Alaska/Pacific Coast

Alaska city residents worry about herring population decline
KTVA by Associated Press – May 24, 2017
KENAI, Alaska (AP) – The value of commercial landings in Alaska was unchanged from 2014 to 2015, according to a federal report, but some popular fisheries such as herring were down.
http://www.ktva.com/alaska-city-residents-worry-herring-population-decline-503/

Prior proper planning prevents poor performance, says ADF&G
Bristol Bay fishery managers are seeing common mistakes and finding records of infractions committed during last year’s commercial fishing season in Bristol Bay.
KDLG by Nicholas Ciolino – May 26, 2017
Dept. of Fish and Game Bristol Bay commercial fisheries managers say there are some common mistakes being made that are costing skippers money in fines or lost fishing time. This list includes getting registration paperwork done ahead of time, remembering to register to fish in a district, checking markings, and for Nushagak setnetters, being careful where they deliver.
http://kdlg.org/post/prior-proper-planning-prevents-poor-performance-says-adfg

Alaska Fisheries Report
KMXT by Maggie Wall – May 25, 2017
Salmon season opens with southeast-troll-caught kings worth twice the value of a barrel of oil.
We’ll look at the forecast for salmon around the state, including the Nushagak River which supports one of the largest king runs in the world.
http://kmxt.org/2017/05/alaska-fisheries-report-may-25-2017/

Oregon, California Governors Make Case for Federal Salmon Fishery Failure
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Susan Chambers – May 26, 2017
“People are going to be losing their boats,” California fisherman Dave Bitts testified before the California Legislature’s Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture Wednesday, noting the industry was hoping for state and federal disaster declarations.

He wasn’t alone.

Tribal and recreational fishermen also testified to the strains the low Klamath River runs and subsequent grim seasons will have on their communities.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and California Gov. Jerry Brown released their joint letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross Thursday, in which they requested he declare the salmon fisheries in 2016 and 2017 federal fishery disasters under both section 315 (catastrophic) and 312 (commercial fishery failure) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and section 308 (b) and (d) of the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act.

“Ocean salmon fishery restriction in our states in 2016 and 2017, including full closures in some areas for 2017, have severe effects on already distressed rural communities and the businesses that depend upon these fisheries,” the governors wrote. “Declaring a catastrophic regional fishery disaster and commercial fishery failure will begin the process for requesting federal aid to assist these fishery-dependent communities during this difficult time.”

“We are glad that Oregon’s Governor has moved forward in asking for a salmon season disaster declaration,” Oregon Salmon Commission Director Nancy Fitzpatrick said. “Our Oregon fishermen, especially on the South Coast, are hurting. It is hard to make ends meet for your family when you have no income due to a complete closure.”

Projected fall Chinook returns to the Klamath River are the lowest on record, necessitating sweeping sport, commercial and tribal fishing closures in southern Oregon and northern California this year.

For Bitts, it was Klamath salmon redux. The situation this year is strikingly similar to the situation in 2005 and 2006.

Low returns to the Klamath in 2005 led to seasonal closures with complete closures in parts of Oregon and California in 2006 following even lower returns that year. Then-Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger, California, and Ted Kulongoski, Oregon, requested the Department of Commerce declare the salmon fishery a failure; the department agreed. Congress subsequently approved $60 million in federal disaster aid to the commercial industry.

This request marks the first step in the process to getting funding to the fleet this year. Fishery leaders note it may take more than a year to get funding, if it is approved at all.

“Commercial salmon fishermen in California and Oregon applaud this critical step in the federal fishery disaster relief process,” Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations Executive Director Noah Oppenheim said in a statement. “Salmon season restrictions and closures have been simply devastating to hard-working fishing families coastwide. Boats have been scrapped, livelihoods have been ruined, and one of the oldest ways of life on the West Coast teeters on the brink. Now is the time for the federal government and Congress to step up and do their part to assist working fishing families by providing federal fisheries disaster assistance.”

The West Coast salmon industry has seen several fishery failures over the years: in 1992-94, continued in 1995; 1998; 2005-2006; and in 2008, continued to 2009 and 2010. The Washington Ocean Salmon Troll Fishery also was determined a disaster in 2016.

The governors’ letter can be found here.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1062996/Oregon-California-Governors-Make-Case-for-Federal-Salmon-Fishery-Failure

Politics

California Salmon Hearing Includes Warnings of Impending Disasters, Some Solutions
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Susan Chambers – May 26, 2017
Opening the California Legislature’s Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture hearing Wednesday, Chairman Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, said this year’s Klamath River Fall Chinook run is facing the lowest predicted numbers of returns ever. Furthermore, salmon on the West Coast are facing greater threats with the current White House administration in the forms of regulatory rollbacks that could affect California water use.

The simple fact is, McGuire said, that fish – especially salmon – need fresh, cold water. Instead, warm water, disease and parasites took their tolls on salmon in the Klamath River in recent years.

“We are now paying the price in full,” McGuire said.

Sixteen people testified during the four-hour hearing that examined state and federal policy impacts, factors leading to low salmon abundance, salmon abundance predictions, impacts to salmon fishing communities and recommendations to improve salmon survival in the future.

Eureka fisherman Dave Bitts said more young people have turned to commercial fishing than ever. He’s now concerned about their futures and worried the industry may lose some talented workers.

