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Daily Online Update, Friday – April 13, 2012

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Alaska/Pacific Coast

 

Sitka herring closed, with less than half quota caught; lack of processing capcity a factor

SEAFOOD.COM NEWS [KCAW] by Ed Ronco April 13, 2012
What was poised to be the largest
Sitka herring fishery in recent history has closed with less than half the quota caught. Managers made the announcement Thursday morning to shut down the fishery for the year after three openings. The Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery depends on timing. The fish must be caught when the roe is mature but before the fish spawn. And this year, the fish spawned quickly. In three openings, seiners caught about 13,500 tons - less than half the total guideline harvest level of 28,829 tons. Still, Alaska Department of Fish & Game management biologist Dave Gordon says he has faith in the state's forecasting model. “You know, one thing the model can't do is forecast surprises, and this is really a surprise,” Gordon said. Early in their surveys, state managers saw what they considered a normal buildup of herring in all the usual places. They found some mature fish, but a lot of very immature fish whose eggs weren't ready for harvest. “That changed very quickly, and we were anticipating that might occur, where the more mature fish break away from the immature fish and hit the beaches to spawn,” Gordon said. “That happened very quickly.” There were also gaps in the openings. The first two happened fairly rapidly, on March 31 and April 2. But then the fleet stood down for five days to allow processors a chance to catch up. “The capacity is limited here for this fishery, and always has been, and I'm assuming always will be,” Gordon said. “It would certainly make it a lot easier if we could harvest the whole quota in two or three days. It would certainly get the better quality fish when they're available.” Only so many fish can be physically processed at one time. And with the end product headed for discerning gourmet markets in Japan, having the fish sit around waiting to be processed could risk quality.

ADF&G tracked 54.3 nautical miles of active spawn. Gordon says even though the fishery is over, there could still be more spawning. He says it's too early to explain exactly what happened this year, and that managers will continue to conduct aerial surveys to monitor the spawn. The impact of catching less than half the quota became visible in
Sitka this week. Some seine boats left even before the state announced the end of the year's fishery. “We count on this fishery this time of year to help get the cash flow rolling in instead of rolling out,” said Kelly Warren, who owns two tender vessels participating in this year's fishery - the Howkan and the Bainbridge. Warren says a lot of fish still came out of Sitka Sound this year, and that it's not the first time fishing has needed to stop before the guideline harvest level has been reached. Probably won't be the last, either, he says. But what does that mean financially? “Well, for everybody, it's a little bit different,” Warren said. “I just bought a third boat this year, and it's down in the shipyard being worked on as we speak.” Warren says he was hopeful they'd catch the entire quota and get a jump start on fixing up that third boat. With less than half the expected fish caught, he says he'll take a financial hit, and some adjustments to plans for the rest of the year. But, he adds, sometimes that's just the way it goes. “One of the things that fishermen have that a lot of people don't have is faith. It takes a certain amount of blind faith that when you go fishing you'll catch some fish. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don't, but it's what keeps us coming back.” And until the herring come back next year, Warren says he's off to the rest of his season. One vessel will tender for southeast salmon in June and another one of his boats is heading down to Washington for sardines.

 

Dillingham votes new fish tax for part of Bristol Bay, annexation of Nugashak processing area

SEAFOOD.COM NEWS by John Sackton - April 13, 2012
More Bristol Bay salmon could be subject to a local fish tax if the preliminary vote totals in Dillingham hold up. The community was voting on a hotly contested measure to annex the Nugashak fish processing area into Dillingham, which would allow the community to impose a 2.5% local fish tax. About 5 million sockeye were landed in the Nugashak and the Wood river districts in 2011, and a 2.5% fish tax would have brought about $700,000 in additional revenue for the town. The opponents were primarily concerned that the annexation and tax would foreclose the possibility of organizing a new
Western Aleutian borough, which would need fish taxes from Nugashak and Togiak to survive. If the outcome of the vote hold up, this effort is deemed less likely to succeed. According to Dillingham's Mayor this was one of the most hotly contested issues ever to come before the town, with the preliminary vote totals being 356 in favor and 302 opposed. However, there are still over 100 absentee votes to count, enough to change the outcome.  In anticipation of the successful vote, the city council as already approved a tax and various measures to implement it for this season. 

