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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 10, 2012

Front Page Photo By JIM LEWIS

Kashakes Cove Sunset
Front Page Photo By JIM LEWIS ©2012
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News Item: Alaska Department of Revenue Commissioner Bryan Butcher will announce the amount of the 2012 Permanent Fund Dividend on September 18th.


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Fish Factor: Selling gears up for seafood companies By LAINE WELCH - As Alaska’s salmon season winds down, selling the bulk of the harvest gears up for seafood companies that purchased the pack.

“This is the season for negotiations, you might say,” said salmon guru Gunnar Knapp, longtime fisheries economist at the University of Alaska/Anchorage. “You never know the price until the product is actually sold.” 

 The salmon season runs on different tracks starting with sockeye, and fish sales have varying schedules and market patterns throughout the year. Plus, salmon markets depend on the species and how they are sold. 

“You can’t just say what is the market for sockeye salmon this year. You have to ask what’s the market for roe, or frozen H&G (headed/gutted), or fillets or canned.  Each faces different market circumstances, and the total picture is the sum of those things,” Knapp explained.

Not a lot of public data on sales is available yet, but there are some bright spots. Salmon roe markets look really strong, due to shortfalls in supply from Russia. Also strong: the canned market, due to strong interest and low carryovers from last season. 

“That’s really good news, in particular for sockeye and pinks. A very significant share of the harvest goes into producing canned products,” Knapp said.

Notably, canned wild salmon and roe do not face competition with farmed salmon. What does compete directly is frozen H&G salmon – the bulk of the Alaska pack, and fillets.  But despite huge volumes of cheaper farmed salmon pushing down prices in the US, Europe and Japan, the impact on Alaska fish sales seems less than expected. 

Prior to the season, all the news from Japan indicated the market for frozen H&G sockeye was going to be down significantly because  farmed salmon imports were way up and prices were down.

“That led to a sort of self correction of the problem,” Knapp said.   “If processors had the option, instead of producing frozen H&G, they canned more of the salmon or made fillets. So the amount of frozen H&G produced and sent to Japan was lower than expected,” he explained.

Prices today are still lower than last year but not as much as people had feared,” Knapp said, adding that the fillet market is uncertain as those sales continue over a year.

Overall, Knapp said salmon markets appear a bit better than people expected going into the 2012 season. 

 “I think the key,” he said, “is the diversity of products that Alaska produces.”

The fact that there will be less wild salmon available from Alaska also will come into play in global markets.  As of Friday, the statewide catch topped 118 million salmon, just one million more from the previous week. The pre-season forecast for Alaska’s 2012 salmon was 132 million fish, down from 177 million salmon last year. - More...
Monday - September 10, 2012

Alaska: Shells' Arctic drilling program begins; Limited Activities to be Conducted in Non-Oil-Bearing Zones By Mary Kauffman, SitNews - The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director James A. Watson announced recently that Shell will be allowed to move forward with certain limited preparatory activities in the Chukchi Sea offshore Alaska. The BSEE is a bureau of the U.S. Department of Interior. According to reports, Shells' $4.5 billion Arctic drilling program began early Sunday morning.

The decision will allow Shell to build a mudline cellar and install pre-drilling infrastructure in the Chukchi Sea before the Coast Guard gives final approval of its containment vessel. Under the permit approved on August 30th, Shell will be allowed to begin certain preparatory activities in the Chukchi Sea that will increase overall safety. These activities include the creation of the mudline cellar, a safety feature that ensures that the blowout preventer is adequately protected below the level of the seafloor. Shell is also authorized to drill and set the first two strings of casing into shallow non-oil-bearing zones.

The Arctic waters off Alaska’s northern coast contain an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the federal government.

“It is our highest priority that any activities that occur offshore Alaska be held to the highest safety, environmental protection, and emergency response standards,” said Watson. “Shell’s applications for permits to drill into potential oil reservoirs remain under review, and Shell will not be authorized to drill into areas that may contain oil unless and until the required spill containment system is fully certified, inspected, and located in the Arctic. Today’s announcement authorizes Shell to move forward with limited activities well short of oil-bearing zones that can be done safely now prior to the certification and arrival of the containment system.” - More...
Monday - September 10, 2012

UPDATE Alaska: Ice Interrupts Alaska Arctic Drilling By Mary Kauffman, SitNews - One day after starting to drill the first well in Alaska's Arctic offshore in more than two decades, Royal Dutch Shell announced Monday it needed to move its rig as a precaution against sea ice that could move into the area.

Part of working in ice is having the ability to temporarily relocate," Royal Dutch Shell's spokesman Kelly op de Weegh said in a news release. - More...
Tuesday - September 11, 2012

Columns - Commentary

TOM PURCELL: What about the War on Men? - "Lots of people are talking about the 'war on women' these days, but what about the war on men?"

"The war on men? This is going to be good."

"Look, if you ask me, this 'war on women' thing is mostly just a difference of opinion. Some people think the government should pass more laws to give women special workplace rights or force faith-based employers to include coverage for contraception and other reproductive matters in their health insurance policies for employees."

