Southeast red king crab fishery opens tomorrow; commissioner delegates authority to deputy

The Southeast Alaska red king crab fishery opens at noon tomorrow.

It's a fairly big deal, as this will be the first opener in six years for this fishery. The quota is a modest 201,000 pounds.

Fish and Game Commissioner Cora Campbell has recused herself from any involvement in managing the fishery "due to participation by an immediate family member."

What's more, Campbell is going on personal leave starting Wednesday through Nov. 15.

Reefer madness!

The Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program is bringing its popular fishing vessel refrigeration workshop to Kodiak.

Click here for more information, including how to register.

Oxford: the Pitt Rivers and Natural History Museum

Oxford... What first comes to mind when you hear that word? Probably a bunch of old smart people, right? So many famous authors, thinkers, and scientists have come from Oxford University that it may sometimes dwarf the bigger picture of the City of Oxford itself. What's the first thing that comes to mind after visiting Oxford, you say? Still old stuff, but mixed with lots of fun as well. No matter what your particular interests are, Oxford should have something right up your alley, whether it is food, architecture, science, or museums. While there are quite a few museums in the city center, two of them particularly grabbed my attention.

It's difficult to sort out the Pitt Rivers and the Museum of Natural History. Since you may only enter the Pitt Rivers by going through the Museum of Natural History, they're sort of like siamese twins. Here, the similarity ends.

Museum of Natural History

"Here be dragons!"

As you walk in, take a moment. Take in the experience. No, there aren't really dragons, but who cares about dragons, when there are dinosaurs?!? You can't miss the various skeletons scattered about. By all means, take a look at them, but I would recommend the insect and Lewis Carroll exhibits especially. Exploding in hues across the spectrum, butterflies dominate the insect scene. The Lewis Carroll exhibit was informative and funny, a great hit with children, I'd imagine.

Be sure and plan your journey in advance. It is a small museum, but it is very kid friendly and regularly provides special opportunities for the youngsters to engage the material. In particular, before visiting Oxford at all even, I would recommend that you read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland just to be prepared.

Coming from the Natural History building, you may think there is nothing that could possibly impress after that. One look around should convince you otherwise. At first, it looks like piles of old junk in a dimly lit room. Give it time, though, and you will see the order emerge. Pitt Rivers, the founder of this collection, saw historical artifacts in an evolutionary light. He liked to group things in progressions of technological or artistic advances. Although this was a popular view at the time, the Pitt Rivers Museum is the only museum which holds true to this old, now defunct, understanding of the world. To me, this makes the museum an artifact itself and adds to the charm. So, be prepared to step back in time and think like a 19th century modern man.

Interestingly enough, I can't think of a better way to approach this museum than with no approach at all. With its unique grouping of items, it sort of creates its own flow or narrative, even without the abundance of plaques found in other museums. Don't be afraid to ask questions. The staff are well versed in old-stuff-ology and would be more than happy to discuss the artifacts with you, or even tell you the best place for tea.

In summary, these museums are on the tip-top of my suggestions list for a most enjoyable day in Oxford. My visit was by train from London, which actually had fairly cheap fare. I spent from 7 AM till around 10 PM due to my slavery to the cheapest tickets, but spending a half day would be more than adequate to visit the museums and possibly grab some afternoon tea or pub grub for supper.  Either way, I guarantee you'll leave with a smile as big as this guy's:

Although, you'll be a little more alive looking, hopefully.

~Kaleb Lape

Council seeks funds to expand observer program

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is asking the Obama administration to provide $3.8 million to launch an expanded fisheries observer program.

Here's the letter requesting the money.

Fishery observers — people who ride aboard boats to monitor catch and bycatch — already are used extensively off Alaska, with industry paying most of the cost. The observers provide data vital for managing pollock, cod and other fisheries.

The council wants to fill in gaps in the program by expanding observer coverage to more boats, including halibut vessels and small trawlers.

The $3.8 million is needed as a one-time subsidy to put the expanded observer program into place faster, the council letter explains.

Awesome packed halloween party at Csquat. Plus, drunk.

This Halloween has not even arrived yet and it's killing me and my poor head..Started wednesday really with Rev jen's book party where people had costumes on..then Friday this party at Csquat where I took lotsa pics and some drunk video..bands played and people danced and it was fun as I am resting for work tomorrow then there is monday with the parade and all that..almost want it to be over so I can start hitting the gym and lay off the wine a bit. It is freaking SNOWING out there as I write this! What the HEY? I REALLY hope winter is not here already! I am very happy and excited with some good stuff going on in the next few months but I am not ready for snow yet! Some days in the 60's for another month or so would be nice..
Anywitch, here are some pics and etc and etc..I am a harpy. I mean all the time. Plus on halloween.

