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The United Cook Inlet Drift Association (UCIDA) was incorporated in 1980 to represent the 570 drift gillnet salmon fishing permit holders in Alaska’s Cook Inlet. UCIDA’s purpose is to enhance and perpetuate the interests of this valuable commercial salmon fishing industry.

Wild Alaskan salmon have been commercially harvested in Cook Inlet since 1882. Over the past twenty years, the drift gillnet fishing fleet has harvested more than 271 million pounds of salmon, primarily sockeye salmon. The combined efforts of the drift and set gillnet fisheries in Upper Cook Inlet have produced average annual harvests of over 23 million pounds of wild salmon for the American and world markets during the past twenty years. Five percent of the world’s supply of sockeye salmon comes from Cook Inlet.

UCIDA’s Board of Directors and staff work to promote responsible management to ensure the long-term health of this abundant salmon resource and the resulting opportunities and benefits it provides. The day-to-day work of UCIDA covers an extremely broad range of issues that ultimately affect salmon, their harvest and marketing. These may include fishery management, invasive species, oil and gas lease sales, navigation issues, endangered species acts, oil spill response, local, state and federal regulatory issues and both state and federal litigation.

The nine members of the Board of Directors serve staggered three-year terms. Elections are held at annual membership meetings. Members (Upper Cook Inlet drift gillnet permit holders) and Associate Members are encouraged to attend all Board meetings.



Office Manager – Audrey Salmon – info@ucida.org

Board of Directors

David MartinPresidentF/V Kaguyak
Erik Huebsch1st VPF/V Williwaw
Ian Pitzman2nd VPF/V Stephanie Anne
Dino SutherlandSec/TreasF/V Rivers End
Ilia KuzminDirectorF/V Currency
John McCombsDirectorF/V Rayo Verde
Dan AndersonDirectorF/V Paragon
Steve TvenstrupDirectorF/V Alaskan Lady
Dyer VanDevereDirectorF/V Swift Arrow


43961 K-Beach Road, Suite E
Soldotna, Alaska
(907) 260-9436

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Conservation Groups Sue to Protect Salmon and Defend Clean Water from Coal Industry Attacks

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Seafood News] - January 19, 2017

Washington, D.C. – A coalition of local and national community and conservation groups filed a motion Wednesday to be allowed to help defend the national Stream Protection Rule against two lawsuits. The rule, issued Dec. 2, 2016 by the Department of the Interior, updates the minimum standards to protect clean water and other natural resources threatened by coal mining operations across the nation. Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement spent years working on the new rule.

“Alaska has some of the last wild salmon runs left on earth. Alaska’s wild salmon, and the rivers that they depend on define who we are as Alaskans," Cook Inletkeeper's Bob Shavelson said in a statement. "Salmon fill our freezers and support our local economies. The Stream Protection Rule provides Alaskans with basic, common-sense protections for our wild salmon from the risks posed by coal strip mining.”

The rule has far-reaching implications. Conservation groups advocated for stronger standards in the rule that provides communities with information about water contamination caused by nearby coal mining operations. In Alaska, vital salmon streams are often located dangerously close to coal deposits. The rule also includes safeguards for clean water.

Almost immediately after the new Stream Protection Rule was announced, the state of North Dakota and Murray Energy Corporation sued the Interior Department in federal court to try to undo it. And a third lawsuit to try to undo the rule was filed Wednesday by several more states.

Communities harmed by coal mining have had to wait too long for water protections, while destructive coal mining has continued to destroy streams and threaten the quality of life of people living near these operations, Earthjustice said in a statement.

The coalition said the Stream Protection Rule finally promises local communities some of the tools they need to prevent more devastation, expand reclamation that can restore natural areas and create jobs and hold coal companies accountable for the damage they cause.

“All Americans, from Alaska to Appalachia, deserve common sense protections for clean water, and that’s why we just can’t send our nation back in time and let the coal industry do whatever it likes to local communities’ water and natural areas,” lead Earthjustice attorney Emma Cheuse said in a press release.

Dozens of peer-reviewed scientific studies have linked mountaintop removal mining -- one of the most devastating kinds of coal mining -- to poor health outcomes such as elevated birth defects and deaths from cancer. In the semi-arid Western plains, coal extraction threatens scarce water resources on which farmers and ranchers depend. Fishermen in Alaska depend on the cool clean waters to produce some of the best seafood in the world.

The coalition defending the new safeguards in the rule includes community and conservation groups from Alaska to West Virginia: Appalachian Voices, Center For Coalfield Justice, Coal River Mountain Watch, Cook Inletkeeper, Northern Plains Resource Council, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Sierra Club, Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment, Waterkeeper Alliance, and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, represented by Earthjustice, and Defenders of Wildlife, represented by itself.

Susan Chambers, Contributing Writer
SeafoodNews.com 1-781-861-1441
Editorial Email: Editor@seafood.com
Reporter's Email: sunsetbaymedia@gmail.com
Reporter's Phone: (541) 297-2875

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Climate Change Prompts Alaska Fish to Change Breeding Behavior

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [UW News] by Michelle Ma - January 19, 2017

One of Alaska’s most abundant freshwater fish species is altering its breeding patterns in response to climate change. This could impact the ecology of northern lakes, which already acutely feel the effects of a changing climate.

