Alaska/Pacific Coast

Regulators consider reducing Pacific halibut quota next year
The Associated Press – December 26, 2017
KENAI, Alaska – Regulators are considering reducing the amount of halibut that fishermen are allowed to catch along the Pacific coast next year.
http://www.sacbee.com/news/nation-world/national/article191607349.html

Crabbers Hang Hopes on Oregon, California Domoic Testing for a January Opening
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Susan Chambers – December 26, 2017
Domoic acid levels are dropping in California crab — and possibly southern Oregon crab as well.

While the West Coast commercial crab season is delayed until Jan. 15 due to meat quality concerns, the industry and fishery managers have been concerned about levels of domoic acid in crab viscera from northern California and southern Oregon that could keep a portion of the coast closed past Jan. 15 or require processed crab be eviscerated.

However, an unexpected test result Friday from Crescent City has forced further domoic testing.

Oregon fishery managers notified industry Friday they were accelerating testing of crab from southern Oregon due to one all-clear test of crab from Crescent City, Calif.

Already, a second domoic acid test result from the Usal site, near Fort Bragg, Calif., showed the crab there was clear. On Friday, the California Department of Public Health lifted the health advisory for Dungeness crab caught recreationally in coastal waters north of Fort Bragg and Eureka. CDPH lifted the advisory Friday due to recent tests showing the amount of domoic acid has declined to low or undetectable levels in Dungeness crab caught in the area, indicating that they are safe to consume. The advisory remains in effect for recreationally caught Dungeness crab taken from state waters north of the Klamath River mouth, Del Norte County (41°32.500’ N. lat.) to the Oregon border, the CDPH said in a press release.

Crab from site must test below 30 ppm for two tests in a row before state agencies can determine whether an area should open for harvest and under what conditions, if any.

Oregon vessels were harvesting southern Oregon crab Friday and/or over the weekend to have the crab ready for testing this week. Without those crab, Oregon would likely not be able to coordinate an opening with California in January.

The results of those tests should be available soon and Oregon fishery managers may schedule another conference call with industry prior to a potential opening in January.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1086888/Crabbers-Hang-Hopes-on-Oregon-California-Domoic-Testing-for-a-January-Opening

International

Russian Crab Industry Facing Work Force, Production Declines Due to Quota Acutions
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Eugene Gerden – December 27, 2017
The Russian crab industry may face massive cuts of workers and the decline of production in 2019, due to the planned change of the existing scheme of quota distributions, according to recent statements from the head of the Russian Association of Crab Producers, Alexander Duplyakov.

Duplyakov said almost 3,000 people involved in the Russian crab business in the Far East, may lose their jobs already in 2018.

“Because not all the companies will be able to participate in these auctions, and find money to purchase these quotas. And even if they participate, they will not be able to buy these quotas,” Duplyakov said. “Accordingly, people will lose their jobs.”

In May, the first crab auctions for a long time were organized in Russia. They resulted in the sales of crab quotas on the sum of RUB 25 billion (USD $434 million). The majority of these quotas were purchased by large vertically-integrated holdings, many of which plan to further increase their share in the domestic market in 2019 that will take place through the refusal of further use of historical principles of distribution.

Many Russian crab producers, primarily of small and medium size, fear if the new system of auctions gains momentum, these quotas will be withdrawn from them and put up for the auctions again. According to them, it will look like a raider seizure.

Moreover, some Russian fishermen predict the revision of quota distributions for other high-margin fish species produced in Russia, such as pollock and salmon. There is a possibility that quotas for their catch could also begin to be sold through the auctions that will be dominated by a few leading industry’s players.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1087072/Russian-Crab-Industry-Facing-Work-Force-Production-Declines-Due-to-Quota-Acutions

Environment/Science

UPDATE 1-Alaska’s Pebble Mine project kicks off permitting process
Reuters by Yereth Rosen and Susan Taylor – December 21, 2017,
ANCHORAGE, Alaska/TORONTO, Dec 21 (Reuters) – The would-be developer of the widely opposed Pebble Mine copper and gold project in salmon-rich southwestern Alaska announced on Thursday it will file its first application for a permit.
http://www.businessinsider.com/r-update-1-alaskas-pebble-mine-project-kicks-off-permitting-process-2017-12

Federal Register

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation of Pacific Cod in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 12/27/2017
NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amount of Pacific cod from catcher vessels equal to or greater than 60 feet (18.3 meters) length overall (LOA) using pot gear to catcher/processors (C/Ps) using pot gear, catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 meters) LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear, and C/Ps using hook-and-line gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. This action is necessary to allow the 2017 total allowable catch of Pacific cod to be harvested.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/12/27/2017-27873/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-reallocation-of-pacific-cod-in-the-bering-sea

Fishing Capacity Reduction Program for the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery
A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 12/26/2017
NMFS issues this notice to decrease the fee rate to 4.5 percent for the Pacific Coast Groundfish fee-share fishery to repay the $28,428,718.88 groundfish sub-loan of the $35,662,471 reduction loan that financed the Pacific Coast Groundfish fishing capacity reduction program.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/12/26/2017-27769/fishing-capacity-reduction-program-for-the-pacific-coast-groundfish-fishery

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.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. *Inclusion of a news article, report, or other document in this email does not imply PSPA support or endorsement of the information or opinion expressed in the document.

December 27, 2017