Alaska/Pacific Coast

NOAA scientists go to sea to collect data crucial to sustainable Alaska fisheries
NOAA News Release – April 28, 2015
Scientists from NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center will embark from Dutch Harbor May 19 on another busy survey season, off Alaska’s coast, collecting data needed for fisheries managers to determine sustainable fishery harvest levels. This year, they’ll be conducting two distinct surveys: the annual eastern Bering Sea continental shelf survey, and the biennial Gulf of Alaska continental shelf survey.

Anticipation Builds as Copper River Salmon Season Approaches
Wild salmon season kicks off with Copper River in mid-May, and continues throughout the summer. Chefs and consumers alike look forward to the season with excitement.
PRWEB Cordova, AK  – April 27, 2015
The Copper River Salmon run kicks off the wild salmon season in the Prince William Sound region of Alaska, delighting diners in top restaurants across the United States. Beginning in April, fishermen begin gearing up their boats for another season on the Copper River. Renowned for its remarkable flavor and high Omega-3 content, the Copper River Sockeye run lasts from mid-May until August and continues into the fall when the Copper River Coho salmon run begins.

Sitka Salmon Shares buys plant, expands its direct sales model

KCAW by Robert Woolsey – April 27, 2015
An academic exercise in direct seafood sales has taken a step toward commercial viability.  Sitka Salmon Shares was organized five years ago by a midwestern college professor interested in connecting individual Alaska fishermen directly with households in Galesburg, Illinois, as a way of teaching sustainable food systems.

East Coast Fishery

Harvesters Begin Second Newfoundland Northern Cod Fishery Improvement Project, Partnering with WWF
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton – April 28, 2015

In an unusual situation, the rebuilding Northern Cod stock in Newfoundland is attracting two rival Fishery Improvement Projects.

Just prior to the Brussels Show, the Newfoundland Association of Seafood Producers announced a FIP on Northern Cod, supported by SFP.

Today, a second project, sponsored by the Harvesters, through their Union – FFAW, and WWF Canada was announced as well.

The FIP is  “is aiming to bring a renowned Newfoundland and Labrador cod fishery that’s been under a fishing moratorium since 1992 back to a healthy level — and eventual commercial viability.”

The northern cod stock in NAFO area 2J3KL has shown clear signs of growth in some areas since 2006, with current trends pointing to even larger increases if current and future fisheries are well managed.  However, the stock rebuilding goals have not been updated since the 1980’s, and DFO says the spawning stock must reach 650,000 tons before they will open the fishery.  At present, the spawning stock is around 200,000 to 250,000 tons, and growing rapidly.  The argument is partly whether to start with a small fishery at a lower biomass target, or wait until the 650,000 tons are reached, and open a significant fishery all at once, on the order of 25,000 to 50,000 tons, and growing from there.

“The goal of this Fisheries Improvement Project is to enable the historic and now recovering northern cod stock to rebuild to the levels necessary for the fisheries, coastal communities and associated industries to thrive,” said David Miller, President and CEO of WWF-Canada. “We are especially proud this is moving forward with the support of FFAW-Unifor and the many inshore fish harvesters whose livelihoods and communities depend on fishing.”

The Seafood Producers of Newfoundland and Labrador (SPONL) and the Fogo Island Co-Op are also backing the project, which is of considerable interest to buyers and retailers in Canada and abroad.

The FIP is a multi-step, multi-stakeholder initiative aiming to improve fishing practices and management to help the northern cod fishery rebuild and meet or exceed the Marine Stewardship Council certification for sustainable fisheries.

“Harvesters and their communities will be those most affected by the management practices of the cod fisheries,” said FFAW President Keith Sullivan. “We are pleased to work with WWF-Canada and other partners who recognize harvesters’ commitment to ensure we build a sustainable northern cod fishery that benefits our coastal communities and the economy of our province.”

The issue behind the two FIPs is disagreement about how the stock should be brought back.  A significant portion of the quotas are controlled by companies that have offshore quotas, and are the heirs to the corporate cod quotas that existed in the 1980’s.  At the same time, there also used to be a thriving inshore cod fishery, made up of small boat harvesters, who operated during the summer months. As cod returns, the questons of allocation and what type of fishery should exist will be hotly debated, and the rival FIPS are a sign that there is no consensus yet.

“The northern cod fishery shaped Canada’s history for hundreds of years, and with the right kind of management and partnerships in place, this incredible part of our ecological and cultural history can continue to shape our future,” said David Miller, WWF-Canada’s President and CEO.

“People everywhere are asking that their fish come from sustainable sources, and this gives fisheries more incentive than ever to enter into community-focused recovery programs.”

In January 2011, WWF-Canada and Icewater Seafoods started Canada’s first FIP in the 3Ps cod fishery off southern Newfoundland. With most cod stocks in the region still recovering from collapse in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the project set out a 3-year action plan — and succeeded. The fishery is now in the final stages of assessment for certification by MSC.


Russian trawler’s demise spurs questions from U.S. competitors
Seattle Times by Hal Bernton –  April 28, 2015
Seattle-based pollock producers say the sinking of the Dalny Vostok, with dozens of fatalities, raises questions about a Russian fishing fleet that has a sustainable-fishing certification.

Labeling and Marketing

Ray Hilborn Asks If the Drive for MPA’s is Environmentally Shortsighted
SEAFOODNEWS.COM  [SeafoodNews] –  April 29 2015
Most NGO’s assume that Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) are an unmitigated good, with little thought to their impact on the global food system.

But, converting large areas of productive fisheries to no-take zones, while appealing to NGO’s, actually may increase global environmental degredation.

The reason, says Professor Ray Hilborn in our latest video, is that marine protein is essential to global food systems, and as countries get richer and consumer more protein, you must ask where that protein will come from.

Already one quarter of all the ice-free landmass on earth is used for grazing animals.  Growing and feeding beef cattle is very land and energy intensive.

Hilborn says “Most ecolabeling systems make no connection between what we do in the oceans and what we do elsewhere.”

He goes on to say that unless you consider how marine protein is going to be replaced, such a narrow view of priorities could make global envinronemtnal problems worse, not better.

To supply the current level of marine protein from land based animals would require an area 22 times larger than all global rainforests put together.

Here is the video:

Federal Register

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Greenland Turbot in the Aleutian Islands Subarea of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 04/29/2015
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Greenland turbot in the Aleutian Islands subarea of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2015 Greenland turbot initial total allowable catch (ITAC) in the Aleutian Islands subarea of the BSAI.


Fishtory by Dave Clark
History and lore of commercial fishing

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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April 29, 2015