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Daily Online Update, Monday – April 9, 2012

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Alaska/Pacific Coast

 

Chum bycatch work continues, IPHC nominees released

ALASKA JOURNAL OF COMMERCE, April 5, 2012

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council continued to refine its alternatives to address chum salmon bycatch by the Bering Sea pollock fleet at its meeting March 30 in Anchorage.

http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/AJOC-April-8-2012/Chum-bycatch-work-continues-IPHC-nominees-released/#

 

Lost fishing gear becoming big threat to Puget Sound marine life

The death of a rescued seal pup, trapped in an underwater tangle of fishing line, shows the deadly toll of lost fishing gear. Old fishing nets, crab pots, lines and hooks ensnare and kill more than half a million sea creatures in Puget Sound every year, according to the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative.

The Seattle Times, April 8, 2012

Most of the seal pups Robin Lindsey tries to save don't make it. That's why Sandy's story seemed especially sweet.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2017939547_seal09m.html?prmid=4939

 

Northwest fishermen don't want to reel in tsunami debris

The Seattle Times, April 6, 2012

SEATTLE -- With a field of debris from last year's tsunami in Japan heading for the U.S., Seattle fishermen worry about running their boats right into it.

http://www.king5.com/news/local/Northwest-fishermen-worry-about-tsunami-debris-heading-our-way-146488075.html

 

Pacific fishermen prepare for major salmon season

San Francisco Gate, April 7, 2012

Federal regulators will allow plenty of opportunity for fishermen to troll for Pacific Coast salmon as biologists forecast a dramatic rebound in populations of the prized fish.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/04/06/BARL1O04I6.DTL

 

Fishermen react to Sitka's proposed herring split shares

SEAFOOD.COM NEWS [Fish Radio] April 9, 2012 
Proposal for equal split shares amongst Sitka’s herring permit holders was voted out by fisheries managers for now. But things could change in years to come. Alaskan fishermen issue their opinions on the recent proposal.  They have asked to remain anonymous for the radio broadcast. "I have supported catch share scenarios. We would have to work out the fine points, if we get to that point. I want to see it move ahead to that. And I think we could work out the herring In such a way that we could be a little more selective, and it would give us the option to go after a better product. And I think for the entire market that would be a big plus." "We are wasting a lot of energy catching the fish the way we are doing it now. We could do things a lot more efficiently. Which on the other side of that would be less jobs." Though it may better the production and the market. Equal shares would take out the fun, derby style fishing for many of its participants. "But I really think the chance to come up here with a boat load of young guys, Like in the gold rush days. The last chance to come up here and just have that money in your pocket and the thrill of success. To me that has enough value in it. By not having the individual quota it enables more of us to participate. It’s good for everyone I think. So for me it’s more of an emotional decision then a money decision." "If everybody is going to split the shares, well then that just takes the fun out of the whole fishery. That’s pretty much the whole reason people come down here, because you can make big money quick or go home a loser." "Allocation to different boats with equal splits with everyone getting an even amount is going to do what the crab thing did to the crew members and everybody else. A lot of people will be out of work, and it takes away from everybody else." "I don’t believe that there is enough support for it in any way. Some people might like it. But there are enough others that don’t." "It’s just scary to put it up on the table and see your fishery changed into this unknown as other people start putting in their angles on it. And you don’t know how it’s going to come out. We know how it is now, and it’s been working as it is. So it makes it kind of hard for me to want to change it." 

 

 

 

East/Gulf Coast

 

Environmental group extends helping hand to fishermen

The South Coast Today news, April 07, 2012

NEW BEDFORD — Representatives of a green group, regarded with suspicion by many in the fishing industry, came to New Bedford Friday with an offer of support for commercial fishermen still struggling to adapt to the quota system of fishery management.

http://m.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120407/NEWS/204070347&template=wapart

 

Consumers Grow More Comfortable With Gulf Seafood

Supermarket News, April 9, 2012

BOSTON  It’s been almost two years since the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and it appears many consumers have overcome their former reservations about eating Gulf seafood, according to recent research presented by the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition at the International Boston Seafood Show here last month.

http://supermarketnews.com/seafood/consumers-grow-more-comfortable-gulf-seafood

 

 

 

Politics

 

Senate capital budget totals $2.6 billion

Package includes $25 million for port, nothing for Knik Arm bridge.

