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 When you go shopping this week you can help the women and children at the Kodiak Women's Resource & Crisis Center. KWRCC has a long wish list of items that would help their families in crisis. You can help by purchasing one or more of the items and dropping them off at KMXT, 620 Egan Way by 5pm on Friday - we'll make sure everything gets to the KWRCC for Valentine's Day. Find a copy of the list here:  kwrcc_wish_list_jan_2016 

 
Feb 12 2016
Kodiak City Council Extends Fisheries Analyst Contract for One Year
Friday, 12 February 2016
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The Kodiak City Council stood apart from the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly on a contract extension with their joint fisheries analyst.

The fisheries analyst serves Kodiak in part by representing it at North Pacific Fishery Management Council meetings, and Heather McCarty has been under contract in the position now for two years.

The original motion before both governmental bodies was to extend that contract for a year, but not all borough assembly members supported that length of time. At its last regular meeting, the assembly agreed on a six month extension instead.

In contrast, the city voiced strong support of a year-long extension at its work session earlier this week and expressed the same thoughts at its regular meeting last night.

Councilman John Whiddon sits on the Kodiak Fisheries Work Group, which has representatives from both the city council and borough assembly, and has taken a strong stand on the issue. He stressed the fishery analyst’s importance to Kodiak’s involvement in the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

“We have to stay engaged. It’s critical that the city stay engaged in this process not just for the next six months, but throughout the whole tenure of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council work piece on the trawl bycatch motion, which could go as for as long as two years. It could be longer. It moves at a very slow pace. But a lot of the main decisions are gonna be made in the next six months.”

Which is why, he said, it doesn’t make sense to extend the contract for only six months. He said instead they should extend it for a minimum of one year and, if the borough disagrees, the city of Kodiak should consider funding the entire contract and reforming the fisheries work group. He said up until now the work group has been able to focus on the issues at hand.

“We have never – until very recently - never dealt with internal politics, and where we find ourselves now is in a situation where there’s internal politics within the group and, as a result, we have a failure to collaborate, and there’s an unwillingness to collaborate and a failure to communicate amongst members which is rendering us to a certain degree dysfunctional at a time when we can ill afford to be dysfunctional.”

Councilman Charlie Davidson said he is hopeful the borough assembly will agree to the one-year extension.

“If there’s any political decisions need to be made, it’s best that they be made on pertinent information and the most recent information, and I feel that our contractor has performed those jobs adequately, and I know that a lot of us are probably not that strong on the intricacies of the fisheries policy, so I find her input and her reports very helpful.”

Councilmembers had expressed interest in holding a joint work session with the Kodiak Island Borough to discuss the contract, and at the council’s last work session, Mayor Pat Branson suggested February 24 for that meeting.
 
Feb 12 2016
NOAA Survey Fills Database and Food Bank Freezer
Friday, 12 February 2016
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Researchers filled their databases and the freezers at a local food bank through a recent study.

For the survey in December, scientists collected data in order to determine how many female sablefish will spawn in the coming year. They did similar work with female rockfish as a side project.

Katy Echave, a NOAA fisheries research scientist with the Auke Bay Lab in Juneau and chief scientist on the survey, says they went out and studied otoliths.

“Which are the ear bones, which is how we age the fish, and the ovaries from the females, and in this particular cruise, we also added in collecting livers, which may possibly be another way to show their maturity state as well as the basic length and weight.”            

She says while the stock in Alaska has been healthy, it’s been declining in recent years, which has also negatively affected quotas.

“And we think the primary reason that the stock has been declining is because of the lack in recent recruitment, which is the reproductive success, meaning there’s not as many fish entering the population, so really it all comes to estimating that recruitment for sablefish and why is it low.”

Echave says the researchers tagged 40 sablefish to help investigate that question.

“We are putting these tags on the fish also to release when the fish are spawning so then we can hopefully close that picture per se of finding out where these fish are spawning and then having a look at the conditions there that would make the low survival of their egg or larval stages.”

She says those tags are programmed to release December 2016 and February 2017. That way they’ll get a year’s worth of data to track from one spawning season to the next. Echave says they usually do similar surveys in the summer, but the maturity of fish is more difficult to determine during those months.

She says the team contracted the fishing vessel Gold Rush for the project. And since the crew can’t keep the fish due to scientific regulations, they suggested donating the fish to the Kodiak Island Food Bank instead. Alex von Tsurikov runs the food bank and says he received the fish through Trident.

“This was all whole, glazed sablefish – [beheaded], gutted sablefish – but the other fish I get is usually halibut steaks or salmon steaks. That’s bycatch that’s too small. And yeah, they made as much available as I need. Actually, my freezer was too small, so I could only take some, but this week I’ll try to get the rest.”    

