Alaskans love sharing a good fish story. We are famous for it, and often with each retelling, the size of the fish and direness of the circumstances increase. Fish tales are fun to share. The impacts of climate change on our region are not. The stories of what we are experiencing in Alaska need no embellishment.
A group of Alaska women involved in commercial and subsistence fisheries traveled to Washington D.C. this month to share the magnitude of change we have seen first-hand. As fishermen living in remote areas, interacting with the natural world harvesting fish, we see things that others don’t. Our relationship with our respective regions run deep, often spanning decades and generations. The change we are seeing is happening now, and we feel a responsibility to bring awareness to the degree of change we are experiencing in the Northern United States.
Alaska fishermen are innovative, resourceful, and willing to act to maintain resilient fishing communities. Storytelling and first-hand experiences help to bring awareness to our policymakers, influencing actions to address climate change. We will keep talking; we must. Our future is at risk. Fishing communities nationwide need policies that help fishing livelihoods adapt to rapid change and work together to mitigate carbon emissions contributing to climate change. We all need to act, and perhaps those of us coming from the North, where the conditions are shifting the fastest, can help others understand what’s coming.
“In Alaska, we have left behind the days of discussing climate change in hypothetical terms. As coastal communities, as small business owners and people intimately connected with the landscape, we are witnessing what can only be described as systemic and unprecedented change — in terms of its speed and scale. Dry stream beds and die-offs, erosion, and mass fish migrations; these are the stories we brought to Washington, D.C., along with requests for practical steps to help our coastal communities and fisheries stay resilient in the face of sweeping change.
It is more important than ever that our federal leaders support fishery and oceanographic research, community infrastructure that bolsters resiliency efforts, and policy processes that integrate considerations for climate change impacts. We need management processes agile enough to adapt and thrive with those impacts, and rigorous enough in its standards to conserve at-risk stocks, habitats, and food webs. It is an honor to be a storyteller for our northern ecosystems, helping to connect what we’re seeing on the grounds to these long term policy needs for our regions and nation.”
From Hannah Heimbuch, a second-generation fisherman from Homer and Senior Consultant with Oceans Strategies.
“Our family business is unique in that we set net using pickup trucks to work our gear from shore. Historically, sea ice protected our gravel and bluff from the Bering Sea winter storms. That’s no longer the case. We’re seeing decades of our former rate of erosion disappear in mere years. And while the current temperatures are positively impacting our salmon runs, we’re headed for a tipping point when our fish can no longer adapt to changing conditions. I am grateful for the opportunity to bring these stories back to D.C., where we can help inform policymakers as they tackle these complex issues, and look forward to working with them to make our fishing communities adaptable and climate-ready.”
From Jamie O’Connor, fifth-generation set-netter from Bristol Bay and Working Waterfronts program manager and policy analyst with the Alaska Marine Conservation Council.
“Just this year, we had multiple, unusual wildfires in my region. Our creeks were the driest that many residents had seen. Incidentally, these last few years have also had the largest recorded sockeye runs. I’m told that the heat has actually motivated these runs. But what of the other creatures that we are seeing suffer in our regions? I haven’t seen the caribou migration for over 15 years, and while commercial fishing this summer, we caught dozens of dead shearwaters in our nets. Some of the changes could be natural, and some could be unnatural. But I believe it’s safe to say that civilization has been at fault in the past, so why not again this time? For the wellbeing of our fisheries and local biology, we must continue to adapt.”
Mli Lundgren, second-generation Bristol Bay drift-netter and subsistence fisherman.
“This summer on Kodiak Island felt apocalyptic. As I flew the length of the island in August, streambeds normally bubbling with salmon were bone dry, reminding me of a desert wash. After 40 days of no rain and unprecedented heat, the northern rainforest was shriveling up, and our salmon dependent livelihoods felt extremely vulnerable. Processors were running out of reservoir water, leaving them down to only a few days of the water needed to continue to process fish. Smolt released from salmon hatcheries died, unable to live in the warm waters. Remote fish sites were out of water, hauling drinking and washing water in by hand. The fish were stressed and unable to enter the streams they were bound for due to lack of water and high water temperatures, which influences salmon movement. The salmon were exhibiting behavior no one had seen before. Sunburned pink salmon were repeatedly jumping out of the water in the mouth of the rivers. Along beaches, red salmon were traveling deep, seemingly seeking cooler temperatures as they traveled under nets while sunburnt fishermen on deck watched. Those who live in the last frontier are now living on the front lines in a changing climate. Harvesters and managers must be ready to change course under these conditions, and we all need to work together to influence policies that reduce carbon emissions and support measures that help coastal residents weather abrupt changes to our livelihoods and traditions. We need to provide adequate funding to the National Oceans and Atmospheric Association and the National Marine Fisheries Service to provide the monitoring, fish surveys, stock assessments, and research to provide the best science possible to guide management practices. We need to continue to come to policymakers in D.C. from Alaska homes and paint a picture with our words. We did just that last week, and it was clear our stories resonated in each of the offices we met with. Keep talking, Alaskans, our voices matter.”