Anchorage Daily News: April 8th, 2012

JUNEAU -- The Senate unveiled its $2.6 billion capital budget over the weekend, a goody-laden bill that includes more than $380 million in earmarked projects for the Anchorage area -- but nothing for the Knik Arm bridge and only a portion of the amount sought for Anchorage port construction.

http://www.adn.com/2012/04/08/2413593/senate-releases-its-capital-budget.html

 

Update: HCR18 - Commercial Fisheries Programs

Sponsored by the House Fisheries Special Committee Relating to an examination of fisheries-related programs to facilitate the entry of young Alaskans into commercial fisheries careers and to collaboration with the University of Alaska fisheries, seafood, and maritime initiative.

Version: CSHCR 18(FSH) AM

Status: PASSED (S) » AWAIT TRANSMIT GOV : 2012-04-07

Contact: Jane Pierson, 465-6841

http://mobile.housemajority.org/item.php?id=27hcr18-183

 

 

National

 

H2B visa changes could dramatically cutback US seafood processing by 2013

SEAFOOD.COM NEWS by Michael Ramsingh April 9, 2012
US seafood processors are bracing for new rule changes to the H-2B Guest Worker Program that, according to processors, will result in dire consequences for the domestic seafood workforce and has the industry asking Congress to establish their own work visa program. The H-2B provision of the DOL rules allow
U.S. employers to bring in foreign nationals for work if employers can establish that the need for workers is temporary and/or seasonal. American employers must also demonstrate that there are not enough American workers who are available and willing to do the work. Set to go into effect April 23 of this year, the changes to the program would force seafood processors into paying substantially more fees to maintain their seasonal foreign workforce through a myriad of new stipulations. According to the Coalition to Save America's Seafood industry the changes to the program that would most directly harm the industry include: requiring processors to commit to their maximum planned contingent of H-2B workers at the start of the season; guaranteeing each worker 35 hours of pay for 12 weeks and 75% of wages should the work be terminated early; requiring processors to recruit nationally and pay for all travel and subsistence costs to the worker; and mandating recruitment of Americans up to 21 days prior to the H-2B worker's start date, even when the employer has already advertised extensively.

More importantly, changes in how the Dept. of Labor calculates prevailing wages for seasonal workers will push up H-2B wages by an average of 32 percent. Taken together, these changes could cripple seafood processing companies that rely on imported migrant labor. The number of H-2B guest workers allowed in the
United States is capped at 66,000 per year. Under the current H-2B rules, for example, processors are allowed to bring in their seasonal workers intermittently throughout the season as production ebbs and flows. However, according to Jack Brooks, who operates Maryland crab processor J.M. Clayton Company and who serves as President of the Coalition, under the new rules, processors will forced to hire all of their workers at the start of the season, and pay them regardless if there's work to be done; a costly endeavor in an industry with no guarantees, where unpredictable weather and production patterns directly impact the amount of employees needed in any given season. “Those things are enough to raise our cost up and put us out of business,” said Brooks. As an example, Brooks alluded to flooding by Tropical Storm Lee in late 2011 that essentially “turned off the crab season like a switch.”Domestic processors are not unfamiliar with labor shortages said Bill Sieling, executive director at the Chesapeake Bay Seafood Industries Association, where attempts were made in 2009 to market jobs to domestic workers, following a work visa shortage that all but stopped the industry in its tracks. Even after a major advertising campaign that included nationally published classifieds, television spots and job fairs, the industry struggled to recruit domestic workers to fill the void left by the H-2B workers.

“We have beat the bushes here in the past and in the short term there is no alternative to what we have now,” said Sieling. In fact, according to a joint study sponsored by the Coalition and conducted by the University of Maryland, South Carolina State University and Louisiana State University, the impending rule changes are predicted to result in over 9,000 Americans losing their jobs across Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Louisiana, valued at a loss of over $200 million to the processing industry. Brooks estimated that as of April 23 roughly half the industry has already been certified for their 2012 foreign work visa workers and the full effect of the changes wouldn't be felt till the 2013 season. For Sharon Carawan, owner of
North Carolina's Mattamuskeet Seafoods, policy makers need to be better educated to the impact of the rule changes on the seafood industry. After a positive meeting with White House officials in March, she is holding out hope that a reevaluation will allow seafood processors to operate with their own set of work visas. “To me, the best thing that could happen would be to put us in a different kind of work visa category,” she said. Brooks also believes the seafood processors should get their own set of temporary work visas apart from the H-2B program, if not he foresees domestic processing leaving the US all together. “I realize the Administration and Department of Labor try and enhance jobs for domestic workers, but the last thing they want to be is be a jobs killer in the seafood industry. That's where it's headed,” said Brooks.

