2016 Gulf of Alaska TACs for Pollock up 30%, Cod Down by 4%
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – December 21, 2015
Total allowable catches of Gulf of Alaska groundfish were set last week for 2016 and showed a strong uptick in pollock and a modest decrease in Pacific cod.
Gulf pollock limits were set at 247,952 metric tons, an increase of nearly 30 percent over 2015 TACs of 191,300 mt.
Catch reports as of December 12 show about 10 percent of the 2015 quota in the Shumagin, Chirikof, and Kodiak Areas left to harvest.
2016 TACs for Pacific Cod were set at 71,925 metric tons compared to 75,181mt last year. A further cut to 62,150mt is projected for 2017. The Council sets TACs in a two-year cycle with annual reviews by the advisory bodies.
In the western and central Gulf, the hook-and-line Pacific cod fishery met its halibut bycatch cap and closed on December 15.
Sablefish TACs for 2016 in the Gulf dropped to 9,087mt from 13,657mt in 2015.
Shallow-water flatfish increased for 2016, but TACs were reduced for deep-water flatfish, from 13,334mt in 2015 to 9,226mt in 2016. Shallow-water flatfish TACs increased slightly from 35,381 this year to 36,763 in 2016.
Overall, TACs for the Gulf in 2016 are 590,9809mt and projected to be 573,872mt in 2017.
Oregon and Washington to Commence Dungeness Fishing January 4; No Word on California Yet
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Susan Chambers – December 22, 2015
After a month-long delay, Oregon and Washington fishermen will be able to start harvesting Dungeness crab in January. Crabbers will be able to set their gear on Jan. 1 and start delivering crab to processors on Jan. 4.
Domoic acid testing in early December in southern Oregon showed levels that were safe but trending upward so managers – with industry input – decided to delay the whole Oregon coast and southern Washington coast fishery.
Testing now shows the toxin trend is going down in not only crab but also in other fish and shellfish in both Oregon and Washington.
California crabbers, though, will remain tied to the dock for some time yet. Testing in California tends to be more sporadic and unscheduled. There is no clear date when the central California season or northern California season will open.
Some advisers on Oregon industry call with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Monday recommended Oregon open before Washington, even if by a few days. But the majority recommended opening at the same time. Earlier in the month, Washington delayed its season in cooperation with Oregon, they said. Others reasoned that if both states opened concurrently, it might provide consumers with added confidence that Dungeness crab are toxin-free.
“Along with the state agencies, the Oregon commercial Dungeness crab industry has taken a very proactive and precautionary approach to the opening of this crab season in the interest of public safety,” ODFW Marine Resources Program Manager Caren Braby said.
Washington’s commercial fishery opening includes the waters from the mouth of the Columbia River north to Destruction Island as well as Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay. Crabbers can set their pots in this area on Jan. 1. The area north of Destruction Island will open later in coordination with tribal co-managers.
As the season gets underway, state agencies will continue to monitor marine biotoxins in shellfish to ensure the concentrations remain below the alert level to ensure the consumer safety.
State-supervised price negotiations between fishermen and processors are set for Dec. 22 and possibly Dec. 23 as well.
Some processors said after the industry conference call that they likely would eviscerate and section most of the crab coming in during the first part of the season and shift to whole-cooked crab later.
A few fishermen were concerned no live buyers were on the Oregon call to add perspective about the live market and what would happen if further testing shows an increase in domoic acid after the season starts.
Researchers say less Arctic sea ice means more precipitation
Alaska Dispatch News by Dan Joling – December 21, 2015
As sea ice shrinks, the Arctic gets warmer and wetter, study finds
The Arctic is seeing more precipitation as sea ice diminishes from climate warming, according to a research paper by U.S. and Canada scientists.
Free Water Safety Workshop for Fishermen
KCUB by Greta Mart – December 21, 2015
Unalaska’s fire chief and a local marine biologist will be among the instructors for an upcoming free safety workshop aimed at commercial fishermen.
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