Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Losing a child is a pain that never goes away. But for Kosta Gribilas, losing his seven month old daughter comes as an unimaginable blow in a time that was filled with so much hope. Australian born Kosta, who moved to Greece when he was 10 was given a second chance at life after receiving a heart transplant in 2008. The organ donor was Doujon Zammit, a 20-year-old Australian tourist, brutally bashed by a Greek bouncer. For days Doujon was kept on life support, hoping to show signs of improvement. Kosta was just streets away in the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre, desperate to find a new heart. As one family was preparing to say goodbye, Kosta was being prepped into surgery. On August 2, 2008 after 21 weeks waiting to find a compatible donor, Kosta got a new lease on life. Early this year, Kosta and his wife Poppy welcomed their first child, Konstantina Angelique Gribilas. Kosta affectionately said Konstantina had two fathers thanks to his adopted new heart. In a short message in Greek on his Facebook page, Kosta announced his daughter’s passing. “Thank you for all your support, sadly my angle didn’t make it”. In a previous interview with Neos Kosmos, Kosta had just welcomed his daughter in the world and took the time to thank the Zammit family and took the time to express his special connection with Doujon. “How can I ever forget Doujon, when every beat of my heart, reminds me how lucky I really am?” he said. Without him, neither me nor my daughter, would be here.” “I owe Doujon’s parents, not one, but many thanks. Their generosity saved my life. Kosta still wears Doujon’s silver leather bracelet and had Doujon’s father as the best man at his wedding. Doujon’s mother, Rosemary, became Konstantina’s godmother at her baptism. Rosemary took on the role wholeheartedly and would ask for photos of little Konstantina growing. “They feel like this baby is a continuation of their son,” Kosta said. In another strange turn of fate, Kosta moved to Australia with his wife to find better job prospects after he was left jobless for four years in Greece. In the process he opened a christening business in Sydney that sold various imported Greek products and gifts. Now he will be forever reminded of his young daughter and a happier time every time he steps through his shop.
Troll caught winter king salmon (Photo courtesy of Matt Lichtenstein)The spring season for commercial salmon trolling in Southeast Alaska is shutting down Monday, May 29 except for a few areas near hatchery salmon release sites. The spring season began in May and was to run through the end of June. However, poor returns of king salmon are prompting the closure.Listen nowKing numbers are low for wild stock fish returning to the Stikine River near Wrangell and Taku River near Juneau as well as some other mainland rivers. Early catches of hatchery kings have not been strong either.Grant Hagerman, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s troll management biologist for Southeast, said region-wide the hatchery king catch has just been 14 percent of the overall harvest. That’s well below recent averages.“Hatchery fish are also down as well in addition to those wild fish and so with these fisheries designed to target those hatchery fish, without really having many of those in the catch and concerns for those wild fish at this point, we felt like it was no harvestable surplus on those wild fish and any fishery, directed Chinook fishery for troll, or incidental harvest in other salmon fisheries, basically being the chum fishery that we wanted to limit that and basically closing this fishery does that,” Hagerman explained.Fish and Game does test fishing on the Stikine and Taku rivers to determine actual numbers of kings making it back to spawn. The department said record low numbers of Chinook are showing up in the two rivers. Neither river is expected to reach an escapement goal, or the number of fish that managers want to return to the river to spawn. Typically, kings from those two rivers make up 80 percent of the wild king salmon in Southeast Alaska.The season is closed starting Monday, May 29th until further notice. Hagerman said this is a first for a region-wide closure.“This has happened in individual spring areas,” Hagerman said. “We did have an area near Ketchikan last year close for several weeks for this for conservation concerns. But a region-wide closure for a fishery like this has not happened before.”Fishing remains open in some terminal harvest areas around the region, where hatchery salmon are returning. Those are at Neets Bay north of Ketchikan, Anita Bay near Wrangell, Port Armstrong and Hidden Falls on Baranof Island and Deep Inlet near Sitka.The troll fleet’s quota, set under an international treaty with Canada, is not impacted by the closure. Pacific Salmon Treaty kings not caught in the winter and spring seasons will be carried over to the summer season in July.