fisheries

Sarah Hansen/KUCB

This winter, Unalaska's seafood plants could host a handful of prison inmates — if the community joins a work release program run by the state Department of Corrections.

DOC Commissioner Dean Williams proposed the idea to the City Council this week, citing interest from at least one local processor that he declined to name.

Williams said he'd like to start with four or five inmates, who would go through a thorough vetting and selection process. They'd work at plants and live at bunkhouses under strict rules and electronic surveillance.

KUCB

Unalaska's first drone-operated salmon survey is now underway.

The Unalaska Native Fishermen's Association (UNFA) has hired Andy Dietrick — of Aleutian Aerial LLC — to capture video of salmon habitat at Unalaska Lake, Summer Bay Lake, and Morris Cove.

The goal is to estimate the size of the island's largely unmonitored fish populations. To collect that data, Dietrick is filming in a 35-millimeter format that approaches "cinema quality." 

Lt. Jeff Mistrick // U.S. Coast Guard

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a commercial fisherman Tuesday after he was hit in the head by a crab pot.

Officials say the crew member was struck while the F/V Patricia Lee was fishing for golden king crab 190 miles west of Unalaska.

Air Station Kodiak sent two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews and an HC-130 aircraft to hoist the 27-year-old man from the vessel.

He was transported to Cold Bay and then Unalaska for emergency medical care.

Officials say he was in stable condition.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Golden king crab season opens Wednesday in the Aleutian Islands.

And for the first time in its 22-year history, the commercial fishery isn't capped by a rigid quota.

"It's really exciting this year," said biologist Miranda Westphal of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. "It was great to have some freedom in setting limits in this fishery."

Brown crab prefer the deep, current-heavy waters of island passes, so it's basically impossible to count them. In fact, Westphal said this is the region's only large rationalized crab fishery without a survey.

National Transportation Safety Board

A crab boat that sank in the Bering Sea last winter likely capsized after the vessel became coated in hundreds of thousands of pounds of ice.

That's the conclusion of a report released last week by federal investigators.

The findings shed new light on the loss of the F/V Destination and its six crew members.  

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