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Feb 02 2015
Halibut Fishermen See First Increase in Decade
Monday, 02 February 2015
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Joe Viechnicki/KFSK
    The International Pacific Halibut Commission Friday voted to recommend a 1.7-million pound increase in the coast-wide catch of halibut. The joint U.S. and Canadian body oversees management of the highly prized bottom fish from California to Alaska. The commission held its annual meeting in Vancouver British Columbia last week. The IPHC voted for a coast-wide catch for commercial and charter fisheries of 29.2 million pounds, up from last year’s 27.5-million pounds.
    Commissioner Jim Balsiger of Alaska noted wider participation at this year’s meeting.
    “I found it refreshing is the right word, but it’s certainly a change in direction that we had other sectors than the directed halibut users in the room. I think it’s the only way we can make progress on what has been the major issue, major point of contention between Canada and the U.S. up here, is the other users of halibut that have not been in the room before. They were here full force. I think that’s a great step forward.
    The commission heard presentations on the issue of halibut bycatch, or fish caught in other fisheries by boats targeting other species. That included input from Bering Sea trawl fleet representatives and others on efforts to reduce bycatch. The additional halibut removal increased coast-wide last year, to over 9-million pounds, with over 6-million pounds of that coming from Western Alaska waters and the Bering Sea. Halibut are caught in trawl nets by boats fishing for sole and hook and line boats fishing for Pacific cod. Commissioner David Boyes of Canada said the bycatch issue was important for the entire coast.
    “Juveniles from the Bering Sea migrate very extensively. They populate all areas of the coast right down to the southern most part of the range of this species. And so everybody has a vital interest in getting bycatch down to the lowest level that’s practicable, as it says in the Magnuson Stevens Act.”
    The Commission plans to meet with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council on the issue February 5th. That council is scheduled to take action on recommendations for bycatch limit reduction measures this June. Those measures could be in place for 2016.
    National Marine Fisheries Service assistant administrator for fisheries Eileen Sobeck wrote to the commission seeking a higher catch limit for the longline fleet in the Bering Sea. She highlighted the importance of the directed fishery to residents and businesses, along with efforts to reduce bycatch by other fishing fleets. The commission voted to recommend the same level for Area 4, the Bering Sea and Aleutian islands, as last year.
    For Southeast Area 2C, the commission approved a combined commercial and charter catch of 4.65-million pounds. That’s an increase from last year’s limit of almost half a million pounds.
    For the central Gulf, Area 3A, the commission recommended a combined commercial and charter limit of 10.1 million pounds. That’s also an increase from last year, of over 600,000 pounds.
    The Commission also adopted catch-share plans for Southeast Alaska and the Central Gulf that impact the number and size of halibut that charter anglers can keep. Area 2B, British Columbia, was approved for just over 7-million pounds, also an increase from last year’s catch. Commissioners approved a season start date of March 14th and end date of November 7th.
    Alaska's Balsiger of was appointed chair for the next two years. The commission’s next annual meeting is in Juneau a year from now. 
Jan 30 2015
Saturday Work Session in Store for City Council
Friday, 30 January 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
    The Kodiak City Council is getting together for a rare Saturday work session. On the agenda are mostly organizational and policy planning issues.
    First, draft fiscal year 2016 budget goals and a sales tax review will be addressed, and then long-term planning, including succession planning, facilitated strategic planning and council training and an update on filling two positions: the assistant city manager and finance director.
    There will be discussion of making Kodiak City limits larger through annexation, as a way of improving long-term financial outlooks. One scenario outlined in the agenda packet projects an annexation of Service District 1 would bring in a half-million dollars more in revenue, but cost the city $700-thousand, a net loss of just about $200,000. Much of that loss would be in lower water and sewer fees charged to residents in the service area if they were inside city limits.
    The council will discuss the Near Island land development plan, and updates on downtown improvements, including the long sought-after anti-loitering ordinances.
    The meeting will start at 10 Saturday morning in the Kodiak Public Library's multipurpose room, and is open to the public.

Agenda: http://records.city.kodiak.ak.us:8000/weblink7/ElectronicFile.aspx?docid=10608
Packet: http://records.city.kodiak.ak.us:8000/weblink7/ElectronicFile.aspx?docid=10607 
Jan 30 2015
Icicle Seafoods Still on the Market
Friday, 30 January 2015
1.05 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

Dave Bendinger/KDLG
    Icicle Seafoods seems to still be on the market, for sale either in whole or in part, though no potential buyer has yet stepped forward. The seafood giant has had a large presence in Alaska fishing communities for decades. KDLG’s Dave Bendinger has more.  
Jan 29 2015
Alaska Fisheries Report
Thursday, 29 January 2015

6.41 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup



Coming up this week, a new fishery on the Kenai will complicate an already nightmarish management picture; the feds reject the petition for a marine sanctuary in the Aleutians, and what do Kodiak fishermen really think about privatization? We had help from KDLL's Shaylon Cochran in Kenai, KUCB's Annie Ropeik in Unalaska, KDLG's Dave Bendinger in Dillingham and KSTK's Katarina Sostaric in Wrangell.  

Jan 29 2015
Study Explores Kodiak Fishermens' Feelings on Privatization
Thursday, 29 January 2015
1.27 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

Jay Barrett/KMXT
    A study by a University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences professor attempted to gauge how Kodiak fishermen felt about the privatization of the fishery resource. As associate professor Courtney Carothers explains, the study sought to find out more than just if they liked privatization or not.
    “I was trying to understand also how people thought about privatization compared to other kinds changes in the community and then also looking at how people though about privatization in terms of its affects on individual and community well being.”
    Carothers said one of the main findings was that fishermen of all kinds, from the newest crewman to the biggest high-liner shared core values such as hard work, opportunity and fairness.
    “They tended to talk about how if you're able to work hard you should be able to achieve success in the fisheries. If you don't have a lot of money should be able access opportunities in fishing. People really value that as sort of a fundamental feature of fisheries. And also that fisheries should be fairly managed, and so if there's one group that seems to benefiting at the expense of others, people tended to think that was not appropriate for fisheries management.”
    She said that several people in the surveys and interviews said that privatization could be eroding the core values that so many of them share.
    “We didn't find any difference in terms of owners suggesting that privatization was really positive and crews saying it was really negative, we saw really similar results across all categories of fisheries participants and also across in terms of how long people had participated in the fishery. The only group that we found a little bit of difference was people who identified their primary fishery as pollock. In the survey we conducted, we did find a little bit more support for privatization in term of opinion questions we asked on the survey. That was one group that statistically varied from the other groups
    Beyond an almost universal belief that fisheries privatization is not ideal, Kodiak fishermen, like their counterparts elsewhere, were found to be pretty satisfied to be fishermen.
    “Many academics have studied this question and it shows really across the globe fishermen value being able to be their own bosses and to be able to be in control of their fishing operation, or their work if they're a crew, and so that in our study was also found to be high. People value that ability to be their own boss especially.”
    Carothers next study is the graying of the fleet, concentrating on Bristol Bay and again on Kodiak. 
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