Alaska/Pacific Coast

Dungeness crab prices spike due to limited supply
San Francisco Chronicle by Tara Duggan – December 13, 2017
By all accounts, the quality of this year’s Dungeness crab has been particularly good — meaty and delicious. But due to limited supply, prices have been steadily rising since the season opened Nov. 15 and are expected to continue to climb over Christmas and New Year’s Eve, fishermen and seafood sellers say.
http://www.sfchronicle.com/food/article/Dungeness-crab-prices-spike-due-to-limited-supply-12428659.php?cmpid=gsa-sfgate-result

Fisheries Work Group reacts to cod decline and quota reduction
KMXT by Kayla Desroches – December 14, 2017
The Gulf of Alaska is seeing a Pacific cod decline just a year after a disastrous pink salmon season, and it has Kodiak representatives looking at the next steps for the community.
http://kmxt.org/2017/12/fisheries-work-group-reacts-cod-decline-quota-reduction/

Pollock up in Bering Sea, cod down as council sets quotas
Bristol Bay Times by Jim Paulin – December 15, 2017
The pollock fishery, already huge, is even bigger next year in the Bering Sea. But Pacific cod is down sharply in the Gulf of Alaska.
http://www.thedutchharborfisherman.com/article/1750pollock_up_in_bering_sea_cod_down_as_council

New generation of harvesters faces big challenges
80 percent drop in Pacific cod allocation poses economic challenges for Gulf of Alaska communities
Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman – December 14, 2017
Words of encouragement from Gov. Bill Walker, along with bare economic facts of life the commercial fisheries in Alaska greeted several dozen young commercial seafood harvesters gathered for the 2017 Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit in Anchorage.
https://www.thecordovatimes.com/2017/12/14/new-generation-harvesters-faces-big-challenges/

Pacific Whiting Season Closes on a Good Season; 2018 Outlook is Mixed
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Susan Chambers and John Sackton – December 15, 2017
The 2017 Pacific whiting season improved over 2016, with higher landings, bigger fish and improved markets, but the preliminary biomass estimate for 2018 is down.

The U.S. mothership sector caught close to as much hake as it did last year, harvesting 66,421 mt through Dec. 14. That’s only 69 percent of the 96,884 mt mothership allocation but higher than 2016 landings of 65,035 mt.

One mothership was absent this year, U.S. representatives said on a U.S.-Canada Joint Technical Committee meeting/conference call Thursday, and another, the Ocean Phoenix, didn’t arrive on the whiting grounds until late in the year.

The mothership sector struggled with bycatch late in the year, representatives also said, particularly with Chinook salmon. Last year, the MS sector caught only 367 Chinook salmon, but this year, 721 were caught as bycatch. Given the low forecasted returns of Klamath River Fall Chinook and complete closures of some directed-salmon fisheries, all whiting fleets were sensitive to salmon bycatch and tried to stay farther north.

The U.S. catcher-processor sector caught pretty close to 100% of 2017 quota, or 136,960.45 mt of its 137,252 mt allocation, and close to 300 mt more than it did in 2016. Much of the CP harvest was in the fall.

Shoreside fleets and processors also had a successful year, harvesting 85 percent of its quota vs. only 60 percent in 2016. Shoreside landings through Dec. 14 were 144,396 mt, much higher than the 85,123 mt delivered in 2016. Shoreside representatives reported some smaller fish during the first part of the hake season, but larger fish — those averaging 400 g or more — dominated the catch during the rest of the year.

Representatives on the conference call said the hake this year was some of the best in recent years: the fish were of good size, the whiting schooled up nicely most of the year and fishing was good until very late in the season.

All sectors struggled with bycatch of salmon and rockfish and had to adjust fishing behaviors accordingly. For the first time in many years, sablefish bycatch — juveniles, in particular — increased. Last year, all three sectors caught less than 20 mt of sablefish. This year, more than 60 mt were caught in each sector. Shoreside blackcod bycatch was the highest, at 97 mt; motherships reported 86 mt and catcher-processors caught 68 mt.

The U.S. whiting industry has had a banner year for exports. So far in 2017, total whiting exports are at 144 million pounds, up from 48 million pounds through October of last year.

