Alaska/Pacific Coast

Alaska senators hope to toss overbroad fishing-discharge regs overboard by Chris Klint – February 05, 2015
ANCHORAGE – Three U.S. senators, including both of Alaska’s, are pushing to gut the application of an Environmental Protection Agency discharge regulation to small fishing boats they say could punish cleaning up fish guts.


Conflict brewing over recent Subsistence Board decisions
Alaska Journal of Commerce by DJ Summers – February 5, 2015
If science-based fisheries management is Gov. Bill Walker’s goal, then he has more than just the Alaska Board of Fisheries to worry about.


Gotcha: Satellites Help Strip Seafood Pirates Of Their Booty by Christopher Joyce – February 05, 2015
Most of the seafood Americans eat comes from abroad. And a lot of that is caught illegally — by vessels that ignore catch limits, or that fish in areas off-limits to fishing.

SkyTruth followed the ship Shin Jyi Chyuu 33 during one week last month. The group says the ship's irregular track and variations in speed, as seen on a map, are indicative of fishing.

SkyTruth followed the ship Shin Jyi Chyuu 33 during one week last month. The group says the ship’s irregular track and variations in speed, as seen on a map, are indicative of fishing.

Pushed by climate change, fish invasion of the Arctic bodes well for fishermen by Brittany Patterson – February 5, 2015
More than 3 million years ago, the Arctic became a fish highway as species from the north Pacific Ocean spread through the Bering Strait and into the Arctic Ocean and then into the north Atlantic Ocean.

Labeling and Marketing

Chicken of the Sea Marketing Salmon’s Health Benefits in Feb as Part of American Heart Month
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] February 5, 2015
Chicken of the Sea will market the health benefits of its Flavored Salmon Pounces along with its other salmon offerings as part of a campaign to take advantage of February as American Hearth Month, a designation given by the American Heart Association.

“February means more to the heart than simply Valentine’s Day — it’s a time when all Americans should take stock in their diets and lifestyle from a heart health perspective,” said Erin Mrozek, Chicken of the Sea director of marketing.

Along with introducing the industry’s first Flavored Salmon Pouches late last year, a line that was recently expanded to retailers nationwide, Chicken of the Sea was the first to offer skinless, boneless salmon in 1984 and has since championed the health, convenience, versatility and recipe-development benefits of this heart-healthy meal choice.

“One way to do this is by consuming more seafood, such as salmon,” Mrozek said. “Heart-friendly options like Chicken of the Sea’s family of salmon products provide a gateway to a healthier life because they’re convenient, flavorful and encourage culinary exploration and creativity through new usage occasions.”

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish such as salmon) at least twice a week. Additionally, salmon’s Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for a healthy mind, as such acids are necessary for transmitting signals between brain cells.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, is the No. 1 killer of women and men in the United States.

Salmon is the third-most consumed seafood in the U.S. and has enjoyed a resurgence on restaurant menus and as an alternative heart-healthy, protein source. This growth in wild salmon, fueled by a combination of taste and health benefits, including the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids, has led to untapped consumer demand for pouched and canned salmon relative to tuna and other seafood.

“We’re making it easy for seafood-loving Americans to make 2015 their most heart-healthy year ever,” Mrozek said.

Federal Register

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific cod by Pot Catcher/Processors in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 02/06/2015
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher/processors using pot gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season apportionment of the 2015 Pacific cod total allowable catch allocated to catcher/processors using pot gear in the BSAI.


Editor’s View: Why Can’t NGO’s Accept the Idea of the Alaska Fisheries Miracle?
The Seafood Summit is being held in New Orleans next week, and about 350 NGO staff, certifiers, funders and foundation executives will be meeting with less than 100 industry producers and sellers of fish.

At the summit, Alaska is likely to be targeted as a political punching bag. The site of the majority of fish caught in US waters, and the region considered to have the best fishery management system in the world, has become a major target of the NGO complex concerned about sustainability.

