Alaska/Pacific Coast

Bering Sea cod season has potential to be shortest ever
Seafood Source by Ben Fisher – January 16, 2018
The trawling season for Pacific cod in the Bering Sea begins 20 January, although the season will likely draw to a close earlier than mid- to late-March, when the season traditionally ends.
https://www.seafoodsource.com/news/supply-trade/bering-sea-cod-season-has-potential-to-be-shortest-ever

Snow crab landing in Bering Sea
Bristol Bay Times by Jim Paulin  – January 19, 2018
The Bering Sea opilio snow crab fishery is slowly moving forward, with 2 percent of the quota landed. Eight vessels made nine landings for a total weight in the past week of some 471,000 pounds, from a quota of 18.5 million pounds, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Unalaska.
http://www.thebristolbaytimes.com/article/1803snow_crab_landing_in_bering_sea

East Coast Fishery

US cod catch could soon make a comeback, NOAA says
Seafood Source by Madelyn Kearns – January 19, 2018
Atlantic cod catch in the United States was recorded at an all-time historical low in 2016, but a rebound for the fishery may be on the horizon, according to officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
https://www.seafoodsource.com/news/supply-trade/us-cod-catch-could-soon-make-a-comeback-noaa-says

National

Feds make more than $2M available to reduce fishing bycatch
The Associated Press – January 21, 2018
Federal ocean managers are making more than $2 million available to try to help fishermen catch less of the wrong fish.
http://www.fresnobee.com/news/state/california/article195845704.html

How a Longer Government Shut Down May Impact NOAA: Research Halted, Seafood Inspections Continue

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton – January 22, 2018
If the current stand-off that has resulted in defunding the federal government continues for more than a few days, a number of operations that affect the seafood industry will be impacted.

According to the Dept. of Commerce Shutdown plan, 54% of NOAA’s 11,000 employees will be placed on furlough.

For the seafood industry, two vital economic functions are the smooth rollout of required federal fisheries quotas and permits, and the smooth functioning of NOAA’s seafood inspection and import monitoring program.

During the last government shutdown in 2013, the Alaska crab fishery was potentially delayed as NOAA could not get permits needed to fish issued to quota license holders.  Once the shutdown was resolved, the licenses were issued very quickly.

This time, NOAA says fishery management and enforcement activities will continue during the shutdown.

However, much of the science needed for management plans has been put on hold, and NOAA survey ships at sea are being told to return to port.  Any lengthy shutdown could impact stock surveys that are currently underway or planned.

Most employees at the various science centers are on furlough.

Also travel will be cancelled.  This has meant that a number of advisory meetings for the various fishery management councils will be cancelled, as either people cannot travel to the meetings, or the facility where the meeting was to be held will not be open.  In New England, meeting on the 2018 Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management Strategy has been rescheduled, as the agency did not want international participants to travel and find the meeting cancelled.

The seafood inspection program will continue, as will NOAA’s implementation of the seafood import monitoring program.

The problem here is not yet any sudden shutdown of vital business, but the regulatory system and the economics of the fishing industry are so entwined that unexpected disruptions to scientific research could easily spill over into actions that hamper fishing or reduce allowable catch.

If the shutdown continues for any length of time, we should get more information about direct impacts on the industry.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1089641/How-a-Longer-Government-Shut-Down-May-Impact-NOAA-Research-Halted-Seafood-Inspections-Continue

Environment/Science

Ghost of ‘the Blob’ haunts Pacific salmon
Impacts from warm ocean waters still playing out in many ways
Columbia Basin Bulletin – January 16, 2018
The initial period after ocean entry for Columbia River basin juvenile salmon and steelhead is when most of the mortality occurs during their lives at sea, so ocean conditions — temperatures and nutrient supplies — during that period are critical to how many of the fish will return to the river as adults one to three years later.
http://www.chinookobserver.com/co/free/20180116/ghost-of-the-blob-haunts-pacific-salmon

Study on virus risk to ocean salmon questioned
Marine conservation entities want access to memorandums related to salmon farm companies
Cordova Times – January 19, 2018
Three marine conservation entities in British Columbia say they are questioning the integrity of a report issued by the Canadian government that concluded there are minimal risks to wild Fraser River sockeye salmon populations of the transfer of a specific virus from Atlantic salmon farms.
https://www.thecordovatimes.com/2018/01/19/study-virus-risk-ocean-salmon-questioned/

Federal Register

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation of Pacific Cod in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 01/22/2018
NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amount of Pacific cod from vessels using jig gear to catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 meters) length overall using hook-and-line or pot gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. This action is necessary to allow the A season apportionment of the 2018 total allowable catch of Pacific cod to be harvested.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/01/22/2018-01041/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-reallocation-of-pacific-cod-in-the-bering-sea

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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January 22, 2018