Theresa Peterson, a commercial fisherman from Kodiak, Alaska, and Fisheries Policy Director with the Alaska Marine Conservation Council.
“The Alutiiq people have inhabited the Kodiak region for at least 7,000 years. Recent years have brought a series of events that, once considered unprecedented, have become the new normal. These events include drought, flooding, forest fires, multiple record heat waves, seabird, and marine mammal die-offs, irregular fish returns, warm climate, invasive species, and extreme fish mortality. The Alaska Federation of Natives declared climate change a state of emergency in Alaska at the 2019 Convention and reinstated its Climate Action Leadership Task Force to advocate for strong climate policies. I came to Washington D.C. to help others with less interaction with the natural world we call home in Alaska to share my experience and offer myself as a resource.”
Natasha Hayden, P.E., Kodiak Island Native Alaskan, subsistence and commercial fisherman, Registered Professional Engineer, and the Director of Lands & Natural Resources for the Afognak Native Corporation.
Every fisherman has their account of how our warming environment is impacting their fishery, business, and community. Thank you to the offices that met with these fishermen to hear theirs.
by Clem Tillion, Halibut Cove courtesy of Seafood News
I sat on the North Pacific Fur Seal Commission; it was created in 1910 to manage and protect the fur seals of the Pribilof Islands. I’m one of the few Commissioners still around, and I’m still devoted to helping the communities of the Pribilofs survive – and thrive. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has the chance this week in Homer to protect the fishermen of St. Paul and St. George Islands in the Pribilofs, and many more, by protecting the halibut they harvest from the Bering Sea.
Historically, residents of St. Paul Island, most of whom are Unangan (Aleut), were conscripted by the Russian and then the United States Government in the commercial fur seal harvest. After the commercial fur seal harvest was phased out in 1983, St. Paul Island’s residents turned to commercial fisheries for their survival, with the encouragement of the US and State governments. The Pribilofs are the only Aleut region that does not have access to salmon, so the islands were granted all the halibut Community Development Quota (CDQ) in the management area surrounding them (4C). This, in turn, justified critical federal, state, local, and private infrastructure investment. Examples of these investments, which were built in part to support the halibut fishery, include the Small Boat Harbor, concluded in 2010 at a cost of almost $21 million, and the Saint Paul Harbor, which with recent improvements totaled almost $100 million.
In addition to the harbor investments, St. Paul upgraded and built a number of infrastructure facilities and utilities critical to the development of a fisheries-based economy, in which the development and pursuit of a halibut fishery weighed heavily. A bulk fuel farm; an outfall/sewer utility; water and electric utilities; a landfill; airport and road upgrades were all built over a period of 40 years at a considerable cost to the public and to the community. These investments are in the range of $30-40 million. Much of the debt on this infrastructure is still owed by the City.
All in all, over $150 million in public funds were invested on St. Paul Island after 1983 to help develop a fisheries-based economy and provide local fishermen with the infrastructure to develop and pursue the halibut fishery. Individual fishermen in turn invested their families’ futures in boats and equipment and halibut quota, and developed a thriving local halibut fishery.
The halibut fishery is currently the primary source of employment and income for St. Paul residents. Of the 391 residents of St. Paul Island, 75 participate directly in the CDQ/IFQ halibut fishery in the summer months, and depend on a viable halibut fishery for their livelihoods and survival. This figure—which includes 14 to 16 fishermen/vessel owners who each hire an average of 5 to 6 crewmembers and baiters per vessel—represents more than 35 percent of the St. Paul Island’s working-age population.
