Molly Dischner

Getting to Bristol Bay not a simple boat ride

DILLINGHAM — About 8 a.m. on June 17, a sportfishing guide tied his skiff to the F/V Eagle Claw and hopped onboard to join our motley crew.

It was the final day of our five-day trip from Homer to Naknek via the Williamsport Road. Skipper Louie Flora, his daughter Sidney and brother Jonathan were headed to fish the east side of Bristol Bay. Soon-to-be west side setnetter Joey Kraszeski and I were just along for the ride.

The Kvichak is about 60 miles long, and runs from Iliamna Lake to Bristol Bay. The upper river is crystal clear, full of braids, and quite shallow.

By road, lake, river: Boats make their way to Bristol Bay fishing

PILE BAY — It’s noon. Iliamna Lake is calm and half a dozen fishermen are sitting around in the grass outside the bathroom at Pile Bay using free wi-fi.

A soon-to-be setnetter makes a Facebook page for another fisherman. His brother (and this reporter) pitch in with photos and suggestions for friends. The three of us are riding to Naknek with Louie Flora and his daughter Sidney onboard the F/V Eagle Claw.

“Did you know they’re making me a Facebook account?” Louie Flora asks Sidney, who’s traveling to Bristol Bay with him for her first fishing season.

Group continues its effort to get setnet ban on ballot

JUNEAU — A proposed voter initiative to ban setnets in urban parts of Alaska is making its way toward the ballot, while a lawsuit over its legality continues.

The Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance has been collecting signatures throughout the state to put the proposed ban on the August 2016 ballot.

President Joe Connors said in an emailed statement that the signature-collecting is going well. “We are confident we will reach our goal,” he wrote.

Lawmakers plan to work on marijuana bills over interim

JUNEAU — Alaska lawmakers say they will continue working on marijuana bills over the interim.

Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage, said the House Judiciary Committee, which she chairs, will work on a bill that would update state crime laws to reflect marijuana legalization, including a discussion of whether it should be on Alaska’s list of controlled substances.

State’s share of fed highway funding steady

JUNEAU — Major transportation projects are being put on hold, or remain in limbo, as the state of Alaska deals with the fallout of declining oil prices and the changing priorities of a new administration.

But other projects, such as the recent $25 million Brotherhood Bridge replacement project in Juneau, continue to be paid for by a federal government fund that has been very friendly to Alaska over the years.

Lawmakers weigh getting Alaska off daylight saving time

JUNEAU — A state Senate committee has advanced a bill that would exempt Alaska from daylight saving time, a measure that its sponsor said would be good for the health of state residents.

The bill, from Sen. Anna MacKinnon, R-Eagle River, would exempt Alaska from the annual time change beginning in 2017. That means Alaska would be five hours behind the East Coast, instead of four hours behind, from about March to November.

The delay in implementation is meant to give certain industries, like the cruise industry, time to prepare for the change.

Official shares ideas for pot regulations

JUNEAU — The head of the board currently in charge of writing regulations for the legalized use of recreational pot in Alaska said Tuesday that rules on edibles, advertising and extraction methods should be part of the conversation.

Alcoholic Beverage Control board executive director Cindy Franklin presented ideas for new regulations during a Senate State Affairs Committee hearing, primarily centered around public safety concerns and keeping marijuana away from minors.

Fishermen get hands-on with marketing their harvest

From Sitka to Kodiak, small, independent commercial fishermen are taking an increasingly hands-on role in marketing their own fish.

Rhonda Hubbard and her husband Jim of Seward started selling and processing their own fish more than two decades ago. Since then, she’s seen more fishermen do the same.

Hubbard said that the markets many of those fishermen reach, like farmers’ markets in the Lower 48 and other small sales opportunities, are niches that traditional processors often can’t fill.

450 inlet fishermen receive aid

More than 1,000 Alaska fishermen will share in $7.5 million worth of payments to mitigate the 2012 fisheries disaster in Cook Inlet and on the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers.

Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission Executive Director Randy Fisher said the checks were mailed Oct. 17.

Senate, House candidates focus on fish topics in Kodiak

KODIAK — Candidates to represent Alaska in the U.S. House and Senate weighed in on a variety of fisheries issues at the Oct. 1 fisheries debate in Kodiak.

Incumbent Democrat Sen. Mark Begich and Republican challenger Dan Sullivan answered questions from a media panel, the audience and each other during the first hour of the debate.

