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Daily Online Update, Friday - February 17, 2012


Alaska/Pacific Coast


Pebble mine developers aim for permitting process this year

ADN: February 16th, 2012

JUNEAU -- An executive says the goal is to move toward permitting for a massive copper and gold prospect near the headwaters of Bristol Bay as early as this year.


Lights Out on Cold Bay Runway?, February 15, 2012

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(FAA) Part of the Cold Bay airport could be left in the dark. The Federal Aviation Administration is considering decommissioning the approach lights on one of the runways, which could impact air travel to the Aleutian region.


Fishermen spar with bycatch cuts delayed


SEATTLE — Less than a year after telling the public Gulf of Alaska halibut bycatch would be reduced in 2012, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council has bowed to a variety of pressures from bureaucratic to biological, and cuts won’t take effect until at least 2014.


Alaska Sea Grant Publication About Ocean Acidification 02/15/12

KDLG, February 15, 2012

Description: Description: Description: Stream audio (broadband). Listen to audio | Description: Description: Description: Download audio (dial-up). Right-click to save target as. Download audio (6:14)

Many scientists are raising concerns about the impacts of ocean acidification on fish and shellfish species across the globe. A new publication from the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program outlines how the phenomenon could impact Alaska. KDLG's Mike Mason has the details. (6:14)





House OKs bill opening ANWR to oil drilling

UPHILL BATTLE: Bill is likely to die in the Senate, backers say.

Anchorage Daily News, February 17, 2012

The U.S. House once again passed a bill to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, voting 237-187 Thursday on a measure expected to die in the Senate.


House passes extension of payroll tax cut

The Washington Post, Friday, February 17, 2012

The House passed a $150 billion economic package Friday, extending for the rest of the year a payroll tax holiday for 160 million workers and unemployment benefits for millions of others. The bill now goes to the Senate for its expected approval.






NMFS budget expands catch share funding, stock assessment but decreases overall

SEAFOOD.COM NEWS by John Sackton - Feb 17, 2012

NOAA released its detailed budget document today, and the top line for the National Marine Fisheries Service is a requested appropriation of $1.001 billion, a decrease of $15 million from the actual 2010 enacted budget. NOAA says 'This budget request supports NOAA and the Department of Commerce's (DOC) efforts to conserve, protect, and manage living marine resources in a way that ensures their continuation as functioning components of marine ecosystems, affords economic opportunities, and enhances the quality of life for the American public.' The decrease has come primarily from reductions in headquarters expenditure. Overall, employment will rise by about 75 positions. Total NMFS employment is 2,897 full time equivalent positions. The largest increase in funding ($36 million) goes to a new line called national catch share programs. However, the agency does not predict an increase in catch share programs over the next five years. Instead, most of this money is to pay for implementation, observer coverage, monitoring and other costs that cannot be passed on for cost recovery to the industry at this time, especially in the Northeast. The budget document says "Key catch share programs, such as the Northeast Multispecies sector program, the West Coast Trawl Individual Quota program and the Gulf of Mexico Grouper and Tilefish program will be supported by this increase. The transition in New England, which began in 2009, to sector management (a type of catch share program) for the Northeast multispecies fishery will improve the economic health of the fishing industry while also meeting conservation mandates. The Northeast Multispecies Fishery is one of the most important U.S. fisheries. The fishery has problems with overcapacity and quotas have been significantly reduced in order to end overfishing and rebuild those stocks, causing significant short term revenue losses to the industry. NOAA's investment in this catch share program, particularly for fishery monitoring, is critical to ensure that the program succeeds and the fishery is maintained until the stocks rebuild further, revenues increase and the industry can pay more of the costs." The rationale for catch shares is that NOAA believes these programs are the best way to rebuild fish stocks to maximum sustainable yield, which would lead to a 54% increase in overall value of US fisheries when achieved, worth more than $2 billion at the dock. Other budget highlights include an increase of $5.5M to support the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Marine Mammal Protection Act. Stock assessments and fisheries research will increase by $15 million. "The Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) mandates establishment of annual catch limits (ACLs) in all fisheries by 2011 to prevent overfishing. NMFS will increase capacity to conduct stock assessments in FY 2012. Adequate stock assessments increase economic opportunities by allowing optimum catch levels to be set without risking overfishing and harm to the marine ecosystem. NMFS will prioritize assessments using the following criteria: 1) valuable stocks and associated fishery-limiting stocks with high uncertainty influencing ACLs, 2) intensity of fishing, 3) stock abundance, 4) updating outdated assessments, 5) economic and ecologic importance of the stock, and 6) synergistic factors. " Also $3 million additional will be spent for recreational fisheries assessment and monitoring. One very negative feature in the budget is a transfer of about $17 million from cooperative research programs to the catch share program. Cooperative research is used for the payments NMFS makes to industry, often including matching industry funds, for work involving commercial vessel, gear modifications, and other developments which have had spectacular success in areas such as bycatch reduction. Many in the industry are strongly opposed to any weakening of commitments to cooperative research. Finally, overall the NOAA budget went up from $4.7 billion to $5.5 billion, an increase of nearly $750 million. NMFS is losing ground within the overall budget. At a budget briefing yesterday, this was partly explained as due to the costs of maintaining the US satellite network run by NOAA. The Marine Conservation Alliance strongly urged Congress to fund adequately the satellite program so as not to cripple other NOAA activities.






