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Dec 11 2014
The Alaska Fisheries Report PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 11 December 2014

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Check out our logo from 20 years ago, left, which was the inspiration for our new design. 


Coming up this week, Trident Seafoods is taking a three-pronged approach to expansion in Kodiak, the salmon forecast for Cook Inlet is modest, and you have to tread lightly when you're talking about a potential permit buy-back. All that and more, coming up, on the Alaska Fisheries Report. We had help from APRN's Liz Ruskin in Washington DC, KDLG's Dave Bendinger in Dillingham, and KBBI's Shady Grove Oliver in Homer. 

Dec 11 2014
Stephens Cautions Former Colleagues on Conflicts PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 11 December 2014
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Jay Barrett/KMXT
    The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly has been kicking around funding for non-profit organizations recently, something it does every year. Recently, led by assembly members somewhat less inclined to have an open checkbook attitude to organizations doing social-service work, the path to funding has been getting a little steeper, with stricter deadlines and more stringent paperwork.
    There has also been criticism of assembly members debating and voting on funding for organizations that they are involved, even though as volunteers they make no money themselves from the borough grants.
    At Thursday's meeting, former Assemblyman Mel Stephens had a suggestion for his former colleagues who fall into that situation.
    “I'd like to throw out there for your consideration a proposal that before you next take up the issue of non profit funding at a formal meeting, that you reduce the sensitivities of the conflict of interest issue by individually taking voluntary action to resign from any board or any officer position that you may individually may hold in any organizations that have applied for non profit funding in the recent past, or likely to do so in the recent future,” he said.
    “The problem,” Stephens added, “is if you don't do that, then when you're talking about non-profit funding, you'll be placing your self in the situation where you have, as a board member or officer of your non-profit a fiduciary duty to act in that organizations best interest. And yet as an assembly member you have a fiduciary duty to act in the borough's best interest.  You can avoid that situation, which is an unpleasant situation, you can avoid it by taking voluntary action right now.”
    Dennis Simmons, who has run for borough assembly in the past, spoke just after Stephens and said public servants must have accountability.
    “I do believe that there is accountability that comes with every public service job. I think that accountability – I would like to say it's an obvious thing, the conduct a public servant should perform,” Simmons said. “But it's obvious from my perspective that it's not obvious. I think it was a profound check out time when Assemblyman Stephens said nobody's doing the very best they can. That's what I heard.”
    Those comments came during last week's Kodiak Island Borough Assembly meeting during citizens comments. 
Dec 10 2014
Rediscovering the Lost Villages of the Aleutians PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 10 December 2014
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Annie Ropeik/KUCB
     Three traditional villages on the far side of Unalaska Island fell to ruin after their Unangan residents were relocated during World War II. Now, a new book tells the stories of Kashega, Biorka and Makushin villages -- from settlement, to abandonment, to the return of the elders who grew up there. 
     KUCB’s Annie Ropeik sat down with the authors of Lost Villages of the Eastern Aleutians, and she has more.  
Dec 10 2014
Bundrant Discusses Trident's Three-Point Kodiak Expansion PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 10 December 2014

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Jay Barrett/KMXT

     Monday afternoon Trident Seafoods announced it intended to complete the purchase of the Western Alaska Fisheries cannery in Kodiak by the end of the month. The Western plant is owned by Westward Seafoods, a subsidiary of Maruha-Nichiro of Japan.

     Trident CEO Joe Bundrant was in town this week along with his father, company founder Chuck and several company officials preparing for the purchase. He said buying Western's Kodiak property will allow for Trident to expand its processing capacity for cod, pollock, salmon and other species.

     “We're just committed to this community. And I think we have a good, solid footprint here to process the many species that come out of the Gulf of Alaska. And we're just well-positioned for the future.”

     Part of Trident's expansion in Kodiak includes the purchase last year, and tearing down this year, of the small Alaska Fresh Seafood , which is next door to the company's existing plant, which is largely in a beached World War II Liberty Ship.

     “If you drive down, you can see it's a big hole in the ground. We plan to build a nice-size freezer facility there. In the past several years I think Trident has received some not-so flattering feedback that we've been tendering fish out of the Gulf of Alaska into Akutan, another facility we have, and we intend to process that fish here in Kodiak going forward. And when the opportunity to buy our next door neighbor, Alaska Fresh, last year, became available we seized that opportunity.”

     Bundrant said Trident human resources personnel were in town now, helping Western employees make the transfer to Trident.

     Another move for employees was the purchase last of the Kodiak Plaza, a three-building apartment complex a block from their plant in the heart of downtown. The company is turning the buildings into bunkhouses and a 24-hour-a-day mess hall for its workers.

     “The demographics in Kodiak are certainly changing. In all of our other operations in Alaska we do provide housing. Room and board is taken care of. We do laundry for everyone. With the demographics changing here in Kodiak, we saw a need to provide additional housing and bring in a workforce. And that's why we invested in the Kodiak Plaza.”

     Bundrant declined to disclose a purchase price for the property acquisitions, saying that as a privately-held company, they like to keep those details private. Kodiak is the smaller of Westward Seafoods two plants, processing 45-million pounds of pollock, cod, halibut and salmon. Its Dutch harbor plant processes 245-million pounds of various bottomfish and crab. 

Dec 09 2014
Borough Facing Incinerator Shutdown Dilemma PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 December 2014
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Jay Barrett/KMXT
    The Kodiak Island Borough is facing a fast-approaching deadline to shut down its incinerator out at the landfill. Borough Manager Bud Cassidy said the deadline was originally at the end of the year, but was pushed back to the end of February. 
    The number of users for the landfill's incinerator is surprisingly large and varied:
    “The types of things that we use the incinerator for, there's really five different waste streams: one's medical waste, sharps, those kinds of things from hospitals, clinics, dentist office  vets, even in our restrooms, we have the red sharps containers, incineration of pets by euthanasia, cremation of a family pet, sensitive documents as well as oily rags and absorbents.”
    “He said borough staff has been reaching out to affected businesses to let them know about the looming deadline and what options there might be:
    “We also are3 putting together a list of options. Joe Lipka has spent time tracking down the fact that there's a medical waste, an approved incinerator in Anchorage, and he's going to provide those contact numbers to those businesses that need it.”
    “And while there will be no way to cremate a house pet, Cassidy said there are other options for dealing with them and some of the other items that used to be incinerated.
    “Apparently we're allowed to bury euthanized animals, but they have to be below a bale of garbage. Deceased pets that folks what to cremate, they can send it to Anchorage. Sensitive documents Threshold has a shredder. Oily rag and absorbent materials there probably any number of companies around town that have smart ash burners that can burn that material.”
    Cassidy said that before the EPA began shutting down local incinerators, there were 6,000 in the nation. Now, Kodiak's is just one out of only 113 nationwide. 
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