Alaska/Pacific Coast

AYFN advocates for next generation harvesters
Training young fishermen is a multi-generational task
Cordova Times – April 27, 2017
Harvesting skills are a given, but today’s commercial fishermen also need to know their way through the business side of the industry, from marketing to government regulation, education offered via the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network.

New Bristol Bay advocacy group formed
Cordova Times – April 27, 2017
A new commercial fishermen’s advocacy group, Sustaining Bristol Bay Fisheries, has announced its formation as an entity to amplify the voice of commercial fishing in efforts to protect the Bristol Bay fishery.

Weak run of kings could impact sockeye harvests
Minimum threshold escapement goal for Chinooks in Copper River district is 24,000 fish
Cordova Times Margaret Bauman – April 28, 2017
Forecasts of a very weak run of Chinook salmon have commercial harvesters worried that they will lose a lot of Copper River sockeyes to meet the escapement goals for kings.

2017 sockeye forecast weak for Cook Inlet
Morris News Service-Alaska/Peninsula Clarion by Elizabeth Earl – April 26, 2017
KENAI — Upper Cook Inlet’s commercial salmon fishermen are predicted to have another slow season, if the forecast proves accurate.

West Coast Groundfish Electronic Monitoring Pending NMFS’ Approval
SEAFOODNEWS.COM – April 28, 2017
The Pacific Fishery Management Council has recommended regulations governing the use of electronic equipment to monitor at-sea discards of target, non-target and prohibited fish for certain West Coast groundfish fisheries. If approved by National Marine Fisheries Service, this will mark the culmination of a four-year process to develop and implement regulations for electronic monitoring system use in West Coast groundfish fisheries.

“For many fishing operations, electronic monitoring will provide a more cost-effective way to meet 100 percent monitoring requirements,” Council Member Dorothy Lowman said in a press release. “This will allow fishermen the flexibility to choose the monitoring method that makes the most sense for them while maintaining full accountability.”

Under the West Coast catch share program, every vessel must carry a human observer to help monitor catch that is allocated to each vessel owner, including discards that happen at sea. Each owner has a share of the total catch allocation and the program requires that each vessel have quota to cover its catch of nearly all groundfish species. The catch share program relies on at-sea monitoring to ensure that discards are accurately identified with an estimated weight so that vessel quotas are properly tracked.

However, fishermen must pay as much as $500 per day for an observer and must schedule deployment of an observer when a vessel is ready to fish. The electronic monitoring program is expected to increase flexibility while reducing operating costs for fishermen.

An electronic monitoring system collects video images of fishing activity with cameras, uses gear sensors to trigger recording and monitor use, and includes a global positioning system to collect location data. It stores the information on a computer hard drive for review at a later date at a mainland facility, where a person reviews the video to monitor the fishing activity. Under the West Coast electronic monitoring program, the video images will be used to verify the species and amount of discarded fish that is recorded in a fisherman’s logbook. Observers may still be deployed on vessels to collect scientific data such as fish length measurements, interactions with protected species such as marine mammals and seabirds, and other data to support fisheries management.

The use of electronic monitoring systems would be voluntary and could apply to the midwater trawl fishery for whiting, the midwater rockfish trawl fishery, the bottom trawl fishery, and the fixed gear fishery.

The Council’s decisions were informed by several years of collaborative work with the seafood industry, managers and others to test electronic monitoring systems using exempted fishing permits. An exempted fishing permit allows exemptions from some regulations in order to study the effectiveness, bycatch rate, or other aspects of experimental fishing methods.

“I want to thank the industry and other stakeholders, NMFS West Coast Region, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, and Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission for their help in developing and testing this program, and especially NMFS headquarters for their policy and financial support for establishing the first large scale electronic monitoring regulatory program for U.S. fisheries,” Council Executive Director Chuck Tracy said in a statement.

Some electronic monitoring proponents are urging the expansion of the system beyond groundfish, to the highly migratory species sector, such as in the swordfish deep-set buoy gear proposed EFP. On a national scale, NMFS is exploring the use of EM in New England groundfish and herring/mackerel fisheries, Alaska small boat fixed gear fisheries and some party and charter boat fisheries in the Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico areas.


Russian Pollock Fisheries Begin MSC Recertification Process, Join Industry Group Within MSC
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton – April 28, 2017
The Russian pollock Association signed a five-year review for recertification of the pollock fishery under the MSC at the recent Seafood Expo in Brussels. The signing was attended by the head of the Russian Fisheries Agency Ilya Shestakov and MSC head Rupert Howes.

Shestakov said that in addition to the MSC certification, which he felt confirmed the soundness of Russian Fisheries management, he noted the importance of creating and implementing national environmental certification, which could guarantee the safety of products, maintaining the balance of aquatic ecosystems, as well as provide an alternative tool independently, confirming the quality of products in domestic and foreign markets.

Earlier, the Pollock association joined in the Association of Sustainable Fisheries, which is the industry stakeholder group within the MSC. The meeting of the ASF this year focused on the problems of updating the MSC standards, and the danger than large numbers of fisheries would fail to meet the new requirements.

According to the Pollock Association, the 2.0 standard is of concern because of insufficient detail in some elements which creates significant risks for the certification of trawl fisheries.

Representatives of the Marine Stewardship Council spoke about the work on simplification of certification, preparation of supplements to the certification of “mixed” industries, and changes in the standard of traceability of fish products Chain of Custody.

Another topic was the launch of a program to support industries implementing improvement projects in preparation for the certification.

Separately they also discussed the certification of labor conditions on fisheries.

MSC is currently developing a supplement to the standard, which will probably include the introduction of additional indicators of working conditions assessment. These changes will be reflected in the new version of the standard of the Marine Stewardship Council.

“During the transition period up to 2020 is planned to use the declarative principle, when the MSC certification customers will be required to prepare and publish a public declaration confirming the absence of fishing on forced and child labor. In fact, we are currently witnessing the formation of a new type of certification of fisheries “, said the executive director of the Association of Pollock Aleksey Buglak.

At the meeting, ASF considered alternative standards of independent certification of labor relations, in particular, the British national standard developed by Seafish, which includes elements of the certification of the working conditions. Certificate owners are currently developing a new model that will transform the Seafish Responsible Fisheries Scheme from the national to the global standard. According to the authors, it can be used for independent certification of labor conditions on fishing vessels.


First observations of fine-scale juvenile sablefish movements in the wild reveal behavioral patterns that may influence survival
AFSC News by Christine Baier – April 27, 2017
Sablefish, butterfish, black cod – by any name, people call this fish delicious. Its delicate texture, buttery flavor and rich omega-3 content add up to a high value fishery: while sablefish make up a small portion of commercial catch by volume, their high price generates a lot of income for Alaska’s seafood industry—a big economic bang per fish.

Federal Register

Fisheries Off West Coast States; West Coast Salmon Fisheries; 2017 Management Measures and a Temporary Rule
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 04/28/2017
Through this final rule, NMFS establishes fishery management measures for the 2017 ocean salmon fisheries off Washington, Oregon, and California and the 2018 salmon seasons opening earlier than May 1, 2018. The temporary rule for emergency action (emergency rule), under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), implements the 2017 annual management measures for the West Coast ocean salmon fisheries for the area from the U.S./Canada border to Cape Falcon, OR, from May 1, 2017, through October 28, 2018.


Two Dead Squid In Two Weeks: Coincidence?
KUCB by Zoe Sobel – April 25, 2017
The novelty of seeing a jumbo squid in Unalaska is not wearing off: a second one washed ashore Monday night.

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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April 28, 2017