Congratulations, guys

Two Alaska fishermen, Dan Falvey of Sitka and Bill Webber Jr. of Cordova, are among National Fisherman magazine's 2011 Highliner Award winners.

Weak pink catch expected next year in Southeast

The projected harvest of 17 million pink salmon would be far below the recent 10-year average of 40 million, says this Department of Fish and Game forecast.

Halloween is not for Weenies

We've had some great Fall cycling weather of late, with two really nice rides in Farmington and Winthrop. Lots of sun and very little wind. The weather forecast for Sunday looks to be rather grim, but if we manage to avoid a lot of snow we will meet in Wayne for a special Halloween ride to some notable cemeteries, including the round Wing cemetery in Wayne. Last year's ride was a lot of fun! Costumes optional - even zombies must wear helmets. To get you in the mood, here's a classic Edward Gorey tale. This may be our last official ride of the year. Don't let anything scare you away!

Sunday, October 30th - WAYNE
"All Hallows Tour" - a Halloween ride featuring some historic cemeteries.
START: 10:00 AM at the Wayne Elementary School, 48 Pond Road, Wayne.
DISTANCE: 15-20 miles.
TERRAIN: moderate, creepy in spots.
HIGHLIGHTS: the Wing family cemetery, the Kents Hill orchard, perhaps a notorious historic crime scene, and other local haunts.
LEADER: Jim Merrick.

Some blowback from New England

At the request of two Massachusetts congressmen, federal fishery management councils will be evaluated on how they're complying with the law on "socioeconomic impact of regulations on fishermen and fishing communities."

Here's a press release.

Cod boat to be towed to Dutch after engine fire

This just in from the U.S. Coast Guard:

Oct. 28, 2011

Coast Guard escorting fire-damaged fishing vessel

KODIAK — The Coast Guard cutter Sherman is escorting the fishing vessel Alaskan Leader toward Dutch Harbor after the vessel sustained fire damage.

The Coast Guard in Kodiak received notification Thursday night of a fire in the engine room aboard the 150-foot Alaskan Leader.

The vessel was 103 miles northwest of Unimak Pass in the Bering Sea.

The Coast Guard issued an urgent marine information broadcast over HF and VHF radio channels requesting the support of any vessels in the area.

The fishing vessels Frontier Explorer, Frontier Spirit and Eastern Wind responded to the broadcast and arrived on scene to render assistance. The Coast Guard also diverted the cutter Sherman from its patrol to assist.

The Alaskan Leader crew was able to extinguish the fire themselves by 9:30 p.m. No injuries have been reported among the 23 crew.

The engine room reportedly suffered extensive damage from the starboard engine fire.

The master of the vessel reported they were able to resume their voyage using their port main diesel engine and auxiliary generator, manual steering and manual throttle control.

The Sherman arrived on scene at 3:30 a.m., allowing the three good Samaritan fishing vessels to return to their previous activities.

The vessel is currently under way at 6 mph about 63 miles from Dutch Harbor.

A commercial tug, contracted by the owner, is on scene with the vessel. It will tow the Alaskan Leader to Dutch Harbor. Once in tow the Sherman crew will return to its patrol.

The tug and fishing vessel are expected to reach Dutch Harbor this afternoon.

"The Coast Guard takes fishing vessel safety very seriously and the vessel will be met by marine casualty investigators and inspectors from Marine Safety Detachment Unalaska to assess the damage," said Lt. Cmdr. Bradley Clare, the Coast Guard Sector Anchorage chief of inspections.

The Alaskan Leader is a Kodiak-based catcher-processor and is carrying 5,000 to 6,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 9,000 pounds of frozen cod.

The Sherman is a 378-foot high endurance cutter from San Diego.

Book Launch Party for Elf Girl at Bowery Poetry Club..

Rev Jen's anti-slam at book launch party was fantastically crazy and fun..performances, short films, penis cupcakes, prom pics, satanic burlesque..and lots of alcohol..Here are some pics of the stuff that went on..80's dance party began at about 2am, on the stage..

Rev Jen's book signing at St Marks Bookshop with Jonathan Ames and Faceboy.