After Alaska salmon fisheries largely withdrew from the Marine Stewardship Council’s certification program in favor of the Responsible Fisheries Management certification, many NGO’s in Europe urged buyers to stop purchasing Alaska salmon.

Furthermore, the role of hatcheries in supplementing pink salmon runs has been called into question by some NGO groups, and this has led to a slowdown in consideration of certifications for salmon where there is a significant portion of hatchery fish, such as Prince William Sound.

It has not affected certifications in Russia, however.

Alaska pollock is the largest sustainable food fishery on the planet. Alaska has an unparalleled record of successful management of the pollock fishery, based on enforcing a 2 million ton cap on total groundfish removals from the Bering Sea.

This cap has consistently kept fishery removals far below the levels that can be sustained at Maximum Sustainable Yield, meaning that Alaska’s groundfish fisheries are managed with a conservation regime that is stricter than any other large fishery area in the world.

Yet Greenpeace is mounting a campaign alleging that the pollock fishery is destructive to habitat, despite scientific evidence to the contrary, and the fact that Alaska has the largest proportion of marine protected areas of any area in the continental US. Many other NGO’s will jump on this bandwagon, as opposed to calling it the anti-scientific scam that it is.

So we thought it might be helpful to present some of the history about Alaska’s sustainability movement. Few at the Seafood Summit may realize that the whole seafood sustainability movement started in Alaska, before many were born.

Our video, produced by Steve Minor, called ‘The Alaska Fisheries Miracle’, documents how the fishing communities of Alaska and the framers of the state constitution came together to enshrine the principle of sustainable yield in the states 1959 constitution.

In the video, John Garner, now president of North Pacific Seafoods and also one of the founders of Norquest, an Alaska Salmon company purchased by Trident, recounts the three revolutionary things that occurred to restore Alaska’s salmon fisheries.

The fisheries had consistently produced around 120 million fish per year, and were the basis of the local economy, but overfishing, lack of regulation, use of traps owned by corporate owners, and widespread foreign fishing, drove the runs down to 25 million fish across the entire state in the post world war II years, and put many individual runs at risk of extinction.

The Alaskan’s did three things.

They put conservation first. They said in the state constitution that the salmon fisheries shall be “maintained on the sustained yield principle”, which meant escapement and reproduction came first, and harvests second. This is the first time such sustainability requirements were put into law.

Secondly, they limited entry to the fishery. When Alaska required permits for salmon fishing, it was only the second time in the world that a fishery had been so limited.

Third, they worked with Congress to eliminate foreign fishing and eventually made high seas drift net fishing illegal.

Together these measures have led to an historic rebound in Alaska’s salmon fisheries. The past 15 years have consistently produced the highest salmon returns in history.

So back to our original question: Why is Alaska such a political punching bag for NGO’s?

I think it is because the Alaska model of success fell outside of the traditional NGO thinking that governments fail at their job of enforcing sustainable marine fisheries, and that therefore NGO’s have to mount public campaigns to force them to do so.

There is no room in this model for a government that has already achieved sustainability and a stellar record of success without NGO input. That is why Alaska looms so large in the NGO approach to sustainability. Unless they can show that they are needed in Alaska, it raises a question about their whole market based campaign approach.

So instead of focusing on where the most serious conservation issues lie, which appear to me to be in the Southeast Asian and African fisheries, many campaigns come back to Alaska again and again.

Perhaps if more people knew the actual history of sustainability in Alaska, they would have more confidence that the management system in place can respond to issues like habitat protection and hatchery impacts.

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Here is our Video:

Fish sticks, exports concede – halibut fishing to continue in Bering Sea by Lee van der Voo – February 4, 2015
Halibut fishing will forge ahead in the Bering Sea this year, despite warnings of a closure that could have choked off much of the year-round supply of the fish to consumers and restaurants and put hundreds of fishermen out of work.

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
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Phone: 206.281.1667
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February 6, 2015