Numerous other residents of St. Paul are employed in businesses that provide support services to the halibut fishery and fleet, including fuel, storage, groceries, and catch processing and packaging. Like the fishermen, these individuals are also directly dependent upon a viable and economically sustainable halibut fishery. No source of employment is more important to the economic prosperity of the community’s residents. Unfortunately, the income generated and the participation in the local halibut fishery has fallen in the past five years to below the long-term average, as the halibut resource has declined.
St. Paul Island’s reliance on the halibut fishery is not limited to direct employment in the fishery itself. St. Paul Island is a unique community that has the largest concentrated population of Unangan and Unangam Tunuu (Aleut-speakers) in the world. As such, halibut is an important and culturally significant subsistence fishery that is key to St. Paul Island’s cultural and psychological wellbeing.
Moreover, the fishermen/vessel owners who are engaged in the directed halibut fishery are the community’s only small business owners. They are the source of economic opportunity, as well as the community’s political and business leadership. The opportunities in the halibut fishery have also attracted some younger residents back to St. Paul Island, and their children help sustain the St. Paul School. St. Paul Island’s halibut fishermen are the community’s compass holders.
Unfortunately, St. Paul Island’s economic and cultural base is in jeopardy yet again. Having transitioned its economy to halibut with the US Government’s sponsorship, the same government’s failure to place appropriate and necessary limits on halibut bycatch (Prohibited Species Catch or PSC) now threatens to deny the people of St. Paul Island continued access to the resource they were encouraged to depend upon.
From 2012 to the present, the groundfish fleets in IPHC areas 4CDE (much of the Bering Sea) have caught as bycatch in their target fisheries – and discarded as waste – more halibut than the fleet that catches halibut commercially.
Specifically, bycatch mortality in this period has been two and a half times the amount of directed halibut mortality.
The North Pacific Council has been working for four years on a new way to manage halibut bycatch, based on halibut abundance. All groundfish and salmon fisheries in the state and federal waters off Alaska, and the directed halibut fishery, are managed on species abundance. Salmon PSC limits are driven by salmon abundance.
The Council is charged with developing a program for responsible management of halibut bycatch. The groundfish harvesters must be bound by the same principles as directed users. When halibut abundance declines, commercial and sport halibut limits go down. Bycatch limits should also go down, protecting the halibut-dependent peoples and communities of the Bering Sea.
Photo Credit: choja/iStock/Getty Images Plus
North Pacific Fishery Management Council to meet in Homer
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council kicks off meeting season in Homer Sept. 30 for the first time since 1983. This meeting will be both an opportunity for those who have been unable to attend in the past to participate, and for policymakers to hear from coastal community residents.
Community Engagement Committee
The NPFMC Community Engagement Committee will meet at Lands End from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 1 to review Council engagement strategies and practices and to develop recommendations to improve engagement with rural and Alaska Native communities.
BSAI Halibut ABM
The “Halibut Capital of the World” serves as an ideal backdrop to discuss the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Halibut Abundance Based Management (BSAI Halibut ABM). The action would link the amount of prohibited species catch (PSC), or bycatch, limits in groundfish fisheries to halibut abundance. Currently, halibut PSC limits are a fixed amount, so when halibut abundance declines bycatch limits remain the same while the amount of halibut apportioned to directed halibut fisheries decreases. This will be a major item up for discussion at this meeting and we encourage anyone interested to attend the Council on Thursday and Friday, Oct. 3-4. Fishermen, please reach out to AMCC Fisheries Policy Director Theresa Peterson for more information on how to get involved.
Local Seafood Summit
The third Local Seafood Summit will be held at the Redd on Salmon Street campus in Portland, OR Oct. 6-7. The Summit celebrates the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of small-scale, community-based seafood businesses committed to strengthening our local, regional, and national food systems. AMCC staff Katy Rexford, Director of Catch 49 and AMCC board member Darius Kasprzak will be attending the summit.
The Adapt Kodiak workshop will be held Oct. 24-25 at the Afognak Native Corporation on Near Island to discuss the challenges and opportunities for Kodiak residents to build community resilience in the face of a changing climate.
AMCC Heads to Pacific Marine Expo
Save the Date! The Pacific Marine Expo is just around the corner November 21st -23rd at the CenturyLink Stadium in Seattle. The largest and longest-running commercial tradeshow on the West coast will include marine exhibitors, events, informational forums and an opportunity for those involved in the maritime industry to network. Stay tuned for more details and be sure to come visit the AMCC booth, #4322, in the Alaska Hall.
