Articles written by Yereth Rosen

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  • New federal grants will help market Alaska seafood

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|Jul 17, 2024

    The federal government has awarded more than $5 million in grants to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute to help the state agency find new ways and new places to sell fish. Of the federal money, over $4 million is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Regional Agriculture Promotion Program, known as RAPP. That money will be used in specific areas of the state to help improve international markets, said Greg Smith, an ASMI spokesperson. “The timing of the RAPP funds is well-aligned with the Alaska seafood industry’s needs to combat numer... Full story

  • Pacific salmon head north to Arctic Canada from Alaska as ocean conditions allow

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|Jun 19, 2024

    As the climate warms, more Pacific salmon from Alaska are showing up in the Western Arctic waters of Canada. But residents in those Arctic Canadian communities are not catching salmon every year, which led them to ask why. Now a study by scientists from Canada and Alaska has described the ocean gateway that must open to bring salmon from the Bering Sea to those far-north sites. Conditions must line up over vast stretches of ocean for salmon to make the journey through the Bering Strait, across the Chukchi Sea and into the Canadian Beaufort Sea... Full story

  • Legislators approve phase-out of firefighting foams with 'forever chemicals'

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|May 29, 2024

    For the second time in two years, the Alaska Legislature has passed a bill requiring a phase-out of firefighting foams with contaminants called “forever chemicals.” The chemicals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances that are commonly known as PFAS, have become notorious for their persistence and widespread presence in the environment. Known for their resistance to flames and degradation, PFAS chemicals — which number in the thousands — have been used since the 1950s in a wide variety of products, from consumer goods like clothing and cookware t... Full story

  • Cancer-prevention measures win legislative approval

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|May 29, 2024

    Alaska bar patrons will see new signs warning about the link between alcohol and cancer, and women at elevated risk for breast cancer will no longer have to pay extra money for more detailed examinations that go beyond routine mammograms, if bills passed by the Legislature are signed by the governor. Both measures were proposed initially in stand-alone legislation but wound up combined with related bills that passed late in the session and now await the governor’s decision. The proposal for signs warning about the alcohol-cancer link was o... Full story

  • New state task force will look at psychedelic medicines

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|May 29, 2024

    The Alaska Legislature passed a couple of bills aimed at improving health care services. The measures are now headed to Gov. Mike Dunleavy for his consideration. House Bill 228 would set up a state task force to recommend regulations for use of psychedelic medicines that the federal government is expected to approve soon. The first of those medicines expected to be approved, called MDMA, is considered useful for treating post-traumatic stress disorder. Approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is anticipated within months. Anchorage Sen... Full story

  • Legislation allows stashing climate-harming carbon gases underground

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|May 22, 2024

    The Alaska Legislature has passed a bill that combines underground storage of carbon dioxide, new regulation of underground storage of natural gas, state financing for new Cook Inlet natural gas development and an expansion of the state’s geothermal energy program. The measure, House Bill 50, sets up a regulatory and commercial framework for Alaska to stash carbon gases that would otherwise stream into the atmosphere, where they reinforce the greenhouse layer that is heating the planet. The bill started as one in a pair introduced last year b... Full story

  • State launches new campaign to reduce fentanyl deaths

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|May 15, 2024

    With Alaska’s drug overdose deaths surging, state leaders on May 6 kicked off a new campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of the drug that caused most of them: fentanyl. The new campaign, called “One Pill Can Kill,” is national and spearheaded by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal agencies. But it has special meaning in Alaska, which last year had a record-high total of overdose deaths. Preliminary numbers show that 342 Alaskans died from overdoses in 2023, a 40% increase over 2022 totals, according to the state... Full story

  • Report says low prices, competition hit Alaska seafood industry

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|May 1, 2024

    The Alaska seafood industry remains an economic juggernaut, but it is under strain from forces outside of the state’s control, according to a report commissioned by the state’s seafood marketing agency. The report from the McKinley Research Group, titled The Economic Value of Alaska’s Seafood Industry, is the latest in a periodic series commissioned by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. The total economic value of the Alaska seafood industry in 2021 and 2022 was $6 billion, slightly more than the $5.6 billion tallied in 2019, the last... Full story

