Alaska/Pacific Coast

Industry, Managers Prepare for Possible Partial Dungeness Crab Opening on the West Coast
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Susan Chambers – December 6, 2017
Dungeness crab meat quality is improving in some areas and domoic acid levels are dropping — that means crab season may open on some parts of the West Coast.

Northern California, Oregon and Washington all previously decided to delay a coastwide opening until at least Dec. 16. Industry advisers and Tri-State managers will discuss the latest results and a potential opening during conference calls later today.

The latest domic acid figures in Oregon show most of the state with clean crab for at least one test. A second test is necessary to allow harvest. At the same time, the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife re-opened recreational crabbing north of Bandon in areas previously closed due to domoic acid levels.

The news in California was not so great. Domoic acid levels from the latest tests at St. George Reef, on Nov. 18 and 25, show at least one crab with levels of 51 ppm and 98 ppm, respectively. The Usal area near Fort Bragg shows at least one crab with a level of 31 ppm during a Nov. 18 test. The level must be below 30 ppm.

In Washington, Dec. 4 test results show crab with meat recovery of 23.9 percent in the Westport area and 25 percent in the Long Beach area — both above the 23 percent target.

Oregon tests on Dec. 1 in the Coos Bay South area show meat recovery at 24.9 percent — just 0.1 percent below the 25 percent threshold. Astoria meat recovery rate as of Nov. 30 was 22.3 percent — almost to the 23 percent necessary and an increase of 4.1 percent since the last test on Nov. 11.

Areas north of Cascade Head in Oregon are held to a 23 percent meat recovery rate while areas south of Cascade Head must meet the 25 percent threshold.

Meat quality tests from Garibaldi and the Coos Bay North area will be made available today, prior to industry and Tri-State managers calls.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1084841/Industry-Managers-Prepare-for-Possible-Partial-Dungeness-Crab-Opening-on-the-West-Coast

Sockeye salmon recommended for listing under Species At Risk Act
The Globe and Mail by Ivan Semeniuk – December 4, 2017
For centuries, sockeye salmon have raced up British Columbia’s Fraser River to spawn in the millions, completing an astonishing life cycle that spans four years and thousands of kilometres.
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/sockeye-salmon-recommended-for-listing-under-species-at-risk-act/article37178682/

International

Seafood Importers and Brokers Totally Unprepared for Jan 1st Implementation of Sfd Import Monitoring
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton – December 6, 2017
January 2018 has the potential to see an epic disaster for seafood imports.
January 1st is the date NOAA is scheduled to implement the Seafood Import Monitoring Program, which requires a series of new data in order to allow products to be imported into the US.

The National Fisheries Institute unsuccessfully sued to halt the program, but lost.

Now the following species of seafood will all require complicated customs record keeping to be imported:  Atlantic and Pacific Cod, blue crab, Mahi Mahi, Grouper, King Crab, Sea cucumbers, Red Snapper, Sharks, Swordfish and all Tunas.

The biggest volume products will be Atlantic and Pacific cod, and tuna.

These species will require new information including the permit or license number providing authorization to fish; the unique vessel identifier, the type of fishing gear, the landing date, the product forms at time of landing including quantity and weight of product, point of first landing, and name of company to which the fish was first delivered.

Seafood imports are cleared today using the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) which is the way customs brokers send electronic clearances through customs. Recently the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association wrote to NOAA that the pilot program, designed to show how loads could be cleared under SIMP has been so far behind that only a total of 8 loads have been put through the pilot testing phase across the entire country.

“NOAA announced the initiation of its pilot program on October 4, 2017. Yet, only recently have our software providers completed the necessary system programming for brokers to enter the SIMP data in ACE. And many brokers are still struggling to work out the technical kinks in their systems. As a result, the pilot has been slow to get off the ground, with only around 8 seafood entries actually filed in ACE as of last week. With the January 1, 2018 mandatory date looming, this troubles us greatly.”

The group said “Over the last two years, as CBP (Customs and Border Protection)  transitioned to ACE, and then to incorporating the various Partner Agencies such as the FDA and NOAA, we all learned this important lesson: To avoid significant disruption in the supply chain, all parties to the transaction must have time to properly design, test and deploy their respective systems. As each agency began its implementation of ACE, months of pilot testing preceded the mandatory date. Even after full implementation, agencies provided “soft” compliance, creating contingencies for submitting entries and providing manual “hand-holding” to ensure that software glitches or unexpected problems did not cause delays at the border.”

“For NOAA’s implementation of SIMP, the challenges are even greater and involve more than just making the software work smoothly. The 10+ data elements that must be filed are brand new requirements for the industry and are scattered deep throughout the supply chain.”

“Importers are working to figure out how they can accurately and efficiently gather this information, which resides with many different, and often unrelated, parties in the supply chain. Until all segments of the supply chain adjust to this new flow of information, the implementation will be difficult.”

We can tell you with certainty, four to six weeks of pilot testing is not sufficient lead-time to ensure a successful implementation on January 1st.

“We are not suggesting that the implementation date be delayed. But we do think it is imperative for NOAA to plan a “soft compliance” policy with regard to the new data entry requirements in ACE as the seafood supply chain adjusts to the SIMP requirements.”

Unless NOAA can agree to a ‘soft implementation’ where many of the required items are missing, there will likely be chaos at the boarder for the start of Lent. The National Customs Brokers group is asking the agency to announce a soft implementation which would give the brokers time to test and implement their systems, give the industry time to gather the required data, and make sure the data on the customs forms is linked to the appropriate partner agencies.

If any issue called for direct intervention by the Dept. of Commerce and NOAA, it would be this.  If this requirement continues on autopilot for implementation in four weeks while the systems and software are not even successfully in place, a large crackup will ensue.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1084856/Seafood-Importers-and-Brokers-Totally-Unprepared-for-Jan-1st-Implementation-of-Sfd-Import-Monitoring

Environment/Science

Study: Seal and sea lions’ strong revival eats into salmon harvest, orca recovery
The Oregonian by Andrew Theen – November 20, 2017
Seal and sea lion populations rebounded during the past 40 years, and now the protected animals snack on millions of Chinook salmon throughout the West each year, potentially eating into any progress from conservation projects.
http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2017/11/study_seal_and_sea_lions_stron.html

Labeling and Marketing

Whitefish Buyers In For Wild Ride
Seafoodnews – December 5, 2017
After a period of relative stability, whitefish buyers may see a swing in price.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2uhMGi91RU

FYI’s

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https://www.beanscafe.org/events/toasttothecoast/

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
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December 6, 2017