Homer Harbor Tours with Jim Herbert
An introduction to the Port of Homer’s economy, history, future plans, Homer marine trades, electronic monitoring and visit vessels from different sectors.
Look for a gentleman in a lime green vest with a white beard standing outside of the Salty Dog Saloon.
Friday, October 4 at 5:30pm and Saturday, October 5 at 5:30pm.
For the past 25 years, AMCC’s dedicated staff and volunteers have worked to promote healthy ocean-dependent coastal communities while protecting the integrity of Alaska’s marine ecosystems.
To mark the occasion, we will be hosting the Bore Tide Boogie: A Celebration of Healthy Oceans & Coastal Communities on November 9, 2019, from 7:00 – 10:00 pm at the Anchorage Museum.
This festive community gathering will feature high-quality Alaskan seafood from AMCC’s own Catch 49 sustainable seafood brand—prepared by local celebrity chef Laura Cole of The Muse; live and silent auctions; a live band and dancing.
I’m proud to present the Alaska Marine Conservation Council 2018 Impact Report to you. This brief report highlights our work from the past year—successes we could not have accomplished without you.
Our efforts are straightforward—to protect the integrity of Alaska’s marine ecosystems and promote thriving coastal communities. Increasingly, the challenges we face to achieve this mission are incredibly complex, requiring comprehensive solutions that involve intense interaction in diverse communities.
AMCC has remained focused, with work through two key program areas: Fisheries & Marine Life Conservation and Working Waterfronts. Our fisheries conservation work engages in the North Pacific Fishery Management Council process and 2018 was highlighted with the adoption of the Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan. Our Working Waterfronts programs engage fishing families and coastal residents and businesses through our Alaska Fishermen’s Network with over 700 members. This network helps us bring a shared voice to local, state, and federal issues including the Young Fishermen’s Development Act and the potential reauthorization of the Magnuson Stevens Act (MSA).
Finally, our Catch 49 sustainable seafood enterprise has brought quality Alaskan seafood to Alaskans, creating more opportunities for small-scale fishermen and providing a steady supply of local seafood. This program continues to expand the species it sources, as well as the communities, served.
But we cannot and do not accomplish our work alone…fishermen and coastal residents are confronted with rapidly changing oceans and fisheries policy and it is your support that allows AMCC to understand and address these dramatic changes.
We are grateful to you—our members, partners, and allies—across Alaska and the Lower 48. Thank you again for all of your support.
P.S. To stay up-to-date throughout the year, be sure to sign-up for our monthly e-newsletter.
Conserving Fisheries & Marine Life:
Critical Effort to Protect the Bering Sea Advances
The Bering Sea encompasses over 770,000 square miles of productive marine waters in the North Pacific Ocean. More than 50 coastal communities in the region depend on their resources to sustain their way of life. Countless fishermen from around Alaska and the Lower 48 count on it for their livelihoods. But the Bering Sea—and all who rely on it remaining healthy—are at great risk of its unparalleled wild fisheries being depleted due in large part to a rapidly warming climate that is accelerating the loss of sea ice and ocean acidification. These are unprecedented challenges requiring comprehensive solutions.
One way AMCC accomplishes its mission is by working with our partners and allies to advance policies at the regional and federal levels that promote the health and resilience of Alaska’s fisheries and marine ecosystems. One of AMCC’s highest priorities in recent years has been to advance a Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) for the Bering Sea to protect its wild fisheries, ecosystems, and communities. A FEP serves to strengthen fisheries and ecosystem management in marine environments controlled by the Federal Government.
One of the most significant achievements of 2018 occurred in December when the Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan (BS FEP) was adopted by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC). This critical document guides Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management for these waters—a way to manage fisheries that considers how all pieces of an ecosystem work together.
AMCC staff member Theresa Peterson serves as co-chair to the Ecosystem Committee (EC) which advises the NPFMC on ecosystem related matters. The EC provided extensive input toward the development of the BS FEP over many meetings and many years; most of their recommendations were accepted. Theresa conveys the importance of the plan:
“The Eastern Bering Sea is an amazing ecosystem experiencing change at an unforeseen rate. The region has provided sustenance to those living adjacent to its waters for thousands of years and the knowledge embodied in the Native culture provides insight beyond Western science. The BS FEP provides guidance for the NPFMC to better utilize all information sources and paves the way for a comprehensive approach to fisheries management.”