  • Report says low prices, competition hit Alaska seafood industry

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|May 1, 2024

    The Alaska seafood industry remains an economic juggernaut, but it is under strain from forces outside of the state’s control, according to a report commissioned by the state’s seafood marketing agency. The report from the McKinley Research Group, titled The Economic Value of Alaska’s Seafood Industry, is the latest in a periodic series commissioned by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. The total economic value of the Alaska seafood industry in 2021 and 2022 was $6 billion, slightly more than the $5.6 billion tallied in 2019, the last... Full story

  • BLM says no to state plan for road into mining district

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|Apr 24, 2024

    Citing what they characterized as unacceptable risks to wildlife habitat, water quality and the Native communities that depend on natural resources, the Biden administration on April 19 rejected the state’s controversial plan to put a 211-mile industrial road through largely wild areas of the Brooks Range foothills. The decision came in a supplemental environmental impact statement released by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, a branch of the Department of the Interior. The document selected the “no action” alternative as its policy choic... Full story

  • Pebble mine developer loses appeal over denied federal permit

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|Apr 24, 2024

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has dismissed an appeal filed by the Pebble mine developer in its effort to obtain a key permit needed to build the controversial copper and gold mine upstream of Southwest Alaska’s salmon-rich Bristol Bay. The decision, released on April 15, lets stand a permit denial issued by the Army Corps in 2020. Rejection of the appeal is the latest setback for the developer. The biggest setback came in January 2023, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency invoked a rarely used provision of the Clean Water Act to p... Full story

  • Land trust transfers Southeast property to Forest Service wilderness area

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|Apr 17, 2024

    A designated wilderness area in the Tongass National Forest, the largest U.S. national forest, is now a little bit bigger, after a land purchase and transfer arranged by two conservation organizations. ‘ Five acres of land that was formerly privately owned has been added to the forest’s Kootznoowoo Wilderness area on Admiralty Island, one of the organizations, The Wilderness Land Trust, said in a news release issued on April 11. The project, a partnership with the Juneau-based Southeast Alaska Land Trust, is the latest in a series of land pur... Full story

  • Project works to compile glossary of Indigenous environmental terms

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|Apr 10, 2024

    In the language of the Gwich’in people of northeastern Alaska, the word for month known in English as July is Łuk choo zhrii, meaning “the month of king salmon,” said Rochelle Adams, an Indigenous advocate who grew up in Beaver and Fort Yukon. With Yukon River king salmon runs diminished to the point where harvests of the species were not even allowed, that name now poses a dilemma, Adams said. “If we can’t fish in the month of king salmon, what are we living in?” Adams said at a conference in mid-March. “How we navigate the world is in ou... Full story

  • State files $700 billion claim over EPA blockage of Pebble Mine

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|Mar 20, 2024

    The federal government should pay Alaska more than $700 billion in compensation for the 2023 Environmental Protection Agency action that blocked development of the massive and controversial Pebble Mine in Southwest Alaska, Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration claims in a lawsuit filed in a federal court. The lawsuit, filed March 14 in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in the District of Columbia, is part of a flurry of legal actions by the state and the mine’s would-be developer that seek to revive the massive copper and gold project in a sal... Full story

  • NOAA Fisheries report points to growth in Alaska mariculture efforts

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|Mar 20, 2024

    While Alaska’s mariculture industry is small by global standards, production of farmed shellfish and seaweed in the state has increased substantially in recent years, according to a new status report released Feb. 23 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Applications for Alaska mariculture permits averaged about six a year from 2014 to 2018 but increased to about 14 a year from 2019 to 2023, said the State of Alaska Aquaculture report, issued by the NOAA Fisheries. Oysters have been a pillar of Alaska mariculture for many y... Full story

  • Legislators look for answers to help beleaguered seafood industry

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|Mar 13, 2024

    Russian fish flooding global markets and other economic forces beyond the state’s border have created dire conditions for Alaska’s seafood industry. Now key state legislators are seeking to establish a task force to come up with responses to the low prices, lost market share, lost jobs and lost income being suffered by fishers, fishing companies and fishing communities. The measure, Senate Concurrent Resolution 10, was introduced on March 1 and is sponsored by the Senate Finance Committee. “Alaska’s seafood industry is in a tailspin from fa... Full story