Many speakers identified the need for a disaster declaration which, as of Wednesday had not been declared by California Gov. Jerry Brown. Nor had he pushed for such by the Secretary of Commerce, a move that would open the door to federal assistance. (Gov. Jerry Brown and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown released their joint request for a declaration on Thursday.)

But disaster assistance is only one part of a potential solution, speakers said.

McGuire and Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Organizations Noah Oppenheim described the proposed state budget, which would increase commercial landing taxes by as much as 1,300 percent, as problematic for the industry.

“We’re socking it to an already struggling fleet,” McGuire said in his opening comments, noting that Senate budget committee has opposed the huge increases.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife must begin looking at alternative funding sources, Oppenheim said in his testimony. Fishermen have taken austerity on the nose already, he added.

Changing ocean conditions and the warm waters in 2015 and 2016, which scientists say are largely to blame for harmful algal blooms that increased domoic acid in Dungeness crab, which was declared a fishery failure, also caused problems for salmon trying to survive in the ocean – thus leading to the low runs and low forecasts of returns.

Dungeness crab and salmon disasters may be only the beginning, California Fisheries and Seafood Institute Executive Director Rob Ross said during public testimony.

“The troubles are not over,” Ross said. Sea urchin/uni fishermen and sardine fishermen also are in the queue for requesting fishery failure declarations and disaster assistance. The sardine industry, Ross said, is going on three years with no fishery.

California Salmon Council CEO David Goldenberg proposed some ideas to help the salmon industry.

Disaster assistance is always a help, Goldenberg said, and maybe the industry also could pursue grants for genetic stock identification so fishermen could avoid weak salmon stocks.

He reiterated the problems with the proposed state landing tax increases. “It’s just way, way too high for the fishermen and industry to accept,” Goldenberg said.

One of the strategies frequently offered during fishery disasters is Small Business Administration loans. But, Goldenberg noted, fishermen couldn’t access them in the past because they couldn’t show proof they could repay the loans. Maybe the legislature can take another look at SBA loan requirements.

Goldenberg also suggested job re-training, loosening some of the burdens of the Marine Life Protection Act and the inclusion of fish as a specialty crop in the Farm Bill so the industry could again get grants.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1062985/California-Salmon-Hearing-Includes-Warnings-of-Impending-Disasters-Some-Solutions

National

President Trump’s budget proposal threatens key ocean programs
Fis.com – May 26, 2017
President Trump has released his proposed budget for funding the federal government for fiscal year 2018, including deep cuts to many ocean programs, which Oceana says would threaten marine life and coastal economies.
http://fis.com/fis/worldnews/worldnews.asp?l=e&country=0&special=&monthyear=&day=&id=91894&ndb=1&df=0

Environment/Science

Sea Lion Feeding Hot Spots Have Reliable, Not Necessarily Abundant, Food
KUCB by Zoe Sobel – May 24, 2017
New research could help wildlife managers better protect declining Steller sea lion populations. The study looks at why sea lions zero in on specific hunting hotspots.
http://kucb.org/post/sea-lion-feeding-hot-spots-have-reliable-not-necessarily-abundant-food

Federal Register

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Exchange of Flatfish in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 05/26/2017
NMFS is exchanging unused yellowfin sole Community Development Quota (CDQ) for rock sole CDQ acceptable biological catch (ABC) reserves in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. This action is necessary to allow the 2017 total allowable catch of rock sole in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area to be harvested.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/05/26/2017-10861/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-exchange-of-flatfish-in-the-bering-sea-and

Western Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 05/26/2017
The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold a meeting of its Non-Commercial Fisheries Advisory Committee (NCFAC) to discuss and make recommendations on fishery management issues in the Western Pacific Region.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/05/26/2017-10774/western-pacific-fishery-management-council-public-meeting

FYI’s

20,000 salmon bones
Capital City Weekly by Bethany Goodrich – May 17, 2017
Delicately yet firmly pinching the tiny vertebrae of a Chinook salmon between her thumb and pointer finger, Cynthia Gibson pushed fearlessly toward a rusty grinder churning an aggressive 3,400 rpm. The spur where a rib was once connected flew off into a cluttered garage leaving a smooth bead behind.
http://www.capitalcityweekly.com/stories/051717/ae_1274404113.shtml

How To Choose The Safest, Healthiest And Most Sustainable Seafood
Despite the scary headlines, we should be eating more seafood, experts say.
Huffington Post by Kristin Canning – May 23, 2017
Your healthy seafood guide
Picking out fish should be a simple enough task, right? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as grabbing a fresh-looking cut or some frozen shrimp and never giving it a second thought. These days we wonder: Does it have mercury? How much? What is its country of origin? Is it being overfished? And a new concern: Am I even getting the right fish?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-to-choose-the-safest-healthiest-and-most-sustainable_us_59249c60e4b0ed5eed1322e2

June 2017 Trainings for Commercial Fishermen
AMSEA by Jeff Pearson – May 16, 2017
We have a full slate of trainings for commercial fishermen in June. We’re still making classes for June. So, check the website later if you don’t see a class near you.Look for F/V Drill Conductor workshops in Ketchikan, Alaska, Tampa, Florida, and Shark River, New Jersey. Click a link for more information or to register for one of the classes below.
http://www.amsea.org/single-post/2017/05/16/June-2017-Trainings-for-Commercial-Fishermen

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
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Phone: 206.281.1667
E-mail: pspafish@gmail.com; Website: www.pspafish.net
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May 26, 2017