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NOAA Fisheries taking comments on Gulf Rationalization. What do you think?

The LegHead Report

legheadreport.jpg LegHead (ledj-hed) Report weekdays at 12:20 p.m.


Fish Radio with Laine Welch

 Weekdays at 12:20 p.m.

Galley Tables

Apr 22 2015
Artistic Trash Cans and Code Changes at City Council Work Session
Wednesday, 22 April 2015
example_of_labeled_trash.jpgExample of labeled trash can in Anacortes, Washington. Photo by Joe Mabel

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Artistic trash cans and housing code changes were both topics of conversation at the Kodiak City Council’s Work Session last night.

Fishing company owner Bruce Schactler stepped up to propose that the council authorize trash cans with decorative labels on them. They would be wrapped much like food cans and Schactler suggests pictures of local fish species and depictions of Kodiak history.

Schaclter says businesses could place the trashcans in front of their stores.

“They’d be their own private dumpster, their own private use, for their private business,” says Schaclter. “But it would be just an expansion of this project so it would get that much bigger around town, you’d have that much more artwork around.”

City Manager Aimée Kniaziowski brought up a couple of challenges, including restrictions within the City’s use of Alaska Waste services.

“They don’t like to do those nonstandard, empty cans, so at staff level, we thought maybe we cancel the Alaska waste,” Kniaziowski says. “But then you’re talking a person that could come around and dump those and then pay the full landfill fees where the nice part about having Alaska Waste do it is that we don’t have to pay those landfill fees.”

The council discussed partnering with volunteers and local museums. It will talk about the budget and other possible participants at a later meeting.

According to a memo in the Agenda packet, the Borough Mayor and a Joint Building Code Review Committee member are interested in gathering the Committee together to reevaluate the residential code for the engineering of buildings over 200 square feet.

Building official Doug Mathers says they would like to revisit energy requirements and update electrical and plumbing requirements to the most recent state code. He says this is how they can achieve a good rating on residential and commercial buildings from the Insurance Service Office and therefore lower insurance rates.

“I went through the report to see where we could gain points and the only place we could do any good at all was adopting a newer code. Ted and I could both be engineers, we could have all the education, we could staff the place up better, but the only… the way to get the points is by having a newer code,” says Mathers.

The City Council and Borough must first appoint – or re-appoint - members of the Joint Building Code Review Committee before the updates can move forward. Councilmembers agreed they would look at potential committee members who might be interested.

The Kodiak City Council’s regular meeting is set to take place this Thursday night.
Apr 22 2015
Three Crewmen Safe After FV Northern Pride Catches Fire
Wednesday, 22 April 2015
Petty Officer 1st Class Jon Emerson assists three men out of a Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter after a search and rescue mission 57 miles from Kodiak, April 21, 2015. The men were rescued off a raft after their fishing vessel Northern Pride caught fire in the engine room. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Diana Honings) 
Jay Barrett/KMXT
An 82-foot fishing tender en route from Seward caught fire northeast of Marmot Island early Tuesday afternoon, with three crewmen aboard.  The crew of the Northern Pride issued a mayday shortly after 2 p.m. and abandoned ship , according to the U.S. Coast Guard. 

The Good Samaritan vessel Dancer relayed the mayday to Coast Guard headquarters in Anchorage.

Northern Pride skipper Scott Beckstrom said in a Coast Guard release that the fire was too smokey and they couldn't fight it. He said they then donned their survival suits, launched their life raft and turned on the EPIRB and were rescued within an hour.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter responded from Air Station Kodiak and hoisted the three men from the life raft in Stevenson Entrance, about 60 miles north of Kodiak Island, and brought them to Kodiak. No injuries were reported and all three crewmen were reported in good condition. 

Weather on scene was comparatively mild with gusts to 20 mph and sees three- to four-feet.

Though no signs of pollution were seen at the time of the rescue, the fate of the Northern Pride is currently unknown. 
Apr 21 2015
Pot Legal in Alaska, But No Toking Up On State Ferries
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska
Despite last fall’s legalization vote, you’re still not allowed to get stoned on state ferries.

The Alaska Marine Highway System recently announced new procedures for passengers with pot.

The bottom line is -- you can’t consume marijuana anywhere on a ship, including a stateroom or the solarium.

But spokesman Jeremy Woodrow says crew members won’t actively search for pot. But they’ll monitor anyone suspected of carrying a large quantity, and in compliance with state law, passengers won’t get in trouble for having an ounce or less.

