Lima international maritime signal flag – indicates illness aboard
An all yellow flag (Quebec) indicates a vessel is all clear of illness.
Strict new rules are now in place for Alaska fishermen and their vessels to protect against and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus during the 2020 salmon season.
A free webinar on Wednesday, April 29, by United Fishermen of Alaska can help answer questions. Frances Leach is UFA director –
“People know we’re on top of it and that we’re going to provide information as soon as it comes out. We don’t’ always have the answers to everything immediately but we do work hard in getting those answers provided and helping the fleet out. And we’re really working hard on helping all commercial fishermen, not just UFA members.”
Effective April 24, Governor Mike Dunleavy issued 11 pages of mandates that apply specifically to fishermen who have not “agreed to operate under a fleet-wide plan submitted by a company, association or entity” representing them.
Among other things, each skipper must sign a “Health Mandate Acknowledgement Form” prior to going fishing. They must maintain a log acknowledging that they will comply with the mandates and give a clear description of which protective plan they are enforcing on their vessel.
Skippers also must certify that crew members have been screened upon arrival and have completed self-quarantines.
Fishermen must show a signed copy of their Acknowledgement Form before any tender or processor can accept or pay for their fish.
Other rules call for wearing masks, not leaving the boat and flying a Lima distress flag if fishermen aboard are still under quarantine.
The fishing mandates will be reviewed at the end of May. Leach says despite the new rules, most fishermen have a good attitude.
“There’s a lot of optimism and positivity but everyone recognizes the severity of the situation and that this is not a normal time, and that we are going to have to take steps to protect communities, protect our vessels and crew members – and it is what it is if you want to fish.”
The Wednesday webinar is at 10am. It’s free but registration is required.
Panelists include Tom Koloski and Charles Pelton with Alaska Unified Command; Jason Wiard, environmental health officer with the Division of Environmental Conservation; and John Moller, Governor Dunleavy’s commercial fisheries policy advisor.
Sign on at the UFA website at www.ufafish.org
Remember – Friday, May 1, is the deadline to take the Fishermen’s Survey at www.salmonstate.org