By MAGGIE WALL
June 28, 2010
ADF&G is forecasting a total sockeye salmon run of nearly 40 million fish with a commercial harvest of nearly 32 million.
ADF&G has an in-season salmon report on the web that allows you to check any of its monitored areas and see just how many of which kind of fish have been caught. The easiest way to find it is to Google "in season Alaska salmon summary." You can pick the fishery you want to track from the page that comes up. (If you are reading this on-line the actual link is here.)
Ahead of the season opening Coast Guard crews conducted more that 250 courtesy dockside vessel examinations. The Coast Guard estimates that its crews inspected one in five of the anticipated 1,100 vessels fishing the Bristol Bay region.
These pre-season vessel inspections are common for many Alaska fisheries. They have been credited with saving lives.
The extremely cold water temperatures combined with quickly changing weather condition and long distances to shore or rescue make for a deadly combination. The dockside examinations ensure fishermen have the best chance they can to beat the odd against them.
The focus of the inspections is education and safety, not prosecution.
"We don't issue fines
or other penalties for any problems we discover," said Lt.
j.g Anne Besser, CG Sector Anchorage prevention officer. "We
focus on safety concerns such as flairs, fire extinguishers and
navigational charts, lights and signals."
The Bristol Bay's primary responsibility is opening and maintaining icebound shipping lanes in the Great Lakes. According to the Coast Guard's website, Bay-class tugs are designed to continuously break at least 20 inches of hard, freshwater ice. The ships can break more than 3 feet of ice by backing and ramming.
The Bay tugs have a special hull air lubrication or bubbler system that forces air and water between the hull and ice. This system improves icebreaking capabilities by reducing resistance against the hull, reducing horsepower requirements
The ship also performs missions such as search and rescue, marine environmental protection, law enforcement and port security and safety.
In August 1991, Bristol Bay became the first Bay-class tug to receive a barge specially-designed to perform aids-to-navigation work. The 120-foot long barge works with the ship to service more than 160 aids to navigation each year.
The Bristol Bay was built by
the Tacoma Boatbuilding Company in 1978 and was commissioned
in Detroit in 1979.
SeafoodNews.com reports that the Gulf effort would be based on Alaska's successful regional citizens' advisory committees operating in Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet. The Alaska RCACs were created after the Exxon Valdez spill and monitor terminal and tanker operations, conduct research and provide advice to ensure industry operations are conducted in environmentally sound ways.
Mark Vinsel, executive director of the United Fishermen of Alaska, is also chair of the Alaska Fishing Industry Relief Mission (AFIRM) which is sending a $10,600 donation to Louisiana to underwrite efforts there to create advisory committees in the Gulf.
"We believe the RCAC systems in Alaska have been instrumental in keeping marine oil operations as safe as possible," Vinsel told SeafoodNews.com. "They are an excellent example of cooperation and collaboration to bring very different interests together for their joint benefit."
The Alaska Fishing Industry
Relief Mission was formed as a non-profit corporation to help
the Gulf of Mexico fishing industry following Hurricanes Katrina
The Council was also cited for assisting in two vessel incidents. One was the grounding of the tanker vessel Seabulk Pride which was struck by an ice flow while moored at the KPL dock in February 2006. The other was the sinking of the offshore supply vessel Monarch while making a delivery to the Granite Point Platform in January 2009.