“If the passenger is discovered with more than an ounce of marijuana, the marine highway system can report that person to authorities at the next port of call,” he said. “That will be either the U.S. Coast Guard or local authorities.

He says the rules may be adjusted if new state laws and regulations call for changes.

Woodrow says anyone smoking openly will be told to stop. Crewmembers can detain people causing any kind of trouble, but that’s not common.

“People are usually fairly compliant with crew members,” says Woodrow. “Crew members aren’t out going out to create conflict. Really, all these rules are set for passenger safety.”

The measure passed by Alaska voters called for marijuana to be regulated like alcohol.

The ferry system has shut down on-board bars to save money. But Woodrow says beer and wine will still be allowed in specific parts of some ships.

“They will be allowed to purchase and consume alcohol in a section of the cafeteria. But that is the only place on board the ship they’ll be allowed to do that, other than if they have a stateroom,” he said. 
Apr 21 2015
Tusty Delayed in Ketchikan Shipyard - Will Miss First Scheduled Unalaska Run
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
The Alaska State Ferry Tustumena pulls into its homeport of Kodiak in this KMXT file photo.
Lauren Rosenthal/KUCB
Kodiak and Alaska Peninsula residents will have to wait a little longer for the Tustumena ferry to make its return to the region.

The Tusty's first trips in May -- including a run down to the Aleutian Chain -- have been canceled due to delays in shipyard.

The vessel was only supposed to undergo minor repairs in Ketchikan this winter. But Department of Transportation spokesperson Jeremy Woodrow says the aging ferry needed some extra help.

“The work that they're doing is focused on some hull structures in areas around the car deck,” he said. “Not significant items, but they are items that need to be repaired before the vessel can be certified by the Coast Guard.”

Woodrow says Coast Guard personnel will be checking in over the next few weeks to make sure the work meets their standards. He expects the vessel to return to service by May 12.

In the meantime, affected passengers will be contacted by the Alaska Marine Highway System to set up new reservations. 
Apr 21 2015
NOAA Proposes to Remove Ten Whale Population Segments from Endangered Species List
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
humpback_whale_noaa.jpgHumpback whale. Via Wikipedia

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Humpback whales have had protection under the Endangered Species Act since 1970, after whaling threatened their existence. Now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration proposes to categorize the humpback whale into 14 distinct population segments, or DPSs, and take 10 off the list of endangered or threatened animals.

Kate Wynne is a UAF Marine Mammal Specialist with the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center. She says biologists use feeding and breeding areas as two ways to distinguish between population segments. In the case of this proposal, Wynne says biologists put more emphasis on breeding grounds and genetic makeup when defining the DPSs.

Wynne says it’s a good idea from a biological perspective, but it could get complicated from a management perspective because not all whales from one breeding ground consistently go to one feeding ground.

“You don’t know in the middle of the Southeast Alaska humpbacks, where that humpback came from because they mix on the feeding grounds,” says Wynne.

The 220-page proposal states the “high fidelity” of whales’ winter and summer feeding grounds, but it also acknowledges the possible shifts in those patterns. Bree Witteveen, another Marine Mammal Specialist at the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, says there’s a lot more intermixing than biologists originally anticipated.
“Folks assumed that all the whales that fed in Alaska would migrate down to Hawaii to breed and all the whales that fed in California would migrate down to Mexico to breed and the more that we studied the whales, the more we understood that it wasn’t nearly as simple as that,” says Witteveen. “And so, you get animals that are breeding in Mexico for example and you might find some of those animals feeding off of California or off Kodiak or even into the Aleutian islands.”)

Witteveen says the people who will be the most affected are regional fishing groups, some of which petitioned NOAA to reevaluate humpback whales as an endangered species.

“The whole reason that NOOAA went through and reevaluated humpback whales is because they were petitioned by certain groups to reevaluate their status as an endangered species,” Whitteveen says. “And one of these groups was for example a fishing group in Hawaii who felt they shouldn’t be designated as an endangered species anymore. And so it generally could result in more fishing areas being opened up or less restrictions on where they can fish and interact with whale habitat for example.”

NOAA proposes to keep four DPSs on the list, two of which enter US waters: the Central America segment and the Western North Pacific segment, which would both be labeled as threatened. The other two would remain on the endangered list and are in the Arabian Sea and off Cape Verde Island off Northwest Africa.

NOAA has opened a 90 day public comment period on the delisting and welcomes feedback on the proposal, which you can read here.

    Electronic Submissions : Submit electronic comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go here, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. (Note: Comment button not currently active.)
    Mail: Submit written comments to Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
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