Went to the hip and hilarious book signing of Reverend Jen tonight at St Marks Bookshop. I have read some of her new novel Elf Girl..and now have a signed copy..and it seems every bit as good as Live Nude Elf is. Jen is an artist, poet, actress and writer and excels at all. Jonathan Ames of bored to Death fame was there with her along with her BFF Faceboy who pretty much started the open mic scene in NYC. He read a hilarious story about taking a pregnancy test with his friend. Ames did his crazy whistle call and MCd the night and Jen read a few pages from her book. Very funny stuff..Elf Girl is available HERE and I HIGHLY recommend it! Tonight is the book launch anti-slam party at Bowery Poetry Club for it..with films and drink specials..and..wait for it..wait for it...ASS CLAPPING! Be there! Here in the pics you can see Ames, Jen, Faceboy, Deep Singh, Mangina, Heather Bunch, Snow Mack, Tanya and I...

State monitors ISA report, but suggests little risk

Here's a press release the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

Oct. 21, 2011

ADF&G monitoring reported evidence of disease exposure in British Columbia sockeye salmon

JUNEAU — The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is closely monitoring and evaluating a recent report that samples taken from sockeye salmon in British Columbia show exposure to infectious salmon anemia virus. The test results, reported by researchers from Simon Fraser University, are based on a very limited sample of sockeye salmon smolts from Rivers Inlet in central British Columbia. The smolts were not exhibiting any outward signs of infection.

Research on ISA indicates that the risk to Alaska's salmon stocks is low. Pacific salmon have been shown to be mostly resistant to ISA, which is a flu-like disease of Atlantic salmon. ISA does not transmit to humans and is not a human health or food safety issue.

"Right now, there is a lot of misinformation out there about this finding and this disease," said Ted Meyers, ADF&G fisheries scientist. "The Rivers Inlet results are being analyzed through additional testing in a second laboratory to rule out any false positives. At this point we are concerned, but do not want to overreact as we await more definitive information from Canada."

Live Atlantic salmon are not allowed to be imported into Alaska. However, if the virus is confirmed present in British Columbia migratory Pacific salmon or the Atlantic salmon stocks prevalent in British Columbia fish farms, there is concern over potential impacts to Alaska salmon stocks.

"The department's pathology lab is in contact with agencies in Canada and will continue monitoring the situation," said Cora Campbell, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. "We will take all necessary measures to protect our stocks."

Additional information on ISA and the reports from British Columbia can be found here. The department will keep Alaskans informed as additional information becomes available.

Diver dies prior to sea cucumber opener

From the Alaska State Troopers:

Location: Juneau
Type: Death investigation
On 10/24/11 at 0530 hours, John Robert Pugh Jr., 35, of Juneau, was in the vicinity of Funter Bay on the west coast of Admiralty Island on a 21-foot skiff working as a deckhand in a sea cucumber fishery opener that was scheduled to start at 0800. Pugh was on his second recreational scuba dive of the morning and diving alone at 0630 when the boat operator and permit holder noticed that Pugh's activity in the water had stopped. The skiff moved closer to Pugh's location where a diver entered the water and contacted Pugh, who was unresponsive near the bottom in 20 feet of water with his regulator out of his mouth. Pugh was brought to the surface and hoisted on the boat where CPR was initiated and Pugh remained unresponsive. Pugh was immediately transported back to Auke Bay and the U.S. Coast Guard was notified via marine radio. Upon arrival at the Auke Bay boat launch the skiff was met by the Juneau fire and rescue squad who determined that Pugh was deceased. Based upon the scene investigation and the interview with the witness, the medical examiner's office was contacted and ordered the deceased sent to Anchorage for an autopsy. There were no signs of trauma to the body detected and the cause of death is unknown. The Juneau Police Department assisted with the notification of next of kin. The deceased was an experienced and certified PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) diver and owner of a local dive business for the past year.

Here are those AFN resolutions

Resolution 11-19 pertaining to the Magnuson-Stevens Act and tribal seats on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

Resolution 11-20 pertaining to a 50-mile trawling buffer.

No turning back.

Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever? If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back.

I know..I know..BUT Pete Seeger at Occupy Wall Street!

Okay, I know I need to blog about something else besides OWS. And i will..i swear..I have tons of stuff going on..been to a lot of shows..played a great show last night..have not been by Ray's or Tompkins much. Been somewhat working a bit..learning new songs for next album..making LP's of our second CD..all kinds of stuff..BUT i went to Liberty Park the other night and a bunch of us went to Symphony Space to meet up with Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie and other folkies who marched with us to Columbus Circle and then jammed and sang "we shall overcome." Sounds cheesy but Seeger is awesome..he did a lot for old time music and for the Hudson River and he is 92 freaking years old and had TWO canes and marched almost 2 miles. While we all surrounded him and took pics, et..
So here are some photos and a bunch of videos of Occupy Wall street..first at Liberty Park then later with fun night! And yeah, my armpit hair grew like 3 feet as I marched.