Alaska/Pacific Coast

2016 Kenai Classic Roundtable Addresses Alternative Fishery Management Solutions
Discussion Draws Most Influential Voices in Recreational Fishing Community
Business Wire – August 25, 2016
SOLDOTNA, Alaska–The fourth Annual Kenai Classic Roundtable on National Recreational Fishing brought together leaders from all segments of the recreational fishing community. The panelists gathered on Wednesday, August 17, at Kenai Peninsula College to examine alternative solutions for current fishery management issues. They discussed several innovative strategies for the management of mixed-use fisheries, and ultimately put forward solutions that could be beneficial to all fishery stakeholders.
http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160825005709/en/2016-Kenai-Classic-Roundtable-Addresses-Alternative-Fishery

Upper Cook Inlet commercial fishing winds down
Peninsula Clarion by Elizabeth Earl – August 25, 2016
The boom of fish the commercial operations in Upper Cook Inlet expected never arrived this year.
http://peninsulaclarion.com/news/2016-08-25/upper-cook-inlet-commercial-fishing-winds-down

Environment/Science

Scientists looking to understand future ocean acidification effects on commercial fishing
KATU.com by Steve Benham – August 26, 2016
NEWPORT, Ore. — The future is now at the Hatfield Marine Science Center.
In the facility’s laboratories scientists are creating conditions to resemble ocean conditions years from now. The goal is to find out how sea life will react to higher levels of ocean acidification that climate change scientists predict will occur in the not-to-distant future.
http://katu.com/news/local/researchers-looking-to-understand-future-ocean-acidification-effects-on-fishing

BOEM takes comments on Cook Inlet lease sale
Peninsula Clarion by Elizabeth Earl – August 24, 2016
KENAI — A few Kenai-area residents turned out Aug. 18 to offer their advice on a draft environmental impact statement for a proposed oil and gas lease sale in Lower Cook Inlet.
http://www.alaskajournal.com/2016-08-24/boem-takes-comments-cook-inlet-lease-sale#.V8BWhLVOFA6

Wakefield Fisheries Symposium Will Focus on Climate Change
Fishermen’s News – August 24, 2016
The 31st Wakefield Fisheries Symposium, set for May 9-12, 2017 in Anchorage, will focus on impacts of the environment on dynamics of Arctic and subarctic species of commercial, subsistence and ecological importance.
http://fnonlinenews.blogspot.com/2016/08/wakefield-fisheries-symposium-will.html

FYI’s

Nominate a White House Champion of Change for Sustainable Seafood
Whitehouse.gov by Secretary Penny Pritzker, Christy Goldfuss – August 10, 2016
Summary: Help us identify Champions who are helping the ongoing recovery of America’s fishing industry and fishing communities.
https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/08/10/nominate-white-house-champion-change-sustainable-seafood

UAS adds two new professors in Marine Fisheries program
Capital City Weekly by Staff Report – August 24, 2016
JUNEAU — Keith Cox and Michael Navarro joined the University of Alaska Southeast as assistant professors of Marine Fisheries this fall.
http://www.capitalcityweekly.com/stories/082416/new_1270057997.shtml

Why Do Schools of Fish Seem to Know One Hand From the Other?
New York Times by C. Claiborne Ray – August 22, 2016
Q. I observed a school of fish swirling around in a clockwise manner. Do they all do that?

A. Schools of fish swim in either direction, and scientists have not determined what factors determine it. The synchronized behavior of schools of fish is a source of fascination to researchers, with some of the latest findings, in a study of sticklebacks published this month in the journal Genetics, suggesting that the behavior is genetically coded, rather than learned.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/23/science/why-do-schools-of-fish-seem-to-know-one-hand-from-the-other.html?_r=1

Obama to Create the Largest Protected Place on the Planet, off Hawaii
SEAFOODNEWS.COM – August 26, 2016
President Obama will create the largest protected area on the planet Friday, by expanding a national marine monument off the coast of his native Hawaii to encompass 582,578 square miles of land and sea.

The move, which more than quadruples the size of the Papahānaumokuākea (pronounced “Papa-ha-now-mow-koo-ah-kay-ah”) Marine National Monument that President George W. Bush established a decade ago, underscores the extent to which Obama has elevated the issues of conservation and climate change in his second term. Obama has now used his executive authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act to protect more than 548 million acres of federal land and water, more than double what any of his predecessors have done.

All commercial extraction activities, including commercial fishing and any future deep-sea mining, will be prohibited in the expanded monument. However, recreational fishing, removal of resources for traditional Hawaiian cultural purposes and scientific research will be allowed with a federal permit.

Longline fishermen lobbied against any new protections, arguing that their operations eschew damaging practices such as trawling and need flexibility to sustain an annual catch valued at more than $100 million.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) helped broker a compromise proposal for day-boat fishermen in Kauai and Niihau to continue operating, which won the support of influential state officials such as Democratic state Sen. Ron Kouchi. Kouchi said in an interview that he could back the expansion as long as it would be the last one.

“One of the questions the fishermen are asking is, ‘When will it stop?’ ” he said.

Federal officials estimate that five percent of current commercial fishing efforts will be displaced. Longline operators already catch about half their fish in international waters, and they reached their annual catch limit for big-eye tuna in early August.

