Alaska/Pacific Coast

Proposed Aleutian Islands Marine Sanctuary Meets With Opposition
Fishermen’s News – January 14, 2015
Residents of the fisheries dependent Aleutian Islands borough are challenging environmental and economic benefits posed by environmental groups seeking creation of a national marine sanctuary in the Aleutian Islands

ADFG launches study on hatchery impacts on wild salmon
Alaska Journal of Commerce by Molly Dischner – January 15, 2015
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A worker is seen in a freshwater “rearing pen” for species such as chinook, sockeyes and coho at a Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corp. hatchery. A study underway by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game will examine the possible impacts of hatchery fish on wild salmon stocks, which was a sticking point between the state and the Marine Stewardship Council and led the state to drop MSC certification efforts in 2013.

Hatchery salmon and their potential impact on wild populations have been a sticking point in ongoing discussions about seafood sustainability, and a multi-year research project undertaken by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is looking at better understanding the issue.

Aleut Corp., Adak finally receive access to pollock quota
Alaska Journal of Commerce by DJ Summers – January 15, 2015
Things have been rough for the western Aleutians town of Adak over the last decade, but the pollock season beginning Jan. 26 will finally make the town some money.

After being passed over for Community Development Quota, suffering the closure of its Naval air base, then held under the thumb of Steller sea lion restrictions that essentially closed the Aleutian Islands subarea to pollock fishing, the Aleut Corp. and Adak will be able to harvest the 17,400 metric tons, or 38.3 million pounds, of pollock quota they were allotted 10 years ago by the late Sen. Ted Stevens.

Pacific Seafood could buy all of Icicle, though break-up on cards
Undercurrent News by Tom Seaman – January 16, 2015
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 The consensus from industry and financial sector sources is a break-up of US-based Icicle Seafoods could yield a greater return to its private equity owners than sale as a combined entity.

Sitka processor sells ownership stake to Starkist
KCAW by Robert Woolsey – January 15, 2015
Silver Bay CEO Rich Riggs told the Chamber that even though his company has operations all along the coast, “Our home is here in Sitka.” (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)

Sitka-based Silver Bay Seafoods has sold a twelve percent stake to Dongwon, the Korean owners of Starkist Tuna.


Young offers marine sanctuary bill
Deckboss by Wesley Loy – January 15, 2015
U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, has introduced legislation (H.R. 332) that could make it harder to designate marine sanctuaries off Alaska.

The text of the bill is not yet available.

Joint board rejects 3 commissioner applicants; only Cotten advances
Alaska Dispatch News by Nathaniel Herz – January 14, 2015
Gov. Bill Walker’s temporary appointee to head the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Sam Cotten, took a big step toward keeping the job permanently following a vetting by the joint boards of fish and game Wednesday morning in Juneau.

Of four candidates, Cotten was only one who the board chose to interview, and they voted unanimously to submit his name to Walker for consideration.


Stricter West Coast fishing rules spur new technology aimed at recovering groundfish species
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Sara Skamser has to do a lot less convincing these days.
The owner of Newport’s Foulweather Trawl fishing net company has been a trusted business partner of West Coast trawlers for three decades, but many of them were skeptical when she began developing special nets designed to keep out unwanted species.


Better Than Plastic? Chitosan Touted as Alternative for Food Packaging
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Reuters] January 16, 2015
Packaging made from recycled crustacean shells could reduce the need for plastic wrappings to preserve fresh vegetables, reduce oil consumption and give food a longer shelf-life, a Spanish study said. Chitosan, a bioplastic made by isolating organic matter from shrimp shells, helped preserve the shelf-life of baby carrots, said the study, published in the journal Postharvest Biology and Technology. “You can almost double the shelf-life of carrots with chitosan,” said Koro de la Caba, a professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of the Basque Country, who wrote the study. “It is edible and better for the environment than plastics,” and the coating can’t be tasted, she said. Consumers could buy vegetables from a farmers’ market and spray them with chitosan to make them last longer in the fridge — if the product could be mass-produced effectively. The study “Quality attributes of map packaged ready-to-eat baby carrots by using chitosan-based coatings” showed that food waste can be a value-added product, once technologies for processing and refining it become economically viable on a large scale.

Chitosan, which can be applied as a spray or dip directly onto fresh vegetables, or as a form of thin packaging, remains more expensive than plastic wrappings. More research is needed to improve the refining process and reduce the amount of electricity used in manufacturing it, she said, following a meeting with Spanish companies on Tuesday.

In 2012, the Americas alone generated almost 14 million tons of plastics as containers and packaging, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Only 9 percent of the total plastic waste generated in 2012 was recovered for recycling.

The Story of Our Seafood
Innovation Hub (PRI)
Even fish caught in the U.S. may travel over 12,000 miles before it reaches your plate, says “Four Fish” author Paul Greenberg.

East Coast Cold Storage Capacity Rising As Importers Shift Shipments Away From Congested West Coast
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh – January 16, 2015
There appears to be a need for more cold storage capacity in the East Coast as seafood importers are opting for ports and warehouses on the Atlantic coast in their attempts to avoid historic levels of West Coast congestion.

This week the Georgia Ports Authority reported that Gulf States Cold Storage would increase its storage capacity at its Savannah location by 55,000 square feet.

With the addition, Gulf States will double its storage capacity to a total of 28 million pounds of frozen cargo.

“We want to grow with the port of Savannah,” John Dean, vice president of sales at Gulf States. “I think it is very important for businesses such as ours to keep up with the capacity that can be handled through the port.”

The Port of Savannah can accommodate more than 2,000 refrigerated containers at a time.

At the same time Nordic Cold Storage announced plans to nearly double its storage space from 200,000 to 373,500 square feet. Together Savannah’s port officials said the increased storage capacity is a sign that business at the major East Coast hub is thriving.

Higher imported seafood volumes may be playing a role in prompting the need for increased cold storage on the East Coast. According to Customs data compiled by Urner Barry, imported seafood shipments to the Port of Savannah in the first two weeks of December were up over 100 percent compared to the entire month of November.

This run up in seafood shipments to the major Georgia hub could be attributed to an overall increase in imported seafood to the US in 2014. Shrimp, salmon and tilapia imports this year were all up from 2013 figures.  At the same time ongoing West Coast port strife has sent business normally pegged for the LA and Long Beach Ports to points South and East.

“There is no doubt that there is a shift here,” said Preferred Freezer’s Dan DiDonato, noting a major distribution shift away from the West Coast ports since the backups began in June. He said many of his customers are opting to bring in their products through Houston and other alternative routes to avoid the historic levels of congestion at the West Coast hubs.

Back in Savannah, Dean said the need for increased seafood storage is definitely picking up, particularly now that the Port has the available capacity.

“It is starting to now that there is more capacity.  I am making big efforts at the Boston show to increase the volumes and have Savannah be a good distribution point,” Dean said.

Federal mediators have been called in to try and alleviate the issues at the West Coast ports but no immediate solution to the congestion appears likely. However, seafood importers continue to crank up their shipments and are no longer willing to risk doing business through the West Coast ports. Together, the situation means East Coast ports and the cold storage warehouses that serve them will continue to see higher activity moving forward.


Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association

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January 16, 2015