Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK - Petersburg
Alaska Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood leaders made a unique boat trip through the waters of the inside passage this month. Their voyage harkened back to the days when local camp officials from towns and villages around the region would travel on fishing boats to attend Grand Camp conventions. The brotherhood was founded a century ago, followed a year later by the sisterhood. So this journey had special meaning for the cultural and civil rights organizations. KFSK’s Matt Lichtenstein caught up with them when they stopped in Petersburg.
Forty-million dollars of state money is included in the Capital budget to buy a gravel road linking Petersburg to Kake. State Senator Bert Stedman, added the line item in the budget. The project has drawn a mix of support and opposition from area residents. It could become a reality if Governor Parnell approves the funding.
The Ghost Ship was not easy to sink. That was the experience for the crew of the Coast Guard cutter Anacapa. They’d practiced with their deck gun but never used it to actually scuttle a ship. The Petersburg-based cutter gained worldwide notoriety last week when she was ordered to sink the derelict, Japanese fishing boat off the coast of Southeast Alaska. Back in Petersburg, several of the Anacapa’s crew gave a first-hand account to Matt Lichtenstein, who filed this report.
The U.S. Coast Guard has a cutter at the scene and intends to sink the Japanese ghost ship floating off the Southeast Alaska coast this morning. The shrimper Ryou-Un Maru was cut loose a year ago in the tsunami and drifted un-manned across the Pacific . The cutter Anacapa arrived on scene last night, equipped with weapory. Read More
Southeast Alaska’s newest ferry service just bought its first vessel. Officials with the Coffman Cove-based Rainforest Islands Ferry say they closed the deal for the used oil-rig supply vessel Tuesday morning. After a refit, the boat is slated to ferry passengers and vehicles between Ketchikan, Prince of Wales, Wrangell, and Mitkof Island, south of Petersburg.
Alaska’s redistricting board will be hearing from Petersburg again as it puts together a new plan for the state’s legislative boundaries. The Petersburg City Council voted this week to re-submit a proposal that it remain in a district with Sitka instead of being bundled with the much larger city of Juneau.
The State of Alaska plans to start monitoring recreational beaches for Paralytic Shellfish Toxins in a few communities this year. It will be the first time the Department of Environmental conservation tests non-commercially harvested clams and other shellfish for the dangerous substance.
Petersburg leaders are encouraged by the Alaska Supreme Court order on the state’s new legislative districts. The Southeast City was the only other town that had challenged the Redistricting Board’s plan. In that case, the Superior court ruled in favor of the Board last December and the city chose not to appeal.
The commercial halibut catch will drop by just over 18 percent coast wide this year. The International Pacific Halibut Commission voted on the limits at the end of its annual meeting this [Friday] Morning. Southeast is the only area in Alaska that will actually see a small increase, after several years of steep reductions.
Halibut management scientists this week reprised concerns that they’ve been overestimating halibut stocks for several years and repeated their recommendation for a 19 percent overall cut to the coast wide catch for this year.
The Native village corporation in Angoon, on Admiralty Island, is petitioning the federal government to take control of a major salmon fishery.
Guided anglers in Southeast Alaska may be able to keep some bigger halibut next summer. At a recent meeting, The North Pacific Fishery Management Council recommended a change in the size limit– that restricted charter businesses last season.
Petersburg will give up its legal challenge over redistricting. While they were not happy about losing their long-time legislators next year, the Mayor and the majority of city councilors Monday voted not to appeal the case to the Alaska Supreme Court.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game estimated the value of this year’s statewide salmon catch at $603 million. That’s the third highest since 1975 and Commercial Fisheries Division Assistant Director Geron Bruce says once the final revisions are in that ranking will rise.
A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators wants to extend the expiring Secure Rural Schools program for another five years.