That’s the main finding of a recent University of Washington study published in Global Change Biology that analyzed reproductive patterns of three-spine stickleback fish over half a century in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region. The stickleback share the same lake environment as juvenile sockeye salmon before the salmon outmigrate to Bristol Bay and the North Pacific Ocean. The data show that stickleback breed earlier and more often each season in response to earlier spring ice breakup and longer ice-free summers.

While several papers have speculated that conditions brought on by a warming climate may allow animals to breed more often in a single year, this has only been empirically shown in insects. This study is the first to document multiple breeding cycles for fish in a single season due to climate change, said lead author Rachel Hovel, a postdoctoral researcher in the UW’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences.

“The exciting thing about this paper is that it shows, for the first time, the emergence of multiple breeding in a vertebrate as a response to climate change,” Hovel said. “Climate change literature features many predictions and vulnerability assessments, but we don’t have many opportunities to actually observe species’ responses over time, as this is very data-intensive. Our ability to detect multiple breeding in fish is attributed to our comprehensive and high-quality long-term dataset.”

The data were collected from 1963 to 2015 in Alaska’s Lake Aleknagik, home to one of the UW’s Alaska Salmon Program research stations. The research program has for decades recorded the abundance of juvenile sockeye salmon and other fish that live in the region’s freshwater lakes. For 52 years, fish were captured in nets along the lakeshore at 10 different sites every seven days between June and September. All fish were identified and measured.

While the program’s monitoring was designed to track the commercially important sockeye salmon population, scientists also meticulously recorded every other fish present, including three-spine stickleback. Stickleback represent almost half of the fish found in Lake Aleknagik, with juvenile sockeye salmon nearly matching that percentage. Three-spine stickleback make up a large percentage of the fish communities in many northern lakes, so these findings could be relevant throughout the region, Hovel said.

“Alaska is warming about twice as rapidly as most of the rest of the planet,” she said. “These fish are adapted to survive in relatively cold environments with limited productive seasons. The responses to rapid warming that we see in lakes, like early spring ice breakup, are releasing some of these constraints.”

Stickleback are born near the shore, then move to the middle of the lake to feed on zooplankton. Adults return to the shore in the summer to spawn; males will build the nest and attract a female, who then lays the eggs. Males guard the nest until the fish hatch, usually after about two weeks.

An adult male three-spine stickleback guards the nest.
An adult male three-spine stickleback guards the nest, keeping the eggs free of debris and oxygenated.Jason Ching/University of Washington

By analyzing decades of data showing fish sizes throughout each summer, Hovel and collaborators could determine roughly when certain fish were born ― a larger fish captured in August was indicative of an early season brood, while a smaller fish captured on the same day likely came from a brood that hatched later in the summer.

Using these data and additional environmental data, researchers found that three-spine stickleback spawned earlier in years when ice breakup occurred earlier, and in some years, the fish produced more than one brood. Given the short summers in Alaska, most stickleback have time and stamina for only one brood, but increasingly they are rearing two broods a summer as climate change ushers in earlier springs.

These factors could have wider ecological effects, as three-spine stickleback are a dominant fish species in many northern lakes. This is particularly true for sticklebacks’ primary competitor in many coastal lakes in Alaska: juvenile sockeye salmon. The two species share the same habitats in lakes and generally eat the same things.

“If stickleback are increasing in abundance because of their modified reproduction strategy, this can have ecosystem implications for the productivity of species we commercially care about, like sockeye salmon,” Hovel said.

Researchers don’t yet know if breeding more often and earlier in life is beneficial for three-spine stickleback, but it does appear that over the long term, the fish will likely increase their abundance.

“We don’t know exactly what this means for demographics of this species,” Hovel explained. “It could also mean that fish are living shorter lives because there’s a higher physiological cost to breeding more than once. In the lower-latitude extent of their range, fish mature earlier and die earlier.”

Other co-authors are Thomas Quinn, a UW professor of aquatic and fishery sciences; and Stephanie Carlson at University of California, Berkeley, who earned her doctorate at the UW and worked with the Alaska Salmon Program.

Data collection for this study was funded by the Pacific Salmon Seafood Industry, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the National Science Foundation. Hovel’s analysis was funded by the H. Mason Keeler and Richard and Lois Worthington endowed professorships.

Peggy Parker, Science and Sustainability Editor
SeafoodNews.com 1-781-861-1441
Editorial Email: Editor@seafood.com
Reporter's Email: peggyparker@seafood.com

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Road Salt Runoff Has Conservationist Worried About Salmon

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [CBC News] - January 19, 2017

Sand and salt were used on Metro Vancouver's roads in exceptional quantities this year and now much of that material is finding its way into local waterways.

John Templeton, chair of the Stoney Creek Environment Committee, says all that road salt could hurt local salmon.

"This past six-week spell that we have been experienced has been the hardest that I have had to endure when it comes to taking the readings," Templeton told On The Coast's Jake Costello.