AMCC is proud to have influenced the final plan and will work to be a part of the next phase—developing “Action Modules” to evaluate the effects of climate change on the Bering Sea and create protocols for incorporating Traditional Knowledge into decision-making.
Longtime staff member Theresa Peterson was promoted to Fisheries Policy Director in 2018. Theresa, a commercial fisherman from Kodiak, continues to be meaningfully involved with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.
AMCC bid farewell to Working Waterfronts Director, Rachel Donkersloot, in 2019. Rachel was a lead on the award-winning Graying of the Fleet research project, which made a tremendous impact on Alaska’s coastal communities. We are thrilled she is staying connected to the organization as a consultant.
Sustaining Working Waterfronts:
Alaska Fisherman’s Network Member Spotlight
Meet JJ Larson, Captain of F/V Lucille
JJ Larson is from Dillingham, a fishing community in Southwest Alaska, and from a long line of fishermen. His mom captained her own boat and his grandma was a set netter. JJ is the third generation of his family to captain the Lucille D, which was named for his aunt. It was originally owned and captained by his grandfather, then his dad. Today, after nine years at the helm, JJ is buying it from his grandmother. The Lucille D is more than a fishing boat to JJ, it represents a way of life he is proud to carry on, and eventually share with his son.
JJ joined the Alaska Fishermen’s Network (AKFN) in 2018. Now over 747 members strong, AMCC started the AKFN in 2013 to empower the next generation of fishermen to become effective advocates for Alaska’s wild fisheries, coastal communities, and conservation. Through such principles as mentorship, stewardship, and accountability, the AKFN creates opportunities for young and rising fishermen to develop skills and connections, build resilient businesses, and be positive members of their communities—all things JJ values.
“Through the AKFN, I have an opportunity to network as well as learn more about the business side of fishing—like the different policies and regulations that affect it, finances, and more. A lot goes into being the captain of a boat. You can be a great fisherman, but without an understanding of the business, you are less likely to succeed.”
AMCC was fortunate to have JJ travel to D.C. with staff recently to advocate for the Young Fishermen’s Development Act. They attend- ed 22 meetings in three days to garner support for creating the first federal program to support workforce development for young fishermen. JJ’s leadership and perspective were invaluable, and the trip had an impact on him too. “It was empowering to see firsthand where and how the laws that affect my ‘little corner of the world’ are made and gave me greater confidence to advocate for the future of our fisheries and my community.”
Jamie O’Connor started as AMCC’s Fishing Community Organizer in 2018 and was recently promoted to Working Waterfronts Program Manager and Policy Analyst. A lifelong Alaskan and commercial fisherman from Dillingham, she has since put down roots in Homer. Jamie participated in AMCC’s first class of Young Fishing Fellows in 2017—an effort she is now proud to coordinate along with the Alaska Fishermen’s Network.
Our Community Supported Fishery
2018 marked seven years since AMCC launched its sustainable seafood enterprise, recently rebranded as Catch 49, in an effort to help coastal communities thrive by creating a direct market for their livelihoods. Every year the program gets stronger and last year was no exception.
- Increased the total pounds of seafood sold over the prior year, and the number of households served to more than 750.
- Secured two major wholesale clients—North Star Quality Meats and Princess-Holland America Lodges—each of which has the potential to significantly increase Catch 49’s output and amplify our message to a broader audience.
- Created branded seafood labels reinforcing the traceability of each species sold, which helps to strengthen our message that knowing your fisherman ensures the highest quality, healthiest, most sustainable seafood available.
A direct impact of Catch 49 can be seen in the coastal communities from which we buy seafood, like Cordova, a fishing community of 2,300 residents on the Prince William Sound. Only accessible by boat or plane, Cordova continues to be heavily impacted by the 1988 Exxon Valdez oil spill, changing ocean conditions altering fish populations, and threats of budget cuts to the Alaska Marine Highway.
In 2018, we developed new relationships there, by purchasing coho salmon from two young fishermen, Tyee Lohse and Hayley Hoover, and by utilizing a fisherman-owned local processor, 60° North Seafoods, for our first-ever fall coho salmon offering. By purchasing seafood directly and processing it at local facilities, AMCC helps keep profits in coastal communities, which in turn supports other local businesses including artists, transporters, and more, further expanding our impact.
