State working on flatfish tax fix to capture foregone revenue
Alaska Journal of Commerce by DJ Summers – December 9, 2015
A state tax rate glitch let groundfish trawlers off the hook for more than $10 million of fishery taxes in the last half decade, and there’s no concrete fix just yet.
AK Board of Fish Doubles Pot Cod Quota to 16,000 tons for Small Boats Around Dutch Harbor
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – December 10, 2015
In a 7-0 decision last week, the Alaska Board of Fish increased the Guideline Harvest Limit (GHL) and expanded the boundaries for the state water Pacific cod pot fishery in Area O, near Dutch Harbor.
The GHL for the two year old P-cod fishery in state waters was 18 million pounds in 2015. The fleet of 14 vessels, none of which are larger than 58-feet, took the harvest in five weeks using pot gear only.
Next year, the GHL will be 36 million pounds, or about 16,000 mt. That increase comes out of the Bering Sea total allowable catch, which last year was 240,000 mt. This year, with identical Allowable Biological Catch levels, the TAC is likely to be the same.
The area in which the pot vessels can fish was expanded from the present line at 164 degrees west, about halfway down Unimak Island, to the state-waters of the Aleutian Islands at the 170 degrees west line, near Cape Cheerful. The new area would prohibit fishing in the state-waters around Bogoslof Island and two other three-mile Steller sea lion no-transit zones in the new portion of the area.
These restrictions are similar to other state water fisheries where the protected Steller sea lions haul out or have rookeries.
Vessels participating in the state water Pacific cod fishery would still be under a 58 feet restriction and not allowed to use more than 60 pots.
Although the measure passed unanimously, it drew objections from the groundfish fleets that have fished the Bering Sea, under federal fishing authority, for years. Those fleets use trawl and longline gear.
Julie Bonney of the Alaska Groundfish Data Bank pointed out that such a significant reallocation of cod resources could destabilize both the federal fishery and the state waters fleet, cost Alaska more for management and enforcement at a time when state coffers were low, and increase the risk of overcapitalization, with four or five new vessels coming on line soon.
Buck Laukitis, one of three authors of the proposal, disagreed. “This is a two year old fishery. In the first year we had 16 vessels, all 58-feet or under and using no more than 60 pots. This year we had 14 vessels,” he said.
“We may get more over time, maybe 25-30 vessels, but that would be the total size of the fleet.”
Expanding out to Bogoslof, Laukaitis says, “is just a historical progression.”
But Bonney warned that “increased cod GHLs may increase incentives for new rebuilds of the limited seiner class (58 footers) to better access these state fisheries. This additional catching capacity will enter other fisheries, both state and federal, increasing the race for fish.”
Brent Paine of United Catcher Boats echoed Bonney’s concerns. “The state has no interest in limited entry in state fisheries.”
Laukatis might agree with that. “The state is interested in providing access to fisheries for the younger generation. This Pcod pot fishery is something that experienced young fishermen could enter and eventually run a boat of their own.
“Alaska is looking for ways to get the next generation involved in fisheries,” Laukitis said. “This fishery takes place in state waters, the fish are there, it’s a state resource, harvested by Alaskans.”
Laukaitis said “The stocks are healthy; this fleet doesn’t depend solely on this fishery, and state water P-cod fisheries have been prosecuted in other areas throughout Alaska for twenty years.”
Paine is also concerned that the two year old fishery has no plan for carrying observers or a vessel monitoring system (VMS), and opens areas that have been closed to protect sea lions.
Laukaitis said those buffers are still in place, and the smaller boat fleet will have no impact on sea lion behavior. “The state feels very comfortable that this is not a fishery that requires observers,” he added.
Currently the state waters fishery for Pcod includes seven other areas in Alaska: the South Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak, Chignik, Cook Inlet, Prince William Sound, and the Aleutian Islands. The fisheries rely on the federal stock assessment for biological data and shoreside monitoring rather than VMS or observers.
Most vessels in the Area O state waters fishery also participate in the federal fishery and are equipped with VMS capability.
Gov. Walker proposes to fix budget deficit with income tax, PFD cut
Alaska Dispatch News by Nathaniel Herz – December 9, 2015
Gov. Bill Walker on Wednesday released his long-awaited proposal to fix the state’s budget deficit — a plan with new and steeper taxes, smaller budget cuts than last year’s, and a restructuring of the Alaska Permanent Fund that includes a cut in state residents’ annual dividend.
Recreational Halibut Quota Faces Opposition
Fishermen’s News -December 9, 2015
A charter halibut recreational quota entity (RQE) program scheduled for an initial review at North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting under way in Anchorage is drawing fire from commercial harvesters.
Knapp Looking at Bristol Bay Salmon Prices
Fishermen’s News -December 9, 2015
University of Alaska Anchorage professor Gunnar Knapp, best known in the fisheries industry for his research on salmon markets, is at work on yet another such study, this time into the prices of Bristol Bay salmon.
Russian King Crab Landings up About 35% Over Last Year
SEAFOODNEWS.COM – December 10, 2015
Russian king crab landings are running about 35% higher than last fall. As of November 23, aggregated red king crab landings are at 5580 tons, according to a statement from the Hokkaido North Pacific Development Association.
They said that in Western Kamchatka, harvests totalled 3780 tons, or 74% of the TAC, while in the Kurile and other Kamchatka areas, harvests totalled 1800 tons (90% of the TAC).
Blue King crab and golden king crab are also being landed, with 93% of the blue king crab TAC caught (3150 tons), and also a small amount of golden king crab. Fishing on these species has been going on since October.
Adidas uses plastic ocean waste to create a 3D-printed shoe
The design hopes to bring awareness to this type of pollution.
Engadget by Edgar Alvarez – December 8, 2015
Back in June, Adidas revealed a shoe made almost entirely from recycled ocean waste. That product marked the beginning of a partnership between the sportswear firm and Parley, an organization trying to combat ocean pollution worldwide. Now, Adidas is taking this one step further: its new design features a 3D-printed midsole created out of recycled polyester and gillnets, a wall of netting typically used to catch fish. The shoe’s upper part was manufactured with ocean plastic materials as well, Adidas says, making its concept footwear a complete eco-friendly package.
Landis named new SSRAA general manager
KRBD by Maria Dudzak – December 8, 2015
Ketchikan Gateway Borough Mayor David Landis has been hired as the new general manager of the Southern Southeast Alaska Regional Aquaculture Association. Landis has served on the SSRAA board for 11 years. He was formerly a manager in Saxman with the Cape Fox Corporation and worked for Alaska Title Agency in Ketchikan for the past several months. Landis says he has always enjoyed being involved with SSRAA, and saw this as a great opportunity. He says it also feels like a good fit.
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