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fishing

Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife will formally acknowledge Friday that it violated the constitutional rights of two brothers who commercially fished the Columbia River.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Northwest coastal tribes have counted on salmon and herring for thousands of years to fill their nets and fuel their cultures. That could change in just a few decades as warmer waters drive fish north, according to a study out this week from the University of British Columbia.

Oregon and Washington fisheries managers announced Monday that commercial crab season will open Jan. 4.

That’s about a month later than it was scheduled to start. High levels of domoic acid in the Pacific Ocean had delayed the season.

Scientists suspect a lingering patch of warm water led to high levels of the toxin.

Kelly Corbett of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says the state has been testing sites along the coast on a weekly basis.

“All areas that were tested for a third time in a row have all trended downward,” Corbett said.

Shane Underwood (left) and his son, David, stand at the Quinault Indian Nation’s seafood plant in Taholah, Washington. The loss of the largest glacier that feeds the Quinault River and rising seas are threatening the tribe’s way of life.
Ashley Ahearn, KUOW/EarthFix

TAHOLAH, Wash. - A big question is confronting international leaders in the Paris climate talks: How do they help poor, island and coastal nations threatened by rising oceans, extreme weather and other climate change-related risks?

In the Northwest, sea-level rise is forcing a Native American tribe to consider abandoning lands it has inhabited for thousands of years.

High Risk Awaits Immigrants In Alaska’s 'Ballard North'

Oct 18, 2015
Salahaldin Adam, outside the Trident North plant in Cordova. Adam is showing the swelling on his right hand, which he hurt after just a few weeks on the job.
KUOW Photo/Alex Stonehill

In Ballard, a human resources manager for Trident Seafoods talks to a room of people hoping to be seafood processors – warning them of the dangers of the job.

SEAN CASADY, HR DIRECTOR: "You need to be able to stand on your feet for up to 16 hours a day in cold and wet conditions."

Sonny Nguyen outside of the auto parts store he owns in the town of Unalaska on the port of Dutch Harbor. He’s a refugee from Vietnam who moved to Seattle in 1976 and then went to Dutch Harbor where he’s lived on and off for 30 years.
KUOW Photo/Alex Stonehill

The yard in front of the CARQUEST Auto Parts store on this remote Alaskan island is crowded with old cars.

Sonny Nguyen, the store’s owner, keeps them because it can be faster to grab a part from the front yard than to get it shipped out here. Nguyen first came here in 1977.

Silme Domingo, left, and Gene Viernes, right, were murdered at a union hall in Seattle. It took a determined group of people to expose an international conspiracy behind the murders.
University of Washington Digital Archives

On Monday, June 1, 1981, Seattle’s KIRO TV reported a shooting in Pioneer Square.

KIRO: “The shots were fired right around a quarter of 5 this evening, shots that apparently were not heard by anyone else. The two victims were inside the union office.”

Following The Money Trail To Alaska's 'Ballard North'

Oct 18, 2015
Abdirahman Shire in his dormitory room. Room and board are free or cost less than $15 a day for seafood processing workers (depending on their contract and from plant to plant).
KUOW Photo/Alex Stonehill

A few years after Abdirahman Shire moved to the U.S., he found work at a Tyson Foods chicken factory in Kentucky.

That’s when he got a call from a friend, another Somali guy he’d known in a refugee camp in Uganda.

Fishing Restrictions Temporarily Lifted In NE Oregon

Sep 3, 2015

Fishing restrictions on 10 bodies of water in Northeast Oregon have been temporarily lifted effective immediately, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The ODFW announced the relaxed rules, which will impact lakes and ponds in Baker, Union, Umatilla and Wallowa counties, Wednesday.

Mihey Basargin of Wasilla on the docks in Dutch Harbor after being rescued.
KUCB Photo/John Ryan

Lt. Commander Kimberly Hess watched the cliff. 

That kept her steady, she said, as she fought a swirling 30-knot tailwind and lowered the Coast Guard chopper to the sea below, where two stranded fishermen had been waiting for eight hours in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. 

There are about 140 million square miles of open ocean, and according to New York Times reporter Ian Urbina, much of it is essentially lawless. As Mark Young, a retired U.S. Coast Guard commander and former chief of enforcement for the Pacific Ocean, told Urbina, the maritime realm is "like the Wild West. Weak rules, few sheriffs, lots of outlaws."

Dungeness crab being unloaded at the Quinault Indian Nation docks in Westport, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

David Hyde asks Rich Childers, Puget Sound shellfish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, why the recreational Dungeness crab season opens two weeks earlier than expected this year in Hood Canal.

Managers Likely To Cancel West Coast Sardine Fishery

Apr 7, 2015

The Pacific Fishery Management Council has yet to make the final call, but initial reports indicate there aren't enough fish to open a sardine fishery on the West Coast this year.

That's bad news for several fishing towns in Oregon and Washington, where the majority of the West Coast sardines were landed in the past several years, and where some processors focus primarily on sardines.

The latest population estimates show sardines have fallen below the 150,000 metric ton cutoff for opening a West Coast fishery.

