Joe Viechnicki, KFSK - Petersburg
Joe Viechnicki is a reporter at KFSK in Petersburg.
The first returns of hatchery chum salmon are showing up in fishing nets in Southeast Alaska this month. Summer chums play an important part in the early season for net fishing fleets and the troll fleet as well. Hatchery officials are forecasting runs close to last year’s.
A hatchery in the Southeast community of Kake is closing its doors this month and has released its final chum, pink and coho salmon. There’s still some hope that a larger regional hatchery organization can figure out a way to restart the salmon enhancement program there.
Conservation groups are asking for endangered species protection for yellow cedar trees in Alaska. The trees have been dying off in portions of Southeast over the past century. Scientists say it’s likely due to a warming climate and lack of snow cover for vulnerable roots.
A 51-year-old Idaho man working on a timber sale near Banana Point south of Petersburg died Thursday after a tree top fell on him.
It’s a topic talked about often around Petersburg – what kind of jobs are most needed for the fishing fleets and boats of this coastal community and how to fill those jobs. A new plan released by state this spring identifies the highest work force needs around Alaska for seafood harvesting, processing, fishery management as well as ship operations and repair. The plan also lists steps forward to fill those jobs.
The state ferry Columbia will not be returning to service in Southeast Alaska this week as expected. A problem with one of the newly-installed engines on the 418-foot ship means the Columbia will remain in Bellingham awaiting a replacement part.
Conservation groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. seeking a decision on the status of wolf populations in Southeast Alaska.
King Salmon are expected to be plentiful in parts of Southeast Alaska this summer.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game this month announced a king salmon harvest quota allowed under the Pacific Salmon Treaty and based on the forecasts of Chinook returning to rivers and streams on the Pacific coast of the U.S. and Canada.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will review whether or not Southeast Alaska wolves should be listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The federal agency this month announced what’s called a “positive 90-day finding” on a petition to list the Alexander Archipelago wolf.
Plans are starting to gear up for timber sales on state and university owned lands in the area of the Tongass National Forest.
The record setting pink salmon catch in Alaska last year has left seafood processing companies with several year’s worth of inventory of canned product, although not all of the pink salmon winds up in a can. In fact, industry in recent years has been freezing and reprocessing around half of Alaska’s pink catch. Analysts say that move has helped weather the boom and bust cycles of salmon returns.
Southeast Alaska’s commercial halibut catch limit is going up. The International Pacific Halibut Commission concluded its annual meeting Friday in Seattle and approved catch limits for Alaska, British Columbia, and the West Coast of the U.S.
Southeast Alaska’s Dungeness crab fleet has exceeded expectations for the season, thanks to a strong catch during October and November.
Petersburg’s mayor is pleased with the court decision in favor of the state’s latest redistricting plan. The legislative boundary map will put Petersburg in a district with Sitka and 22 other small Southeast communities.
Commercial fishing boats landed 52 million pounds of seafood worth 50 million dollars in Petersburg last year. Those landings rank the volume of Petersburg’s catch at 24th among fishing ports in the nation for 2012. By value of catch, Petersburg ranked 20th.
The former maintenance director of the Petersburg School District appeared in a Juneau courtroom Wednesday after being charged with distribution and possession of child pornography.
Congress has passed a one-year extension of a program that pays out millions of dollars to communities in Alaska near national forest land, like Petersburg. The extension of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act of 2000 was approved by the house and senate this week.
Should parents pay for a state required physical exam for new students entering a public school in Alaska? That was the question raised by a member of Petersburg’s School Board this summer.