Alaska/Pacific Coast

U.S. House tees up bill to repeal Alaska fish and wildlife regulation
Alaska Dispatch News by Erica Martinson – February 13, 2017
WASHINGTON — The U.S. House has plans to start the process next week to repeal an Alaska-specific wildlife regulation issued by the Interior Department that has put federal regulators at odds with state game managers.
https://www.adn.com/politics/2017/02/11/u-s-house-tees-up-bill-to-repeal-alaska-fish-and-wildlife-regulation/

IN BRIEF – Alaska Halibut Fishery Achieves Continued Alaska RFM Certification
Fis.com – February 14, 2017
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) is pleased to announce the Alaska halibut fishery has been awarded continued certification to the Alaska Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) Certification Program.
http://fis.com/fis/worldnews/search_brief.asp?l=e&id=89934&ndb=1

Issues to watch at the Board of Fisheries
Peninsula Clarion by Elizabeth Earl – February 12, 2017
Fishermen, regulators, biologists and stakeholders will gather in Anchorage next month to clash over and collaborate on Upper Cook Inlet fisheries policies.
http://peninsulaclarion.com/news/local/2017-02-12/issues-watch-board-fisheries

International

Russian Fishery Co. Plans Major Pollock Expansion with Chinese Backing
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Eugene Gerden – February 14, 2017
The Russian Fishery Co. plans to significantly expand pollock production volumes, yet its plan, backed by China, may run into opposition from state agencies.

Russian Fishery Co., one of Russia’s leading fish producers and processors, (formerly Russkoe More – Dobycha”), plans to significantly increase the volume of fish production this year, and aims to further supplies both to domestic and foreign markets, according to Andrew Teterkin, CEO of the company.

Particular attention will be paid for the increase of pollock production. Last year the volume of the company’s total production amounted to 280,000 tons, of which 220,000 tons accounted for pollock, while the remaining 50,000 tons for Pacific herring. However, according to the company’s plans, these figures should be significantly increased already this year.

Implementation of these plans will take place through the renewal of the company’s fishing fleet.  This will involve the building of at least 6 fishing trawlers. Teterkin believes that further increase of production is only possible with the use of large-capacity factory processor ships.

According to estimates of Russian Fishery, the cost of building of such ships will vary in the range of US $50-60 million.

The majority of these funds are expected to be allocated from within the company, while the remaining will be provided by foreign banks, in the form of loans. As part of these plans, Russian Fishery plans to raise a loan in the amount of 2.5 billion yuan from one of China’s leading banks.

In the case of building of new ships, according to a spokesman of Russian Fishery, currently Russian shipyards do not have sufficient capacities for the building of big fishing trawlers, while the majority of these  ships are still built in abroad.

This, however, is contrary to state plans and may pose a threat for the implementation of the ambitious state project, known as “underkeel quotas”, which involves the provision of quotas for fish catch in Russia for companies which build their fish trawlers in domestic shipyards.

There is a lot of jockeying for position among Russian companies over quotas which will be renewed in 2018, with a split in the government between those who want to use quotas to force domestic production, and those who want to allow the fishing companies to earn money through exports, as they do today.  The faction demanding the ‘Russianization’ of the fishery has won some victories by forcing out Pacific Andes and insisting on Russian ownership of quotas.  But they have been countered by the pollock producers organization which has focused on expanding pollock export markets through processing in China.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1050836/Russian-Fishery-Co-Plans-Major-Pollock-Expansion-with-Chinese-Backing

Environment/Science

EPA Staff Yanked From Alaska Summit as Trump Team Weighs In
Bloomberg News by Christopher Flavelle and Jennifer A Dlouhy – February 9, 2017
Just three days before this week’s environment conference in Alaska, the top Environmental Protection Agency official in Anchorage called the organizer with some news: The agency had been instructed by the White House to slash the number of EPA staffers who could attend.
https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-02-09/epa-officials-yanked-from-alaska-event-as-trump-team-weighs-in

Labeling and Marketing

3MMI – Alaska Boats Not Dropping Nets for Cod, Sticker Shock Pricing, Inventories Drying Up
TradexFoods – February 13, 2017
3-Minute Market Insight:
Many boats in Alaska are not dropping their nets for Pacific Cod as they continue to target Pollock instead – Some vendors have put out Shatterpack Fillets offers but finding smaller sizes is difficult.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA47yr34sOs

FYI’s

Robots will help store frozen food in new automated cold storage warehouse
The News Tribune by Kate Martin – February 7, 2017
One of the state’s first automated cold storage warehouses could open in Tacoma by the end of the year.
http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/business/article131257919.html

Commentary

COMMENTARY: The actual, factual new realities of Cook Inlet salmon
Alaska Journal of Commerce by Catherine Cassidy – February 10, 2017
In his opinion piece published in the Alaska Journal of Commerce on Feb. 8, Mr. Karl Johnstone, presumably from his home in Arizona, gave a eulogy at the graveside of Cook Inlet commercial salmon fishing. Actually, the industry is alive and well and helping Alaskans get through these economic hard times.
http://www.alaskajournal.com/2017-02-10/commentary-actual-factual-new-realities-cook-inlet-salmon#.WKFDdRBOFA4

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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February 14, 2017