A court decision may help endangered orcas, but Alaskan fishermen are wary

The U.S. District Court in Seattle seemed to offer endangered orca whales a lifeline in September when it issued a preliminary decision that might make more wild king salmon available to the marine mammals. But while the court decision is expected to help orcas, it may be bad news for fishermen.(No paywall)

Biden to end large-scale old-growth timber sales in Tongass

The Biden administration will end large-scale sales of old-growth timber in the Tongass National Forest on the Alaska panhandle, the world's largest intact temperate rainforest, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday.

Native Alaskan fishers are losing out to industrial fleet in the Bering Sea

In the Bering Sea, Native Alaskans are losing the fight for halibut, up against factory ships that throw away more of the valuable fish than the the long-line fishers are allowed to catch, Miranda Weiss reports in FERN's latest story, produced in collaboration with National Geographic. No paywall

U.S. Army Corps key to Trump’s move on Pebble Mine

This week, the Trump administration placed a major hurdle in front of the company seeking to develop the largest gold and copper mine in North America. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Monday stated that the proposed Pebble Mine project, as currently designed, would not receive the necessary federal permits. The mine was slated for southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay region, home to the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world. (No paywall)

As Covid-19 rises, Alaskans crowd rivers for wild salmon

“As salmon make their epic voyages from the sea to upriver spawning grounds, Alaskans crowd shorelines to catch enough fish to put up for the winter,” Miranda Weiss writes in FERN’s latest story. But the activity has taken on a new urgency this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic and fears of …

Coronavirus concerns mount as Bristol Bay salmon season prepares to open

Two months ago, local leaders in southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay begged the state’s governor to consider canceling the commercial sockeye salmon season. They feared that Covid-19 would spread through the region’s small villages, which have scant health resources. Despite those concerns, preparations for the Bristol Bay fishery, which opens at the end of the month, are barreling ahead, and some 10,000 fishermen and processing plant workers from across the state, the country, and the world are set to descend on the region. But now, as Covid-19 cases are growing across the state — as of June 9, it had recorded more than 600 cases — there is concern that the $5.2 billion industry could be in jeopardy, writes Miranda Weiss in FERN’s latest story. (No paywall)

With Covid-19 in Alaska, a home-grown food movement underway

Alaska imports more than 90 percent of its food, but with Covid-19 interrupting supply chains, especially to remote regions, people in the state are reacting by starting gardens and advocating for more locally grown food, reports Miranda Weiss in FERN's latest story. (No paywall)

Covid-19 might close the largest salmon fishery on Earth 

Leaders in southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay — source of nearly half the world’s sockeye salmon and a $1.5 billion industry — this week asked Alaska Gov. Michael Dunleavy to shut down the fishery to protect public health. (No paywall)

Did USDA pay Alaska to lobby USDA?

The top Democrats overseeing the Forest Service asked the inspector general on Monday to investigate whether USDA grant money to Alaska was used by the timber industry to argue for more logging in the Tongass National Forest. The Forest Service is weighing a state request for a full exemption from a 2001 rule that bars road construction and logging in undeveloped forests.