State waters pollock working group holds final meeting
Alaska Journal of Commerce by DJ Summers – February 26, 2015
A limited entry state waters pollock fishery could ease some of the impending Gulf of Alaska rationalization headaches, but the experimental permits fishing for pollock with non-trawl gear haven’t yet proven their value.
Nation’s Fishery Scientists Tackle Climate, Ecosystem and Other Uncertainty Issues
Saving Seafood – February 25, 2015
The following was released by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council:
Scientists from throughout the United States gathered Feb. 23 to 25, 2015, in Honolulu to explore ways of incorporating climate, ecosystems and other areas of uncertainty into the sustainable management of the nation’s fisheries. The scientists included 40 representatives from the Scientific and Statistical Committees (SSCs) of the eight Regional Fishery Management Councils (RFMCs), established by Congress in 1976 to manage fisheries operating in the US exclusive economic zone, as well as a dozen fishery experts providing keynote presentations. This week’s public meeting was the fifth gathering of the National SSC. The meeting was hosted by the Western Pacific RFMC, which is based in Honolulu and whose jurisdiction includes Hawai`i, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and eight remote islands in the Pacific. Findings from the meeting will be forwarded to the Councils Coordination Committee, a group of the leadership from the eight RFMCs, which is scheduled to meet June 22 to 25, 2015, in Key West, Fla.
Shellfish at Risk as Ocean Acidity Expected to Rise
The Fish Site – February 27, 2015
GLOBAL – By the end of the century it is predicted that levels of acidity in the oceans will have a pH value of around 7.8 on average, and this will bring with it some serious effects for the aquaculture industry.
Labeling and Marketing
Walmart Launches Sustainability Leaders Program to Empower Customers to Reward Seafood Producers
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton – February 27, 2015
Walmart has been an influential leader in setting how food retailers educate their consumers and manage their supply chains to support sustainable purchasing. Their statements and actions regarding seafood have evolved over time.
The latest program is called ‘Sustainability Leaders’, and is an attempt to mark consumer packages with a Walmart sustainability logo.
Called Sustainability Leaders shop, the portal on Walmart.com builds on the company’s ambition to provide customers more information about products that are affordable and produced in an environmentally and socially responsible way.
Neil Ashe, president and CEO of Walmart Global eCommerce, said, “Our customers can trust us to work with suppliers who have an ongoing commitment to both sustainability and affordability.”
The aim is to give customers who want to use sustainability criteria in their purchasing a vehicle to do so.
“We created Sustainability Leaders to help customers live better. The price for a Sustainability Leaders’ product doesn’t go up when a supplier is badged. It’s the same price today as it was yesterday, ” said Walmart’s statement.
“Since 2007, we have aspired to three broad sustainability goals, one of which is selling products that sustain people and the environment. Empowering our customers to work with us to reward best-in-class companies by purchasing their products is a key next step in achieving this goal. ”
“We’ve heard from our customers that the main barriers in acting on sustainability are: 1) knowing what sustainability actually means; and 2) understanding which companies are doing better than others. ”
To address this issue, Walmart says they will now turn to the sustainability index, created by TSC (The Sustainability Consortium), which grades products across categories. Those products and suppliers which score 80% or higher on the TSC indexes – which are specific to the food and type of product – will be able to display the badge.
This marks a further evolution in Walmart’s taking ownership of how they communicate and purchase sustainable seafood.
In 2006, the company had a huge impact on the US retail sector, when they announced plans to purchase “all of its wild-caught fresh and frozen fish for the United States market from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) -certified fisheries within the next three to five years. “
In 2009, Walmart first established the sustainability index, and began to organize the Sustainability Consortium. The business issue was that they did not want to confuse customers with a plethora of sustainability marks and standards across a range of products. Why should the customer who cares about sustainability have to navigate one system at the seafood counter, a second system in cosmetics, and a third system in paper products.
In 2011, they updated their seafood purchasing policy to say “In our ongoing effort to promote worldwide seafood sustainability, Walmart U. S. and Sam’s Club U. S. require all fresh and frozen, farmed and wild seafood products we sell to become third-party certified as sustainable using Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), or equivalent standards.”
“As our overall goal is to increase the availability of sustainable seafood, we will require currently uncertified fisheries and aquaculture suppliers to develop work plans to achieve certification and report progress biannually. ”
The key change here was first, to accept equivalent standards of seafood sustainability to the Marine Stewardship Council and GAA’s Best Aquaculture Practices, and secondly to recognize improvement programs as acceptable interim strategies for fisheries that were not presently certified.
