Alaska/Pacific Coast

Bering Sea pollock program review leaves some doubts – February 11, 2017
After an indefinite postponement, last December, a catch quota system for the Gulf of Alaska that has in preparation for four years, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) agreed to review the program implemented in the Bering Sea, Alaska’s largest fishery in volume.

Lawmakers consider larger fish board, other fisheries bills
Bristol Bay Times by Molly Dischner – February 9, 2017
Although the state budget and Alaskan’s permanent fund are drawing much of the attention in Juneau this session, lawmakers are also considering a handful of fisheries-related bills.

Bristol Bay fisherman may return to state board
Bristol Bay Times by Molly Dischner – February 9, 2017
A Dillingham fisherman is seeking another term on the state Board of Fisheries.
The seven-member board makes policy and allocative decisions for fisheries throughout Alaska. Most fisheries are considered on a triennial rotation, and Bristol Bay was last up for discussion in 2015.

Fishing vessel exams slated for Cordova
Cordova Times – February 10, 2017
Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Valdez will have a team of commercial fishing vessel examiners in Cordova April 24-29 to conduct dockside exams designed to educate vessel operators and ensure vessel safety.

Seafood issues on tap for SWAMC meeting
Cordova Times – February 10, 2017
Fisheries marketing, policy issues and a legislative update are on the agenda for the second day of the annual Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference’s annual summit and membership meeting March 2-3 in Anchorage.

Alaska Fisheries Report
KMXT by Jay Barrett – February 9, 2017
Coming up this week: Southeast spawn-on-kelp fishermen are facing restrictions this spring to help preserve the stock; Bristol Bay gets a fisherman back on the Board of Fish, but now there’s nobody representing Kodiak. All that, and meeting the impressive ‘Seawomen of Iceland. We had help from KMXT’s Kayla Desroches in Kodiak, KDLG’s Dave Bendinger in Dillingham and KFSK’s Angela Denning in Petersburg.


Fishermen and sustainability win big thanks to the Dutch Postcode Lottery
Seafood Source by Madelyn Kearns – February 10, 2017
Funding from the Dutch Postcode Lottery will see fishermen from developing countries qualifying for more opportunities to improve the sustainability of their fishing practices, according to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

The four-year project utilizing the Dutch Postcode Lottery’s EUR 1.75 million (USD 1.85 million) funding, called ‘Fish for Good,’ aims to bring fishers, communities and local partners together “to map the sustainability of fisheries before providing communities with tools and support to safeguard livelihoods and oceans for future generations,” explained MSC. The implementation of ‘Fish for Good’ will be aided by local NGOs, who will be able to provide area insights, networks and expertise in ocean conservation.

“This generous funding will help MSC and our partners to make a real difference. We are extremely grateful to the Dutch Postcode Lottery and all of the postcode lottery ticket buyers who have made this possible,” MSC CEO” Rupert Howes said “The MSC has the tools, training and networks to assist small scale and developing world fisheries on their journey of environmental improvement.”

Countries included in the project proposal for potential partnerships are Indonesia, South Africa and Mexico, which were picked due to the economic importance of fishing in the respective regions, the urgency to protect marine environments and the presence of supportive partner organizations.

“Working with local partners and assessment bodies, the ‘Fish for Good’ project will provide engaged fisheries with long-term improvement plans and knowledge which could help them to become more sustainable and achieve certification in the future. The project builds upon the success of similar MSC pre-assessment projects with partners in France, Japan, Spain and the U.K.,” said MSC.

The MSC has been receiving funding from the Dutch Postcode Lottery since 2011; it receives EUR 500,000 (USD 531,125) annually from the Lottery. Funding for the ‘Fish for Good’ project was awarded during a charity gala, held on Monday, 6 February at the Koninklijk Theater Carré in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Dr. Cisco Werner Selected Acting Chief Scientist for NOAA Fisheries
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Susan Chambers – February 10, 2017
Dr. Francisco “Cisco” Werner announced he is now the Acting Director of Scientific Programs and Chief Science Advisor for NOAA Fisheries in a recent email to NOAA Fisheries employees.

Werner comes from the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, where he served as the Science and Research Director from 2011 to 2016. Prior to that, Werner was the Director of the Institute of Marine and Coastal Studies at Rutgers University.

His research has included the study of the structure and function of marine ecosystems, ocean circulation physics, and the development and implementation of ocean and coastal observing and forecasting systems. He has also researched the development of physical and biological models for marine ecosystems in the Northwest Atlantic, the U.S. South Atlantic Bight and the North Pacific, according to his online biography.

“First, I am honored to step in as the Acting Chief Science Advisor for NOAA Fisheries,” Werner said in his email. “I have been working side by side with many of you already as the Science Center Director in the Southwest, and I am anxious to take the best of those experiences and apply them at the national level. …

“Second, my hat is off to Richard Merrick for the high bar he set for all of us, as well as his personal and professional dedication to NOAA. For the last two weeks of his career, I saw first-hand just how critical a role he played in advancing our science to inform management, shaping agency priorities, and setting a clear path forward,” Werner wrote.

Prior to joining NOAA Fisheries, Werner’s research has included the study of the structure and function of marine ecosystems, ocean circulation physics and the development and implementation of ocean and coastal observing and forecasting systems. He has also researched the development of physical and biological models for marine ecosystems in the Northwest Atlantic, the U.S. South Atlantic Bight and the North Pacific. He earned his BSc in mathematics from the University of Washington (1978) and an MSc and a PhD in oceanography also from UW in 1981 and 1984.

His advancement comes at a time when both West Coast science centers are undergoing changes.

Dr. John Stein retired as the Northwest Fisheries Science Center director in January. Former Deputy Director Dr. Mark Strom has taken Stein’s place as the Acting Science and Research Director.

Kristin Koch, former Deputy Director at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, is taking over for Werner as Acting Science and Research Director at the SWFSC. Previously, Koch was the Deputy Ecosystem Goal Team Lead in Silver Spring, Md., where she was responsible for the strategic planning and management of NOAA’s nine ecosystem programs.

“… NOAA Fisheries conducts world class science and we should be proud of that,” Werner concluded in his email. “The Science Program Reviews we have undergone over the past four years highlighted the breadth of our science enterprise. As we transition to a new administration, the results of these reviews will help us clearly present the importance of our mission and our challenges to our new leadership.”

Warm ocean water triggered vast seabird die-off, experts say
Associated Press by Dan Joling – February 10, 2017
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – A year after tens of thousands of common murres, an abundant North Pacific seabird, starved and washed ashore on beaches from California to Alaska, researchers have pinned the cause to unusually warm ocean temperatures that affected the tiny fish they eat.

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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February 13, 2017