Local News

Suit filed over fisheries observer program

A small cruise line with ties to the conservation community in Southeast Alaska has filed a lawsuit over the federal fisheries observer program, saying that too many chinook and halibut will go uncounted when new rules take effect in January.

The Boat Company filed documents in Alaska District Court on December 21, challenging the restructured monitoring program developed by the National Marine Fisheries Service for federal waters off the coast of Alaska.

Earlier this fall, the National Marine Fisheries Service announced plans to move forward with a controversial rule expanding its on-board observer program to include smaller vessels in the halibut and black cod fleets. On-board observers have been a part of the large-boat trawl fleet for years.

In a news release issued this afternoon (12-27-12), Boat Company president Hunter McIntosh states “Fishery stakeholders expected that the restructured program would improve coverage of fisheries that remove the largest volumes of halibut and Chinook salmon as bycatch. Instead, NMFS developed an expensive and inefficient program that diverts observer coverage from trawl vessels to smaller vessels that use lower impact, selective fishing gear.”

The Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, which represents many Alaskan hook-and-line fishing boats, spent the past two years testing an electronic monitoring system, which they claim is a more cost-effective, and more efficient, program than human monitoring.

Comments

Please read our comment guidelines.

Recent News

UPDATE: Video Recording of 1/27 Assembly Meeting

KCAW was unable to broadcast Tuesday night's (1-27-15) meeting, due to technical issues. Here you'll find a full video recording of the January 27th, 2015 Assembly Meeting, courtesy of the City and Borough of Sitka and recorded by Dan Etulain. more

Assembly passes marijuana law on first reading

The personal use of marijuana becomes legal in Alaska on Feb. 24, 2015. (Photo courtesy of Pixaby)
As written, Sitka’s law would forbid marijuana consumption in public places, including restaurants and bars. But it leaves the door open to private cannabis clubs or cafes and allows the Assembly to consider exemptions for special events. more