Alaska/Pacific Coast

Salmon Work Group gears up to fight possible threat to Kodiak fisheries
KMXT by Kayla Desroches – December 18, 2017
There are a few different fisheries groups around town, and one of them is connected to a genetic study which found Cook Inlet fish in Kodiak waters.
http://kmxt.org/2017/12/salmon-work-group-gears-fight-possible-threat-kodiak-fisheries/

Violations prompt Washington state to cancel Atlantic salmon farm lease at Port Angeles
Seattle Times by Lynda V. Mapes – December 17, 2017
Cooke Aquaculture Pacific has lost the lease for its Atlantic salmon net-pen farm in Port Angeles and must shut down and remove it, said Hilary Franz, state commissioner of public lands, who terminated Cooke’s lease.
https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/violations-prompt-washington-state-to-cancel-atlantic-salmon-farm-lease-at-port-angeles/

Sitka Sac Roe Herring Fishery Expected to be Slightly Down From Last Year
SEAFOODNEWS.COM – December 19, 2017
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today that the guideline harvest level (GHL) for the 2018 Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery is 11,128 tons. The limit is based on a 20% harvest rate of a forecast mature biomass of 55,637 tons.

The forecast indicates that the mature biomass in 2018 will consist of 11% age-3, 47% age-4, 2% age-5, 32% age-6, 1% age-7, and 7% age-8+ fish (percent by number). The average weights were as follows: age-3, 77 grams; age-4, 88 grams; age-5, 117 grams; age-6, 125 grams; age-7, 137 grams; and age-8+, 175 grams. Like last year, the forecast will not be updated with winter test fishery weight at age, as had been done prior to the 2017 fishery.

Herring egg abundance is estimated using aerial surveys, designed to map the length of shoreline receiving spawn, and dive surveys, which are used to estimate the density of eggs and average width of the spawn.

The department mapped 62.3 nautical miles of herring spawn in the Sitka Sound area during the spring of 2017, compared to the recent 10-year average of 65.6 nautical miles.

The estimated post-fishery spawning biomass in 2017 was 49,347 tons, the total sac roe harvest was 13,923 tons.

The department will hold a stakeholders meeting at the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association in Sitka on Friday, January 12, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss management strategies for this coming season.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1086240/Sitka-Sac-Roe-Herring-Fishery-Expected-to-be-Slightly-Down-From-Last-Year

National

NOAA Temporarily Eases Entry Rules to Prevent Seafood Trade Disruption on January 1st
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton – December 20, 2017
John Henderschedt, director, NOAA Fisheries’ Office of International Affairs and Seafood Inspection, spoke with us today on NOAA’s implementation of the Seafood Inspection Monitoring Program, and about the potential for Congress to add shrimp and abalone to the required species under the budget bill.

SIMP, as it is known, will become effective January 1st, after which all seafood imports of the affected products will require extensive new documentation designed to deter IUU fishing.

The species subject to the new rule are Atlantic and Pacific Cod, Blue crab, Mahi Mahi, Grouper, King Crab, Sea cucumbers, Red Snapper, Sharks, Swordfish and all Tunas.

Since October, NOAA has had a pilot program under which customs brokers using the ACE (Automated Customs Entry) system could test their computer systems with the ten additional data fields required by SIMP.  However, Henderschedt says only about 100 test entries have been made on this pilot system.

After January 1st, there will literally be hundreds of entries per day that will be required to provide the new data fields.

If the automated customs system began rejecting entries with incomplete or missing data, chaos could result and there would be a significant disruption of the seafood trade.

Henderschedt says that “The agency considers this to be an important and beneficial regulation, and has not considered delaying the mandatory compliance date of January 1st.”

“But we do not want to try and establish that compliance where there is potentially a significant disruption to trade, so we have communicated through the cargo service messaging system that for some period of time early in 2018 there is a way brokers can get a ‘may proceed’ designation without the inclusion of SIMP data.

Hendershedt says that to clear entries with no trouble, brokers should leave the entire section for SIMP data blank.  At that point they will get a ‘May Proceed’ notification, and the shipment will be cleared for entry.

