Upgrade Grants for Commercial Fishers in Bristol Bay

Upgrade Grants for Commercial Fishers in Bristol Bay

Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference (SWAMC) is offering low-cost energy audits and access to a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant for commercial fishing vessels.

  • Commercial fishing vessel owners that fish in Bristol Bay, Kodiak, and the Aleutians are eligible.

  • The USDA grant reimburses owners for 25% of the cost for upgrades including slush ice to RSW, hold insulation, LED lights, and high performance gensets (not for propulsion). A commercial fisher looking to purchase and professionally install a RSW system for $50,000 would be reimbursed $12,500 by the grant.

  • There is no deadline. But applications for projects $80k and under are reviewed for award on October 31, and another round of awards for all project sizes occurs in April.

  • To get started, visit http://www.southwestakenergy.org/, email: energy@swamc.org, or call Jamie Hansen at 907-450-2461.

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Popular Science Covers BBRSDA-Funded Research

Popular Science Covers BBRSDA-Funded Research

Popular Science recently covered a cutting-edge research project funded by BBRSDA on its website (article link). This on-going study is being conducted by researchers from the University of Washington and uses analyses of strontium isotopes in sockeye ear bones (otoliths) to map where the fish are spending their time during the fresh-water portion of their life cycle. Check out the PopSci article and if you’d like to learn more about the study, you can read the project report from the initial study conducted in 2014 and 2015 on our ‘Project Reports’ page. Image credit: Jason Ching (University of Washington).

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BBRSDA Photo Contest

BBRSDA Photo Contest

Think you’ve got a good photo that can help market Bristol Bay salmon? Submit it! Win! The top 5 photos in each category will win $100, the first place photo in each category will win an additional $150, and the most popular photo among all categories will win 30,000 Alaska Air miles!

To Enter: email photos (noting the category of each submission) and your contact info to: photos@BBRSDA.com.

The contest is open until October 12, 2019. Winners will be announced at the Pacific Marine Expo. Winners need not be present to receive their prize. Click “Read More” for full details.

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Lawsuit Against BBRSDA Dismissed

Today, Alaska Superior Court Judge Yvonne Lamoureux dismissed the case against BBRSDA and the other named defendants who received funding from BBRSDA. Judge Lamoureux agreed with BBRSDA that it was acting within its statutory purpose of promoting the Bristol Bay fishery in opposing the Pebble Mine, which could have a devastating effect on the commercial fishery it seeks to support and enhance.

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2019 Harvest Forcast

Bristol Bay sockeye harvests are projected to be 23% greater than the 50-year average this summer. Over 40-million sockeye are projected to return to the Bay between June and August. Bristol Bay is projected to harvest as many as 26 million sockeye Salmon this summer, a 23% increase on the average harvest over the last 50 years. New, innovative marketing initiatives are connecting consumers with the Bristol Bay story and driving demand nationwide.

Congratulations! Reba and Kaleb, on your new Marine Safety Instructor Training

The 2 MSIT students sponsored by BBRSDA in the Seward MSIT class last week - Reba Temple Naknek and Kaleb Westfall of Dillingham- did....GREAT!

They are going to be effective instructors and are highly motivated to give back to their fisheries in this way. They had an opportunity to also co-teach their first Drills workshop in Seward after the MSIT and they did a great job at that as well- so they already have one Drills class taught under their belt. We look forward to their work next month in the Bay in their respective fishing ports teaching Drill classes.

We already have 29 people signed up for the 4 workshops, 14 in one Naknek course alone. 

Sign up if you haven’t already HERE : https://www.amsea.org/dc-registration-form
or call: (907) 747-3287

AMSEA F/V Drill Conductor Workshops meet the US Coast Guard training requirements for drill conductors on commercial fishing vessels, 46 CFR 28.270(c).

New AMSEA Drill Instructor Courses in Naknek

Free Required Drill Instructor courses will be offered in Naknek and Dillingham on June 1st and 9th.

SIGN UP NOW!

All classes will be from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. 
In Naknek, the classes will be held at the Naknek Village Council, 1 Stenball St. In Dillingham, the classes will be held at the UAF Bristol Bay Campus, 527 Seward Street.

Register here: https://www.amsea.org/dc-registration-form

It is required that one individual aboard every vessel has this training. AMSEA F/V Drill Conductor Workshops meet the US Coast Guard training requirements for drill conductors on commercial fishing vessels, 46 CFR 28.270(c).

Webinar Town Hall Meeting

The BBRSDA strives to update the fleet with our activities. This year we've had Town Hall meetings in Everett, Astoria, Anchorage, Homer, and Kodiak. If you were not able to attend one of those we're doing a webinar just for you! This Wednesday the BBRSDA will be streaming live! We will present on what we've been doing to maximize the impact of your 1% contribution as well as showing a tailings dam failure model by Dr. Cam Wobus about the potential effects of Pebble Mine. The recording will be posted on our website, stay tuned!

Join via this Link: https://zoom.us/j/700364357

Read the agenda HERE

AMSEA Drill Conductor Courses

AMSEA is conducting two Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor Classes in Dillingham, Alaska. These classes are FREE to commercial fishermen, thanks to support from BBRSDA, Alaska DCCED, NIOSH, and AMSEA members. 

