Total haul for Alaska salmon pegged at 221 million fish

Salmon fisheries are opening this month from one end of Alaska to the other. Total catches so far of mostly sockeye were under 1 million fish, but will add up fast from here on. A total haul for all Alaska salmon this season is pegged at 221 million fish.
A highlight so far is a 40 percent increase in troll action in Southeast, where nearly 300 fishermen are targeting king salmon. That’s likely due to a boosted price averaging $7.54 a pound, up $1.88 from last year.

Make timely adjustments to your 529 plan

If you have school-age children, you might greet the arrival of June with some relief — for at least a few months, you don’t have to worry about “encouraging” kids to do their homework, study for tests, give you their permission slips for field trips and so on.
But one day, these obligations will give way to a substantially bigger one — paying for college. If you’ve already begun preparing for that day with a tax-advantaged college-savings vehicle — such as a 529 plan — you’re taking a positive step, because higher education is expensive. But it’s not enough to just set up your 529 plan — you may also need to adjust it over time.

Should you make investment moves based on a strong dollar?

Currently, the U.S. dollar is pumped-up and powerful. But what does a strong dollar mean to you, as an investor?
To begin with, it’s important to understand just what is meant by a “strong” dollar. The U.S. dollar does not exist in a vacuum — its value — from a global perspective — is determined by its changing strength relative to that of other currencies.
Let’s look at an example:

Competing water rights claims could set ‘dangerous precedent’

Alaskans will have to wait until fall to learn if salmon habitat prevails over a coal mine proposed at Upper Cook Inlet.
A decision due earlier this month by the State Department of Natural Resources has been delayed until after a public hearing later this summer, said Ed Fogels, DNR Deputy Commissioner.

‘Step-by-step’ approach can ease estate-planning process

Like many people, you may enjoy investing. After all, it can be invigorating to put away money for your future, follow the performance of your investments and track the progress you’re making toward your long-term goals, such as a comfortable retirement. However, you might be less excited about doing estate planning, dreading the perceived time, effort and cost. Yet, you can make the entire process more manageable by breaking it up into specific tasks.

Debate continues over Bering Sea halibut bycatch

Nowhere in the world do people have as much opportunity to speak their minds to fish policy makers as they do in Alaska. As decision day approaches, a groundswell of Alaska voices is demanding that fishery overseers say bye-bye to halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea.
They are speaking out against the more than 6 million pounds of halibut that are dumped overboard each year as bycatch in trawl fisheries that target flounder, rockfish, perch, mackerel and other groundfish (not pollock).

Goodbye, childcare costs … hello, college savings opportunities

If you’re a working parent, you know firsthand about the difficulties of finding quality, affordable care for your children. But eventually, your kids head off to school, and those child care bills go away, or at least diminish greatly. When that happens, you could start putting away money for another one of your children’s milestones: college.
Just how expensive is child care? Costs vary greatly among the 50 states, but the national average for a 4-year-old at a child care center is approximately $7,880 per year, according to Child Care Aware of America, a child care resource and referral agency sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. What could you do with this money once your child enters kindergarten?

Researchers look at fishermen’s long-term health problems

How much are fishermen affected by long-term health problems like hearing loss, lack of sleep and high blood pressure? A pilot study aims to find out, and researchers are using the 500-plus members of the Copper River salmon driftnet fleet as test subjects.
“The Copper River fishing season lasts five months, and most of the fleet is very digitally connected, so it seemed a great fit,” said Torie Baker, a Sea Grant Marine Advisory Agent in Cordova.

Give Mom more than just flowers

Mother’s Day is almost here. This occasion may have special significance for you if you’ve been fortunate enough to have your mother around for your adult life. So naturally, you’ll want to bring Mom some flowers or another gift. But if she’s planning to retire soon, you may want to think about a longer-term way to improve her life — namely, by initiating a conversation about her retirement income strategy.
Of course, she may already have matters well in hand. But a great many people on the verge of retirement have not planned for those years, so you may be able to provide some valuable suggestions. Here are a few ideas:

Researchers disagree on pink/sockeye ‘food fight’

Alaska salmon producers are not buying the presumption that growing numbers of pinks are eating too much food in the ocean, causing sockeye salmon to grow slower and smaller.
That’s the claim of a new study by Seattle and British Columbia researchers, who say the race for food ultimately affects sockeye abundance and survival.
“Our data sets extend up to 55 years each,” said Greg Ruggerone, a researcher at Natural Resources Consultants in Seattle and study co-author. “In looking at productivity or survival of salmon, they’ve included 36 sockeye populations.”

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