Alaska/Pacific Coast

NPFMC Approves Charter Halibut RQE Quota Entity
Fishermen’s News – December 14, 2016
Action to set up regulations for a charter halibut recreational quota entity to purchase and hold commercial halibut quota share in International Pacific Halibut Commission Areas 2C and 3A has been approved by federal fisheries managers.
http://fnonlinenews.blogspot.com/2016/12/npfmc-approves-charter-halibut-rqe.html

GHL Set for Sitka Sound Sac Roe Herring Fishery
Fishermen’s News – December 14, 2016
A guideline harvest level of 14,649 tons has been set by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for the 2017 Sitka sound sac roe herring fishery.
http://fnonlinenews.blogspot.com/2016/12/ghl-set-for-sitka-sound-sac-roe-herring.html

Portion of Oregon Opens to Negotiated $3 Per Pound Crab Price
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Susan Chambers – December 14, 2016
The 2016-17 Oregon Dungeness crab season is ready to go with a state-supervised negotiated price of $3 per pound to the boats. Crabbers can start setting gear Thursday, Dec. 15, south of Cape Blanco and begin delivering Sunday, Dec. 18, into Brookings or Port Orford.

Fishermen and processors met all day Monday in Newport to come to the agreement. The agreement is expected to be approved by Oregon Department of Agriculture Acting Director Lisa Hanson, according to a press release from the ODA.

The ODA-supervised negotiations, which involved representatives from five seafood processors and four marketing associations from Brookings to Astoria, agreed to continue season opening price negotiations for the rest of the coast when state managers set a beginning date for crab fishing north of Cape Blanco.

This year’s opening price is similar to the last few years. In 2015-16, the negotiated opening price was $2.90 per pound; in 2014-15, $3.10; in 2013-14, $2.65. The negotiated price is usually set for a number of days or dependent on a condition which, if met, will let traditional market forces take over and the price can rise or fall. The negotiated prices are designed to allow for a smooth season opening for the crab industry.

Pre-season “meat fill” tests used by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to ensure that quality and condition standards for the crab are met indicate that the quality of the crab this year is excellent.

In addition, testing of crab samples conducted by ODA show that detections of the marine toxin domoic acid are below the level of concern in the area south of Cape Blanco. Dungeness crab harvested from the Oregon coast and sold in retail markets and restaurants are safe and wholesome for consumers.

Crab samples from Coos Bay and Newport areas are at state labs, awaiting further testing. However, severe winter weather is supposed to hit the Willamette Valley and Portland metro areas, which may mean another state office closure and delayed results.

Dungeness crab is the most valuable commercial fishery on the Oregon coast. Last season’s harvest produced landings of 14.2 million pounds and an ex-vessel value of $51 million.

“We’re glad to get the South Coast open and offer the high-quality crab we have in that area,” Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission Director Hugh Link said. “We look forward to opening the rest of the state when we finish the current testing.”

The one area in California that has not opened yet — north and south of Fort Bragg — had clear test results earlier this week. The Fort Bragg area had a few samples since September that had elevated levels of domoic acid, but as of Monday, the results came back well under the alert level of 30 ppm. California state agencies are doing another round of tests.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1044204/Portion-of-Oregon-Opens-to-Negotiated-3-Per-Pound-Crab-Price

Politics

Landmark Legislation A Victory For High Seas Fisheries Management
The U.S. will fully and formally participate in developing standards for best fishing practices in two new international organizations in the North and South Pacific.
Civil Beats by Russell F. Smith – December 13, 2016
On the high seas, our nation has all hands on deck.
Congress just passed landmark legislation giving the U.S. a formal role in international organizations that govern vastly important areas of the North and South Pacific Oceans, including the high seas adjacent to Alaska and the Pacific Islands and American Samoa, respectively.
http://www.civilbeat.org/2016/12/landmark-legislation-a-victory-for-high-seas-fisheries-management/

International

Russia Sees Continuing Increase in Crab Production, Which is up 10,000 tons This Year
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Eugene Gerden – December 14, 2016
Russia plans to continue to increase the volume of domestic crab production in the coming years, according to an official spokesman of Ilya Shestakov, head of the Russian Federal Agency of Fisheries (Rosrybolovstvo).

This year the volume of crab production in the Russian Far East amounted to 47,000 tons, which is significantly higher the figures of previous years, which did not exceed 37,000 tons.