 

 

 

Observer Program Restructuring Will Simplify Reporting       

KMXT News, Thursday, 12 April 2012 

Fishing vessel owners have just over eight months to get familiar with the new rules of the observer program. NOAA Fisheries has used the program since 1972 to collect data for use in bycatch reduction, stock assessment, protecting certain species, gear research and regulations compliance.

http://www.kmxt.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3703&Itemid=2

 

Angoon residents petition for Southeast salmon closures

ALASKA JOURNAL OF COMMERCE, April 12, 2012

The U.S. secretaries of Interior and Agriculture are considering a petition from the Angoon village corporation to exert federal jurisdiction over state waters in Southeast to protect subsistence harvests of sockeye salmon.
http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/AJOC-April-15-2012/Angoon-residents-petition-for-Southeast-salmon-closures/

 

Fishermen Fear Japanese Tsunami Debris

The Daily Astorian, April 12, 2012

SEASIDE — Commercial albacore fisherman Bob Williams worries about what he might do, thousands of miles out in the ocean alone, if his boat runs into debris from the Japanese tsunami.

http://news.opb.org/article/fishermen_fear_japanese_tsunami_debris/

 

 

Politics

 

Gov. Parnell, Legislators Demand Justice For Late Sen. Ted Stevens

KCAW, April 12, 2012

Governor Sean Parnell and several legislators took part in a rally in Juneau Wednesday, demanding justice for the late U.S. Senator Ted Stevens. 

http://www.alaskapublic.org/2012/04/12/gov-parnell-legislators-demand-justice-for-late-sen-ted-stevens/?

 

 

International

 

Russian 'A' season pollock production declines slightly for second year

SEAFOOD.COM NEWS [seafoodnews] April 13, 2012
Russia's overall pollock landings decreased again in the 2012 A season by 1.9%. This followed a decrease from 4% in 2011 from the prior year. According to the Association of Pollock Fisheries the take for this year's Winter/Spring, Season A pollock season, which began 1 January and ended 9 April, is down 1.9 per cent from last year's. Some 858,600 tons were taken 1 January-9 April this year, compared to 875,400 tonnes last year and 910,130 tonnes in 2010. This resulted in 403,000 tons of H&G pollock; up 4.4 per cent up on last year's Season A figure of 386,000 tonnes. Unprocessed round fish was around 57,700 tonnes, or 21,000 tonnes less than the 78,800 tonnes taken in the same period of last year. Season A's fish meal total is 3,540 tonnes, and 20,500 tonnes of pollock fish flour were produced. About 5000 tons of Russian pollock roe was auctioned in Busan at the end of March with good prices; but now pollock roe is being held off the market by the Russians who fear a price drop. 

 

 

Conflict continues over Norwegian fresh salmon exports to Russia; more shutdowns threatened

