Alaska/Pacific Coast

Oregon Closes 65-mile Stretch of Coast to Commercial Dungeness Crabbing
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Susan Chambers – February 3, 2017
Oregon health and fishery managers took the rare step late Thursday of closing the commercial Dungeness crab fishery in a roughly 65-mile area after the season was already open, due to one crab with viscera that had an elevated level of domoic acid.

The state closed recreational crabbing in the area from the North Jetty at Coos Bay north to Heceta Head, north of Florence, on Wednesday. The temporary rule issued Thursday for the commercial industry includes a closure and also evisceration orders, documenting procedures and other instructions for fishermen and processors.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife stressed Thursday that crab meat remains safe for consumption. Despite the closure, all crab meat and shellfish products sold in retail markets and restaurants remain safe for consumers as well; whole-cooked crab are safe to eat once they have been eviscerated, managers said.

“The closure is limited to that portion of the Central Coast,” ODFW managers said in a statement. “Areas south of Coos Bay and north of Heceta Head remain open to commercial crabbing.”

To protect consumers, all crab that has been landed from the closed area since Jan. 25 and currently in the harvest process will have the viscera removed by ODA-licensed processors to eliminate the biotoxin before crab goes to market. Additionally, crabbers will be allowed in the closed area over the next week to clear out their fishing operations, after which a full fishing prohibition goes into place.

The Oregon crab industry and state managers continue to test crab from this area and other parts of the state since domoic acid levels have remained high in razor clams. Results from a second round of crab testing from the affected area may be available early next week. Two clean tests in a row at least seven days apart must be achieved before managers can consider re-opening the area.

ODFW also provided more details to buyers and fishermen about the closure and how it affects the harvesting and processing chain. The agency emphasized crab meat for the closed area remains safe, but buyers must comply with several provisions in the temporary rule:

1. This affects all crab caught between the Coos Bay north jetty and Heceta Head that were harvested on or after Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017;
2. The health closure area is effectively closed to new harvest beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 10. However, a 7-day grace period is granted to land
crab on boats or in pots that are actively being fished at the time of notice;
3. No crab may be accepted from the health closure area beginning 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 10. However, crab harvested between Jan. 25 and
12 a.m. Feb. 10 may be processed at a later date, provided the processing method follows the requirements of the temporary rule;
4. Verify and record all crab received for area where it was harvested and date of harvest;
5. Segregate and label affected crab;
6. Eviscerate crab prior to or after cooking;
7. Destroy or denature viscera of affected crab;
8. The viscera cannot be used or sold or given away for human or animal
consumption or for use as bait.

For commercial crabbers, the state said commercial gear may remain in the designated health closure area so long as it is unbaited with lids open. Any gear re-deployed in this area after 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 3, must be unbaited with open lids. Continuous transit through the closed area with crab onboard will be allowed once the full prohibition goes into place beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 10.

All crab sold live or whole-cooked harvested from the closed area after 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 25, is required to be eviscerated. Any crab from the area not yet landed — onboard a vessel or in crab pots — must be sold to a licensed ODA seafood processor with a HACCP plan by 12 a.m. on Feb. 10 so the crab can be eviscerated, managers said.

West Coast Whiting Stock Assessment Shows Population Highest Since 1980s
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – February 1, 2017
The draft stock assessment for the Pacific whiting (hake) stock off the west coast of North America was released yesterday with higher estimates of spawning biomass than last year, which could result in an estimated median catch limit for 2017 of 969,840 tons.

In the past, Canada and the U.S. have agreed to a much lower catch limit due to the abundance of smaller fish, but this year the incidence of smaller size fish was only about 15% of the catch. However, uncertainty in abundance, recruitment, and future performance in the stock is high due in part to natural forces, so a precautionary approach is traditionally taken when setting the TAC.

Coastwide catch in 2016 was 329,427 tons, out of a TAC of 497,500 tons. The U.S. landed 70.7% of its quota; the Canadian fleets landed 53.7% of their quota. Both countries had a variety of constraints that prohibited full attainment.

The new estimate for catch is based on the whiting default harvest rule. That rule allows a level of removals that, according to the model, may result in lower spawning biomass as soon as the next two years. For that and other reasons, harvest levels have always been less. Last year’s TAC was the highest set in recent history, which shows a gradual increase since 2012.

This year’s estimate of spawning biomass at 2.129 million tons compares to last year’s estimate of 1.993 million tons, which is slightly higher than the 1.885 million tons estimated in an earlier assessment.

