Alaska/Pacific Coast

Seafood industry faces tougher wastewater requirements
The Daily Astorian by Katie Frankowicz – February 19, 2018
Oregon’s seafood industry has concerns about the new version of a permit to regulate wastewater discharges from seafood processing facilities.

Adak Plant Reaches 1,000 mt Threshold, Will Now Process Rest of Pacific Cod Set-Aside
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – February 22, 2018
For the first time since the remote Alaskan village of Adak was awarded a conditional set-aside of 5,000 mt of Pacific cod, the processing facility there will be processing almost 100 percent of it.

Amendment 113 set aside that amount to restore the traditional commerce in that area since the plant opened in Adak in 1999. The management tool was adopted by the NPFMC in 2016 to mitigate the impact on the Adak plant from landmark laws rationalizing stocks of pollock, cod, and crab fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands. Prior to rationalization, pollock, cod and crab were caught and delivered to the Adak plant in even larger volumes than the set-aside.

The amendment was challenged shortly after being adopted by the Council on the basis that trawlers should not be restricted to deliver to only one processor for any amount of time. The lawsuit has not been resolved, but a loophole in the regulation was used to deliver a small part of the set-aside to a U.S. Seafoods catcher/processor a few weeks ago.

Pacific cod is caught throughout the year in both the Bering Sea and the Aleutian Islands by several types of gear, each with their own allocation for each season. This year, the A season TAC for trawl-caught Pacific cod dropped 15 percent from 2017’s TAC. Last year the A season closed after a record short 34 days.

It was a record until this year when the A season for trawl-caught cod closed in 22 days.

The season started on January 20. By the third week, 58 catcher vessels reported 23,499 mt catch compared to 46 vessels reporting 15,462 mt in 2017. The 2018 catch limit for trawl-caught cod in the A season was 24,768 mt.

National Marine Fisheries Service moved quickly to close the season on February 11, knowing that a 5,000 mt set aside was tentatively allocated to Adak. NMFS timed the closure almost perfectly. When all the calculations were made, only about 300 mt were caught above the TAC.

The 5,000 mt set aside for Adak was tentative because the plant had not yet processed 1,000 mt, a threshold that by regulation must be met before  February 28 or the priority to process the set-aside is lost.

Before that threshold was reached, however, a legal delivery of cod was made to a catcher/ processor in the area owned by U.S. Seafoods, which was counted against the Adak set-aside.

The regulation loophole allowed the delivery, but opposition was quick and loud at the North Pacific Council meeting that was convening in Seattle that week.

Within days, U.S. Seafoods agreed to stand down and left the area.

A few days ago, the Adak plant met their 1,000 mt processing threshold and will now begin taking deliveries against their set-aside and continue processing the cod.

“Speaking for the Adak Community Development Corporation, and I think for the city of Adak, the fleet, and the processing plant, we very much appreciate the leadership role US Seafoods has taken by deciding to voluntarily stand down,” commented ACDC Board Member Dave Fraser.

“It’s hard to overstate what a difference a fleet-wide stand down of mothership processing in the AI this winter will make for our community.  We look forward to the next step of talks with the CP-mothership operators between now and the April Council meeting on possible ways to ensure that the expectations and intent of Amendment 113 to provide a true priority are met going forward,” Fraser said.

NMFS has recently calculated that about 90 percent of the set-aside is intact, which means about 4,500 mt is available for Adak processing this winter.


OA Researchers Test the Waters Between Bellingham and Skagway
Fishermen’s News – February 21, 2018
As the largest vessel in the Alaska Marine Highway System fleet cruises on her route between Bellingham, Washington, and Skagway, Alaska – scientists aboard the M/V Columbia are tracking changes in ocean water that may well impact the fishing future of the Pacific Northwest.

Network promotes awareness of harmful algal blooms
Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman – February 21, 2018
Fisheries scientists recently launched the Alaska Harmful Algal Bloom Network to educate the public on the risks associated with harmful algal blooms.

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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February 22, 2018