However, Sean Martin, president of the Hawaii Longline Association, said the industry’s fleet of 145 boats could not match the lobbying power of well-financed environmental groups such as Pew.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1031289/Obama-to-Create-the-Largest-Protected-Place-on-the-Planet-off-Hawaii

Opinion

Greenpeace Only Blesses 3 out of 14 Foodservice Companies – the Three that Agreed to Talk to Them
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [News Analysis] by John Sackton – August 24, 2016
Greenpeace released its first report on Foodservice companies use of seafood, saying “Ocean Destruction Comes from Foodservice.”

The hollowness of the campaign is illustrated by the fact that only 3 out of 14 companies agreed to speak to Greenpeace, and those were the only companies given a “passing” grade. They were Sodexo, Compass, and Aramark.

The others — Sysco, US Foods, Performance Group, Delaware North, Gordon Foodservice, Reinhart, Food Services of America, Shamrock Foods, Maines Paper and Foodservice, AVI Food Systems, Centerplate and Elior North America all refused to talk to Greenpeace.

The report is largely focused on tuna, and on attacking the Thai Union Group.  Greenpeace is involved in other campaigns to shut down purse seine and longline tuna fishing, including all tuna caught using FADs.

The use of these rankings as a pressure tactic is celebrated by Greenpeace:

“Take Kroger, for example, which has a large contract with Sysco for foodservice items (e.g., sandwiches, salads) at delis in more than 2,800 Kroger stores and 800 convenience stores nationwide.5, 6 As a well-known supermarket chain, second in U.S. sales only to Walmart, Kroger does not need or want international scandals of human rights abuses in the seafood industry to become a topic of conversation in its corporate dining halls, among shareholders, or with the millions of loyal customers who shop at Kroger and its banner stores. As a responsible company, Kroger should engage Sysco, which in turn can engage its suppliers, to ensure any seafood provided in Kroger stores is sustainable and ethical.

“Foodservice companies must also take action to address human rights concerns throughout their supply chains, cease sourcing conventionally caught tuna (e.g., using fish aggregating devices [FADs] or longlines), advocate for governmental action in the U.S. and globally, and ensure their workers in the U.S. are paid and treated fairly.”

In effect, Greenpeace is telling its members who support human rights and higher wages for workers overseas to not lobby the US government to take action to support these goals, but to demonize Foodservice companies who do not join Greenpeace’s own crusade.

The actual foodservice firms are almost an afterthought; simply there as a target as Greenpeace seeks donations to continue its war on the major tuna companies. They call on the companies to become political advocates.

For example here are their recommendations for Sysco:

“Sysco must work to address systemic problems in the foodservice industry (e.g., rebates, lack of traceability) and advocate for reforms in the global seafood industry, from suppliers to governments and fishery management bodies. Sysco needs to ensure that workers throughout its supply chains are treated fairly and are provided the right to free and fair choice of union representation without employer interference.”

Ironically, they call on foodservice companies to abandon industry trade groups like the National Fisheries Institute and the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation.

As anyone who has followed the development of the two principal controversies Greenpeace is seeking to build on- the lack of regulation in international tuna, and the abusive labor practices in some supply chains in Asia — both NFI and the ISSF have been international leaders in tackling and addressing these problems.

The ISSF was formed precisely because too much tuna management was done for political gain without regard to the science of sustainable management.  They have succeeded in significantly upgrading the degree to which regional tuna management bodies use scientific, rather than political advice, in setting harvest rules.  Although there are still many issues to resolve, the efforts of the ISSF have led to reductions in effort on tuna stocks, and to reductions in bycatch.

Although the tuna industry is not perfect, groups such as the ISSF which unite both the WWF and the global tuna industry have made significant gains over the past few years. Greenpeace has gained nothing.

Regarding labor abuse, the NFI was one of the key stakeholders pushing the Thai government to make the reforms that led the US State Department to upgrade Thailand from a level 3 to a level 2 country in their human trafficking reports.  This upgrade came about after first, serious issues were found to exist both in high seas fishing, and in onshore processing in Thailand with the use of undocumented migrant labor, often subject to exploitation.  The Thai government and industry have made progress on this issue, and Thailand has passed a number of laws, and the industry has adopted practices such as abandoning outside peeling sheds, that have helped mitigate the problem.

But no organization or industry can eliminate corruption 100%.  Greenpeace is attempting to capitalize on labor abuse by claiming nothing has changed when in fact the addition of anti-slavery enforcement and policing of labor abuse practices is probably the most significant change in supply chain management over the past few years.

So Greenpeace hopes that over time, this foodservice focus will help it raise money and stir a few supporters to call broadline distributors.

Fortunately they are unlikely to repeat the success they have had in the retail sector.  The reason is that few of the broadliners sell directly to consumers.  They sell to other businesses, and Greenpeace has an uphill battle to explain to its members just who the broadliners are, since they don’t interact with them in the same way they interact directly with retailers.

Further, most of the companies Greenpeace is targeting have not ignored seafood sustainability or supply chain management to guard against labor abuses.  Instead they have chosen to work with other partners, or taken their own steps to address these issues.

What Greenpeace cannot abide is companies acting on their own, outside of the approved Greenpeace framework on these issues.  That is why it is compelled to try and stir up a campaign because it is vital to Greenpeace, not because it is vital to seafood sustainability or ending labor abuse.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1030939/Greenpeace-Only-Blesses-3-out-of-14-Foodservice-Companies-the-Three-that-Agreed-to-Talk-to-Them

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
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E-mail: pspafish@gmail.com; Website: www.pspafish.net
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August 26, 2016