Alaska/Pacific Coast

Kodiak Trawl Fleet Ends Protest, Negotiates Higher Price
The Kodiak trawl fleet has ended its protest over the prices the fleet had been offered for its pollock harvest.
Associated Press – January 31, 2018
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — The Kodiak trawl fleet ended its protest over the price the fleet had been offered for its pollock harvest.
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/alaska/articles/2018-01-31/kodiak-trawl-fleet-ends-protest-negotiates-higher-price

International

Russian Fishery Tries to Get Murmansk Cod Trawlers After Rival Accused of Having Foreign Ownership
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Eugene Gerden – January 30, 2018
The Russian fish industry may have a new leader this year through the acquisition of the FEST Group of Companies, one of the largest fish producers in the Russian Northern Basin (Barents Sea). The Russian Fishery Company (RFC) — Russia’s second largest fish producer — hopes to purchase FEST after recent federal investigations.

FEST companies were established in 1997, according to the company’s website, and the Murmansk Trawl Fleet was their beginning. RFC also was established in 1997.

The deal between RFC and FEST may be the result of a recent investigation, conducted by the Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS). FAS found FEST is under foreign control by Yuri Prutkov, a businessman under Swiss jurisdiction, which is contrary to Russian legislation in the field of fishing.

FEST currently operates four fishing trawlers, which annually produce 150,000 tonnes of cod, mackerel, sardines and herring.

The amount of the deal will vary between US $300 million and $350 million. RFC has already purchased companies suspected of having illegal foreign control. In 2012, FAS carried out an investigation into pollock producers in the Russian Far East, among which were Sovgavanryba, Vostokrybprom, Imlan and Pelagial. They were owned by Russian people, but, according to the regulator, the assets were controlled by the Chinese Pacific Andes through secret agreements with formal owners. RFC purchased Sovgavanryba and Vostokrybprom in 2013; a year later it completed the acquisition of Imlan and Pelagial.

FEST may challenge the conclusions of FAS, proving that they received permission to fish before the restrictions on foreigners, which were enacted in the Russian federal law “on fishing” in December 2014.

An RFC spokesman said the company is interested in expansion in the Northwest Basin/Barents Sea, considering any possible M&A deals with the companies operating there.

In 2017 total catch of RFC amounted to 300,000 tonnes, mostly of pollock and herring. If RFC buys FEST, the purchase will allow it to increase production to about 550,000 tonnes, overtaking the current leader Karat, which is owned by Vitaly Orlov. Karat has quotas of about 440,000 tonnes of fish.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1090542/Russian-Fishery-Tries-to-Get-Murmansk-Cod-Trawlers-After-Rival-Accused-of-Having-Foreign-Ownership

Environment/Science

Little genetic difference among Dungeness crab from California to Washington
Phys.org by Oregon State University – January 30, 2018,
A new study of Dungeness crab along the West Coast found strong genetic diversity throughout various sampling sites, with little genetic “differentiation” between them, meaning that crab found off the California coast are similar to those found off Oregon and Washington.
https://phys.org/news/2018-01-genetic-difference-dungeness-crab-california.html

Federal Register

Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Catch Sharing Plan
A Proposed Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 01/30/2018
NMFS proposes to approve changes to the Pacific Halibut Catch Sharing Plan (Plan) and codified regulations for the International Pacific Halibut Commission’s (IPHC or Commission) regulatory Area 2A off Washington, Oregon, and California (Area 2A). In addition, NMFS proposes to implement the portions of the Plan and management measures that are not implemented through the IPHC. These measures include the sport fishery allocations and management measures for Area 2A. These actions are intended to conserve Pacific halibut, provide angler opportunity where available, and minimize bycatch of overfished groundfish species.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/01/30/2018-01772/pacific-halibut-fisheries-catch-sharing-plan

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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January 31, 2018