Alaska/Pacific Coast

Many Alaska fishermen failed to reach salmon harvest goals
KTVA by Associated Press – July 29, 2017
BETHEL, Alaska – Alaska fish surveys show many fishermen did not catch the amount of salmon they were hoping for this season.
http://www.ktva.com/many-alaska-fishermen-failed-reach-salmon-harvest-goals-481/

After A Rocky Start, Unalaska’s Subsistence Salmon Run Hits Target Escapement
KUCB by Zoe Sobel – July 28, 2017
While Unalaska’s biggest subsistence salmon run got off to a slow start this season, it’s now at a sustainable level.
http://kucb.org/post/after-rocky-start-unalaska-s-subsistence-salmon-run-hits-target-escapement

National

Seafood Industry Dodges Border Adjustment Tax
Seafoodnews – July 31, 2017
The seafood industry is breathing a sigh of relief after the White House scrapped the border adjustment tax. The proposed border adjustment tax would have taxed imports and left exports untaxed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNhxtkf94tc

Sen Appropriations Committee Protects NOAA and NMFS Budget From Drastic Cuts
SEAFOODNEWS.COM  by John Sackton – August 1, 2017
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a budget for NOAA last week that is nearly $1 billion higher than the President’s Request, and keeps NOAA overall funding near fiscal year 2017 levels.

The total budget for NOAA in 2017 was 5.67 billion.  The President’s request was for a nearly $1 billion cut, to $4.77 billion for fy 2018.  The committee approved a budget expenditure of $5.59 billion, keeping most NOAA and NMFS program intact.

In fact, overall discretionary spending for NMFS was increased over 2017 levels, from $847.9 million to $867 million, compared to the President’s request to cut NMFS to $821.4 million.

One major area of increase was in NOAA’s operations, research and facilities, where the committee set the spending at $48 million above 2017, and $450.8 million above the budget request.

The key area of fisheries management and data was also increased.

For Fisheries Science and Management  under NMFS, the total 2017 spending was $535.6 million, and was increased by the committee to $556.1 million. The Budget request to cut that to $522.1 million was rejected.

For NMFS as a whole, the discretionary operating budget recommendation was $867 million, and an increase over the  $847.9 million spent in 2017.  The President’s recommendation was to cut this amount to $821.4 million.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Ranking Member of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, said:

“This bipartisan bill continues critical support for programs that help local law enforcement, invest in life-saving research, protect the fishing industry, and promote small businesses. I’m pleased that this legislation rejects most of the egregious cuts and program eliminations proposed in President Trump’s budget.”

Other notes from the committee bill include:

Marine Debris:  The committee included an $500,000 increase in funds for NOAAís marine Debris program, and strongly supports efforts to address the problem in rural and remote communities.

Aleutian Islands Pollock
This special allocation (of 50,000 tons of pollock quota to Adak was first done in 2005, but the Aleutian Islands community of Adak has not realized any benefits from the allocation.  The committee wants a plan to compensate Adak for the quota, rather than just rolling into the BSAI pollock quota as has been done in the past.

“The Committee agrees that the intended beneficiaries should have a right to derive these lost benefits by assigning their Pollock allocation to others for monetary remuneration. Therefore, NMFS is directed to help Adak receive the economic benefits of their originally designated Pollock allocation and shall provide a report to the Committee on such action within 120 days of enactment of this act.”

Red Snapper
The Committee provides $5,000,000 to continue the State-led pilot programs for reef fish management in the Gulf of Mexico, which Congress initially funded in fiscal year 2017. These State-led pilot programs should serve as a test-bed for alternative approaches to reef fish management in off-shore zones designated by each Gulf State in consultation with NMFS. In addition, the Committee continues to direct NMFS to incorporate agency-independent and alternative approaches to stock assessments into the agencyís own stock assessments used for the management of reef fish in the Gulf of Mexico.

The budget also says the Committee urges NOAA to consider allocating not less than 80 percent of any total above 10 million pounds of quota to the recreational sector. While all sectors have faced challenges in the gulf red snapper fishery, the private-boat recreational sector has been especially impacted.

Northeast Groundfish Research
The Committee provides $2,000,000 for groundfish research, with a focus on the effects of changing climatic conditions and warming waters on the fishery, including stock health and natural mortality. NOAA is further encouraged to prioritize research regarding relative gear efficiency and stock boundaries. This funding is intended to support research conducted by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, research conducted separately by or in collaboration with outside partners such as higher education institutions or State agencies, and research conducted in cooperation with the fishing industry.

No Third Party Eco-Labels
The Committee is concerned that the exclusive use or recognition of third-party certifications for seafood sustainability by the Department could have unintended consequences for various domestic fisheries. The Committee acknowledges that some U.S. fisheries voluntarily utilize third-party seafood sustainability certification schemes, but believes it is not the Departmentís role to adopt such certification schemes when doing so could result in the Department arbitrarily influencing the U.S. domestic seafood market. The Committee believes support for third-party certifications is best presented in non-governmental forums. Therefore, the Committee directs the Department not to adopt, use, or promote any third-party certification scheme for seafood sustainability but to instead continue providing consumers with independent and accountable information generated from within the Department including NOAAís FishWatch program.

Other issues that were in the budget included directing the councils to consider recreational economic impacts more fully,  and also directing NMFS to provide funds for electronic monitoring in various ways.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1070602/Sen-Appropriations-Committee-Protects-NOAA-and-NMFS-Budget-From-Drastic-Cuts

International

Russia May Cut Pollock Exports This Year
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Eugene Gerden – August 1, 2017
Russia may cut pollock exports this year amid the ever-growing domestic demand for it, according to recent statements of spokesman Ilya Shestakov, head of Rosrybolovstvo.

Planned cuts are currently not disclosed. However, according to some sources close to the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, they may reach 30% of the total exports of pollock out of Russia, which is estimated at about 800,000 tonnes per year.

According to Rosrybolovstvo data, in the first half of the current year the consumption of pollock in Russia grew by almost two times, compared to the same period of last year.

Currently pollock occupies 15% in the overall consumption of fish in Russia and there is a possibility these figures will continue to grow in the coming years.

One of the major reasons is the ongoing fall in real incomes of Russians, which results in the increase of demand for cheaper pollock.

Currently pollock prices in Russian retail are varied in the range of RUB 130-140 (US $2-$2.50), which is significantly lower prices for other type of fish, and in particular salmon.

According to analysts’ predictions, this year up to 400,000 tonnes of pollock will be supplied to the domestic market. At present the per capita consumption of pollock in Russia is estimated a 2.5 kilograms, compared to 1.9 kilograms in the case of the EU states. In contrast to Western Europe, the demand for white fish in Russia is generally lower than for red.

In general, the financial crisis in Russia has resulted in the decline of total per capita consumption of fish in the country from 22 kg in 2014 to 19 kg per year in 2017. Still, according to Rosrybolovstvo analysts, amid the times of crisis in Russia the average fish consumption of 19 kg per year is a good result for the country’s fishing industry, taking into account that meat consumption in Russia since 2014 has fallen by almost 7 kg.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1070597/Russia-May-Cut-Pollock-Exports-This-Year

Federal Register
Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 07/31/2017
The Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Pacific Council) Highly Migratory Species Management Team (HMSMT) will hold a meeting, which is open to the public.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/07/31/2017-16033/pacific-fishery-management-council-public-meeting

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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August 1, 2017