 

 

International

 

Russia, US coast guards meet all week in Juneau

Leaders address illegal fishing, joint actions in countries' waters

Juneau Empire, April 8, 2012

In a reaffirmation of ongoing cooperative efforts, the Russia and U.S. coast guards have finalized and signed an agreement on joint actions dealing with increased vessel traffic and illegal and unreported fishing in the countries’ northern waters.

http://juneauempire.com/state/2012-04-08/russia-us-coast-guards-meet-all-week-juneau#.T4MLnplSlfc

 

 

Environment & Science

 

CONSERVATION IN THE ANTHROPOCENE

Breakthrough Journal,  NO. 2 / FALL 2011

Description: Description: Kareiva - earthlights.jpg

By its own measures, conservation is failing. Biodiversity on Earth continues its rapid decline.1 We continue to lose forests in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.2 There are so few wild tigers and apes that they will be lost forever if current trends continue.3 Simply put, we are losing many more special places and species than we're saving.

http://breakthroughjournal.org/content/authors/peter-kareiva-robert-lalasz-an-1/conservation-in-the-anthropoce.shtml#foot3

 

 

FYI

 

Retailers encouraged not to be stampeded over a cliff on pollock without getting the facts

SEAFOOD.COM NEWS by John Sackton (news analysis) - April 9, 2012
Increasingly in fisheries, retailers are being stampeded into action, much in the manner that native Americans used to be able to stampede ancient buffalo herds. A favorite hunting technique of native Americans was to prepare the ground, and then stampede the buffalo herd in the desired direction - into waiting bands of hunters, or over a cliff or into a cul-de-sac. In seafood the actions of some environmental groups are just as predictable. We have had repeated examples of this attempted retailer stampede - sometimes successful, as in pole and line tuna, and sometimes not, as in the German Greenpeace attempt to scare consumers away from pollock after the Japanese tsunami and radiation disaster last year. The common thread in these stampedes is public pressure on retailers to take a position changing purchase specs in a crisis mode, before scientific information is evaluated or reviewed. In an attempt to head off such a stampede, US pollock producers are asking retailers and other seafood buyers to remember they have a very credible fishery council scientific process that should be used to evaluate pollock habitat issues. The latest attempt is an article published by Greenpeace on data from a 2007 benthic habitat cruise, that led to a stories in the national press that fishing pressure was harming benthic habitat in the Zhemchug and
Pribilof Canyons in the Bering Sea. This is not a new issue before the North Pacific Fisheries Management council. In 2006/2007, the Council requested and reviewed information from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) identifying available information on the Pribilof, Pervenets and Zhemchug canyons as was known at that time, and considered HAPC designation for submarine canyons. The Council ultimately postponed taking action, as scientific information was not available to establish the dependence of managed species on habitat features of the canyons, under the EFH mandate.

Since that time, new information has become available from several sources that merits a re-examination of possible habitat protection and management measures for the Pribilof and Zhemchug canyons, says the council. As a result and after taking testimony at the most recent council meeting, the council voted to ask NOAA scientists to review and summarize existing and new information on the canyons, their habitat and fish association there and for Council staff to scope and prepare a discussion paper on fishing activity in the canyons, past actions for protection in the area, and the process for any potential future action. As part of this review of new information, the council intends to look at scientific papers, including the paper published by Greenpeace following the 2007 cruise, which is the current basis for Greenpeace's canyons campaign. Here is where the plea not to be stampeded comes in. The pollock producers are asking retailers and other seafood buyers to support this process of thorough review, and wait for the scientists' conclusions before calling to restrict fishing and limit the supply of sustainable seafood for American consumers. This review process is open and transparent, and such credible reviews and subsequent action have been the hallmark of the successful fisheries management in the
Bering Sea for the past 35 years. Obviously nothing holds back advocates from making their scientific case to the public whether they are calling for more or fewer restrictions on fishing.

The difference is whether advocates for competing scientific arguments accept the validity of the council process to settle the issue and make a suitable recommendation. Where this process has been allowed to work, unquestionable fisheries management successes have occurred, and have largely been responsible for the new scientific consensus that long term sustainable fisheries are not only possible, but are actually in place in numerous areas with strong fishery management programs. Where the process has been undermined, chaos has generally resulted with little or no agreement on the status of fish stocks nor on the management measures needed. The net result is a patch work of ever changing management practices that leads to enforcement difficulties, wild swings in scientific consensus, and discrediting the whole concept that sustainable fishing is possible. Like the native americans, some groups have an agenda to discourage wild harvests as much as possible, and they can help achieve this by repeatedly stampeding buyers into more and more extreme positions. Which side, as a buyer, would you rather support? That is the underlying question the pollock producers are asking. 

 

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.