Alaska/Pacific Coast

Alaska Marine Conservation Council Wants to Reconnect Anchorage Residents to Locally Sourced Seafood
SEAFOODNEWS.COM – February 1, 2017
The Alaska Marine Conservation Council (AMCC) wants to reconnect local Anchorage residents with the commercial fishing industry with its Catch of the Season program.

The AMCC is an NGO that advocates for sustainable fishing practices habitat protection, and local stewardship. The organization says supports an ecosystem-based approach to research and marine resource management that incorporates the best science available, experiential knowledge, and the wisdom of tradition.

As for the group’s Catch of the Season program, the AMCC will use a pop-up market to sell locally harvested ALaksan seafood directly to consumers in Anchorage.

“We decided to kick-off our year with a pop-up market so new and returning customers would have an opportunity to meet our Anchorage-based team,” said Jen Leahy, AMCC communications and engagement manager. “Our customers support Catch of the Season primarily for two reasons: they’re excited about the incredible quality of the seafood and they want to feel more connected to the people behind the product.”

AMCC’s market will be set on Feb. 9-10 between 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.  at the council’s Anchorage office, 106 F St.

Leahy adds:”This is also a great time of year for us to help Alaskans top off their freezers with local seafood. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we figured folks might be interested in special treats like Norton Sound red king crab legs or the Taku River coho fillets, which get their clean, pure flavor from a technique called pressure bleeding. We decided to round out this offering with our jig-caught Pacific cod, which is extremely versatile and a great value. For those of us who have concerns about factory-farmed meat, wild cod is a great alternative to chicken. It’s my go-to protein for weeknight meals.”
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1049416/Alaska-Marine-Conservation-Council-Wants-to-Reconnect-Anchorage-Residents-to-Locally-Sourced-Seafood

Setnetters seek looser restrictions from fish board
Peninsula Clarion by Elizabeth Earl – January 31, 2017
Some east side Cook Inlet setnetters want the Board of Fisheries to loosen some of the regulations it has adopted over the years restricting the fishery.
http://www.alaskajournal.com/2017-01-31/setnetters-seek-looser-restrictions-fish-board#.WJIGxRBOFA4

U.S. and Canada at Odds in Setting Halibut Catch Limits for 2017
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – January 31, 2017
The longstanding tension between Canada and the U.S. regarding best ways to manage a shared resource was brought into sharper relief this year at the annual meeting of the International Pacific Halibut Commission in Victoria, B.C.

In the end, catch limits were agreed to, Canada again received 58 percent more than the Blueline, which reflects the current harvest policy, and 41 percent higher than the SPR (Spawning Potential Ratio), a level that reflects real removals: based in part on an average of what was caught over the last three years.

The stock assessment numbers are good in Canada. The population appears not to be responding to what is now nearly a decade of taking more than the current harvest policy dictates.

But it’s not 2B’s stock assessment that the IPHC’s science team and the U.S. Commissioners worry about. It’s what the increased intensity of fishing in 2B could be doing to the rest of the coastwide stock.

“I believe that the best information we have from science is that we have a coastwide stock,” said U.S. Commissioner Jim Balsiger during discussion of the Canadian motion for 7.45 million pounds in 2B, when the SPR recommended 5.28 mlbs.

“The coastwide stock remains at relatively low levels. I don’t think there’s a tail end, I don’t think there’s a head end. Every area has to contribue to the stock as it is rebuilding. For that reason, I’m not supporting [the motion],” Balsiger said.

U.S. Commissioner Linda Behnken, on the panel for the first time, agreed. “Area 2B is producing some healthy spawning stock. Those fish should be part of their contribution to rebuilding the coastwide stocks.”

Behnken is from Area 2C, which shows even stronger indices in abundance and weight over slightly longer time periods. She supported a catch limit for that area that was 12 percent above the SPR.

The Commissioners’ adopted catch limits of 31.4 mlbs for 2017 were above the Blueline in every area except 3B, the western Gulf of Alaska. Compared to the SPR, which is higher than the Blueline, final adopted numbers were above SPR only in Area 2: West coast of the U.S., B.C., and Southeast Alaska. From the Gulf of Alaska west, final adopted limits were about eight percent lower than the SPR limits.

The IPHC provides a risk table for advisory bodies and commissioners to understand the implications of their recommendations and final decisions. With the current adopted levels, there is a 70 percent chance that the spawning biomass in 2018 will be smaller than it is now. The Blueline level offered 56 percent chance the spawning population would be lower next year.

Because survey indices in B.C. continue to show strong abundance and weight despite the heavy fishing intensity, Canadians support a re-evalutaiton of the IPHC’s harvest policy, which is underway, including the apportionment scheme.

The tension on catch limits began in 2006 when the IPHC went from an area-by-area assessment, which assumed negligible migration among areas, to a coastwide assessment supported by a growing body of evidence that indeed migration was happening, and the coast-wide population was frequently moving great distances.