"In a normal month in the winter, you would never expect to see a spike of a high reading, but unfortunately … we have seen huge spikes where salt applied to roads leads to huge spikes in the water [salinity]."

Templeton says saltier water in streams where salmon spawn increases the mortality rate of eggs. He also says it can lead to more deformities in the fish.

Templeton says over the last few weeks, the water's salinity has sometimes been four times higher than provincial guidelines.

"When you see it over the provincial guidelines, it's serious," he said.

However, recent rains have been helping out by diluting some of the saltiness, and he's hopeful in coming days the salinity will decrease further. He's also hopeful future winters will see less salt used on local roads.

Jamie Patterson
Urner Barry 1-732-240-5330 ext 277
Editorial Email: Editor@seafood.com
Reporter's Email: jpatterson@urnerbarry.com

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Court Upholds Rule Dividing Gulf Red Snapper Season

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Associated Press] - January 19, 2017

NEW ORLEANS - A federal fishing rule resulting in significantly longer recreational red snapper seasons for charter boat services than for private anglers in the Gulf of Mexico has been upheld by a federal appeals court.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision Tuesday that the rule was properly devised and implemented - a victory for licensed charter boat businesses that serve recreational anglers, and a defeat for a sport fishing organization that said it was unfair.

Red snapper is a highly prized gulf fish and its harvest is tightly managed, with catch limits and other rules for commercial and recreational fishermen. Annual quotas are set. Currently 51.5 percent of the catch is for recreational fishers and 48.5 percent for commercial fishing.

In a 2015 rule, Gulf Fisheries Management Council, which sets federal fishing limits in the Gulf, further divided the recreational quota, allocating 57.7 percent to private-boat anglers and 42.3 percent to federally licensed charter captains.

The length of their respective seasons is based on the time it's expected to take them to reach their limit. While private anglers get a larger share of the quota, they've been granted only a nine-day season in federal waters for the past two years. Charter operators have had snapper seasons exceeding 40 days for the past two years.

The Coastal Conservation Association, representing private fishers, did not return a call for comment Wednesday morning but has said the rule gives an unfair advantage to private business.

"This decision is a major win for hundreds of thousands of recreational anglers who love to fish for red snapper but aren't fortunate enough to own their own boat," said Shane Cantrell, director of the Charter Fisherman's Association, in an emailed comment.

Tuesday's 5th Circuit ruling affirmed a January 2016 ruling by U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo in New Orleans, who had said that a shorter federal season for private anglers is offset by their ability to go after the fish in state waters, where charter captains cannot work.

Jamie Patterson
Urner Barry 1-732-240-5330 ext 277
Editorial Email: Editor@seafood.com
Reporter's Email: jpatterson@urnerbarry.com

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Commerce Sec. Pritzker Declares Fisheries Disasters for Nine West Coast Species

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] - January 19, 2017

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced yesterday that the Department of Commerce has determined commercial fishery failures occurred for nine salmon and crab fisheries in Alaska, California and Washington.

Each of the affected fisheries experienced sudden, unexpected, and large decreases in fish stock biomass due to unusual ocean and climate conditions. The Secretary's decision enables fishing communities to seek disaster relief assistance from Congress.

In Alaska, the Gulf of Alaska 2016 pink salmon fishery was declared a disaster. Those pinks were returning to streams in Kodiak, Cook Inlet, and Prince William Sound.

In California, disasters were declared for the Dungeness and rock crab fisheries of 2015-16, and for the 2016 Yurok Tribe Klamath River Chinook salmon fishery.

In Washington, six separate fisheries were named disasters. The fishery and the year the disaster occurred are listed below.

Fraser River Makah Tribe and Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe sockeye salmon fisheries (2014)
Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay non-treaty coho salmon fishery (2015)
Nisqually Indian Tribe, Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe, Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, and Squaxin Island Tribe South Puget Sound salmon fisheries (2015)
Quinault Indian Nation Grays Harbor and Queets River coho salmon fishery (2015)
Quileute Tribe Dungeness crab fishery (2015-2016)
Ocean salmon troll fishery (2016)

"The Commerce Department and NOAA stand with America's fishing communities. We are proud of the contributions they make to the nation's economy, and we recognize the sacrifices they are forced to take in times of environmental hardship," said Samuel D. Rauch III, deputy assistant administrator for regulatory programs, NOAA Fisheries. "We are committed to helping these communities recover and achieve success in the future."

Under the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Commerce Secretary can determine a commercial fishery failure due to a fishery resource disaster, which then provides a basis for Congress to appropriate disaster relief funding to provide economic assistance to affected fishing communities, including salmon and crab fishermen, affected by the disaster.

If Congress appropriates funds to address these fishery failures, NOAA will work closely with members of Congress and affected states and tribes to develop a spending plan to support activities that would restore the fishery, prevent a similar failure, and assist affected communities.

Susan Chambers, Contributing Writer
SeafoodNews.com 1-781-861-1441
Editorial Email: Editor@seafood.com
Reporter's Email: sunsetbaymedia@gmail.com
Reporter's Phone: (541) 297-2875

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