Industry Steps in to Protect Economic Value of Bristol Bay Fisheries in Face of ADF&G Budget Cuts
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – August 23, 2017
Over the last three years, in an effort to reduce the state’s budget deficit, Alaska’s Fish and Game budget was reduced by 30%, eliminating projects that informed and supported in-season salmon management, in the Bay and elsewhere.
The cuts begin a cascade of belt-tightening and lost opportunity for the industry: less data from fish monitoring means managers make more cautious decisions which mean less fish are caught. That means a lower economic value which translates to less state tax revenue and ultimately less money redirected to communities. Everyone suffers.
Industry funding has helped. For instance, money for aerial surveys may let a fishery stay open, sampling for age, weight and length of the fish make forecasts more accurate. But the funding was last minute, unsustainable over time, and had the potential of backfiring because legislators could see industry support and think permanent cuts would be covered in the future.
“Historically the industry always chipped in for some of these things,” explained Michael Link, executive director at the Bristol Bay Science and Research Institute (BBSRI).
“We would raise money for the Port Moller test boat, then the state would cut their half and we had to raise more,” he said.
Norm Van Vactor, President and CEO of BBEDC acknowledged that critical projects were being funded in the Bay, but in a haphazard way: one donor funded the Togiak tower, another the Igushik tower.
The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA), also supported counting towers and eliminated the unpopular cost-recovery fishery by donating $180,000 to ADF&G’s research budget.
As in many Alaskan fishing communities, the importance of a fully optimized fishery was important to residents of the Bay.
“ADF&G has a mandate to manage the fisheries to meet escapement goals,” said Link. “But they don’t have a mandate to prosecute an economically viable fishery. So that was important for us to protect.”
“About a year ago we went to the department and said ‘Look, things are grim, there’s a huge likelihood that it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better,’” said Van Vactor.
“Our proposal to the department was that BBSRI is prepared to fund $680,000 for Bristol Bay. In return, we want a committee of four individuals — two from BBSRI and two from the State — that will help determine which projects will get funded.
“Quite frankly, we’re hopeful that this model could be replicated around the state,” he said.
“This proposal represents a grass‐roots initiative… to more formally shore up the Bay’s commercial fisheries management program and stem further cuts,” reads the proposal submitted by Link.
The Bristol Bay Fisheries Collaborative was formed with a Memorandum of Understanding between BBSRI and ADF&G, signed in October 2016. Early on, it announced to industry that it would match each dollar raised in the community.
As of last month, the Collaborative has 26 partner/members: every one of the 12 processors in the Bay; village, borough, and regional communities, transportation and other industries.
“A four-person working group from BBSRI and ADF&G has defined the scope of what keeps the management world-class,” explained Link. On that committee are Link and Jeff Regnart, former Commercial Fish Director for the state.
The list of projects to be funded include Port Moller Test Fisheries, in-river test fisheries on the Ugashik, Egegik, and Kvichak Rivers, the Alagnak River counting tower, Nushagak River sonar, and Aerial surveys of the Naknek and Kvichak watershed.
Link and Van Vactor are both hopeful that some of their projects may be restored in ADF&G’s budget when the state’s financial condition improves.
“The proposed Core Program is similar in scope to what was done 5-7 years ago,” said Link, “and a bit smaller than it was in the mid-to-late 1980s. All BBFC supported projects have been done by ADF&G at some point in the past; these are not “new” projects,” he said.
America’s fresh seafood markets
USA Today by Ashley Day – August 18, 2017
While many travelers aspire to witness giant fish auctions at the crack of dawn in seafood destinations from Japan to Hawaii, stateside offerings have come a long way towards travel worthiness. Sustainability and biodiversity are becoming paramount at America’s seafood markets (and market stalls), which can be a fresh — or live — reflection of the local food scene, and technology makes meal planning all too easy.
MSC teams up with Chinese retailers, IKEA to persuade consumers on sustainability
Seafood Source by Gao Fu Mao – August 21, 2017
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has teamed with WWF and two of China’s upper-crust boutique retailers to promote Sustainable Seafood week in mainland stores, markets and hotels.
Federal fish policy a flop, study finds
Vancouver Sun by Randy Shore – August 21, 2017
Canada has one of the world’s most robust wild-salmon conservation policies, but has largely failed to execute its plan even as many B.C. salmon populations have fallen into crisis, according to a new study.
Labeling and Marketing
Fish database could help eliminate the ultimate bait and switch
Eurek Alert by Katie Cottingham – August 16, 2017
American Chemical Society
Fish fraud, the misrepresentation of cheaper fish as more expensive ones, is a rampant problem worldwide. Now in a study appearing ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists report that they are making strides toward the development of a protein database capable of definitively identifying fish species. This information could help nab imposters of salmon, tuna and other popular fish before they reach people’s plates.
Automatic Pin Bone Removal Technology Sparks Interest
Fishermen’s News – September 1, 2017
The FleXicut technology developed by Marel, based in Reykjavik, Iceland, is used to remove the pin bones and portion cod and other whitefish. Photo courtesy of Marel.
United Fishermen of Alaska Seeking New Executive Director
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Amanda Buckle – August 22, 2017
If you’re passionate about Alaska’s commercial fishing trade industry then the United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) has a job for you. The association is looking to hire a new executive director to report to UFA president Jerry McCune and the board of directors.
UFA was formed to “promote and protect the common interest of Alaska’s commercial fishing industry.” They’re a statewide commercial fishing trade association and represent 33 commercial fishing organizations in the state. UFA is seeking an applicant with experience and knowledge of Alaska fisheries. The executive director will serve as the chief administrative officer and have “full authority and responsibility for managing the affairs of UFA.”
Responsibilities for the position include overseeing UFA activities and staff, directing legislative outreach and lobbying efforts, and planning and coordinating semi-annual meetings. Based on qualifications, the right applicant could have a starting salary of $100,000.
If interested in the position send a resume, cover letter and at least one writing sample to firstname.lastname@example.org. United Fishermen of Alaska is accepting applications up until 5 p.m. Alaska time on Friday, September 22.
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
1900 W Emerson Place Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98119
E-mail: email@example.com; Website: www.pspafish.net
Our office days/hours are Monday-Friday
8:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.
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