Alaska/Pacific Coast

Chinook concerns weigh heavily on 2018 drift gillnet fishery management in Upper Lynn Canal
KHNS by Abbey Collins – April 13, 2018
This week, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game published the management plan for the drift gillnet fishery in Southeast Alaska. KHNS’s Abbey Collins caught up with Fish and Game Biologist Wyatt Rhea-Fournier in advance of the summer fishing season in Lynn Canal.
https://khns.org/chinook-concerns-weigh-heavily-on-2018-drift-gillnet-fishery-management-in-upper-lynn-canal

Kodiak jig fishermen explore other markets during poor cod season
KMXT by Kayla Desroches – April 12, 2018
Kodiak processors and fishermen are seeing the effects of the 80 percent cut to cod quota in the Gulf of Alaska.
http://kmxt.org/2018/04/kodiak-jig-fishermen-explore-markets-poor-cod-season/

Conservationists, West Coast bottom fishermen embrace ‘grand bargain’
The plan approved by a federal fishery council will keep nets out of sensitive areas while opening up prime fishing grounds. The intent is more fresh fish coming to markets and better protection for coral, sponges and other sea-bottom animals and formations.
Seattle Times by Hal Bernton – April 14, 2018
People who love fresh Northwest seafood and the sea should take note of what happened recently in a hotel conference room by Portland’s airport.
https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/conservationists-west-coast-bottom-fishermen-embrace-grand-bargain/

West Coast Trawlers Landed 20 Million More Pounds in 2017 as Rockfish Rule Changes Take Hold
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Susan Chambers – April 13, 2018
A major West Coast fishery once declared a disaster could add new jobs, increase economic activity and cut outdated red tape – all while creating one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world, according to new analysis of the fishery.

Recent examination shows West Coast trawlers had a landings increase of nearly 20 million pounds in 2017, bringing in enough new sustainable American seafood to feed almost the entire population of California a delicious filet of seafood tonight, according to a statement from the Environmental Defense Fund. A new trawl exempted fishing permit (EFP) is contributing to this increase.

A handful of rockfish species were declared overfished in the early 2000s, necessitating steep cuts to annual catch limits. The fishery was declared a failure and several fishermen left the business after a federal permit buyout program went into effect. A new trawl quota management regime, or catch shares, was implemented in 2011 — when the trawl fleet was down to about 120 working vessels. They were held to both old and new management constraints and processors had lost retail market space due to low volumes being landed.

Things are changing. Several species have been rebuilt, allowing higher ACLs, but trawlers remain tethered to archaic regulations.

This EFP, started in 2017 and expanded in 2018, is demonstrating that certain outdated regulations focused on the types of gear fishermen can use in certain areas are no longer necessary. The fishery encompasses more than 90 species of fish including rockfish, Dover sole and lingcod.

“We have worked hard to bring this fishery back sustainably, and this change will help us realize all the benefits of that work,” said Mike Retherford, Jr., a commercial fisherman out of Newport, Oregon, fishing in the pilot project.

The EFP allows participating fishermen to operate free of these outdated regulations and instead relies on a conservation approach adopted by the fishery in 2011. It focuses on individual accountability using catch shares and full fishery monitoring to create long-term incentives for conservation.

“This is a great example of what can be achieved when stakeholders work together,” West Coast Seafood Processors Association Executive Director Lori Steele said in a press release. “We’re only into the first quarter of the year and we have already seen an additional $5 million injected into our fishing communities from this pilot.”

An economic analysis of a select group of fish being caught in this limited EFP shows the potential across the fleet to create more than 400 new jobs and more than $35 million in economic activity per year in West Coast communities. If the entire fishery is able to realize these benefits, the economic reward could equal more than $100 million dollars per year.

“This is a demonstration that commercial gains can go hand-in-hand with environmental performance and accountability,” Pacific Seafood Fisheries Policy and Management Advisor Mike Okoniewski said in the statement. “We’re proud of the results we’re delivering for customers and the American public who entrust us as stewards of this resource.”

Catch shares take the science-based catch limit for the fishery and divide the total sustainable amount of fish that can be caught into sectors. The trawl sector is further broken down into individual quotas each fisherman can catch throughout the year. Once implemented, catch shares ensure fishermen stay within the fishery’s sustainable limit while giving them a direct stake in its success and the flexibility to fish when it make sense for not only the fishermen but the processors and ultimate markets as well.

“After the federal disaster declaration in 2000, the fishery was struggling to recover and we all worked together to design a system that could work for conservation and fishing businesses,” said Shems Jud, West Coast director for Environmental Defense Fund’s Oceans program. “Catch shares and accountability are delivering strong conservation benefits and it’s time to get rid of these outdated regulations.”

Since 2011 the fishery has reduced discarding, or wasted bycatch, by 80 percent. In 2014 the fishery was certified by the Marine Stewardship Council and received upgraded ratings for several species from Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. In addition, six species caught in the fishery that were once declared overfished have been certified as rebuilt by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Environmental Defense Fund, Pacific Seafood, the West Coast Seafood Processors Association, the Oregon Trawl Commission and many others are asking that the elimination of these outdated regulations be made permanent. The Council approved the bulk of the trawl gear changes in March 2016. NMFS is still working on the analysis to support the regulation changes.
https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1098712/West-Coast-Trawlers-Landed-20-Million-More-Pounds-in-2017-as-Rockfish-Rule-Changes-Take-Hold

Labeling and Marketing

3MMI – Up to 25 Million Pounds LESS Chum Salmon This Year
TradexFoods – April 16, 2018
According to forecasts by the Alaskan Department of Fish and Game there will be a 62 percent reduction from 2017 on King Salmon harvest, Pink Salmon to see 72 million fewer fish in 2018, Sockeye’s look to be steady numbers projected, Chum Salmon harvest show a 16 percent reduction…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcshCYMAJUM

Federal Register

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Catcher Vessels Less Than 60 Feet (18.3 Meters) Length Overall Using Jig or Hook-and-Line Gear in the Bogoslof Pacific Cod Exemption Area in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 04/13/2018
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 meters (m)) length overall (LOA) using jig or hook-and-line gear in the Bogoslof Pacific cod exemption area of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the limit of Pacific cod for catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using jig or hook-and-line gear in the Bogoslof Pacific cod exemption area in the BSAI.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/04/13/2018-07706/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-pacific-cod-by-catcher-vessels-less-than-60-feet

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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E-mail: pspafish@gmail.com; Website: www.pspafish.net
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April 16, 2018