Tagging studies in the early 2000s showed significant immigration into British Columbia’s 2B from Southeast Alaska’s 2C, and some emigration (outflow) to WA/OR/CA’s Area 2A.

With the new knowledge, IPHC’s apportionment changed to include not only geographical size of the regulatory area, but adjustments due to survey station depth distribution, hook competition, and survey timing. In the end, Canada’s share decreased.

Since then, the Canadian delegation renews their official stance of non-recognition of the new apportionment scheme every year.

If Canadian Commissioners won a victory on catch limits, there was little celebrating and many cautionary comments from both sides. Neither delegation wanted a walk-out, which could have occurred if less than two commissioners support a motion. That may have been the reason Balsiger was the only U.S. Commissioner to oppose Canada’s motion for the higher limit. If either Behnken or Bob Alverson had joined his “no” vote, the Commission would have been deadlocked. In that case, which has happened only once in the 94-year history of the IPHC, catch limits would revert back to the previous year’s.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1049268/US-and-Canada-at-Odds-in-Setting-Halibut-Catch-Limits-for-2017

Politics

Trump’s top 5 decisions impacting seafood
Seafood Source by Cliff White – January 31, 2017
Since his swearing-in less than two weeks ago, United States President Donald Trump has not been afraid to act quickly and boldly – some might argue rashly – to make good on promises he made during his campaign.
http://www.seafoodsource.com/commentary/trump-s-top-5-decisions-impacting-seafood

National

GMO salmon inching toward US markets
Fishermen’s News by Christine Blank – January 31, 2017
AquaBounty’s genetically modified salmon, AquAdvantage, continues to inch closer towards markets in the United States, despite efforts opposing the commercialization of GMO salmon.
http://www.nationalfisherman.com/news-events/top-news/7682-gmo-salmon-inching-toward-us-markets

International

Brexit implications strike fear across Irish fishing industry
Expulsion of EU vessels from British waters may prompt targeting of Irish fishing zones
Irish Times – January 30, 2017
Connemara fish factory manager Cathal Groonell would be justified in feeling nervous about Brexit as Britain is a key market for Irish seafood, and 38 per cent of the Irish catch is taken from the waters around its coast.
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/brexit-implications-strike-fear-across-irish-fishing-industry-1.2956986

Environment/Science

Warming ocean waters off Alaska bring widespread ecological changes, with more expected
Alaska Dispatch News by Yereth Rosen – January 31, 2017
As the global climate heats up, so do the ocean waters off Alaska, meaning big changes for marine ecosystems and bad news for some species. Scientists gathered in Anchorage last week for the Alaska Marine Science Symposium at the Hotel Captain Cook reviewed new research probing those changes and what may be ongoing shifts in the marine ecosystem. Here are some of their findings.
https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/science/2017/01/30/warming-ocean-waters-off-alaska-bring-widespread-ecological-changes-with-more-expected-in-the-future/

What Seafood Consumption Can Tell Us About Environmental Sustainability
Newsweek by Yoshitaka Ota and Andrés Cisneros-Montemayor – January 30, 2017
This article originally appeared on The Conversation.
Along the arid coastline of northwestern Mexico, indigenous Seri communities, who first resisted Spanish rule and then Mexican extermination efforts, eventually gained formal titles over a small part of their ancestral coastal and marine territories. The ocean has always sustained their livelihood, but now they must contend with outside competition over declining fish resources.
http://www.newsweek.com/indigenous-communities-fish-economy-550397

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 02/01/2017
NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amount of Pacific cod from vessels using jig gear to catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 meters) length overall using hook-and-line or pot gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. This action is necessary to allow the A season apportionment of the 2017 total allowable catch of Pacific cod to be harvested.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/02/01/2017-02142/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-reallocation-of-pacific-cod-in-the-bering-sea

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in Statistical Area 630 in the Gulf of Alaska
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 02/01/2017
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 630 in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season allowance of the 2017 total allowable catch of pollock for Statistical Area 630 in the GOA.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/02/01/2017-02119/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-pollock-in-statistical-area-630-in-the-gulf-of

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Pot Catcher/Processors in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 02/01/2017
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher/processors using pot gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season apportionment of the 2017 Pacific cod total allowable catch allocated to catcher/processors using pot gear in the BSAI.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/02/01/2017-02118/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-pacific-cod-by-pot-catcherprocessors-in-the

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Catcher Vessels Greater Than or Equal to 60 Feet Length Overall Using Pot Gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 02/01/2017
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 feet (18.3 meters (m)) length overall (LOA) using pot gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season apportionment of the 2017 Pacific cod total allowable catch allocated to catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 feet (18.3m) LOA using pot gear in the BSAI.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/02/01/2017-02124/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-pacific-cod-by-catcher-vessels-greater-than-or

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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February 1, 2017