Alaska/Pacific Coast

Alaska herring run looks stronger for 2017
National Fishermen News by Charlie Ess – February 22, 2017
The Togiak herring run arrived about 10 days early last April, and the fishery opened on the 17th, the earliest ever for Alaska’s primary producing herring fishery. Strong biomass in the Togiak fishery warranted a purse seine quota of 28,782 short tons and a gillnet quota of 8,365 tons.
https://www.nationalfisherman.com/alaska/alaska-herring-run-looks-stronger-2017/

PWS state waters P-cod season opens Feb. 24
Cordova Times – February 23, 2017
Harvesting in the Prince William Sound state-waters Pacific cod fishery opens today, Feb. 24, with a guidelines harvest level of 4,338,141 pounds, down from 4,841,902 pounds a year ago.
http://www.thecordovatimes.com/2017/02/23/pws-state-waters-p-cod-season-opens-feb-24/

Alaska Fish Board considers over a dozen changes to Kenai dipnetting
Alaska Dispatch News by Suzanna Caldwell – February 23, 2017
Roughly a dozen proposals before Alaska’s Board of Fisheries could mean changes for dipnetters heading to the Kenai Peninsula this summer to fill the freezer with red salmon.
https://www.adn.com/outdoors-adventure/fishing/2017/02/23/board-of-fish-kicks-off-with-over-a-dozen-possible-changes-to-dipnetting-on-agenda/

The Alaska Fisheries Report
KMXT by Jay Barrett – February 23, 2017
Coming up this week, biologist are optimistic about Lower Cook Inlet’s salmon prospects this summer; meanwhile, the board of fish is meeting in Anchorage to address Upper Cook Inlet finfish issues, also known as “The Fish Wars.” A couple of legislators are trying to remove a gag order on Board of Fish members when a conflict of interest comes before them, and preserving the stark beauty of Bristol Bay’s abandoned canneries in pictures, coming up, on the Alaska Fisheries Report. We had help from KBBI’s Shady Grove Oliver in Homer, KFSK’s Joe Viechnicki in Petersburg, KUCB’s Laura Kraegel in Unalaska, and KDLG’s
http://kmxt.org/2017/02/alaska-fisheries-report-110-4/

State cuts bring changes to SE commercial fisheries
KFSK by Angela Denning – February 23, 2017
Commercial fisheries in Southeast Alaska have survived two years of state budget cuts but not without some changes. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Commercial Fisheries has cut some positions, ended some monitoring programs, and found some new funding sources. KFSK’s Angela Denning reports:
http://www.kfsk.org/2017/02/23/state-cuts-bring-changes-to-se-commercial-fisheries/

Longline fleet awaits word on fishing season start
KFSK by Joe Viechnicki – February 22, 2017
Commercial longline fishing fleets in Alaska are awaiting word about whether the season for halibut and black cod will actually start on March 11th. That’s the date voted on for halibut fishing by the International Pacific Halibut Commission in January. Typically the National Marine Fisheries Service also opens long-line fishing for black cod on the same day. This year that’s all up in the air.
http://www.kfsk.org/2017/02/22/longline-fleet-awaits-word-on-fishing-season-start/

Cook Inlet meeting to kick off with new faces, old grudges
Alaska Journal of Commerce by DJ Summers – February 22, 2017
The Alaska Board of Fisheries has a full plate for its triennial Upper Cook Inlet finfish meeting beginning Feb. 23 and running through March 3 in Anchorage.
http://www.alaskajournal.com/2017-02-22/cook-inlet-meeting-kick-new-faces-old-grudges#.WK8D-hBOFA4

National

Walmart Backs Global Seafood Sustainability Initiative in Seafood Procurement Policy
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh – February 23, 2017
Walmart has become the latest retailer to align its seafood procurement policies in support of the Global Seafood Sustainably Initiative (GSSI).

Walmart said it will now accept certification schemes which have successfully completed the GSSI Benchmark Process.