SEAFOOD.COM NEWS by John Sackton April 13, 2012
A political and economic fight is continuing over how Norwegian fresh salmon exports to
Russia are handled, and the collateral damage may include further temporary halts to shipments. There appears to be a struggle between some of the existing salmon importers into Russia, and other Russian companies that want to challenge them and are pressing Rosselkhoznadzor to force the Norwegian exporters to open up their markets to a greater extent by dealing with additional Russian companies. Last year, Norway shipped over 100,000 tons of salmon to Russia, most of which was chilled, not frozen. Rosselkhoznadzor (Russia's Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance) has said they have found more instances of salmonella and listeria. According to the assistant head of Rosselkhoznadzor Alexei Alekseenko, "After the spot check in chilled fish, coming from Norway, we found salmonella and listeria". In a note, Rosselkhoznadzor said it would make a decision within a few days as to whether to impose temporary import restrictions against at least 15 Norwegian companies. ? The ban could hit all farm raised chilled salmonids coming from Norway, including trout. Earlier this month, there had been meetings between Rosselkhoznadzor and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (Mattilsynet) and a number of industry participants. According to the executive director of Russia's Fish Union, Sergey Gudkov, who supports the bans, as reported by fishnet.ru, the Norwegian suppliers have lost confidence in the results of tests by Russian laboratories. The Norwegians want more specificity, saying that some of the contamination can originate in transport, but the Russians make no attempt to investigate this. According to Mr. Gudkov, none of suppliers should be exempt from the monitoring scheme. At the same time, supervisory bodies should exchange information on results of monitoring each quarter. This would let Rosselkhoznadzor and Mattilsynet quickly reach accommodation on discovered violations. Cooperation of Rosselkhoznadzor and Mattilsynet should be more transparent for the fish market participants, underlined Mr. Gudkov. Mr. Gudkov said that Mattilsynet still obliges exporters to give information on contracts with Russian importers, while such regulation has been cancelled by Rosselkhoznadzor. Besides, as of 2007 each Norwegian factory has only one exporting company which does not meet norms of international legislation and requirements to WTO member states. Mattilsynet says such practice was due to an oral request of Rosselkhoznadzor. Such a position is unacceptable, said Fish Union's leader. Participants of the meeting have mapped out a number of steps aimed at raising mutual confidence between the market participants and supervisory bodies of Russia and Norway. Those will encourage protection of imported seafood safety. In the meantime, some further disruptions of the market cannot be ruled out. 

 

 

 

Environment & Science

 

Why Letting Salmon Escape Could Benefit Bears and Fishers

Science Daily (Apr. 10, 2012) 

New research suggests that allowing more Pacific salmon to spawn in coastal streams will not only benefit the natural environment, including grizzly bears, but could also lead to more salmon in the ocean and thus larger salmon harvests in the long term -- a win-win for ecosystems and humans.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120410210939.htm

 

 

FYI’s

 

ADF&G press release – April 12 , 2012:

2012 News Release #Aleutian Islands cod

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has published the following news release for immediate viewing on the department's web site.

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/home/news/pdfs/newsreleases/cf/120917694.pdf

 

NOAA Fisheries – Information Bulletin:

April - 40. NMFS Prohibits Directed Fishing for Pacific Cod by Catcher Vessels Using Trawl Gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands

 

NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco Visits NOAA in Seattle

Dr. Jane Lubchenco visited Seattle March 29 and 30, 2012 (with slideshow)

http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/features/lubchenco_visit/lubchenco-visit.cfm

 

NPFMC-IPHC Workshop on Halibut Bycatch Estimation, Halibut Growth and Migration, & Effects on Harvest Strategy; AGENDA April 24-25, 2012 at Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Seattle

 

Two Dead In ComSta Kodiak Shooting

Alaska Public News, April 12, 2012

Two Coast Guard employees assigned to Communications Station Kodiak were found dead this morning, the victims of gunshot wounds. The Coast Guard is not releasing many details, and the FBI is now investigating the deaths.

http://www.alaskapublic.org/2012/04/12/two-dead-in-comsta-kodiak-shooting/?

 

Oceana Looking for Volunteer "Seafood Sleuths" in Seattle

Seattle Weekly Blogs, April 12, 2012

An ocean advocacy organization is giving Seattle consumers the opportunity to replicate a recent study showing that more than one-third of fish sold in south Puget Sound restaurants is mislabeled.

http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/voracious/2012/04/oceana_looking_for_volunteer_s.php

 

ASMI Seafood Recipes:

Alaska Surimi Seafood Cobb Salad

Prep Time: 30 min; Serves: 4

Description: recipe

Ingredients & Directions at http://recipes.alaskaseafood.org/recipe.php?id=90

 

Alaska King Crab in a Lemon-Cilantro Sabayon

Prep Time: 45 min; Cook Time: 10 min; Serves: 8 appetizer servings

Description: recipe

Ingredients & Directions at http://recipes.alaskaseafood.org/recipe.php?id=228

 

Have a Warm Weekend All!

Nancy Diaz

Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeper

Pacific Seafood Processors Association

1900 W Emerson Place Suite 205,

Seattle, WA 98119

Phone: 206.281.1667

E-mail: nancy@pspafish.net

Website: www.pspafish.net

Our office days/hours are Monday-Friday

8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.