Alaska/Pacific Coast

Potential portion of raw fish tax: $39,559.49
Koplin: City council expected to approve equal share tax shares with Valdez, Whittier
Cordova Times by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson – February 17, 2017
A state shared fisheries business tax program stands to put $39,559.49 into municipal coffers this year, a boost from the $20,000 budgeted for 2017, says Cordova City Clerk Susan Bourgeois.
http://www.thecordovatimes.com/2017/02/17/potential-portion-of-raw-fish-tax-39559-49/

International

Iceland’s Commercial Fishermen Resume Fishing as Labor Deal Gets Narrow Approval
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh – February 20, 2017
Commercial fishermen in Iceland commenced fishing on Sunday after an agreement was narrowly passed between the major fishermen’s unions and the boat owners.

The deal ends a three-month work stoppage for Iceland’s commercial fishermen that walked off the job in November. The fishermen demanded better prices of fish sold at auction compared to the fish not sold at auction; guaranteed salaries, bonus incentives; a larger budget for clothing and third party safety assessments.

It was a narrow vote to get the deal done over the weekend. Only 53.7% of eligible fishermen took part in the vote. Of those, just 52.4% voted in favor of the labor agreement, as 46.9% voted against it.  Commercial fishing vessels resumed fishing on Sunday evening.

This deal should ease upwards pressure on cod prices and inventories in the UK market. The strike was starting to cut into fresh and frozen cod production out of Iceland, which is a major supplier to the UK market. Additionally, fears of fresh cod shortages in US market, particularly on the East Coast, are also likely to fade.

Representatives from some of the fishermen’s union said they were given little choice to accept the deal. They said if a labor contract was not going to get approved Iceland’s government was going to intervene and force the fishermen back to work with ratification of a law.

“We were backed up against a wall,” said Vilhjálmur Birgisson, head of the Akranes Labour Union.“I want to word this as I did at my introductory meeting on the matter, that we actually had a gun put to our heads by being told ‘Either you accept this deal as it is or we’ll put the law against you.’ No middle ground between the two.”

Still, other representatives and fishermen were satisfied with the deal and to get back to work.

Valmundur Valmundsson, chairman Sjómannasambands Iceland, among those happy with the result.

Late last week European fish market analysts at Marko Fish said Iceland’s fishing strike could come to a quick end because of a recent decision to sharply raise Iceland’s commercial capelin quota.

“There are higher probabilities that the strike will be resolved in the next few days than before due to the issue of enlarged quota for capelin of 196 thousand that will be Iceland’s share of the quota. Due to the relatively short catch window for the capelin the pressure to end the strike is increased,” said Marko Fish in its February 16 newsletter.

Iceland’s Ministry of Fisheries raised its commercial capelin quota to 299,000 metric tons. Of this, Iceland’s commercial fleet is allocated 196,000 metric tons.

The overall increase is up about 87 percent from 2016.

Iceland’s winter capelin fishery usually runs from January to April. It is a high volume fishery and among Iceland’s most important commercial pelagic species.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1051523/Icelands-Commercial-Fishermen-Resume-Fishing-as-Labor-Deal-Gets-Narrow-Approval

Russia’s Quota Incentive Program Does Not Spur Crab Producers to Place Domestic Shipbuilding Orders
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Eugene Gerden – February 20, 2017
Leading Russian crab producers have failed to reach an agreement with domestic shipbuilders regarding the placement of orders for new crab vessels, which is required by the recently amended Russian legislation in the field of fish and seafood production, according to recent statements of an official spokesman of Russian Rosrybolovstvo.

The recent decision of the Russian government to include crabs in the “under keel” quota program (which involves placement of orders for the building of fishing trawlers at domestic shipyards in exchange of quotas’ provision) became a big surprise for domestic crab producers, which have been forced to start talks with domestic shipbuilders, regarding building ships at their facilities, amid the prospects of inevitable tightening of competition in the sector.

The first round of these talks took place on February 13 in Vladivostok, however the sides were unable to reach any agreements.

To date, the majority of ships for crab catch in Russia have been purchased by domestic fisherman from overseas builders, however the introduction of “under keel” quota scheme has forced producers to think about placement of their orders at the domestic shipyards.

In the meantime, the results of the meeting were criticized by Russian shipbuilders.

Vitaly Gvozdev, a senior representative of Nordic Engineering, a project company and one of the potential contractors of the project, comments:

“Unfortunately, none of Russian leading crab producers, which participated in the meeting, was able to complete and place a clear order. Each of the producers requires ships in accordance with their own, specific needs, which, however, has nothing to do with mass production. Due to this, we were unable to reach any agreements.”

Alexander Duplyakov, president of the Association of Crab Catchers of the Far East, believes that further delays in the signing of ship building contracts for the domestic crab industry may lead to serious problems in it, as new regulations on investment quotas should be adopted in the next couple of months, while the majority of leading industry players may be not ready for them.

Alexander Duplyakov comments:

“Every day of delay could cost the industry millions in losses in the future. In the case of pollock and herring, leading local producers have already started building their ships at domestic shipyards, however the same can’t be said for crab producers.”
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1051531/Russias-Quota-Incentive-Program-Does-Not-Spur-Crab-Producers-to-Place-Domestic-Shipbuilding-Orders

FYI’s

Marquardt Appointed To Governor’s Office
KUCB by Laura Kraegel – February 17, 2017
Gov. Bill Walker has appointed Shirley Marquardt as the state’s new director of boards and commissions.
http://kucb.org/post/marquardt-appointed-governors-office

Kenai Peninsula Rich In Commercial Fishing History
KBBI by Jenny Neyman – February 20, 2017
Commercial fishing has had a century and a half impact on the western Kenai Peninsula, though it’s unclear why the first fishing vessel sailed up Cook Inlet in the first place.
http://kbbi.org/post/kenai-peninsula-rich-commercial-fishing-history

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
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February 21, 2017