Alaska/Pacific Coast

Members of the Fishing Industry Discuss How to Find and Educate Workers
Speakers Julie Matweyou and Oliver Holm at a ComFish panel about the Alaska Maritime Workforce Development Plan. Kayla Desroches/KMXT
KMXT.org – April 6, 2015
Groups across Alaska want to keep the fishing industry strong and steady and increase the number of people who pursue maritime careers.
http://www.kmxt.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6450&Itemid=2

Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program (BREP)
NOAA – April 2015
NOAA Fisheries’ Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch. Our mission is to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.
http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/by_catch/bycatch_BREP.htm

Fishing Worsens Forage Fish Population Collapses
The Fish Site –  April 7, 2015
US – Fishing has exacerbated collapses in forage fish populations, leading to a need for more sustainable management practices, shows a new study from the University of Washington.
http://www.thefishsite.com/fishnews/25424/fishing-worsens-forage-fish-population-collapses/

Environment/Science

Early Results of Innovative NZ Precision Seafood Harvesting Exceed Expectations for Fish Survival
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] – April 7, 2015

The first set of results are in from two years of testing on New Zealand’s new Precision Seafood Harvesting method and scientists say already they can see that the survival rates for fish are better than expected.

The new way to fish is a potential replacement for traditional fishing methods.  It is a large, flexible PVC liner with specifically sized holes along its length that allow undersized fish to escape before they are even brought on board a fishing vessel.

And the fish which are brought on board stay in great condition because they are still swimming in the liner when they are on the deck.  That means they are less stressed and much less likely to be injured.

Alistair Jerrett, the Science Group Leader from Plant and Food Research says so far the results are excellent.

“We were certainly hopeful that we’d improve the survivability rates for the fish we were catching, but already it’s better than we expected.  Typically, snapper harvested with the PSH system have a 100% chance of survival if they’re fished from a depth of 0-20 meters.  For snapper taken from deeper water, from 20-90 meters, the survivability number is 79% and we’re going to get better and better.”

Dave Woods, the Programme Manager for PSH says a fully functioning and commercialised PSH has huge potential to increase the sustainability of New Zealand’s fisheries.

“The objective is to massively increase the proportion of small fish or unwanted by-catch that can be returned to the sea completely unharmed by our fishing.  It’s about the future of our fisheries and about the future of our seas – helping to ensure our oceans are full of life.”

As well as taking better care of the fish, this new way to fish also opens up new potential markets and opportunities for better quality fish being delivered to consumers.

Greg Johansson, COO at Sanford says the commercial opportunities are huge.

“It changes the way fish can be brought to market. We can offer more great quality fish to consumers and there are new opportunities for higher end product.  It all increases the value of the products we can offer and in turn, the value of the industry.  The story of how the fish is caught is increasingly important for consumers and this new method is a great New Zealand story, that will potentially change the way the world fishes.”

Precision Seafood Harvesting is the commercialisation phase of nearly ten years of New Zealand research. Three major New Zealand fishing companies are involved.  Aotearoa Fisheries, Sanford and Sealord are investing $26 million between them into the programme.  The other half of the funding for comes the Ministry for Primary Industries, which is matching the industry investment under a Primary Growth Partnership.  Scientists at Plant & Food Research are working with the fishing companies to develop and trial the technology on commercial fishing vessels.

Suzy Black, a senior scientist on the project says it’s been a pleasure to work with the commercial fishers on developing this new way to fish.

“I didn’t think that in my career I would have the privilege of being a part of such an awesome programme.  We’re getting huge support from our industry which we might not have expected ten years ago, but they are fantastic to work with and ultimately we are making fishing better and potentially turning it on its head.”

And Precision Seafood Harvesting has already won multiple awards for innovation including the Supreme Award and the Innovation in Sustainability & Clean-Tech Award at the 2014 NEW ZEALAND INNOVATOR AWARDS and two major categories at the KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards last year.

However scientists are cautioning against too much excitement too early with the new technology.

Dave Woods, from PSH says there is still plenty of work to do.

“We are absolutely thrilled with the results so far and there’s no doubt the results on survivability are better than many of us were hoping for but we are only part way through the process.  We need to test  PSH on more species and in a greater variety of conditions.  We are only in the third year of a six year programme, so there is plenty of science still to be done.”

Alistair Jerrett says they also need to deal with the issue of fish being a little too relaxed when they’re in the PSH tube.  “We were hoping many more undersized fish would take advantage of the built in escape zones while the PSH was underwater, but it seems that snapper in particular are a little too happy to hang out in the tube.  So we are devising ways to encourage more of them to head for the escape zones and out into the open water.”

Testing now continues on new configurations of the fishing technology and scientists say they’re aware that the eyes of New Zealand and the world are on the progress of this technology.

