Boat on the sea
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PSMLogo-300x251Federal disaster relief is coming to help many commercial fishing permit-holders. The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) will be administering the payments of three federal awards. For more information, you can visit their current disasters page.

Permit-holders and processors need to submit their applications to the PSMFC in Portland, Oregon or upload applications through the online portal before August 24th. Crew and subsistence users have until September 28th to submit their applications.

The PSMFC mailed out applications on June 26th, 2024. If you have not received a hard copy, email AKFishDisaster@psmfc.org to request an electronic copy. Once you have completed the application, you may either mail it to the commission or upload it online.

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AbsorbingTheRoll-300x188We are delighted to report that Ken Stetz has been named the winner of the 2024 George Gray Award for Artistic Excellence at the Coast Guard Art Program (COGAP). The annual art acceptance ceremony was held on Thursday, July 11th, 2024. The award-winning piece, titled “Absorbing the Roll,” is a 15″ x 24″ oil on canvas, and was selected from thirty-six submissions.

The thirty-six art pieces will be on exhibit at the Salmagundi Club, an art and cultural center located at 47 Fifth Avenue in New York, through July 26th, 2024. Additionally, twenty-eight works from previous collections will be on display, including pieces by and in honor of deceased COGAP artists C.R. “Bob” Bryant and Dick Kramer. The collection features artwork depicting search and rescue, marine environmental protection, patrols, and training exercises.

The exhibition is open to the public and can be viewed Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the exhibit is free. After the exhibition at the Salmagundi Club, the show will be on display at the Federal Hall National Memorial in lower Manhattan for two months.

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Ocean_Waves-300x173It is with great sadness that we report the death of a 21-year-old commercial fisherman. On Friday July 5th, 2024, Corwin Wheeler died after becoming entangled in fishing gear and being pulled overboard and underwater in the Bristol Bay area.

According to Alaska State Trooper spokesman Austin McDaniel, The Department of Public Safety’s patrol vessel received a distress call from the salmon fishermen aboard the F/V ANNY JOY in Kvichak Bay at approximately 12:30 a.m. It was reported that the captain and three other crew members were on board at the time of the incident.

According to Alaska State Troopers, two patrol vessels responded to the scene just as the crew pulled Mr. Wheeler from the water. He had been in the water for about half an hour before being pulled back onto the boat and was unconscious at that time.

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Oceangate_Titan-300x206OceanGate, the company responsible for the lost Titanic tourist submersible likely overstated the details of its partnerships in the development and engineering of the TITAN submersible. This was likely an effort to legitimize the unclassified submersible, which was built with a carbon fiber hull and titanium end caps.

The fatal implosion of the TITAN submersible, a vessel OceanGate once hailed as the “beginning of a new era of exploration,” raises unresolved questions about how the startup was able to operate the vessel and persuade individuals to become high-paying customers in this field of adventure tourism.

In various public statements, the company claimed that the TITAN submersible was designed and engineered with assistance from Boeing, the University of Washington, and NASA. However, each of these entities has described their involvement as more limited than OceanGate sometimes indicated.

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Westport-300x169Pacific Seafood’s Westport facility has been fined $222,000 for “repeatedly discharging polluted wastewater into Half Moon Bay in Westport.” The Washington Department of Ecology also reported that in the past two years, the facility has violated its water quality permits 58 times.

“It’s unacceptable that this facility is continuing to pollute Half Moon Bay after repeated citations and technical assistance,” said Vince McGowan, Ecology’s water quality program manager. “The majority of similar companies in the industry are able to meet permit requirements. The bottom line is that we need this facility to comply with their permit and stop polluting Half Moon Bay. This includes making any needed upgrades to their wastewater treatment system to fix the problem.”

Pacific Seafood failed to monitor its wastewater discharge as mandated. The Department of Ecology determined that the company’s wastewater contained “too much organic matter, solids, acidity, oil and grease, and fecal coliform bacteria.”

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Wrangell_AK-300x164It is with great sadness that we report the tragic incident that unfolded after a collision between the 58-foot F/V VIS and a 20-foot skiff in Wrangell Narrows, Alaska.