It is mandatory that at least ONE individual on each fishing vessel has this training. 

One will be on June 1 and the second on June 9, 2019. Both classes will be held from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM at the UAF Bristol Bay Campus, 527 Seward Street.

These topics will be covered:

  • Cold-Water Survival Skills

  • EPIRBs, Signal Flares, and MAYDAY Calls

  • Man Overboard Recovery

  • Firefighting

  • Flooding & Damage Control

  • Dewatering Pumps

  • Immersion Suits and PFDs

  • Emergency Drills

  • Helicopter Rescue

  • Life Rafts

  • Abandon Ship Procedures

  • In-the Water Practice Session

Register HERE: https://www.amsea.org/dc-registration-form or call (907) 747-3287.

Pebble Mine Public Comment Period Open

BBRSDA encourages the fleet to submit comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This is a critical moment for the fishery. It is important that stakeholder comments are part of the historical record. Comments should clearly indicate support or opposition for the proposed mine project, and may cite specific concerns with aspects of the Draft EIS. You can read the Pebble Mine Draft EIS by clicking HERE, and submit a public comment electronically to the USACE by clicking HERE.

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BBRSDA Statement About Write-In Ballots in 2019 Board Election

We understand there is a desire to submit 'write-in' votes in the current board member election. BBRSDA is working with our legal counsel to understand whether write in votes can be counted in this situation. Unfortunately, it is not clear at this time whether write-in votes can be counted. Regardless of whether a write-in vote is considered valid, it will not disqualify other votes on your ballot. 

Board Election Ballots have been mailed! Postmark Deadline: April 5, 2019

Find out more about each candidate HERE

The holder of each S03T permit may vote for one candidate for each seat. This group of fishermen is qualified to vote in this election due to the group’s prior approval of a 1% assessment on their harvests. 

Voters are registered for the election by being the legal holder of a current S03T salmon drift gillnet interim-use or entry permit as determined by Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) on December 15, 2018 (the cutoff date used for nominations).  Ballots and self-addressed return envelopes are sent to the permit holders at the addresses on this CFEC list. 

 All voting must be done by mail. Hand delivered or emailed ballots cannot be accepted. Members owning two permits may vote each permit using separate envelopes. A permit may only vote once for each seat. No voting information will be available until after all ballots are counted. 

 Ballots will not be counted if postmarked after April 5, 2019, or if received after April 12, 2019. Ballots must be returned in the self-addressed envelopes provided and postmarked prior to midnight, April 5, 2019. 

 Ballot packets are sent to permit holders using their mailing addresses as listed on the CFEC records mentioned above. Each ballot packet contains: 
1. Official Ballot 
2. Ballot Envelope 
3. Identification Envelope 
4. Return Envelope 
5. Candidate Statements and Questionnaires 

Voters must mark the Official Ballot and seal it in the Ballot Envelope. (No photocopies will be accepted; only Official Ballots will be.) The Ballot Envelope must be put in the Identification Envelope, which is then sealed. 

The information requested on the rear of the Identification Envelope must be completed (name, CFEC permit number, and voter signature). Take care to ensure that the proper CFEC permit number is used and not, for example, a vessel number. Ballots without this information will not be counted. 

 The Identification Envelope must be completed clearly, properly, and fully. If the accounting firm cannot determine voter eligibility from the Identification Envelope, that envelope will not be opened and the ballot will not be counted. The identification envelope must be sealed in the Return Envelope and then mailed to the independent accounting firm, Thomas, Head & Greisen, APC (THG) – the address on the Return Envelope. 

 Votes are anonymous. THG directly receives all Return Envelopes containing the Identification Envelope and the Ballot Envelope. As Return Envelopes are received, the Return Envelopes will be opened by THG and the information on the outside of the Identification Envelope will be compared to the CFEC list of eligible voters. 

 Identification Envelopes are stored unopened in a locked cabinet until April 15, 2019 at the office of THG. On April 15, 2019, THG personnel will remove the unopened Ballot Envelopes from the Identification Envelopes, and the Ballot Envelopes will be set aside unopened, and shuffled before counting. 

 The Ballot Envelopes will be opened on April 15, 2019 and the votes recorded for each eligible ballot on one or more tally sheets. If more than one ballot is contained in a Ballot Envelope, none of the ballots in that envelope will be counted. Voters must clearly mark their choice of candidate. No changed votes will be counted. Voters may only vote for one candidate for each seat. 

 The winning candidate for each seat will be that candidate receiving the greatest number of votes. After the vote count is reviewed by THG, the results will be sent in writing to the Executive Director of the BBRSDA. 

 Should the results of the election result in a tie for one or more seats, the winner of the election for the seat(s) will be decided by a coin toss conducted by THG. 

 New board members will be seated at the BBRSDA board meeting held immediately following the Membership Meeting in June 2019. 

BBRSDA in Kodiak for ComFish

The BBRSDA will be in Kodiak! Come visit with Board Members Mike Friccero and Michael Jackson.

