Alaska/Pacific Coast

Crab review due; full coverage for Gulf trawlers proposed
Alaska Journal of Commerce by DJ Summers February 19, 2015
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council had more to think about than just halibut at its February meeting in Seattle Feb. 4-10.

Alaska Fisheries Report
KMXT.ORG – February 19, 2015
Coming up this week, a pot cod boat runs hard aground during heavy weather in Kodiak, though as of press time there’s been no oil pollution; the State Senate is taking a lot of testimony on Roland Maw’s appointment to the Board of Fish, and a fisheries pioneer is set to get honored this weekend in Anchorage. All that, and a new study looks at the graying of the fleet and where the next generation of fishermen will come from. We had help from KBBI’s Shady Grove Oliver in Homer.

Rep. Stutes Talks Fishing on 360North
KMXT.ORG – February 18, 2015
First year State Representative Louise Stutes of Kodiak was featured on the KTOO-produced Capital View television show with Mike Bradner on 360-North this week. Much of the conversation was about fisheries in Kodiak and Alaska.

Snow Crab Landings at Halfway Mark, Bairdi Quota Landed
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker  –  February 20, 2015
Bering Sea crabbers have landed 53% of the snow crab quota, a smaller share than what they landed by this time last year. But this year’s quota is larger by 14 million pounds, or 25%.

Snow crab landings of 32.7 million pounds were posted yesterday, about 3.3 million pounds less than last year’s catch at this date. The total TAC for opilio this year is just under 68 million pounds.

“This year, additional processing and harvesting capacity has gone toward bairdi,” says Jake Jacobsen of the Inter-Cooperative Exchange representing most of the crab effort in the Bering Sea.

“There is a fundamental difference in harvesting under an IFQ system than under a derby style fishery,” Jacobsen says. “In a derby fishery, effort is fairly constant. In an IFQ fishery, boats come and go. Some of our boats started fishing opilio in December, and were done in January. Others started fishing in January or February. Many have fished their allotment and have gone home. Some have not yet started fishing opilio, as they are first fishing their bairdi quota.”

The season for opilio ends May 31; last year the fleet fished through April 30.  Jacobsen says he believes the TAC will be landed before the season ends.

On this date in 2013, the crab fleet was at 55% of the opilio TAC; the year before that the fleet had landed only 36% of a much larger (80 million pound) quota with a similar amount of pounds, 29.4 million, harvested.

Ninety six percent of the Eastern Bering Sea tanner (EBT) crab quota of 8.5 million pounds had been landed. One boat remains on the grounds and is expected to deliver soon. There are less than 300,000 pounds of EBT tanner crab left to catch.

Western Bering Sea tanner (WBT) crab landings have reached 2 million pounds, or 34% of the TAC. This time last year, only 8% of the WBT quota had been landed. The WBT season concludes in early April. It was extended for a short time last year and Jacobsen is talking with ADF&G to extend it again this year.

“That discussion has not gone well for us,” Jacobsen says. “I do not expect the full TAC of Western Bering Tanner to be delivered due to issues of processing and harvesting capacity available.”

The TAC for bairdi this year was 15.1 million pounds, up significantly from last year’s quota of 3.1 million pounds.

Gulf of Alaska Pot Cod Quotas Finally Filled With Catch Rates Lower
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Homer News] by Cristy Fry – February 20, 2015
The boats fishing for Pacific cod with pots in the central Gulf of Alaska federal season finally wrapped up their 17.9 million pound quota Monday, a few days later than last year, but the trawl fleet is still fishing with only 30 percent of their 9,600-ton quota caught.

Obren Davis, area management biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service, said a combination of factors led to a slower pot season.

“Effort was down, catchability was definitely down,” he said. “They just seemed not to be getting the catch rates that they did, for example, last year.”

He said things started good and then slowed down, whereas last year fishing started slower and accelerated toward the end, which is more common as fish move inshore in preparation for spawning.

The boats now move into state waters within three miles of shore, where the quota is 5.1 million pounds with 85 percent, or 4.31 million pounds, allocated to pot gear and 15 percent to jig gear.

Vessels more than 58 feet are limited to no more than 25 percent of the quota, or 1.27 million pounds.

There is a 60 pot limit, and pot tags are required.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game Area Management Biologist Jan Rumble reminds fishermen that bycatch limits are established by emergency order in the beginning of the year. Retention of big skate was closed in Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound on Feb. 11 to mirror a federal waters closure.

Pot fisherman also need to keep an eye on the octopus guideline harvest level which is 35,000 pounds and closed on April 23, 2014. The next GHL kicks in Jan. 1, 2016.

The parallel longline fishery is still open in state waters. Last year this fishery closed March 15.



Think of Earth, not just your stomach, panel advises
Washington Post by Roberto Ferdman and Peter Whoriskey – February 19, 2015
The nation’s top nutritional panel is recommending for the first time that Americans consider the impact on the environment when they are choosing what to eat, a move that defied a warning from Congress and, if enacted, could discourage people from eating red meat.

Global warming impact on fisheries is ‘uncertain’, says study
FIS.COM- Friday, February 20, 2015
A new study suggests that global warming may increase upwelling in several ocean current systems around the world by the end of this century, especially at high latitudes, and will cause major changes in marine biodiversity.

Electronic Monitoring and Reporting
Using technology to improve our knowledge of fisheries. February 2015
NOAA Fisheries produces world-class science to support our dual mission of maximizing sustainable fishing while achieving the greatest economic benefits to the nation. One way we accomplish this is by partnering with fishermen and other stakeholders to systematically integrate technology into our data collections and observations.

We’re figuring out how technology such as on-board cameras, tablets, and electronic logbooks can be used to monitor fishing activity and report catch. One idea is to supplement human observers with digital video cameras and software capable of measuring and identifying different species of fish.

Labeling and Marketing

IN BRIEF – New seafood traceability standard caters to restaurants, fishmongers and fresh fish counters
FIS.COM – February 20, 2015

feb 20, 2015
The updated MSC Chain of Custody Standard improves auditing process for over 2,800 organisations.


Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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February 20, 2015