In fact, the U.S. exports of whiting are now the highest ever, and will easily set an all time record. The reason is that two whiting markets are booming simultaneously.

First, the established market in Ukraine has come back to the levels it was four or five years ago, before the Ukrainian currency collapsed. The increase in shipments to Ukraine this year is 83 percent.

But the real story is surging exports to West Africa. Nigeria has imported 25.6 million lbs., while Ghana and Cameroon have taken another 22 million pounds. None of these countries bought much product last year, so this is nearly 50 million pounds of additional whole fish exports.

A summary of the preliminary 2017 acoustic survey biomass was reported at 1.418 million metric tons for Canada and the U.S. combined. The early report from NMFS and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada said the Canadian portion of the estimate is 0.390 million mt, with an estimated coeffician of variation of 12.65 percent. The combined U.S.-Canada estimate is below the 2013 value of 1.929 million tons and the 2015 value of 2.156 tons.

However, this is the first acoustic survey in which the 2014 year class — a strong year class — was captured. The 2010 year class remains strong as well, researchers reported. Even though the estimated biomass from 2017 appears lower, strong year classes should sustain the fisheries for the coming years.

The stock assessment will be completed over the winter and the joint U.S.-Canada science and management committees will go over the results in the spring to determine the 2018 fishing seasons.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1085971/Pacific-Whiting-Season-Closes-on-a-Good-Season-2018-Outlook-is-Mixed

Environment/Science

Preparing for invasive species in the Bering Sea
New species threaten to arrive and thrive as Arctic waters warm
Cordova Times by J. Besl, University of Alaska Anchorage – December 13, 2017
Invasive species have devastated marine ecosystems in the Lower 48 but, thanks to its icy waters, the Bering Sea has been largely unaffected. So far.
https://www.thecordovatimes.com/2017/12/13/preparing-invasive-species-bering-sea/

Labeling and Marketing

Talk of the Rock: 2017 fall sockeye market analysis
KMXT by Kayla Desroches – December 12, 2017
On this week’s Talk of the Rock, host Kayla Desroches speaks with McDowell Group senior seafood analyst Andy Wink about a recent economic report on Alaska sockeye salmon
http://kmxt.org/2017/12/talk-rock-2017-fall-sockeye-market-analysis/

FYI’s

Fisheries Board calls for proposals
Juneau Empire – December 15, 2017
Want to have a say in how Alaska’s fisheries are managed? The Alaska Board of Fisheries wants to hear from you.
http://juneauempire.com/outdoors/2017-12-15/fisheries-board-calls-proposals

SeaShare: Employee Giving Programs directly impact Americans struggling with hunger
For over 20 years SeaShare has represented the seafood industry’s giving program. SeaShare has provided over 200 million healthy protein portions to food banks and feeding centers nationwide.

Devastating hurricanes and fires have affected millions of Americans this year. The seafood industry responded quickly and generously, and as a result, SeaShare was able to send over 2 million servings of seafood to people struggling to get back on their feet.

But the reality is that for 365 days every year 42 million Americans don’t have enough food on their tables. Every day, people in every county in every state are forced to make tough choices between food and heat or food and medicine. As the holidays approach, these stresses are even more pronounced, as people strain to find the resources to provide holiday meals and gifts for loved ones.

SeaShare will be there to help, bringing the highest quality nutritious seafood to families who would otherwise go without. But we need your support to bring more seafood to our neighbors struggling with hunger.

Do you or your company have a personal or employee giving program or strategy? Are you interested in starting one? We have the tools to help you easily set up individual and/or company-specific donation programs, and we can provide additional co-branded materials to inspire your colleagues to give.

Every dollar has an impact:
For every $1 donated, we’re able to send 8 servings of seafood to food banks. To learn more, please reach out to katet@seashare.org or make a donation today at www.seashare.org/donate. Thank you!

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
1900 W Emerson Place Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98119
Phone: 206.281.1667
E-mail: pspafish@gmail.com; Website: www.pspafish.net
Our office days/hours are Monday-Friday
8:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.

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December 15, 2017