“By 2025, based on price, availability, quality, customer demand, and unique regulatory environments across our global retail markets, Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club, ASDA, Walmart Canada, Walmart Brazil, Walmart Mexico, and Walmart Central America will require all fresh and frozen, farmed and wild seafood suppliers to source from fisheries who are: Third-party certified as sustainable using Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), or certified by a program which follows the FAO Guidelines1 and is recognized by the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) as such. For our farmed supply, we expect suppliers to ensure sustainable production and sourcing throughout the supply chain, including final processing plant, farms, hatcheries and feed mills,” Walmart says under the seafood policy section on the retailer’s Policies and Guidelines webpage.

Walmart is the world’s largest retailer and the second major retailer to back the GSSI policy.

“We are very pleased to see Walmart join the ranks of leading companies that committed to GSSI’s non-competitive approach to building confidence in seafood certification. It is a major milestone towards our collective objective of more sustainable seafood for everyone and we encourage other companies to follow,” said GSSI’s Program Director Herman Wisse.

Last June, Kroger, among the largest grocery chains in the United States, backed the GSSI scheme in its seafood procurement policy goals for 2020. At the time Kroger committed to source 90 percent of all of its seafood from fisheries certified by the Marine Stewardship Council or other programs recognized by the GSSI.

Major value-added seafood distributor High Liner Foods also added the GSSI to its toolkit of credible Eco Certification Programs for wild harvested seafood

The GSSI has now secured the support of over 40 companies, NGOs, governmental and intergovernmental organizations. In addition to Walmart, the GSSI also landed support from Japan’s Marine Ecolabel, known as MEL-Japan so far this year.

In 2016, the Alaska and Iceland RFM Programs were the first certification schemes to achieve GSSI recognition.

The Marine Stewardship Council ended its public consultation in November while other schemes have publicly entered the benchmark process.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1052001/Walmart-Backs-Global-Seafood-Sustainability-Initiative-in-Seafood-Procurement-Policy

Environment/Science

UAF study: Narwhals alter behavior to avoid killer whales
Arctic pack ice used to keep narwhals safe for most of the year.
Cordova Times – February 23, 2017
A new study led by a University of Alaska Fairbanks scientist finds that narwhals are staying active and close to shore to avoid killer whales entering areas with declining sea ice cover in Canada’s eastern Arctic.
http://www.thecordovatimes.com/2017/02/23/uaf-study-narwhals-alter-behavior-to-avoid-killer-whales/

Federal Register

Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Catch Sharing Plan
A Proposed Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 02/23/2017
NMFS proposes to approve changes to the Pacific Halibut Catch Sharing Plan (Plan) and codified regulations for the International Pacific Halibut Commission’s (IPHC or Commission) regulatory Area 2A off Washington, Oregon, and California (Area 2A). In addition, NMFS proposes to implement the portions of the Plan and management measures that are not implemented through the IPHC. These measures include the sport fishery allocations and management measures for Area 2A. These actions are intended to conserve Pacific halibut, provide angler opportunity where available, and minimize bycatch of overfished groundfish species.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/02/23/2017-03497/pacific-halibut-fisheries-catch-sharing-plan

Fishing Capacity Reduction Program for the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery
A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 02/24/2017
Washington coastal Dungeness crab sub-loan in the Pacific Coast Groundfish Capacity Reduction (Buyback) Program has been repaid. Therefore, Buyback fee collections on Washington coastal Dungeness crab sub-loan will cease for all landings after January 31, 2017.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/02/24/2017-03597/fishing-capacity-reduction-program-for-the-pacific-coast-groundfish-fishery

FYI’s

Photographer captures fishing history in Naknek
KDLG by Lawrence Hamilton – February 20, 2017
Bristol Bay born, and Kenai based, photographer Jessica Veal wants others to see the history of the region. Her photography explores the unique buildings that populate the banks of the Naknek.
http://kdlg.org/post/photographer-captures-fishing-history-naknek

Online presentation offered on seaweed farming
Cordova Times – February 23, 2017
A presentation on the rising tide of seaweed farming will be offered by on Feb. 28 by Gary Freitag of the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program in Ketchikan, via online delivery via Zoom.
http://www.thecordovatimes.com/2017/02/23/online-presentation-offered-on-seaweed-farming/

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Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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February 24, 2017