Valery Koblikov, head of the Laboratory of commercial shellfish of the Russian  Pacific Fisheries Research Center (TINRO Center), said that the increase of production was mainly due to the increase of crab catch in the Western Kamchatka. According to predictions of Koblikov, the volume of crab production in Russia will grow by 2,000-3,000 tons annually during the next several years. That will be mainly due to the planned increase of catch of opilio crabs, that will mostly take place in the North Okhotsk subarea.

Particular attention will be paid for the increase of catch of triangle tanner crabs and Japonicus. At the same time, according to data of TINRO Center, in recent years commercial stocks of blue king crab in the West Bering Sea zone has also increased.

Currently the growth of stocks is observed in almost all crab species in Russia, including the West Kamchatka king crab, the most commercially valuable object.

From 1999 to 2004, the volume of its catch fell by almost 17 times from 33,250 to 1,980 tons. In 2005 the Russian government imposed a ban on its catch, which resulted in the recovery of its stocks. In 2013 commercial fishing of the crab has resumed. Since then, a gradual increase in production volumes has been observed. Next year the production will further grow, and in particular in the West Kamchatka subzone – up to 8,574 thousand tons, as well as the Kuril-Kamchatka zone, up to 3,276 tons.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1044173/Russia-Sees-Continuing-Increase-in-Crab-Production-Which-is-up-10000-tons-This-Year

Eight of the Seafood Industry’s Top Players Commit to Global Action Plan to Protect the Ocean
SEAFOODNEWS.COM – December 14, 2016
Eight of the world’s largest seafood companies have issued a 10-point statement committing to action on ocean stewardship following the first “keystone dialogue” between scientists and business leaders.

The statement says signatories “represent a global force, not only in the operation of the seafood industry, but also in contributing to a resilient planet.”

It was signed by Thai Union, Dongwon Industries, Maruha Nichiro Corporation, Nippon Suisan Kaisha, Marine Harvest, Cermaq, Skretting and Cargill Aqua Nutrition.

The keystone dialogues are a new approach to engage major international businesses in global sustainability challenges. As part of the dialogues the companies have committed to improving transparency and traceability, and reducing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in their supply chains.

The inaugural dialogue, initiated by the Stockholm Resilience Centre, took place 11-13 November at the Soneva Fushi Resort on the Maldives under the patronage of HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden—Advocate for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It was the first attempt between scientists and these major business to address such issues.

The initiative was a unique meeting between CEOs, senior leadership of major seafood companies, leading scientists from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and advisors, including the Honorable Dr Jane Lubchenco of Oregon State University and U.S. Science Envoy for the Ocean—U.S. State Department, Mr Volker Kuntzsch, CEO of Sanford Ltd., Mr Rupert Howes, CEO of Marine Stewardship Council, and Ambassador Magnus Robach, Swedish Ambassador to Japan.

Reductions in antibiotic use in aquaculture, greenhouse gas emissions and plastic pollution will also be prioritized. The businesses have also committed to eliminating any products in their supply chains that may have been obtained through modern slavery, including forced, bonded and child labor.

To implement the commitments, the companies will create a new initiative—Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship—that will, for the first time, connect wild capture fisheries to aquaculture businesses, connect European and North American companies to Asian companies and connect the global seafood business to science.

Österblom led research identifying the keystone actors in the world’s oceans. The team identified 13 transnational corporations controlling 11-16% of wild marine catch and up to 40% of the largest and most valuable fish stocks.
“We invited the leaders of these companies to a dialogue to build trust and develop a common understanding about the state of the ocean,” said Österblom. “We were delighted so many companies accepted our offer. This shows they are aware of the urgency of the situation and willing to engage in these issues.”

“As one of the world’s leading seafood companies, Thai Union Group is committed to reform in the fishing industry,” said Thiraphong Chansiri, Thai Union’s CEO. “We believe the entire seafood industry needs to work together on sustainable and evidence-based solutions. This dialogue between scientists and the leaders within our industry represents an important part of that effort.”

The dialogue will now be followed up with additional meetings and dialogue between science and business. A next meeting is already scheduled for next year, where more concrete joint actions will be identified.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1044203/Eight-of-the-Seafood-Industrys-Top-Players-Commit-to-Global-Action-Plan-to-Protect-the-Ocean

Labeling and Marketing

ASMI receives grant from USDA for international marketing of seafood from Alaska
Seafood Source by Sierra Golden – December 08, 2016
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) will receive USD 4.22 million (EUR 3.98 million) in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), a slightly higher amount than it has received in previous years.
http://www.seafoodsource.com/news/supply-trade/asmi-receives-grant-from-usda-for-international-marketing-of-seafood-from-alaska?utm_source=informz&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_content=newsletter

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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December 15, 2016