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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 03, 2011

Front Page Photo by MIKE YOUNGBLOOD

Margaret Lake
Margaret Lake on Jan 1st, up the logging road from the USFS dock in Traitor's Cove, Marguerite Bay, Behm Canal.
Front Page Photo by MIKE YOUNGBLOOD

Fish Factor: 2010 Fish Notables, Picks and Pans By LAINE WELCH - Alaska’s seafood industry worked hard this year to ramp up its message to policy makers, especially those from rail belt regions who tend to overlook the industry’s economic significance.

How important is the seafood industry to Alaska and the nation? At a glance:   62% of all U.S. seafood landings come from Alaska … 96% of all wild- caught salmon come from Alaska …  Seafood is by far Alaska’s #1 export, valued at nearly $2 billion (next in line:  zinc and lead at $785 million) … Alaska ranks 9th  in the world in terms of global seafood production.

The seafood industry is second only to Big Oil in revenues it generates to Alaska’s general fund each year. The industry provides more Alaska jobs than oil/gas, mining, tourism and timber combined.

Here are some fishing notables from 2010, in no particular order, followed by my annual ‘fish picks and pans’:

The University of Alaska created a center devoted entirely to ocean acidification studies. Meanwhile, acid levels in the Gulf of Alaska and the Chukchi and Bering Seas continued to increase faster and more severely than previously thought.

Catch share programs became the preferred tool for managing U.S. fisheries. Federal managers budgeted $54 million as ‘incentive’ for catch shares to catch on in fishing regions. 

The North Pacific Council approved sweeping changes to its fishery observer program that will include all vessels longer than 40 feet.

Alaska’s biggest fishery  rebounded on schedule to accommodate a 2011 pollock catch of nearly three billion pounds, a 54% increase over the past two years (but in line with the average catch for the past 30 years.)

Kodiak and Sitka were the latest fishing towns to add some local catch to their school lunch menus, following Dillingham, Kenai, Fairbanks and Mat-Su.

The Chuitna coal mine project set its stakes (literally) on setnet lease sites in Upper Cook Inlet. The sites would make way for a 2-mile dock to shuttle coal to ships.

Halibut prices seldom dipped below $5/lb, boosting the value of the fishery to $193 million, an increase of $61 million over 2009.

Halibut catches continued a downward trend and managers plan to trim the harvest again in 2011.   Halibut catches in Southeast Alaska have dropped by more than 60% over the past five years.

Alaska salmon fishermen were paid an average of $.66/lb this year, a 16% increase over 2009. 

The 2010 catch of 169 million salmon was the 11th largest on record. The dockside value of almost $534 million was an increase of nearly 30% and the best showing in 18 years. 

Two areas, Bristol Bay and Prince William Sound, accounted for 55 percent of the value of the total Alaska catch.

Prince William Sound set a record with a total catch of 75.4 million –nearly 45% of all salmon harvested in Alaska this year! The PWS harvest of 69 million humpies accounted for 66% of Alaska’s total pink salmon catch.

Norton Sound fishermen saw some of the best chum salmon runs in 25 years. At Kotzebue, the chum catches tracked the best in 15 years.  Upper Cook Inlet fishermen hauled in a huge 2.7 million sockeye harvest, almost a million more fish than expected. King salmon continued to decline on the Yukon River.  

A surprise pink salmon fishery at Bristol Bay (Nushagak) attracted 60 boats and 35 setnetters who pulled in over one million humpies along with 60,000 cohos.  It’s been so long since a pink and coho salmon fishery occurred, managers had no numbers to compare the catches to.   

Peter Pan Seafoods and Bristol Bay fishermen were recognized by Alaska Head Start Association for providing local salmon to children and elders throughout Southwest Alaska.

Frankenfish!  After a decade of debate, the Food and Drug Administration officially proposed regulations to allow genetically modified animals for human consumption.  First up: a salmon that grows up to 30 times faster than normal.  Alaska Senators said they will try and stop the fish from ever getting to market. - More...
Monday - January 03, 2011



National: 5 top issues face Congress starting this week By BILL STRAUB - With the 111th Congress finally in the rear-view mirror, speculation is growing about the prospects for the 112th Congress that is set to kick off on Monday.

Democrats control the Senate and the White House while Republicans hold a majority in the House as a result of the Nov. 2 election, leaving the nation's capital haunted by potential for gridlock.

The following are five major issues to keep an eye on in the coming session:

-- Health care reform: After months of wrangling, and final passage with nary a GOP vote in support in 2010, the effort to repeal health care legislation, or at least large swaths of it, is likely to take center stage at some point over the next two years, even though success is doubtful.

The Republican-controlled House might very well pass legislation killing what President Barack Obama characterized as his greatest accomplishment to date. A Senate controlled by Democrats and a president with a veto pen leaves repeal proponents with almost no chance.

