Alaska/Pacific Coast

Intense Opposition from Fleet to GOA Bycatch Management Plan at North Pacific Council
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – February 9, 2016
More than 50 skippers and crew of the Gulf of Alaska trawl fleet stopped fishing and flew to Portland to voice their opposition to an alternative that ran counter to what many in the industry had been working on for years.

Alternative 3 was added to the Council’s discussion paper last fall as part of a proposed management structure intended to reduce bycatch, create better accountability for bycatch, increase at-sea monitoring, and improve safety and efficiency for the GOA trawl fleet.

Testimony against Alt 3 ran for two days at the Advisory Panel and before the Council, much of it from skippers who would have been fishing if prices were higher and, in some cases, bycatch was lower. Nevertheless, the trip to Portland from Dutch Harbor, Kodiak, or King Cove by a majority of the fleet to register their opposition to the new proposal, was a rare event.

Most opposition focused on Alt 3’s allocation of catch shares for prohibited species (bycatch) only, rather than for targeted species, as Alt 2 does.
A letter from the Pacific Seafood Processors, Alaska Whitefish Trawlers Association, Alaska Groundfish Data Bank, and the Midwater Trawlers Cooperative, pointed out that “Alternative 3 introduces a catch share program significantly different from those programs already implemented in other Alaska fisheries.

“In fact, so far as we are aware, there are no programs in any fishery worldwide similar to that proposed under Alternative 3. This has raised questions about the Council’s intent.

“The intent of the Council in developing Alternative 2 was to provide management mechanisms to the trawl sector to meet the Council’s bycatch reduction goals while fostering an economically viable fishery founded on historical participation and investment in the fishery by harvesters, processors, and fishery dependent communities. Alternative 3 appears to be focused more on redistribution of fishery benefits and mitigating perceived impacts of catch share programs whether applicable or not. With the introduction of Alternative 3 it is unclear what the Council is trying to accomplish with this program.”

The Council’s response was to move the discussion paper forward with changed options for eligibility for bycatch shares and eligibility to join a coop. They also added a suite of issues to add to the draft EIS. Those include:
* a better analysis of how both alternatives will affect value of the federal permit
* evaluate active participation requirements for consistency
* further analysis of the effects of consolidation limits in both alternatives
* evaluate factors that influence information sharing within and between coops
* examine cost of observer coverage by area, and what it would take to deploy electronic monitoring in the pollock trawl fleet to meet requirements
* look at whether more than one coop of vessels can be associated with a processor
* further analyze eligibility of vessels with low levels of participation in the past the years to enter GOA fisheries.

The Gulf of Alaska groundfish trawl fishery is the last major “race for fish” in Alaska. Salmon has been under limited entry since 1974, halibut and sablefish under IFQs in 1995, Bering Sea pollock got quota shares under the American Fisheries Act in 1998, crab got rationalized in 2005, and BSAI flatfish got shares and coops under Amendment 80 in 2008.

The independent GOA trawl fleet, who deliver cod, pollock, and flatfish to plants from Akutan to Kodiak,  still operates under a single TAC for each species, each boat competing against the other.

“Management of Gulf of Alaska (GOA) groundfish trawl fisheries has grown increasingly complicated in recent years due to the implementation of measures to protect Steller sea lions and reduced Pacific halibut and Chinook salmon Prohibited Species Catch (PSC) limits under variable annual total allowable catch (TACs) limits for target groundfish species,” the discussion paper before the Council notes.

“The purpose of the proposed action is to create a new management structure which allocates prohibited species catch limits and/or allowable harvest to individuals, cooperatives, or other entities, which will mitigate the impacts of a derby-style race for fish,” according to the paper.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1008328/Intense-Opposition-from-Fleet-to-GOA-Bycatch-Management-Plan-at-North-Pacific-Council

Politics

Robin Samuelson on BOF nominees, and why he thinks Bristol Bay may get a seat yet
KDLG by Dave Bendinger – February 6, 2016
Samuelson was in Juneau Tuesday, just after Walker published his nominees for Board of Fish seats. Back from that trip, he offered more perspective Friday morning.
http://kdlg.org/post/robin-samuelson-bof-nominees-and-why-he-thinks-bristol-bay-may-get-seat-yet\

International

Trident Launches First Ecommerce Effort in China under its Own Brand for Chinese New Year
SEAFOODNEWS.COM   by John Sackton –  February 9, 2016
Trident Seafoods is launching its own retail branding and marketing initiative in China. The launch is timed to coincide with the celebration of Chinese New Year beginning February 8.

Trident is introducing a chinese version of its website to communicate directly with Chinese consumers.  The website, where the Trident Logo is translated as the “Poseidon Fork Brand”, features the Trident Story and a range of Alaskan products called Pure and True, and has a wholesale section as well.  However, the site does not offer direct ecommerce services.

Trident is also using the WeChat social media platform to communicate about its products and brands with customers in China.

The major ecommerce initiative is being done with partnerships with two Chinese ecommerce channels:  YiGuo.com and YouPin Food (youpinfood.com).  Trident will offer a special selection of Trident branded seafood products for the holidays.

The partnership with YiGuo.com is a first for Trident, and the relationship allows the company to offer wild Alaska king crab directly to the Chinese consumers in a retail channel. Specially marked trucks will deliver whole king crab to customers in Shanghai.

Tied to the lunar calendar, Chinese New Year — also known as the Spring Festival — follows the new moon for 15 days as it blossoms into the full moon to coincide with the Lantern Festival on February 22. It is a centuries-old celebration of seasonal and spiritual renewal that both honors tradition and elevates the modern hopes and dreams of China’s younger generation. As is evident in the traditional fireworks — meant to scare off negative influences — the color red plays a prominent role in the celebration as a symbol of good fortune, wealth and prosperity to come.

Joe Bundrant, Trident’s Chief Executive Officer, expressed his personal excitement and hope for good fortune as Trident adds to the celebration by offering its wild Alaska sockeye salmon portions and wild Alaska smoked salmon to online consumers. Bundrant said the company is also supplying 1,000 whole, wild Alaska king crab, individually packed in dramatically decorated red and gold protective boxes. A fleet of colorfully decorated trucks, featuring an Alaska crab fisherman, a large king crab, and the Trident logo is currently delivering the special gifts through YiGuo.com in Shanghai.

“What better time could there possibly be to introduce these truly amazing, ruby-red seafood items that we harvest from the pristine waters of Alaska,” Bundrant said. “We’ve been celebrating these products for decades ourselves, and we are very proud to be able to share them now with Chinese consumers who understand their great value and incredible ‘Wow!’ factor.”

Trident’s partnership with YiGuo.com opens access to three additional online sales channels through YiGuo.com’s official website; they include YiGuo.com’s mobile app, Alibaba’s Tmall online Supermarket (Tmall Chaoshi) and YiGuo.com’s online flagship store at Tmall.com.

Throughout 2016, Trident Seafoods will introduce additional high-quality, “Pure & True” seafood products from Alaska and elsewhere, assuring Chinese consumers of a steady supply of healthy, safe and delicious seafood products under the Trident Seafoods brand.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1008261/Trident-Launches-First-Ecommerce-Effort-in-China-under-its-Own-Brand-for-Chinese-New-Year

Federal Register

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by 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
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 02/10/2016
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 meters (m)) length overall (LOA) using hook-and-line or pot gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2016 Pacific cod total allowable catch allocated to catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear in the BSAI.
https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/02/10/2016-02689/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-pacific-cod-by-catcher-vessels-less-than-60-feet?utm_campaign=subscription+mailing+list&utm_medium=email&utm_source=federalregister.gov

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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February 10, 2016