Dead herring, poison mussels found on Unalaska shorelines

Thursday, August 13 2015

Dead herring on an Unalaska beach on Wednesday. KUCB/John Ryan photo.

Hundreds of dead herring washed up on Front Beach in downtown Unalaska on Tuesday.

“Hundreds of herring floating in the water,” Caleb Livingston, who lives nearby, said as he was walking his dog Hazel on the beach. “But what really got my attention was the few that drifted on the beach were not being eaten by the eagles, or seagulls or terns.”

Scientists have been receiving reports of dead and dying whales, birds and the small fish known as sand lance in the Aleutian Islands. 

Shell Ready To Drill For Arctic Oil As Delayed Icebreaker Arrives

Tuesday, August 11 2015

The Fennica and its yellow capping stack in Alaska's Dutch Harbor on July 18. KUCB/John Ryan photo.

Shell’s wayward icebreaker made it to the company’s Arctic Ocean drilling site Tuesday. The arrival of the Fennica after a month’s delay means the company could get to drill for oil beneath the Chukchi Sea this summer.

Currently, Shell only has permission to do shallower drilling into non-oil-bearing rocks off Alaska’s northwest coast.

With the Fennica steaming toward the Arctic, Shell submitted an application to the Interior Department on Thursday for permission to drill into deeper, oil-bearing rocks.

Looking (And Listening) For Alaska's Rarest Whale

Monday, August 10 2015

A right whale in the southeastern Bering Sea in 2005. Photo: Brenda Rone/NOAA Fisheries.

Researchers are cruising the Gulf of Alaska on the lookout for one of the world’s rarest animals: the North Pacific right whale.  

Their needle-in-a-haystack quest is made slightly easier by one fact: These needles make noise.

Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration left Kodiak on Sunday for a month-long research cruise to track down the critically endangered whales.

Shell’s Icebreaker Heads North For Oil; The Coast Guard’s, For Science

Friday, August 07 2015

The Fennica in Alaska's Dutch Harbor on Aug. 6. KUCB/John Ryan photo.

Shell Oil’s Fennica icebreaker departed Dutch Harbor, Alaska, for the Arctic Thursday afternoon, a day and a half after it arrived from Oregon.

The Fennica is now headed north on the 1,100-mile voyage to Shell’s Chukchi Sea drilling site.

The Fennica’s arrival in the Chukchi has been delayed by about a month after the icebreaker ran aground in Dutch Harbor on July 3. It then went through repairs and protests in Portland. 

Shell's Arctic Icebreaker Returns To Alaska

Wednesday, August 05 2015

The Fennica approaching the Delta Western Fuel dock in Alaska's Dutch Harbor on Tuesday. KUCB/John Ryan photo.
8/6/2015 Update: The Fennica left Dutch Harbor for the Arctic Ocean Thursday afternoon.
Shell's Fennica icebreaker has returned to Alaska. It docked at Dutch Harbor Tuesday evening after enduring repairs and protests in Portland, Oregon. 

Shell began drilling the top of a well in the Chukchi Sea last week, but it does not have federal permission from the U.S. Interior Department to drill into oil-bearing rocks unless the Fennica is on site. 

Shell’s exploratory drilling begins in the Chukchi Sea

Friday, July 31 2015

The Fennica leaves Portland. OPB/John Rosman photo.

Arctic drilling is under way.

Shell Oil confirmed Thursday night that its Polar Pioneer rig sent a 20-foot-wide drill bit spinning into the floor of the Chukchi Sea about 5 p.m. Alaska time.

It came at the end of one of the most eventful days in the company’s eight-year effort to find oil in the Arctic Ocean.

“This is a significant milestone. A lot of people have worked very hard to get us here,” Shell spokeswoman Megan Baldino said.

Strange Orange Robots Sail Into Dutch Harbor. Just What Are They Up To?

Thursday, July 30 2015

Saildrone Inc. CEO Richard Jenkins turns his back (unwisely?) on two of his creations in Unalaska.

Aquatic robots have been spotted in the Aleutian Islands.  Two ocean-going drones were seen sailing into Dutch Harbor Monday night with no one on board. Just what are these orange robots doing out there--and should we be alarmed? 


These robots are 18 feet tall. Each one has a bright orange wing of carbon fiber sticking up from a floating platform. At sea, they look like oversized windsurfers. 

Judge Hits Greenpeace With $2,500/Hour Fine For Blocking Exit of Shell Icebreaker

Thursday, July 30 2015

The Fennica in Dutch Harbor, shortly before leaving for Portland for repairs. KUCB/John Ryan photo

UPDATE 8 P.M.: Police disbanded the protesters, and the Fennica left Portland for Alaska about 6 p.m. Pacific Time Thursday. Meanwhile, Shell began drilling in the Chukchi Sea on Thursday, FuelFix reports. 

Dead Fish, Wildlife In Aleutians May Be Victims Of Toxic Algae Outbreak

Friday, July 24 2015

Melissa Good with UAF Alaska Sea Grant collects a sample from a Steller's sea lion carcass by Unalaska's Summer Bay. KUCB/John Ryan phot

Scientists have been receiving reports of dead and dying mammals, birds and small fish in the Aleutian Islands.  They think the killer might be toxic algae proliferating in unusually warm ocean waters.

“All the signs are that we’re having a major harmful algal bloom event,” Bruce Wright with the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association said.

Wright said it could be the algae that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning; the algae that generate domoic acid are another possible culprit.

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