Today, a new seafood sustainability policy is on their website. It reads (emphasis in the original) :
Walmart U. S. and Sam’s Club require all fresh and frozen, farmed and wild seafood suppliers to source from fisheries who are:
Third-party certified as sustainable using Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP)
Managing a program in accordance with the Principles of Credible Sustainability Programs developed by The Sustainability Consortium. (Third party review must be commissioned and provided upon request)
Actively working toward certification or involved in a Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP) or an Aquaculture Improvement Project (AIP).
The new Sustainability Leaders Program will badge products that meet these guidelines.
This puts to rest any remaining issues Walmart had with Alaska salmon, which flared up two years ago when most of the Alaskan producers withdrew from the MSC program. The salmon fishery is certified by the RFM program to FAO responsible fishing and ecolabeling guidelines, and the RFM program is in the process of revising its governance and structure to meet current international certification standards of the TSC. Last year Walmart accepted Alaska’s RFM salmon certification as meeting the TSC sustainability principles.
As a result, all Alaskan salmon is now qualified to be badged as sustainable under Walmart’s sustainability leaders program.
This evolution in sustainability communication is likely to be followed by other retailers – who all face the same issue of how to communicate sustainability to their customers across a wide range of products.
Bering Sea King Crab Washes Ashore on English Coast
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Mail Online] By Richard Gray – February 26, 2015
A giant species of crab normally found in the freezing waters of the Arctic has washed up on the east coast of England.
Oceanographers have been left baffled as to how the crab, which usually inhabit the icy Bering Sea off the coastline of Alaska, got 4,700 miles from its normal habitat.
The crab was discovered on the beach in Redcar, north Yorkshire by oceanographer David McCreadie and his fiancee Diane Weinoski.
The formidable-looking crustacean was around 30 inches across, although the crabs can grow to have a leg span of up to five feet.
It suggests the crab was still relatively young and may have been swept to the UK by powerful currents or in a storm.
Red king crabs were first introduced to the Barents Sea off northern Russia in the 1960s but have now become so numerous they have overflowed down the west coast of Norway.
Some fisherman fear these massive crabs will devastate native fisheries as they devour almost everything in their path.
Although the crabs can live in a relatively wide range of water temperatures, outside ideal conditions their growth rates are severely hampered.
The crabs are thought to be advancing around 31 miles a year.
But despite the concerns around the crab, the species is protected under a diplomatic accord between Russia and Norway that manages fishing quotas.
Only around 250 Norwegian fishermen are allowed to catch the king crab, despite it being considered a delicacy.
The crabs are increasingly found in the fjords around Norway where they are considered to be an invasive species and can devastate local species.
Some fear that the massive crabs could eventually spread as far south as Spain and Portugal but the sea conditions there are considered to be too warm for them to survive.
David McCreadie, 66, from Great Ayton in north Yorkshire, told the Gazette Live that he had sought the advice of crab expert Dr Normal Sloan, a crab expert in British Columbia, Canada, who confirmed it was a red king crab.
Mr McCreadie said: ‘I have dived as an amateur and professional since 1966 and never seen one anywhere near here before.
‘I have heard that king crabs have migrated under the Arctic ice cap and been found in Norway, but this is so far south.’
The couple found the crab lying on the sands at Redcar on Friday where it was still alive, but when they returned to the beach over the weekend the crab had died.
Red king crabs get their name from the colour they turn when they are cooked.
The average temperature that the crabs live in is between 4 degrees C (39°F) and 10 degrees C (50°F).
Depending on the stage in their life they live at different depths – moving to between 20 and 50 metres by the age of two and down to 200 metres as adults.
Mr McCreadie said: ‘I know my crustaceans and when I saw this one, I knew it was special.
‘I know king crabs are common in the Arctic, especially around Alaska, and they have turned up in Norway recently, but how on earth this one has got so far south, I have no idea.
‘To my knowledge, this is the first one.
‘It could only come from very cold, deep water but we don’t have very cold deep water in the North Sea. Perhaps it was on its summer holidays.’
Watch your mailbox
Deckboss – February 25, 2015
The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association is preparing to survey its members — again — on potentially buying back some of the drift gillnet permits in the Bristol Bay sockeye fishery.
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