Alaska News Nightly: May 19, 2008

The state is refusing to release recommendations its own biologists made on preserving Alaska’s polar bear populations. Plus, a novel technique that could mean the difference between life and death for Rockfish that are thrown back into the ocean. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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State blocks release of polar bear recommendations
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
While many ears were tuned in for the Interior department’s polar bear listing decision late last week, a UAA professor’s long standing request for the comments of state biologists on the proposal were finally denied. Rick Steiner with the Marine Advisory program at UAA has spent the last 6 months trying to get pre-decisional comments from state staff regarding their recommendations for the bear.

Tourists seeking southeast halibut will be limited to one fish per day
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Southeast Alaska’s charter halibut season will likely kick off with a major change. A one-fish-per-day limit for customers could be in place by June 1, 2008.

Rockfish survival rates could rise with recompression tech
Melissa Marconi-Wentzel, KCAW – Sitka
Scientists in the lower 48 say they’ve found a way to help increase the survival of released rockfish. It’s called re-compression, and it could mean the difference between life and death for innumerable fish. Two researchers recently presented their findings to sport and charter fishermen in Sitka. They, and at least one Sitka scientist, hope the technique will catch on in Alaska.

Audio Postcard: Ferry Tustamena an Aleutian lifeline
Anne Hillman, KDLG – Dillingham
The Alaska Marine Highway’s M/V Tustamena has connected remote villages with the rest of the state since 1964. Its southwestern route runs from Homer to Dutch Harbor and provides the most affordable form of transportation within the region.

Fort Wainwright soldiers headed to Iraq this fall
Libby Casey, KUAC – Fairbanks
It’s official — thousands of Fairbanks-based soldiers will go to Iraq in the fall. The Pentagon announced today (Mon) that Fort Wainwright’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division will be part of a rotation leaving for Iraq sometime in “early fall,” although no exact timeline was given.

Southwest winds may be harvested for rural power — if Governor allows
Kenny Steele, KYUK – Bethel
As the Governor looks at the state’s capital budget for the possible vetoes, residents in four villages in the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta are holding their breath. The villages have gotten together to form an alternative energy group to help offset their high energy costs. It’s called the Chaninik Wind Group.

Alaska’s Arbor Day marks start of new forestry project at UAF
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
It’s almost a month later than the rest of the country, but today is Arbor Day in Alaska. The University of Alaska Fairbanks is using the date to begin a new experimental forest project on the West Ridge part of campus.