Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Another season is upon us!!

So guys. This is the time of year when the real fishermen come out. Certainly the real, real, yearround fisherman is about halfway or better through his season.

But if you'll notice with normal folks is that they just keep going on right along 24-7, when they are of the completely landlocked breed. I have cousins whom I won't mention here, but were unable to become fishermen due to inner ear stability and whatnot so they were forced to become "processors". Probably worked out fine for them and would have either way.

The absence factor reminds me of Johnny Rice, the founder of the, when it was something to behold. Every several months in the spring and summer there would be prolonged absences while Johnny went out and caught black cod, halibut or salmon- as well as spotting salmon- for Russell. Then the would go on autopilot until Johnny returned.

Johnny did a great service to the industry by starting up that site, but unfortunately, as with all businesses and such,changing ownership changes the integrity and insightfulness along with it.

People, whether you are on the internet or not, beware of folks who give advice who aren't commercial fishermen themselves and who don't currently live in Alaska. And I don't mean a professional journalist like Wesley Loy, Laine Welch or Joel Gay. These folks are real writers.

I've fished commercially, albeit just summers and falls, for 30 years. I'm hardly qualified to really know and understand just what I'm supporting here in Alaska in the way of planning for future generations of coastal Alaskan fishermen so that my 5th generation Alaskan fishermen sons will have a vibrant industry to pass along to another 5 generations of Alaskans.

But I'm trying my darnedest.
And the important thing to remember is that unlike many folks who blog , I don't speak for myself. At times I speak as a volunteer rep. for UFA, and I also speak for SEAS In fact, if the SEAS board deems this to be too personal they can command me to yank this from the site on the spot.

SEAS has been around since 1968.
For reference, UFA was founded in 1974.

We represent commercial fishermen, through and through.
We have a 13 member board of directors, 3/4 of whom live in Sitka, Petersburg and Ketchikan.
Like UFA we run primarily on dues and each year over $100,000 is collected from commercial fishermen and support business members-- over 200 including crew and business members in 2005. In fact, dues right now for active fishermen are $750. This isn't just a sewing club here.

So we really speak for something, as UFA does statewide.

This isn't just some half-cocked, never been involved in a commercial fishing career( aside from processing-- oh, I guess one of these fisheries "writers" fished as well as owned a processor), news junkie from Oregon or Washington state.

When you hear from SEAS what you hear is the collective voice of commercial fishermen who have paid their way with their dues and their feet and seats and are here for the long term.

And it's not about bobbyt, kate troll, kris noroscz, bruce wallace, john peckham, cliff skillings or david bedford or the continuing line of SEAS ED's that willl come after me.

SEAS is about generation upon generation of commercial fishermen achieving their economic, social and community goals of continued reliance upon the salmon and seafood resources of the state of Alaska. We don't take time, aside from a pause once every few years, to respond to critics outside of our organization. The several hundred fishermen and support businesses who are our members will serve our guidance structure just fine thank you.

Year after next, we'll celebrate 40 years as an organization of commercial fishermen doing good things for commercial fishing communities and fishermen in Alaska. 2 years ago UFA celebrated 30 years as an association.

In any event have a safe and prosperous season.

Since, like Johnny, I am a commercial fisherman, I will be out of the office most of the summer so these blogs will be sporadic. Just remember, don't believe anything you read unless you read it on here.

Best Fishes


Sunday, June 18, 2006



UFA had its endorsement meeting yesterday in Anchorage and endorsed Governor Frank Murkowski for another 4-year term.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

SEAS Primary Legislative Endorsements

House Districts

Ketchikan- Jim Elkins (R)

Wrangell- Peggy Wilson (R) (Wrangell-Sitka-Petersburg)

Juneau- Beth Kerttula (D) (Downtown Juneau- Douglas)

Haines- Bill Thomas (R) ( Iceworm District, SE rural plus Cordova)


SEAS is not going to endorse any Senate Races at this time, deferring until after the primary is finished. Also SEAS will wait until that time to determine the direction SEAS will take in the Juneau valley legislative race.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

SEAS Endorses Murkowski for Governor

For Immediate Release: SEAS Contact # is (907)723-8267.

Today, June 8th, at noon Alaska time, the Southeast Alaska Seiners Association (SEAS) voted to endorse Frank Murkowski for Governor.

SEAS has been at the center of the economic rebuilding of what was the beleaguered commercial salmon industry at the beginning of Governor Murkowski’s tenure in 2002. Our local fleet had lost nearly half of their jobs, numbering 1200. Global market competition from farmed salmon and Russian wild salmon began eating Alaska’s lunch by the mid-1990’s. But there seemed to be a lack of strategic vision in state leadership at the time.

Then 22 year United States Senator Frank H. Murkowski moved back to Alaska to provide that strategic vision that the salmon fishermen direly needed.
This administration has really rolled up their sleeves in Commerce, Labor and ADFG to address the long- term economic concerns and needs of the Alaska salmon fishing community”, reported Mitch Eide {Mr. Eide is a SEAS board member, 3rd generation Petersburg fisherman and recent Murkowski appointee to the Pacific Salmon Commission.}

{{SEAS is a group of 135 Southeast Alaska purse seiners representing approximately 1100 direct jobs, from Craig, Klawock, Kake, Wrangell, Sitka, Ketchikan, Hoonah, Juneau, Petersburg, Homer, Kodiak, Cordova, and even a handful from Anchorage. SE salmon seiners harvest between 200 and 300 million pounds of salmon annually worth approximately $100-150 million wholesale. We see our mission as one that allows users of sustainable seafood resources to gain the fruits of the continually necessary steps of conservation, seed and growth, thus ensuring the livelihoods for those who work in our industry both on our boats and also on land in our coastal Alaskan communities. It is estimated that for every job fishing it takes 3-4 people cutting, packaging, shipping and selling our salmon so our industry, so the direct and indirect jobs involved in our specific fishery are approximately 4000, with the vast majority of these jobs occurring in Alaska.}}

The Murkowski administration has worked on a multi-front agenda to help the commercial fishing industry to regain profitability for the little guy. The fruits of this aggressive campaign, led by the Murkowski Fish Cabinet, have been bearing out to the small boat fisherman. Southeast gillnet and troll fleets have seen dramatically higher prices over the past 3 ½ years. Longtime SEAS member and Juneau resident as well as UFA Marketing Co-Chair, Scott McAllister, had the following to say about the administration: “And although we recognize that we seiners have been the last to the money table with our pink salmon prices lagging at the ex-vessel level, we are extremely cognizant of our good fortune at having Governor Murkowski crack new pavement by leading the way in new USDA food aid programs to new and developing countries. And Murkowski’s administration accomplished this all the while maintaining a market presence in our normal markets to eat up a pack of salmon in 2005 that would have killed the pink salmon market with anyone else at the helm.”

On the environmental front, the administration has not allowed one stone, rock or tree to impede a single spawning salmon from the policy changes that occurred, in spite of all the hoopla over mixing zones and the habitat division move to DNR from ADFG. Not one single fish lost due to this administrations’ environmental actions. “There needs to be a balance between the users of Alaska’s natural resources and the Murkowski administration has a 95% grade in my book, and that’s an A folks” concluded Mr. Bruce Wallace, Ketchikan resident, one of SEAS founders and current UFA Environmental Chairman.