  • Aleutian waters warmest in more than a century; cod most vulnerable

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|Feb 28, 2024

    The waters off the Aleutian Islands registered the warmest winter temperatures last year in over a century, part of a decade-long period of warming, according to a report issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The record-high temperatures in the western and central Aleutians moderated later in 2023 but warmer-than-normal conditions persisted for the rest of the year throughout the waters around the 1,100-mile chain extending from southwestern Alaska, according to the 2023 NOAA Fisheries Ecosystem Status report for the... Full story

  • Feds buy Alaska seafood for national food programs

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|Feb 28, 2024

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture will purchase about 50 million pounds of Alaska seafood to use in national food and nutrition-assistance programs, state officials said on Feb. 20. The seafood purchase is to benefit needy children and adults and school lunches, said the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, which announced the department’s plans. The purchases are authorized through a federal law which allows the Agriculture Department to buy surplus food products, and through the department’s Commodity Credit Corp., a government entity cre... Full story

  • NOAA reports 45 killer whales caught up in fishing gear since 1991

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|Feb 21, 2024

    Over the past three decades, 35 killer whales were entangled in fishing gear in Alaska, resulting in 25 deaths, according to a report issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The report from NOAA Fisheries covers documented cases from 1991 to 2022. It does not include the unusually high number of 2023 cases, in which an additional 10 killer whales were found ensnared in fishing gear — mostly bottom-trawl gear — with nine of them found dead. That raises the total caught in gear since 1991 to 45 killer whales, with 34 dead.... Full story

  • U.S. preparing to claim ownership of large areas of Arctic seafloor

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|Feb 14, 2024

    United States ocean territory could expand by an area more than twice the size of California, with most of that in ocean areas off Alaska, under a claim being prepared by the federal government. The U.S. State Department in December announced results of a two-decade program to map the extended continental shelf areas beyond the nation’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone. Much of the focus was on the Arctic Ocean, where bathymetric and geologic surveys by federal agencies produced the first detailed maps of a complex seafloor with a series of c... Full story

  • Trend continues toward fewer Alaskans smoking or using e-cigs

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|Jan 24, 2024

    Alaskans trying to quit their tobacco habits made some significant progress over the past year, according to the annual report released last week by the state’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. The program, which includes the Tobacco Quit Line, helped 1,753 Alaskans stop smoking or using smokeless tobacco or electronic cigarettes in the 12 months ending June 30, the report said. The program gave support to 21 community organizations around the state. The program also produced and distributed an anti-vaping toolkit to the state’s school d... Full story

  • Advocates of higher Alaska minimum wage close to winning spot on ballot

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|Jan 17, 2024

    Supporters of a ballot initiative that would increase Alaska’s minimum wage, mandate paid sick leave and provide other worker protections submitted more than 40,000 petition signatures to the Alaska Division of Elections on Jan. 9, bringing their cause one step closer to a decision by voters. The group, called Better Jobs for Alaska, brought boxes of signed petitions to a Division of Elections office in Anchorage. The initiative proposes to hike the state’s minimum wage, currently at $11.73 an hour, to $13 an hour next year, $14 an hour in 202...

  • Scientists blame marine heat waves for weak chum returns

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|Jan 17, 2024

    Successive marine heat waves appear to have doomed much of the chum salmon swimming in the ocean waters off Alaska in the past year and probably account for the scarcities that have strained communities along Western Alaska rivers in recent years, a newly published study found. In the much-warmer water temperatures that lingered in 2014-2019, juvenile chum salmon metabolism was super-charged, meaning they needed more food, said the study by scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Alaska Department of Fish... Full story

  • North Slope polar bear dies from avian flu; first known case

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|Jan 17, 2024

    A polar bear found dead on Alaska’s North Slope is the first of the species known to have been killed by the highly pathogenic avian influenza that is circulating among animal populations around the world. The polar bear was found dead in October near Utqiagvik, the nation’s northernmost community, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation reported. The discovery of the virus in the animal’s body tissue, a process that required sampling and study by the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management and other agencies, confi... Full story

  • Job gains forecast in Alaska, but working-age population decline a problem

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|Jan 10, 2024

    Alaska is expected to gain 5,400 jobs in 2024, an increase of 1.7% over the past year and enough to nudge total state employment above 2019 levels for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, according to the newly published annual forecast from the Alaska Department of Labor. The job outlook was published in the January issue of the department’s monthly research magazine, Alaska Economic Trends. The “major catalyst” for job growth, the forecast said, will be big projects: federally funded infrastructure projects and minin... Full story

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