Alaska/Pacific Coast

The salmon divide
‘Fish wars’ fatigue has sides stressing science ahead of Board of Fisheries meeting
Frontiersman  by Mary Lockman – February 18, 2017
PALMER — David Martin, President of the United Cook Inlet Drift Association, is tired of the “fish wars,” a term that’s been applied to battles over allocation in the Cook Inlet at previous Alaska Board of Fisheries meetings.
http://www.frontiersman.com/news/the-salmon-divide/article_d1ec0d3c-f64b-11e6-9861-3b558d2912d1.html

Council OKs Bond Sale To Fund Expensive City Dock Renovation
KUCB by Laura Kraegel – February 16, 2017
After nearly 10 years, Unalaska has taken one of the final steps in making the Unalaska Marine Center a reality — finding financing for the $44 million dock renovation.
Mayor Frank Kelty pushed the project forward at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, after councilors split over whether to partner with the Alaska Bond Bank Authority.
http://kucb.org/post/council-oks-bond-sale-fund-expensive-city-dock-renovation

United Fishermen of Alaska Voices Concerns with Alaska House Bill to Create Personal Income Tax
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [AP] with additional material from Peggy Parker – February 17, 2017
Alaska’s largest fishermen’s group, Juneau-based United Fishermen of Alaska Alaska, has flagged concerns about House Bill 511, an income tax bill that begins hearings today in the House Finance Committee.

UFA says many fishermen will have “major difficulties” complying with withholding requirements on payments to fishing crew.

UFA President Jerry McCune and Executive Administrator Mark Vinsel, in a letter to the House Finance Committee co-chairs, say withholding requirements would fall on skippers who don’t have the information they would need to estimate a crew member’s potential federal tax liability. The tax, as proposed, would be 15 percent of what a person owes the federal government in taxes.

The association, which says it has not taken a position either way on the bill, suggested a fix that would treat fishermen the same as people who are self-employed.

“Generally, most fishing businesses operate as contractors with the crew paid as a percentage of the catch, based on a contract, and reported at the end of the year to the payee and to IRS with form 1099-Misc.,” McCune and Vinsel pointed out.

They also noted the “short term nature of many fisheries results in payment amounts that would fall below minimum income levels for federal withholding. A crew member receiving a 1099 form is considered self-employed and as such are allowed to take many expenses as deductions that reduces their federal liability and makes it impossible for a skipper to determine the amount to withhold from a crew’s payment.”

“If a state income tax is to be implemented as part of a comprehensive fiscal package to address the current situation, the only viable treatment of commercial fishing income is through treatment the same as other self employed business owners. The State could require any business that provides a contractor with a 1099 form to provide a duplicate of the IRS form 1099-Misc to the state, with the responsibility for payment of the tax remaining with the individual payee,” they concluded.

The bill, also known as the State Revenue Restructuring Act, was introduced February 10 and is being marked up in House Finance. Hearings are scheduled for today, a second one on Tuesday, February 21, and a third one on Friday, February 24, 2017. If passed, the law would take effect January 1, 2018.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1051360/United-Fishermen-of-Alaska-Voices-Concerns-with-Alaska-House-Bill-to-Create-Personal-Income-Tax

Legislature considers conflict of interest bill for boards of fish, game
KFSK by Joe Viechnicki – February 15, 2017
The Alaska legislature is considering a bill to allow members of the Board of Game and Board of Fish to deliberate on topics even after declaring a potential conflict of interest.
http://www.kfsk.org/2017/02/15/legislature-considers-conflict-of-interest-bill-for-boards-of-fish-game/

National

U.S. House tees up bill to repeal state fish and wildlife rule
Alaska Dispatch News by Erica Martinson – February 17, 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.
http://www.thebristolbaytimes.com/article/1707us_house_tees_up_bill_to_repeal_state_fish

The Endangered Species Act may be heading for the threatened list. This hearing confirmed it.
Washington Post by Darryl Fears – February 15, 2017
A Senate hearing to “modernize the Endangered Species Act” unfolded Wednesday just as supporters of the law had feared, with round after round of criticism from Republican lawmakers who said the federal effort to keep species from going extinct encroaches on states’ rights, is unfair to landowners and stymies efforts by mining companies to extract resources and create jobs.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/02/15/the-endangered-species-act-may-be-heading-for-the-threatened-list-this-hearing-confirmed-it/?utm_term=.6b8a5f75160a

Environment/Science

What you need to know about the critically endangered whale you’ve never heard of
The North Pacific right whale is on the edge of extinction but the remaining animals are survivors and may live more than a hundred years
SitNews by Katie Doptis – February 17, 2017
In pockets of the vast North Pacific Ocean lives the most critically endangered large whale in the world — and it’s an animal most people have never heard of. Hunted to near extinction, North Pacific right whales are down to just hundreds of animals, with only 30 living in US waters in the eastern Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. Two hundred years ago, it’s believed they numbered in the tens of thousands. Now, North Pacific right whales are so elusive some scientists who study them have never seen one.
http://www.sitnews.us/0217News/021717/021717_right_pacific_whale.html

Labeling and Marketing

3MMI – Atlantic Salmon Prices Soar and Inventories are set to get Worse – What Should You Do?
TradexFoods – February 20, 2017
3-Minute Market Insight:
We have watched Atlantic Salmon prices soar as inventories are set to get worse before they get better – Atlantic Salmon is the only fresh salmon available 365 days a year, demand is high and Fresh Atlantic pricing is at an all-time high as well.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqttMLCM_wQ

Federal Register

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Vessels Using Pot Gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 02/21/2017
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by vessels using pot gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season allowance of the 2017 Pacific cod total allowable catch apportioned to vessels using pot gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/02/21/2017-03378/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-pacific-cod-by-vessels-using-pot-gear-in-the

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
1900 W Emerson Place Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98119
Phone: 206.281.1667
E-mail: pspafish@gmail.com; Website: www.pspafish.net
Our office days/hours are Monday-Friday
8:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. *Inclusion of a news article, report, or other document in this email does not imply PSPA support or endorsement of the information or opinion expressed in the document.

February 20, 2017