Dorje Strang of Sealord Group Ltd says one area of focus will be deep water.

“We want to look at how the system operates in the deep waters off the South Island and particularly on vessels that are fishing for hoki.  Continuing to test for different species and at different depths is cruicial to developing the most robust technology possible that can potentially work across the entire fishing fleet.”

Steve Tarrant, General Manager at Aotearoa Fisheries Limited says this is a system all kiwis can be proud of.

“This is a great example of New Zealand innovation at its best.  We are very proud of what we’ve done so far and we hope as things progress more New Zealanders will get a sense of why we’re so excited about what we have here.  This is a revolution in fishing and we are leading the way.”
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/970725/Early-Results-of-Innovative-NZ-Precision-Seafood-Harvesting-Exceed-Expectations-for-Fish-Survival

Labeling and Marketing

Orca Bay’s Retail Line of Seafood Products Verified by the Non-GMO Project
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] April 7, 2015

Orca Bay Seafoods’ line of retail seafood products have been approved by the Non-GMO Project to officially carry its verified Non-GMO label.

The Non-GMO Project was founded by retailers motivated by the idea that consumers in North America should have access to clearly-labeled non-GMO food and products. The “Non-GMO Project Verified seal” indicates that the product has gone through the entire verification process including ongoing testing, proof of rigorous traceability and segregation practices as well as annual maintenance audits.

Orca Bay’s products that are now eligible for the Non-GMO verified logo are:  Ahi Tuna Yellowfin Steaks, Alaska Cod Fillets, Alaska Pollock Fillets, Cod Fillets, Flounder Fillets, Haddock Fillets, Halibut Steaks, Keta Salmon Fillets, Mahi Mahi Fillets, Ocean Perch Fillets, Pacific Salmon Fillets, Scallops, Sockeye Salmon Fillets, and Swordfish Steaks.

“At Orca Bay we value not only responsible stewardship and wise business practices but also the transparency of what is in food products – we are all consumers at the end of the day,” said Lilani Estacio, Marketing and Communications Manager.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/970755/Orca-Bays-Retail-Line-of-Seafood-Products-Verified-by-the-Non-GMO-Project

Federal Register

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Northern Rockfish in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 04/07/2015
NMFS is opening directed fishing for northern rockfish in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI). This action is necessary to fully use the 2015 total allowable catch (TAC) of northern rockfish in the BSAI.
https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/04/07/2015-07942/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-northern-rockfish-in-the-bering-sea-and-aleutian?utm_campaign=subscription+mailing+list&utm_medium=email&utm_source=federalregister.gov

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Catcher/Processors Using Hook-and-Line Gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 04/07/2015
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher/processors using hook-and-line gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season allowance of the 2015 Pacific cod total allowable catch apportioned to catcher/processors using hook-and-line gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA.
https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/04/07/2015-07938/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-pacific-cod-by-catcherprocessors-using?utm_campaign=subscription+mailing+list&utm_medium=email&utm_source=federalregister.gov

FYI’s

Sitka’s fish-to-schools a ‘success story’ at foods conference
KCAW by Robert Woolsey  – April 6, 2015
Sitka’s Fish-to-Schools program was one of the featured presentations last week at a regional meeting on sustainable food systems.
http://www.ktoo.org/2015/04/06/sitkas-fish-to-schools-a-success-story-at-foods-conference/

Albatross Bycatch Avoidance in Alaska Longline Fisheries
Please join us for an albatross bycatch information meeting.
http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/seabirds/workshop-akalbatross2015.pdf

To Attract Fishing Boats, Start With Infrastructure Say Fishermen at Seward Meeting
Seward City News by Rick Smeriglio – April 6, 2015
The Seward fishing community showed up in force at a mid-day work session of City Council and the Port and Commerce Advisory Board. Council and PACAB had a question: How do we attract fishing boats to Seward? The fishermen and women had an answer: build more infrastructure and develop marine service businesses. Seward fishermen have pressed for a public crane in the small boat harbor and may get one in a year or two, but they made it clear that a crane alone will not persuade fishing families to settle in Seward with their boats.
http://sewardcitynews.com/2015/04/to-attract-fishing-boats-start-with-infrastructure-say-fishermen-at-seward-meeting/

IN BRIEF – USD 2.5 Million Available for Your Innovative Bycatch Solutions
FIS.COM – April 07, 2015
BREP is now accepting project proposals for your ideas to reduce bycatch in our nation’s marine fisheries. Approximately USD 2.5 million is available to fishermen, academics, and other interested groups for projects that offer practical engineering and technological solutions to reduce bycatch.
http://fis.com/fis/worldnews/search_brief.asp?l=e&id=75636&ndb=1

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
Our office days/hours are Monday-Friday
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April 7, 2015