“The stock is estimated to be at its highest biomass level since the 1980s as a result of es­timated large 2010 and 2014 cohorts. The 2014 cohort has not yet been observed by the survey and only twice by the commercial fishery, thus its absolute size is highly uncertain,” reads the report.

The draft was posted on the Pacific Whiting Treaty website by the Joint Technical Committee (JTC) of the Pacific Hake/Whiting Agreement Between the Governments of the United States and Canada. The Joint Management Committee (JMC) is planning a teleconference to discuss this document, during which the JTC will brief the JMC on the preliminary draft 2017 stock assessment on February 9, 2017.

The stock assessment model for 2017 is similar in structure to the 2016 model. It is fit to an acoustic survey index of abundance and annual commercial catch, as well as age compositions from the survey and commercial fisheries.

The spawning biomass in 2017 is estimated to have increased from 2016 due to the 2014 year-class likely being above average size.

Wells Fargo looks for positives, and a budget plan from Juneau
Alaska Journal of Commerce by DJ Summers – February 1, 2017
Talk to three Alaska business leaders and you’ll probably get three different takes on the state’s recession.


Under Anchorage lawmaker’s proposal, the Alaska Legislature would become a Pebble Mine watchdog
Juneau Empire by James Brooks – January 31, 2017
A measure intended to add roadblocks in front of Pebble Mine got its first hearing Tuesday in the Alaska Legislature.

Labeling and Marketing

ASMI seeks international marketing coordinator
ASMI – February 2017
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI), Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development (DCCED) State of Alaska is seeking candidates for International Marketing Coordinator. This position is located in Juneau, Alaska and reports to the Director of ASMI’s International Marketing Program.  The position oversees international contractors who are located in Asia, the European Union, and Brazil.


Johnson tapped for Fish Board seat, again
KDLG by Dave Bendinger – February 2, 2017
Last year Gov. Walker dropped Fritz Johnson from the board for Kenai’s Robert Ruffner, but Walker has put him on for another term that will begin in July if approved by Legislature.

Open Wide: Deep-Sea Fishes That Are Built to Eat Big
New York times by Joanna Klein – February 1, 2017
We’re about 600 to 3,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. It’s cold, it’s dark and it’s slow down here. If you’re lucky, it’s blue in the daytime and black at night. And the deeper we go, the darker it gets.

Oregon Salmon Chowder is a Symphony Winner
Fishermen’s News – February 1, 2017
Oregon Seafoods’ SeaFare Pacific Salmon Chowder, featuring wild caught Alaska sockeye salmon, has won the Seattle People’s Choice award in the 2017 Alaska Symphony of Seafood gala.

Amazing underwater world revealed at Smitty’s Cove in Whittier
Alaska Dispatch News by Bill Streever – February 1, 2017
Each year, tens of thousands of Americans learn to scuba dive. At most, a few hundred of them complete their training in Alaska.

Chris Reuttgers Resigns as CEO of Icicle; Cooke’s Pal Angell-Hansen Takes Over as Interim Chairman
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh – February 1, 2017
Cooke Aquaculture confirmed that Chris Reuttgers will step down as CEO of the company. Pal Angell-Hansen, will take over as interim Chairman of Icicle on February 13.

According to a statement from Cooke Aquaculture CEO Glenn Cooke, Reuttgers elected to resign from the top executive spot at Icicle.

“After leading Icicle through the subsequent transition period, Chris made the personal decision to pursue other career opportunities,” Cooke said in a statement. “We are grateful to Chris for his professional leadership and support to us over the past year and for his years of service to the company since he joined seven years ago.”

Angell-Hansen will fulfill Reuttgers’ duties as Chairman of Icicle Seafoods. He is a senior executive at Cooke and will continue to oversee Cooke’s European operations.

“We appreciate the strong and experience management team in the Seattle office and know they will provide critical support to Mr. Angell-Hansen and the Cooke management team as we invest in and further develop the business,” Cooke said.

The company said it be “business as usual” following Reuttgers’ departure.

Reuttgers was CEO of Icicle when Cooke purchased the assets to the company last May. The deal included Icicle’s three business units, which harvest and process over 150,000 metric tonnes of seafood annually: wild salmon, groundfish and farmed Atlantic salmon.  The acquisition was projected to boost Cooke’s annual seafood output to 275,000 metric tons and generate $1.8 Billion in annual sales.

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
1900 W Emerson Place Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98119
Phone: 206.281.1667
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February 3, 2017