Unable to repeal the legislation, lawmakers will almost surely try to bleed health care to death by refusing to provide the funds for implementation, a move that almost certainly will lead to a showdown between the Republican House, the Democratic Senate and the Democratic White House.

-- Spending: A late-in-the-game effort last year by Senate Democrats to pass a 1,924-page omnibus spending bill after failing to adopt any appropriations measures failed in light of late Republican opposition, leading to approval of a continuing resolution that will carry government funding basically at 2011 levels until March 4. - More...
Monday - January 03, 2011



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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696

letter Open Letter: Economic Development By Kurtis R. Morin - I understand that certain members of the Ketchikan Assembly have expressed a preference for confining the borough's economic development program solely to infrastructure projects.

I am writing this letter to tell you that other economic development activities such as industry support and assistance are absolutely essential to the growth of Ketchikan. We have seen great success from current efforts of the Economic Development Manager, Deborah Hayden, who has worked tirelessly with the shellfish industry to help us to be a big part of South East Alaska and Ketchikan's economy. We spent many years trying to bring our ideas forward mostly running into innumerable dead ends, road blocks and diversions. - More...
Monday - January 03, 2011

letterRE: State troopers not wanting to get involved By Gary Keele - As a parent here in Ketchikan I can understand the absolute concern about the Troopers Not wanting to get involved and being rude. I have a 16 year old daughter that is in RYC Again ( Thank You Jack for all you have done for us). - More...
Monday - January 03, 2011

letterAmerica is being held hostage By Martha Leftwich - American voters were angry when they went to the polls November 2, 2010, many didn't bother to even cast their vote at all. - More...
Monday - January 03, 2011

letterConfused By Laura Plenert - Regarding David Hanger's harangue, bless you Lesley for being able to understand what David Hanger is spouting about. It is difficult to wade through his diatribe and get the point. - Page...
Monday - January 03, 2011

letterDITO TO TROOPERS FOR NOT HELPING By Diane Szurleys - On Sunday, Dec. 26th my daughter and her son took the dog to Ward Lake for some exercise. 30 min. after they left, she called me to say they went off the road and were in a ditch. She told me not to come down the Ward Lake road, just wait for them at the top. I drove to the top and saw the three girls flagging people and telling them not to go down the road. I explained that I was waiting for my daughter and sat in my car watching the girls do their job. I parked across the street and saw the trooper car coming, I got out and tried to flag him down. He drove right past me and the girls, then turned around and talked to the girls. He never came to see me. I kept thinking 'what if I was hurt he didn't even ask me if I was OK.' After he left I talked to the girls and they were very upset, as I was because he showed no concern. My daughter came up the road and we went home to try to get a tow. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 29, 2010

letterWard Lake Road By Cara Nygard - It would be advantageous to us all if the State would take back the upkeep and plowing of the Ward Lake Road. It is a great place to enjoy nature, walk around the lake and even have a mid-winter picnic. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 29, 2010

letterThe winner of the Nice and Naughty title is... By Robert Thompson - I hope you all had a Merry Christmas. But now back to the political shenanigans of our elected representative Kyle Johansen. Were you all watching the last few Borough Assembly meetings? (It is not the most exciting of night time soaps but well worth an occasional surfing stop.) - More...
Wednesday AM - December 29, 2010

letterSay it ain't so Joe By Charles Edwardson - I was at first interested in what this guy Joe said, even considered voting for this very articulate new guy, then I went to several town hall type meetings, and was not convinced enough to make a decision to change my vote from MERKUSKI, MURKOWSKI, MURCOWSKI, MIRKOWESKI, LISA. I bet yall figured out who I meant. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 29,2010

letterRE: The -isms By Lesley Kempsell - Thank you for posting David Hanger's message about 'isms.  He did a wonderful job of summarizing government genesis. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 29, 2010 

letterKeeping Us Safe -- NOT! By Diana Chaudhary - I would like to thank the Alaska State Troopers for fearlessly and selflessly doing their duty - NOT!!  On Sunday afternoon, like many other Ketchikan locals, my daughters and I decided to take a drive out to Ward Lake and get some fresh air while taking the dog for a walk around the lake.  It was a bit drizzly and the temperature was 42 degrees in Ketchikan. - More...
Monday - December 27, 2010

letterThe –isms By David G. Hanger - Were Abraham Lincoln alive today he would be a Democrat. Nor is that primarily because of his attitude on civil rights; he was somewhat ambivalent about that; but in combination with the issue of “states rights” it is unquestionable which direction old Abe would fall. “To preserve the Union” against a reactionary, conservative revolution was the mission Lincoln set for himself. In 1860 the Democrats were the conservatives, the Republicans, in effect, the radicals. One hundred fifty years later the roles have been completely reversed. - More...
Monday - December 27, 2010

letterNEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS By Dale O'Neal - Time once again for your annual new year's resolutions. Typical resolutions include weight loss, quitting tobacco, or maybe more time with family. Honorable goals all, but why not aim a bit higher for this next year? - More...
Monday - December 27, 2010

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