Katy Rexford joined AMCC as Director of Catch 49 in July 2018. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from Vassar College and served for eight years as a Program Director for the California League of Conservation Voters. Between 2011 and 2018, Katy split her time between Alaska and Hawaii, founding and operating a music education business in Hawaii and teaching music in rural Alaska. She moved to Alaska full-time in 2017.
AMCC Member Spotlight:
Meet Our Dedicated Supporters
Longtime AMCC member Vicki Clark recently completed her final term on AMCC’s Board of Directors, including one year as Chair. We are grateful to Vicki for the expertise she brought to the board and for her dedication to our mission. We asked her recently why she values AMCC. Here is what she had to say…in her own words.
What inspired you to become an AMCC member?
I wanted to be Jacqueline Cousteau and went to school for marine biology. I got the degree but decided to go on to practice environmental law, thinking I could make a bigger difference protecting habitat and clean water that way. Today I serve as executive director for Trustees for Alaska but I love the marine environment and was missing that connection. I know the great work AMCC does—in fact, I did legal research on Individual Fishing Quotas for AMCC when I was an intern at Trustees back in 1994. Knowing something about organizational governance, in 2013, I joined the board, which was a great place to use my skills and feed my desire to help.
Why do you think AMCC’s work is important?
Humans are mismanaging our fisheries resources around the globe. It is so important to have well-informed and dedicated advocates to work to protect those resources, and AMCC has amazing members and committed staff to do it!
What would you tell someone to encourage them to become a member today?
If you care at all about clean water, healthy oceans, and fish on your table, AMCC is one of the best investments you can make to protect what you care about.
Welcome and Thank You Board Members
AMCC is happy to welcome two new members to our board of directors: Melanie Brown of Juneau and Josh Wisniewski of Seldovia. Melanie works as an Organizer for Salmon State and commercial fishes for salmon in Bristol Bay. Josh is a small-scale commercial harvester, a subsistence fisherman, and an anthropologist.
We give heartfelt thanks to outgoing board members Vicki Clark and Ellen Tyler. We are grateful for their years of service to AMCC and their steadfast dedication to the mission.
Thank You, Valued Members and Partners!
Marine Fish Conservation
Nell Newman Foundation
Pew Charitable Trust
True North Foundation
Robert Bundy and
Joel and Greta Cladouhos
Brian Delay and
Dan Hull and Nancy Pease
John and Rika Mouw
Jon and Stephanie Zuck
Tanner Crab $250-$499
Evelyn Abello and Karl Ohls
Dorothy and Bob Childers
Jay Nelson and
Tom and Ann Rothe
Rolan and Jo Ruoss
Frederick and Laurel
Betty and Fred Bonin
Harvey and Nan Goodell
Harvey Goodell and
Claire Holland Leclair
Amanda Piatt and
John and Mary Pat Sisk
Floyd Tomkins and
Roberta Austring and
Mary Lou Kelsey
Mary Lisa Paesani
Catherine and Joseph
Pacific Cod $25-$49
Mike and Lora Laukitis
Norman Van Vactor
Thank you to the photographers and businesses who
contributed to this report!
Haines, courtesy of Haines Packing Company | Bering Sea FEP Map, courtesy of the NPFMC | Larson Family & Crew, courtesy of JJ Larson
Diving with Sharks, courtesy of Vicki Clark
Hayley Hoover, courtesy of Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association
The first deliveries of the sweet, delicious Prince William Sounds Spot Prawns are on the dock and these beauties are looking exceptional! Big, bright, and frozen at the peak of freshness, we can’t wait for you to try them! Shrimp lovers the world over have come to prize the Prince William Sound Spot Prawn as one of the most delectable of its shrimp kin. Known for its sweet, delicate flavor, delicate and tender texture, Prince William Sound Spot Prawn lovers often forego the butter and cocktail sauce to let this amazing flavor shine!
This year, our Prince William Sound spot prawns are harvested by year-round Alaska resident fishermen of Cordova, Alaska and processed at an independent, fisherman-owned processor, 60 North Seafoods. Prince William Sound Spot Prawns are carefully managed and harvested using small pots which is one of the most marine-friendly forms of fishing today. This unique fishery provides much needed diversity to Cordova’s small-boat fishing, and Catch 49 is proud to offer such a superb product to you!