A Town Hall meeting will be held Wednesday 27th, from 6-8 pm at the Kodiak Fishermen’s’ Hall. There will be presentations on the Pebble Mine permitting processes as well as discussion on what the RSDA has been doing to multiple the impact of your 1% contribution.

We’ll also be attending ComFish, Thursday 28th through Saturday, March 30th, come see us at booth space #8 in the Main Hall!

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Pebble Mine Tailings Dam Failure Modeling Report & Presentation

Late last year, the BBRSDA Board of Directors funded a hydrological analysis of a potential tailings storage facility (TSF) failure at the proposed Pebble Mine in the headwaters of Bristol Bay. Based on the scoping period of the mine’s permitting process, it was clear that the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) would not even consider the impacts of a major TSF failure. Which is confounding, since it has always been one of the most critical questions surrounding the potential environmental impact of any open pit mine in the region and so one would think an impartial EIS document written by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would include such an analysis.

The analysis is based on 28 actual failures at tailings storage facilities around the world and a highly detailed hydrological model that estimates how much material would be deposited downstream across a range of failure scenarios. The work was performed by a team of researchers from Lynker Technologies and The Nature Conservancy, led by Dr. Cameron Wobus.

A narrated presentation and a final written report of the analysis has been made available on our Project Reports page.

BBRSDA Press Release Regarding Pebble Mine Draft EIS - 2/21/19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 21, 2019

Contact:

Andy Wink, Executive Director
Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association
907-677-2371

Sitka, AK - In response to the Army Corps of Engineers’ release yesterday of its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) required for federal permitting of the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, Andy Wink, the Executive Director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association released the following statement:

The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA), which is financially supported by over 1,800 regional commercial fishing businesses and strongly opposes large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed, is outraged at the irresponsible and negligent conduct unfolding in the proposed Pebble Mine permitting process. A 90-day comment period is far too short of a time period to review and comment on the recently released Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

 The speed at which insufficient materials are being pushed through this mine’s permitting process is irresponsible given that the Bristol Bay salmon ecosystem is a biological wonder of the world. This region contains the world’s largest wild salmon runs, which have supported a rich culture for millennia and sustained a thriving commercial fishery for more than 130 years. The Bristol Bay region accounted for approximately half of the entire U.S. commercial salmon harvest value last year (producing a preliminary salmon harvest of 233 million pounds worth $281 million to commercial fishermen).

 Bristol Bay is home to the most valuable wild salmon fishery in the world and is the crown jewel of Alaska’s salmon industry. Despite the presence of this global treasure, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) scoping reports were severely lacking and do not address many important concerns raised during the public comment period. Specifically, the USACE scoping report did not recognize the virtual certainty of acid mine drainage or how contaminants would be hard to contain given the region’s porous hydrology, in addition to many other shortcomings.

 Astonishingly, the draft scoping report was released in May 2018 and is nearly identical to the final scoping report released just a few months later in August 2018. Now, the USACE plans to open a 90-day public comment period to review a massive Draft EIS document.

The lack of adequate time for public comment and the unresponsiveness of USACE’s final scoping report to address public comments is neglectful to the people who rely on salmon for survival and livelihood. The Pebble Limited Partnership claims the project will create 850 jobs during mine production, but these temporary, new jobs come at the risk of far more existing jobs that rely on sustainable salmon runs. The Bristol Bay commercial fishery directly employs 14,800 men and women in Alaska, and the fishery creates an additional 8,600 downstream and secondary U.S. jobs (Economic Benefits of the Bristol Bay Salmon Industry, July 2018 – link). In fact, this fishery directly employs over three times as many workers as Alaska’s entire metal and mineral mining sectors. In addition, there are thousands more who rely on Bristol Bay salmon for subsistence purposes or sportfishing-related jobs. All these stakeholders deserve a reasonable amount of time to understand the Draft EIS and submit a public comment about a mining development which could drastically alter the fate of their lives. Anything less is simply negligence on the part of government.

Furthermore, even if large-scale mining and salmon can somehow coexist for eternity in Bristol Bay, there will likely be irreparable damage to the consumer perception of Bristol Bay salmon. The BBRSDA has invested over $1 million in marketing Bristol Bay salmon, with promotions in over 1,000 U.S. stores last year. Pristine habitat is a key selling point for Alaska salmon, and therefore a large, open-pit mine in the headwaters of Bristol Bay has the very real potential to damage the value of fishery resources regardless of the mine’s impacts on salmon habitats. A negative perception of the mine would likely affect Alaska salmon fisheries in other regions too, similar to how the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill negatively impacted markets for fisheries in regions unaffected by the disaster.

 Our membership is also concerned that the USACE is not adequately considering the findings of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Watershed Assessment which found that a mine of this size would pose an unacceptable risk having the world’s largest open pit mine using untested technology at the headwaters of the world’s largest wild salmon run.  

The BBRSDA joins other local groups in calling for a longer comment period for the Draft EIS, but fears this process is not thorough or objective and will end in a predetermined outcome.

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About the BBRSDA: The mission of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) is to increase the value of Bristol Bay seafood products for the benefit of fishermen. The organization funds activities that promote fishery products, elevate fish quality at the point of harvest, and support resource sustainability.