As for the scientific side, Echave says researchers will complete their work in the lab, where they’ll process the liver and ovary samples. They’ll then send those to another lab for histology work.
 
Feb 12 2016
Troopers Bust Two in Firearm Theft Spree
Friday, 12 February 2016
Jay Barrett/KMXT

The Alaska State Troopers have solved a crime spree that has been plaguing Kodiak since August. In a statement yesterday Thursday, the troopers announced they, with the assistance of state Wildlife Troopers, arrested two men they believe are responsible for a score of burglaries in the past six months, mostly involving firearms, but also including cash and jewelry. 

On Monday a Kodiak Grand Jury indicted 20-year-old Shay Monkiewics and 18-year-old Justin Isadore on about 30 counts each of felony burglary and theft charges, as well as criminal mischief for damages caused to private property during break-ins. 

The two young men were arrested separately on Tuesday. The troopers report Monkiewics surrendered himself at the Kodiak Courthouse, while Isadore was taken into custody at a family member’s home.

During the crime spree, about 30 firearms – handguns, shotguns and rifles – were stolen, according to Trooper Brock Simmons of the Kodiak Post. He said the thefts also included cash and expensive jewelry, including one ring reportedly valued at $10,000.

Simmons also said that the alleged thieves appeared to have selected victims that were known to them, and knew their schedules and what possessions they wanted to steal beforehand. He said the break-ins were not random.

Troopers report some firearms were recovered from a site where they were buried at Gibson Cove, but most have yet to be found.

The troopers thanked the tips that came in through Crime Stoppers and the help from victims and community in breaking the case. 
 
Feb 11 2016
The Alaska Fisheries Report - Feb. 11, 2016
Thursday, 11 February 2016

6.41 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

 

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Coming up this week, Ocean Beauty is looking for a few good fishermen, could Alaska's shellfish hatcheries be endangered by ocean acidification, and will they see more herring in the canal? Get it? Sey-mour? Canal? No? Moving on. We had help from KNBA's Johanna Eurich in Anchorage, APRN's Liz Ruskin in Washington D.C., KDLG's Molly Dischner in Dillingham and KFSK's Angela Denning in Petersburg.

 

 
Feb 11 2016
City Council Weighs in on Fisheries Analyst Contract
Thursday, 11 February 2016
Kayla Desroches/KMXT    

The Kodiak City Council is at odds with the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly over the renewal of the contract with its joint fisheries analyst. The contract was originally to extend Heather McCarty’s employment for another year, but the assembly was split at its last regular meeting and amended the contract to a length of six months. The main motion on the contract passed 4-to-1 with Assemblyman Mel Stephens dissenting.

Stephens said he is opposed because McCarty has fallen short of what she promised and contracted to do.

“You will see where Heather McCarty stated and I quote, on a quarterly schedule, I will provide written reports to the borough assembly and city council and make presentations to their joint meetings. She’s had the contract for two years. That’s eight quarterly reports. There have been a number of joint meetings since that time. I can find no quarterly reports.”

The Kodiak City Council discussed the contract at its work session Tuesday night and Councilman John Whiddon, who sits on the Kodiak Fisheries Work Group, said he’s never had issues with McCarty as a contractor. He said those problems should have been brought to the table a long time ago.

“We need to communicate and have a conversation with the borough as to exactly what are their goals and objectives as far as the fisheries analyst goes. What do they expect? I also would like to see us as a city be not secondary to the borough on this. That we both are paying equal amounts for this and having the borough drag the issue I think is wrong.”


Whiddon stressed the importance of Kodiak’s active involvement in issues like bycatch management and the fisheries analyst’s role in that – for instance, McCarty’s representation of Kodiak at North Pacific Fishery Management Council meetings. Whiddon suggested the council go ahead and extend the contract for a minimum of one year and rethink the organization of the fisheries work group should the assembly be unwilling to meet that contract length.

Mayor Pat Branson said the process with the assembly has been frustrating.

“If you have comments or concerns much like what John is saying the borough had with Heather and this contract, it should have come out way before and not on the dais at last week’s meeting. To me that was most inappropriate.”

She stressed the importance of communication between the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly and the Kodiak City Council, and Councilman Gabriel Saravia also said he supports an open line of communication.

“I agree with [the] mayor. I think it’s very important to have a meeting with the borough as soon as possible and clarify what you want to do. And, that way, we know the answer and if we go together it’s better, if we have to go alone, we go alone, but at least we talk and we understand each other.”
 
Branson said if the council wants to move forward on the year-long contract at its next regular meeting, which is tonight, the council and assembly should hold a joint work session to discuss that contract on February 24. Furthermore, the council agreed that staff should touch base with McCarty.

The fisheries analyst contract is on the agenda for the council’s regular meeting tonight, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the assembly chambers.
 
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