Spot prawns can be cooked many ways, though boiling in salted water for a few minutes is the preferred method for most shrimp lovers. Due to their larger than average size, our PWS Spot Prawns can be split (or butterflied) and broiled with butter and garlic for a lobster-like feast.
Quantities are limited of this seasonal shrimp treat – so make sure to place your order today! Limited quantities of wild Alaska halibut, Kodiak jig-caught rockfish, and Copper River coho are also available!
We’re selling out fast, so make sure to reserve your share today at catch49.org!
Pick up your orders in Anchorage on Wednesday, May 22nd.
I am fairly certain that my ancestors found a home in Bristol Bay because of the salmon. It is hard to say exactly when they arrived, but I know that it is the Naknek River salmon that sustained them. There are many waves of peopling that have occurred in Bristol Bay in different time periods, and each wave has been centered around salmon.
The hands of the region’s first people’s descendants, Yup’ik, Dena’ina and Sugpiaq, cut salmon into food that provides for them all winter long. Sport anglers come from all over the world to witness, hold and have their catch cooked to order only hours after landing their fish. Commercial fishers have difficulty keeping up with picking the volume of salmon caught in their nets when the salmon are running hard to return to their natal streams to spawn and die. The salmon of Bristol Bay have given life and livelihood to all who participate in the sockeye salmon fishery, but the reach and influence of Bristol Bay salmon goes far beyond the lives of those who have been fortunate enough to experience the bright energy that radiates from the run first hand. From these hands many industries are supported by the gear, equipment and services required for each user group. For those who need dollar metrics to recognize the value associated with a resource, the proof is not hard to see when it comes to Bristol Bay salmon. 15,000 U.S. jobs are supported by this fishery that generates $658 million in labor income, is worth over $1.5 billion annually and happens with no front-end investment because the salmon grow themselves. Unfortunately, this last great wild salmon run, which continues to return record sized runs upwards of 60 million sockeye per year, even after roughly 140 years of commercial harvest, stands to be displaced by people whose vision is tunneled into seeing stock ticker values and corporate balance sheets before human lives.
The Pebble project, located at the headwaters of the two most prolific salmon river systems in Bristol Bay, stands to undo what nature has perfectly nurtured since the last ice age. Northern Dynasty Minerals, a junior mining company under the name of Pebble Limited Partnership, has no partner to build out Pebble, but they initiated the federal permitting process, and no agency under our current administration called that into question. Currently the permitting is in the phase of reviewing a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that has been prepared by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the agency responsible for issuing dredge and fill permits. The public has an opportunity to weigh in on a comment period that ends on May 30th. After that only two more steps remain in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) federal permitting process, the final EIS and the Record of Decision (ROD). The ROD will then go to the State of Alaska for consideration in the form of a Joint ROD (JROD), and if the state signs off on the JROD, the permitting from that point forward has proven to be simply procedural at best.
Sometimes it seems as if our lawmakers and decision makers would like to see the last great run of wild salmon and its habitat destroyed so that access to the land will no longer be an impediment to developments that would alter landscape and waterways and render them devoid of life. There is no way to return this salmon habitat to its original state upon closure of the mine, and history has proven that millions of dollars will not restore the once unfathomable salmon runs of the Columbia River and other systems that have lost their salmon to industry, dams and death by a thousand cuts.
As mentioned before, I was born to a family whose lifeblood comes from the Naknek River, but my great-grandfather, Paul Chukan, introduced our line to the commercial fishery. My children and nieces are fifth generation commercial fishermen. I began to learn the hard work of set-netting at the age of 10 and was able to put myself through college debt free. Now my fishing proceeds enable me to support my family, and my daughter is saving her earnings to pay for her education. While my life and the way I have been able to live it mean a lot to me, and I do not want to see it altered by a short-term and finite mine, I am just one of many who would be impacted by this project. It is also important to note that not only the lives of Bristol Bay fishermen and residents stand to be impacted. The value of the entire Alaska seafood brand is at risk by association and perception. Many fear that if the mine is permitted and digging begins, seafood customers around the world will view Alaska waters as less than pristine because of the potential disaster of a tailings dam breach.
