Articles written by Nathaniel Herz


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  • Federal review will decide if king salmon should be listed as an endangered species

    Nathaniel Herz, Northern Journal|Jun 6, 2024

    The Biden administration says that listing numerous Alaska king salmon populations under the Endangered Species Act could be warranted, and it now plans to launch a broader scientific study to follow its preliminary review. Citing the species’ diminished size at adulthood and spawning numbers below sustainable targets set by state managers, the National Marine Fisheries Service announced its initial conclusion in a 14-page federal notice on May 23. It said a January 2024 listing request from a Washington state-based conservation group had m...

  • Peter Pan's King Cove plant will stay closed this winter as fishing industry turmoil spreads

    Nathaniel Herz, Northern Journal|Jan 18, 2024

    In a major hit to Southwest Alaska’s fishing industry, Peter Pan Seafood Co. will keep its huge plant in the village of King Cove shuttered this winter, meaning that the company won’t be processing millions of dollars worth of cod, whitefish and crab. “It’s one of the most difficult days of my life,” Rodger May, one of the company’s owners and a longtime player in the seafood industry, said in a brief interview Thursday. “It’s just a devastating time for the industry.” The closure is the latest sign of the widening turmoil in Alaska seafood ma...

  • Bristol Bay fishermen fume over low prices, but processors say they're hurting too

    Nathaniel Herz|Jul 27, 2023

    A few times this summer, Jared Danielson, who fishes for salmon on the Alaska Peninsula, found himself fighting back tears in his bunk. Aboard the F/V Five Star, his boat, Danielson and his deckhand put away as many pounds of fish as they could. They had no breakdowns. But his seafood processor is paying him 70 cents a pound for his salmon - half of last year's price - which means that instead of his usual six-figure haul for a summer of hard work, he might only break even, or go home to his... Full story

  • In "major victory" for SE Alaska trollers, federal appeals panel reverses king fishery closure

    Nathaniel Herz, Northern Journal|Jun 22, 2023

    A federal appeals panel issued a last-second ruling Wednesday that will allow this summer’s Southeast Alaska troll Chinook salmon fishery to open as scheduled July 1 — reversing a lower court ruling that would have kept the $85 million industry off the water. “It’s a major victory,” Alaska Fish and Game Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang said in a brief phone interview. “We can go fishing.” The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel, in a five-page ruling, said that the entities defending the fishery — the Alaska Trollers Association, th...

  • Lower 48 group plans to seek endangered species listing for SE kings

    Nathaniel Herz, Northern Journel|Jun 15, 2023

    A Washington state-based conservation group whose actions have already caused the closure of the Southeast Alaska king salmon commercial troll fishery is now planning to ask the federal government to list several Alaska king salmon stocks under the Endangered Species Act. Last month, the Wild Fish Conservancy formally notified the state of Alaska of its plans to file the ESA petition for multiple populations of king salmon — also known as chinook — in Southeast, Southwest and Cook Inlet, just outside Anchorage. If successful, experts said the...

  • To protect orcas, federal judge orders closure of iconic Southeast Alaska troll fishery

    Max Graham and Nathaniel Herz, Northern Journal|May 4, 2023

    A federal judge issued an order Tuesday that appears to close an iconic Southeast Alaska salmon fishery for at least the summer season - a decision that threatens hundreds of jobs and a $30 million industry in response to a conservation group's lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed by the Washington state-based Wild Fish Conservancy, seeks to protect endangered orcas off the coast of the Lower 48 and British Columbia - whales that feed on some of the same salmon harvested by Southeast Alaska troll... Full story

  • Inside Kodiak's crab standoff

    Nathaniel Herz, Alaska Beacon|Feb 2, 2023

    After the heat wave-induced collapse of the Bering Sea snow crab fishery, some fishermen were looking, with hope, at the upcoming tanner crab harvest out of Kodiak. The nearly 6-million-pound quota was the highest in decades. And some people spent more than $100,000 to buy a permit to fish this year, said Kevin Abena, one of the leaders of the Kodiak Crab Alliance Cooperative. But fishermen’s hopes for a banner season are now in limbo, as the 130 boats in the Kodiak tanner crab fleet are on strike — holding out for higher prices from the sea... Full story

  • Warming waters are driving Bering Sea crashes, but Alaska's fishing industry is quiet on climate

    Nathaniel Herz, Alaska Beacon|Jan 5, 2023

    Billions of snow crab disappeared from the Bering Sea in the past few years — a crash that’s devastated Alaska’s crab fishing fleet and a harvest that just two years ago was worth $130 million. Bycatch didn’t kill them. But the issue still dominated discussions this month at an Anchorage meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, the commission that regulates the huge, lucrative harvests of seafood in the federal waters off Alaska’s shores. The council and its advisory panel, over the course of 10 days, spent hours listening to fi... Full story