If they input partial information, the shipment will get kicked back.  NOAA emphasized that initially, due to the computer architecture, there are two choices:  full data that is SIMP compliant, or leaving ALL the SIMP data fields blank.

If the fields are partially filled out, such as with some of the information, but not all, the entry will be kicked back.

NOAA emphasizes that the SIMP data is still going to be required for that shipment, but that it can be filled back in by the broker or filer, as the importer is called, at a later date.

The full notice, published by CBP is at this link.

Henderschedt says “we are taking an approach that we are giving importers reasonable amount of time to get the info post entry.”

At some point early in the New Year, NOAA will inform the industry how long the period of accepting entries without SIMP data will last and will communicate the time frame for this temporary process.

Henderschedt says that this is a record keeping requirement, and that if an entry is audited, the proper SIMP information will have to be produced.

However, he says that NOAA will be more focused on informed compliance. If a filer brings in an entry without SIMP data, they will get a message back from NOAA that the entry is missing data.

“Informed Compliance is our end game.  We intend to engage with the seafood industry to remind people to bring their entries into compliance.”

Another issue is that NOAA wants to allow entries without having anyone from NOAA needing to directly intervene before an entry can be cleared.  This is why filers must use the system to either fill out complete SIMP data or none at all.  A partial SIMP data collection will be kicked back by the automated entry system.

NOAA will have staffing from 8 am to 8 PM Eastern Time to answer questions and provide assistance, but a clean entry will not require any intervention from NOAA during the initial period of implementation.

As many in the industry are aware, there is a possibility that shrimp and abalone may be added to the species list by Congress as part of the upcoming budget.

NOAA has made comments to the executive branch about this issue, which they have not released.  However, the original reason that shrimp was not included was that the data collection being asked of foreign suppliers was not able to be generated by US aquaculture growers, and this left the regulation vulnerable to being overturned by the WTO as an improper restraint of trade.

Further, NOAA says there are immense technical issues, and structural issues that would have to be resolved if the budget required shrimp to be listed under the SIMP program.

In short, it appears that if shrimp were to be listed it would create tremendous complications, and that the preparations made so far for SIMP, including the programing and infrastructure for compliance, could not accommodate shrimp imports without time consuming changes and reprograming.

Henderschedt believes in the regulation. “Over time, the objective is to eliminate the US market as a potential target for mis-represented or IUU seafood.”

As the supply chain becomes more transparent and robust, NOAA believes that the bad apple importers who take risks and fail to document their supply chain will be eliminated, and as similar regulations are introduced in other global seafood markets, it will lead to a major reduction in the economic value of IUU fishing.

Henderschedt concludes “we [NOAA] want as seamless a ramp up as possible.  We will be communicating further with respect to winding down the informed compliance period.”  Overall this regulation will achieve positive benefits, he said.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1086427/NOAA-Temporarily-Eases-Entry-Rules-to-Prevent-Seafood-Trade-Disruption-on-January-1st

Federal Register

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Inseason Adjustment to the 2018 Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Pollock, Atka Mackerel, and Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 12/20/2017
NMFS is adjusting the 2018 total allowable catch (TAC) amounts for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod fisheries. This action is necessary because NMFS has determined these TACs are incorrectly specified, and will ensure the BSAI pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod TACs are the appropriate amounts based on the best available scientific information. Also, NMFS is announcing the Aleutian Islands Catcher Vessel (CV) Harvest Set-Aside and Bering Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation will be in effect for 2018, and TACs in this inseason adjustment will apply for 2018. This action is consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/12/20/2017-27428/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-inseason-adjustment-to-the-2018-bering-sea-and

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Inseason Adjustment to the 2018 Gulf of Alaska Pollock and Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 12/20/2017
NMFS is adjusting the 2018 total allowable catch (TAC) amounts for the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) pollock and Pacific cod fisheries. This action is necessary because NMFS has determined these TACs are incorrectly specified, and will ensure the GOA pollock and Pacific cod TACs are the appropriate amounts based on the best available scientific information for pollock and Pacific cod in the GOA. This action is consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/12/20/2017-27429/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-inseason-adjustment-to-the-2018-gulf-of-alaska

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
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Phone: 206.281.1667
E-mail: pspafish@gmail.com; Website: www.pspafish.net
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December 20, 2017