Changes in observer program on council’s agenda

Changes to the observer program and discussion of a possible Gulf of Alaska rationalization program are back on the menu at the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s October meeting.

The council, which began meeting in Anchorage on Wednesday, also will approve crab fishery catches, take final action on Pacific cod fishery for the Community Development Quota, or CDQ, fleet and take action on Bering Sea crab fishery provisions. The council’s meeting is scheduled to go through Oct. 14.

Adjustments to Cook Inlet fishery regs sought

Cook Inlet stakeholders are asking the state Board of Fisheries to consider more changes to area fisheries this winter.

Fishery participants have submitted nine agenda change requests, or ACRs, which would open up certain aspects of Cook Inlet management plans during the 2014-2015 meeting year, rather than waiting until the next regularly scheduled Cook Inlet meetings in 2016-2017.

Adjustments to Cook Inlet fishery regs sought

Cook Inlet stakeholders are asking the state Board of Fisheries to consider more changes to area fisheries this winter.

Fishery participants have submitted nine agenda change requests, or ACRs, which would open up certain aspects of Cook Inlet management plans during the 2014-2015 meeting year, rather than waiting until the next regularly scheduled Cook Inlet meetings in 2016-2017.

Seafood industry wants ban on Russian imports

The United States seafood industry is pushing for Russia to end its import ban on food from several countries including the U.S., but if it doesn’t, a coalition of companies wants an import ban in response.

Industry groups and seafood businesses have asked for a ban on Russian seafood, including Alaska General Seafoods, Aleutian Pribilof Islands Community Development Association, Alyeska Seafoods, Icicle Seafoods, North Pacific Seafoods, Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Peter Pan Seafoods, Trident Seafoods, UniSea, Wetward Seafoods, and Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers.

Board of Fish 2014-15 agenda to include clams, felt-sole boots

Cook Inlet razor clams are among the items on the Board of Fisheries menu this year.

Fishermen and other stakeholders are asking the board to consider 162 proposals to change subsistence, commercial, personal-use and sport regulations in fisheries throughout the state during the 2014-2015 meeting cycle. The majority of the proposals this year will address Southeast Alaska fisheries, including both finfish and shellfish there, but a handful address Cook Inlet issues.

Northrim Bank acquires Residential Mortgage

ANCHORAGE — Northrim BanCorp will expand further into the residential mortgage market with its acquisition of Residential Mortgage LLC.
Northrim currently owns 23.5 percent of the mortgage company, and was an original investor. Now, Northrim Bank’s subsidiary Northrim Capital Investment Co. will purchase the remainder of the company in a transaction that is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2014, the bank announced Aug. 7.

Fishery disaster fund plan moving forward

Cook Inlet and Yukon River commercial fishermen could receive direct payments as part of the 2012 fishery disaster relief aid this fall.
According to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration award notice, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission is set to receive $7.8 million for direct payments to commercial fishermen in the Yukon River and Cook Inlet regions. That money is intended to compensate them — at least partially — for losses from the 2012 salmon fisheries, which received a federal disaster declaration.

Judge rules NMFS made mistake in implementing observer program

A federal judge has ordered the National Marine Fisheries Service to prepare a supplemental environmental assessment for the revised marine observer program that was implemented in 2013.
No immediate changes to the program will be made, but Judge Russel Holland found that NMFS did not account for whether it would lose data quality after learning that higher costs would reduce the amount of observer days at sea by more than half compared to what was originally planned.

Rhubarb sherbet takes top spot in business competition

TURNAGAIN ARM — What is the quintessential Alaska food?

Juneau resident Marc Wheeler would like it to be rhubarb sherbet, available at most cruise ship docks in Southeast Alaska.

Wheeler won the Anchorage Economic Development Corp.’s Pitch-on-a-Train event July 31 with a plan to expand his ice creamery and coffee shop, Coppa, where he currently sells rhubarb sherbet and other flavors.

State to appeal judge’s setnet initiative ruling

The state of Alaska will appeal a state Superior Court   that would permit a ballot initiative that could ban setnets in certain parts of the state.

The Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance, or AFCA, filed a ballot initiative petition in 2013 seeking to ask voters whether to ban setnets in urban parts of the state, which would primarily impact Upper Cook Inlet setnetters.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Molly Dischner