The collision claimed the life of a 73-year-old woman from California, as confirmed by the U.S. Coast Guard, and resulted in another individual being thrown into the water.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, good Samaritans pulled a 71-year old, later identified as Gordon Paul of California, from the water. He was transported to a nearby boat launch at Papke’s Landing and taken to Petersburg Medical Center.

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False Pass AlaskaOn Friday, June 7th, 2024, Trident Seafoods and Silver Bay Seafoods announced that Silver Bay is set to acquire Trident Seafoods False Pass processing facility and fuel business on the Alaska Peninsula. This is Silver Bay’s second big move in a region where they already have a presence processing salmon. With this latest addition, Silver Bay will be overseeing salmon at their facilities in Southeast Alaska (Craig, Sitka, Ketchikan), south-central Alaska (Valdez), Kodiak, Bristol Bay (Naknek), and now the Alaska Peninsula (False Pass).

By acquiring the Valdez plant in Prince William Sound and the False Pass plant in Southwest Alaska, Silver Bay has effectively doubled its capacity. The False Pass plant, which Silver Bay opened in 2019, is now an integral part of this expansion.

False Pass is a remote fishing community in southwest Alaska, situated on Unimak Island between the tip of the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands. Trident’s False Pass operation was fully dedicated to processing salmon.

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Northline_Hannah-300x181Northline Seafoods has announced the inaugural voyage of its latest vessel, F/V HANNAH, setting sail from Bellingham’s Fairhaven Shipyard to Bristol Bay for the 2024 salmon fishing season. The one-of-a-kind platform was built specifically for the conditions in Bristol Bay.

“This is a dream come true,” said Northline Seafoods CEO Ben Blakey. “Seeing our vessel leave the Fairhaven Shipyard is a critical milestone for the Bristol Bay salmon industry and for Northline Seafoods. I am proud of our team and appreciative of all the people who helped us get here.”

The F/V HANNAH is a 400′ x 100′ barge that Northline describes as a “vertically integrated, all-in-one solution for buying, freezing, shipping, storing, and distributing wild Alaska salmon.” The vessel features the capacity to freeze up to one million pounds of salmon per day, managed by a production crew of twenty. In addition, it can freeze salmon to a core temperature of -30°F in under 2 hours, and the cold storage facilities can hold over ten million pounds of frozen salmon, while also accommodating 2.3 million pounds of fresh fish.

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FishermansTerminal-300x186The team at Stacey and Jacobsen, PLLC is delighted to announce that The Port of Seattle has broken ground and begun the renovation and modernization of the historic Ship Supply Building at Fishermen’s Terminal. The community can expect a state-of-the-art Maritime Innovation Center (MInC) certified by the Living Building Challenge (LBC). This new facility will cater to the maritime industry needs, fostering collaboration among students, businesses, public agencies, educators, and community members. The Port has teamed up with Miller Hull to reimagine this distinctive landmark.

“Today’s groundbreaking is a celebration of the Port’s substantial commitment to support innovation as a way to foster the maritime industry’s ability to sustain our region’s blue economy,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman. “The transformation of the Port’s oldest asset into one that can meet the Living Building Challenge symbolizes the Port’s recognition of the maritime industry’s significance to our region’s history and future.”

“The future of the maritime industry and the ocean economy is innovative, sustainable, and equitable,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Ryan Calkins. “The Maritime Innovation Center will foster an atmosphere of collaboration and innovation which will ensure that all the sectors of the maritime industry, from commercial fishing to the growing green maritime economy, have not only a home but an anchor in Seattle.”

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Wheel-300x150In response to the downturn in the seafood industry, Alaska lawmakers have approved the formation of a specialized task force created to address the challenges currently facing this vital sector. The decision reflects the need to mitigate the economic and social impacts that have reached a crisis point within the industry.

The measure, Senate Concurrent Resolution 10, will create an eight-member seafood industry task force, comprised of four state senators and four state House members, with the Senate president as chair.

The House passed the resolution nearly unanimously on Saturday May 25th, 2024. The Senate, which initially approved the resolution on April 19th, unanimously accepted the House’s amendments on Sunday.

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