Alaska/Pacific Coast

Fairbanks hatchery underutilized
News-Miner by Bill Larry Fairbanks – February 24, 2015
Community Perspective:
A new $58 million fish hatchery was built in Fairbanks. Why isn’t this hatchery being used to restock the depleted Chinook salmon in the Chena and Yukon rivers? The people along the Yukon are in desperate straits. Meanwhile the hatchery is being used at less than half capacity while the fishery on the Yukon and Chena remains closed to Chinook fishing. The Fairbanks hatchery currently grows Chinook, but these are stocked in lakes.

Fishermen Disappointed by Maw Withdrawl
KSRM Radio by Catie Quinn – February 24, 2015
Local fishermen expressed disappointment over Roland Maw’s decision to withdraw his name for consideration on the Alaska Board of Fisheries last Friday.


Worst of all possible times’ to gut fish commission, chair says
Alaska Dispatch News by Zaz Hollander -February 24, 2015
The three-member commission that oversees Alaska’s lucrative limited-entry commercial fisheries is urging lawmakers not to pursue proposals for elimination for at least another year.


Russia Offers $100 Million in Seafood Subsidies, Pollock Producers want to Double Sales to Europe
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Eugene Gerden  February 24, 2015
Moscow- The Russian government will provide $100 million in support of the domestic fishing industry during next three years.

Part of the subsidies will be targeted to Russian pollock producers to help them suspend shipments to pollock processing plants in China.  In the last 60 days, prices have fallen from around $1700 a ton for H&G pollock to $1000-$1300 per ton in the Far East, with some quotes at $1350.RUSSIAN SEAFOOD

This is mainly due to a decline of profitability of Chinese fish processing plants, which has been observed in recent years, due to a decline of demand for their production in the EU market.

But this is also a seasonal pattern, with H&G pollock prices falling around the same amount in January 2014, and then recovering slowly.

At the same time, according to Alexander Efremov, General Director of JSC Yuzhmorrybflot, one of Russia’s largest pollock producers, said Russian producers have no plans to reduce prices for their products, due to current relative stable market position.

In addition, Russian pollock producers plan to more efficiently compete with the US producers and to increase pollock supplies to the EU market from the current 30,000 tonnes to 60,000-80,000 tonnes per year.

At the same time the volume of pollock supplies to the domestic market is also growing.

The subsidies are in the form of zero or very low interest loans, in which the government will pay 70% of the loan cost.

The Russian government plans to provide up to RUB 5 billion (US $100 million) of support to domestic fisherman during the next three years, according to an official spokesman of the Russian Ministry of Agriculture.

It is planned that the majority of funds will be allocated in the subsidization of investment loans and lendings for operating activities.

According to plans of the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, the government will subsidize 70% of the key rate of the Central Bank on short-term investment loans to all companies involved in commercial fish farming (except for sturgeons which will have 0%).

It will also subsidize part of interest rates on loans, which are allocated for the development of aquaculture, as well as building of fish processing infrastructure as well as infrastructure for storage of fishery products. At the same time, in the case of sturgeons’ producers, the government plans to fully compensate a key interest rate on ten-year loans.

In the meantime, leading Russian fish producers have already welcomed the new state plans, however said that the provided funds will be insufficient for implementation of their investment projects.

According to Yuri Kitashin, CEO of Russian Sea – Aquaculture, said that the company needs about 380 million rubles of subsidies for the implementation of its investment projects during the period of 2015-2016.


To save orcas, we must save salmon
Saving our region’s salmon is key to helping Puget Sound’s endangered resident killer whales.

Seattle Times by Ken Balcomb, Martha Kongsgaard, David Troutt – February 22, 2015
OUR salmon and orcas are at a crossroads. Puget Sound’s resident killer whale population could be headed toward extinction, and saving our region’s salmon — a critical and sharply declining food source for our whales — may be the only way to save these Northwest icons.

Federal Register

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of Alaska; Final 2015 and 2016 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 02/25/2015
NMFS announces final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications, apportionments, and Pacific halibut prohibited species catch limits for the groundfish fishery of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2015 and 2016 fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the GOA. The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the GOA in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.


AIS rule becomes effective March 2
National Fishermen –  February 24, 2015
Even if you believe you don’t need one or it’s an expense you can’t afford, if your boat is 65 feet or longer, and you operate on any navigable U.S. waters, the Coast Guard is requiring you to have an automatic identification system.


Editor’s View: The Gov’t Has Given the US Seafood Industry a Huge Opportunity; We Won’t Take It
SEAFOODNEWS.COM  [The Editor’s View] by John Sackton   February 23, 2015
The US Government has handed the seafood industry a huge opportunity.

The newly released Dietary Advisory Guidelines (see Dietary Guidelines Advisory Report Strongly Urges More Seafood Consumption, Supports Aquaculture in today’s stories)  have unequivocally called for more seafood consumption to increase American’s health, and they have taken on three controversies that have consistently held back seafood consumption.
For the past twenty years, we can argue that seafood has been the most publicly controversial protein.