"OK, fair enough."

"Well, just because other people don't want the government telling organizations what they must or must not do doesn't mean they are against women. It means they don't like the idea of government establishing more laws and mandates to right every wrong, perceived or otherwise."

"So you're saying the 'war on women' crowd thinks it is being victimized and wants the government to intervene, whereas the 'leave us alone' crowd prefers individual freedom and wants the government to butt out. But what does this have to do with the supposed 'war on women'?"

"Well, if we men adopted a victimization mindset, we could complain about lots of things. Here's one: During our bad economic spell, many states helped close their budget shortfalls with high taxes on beer! It's well-known that men consume way more beer than women, so aren't such taxes sexist?"

"Where is the ACLU when you need it?"

"And did you know Medicare no longer covers Viagra? That's going to have a terrible impact on my relationship with the wife during my retirement years."

"How so?"

"If the wife knows I have a stash of those pills, she'll spend way more time at the mall, ensuring peace and quiet for both of us. But there are plenty of other areas where we men are victims."

"Go on."

"Have you noticed that when you're out at an event, women go to the bathroom together, but men never do? I think it's because the women's rooms are bigger and, depending on the joint, have cushy lounge chairs or couches. The government should mandate equal bathroom rights for men." - More...
Monday - September 10, 2012


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letter It takes no brains to spend someone else's money By Douglas Thompson - I read a letter to you saying Ketchikan is in debt for $128 million.  Hard to believe with the fine leadership and management we have had in this town.  It doesn't matter anyway all their friends are doing quite well and the manager's personal account is bulging.  So why should we common citizens worry?  They never worried in the Soviet Union, spend - spend - spend. - More...
Monday - September 10, 2012

letter DON'T BREED OR BUY WHILE SHELTER PETS DIE! By Margaret Cloud - Once again someone is looking for a "mate" solely for the purpose of breeding.  We certainly do not need anymore dogs on this island. - More...
Monday - September 10, 2012

letter Fawn Mountain Athletic Field & Handicapped Access By Joseph T. Craig Sr. - I have some serious questions regarding handicap access accommodations at the Fawn Mountain Athletic Field . After reading the American Disability Act on their web-site, I get a strong feeling regarding, if that facility is in compliance.  I have found that there is no wheelchair access, no way for the handicap to walk or drive up to the field, if you were able to get up there, there are no handicap relief facilities that would accommodate a person in a wheelchair, and there is no covered area for the handicap to escape the elements. - More...
Monday - September 10, 2012

letter Pac12 Network By Charlie Reynolds - Hey all of you Dawg Fans, Quacker Backers, Beaver Believers, and Cougs. There is a new TV network called the Pac12 Network that has all of the Pac12 sports. The network website shows GCI as the provider for Ketchikan however GCI at this time only shows it in Anchorage. - More...
Monday - September 10, 2012

letter Re:“My Mind is Full and My Heart is Happy” By Peg Travis - Thanks to Lisa and to Sitnews for publishing her letter. We agree with her - Alaska is a great land - truly the Last Frontier. - More...
Monday - September 10, 2012

letter Time for A New Congress By Glen Terrell - It’s about to happen again.  Nation-wide, Congress has only a 10% approval rating yet we are about to RE-ELECT 90% OF THE INCUMBENTS!  How can this be?  The only explanation: 90% of us approve of our own representative but want everyone else to elect someone different.   - More...
Monday - September 10, 2012

letter August in Alaska - “My Mind is Full and My Heart is Happy” By U. S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski - I can't decide whether I am the luckiest woman in Alaska or the luckiest person in America. I have just had the best 30 days anybody could have in any place ever. I have been home. - More...
Tuesday PM - September 04, 2012

letter Performing Arts Center By Lallette Kistler - The Performing Arts Center (PAC) survived the Ketchikan Legislative Liason committee meeting on August 27th, and we have been placed as #3 on the area-wide priority list to the governor! - More...
Tuesday PM - September 04, 2012

letter Re: THE MISERABLE MILE By Alan R. McGillvray - I agree totally with Mr Pickrell about that stretch of highway, it is truly a 'miserable mile' with elevation changes great enough to throw a car traveling at speed, across the road and into oncoming traffic. - More...
Tuesday PM - September 04, 2012

letter Archie Van Winkle By Judy Van Winkle - I would just like you to say thank you to author of the letter about my dad Col. Archie Van Winkle. - More...
Tuesday PM - September 04, 2012

letter RE: Rights of People with Disabilities By Amanda Mitchell - I want to thank Kevin Gadsey for coming forward and voicing his approval towards the CRPD. I still respectfully disagree with the CRPD, but I do see that Kevin wants what is best for those that he serves. I wish all people were a little more like you, Kevin. SAIL is a really good organization and I would recommend it. However, I am looking out for my children’s long term interests and I believe the CRPD is detrimental to their welfare. - More...
Tuesday PM - September 04, 2012

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