US testing our tuna

Port Lincoln Times, 16 Feb, 2012

A TEAM of scientists has come all the way from the United States to Port Lincoln to study southern bluefin tuna.


Norway asked to reduce salmon netting, February 16, 2012

The Russian Government and the European Union (EU) Fisheries Commission support the North Atlantic Salmon Fund's (NASF) campaign to curb Norwegian salmon netting. Since 1994, NASF and its international partners have pushed to close the Norwegian commercial salmon fishery in Finnmark because of the nets' environmental impact.


NZ scours restaurants for black-market fish       

Wednesday, 15 February 2012 10:21 

THE New Zealand government has warned that restaurants and takeaways need to do their bit to shut down the black-market fish trade and support both sustainable fisheries and food safety.


BC packers expect better year for roe herring, with February start

SEAFOOD.COM NEWS [Japan Reports] Tokyo Feb 17, 2012

British Columbia packers set roe herring production projections for this year; the season likely to start late in February at the earliest. The scale of roe herring fishing in British Columbia for this coming season has been developed, with catch allocations established for local packers. According to Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), the number of entries finalized on January 15--indicating the scale of fishing vessels' planned operation--showed that 249 purse-seine fishing vessels and 1,172 gillnet fishing vessels would participate. The number of purse-seiners will be more or less the same as a year before, while that of gillnetters showed a slightly lower figure. The overall catch quota of 13,000 short tons will be divided equally among the vessels making entry, with allocation made to license holders, deciding the estimated catch target of each packer. By packer, as Ocean, one of major packers, announced to integrate with CFC, the largest packer, last June, its production will be unified with that of CFC this year. On the other hand, Bela Coola, which was absorbed into Ocean, will produce on its own this year based on the leasing contract with CFC. At any rate, the major focus of attention this season is whether purse-seine vessels in the Gulf area, which cancelled their operation last year because of smaller size of fish, can go out for fishing.  Last year, packers reached consensus on trying to restrain overall landings in a bid to curtail excessive supply. In point of fact, more than half of the catch quotas--sizably increased after eight years--were left uncaught last year, with the overall catch volumes falling to around 7,200 short tons, as purse-seiners in the Gulf area concentrated on the catch of under-valued small-size fish. This year, however, good news is reported in the industry: such as exports of roe herring--which had been banned until last year —are on a track toward resumption on a realistic tone and sales of herring roe (kazunoko) in Japan showed a “very good result” during the end-of-the-year sales season. This favorable information, for example, prompted gillnet fishing license fee to rise from $1,500 last year partly to $2,100. Judging from a series of such moves, the view is prevalent in the industry that purse-seiners will most probably catch all of their quotas unless the fish size is extremely small. The fishing season is expected to open around the end of February at the earliest, depending on fish migration. Last year, first landings from gillnet fishing were postponed to March 13 as fishermen refrained from catch of small-size fish at the start of the season. By contrast, in the 2010 season, the opening was as early as February 26. In all seasons, fishing started with gillnetting in the Gulf area.




Environment & Science


Protecting oceans: Scientists close to creating mobile marine protected areas


Description: Scientists say, thanks to technological advances, they may soon be able to create marine protected areas ithat move according to where threatened species swim. 

Scientists say, thanks to technological advances, they may soon be able to create marine protected areas ithat move according to where threatened species swim. Scientists could soon be able to create marine protected areas in the world’s oceans that move according to where threatened species swim.





ProFish announces MSC chain of custody certification

SEAFOOD.COM NEWS [] Feb 17, 2012

Profish, a major distributor in the Washington DC area operated by OceanPro, Inc., has become the first distributor in the Potomac region to achieve an MSC chain of custody designation. This means ProFish may now sell seafood products bearing the blue MSC ecolabel. Gregory J. Casten, President, said: “We view this as a real accomplishment. With our commitment to bringing knowledge regarding sustainable seafood, having MSC certification was an absolute must. Traceability in seafood is the way of the future and we are proud to be entrusted with this certification.” John Rorapaugh, Director or Sustainable Operations at OceanPro put it this way: “I feel MSC certification has placed an exclamation point on our 10-year sustainable seafood journey. MSC certification is a sustainable stamp of confidence that our customers are familiar with and trust.” Kerry Coughlin, MSC Regional Director, Americas, said, “We're pleased to welcome ProFish into the MSC program. They have worked to be in a position to offer a selection of MSC-certified sustainable seafood and now, with Chain of Custody certification, they can demonstrate to their customers their commitment, vision and leadership.” ProFish will now supply its customers with MSC-certified fresh and frozen seafood products that include salmon, tuna, cod, haddock, several species of prawn, shrimp, crab, sablefish, pollock, swordfish, flounder, hake, Patagonian toothfish, and Pacific halibut.



Alaska editorial: A welcome expansion

Juneau Empire, February 17, 2012 - 12:04am

This editorial first appeared in the Ketchikan Daily News:

The sale of Alaska Ship & Drydock is the only way to build Ketchikan Shipyard into a world-class facility.

Nancy Diaz

Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeper

Pacific Seafood Processors Association

1900 W Emerson Place Suite 205,

Seattle, WA 98119

Phone: 206.281.1667



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