Alaska/Pacific Coast

Alaska native corporation buys into Seattle seafood company
Sealaska, an Alaska native corporation, has invested in the seafood industry by acquiring a majority stake in Seattle’s Odyssey Enterprises.
Seattle Times – April 3, 2017
Sealaska, an Alaska native corporation, has acquired a majority interest in Odyssey Enterprises, a Seattle-based seafood processing company that employs some 250 people.
http://www.seattletimes.com/business/alaska-native-corporation-buys-into-seattle-seafood-company/

International

North Korea Becoming Biggest Hub for Sales of Illegal Russian Crab
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Eugene Gerden –  April 5, 2017
The North Korean port of Rajin continues to remain biggest transit hub for illegal sales of Russian crab in Asia-Pacific region.

Russian crab producers are unhappy with the current activities of the National Border Guard Service, regarding with its fight with crab poachers, according to recent statements of Alexander Duplyakov, head of the Russian Association of Crab Producers (RACP).  They are failing to stop regular deliveries of illegal crab to North Korea.

According to Duplyakov, currently about 500 tons of illegal crab supplies from Russia are delivered to the North Korean seaport of Rajin and the Chinese town of Hunchun each month.

Duplyakov has also added that this is equivalent to about 10 crab vessel deliveries, while also saying these figures could be much higher in reality.

In the case of Rajin, according to Duplyakov,  the port remains one of the centers of crab poaching in the entire Asia Pacific region and the biggest transit hub. After the delivery of illegal crab supplies to the port, they are transported by truck throughout China.

These figures are steadily growing. Last year, according to official statistics, the volume of illegal frozen crab imports from North Korea to China amounted to more than 5,000 tons, which is by 17 times higher than in 2015.

At the same time in the case of live crab imports these figures reached 1,600 tonnes. These figures could be higher in reality, since these are offiicially recorded Chinese imports.

The situation is aggravated by extremely low prices for Russian crab, which is sold at a very cheap rate. At the same time, according to the RACP, the volume of illegal supplies of Russian crab to the Chinese cities of Qingdao and Lushan (which, to date, have been transit centers of illegal supplies of Russian crab) have significantly declined in recent months.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1056897/North-Korea-Becoming-Biggest-Hub-for-Sales-of-Illegal-Russian-Crab

Environment/Science

Crabbers, Managers, Scientists Collaborate on Ways to Reduce Whale Entanglements
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Susan Chambers – April 5, 2017
The good news: Populations of humpback and gray whales along the U.S. West Coast have been increasing and are relatively high.

The bad news: A record number of entanglements have taken place, primarily in relation to Dungeness crab gear and mostly off of California.

Various groups have been working with federal managers to brainstorm ideas on ways to avoid damages to both whales and fishing gear. But the ideas have been limited in testing and application. Last week, the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission hosted a workshop in Portland, Ore., with fishermen, gear specialists, biologists, conservation groups and state, federal and tribal managers. The workshop was funded by NOAA’s Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program with assistance from Oregon Sea Grant.

“There are a lot of things the fishing industry has already done that may help avoid entanglements,” PSMFC Executive Director Randy Fisher said in a press release. “For example, while not specifically designed for this purpose, Oregon and Washington have limited crab fishing in spring and summer when there are higher densities of whales here. California has a Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group that is dedicated to working on this issue and Oregon is starting a similar group in the coming months.”

Presentations and discussions with the workshop participants led to suggestions in four different categories:

– Gear innovations and technologies
– Spatial and timing changes in fishing practices
– Removal of lost gear
– Research needs

The Commission will make a full report available later this month.
A summary of the recent Dungeness Crab Task Force executive committee conference call included other options the industry, state lawmakers and managers are working on. State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, recently introduced SB290, intended to “provide funding for whale rescue, rehabilitation and disentanglement efforts,” the summary said. The Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group provided feedback on the bill and Sen. Jackson’s office is interested in maintaining ongoing communication with the industry.

The Whale Protection and Crab Gear Retrieval Act, SB 1287, passed last year and provides an outline for lost fishing gear retrieval. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is designing the details and seeking industry input. CDFW will talk to individuals in each port in the coming weeks.

Some in the industry are cautious that reactions to whale entanglements could come in the form of top-down management dictates if the industry doesn’t take the initiative to tackle the issue on its own. Those concerns continue to grow in light of changing ocean environments that prompt whales to change behaviors, such as feeding in the same areas where crab pots are placed.

The DCTF in October 2016 also recommended to the CDFW that it print double-sided trap tags to aid with whale disentanglement efforts. CDFW confirmed those double-sided tags will be available for the 2017-18 crab season.

“All three states have implemented programs to incentivize the recovery of lost gear to reduce entanglement risk,” Fisher continued in the Commission press release. “The has also been a lot of communication to fishing groups about best practices and how to report entangled whales so they can be relocated and freed of gear by highly trained response teams.”
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1056871/Crabbers-Managers-Scientists-Collaborate-on-Ways-to-Reduce-Whale-Entanglements

Marine research under threat
The Fish Site – April 4, 2017
New plans to pull funding from Alaska Sea Grant a year earlier than previously announced, have inspired director, Paula Cullenberg, to issue an impassioned plea to fellow Alaskans to help save the marine research and education program.
http://www.thefishsite.com/fishnews/29003/marine-research-under-threat/

Federal Register

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Catcher Vessels Using Trawl Gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 04/05/2017
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels using trawl gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the B season apportionment of the 2017 Pacific cod total allowable catch allocated to catcher vessels using trawl gear in the BSAI.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/04/05/2017-06723/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-pacific-cod-by-catcher-vessels-using-trawl-gear

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
1900 W Emerson Place Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98119
Phone: 206.281.1667
E-mail: pspafish@gmail.com; Website: www.pspafish.net
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April 5, 2017