Alaska/Pacific Coast

Harvesters concerned about privatization of fisheries
Most study participants said they felt privatization has had a negative impact
The Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman – January 26, 2015
A University of Alaska Fairbanks study involving residents of Kodiak has identified crew members and the next generation of fishermen as disproportionately affected by the privatization of fishing rights.

American Seafoods’ Advisory Board Accepting Applications for its Alaska Community Grant Program
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews]- January 27, 2015
The Community Advisory Board (CAB) of American Seafoods Company announced it is now accepting applications for its Alaska community grant program. The deadline to submit applications is February 17, 2015.

Salmon Bycatch in the Bering Sea Pollock Fishery Teleconference
1-29-2015 1pm-3pm AKST Call 877-214-2906 code: 1214

Aleutian Sanctuary Proposal Stalls Out
KUCB by Lauren Rosenthal – January 26, 2015
The federal government has turned down a request to create a vast marine reserve around the Aleutian Islands.

NOAA suggested that a "smaller area or a network of smaller areas" in southwest Alaska could be a better candidate for protection. (Courtesy of Rick Steiner/PEER)
NOAA suggested that a “smaller area or a network of smaller areas” in southwest Alaska could be a better candidate for protection. (Courtesy of Rick Steiner/PEER)


Atlantic, Pacific Fish Face Mixing as Arctic Warms
Discovery News by Eric Niiler – January 26, 2015

 Play Video

Atlantic cod are a fierce predator and could push out Alaska Pollock once oceans start mixing. Gadus morhua Cod-2b-Atlanterhavsparken-Norway” by Hans-Petter field”

The gradual warming of the Arctic Ocean over the next century will weaken a natural barrier that has separated fish from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for millions of years, leading to a mixing of species that could make life difficult in fishing communities from Alaska to Norway.

Bristol Bay Sockeye’s Prey Quality Affected By Ocean Temperature
APRN by Josh Edge – January 26, 2015
Having healthy and plentiful returns of salmon each season is an important issue to subsistence, sport and commercial fishermen alike. But, relatively little is known about what happens to the fish once they leave their spawning grounds and head out to sea. A group of scientists have started investigating a piece of the puzzle in a survey of juvenile Bristol Bay sockeye salmon.

Federal Register

Public Comments Wanted on Proposed Changes to the National Standards for Federal Fisheries
SEAFOODNEWS.COM  By Peggy Parker – January 19, 2015
Last Thursday NOAA Fisheries opened a six-and-a-half-month public comment period on revisions that “clarify and streamline” National Standard guidelines, an important roadmap for the eight regional management councils to sustainably manage the nation’s fisheries.

“This has been an ongoing discussion for the past two years,” said Chris Oliver, executive director of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council in Anchorage. “The [National Marine Fisheries Service] agency has been working on revising the guidelines for all the councils through the Council Coordination Committee.”

The CCC represents the chairs, vice-chairs, and executive directors of each of the regional management councils and meets twice a year to discuss issues relevant to all councils, including issues related to the implementation of the MSA. The CCC’s next meeting is Febuary 18-19 in Washington, D.C.

The press release included seven examples of revisions the proposed rule addresses:

● Increasing flexibility in setting timelines for rebuilding programs;

● Providing flexibility for better managing data-limited stocks;

● Clarifying guidance on which stocks require conservation and management;

● Enhancing current efforts by the councils to apply ecosystem approaches to management;

● Providing for more stable fisheries through guidance on multiyear overfishing determinations, phasing in results of new stock assessments and the carryover of the unused portion of annual catch limits to subsequent years;

● Adding a definition for “depleted stocks” to recognize non-fishing-related impacts to fish stocks, and;

● Recommending the councils re-evaluate the objectives of fishery management plans, to ensure they reflect the changing needs of the fishery, including allocation of fishery resource

The last item has been a hotly contested issue in the debate on Capitol Hill to reauthorize the MSA. Last year’s mid-term election shifted that debate to be under the auspices of a new subcommittee in the Senate, chaired by Florida Republican Marco Rubio. Prior to the election, Rubio co-chaired the subcommittee with Alaska Senator Begich, a strong supporter of commercial fisheries

Rubio is considered to have presidential aspirations and a constituency with deep recreational fisheries interests. Re-evaluating allocations every five years was put into the draft language of the reauthorization bill last year by the recreational sector

Chris Oliver was not certain why that bullet was part of the national standards revision. As he noted, the press release states “The proposed revisions do not establish new requirements or require councils to revise their current fishery management plans. Rather, they offer additional clarity and potential flexibility in meeting current Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act mandates.”

The press release quotes Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA Fisheries, “The proposed revisions clarify and streamline the National Standard guidelines, address concerns raised by partners and stakeholders during the implementation of annual catch limits and accountability measures, and provide flexibility to address fishery management issues.”

If implemented, she said, they “will result in better-managed and more sustainable fisheries.”

The proposed rule offers revisions for National Standard 1, 3 and 7 of the MSA.

The National Standard 1 guidelines provide guidance on preventing overfishing while achieving the optimum yield (the amount of fish which will provide the greatest overall benefit to the Nation, particularly with respect to food production and recreational opportunities) from each U.S. fishery.

The National Standard 3 guidelines provide guidance on managing a stock as a unit throughout its range, and the National Standard 7 guidelines address minimizing costs and avoid duplication in fisheries management.

Public comments on the proposed rule are due June 30, 2015. The proposed rule can be found at

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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Phone: 206.281.1667
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January 27, 2015