A Russian fishing trawler plying the frigid northern waters off the far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula suddenly capsized and sank, reportedly while recovering its nets, killing at least 56 among a crew of 132.

At least 63 people have been rescued after the Dalniy Vostok went down in the Sea of Okhotsk, leaving 13 still missing in the bitterly cold water.

As NPR's Corey Flintoff reports, some of the rescued crew members said the vessel was hoisting aboard a net full of fish when it capsized and sank in just 15 minutes.

Action Taken To Protect Fish At Bottom Of Ocean Food Chain

Mar 10, 2015

West Coast fishery managers adopted a new rule Tuesday that protects many species of forage fish at the bottom of the ocean food chain.

The rule prohibits commercial fishing of herring, smelt, squid and other small fish that aren't currently targeted by fishermen. It sets up new, more protective regulations for anyone who might want to start fishing for those species in the future.

Americans eat more seafood than just about anyone else. Most of it is imported from abroad. And a lot of it — perhaps 25 percent of wild-caught seafood imports, according to fisheries experts — is illegally caught.

The White House is now drafting recommendations on what to do about that. Fisheries experts say they hope the administration will devote more resources to fight seafood piracy.

SEATTLE -- If you can’t take the heat… head to the poles. That’s what fish are doing anyway.

A new study published in the ICES Journal of Marine Science looked at historical data for more than 800 commercial fisheries around the world and found that fish are heading to deeper waters and higher latitudes as the world's oceans warm.

KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is on a salmon-buying binge.  It usually spends $6 million a year buying pink salmon. This summer, it is spending a total $39 million.

Courtesy Tony Allison

During the Cold War, thousands of Soviet and U.S. fishermen worked together on the high seas of the Pacific Ocean, trawling by day and sharing Russian bread, vodka and off-color jokes in the evenings, while their governments maintained a posture of pure hostility toward each other.

Flickr Photo/raromachine (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Detective Julie Cook from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife recently solved a case she’s been working on since 2012. Cook worked undercover selling crabs, posing as the fisherman’s wife or girlfriend (women aren’t typically fishermen), hauling the catch around town in a dirty pickup.

Flickr Photo/James Brooks

The other day I shared a table with some fishermen who were sure they were eating king salmon. The choice made sense: It's king season. King is very fatty, therefore delicious. And we were at a celebration at Fishermen's Terminal. So it had to be what some Canadians call Tyee, the chief of salmon, the king.

In 2014, Logan Price was a greenhorn on the Sea Gem. He said the crew of his boat will be working  at Fisherman's Terminal right up until the day they leave for Alaska where they will spend the summer salmon fishing. Their pay day depends on how much they
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

You know it's the start of the fishing season at Fishermen's Terminal in Seattle when a familiar smell is in the air: coconut-scented sunscreen.

The Alaska salmon fishing season is about to start its 100th year in operation out of Fishermen’s Terminal in the Interbay area of Seattle.

KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

It’s the start of the spring fishing season. Big factory ships are heading out to sea, and in coming weeks, 10,000 people from Washington state will head north to the Alaska fishing grounds.

Sportman Group To Picket Native Fish Advocates' Banquet

Apr 14, 2014

A group of sport fishers plans to picket the annual banquet for native fish advocates in Portland Friday evening.

The conflict centers on management of hatchery fish.

Members of the Three Rivers Sportsman's Alliance say the Native Fish Society wants to eliminate hatchery fish.

A federal fisheries management panel has approved what some charter captains are calling the best ocean fishing season in 20 years.

For lovers of fatty tuna belly, canned albacore and swordfish kebabs, here's a question: Would you be willing to give them up for several years so that you could eat them perhaps for the rest of your life?

If a new proposal to ban fishing on the open ocean were to fly, that's essentially what we might be faced with. It's an idea that might help restore the populations of several rapidly disappearing fish – like tuna, swordfish and marlin — that we, and future generations, might like to continue to have as a food source.

Washington Senator, Chefs Weigh In Against Pebble Mine

Jan 31, 2014
KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) stood at Seattle Fishermans’ Terminal Thursday alongside chef Tom Douglas and fishermen to denounce a controversial mine proposed at Bristol Bay, Alaska.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Clean Slate For Tribal Fishing Rights Protesters?

Jan 15, 2014

Around 40 to 50 years ago, American Indians in Western Washington were repeatedly arrested during protests over treaty fishing rights.

SEATTLE -- Ninety percent of the geoduck harvested in Washington are sold to China and Hong Kong. It's an indicator of how much the Northwest shellfish industry relies on exports to China.

The crushing economic impacts of China's move are hitting locals in Puget Sound hard for the holidays.

Officials In U.S. Stumped By China's Claim Of Tainted Northwest Shellfish

Dec 16, 2013

Environment and health officials in the U.S. say they are puzzled by China’s decision to ban shellfish harvested from Northern California to Alaska. State officials say their records don’t show the same unsafe toxin levels that were detected by a lab in China.

China says it found toxins in two shipments of geoducks. These giant clams harvested in Puget Sound and Alaska can go for $150 a pound. Washington’s shellfish industry overall is worth $270 million, and China is the top export market.

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