Alaska/Pacific Coast

Kodiak fishermen find extra work through halibut research amid stock concern
KMXT by Kayla Desroches – January 9, 2018
The Pacific halibut fishery may see a drop in stock over the next few years and the International Pacific Halibut Commission, which regulates the fishery, uses surveys in Kodiak waters to collect data.
http://kmxt.org/2018/01/research/

No Price Agreement in Oregon-Supervised Crab Negotiations
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Susan Chambers – January 10, 2018
For the first time in years, Oregon fishermen and processors could not agree on an opening price for the Dungeness crab season, slated to start Jan. 15 north of Cape Blanco, Oregon, near Port Orford, to the Canadian border.

In Oregon, both fishermen’s marketing groups and processor representatives can negotiate prices under supervision from the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The idea was first put forth several years ago as a way to get the season started in an orderly fashion. Without it, fishermen must deal directly with the processor they sell to in order to agree on a price.

Past agreements have resulted in opening prices that were good for one day or more to a week or so before standard market forces such as supply and demand took over. Negotiations between the two groups have explored issues such as consumer demand, stock already in the freezer, results of meat quality tests and results of domoic acid tests.

Rumors have already been circulating about crab in California with low meat recovery rates and landings in the San Francisco area dropped off precipitously after the season opened there in November.

Domoic acid tests in California have shown crab there is clear of the toxin. Tests from the Gold Beach, Ore., area to the California border had one clear test for domoic but a second test showed one crab from the area with 34 ppm (the threshold is 30 ppm in the viscera). Another test done after that, around the holidays, resulted in another all-clear result, but the most recent result, on Jan. 9, showed a single crab at the 30 ppm level. Industry advisers, fishery managers from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and state health managers from the Oregon Department of Agriculture will participate in a conference call today to discuss the next steps for opening the season in southern Oregon and northern California.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1088443/No-Price-Agreement-in-Oregon-Supervised-Crab-Negotiations

Environment/Science

A look at the salmon habitat ballot initiative
Peninsula Clarion by Elizabeth Earl – January 9, 2018
The deadline for a ballot initiative to revise Alaska’s salmon habitat permitting laws is approaching, with deep divides remaining even among fishermen.
http://peninsulaclarion.com/news/local/state/2018-01-09/look-salmon-habitat-ballot-initiative

FYI’s

Urner Barry’s Seafood Import Workshop Early Bird Pricing Ends Monday
SEAFOODNEWS.COM – January 8, 2018
Are you prepared to respond to an FDA warning letter? Is your HACCP plan up-to-date? Get all your questions answered at Urner Barry’s Seafood Import Workshop in Los Angeles on February 8, 2018.

Hear from our expert speakers, as well as representatives from government agencies. Topics to be discussed include seafood safety, quality and sustainability compliance, USDA inspection of pangasius, the seafood import monitoring program, FSMA and HACCP tracking requirements, and much more.

Early bird pricing for the workshop ends Monday, January 8. To take advantage of the $100 discount visit Shop.UrnerBarry.com/SIW by the end of the day.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1088130/Urner-Barrys-Seafood-Import-Workshop-Early-Bird-Pricing-Ends-Monday

Opinion

Trump Order on Offshore Drilling is a Political Stunt More Than a Real Theat to Fisheries (Opinion)
SEAFOODNEWS.COM (Editorial opinion) by John Sackton – January 5, 2018
We have been deluged with press releases and new stories this morning reacting to the executive order by President Trump opening up virtually all US coastal waters to oil drilling.

This is something that has been opposed for more than 50 years by both the fisheries and tourism industries, and is opposed by all  coastal states except for Alaska, and those in the Gulf of Mexcio where drilling is already taking place.

We doubt this decision will stand.

First of all, the oil markets are not signaling any strong interest in offshore drilling, although they do want the political payoff from the administration of opening up public lands in protected areas within the continental US.

Oil analysts say that current and projected prices simply don’t support expansion of offshore drilling into new expensive areas.  The Shell project to do a test site in the Beaufort Sea off the North Slope of Alaska ended in humiliating failure, as they could not even get the rig into place.  After spending $7 billiion, Shell has withdrawn its interest.

Secondly, drilling has is a long term time horizon.  It will take about 18 months for rules to be in place; then if there were leases, it would take ten years or so for exploration and development.  During this time, the political equation in Washington is very likely to shift back to the consensus that has existed for 40 or 50 years, which is that fisheries and tourism are more important to the US economy than the oil companies.

Third, the US is now on track to produce a record amount of oil, surpassing the previous highest output in 1970.  This is all due to improved technology for land based recovery.  Why oil companies would turn from their successful fracking model that is bringing old wells to life to a far more risky offshore strategy makes no economic sense.

Finally, with the exception of Alaska, Texas, and Louisiana, virtually all other coastal states are vehemently opposed to offshore drilling.  Florida lost billions of dollars in the Deep Water Horizon disaster, and no Florida politician can survive who does not protect that state from offshore drilling.

Likewise, California experienced the Santa Barbara channel spill that turned the entire state against offshore drilling there, and it is highly unlikely that the state would allow the regulatory process to proceed to bring oil ashore.

In Massachusetts, there is a long running international moratorium in drilling on Georges Bank, and again, the local opposition to any oil company attempting to use a lease would be ferocious.

Given the lack of economic return, no oil company is going to take up this fight for any reason other than to gain political points with Trump.  That is not a good position on which to base a long term strategy.

The one state where this might make a difference in Alaska, where the state budget is dependent on oil, and has been hit more than anywhere else by the global oil glut and the turn to natural gas and solar.  Alaska is desperate to gain more drilling, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski succeeded in getting a provision opening ANWR  to oil drilling.  But no matter how much the current state government may want more drilling, the economics dictate where such drilling might take place, and it certainly does not appear to be offshore.

-John Sackton
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1087946/Trump-Order-on-Offshore-Drilling-is-a-Political-Stunt-More-Than-a-Real-Theat-to-Fisheries-Opinion

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
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E-mail: pspafish@gmail.com; Website: www.pspafish.net
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January 10, 2018