing. The mechanism is known as the “Alaska Model” of fisheries management.

JUNEAU -- Gov. Bill Walker has made a second try at filling a vacant seat on the Alaska Board of Fisheries, this time picking the director of a Kenai Peninsula conservation group for a position traditionally held by members sympathetic to sportfishing interests.

After an odd Alaska winter of record-warm temperatures and pouring rain instead of snow, will summer be weird as well?

While scientists say more such winters can be expected in Alaska in the long term as the climate heats up, predicting what will happen in the short term is iffy. Still, resource managers are making some contingency plans for a challenging summer, and scientists have some advice in case the next few months are as unusual as the last few.