There is a whole NGO marine protection industry organized around the idea that fisheries are depleted, and that without radically cutting back on fishing effort, most marine fisheries will disappear. The most famous expression of that was a scientific article by Daniel Pauly, since recanted, that claimed commercial fisheries would be extinct by 2048.

It caused a media sensation, and made eating fish a moral hazard for a large proportion of high income young consumers.

Since then, organizations have tended to claim disaster by conflating fisheries the FAO calls fully exploited with those the FAO calls overexploited. In fact, the percentage of global fisheries overexploited is declining. The percentage of fully exploited fisheries is stable.

The advisory committee report says “wild caught fisheries that have been managed sustainably have remained stable over the past several decades. ” This is exactly the argument we have been making: that strong fishery management strategies can create stable and sustainable fisheries over generations.

A second controversy involves farmed fish vs wild fish. Because wild fisheries, when sustainably managed, approach a range and cannot support higher removals, growth in sustainable seafood must come from aquaculture.

In fact, the aquaculture revolution promises to continue to transform seafood consumption. But there is again a phalanx of NGO critics who claim that aquaculture itself is unsustainable, because it depends on inputs from wild fisheries for feed stocks. So once again, they return to the argument that aquaculture growth is unsustainable, and threatens global wild fisheries.

What has actually happened has been that aquaculture production has doubled while world consumption of fishmeal and oil has remained constant. The reasons are more efficient feeds that have lowered the fish in / fish out ratio to close to 1:1, and the huge growth in production of fishmeal from offcuts and waste from fish processing. In some countries, such as Thailand, this accounts for the majority of their fishmeal.

Another attack on aquaculture has been that aquaculture fish have less DHA and other essential Omega 3’s than wild fish.

The committee says “evidence demonstrated that farm-raised seafood has as much or more EPA and DHA per serving as wild caught. “

The attack on aquaculture fish both because of its production methods, and because it is imported, with campaigns that say such fish is over treated with antibiotics or other drugs, that it has lower health value, and that it contains contaminants like PCB’s, has depressed consumption.

Again, many younger consumers believe that aquaculture fish is unsustainable, and full of drugs and chemicals.

Finally, regarding mercury, a global contaminant in many foods that results from use of coal fired electric plants and volcanic sources, the panel stated unequivocally that the benefits of eating seafood far outweigh the risks from contaminants such as mercury, where potential exposure is far below the limits the FDA considers to risk harmful impact.

The committee said “the benefits of seafood far outweigh the risks of small amounts of contaminants. ”

What is the opportunity.

The Government’s Official Dietary Advisory panel has taken on and debunked the three primary reasons younger, highly educated, and affluent consumers are not eating seafood.

We are in the midst of a dietary revolution in the US, where meat consumption is declining, more people are choosing vegetarian options, and more people are trying to eat healthier foods.

Here is how that has affected Yogurt and Seafood.

In 1990, Yogurt consumption was about 4 pounds per person, or an annual volume of .95 billion pounds. That year seafood consumption was 15 lbs. per capita, or about 3.7 billion pounds annually.

Both Yogurt and Seafood have been identified as part of a healthy low fat diet.

By 2012, Yogurt consumption had increased to 14.4 lbs per capita, or about 4.5 billion pounds. That year, seafood consumption was also 14.4 lbs per capita, or about 4.5 billion pounds.

How did one of these foods show a 250% increase while the other was flat. Both foods are widely identified with a healthy diet and consumed by younger affluent consumers.

I think this disparity partly shows just how seriously seafood consumption has been depressed by the controversies discussed above.

The public perception of seafood’s fitness to meet health and sustainability goals is turning. The Dietary Guideline Report is a confirmation that what used to be only well known within the industry is becoming commonly accepted fact.

But I doubt we will be able to do anything with this opportunity, because it takes a communication and marketing effort far larger than anything done with seafood.

The Seafood Nutrition Partnership has show with pilot projects that educating consumers about health benefits and working with them on diet interventions can permanently increase their seafood consumption.

But they don’t have the resources for a national campaign.

There is a push to fund seafood marketing efforts though a congressional bill that would target S-K funds, and set up regional seafood market councils. But like all national marketing schemes, each region will only promote their own seafood, so you would have campaigns for oysters and shrimp alongside campaigns for scallops and wild salmon.

The real dollars in seafood advertising and awareness come from the largest branded foodservice companies, especially Red Lobster, but also companies like Long John Silver, Rubio’s and others who advertise fish dishes.

There is also advertising on retail products by Gortons, Trident, Pacific, High Liner and others.

But there is no room in all these campaigns for a simple basic message, fully supported and echoed by the Government:

Seafood is sustainable.

All Seafood is good for you.

To be Healthy, Eat More Seafood.

Our industry is too small and fragmented to ever counter the money spent by NGO’s and those fund raising off the ocean crisis, who have a vested interest in not assuring consumers seafood is totally safe and sustainable.

That is why I doubt we can repeat the history of yogurt, despite having a product that fits the same healthy life style and targets the same demographic.

But wouldn’t it be spectacular if we could.


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

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February 25, 2015