There are too many considerations to elaborate upon, including the deceit of Pebble Limited Partnership having the USACE review a mine plan that is far smaller than the size of the ore body (1.5 billion tons of ore to the estimated ore body size of 11 billion tons). Despite the thousands of pages in the DEIS, including appendices, there are still major gaps in risks assessed. The comment period of 90 days is too short to review a document that is so large and contains so much to consider. This project grows weightier as it draws closer to becoming a reality, and it is my hope, along with others who have been working to protect the priceless salmon habitat of Bristol Bay, that we will continue to grow our numbers to the point that our will has to be heard and heeded. Please join us in participating in the process. Submit your comments opposing the Pebble project before May 30th.
Melanie Brown has fished Bristol Bay commercially on the set-net site that her great-grandfather established when he transitioned from Bristol Bay’s sailboat drift gillnet fishery for nearly 40 seasons. She is an ambassador of Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay and has been a part of the Save Bristol Bay campaign for over 10 years. She also serves on the board of Alaska Marine Conservation Council, a coalition partner of MFCN.
Happy New Year from Catch 49! As the daylight returns, we’re looking forward to a great year of seafood offerings in 2019. To kick it off, we are thrilled to offer Kodiak Tanner crab, harvested by Capt. Charlie Peterson, F/V Patricia Sue, statewide starting January 7th!
This short ordering period closes on January 20!
Catch 49 and small-boat, conservation-minded fishermen work together to bring Alaskan seafood lovers the beautiful, sweet, and rich species: Kodiak Tanner Crab! Tanner crab – Chionoecetes bairdi – are carefully managed and only harvested once a year in the Kodiak District of the Gulf of Alaska if there are enough crab for commercial harvest. In fact, 2019 will be only the second time in six years that this fishery has been open. In addition to this crab’s superb taste, it adds diversity to Kodiak’s small-boat fishing region. We are proud to offer this unique crab species that provides crucial income to many fishing families and adds an economic boost to the town.
We will also be offering delectable Homer Pacific halibut and sablefish, harvested by Captain Erik Velsko on the F/V Dangerous Cape. And, we still have gift cards available for those hard-to-shop-for friends and loved ones. Gift cards are available in values ranging from $50-$200 and are redeemable for any 2019 offering.
You can pick up your crab, halibut and sablefish in Anchorage or Fairbanks during the first weeks of February. Place your order and keep an eye on www.catch49.org for details. Don’t miss your chance to secure your share of Alaska’s finest wild seafood!
AMCC is a grassroots organization working statewide to stimulate progress and solutions to protect marine habitat, minimize bycatch, and promote viable, community-based fishing opportunities. We’re also working to increase consumption of locally harvested sustainable seafood and at the same time, increase profitability of Alaska’s small-boat fishing operations.
AMCC’s members include fishermen, business owners, conservationists, marine scientists, working families, and others who share concerns about ecosystem and community sustainability and the significant impacts of human activity on Alaska’s oceans. AMCC’s diverse Board of Directors is made up of Alaskans – many of them fishermen – from coastal communities spanning the state from Southeast to the Bristol Bay.
AMCC’s niche in advocating for smart solutions for fisheries and community sustainability has never been more important. AMCC will continue to catalyze meaningful progress with the support of Alaskans like you. Our fisheries are our most valuable resource and we hope to support their health and support fishing opportunities for Alaskans far into the future.
One way you can help us maintain the integrity and intrinsic value of Alaska’s coastal communities and ecosystems is by choosing to give through Pick.Click.Give. We’d appreciate your support.
In 1992, with support from the Alaska Conservation Foundation, Nevette Bowen, a community organizer and fisherman, traveled coastal Alaska to listen to the marine conservation concerns of commercial, recreational, and subsistence harvesters, and coastal residents. A consensus emerged from these coastal voices and with it, the creation of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council (AMCC). In 1994, AMCC was founded as a voice for long-term, community based marine conservation. Since that time, AMCC has remained steadfast in its commitment to ensuring the role of local coastal residents in decision-making processes, and addressing growing threats to Alaska’s marine ecosystems, including high levels of bycatch, destructive fishing practices, and offshore drilling with insufficient consideration of fisheries resources and habitats. The work of AMCC is guided by the core principle that people are part of, and depend on, healthy and diverse marine ecosystems and are responsible for maintaining these ecosystems.
Excerpt from “Making Waves for 24 Years – The Alaska Marine Conservation Council” by Theresa Peterson, ONCORHYNCHUS, XXXVIII, 1-2; 5-6. (Click link to download newsletter.)