Alaska/Pacific Coast

BBEDC ups vessel upgrade grants, adds RSW purchase program in 2015
KDLG by Dave Bendinger – January 5, 2015
$17,500 for set netters, $35,000 for drifters, available through BBEDC vessel upgrade program for CDQ residents.

The Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation has increased its grant offerings to make improvements to vessels, and will also be reaching out to help drifters put RSW on their boats. KDLG’s Dave Bendinger has more:


Number of ships transiting Arctic waters drops in 2014
Associated Press – January 5, 2015
Fewer ships sailed through Arctic waters in 2014.

Thirty-one ships used the Northern Sea Route over Russia to sail between Europe and Asia and another 22 used part of the route, Alaska Public Radio Network reported. In 2013, 70 vessels used the Northern Sea Route.

Predictions of increased ship traffic in the wake of diminished Arctic sea ice Arctic waters may have been premature, said Malte Humpert, executive director of the Arctic Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

Labeling and Marketing

Video: Louisiana says high costs a barrier to certification – tried 12 MSC pre-assessments
SEAFOODNEWS.COM  by John Sackton  January 6, 2015

Damon Morris is interviewed on Louisiana’s history of certification in the last video in our series produced by Steve Minor,  on the need for the Global Seafood Sustainability Initiative.

The GSSI, by providing a international benchmarking tool, is expected to dramatically reduce the cost of credible and accepted fisheries certifications.


Documentary “The Breach” will offer glimpse into history of Bristol Bay’s salmon industry
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SCOM] January 6, 2015
The history of Bristol Bay’s iconic sockeye salmon fishery will be featured in an upcoming film, The Breach, produced by Seattle-based filmmaker Mark Titus in partnership with the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA).

According to the BBRSDA there is no greater success story about America’s natural resources than that of Bristol Bay’s salmon fishery. Despite being one of the last, best places remaining for wild salmon on the planet, few people know about this national treasure. That’s why the Association said it partnered Titus to produce The Breach, which will debut at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, January 7th and 8th.

“Our salmon runs have sustained the people of this region for thousands of years, and today they are as strong as ever. Most Americans haven’t had a chance to experience salmon runs like Bristol Bay’s for themselves,” says Katherine Carscallen, a third-generation fisherman and the Sustainability Director for the BBRSDA. “That’s why we’re so excited to be supporting Mark and his documentary film, The Breach. Consumers deserve to know where their salmon is from, and be aware of the threats to the future sustainability of our last wild salmon fisheries, like Bristol Bay.”

The Breach, awarded Best International Feature Documentary at the 2014 Galway Film Festival, will have its North American premiere at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. The Breach contrasts the vitality and success of Bristol Bay’s salmon fishery with depleted salmon runs elsewhere in the world, while highlighting the current threat to Bristol Bay posed by a proposed copper and gold mine known as Pebble.

“Bristol Bay is our last chance to get it right the first time,” says filmmaker Mark Titus. “Almost everywhere else on the planet, with the exception of Alaska, we’ve decimated our wild salmon runs. Capturing the magnitude of Bristol Bay’s run was humbling and inspiring, which is why I’m eager to share what I’ve learned with audiences across the country.”

Carscallen says The Breach will be a unique opportunity for film-goers to experience Bristol Bay’s salmon fishery and hear from fishermen, Native elders, scientists and Alaskan leaders about what makes Bristol Bay so exceptional. “With an estimated run of over 50 million sockeye to the Bay this coming summer, The Breach captures just how fortunate we are and how much we have to protect.”

In addition to seeing the film, audiences at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and other upcoming screenings will receive complimentary cans of Bristol Bay sockeye salmon, courtesy of The Breach, the BBRSDA, and Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics.

“By giving audiences their own can of Bristol Bay salmon, we hope to reinforce the underlying message that the best thing people can do to save wild salmon is to eat wild salmon. This couldn’t be more true than in Bristol Bay where wild salmon are still thriving and abundant,” says Titus. “When consumers eat Bristol Bay sockeye, they are voting with their forks for the protection of this irreplaceable wild food source that has supported a subsistence culture for hundreds of generations, creates thousands of renewable American jobs, and provides high quality nutrition to millions of people each year.”

The Breach will be shown January 7th and 8th in Palm Springs, then appear at additional film festivals and events across the country over the coming months.


Kalakala, famed art deco Seattle ferry and Alaska fish processor, to be scrapped
Associated Press by Janet Jensen – January 5, 2015

In a March 24, 2011, photo, the 276-foot ferryboat Kalakala lists in its mooring on the Hylebos Waterway in Tacoma. Dreams of a new life for the Art Deco ferryboat MV Kalakala may be sinking, just like the 1935 boat itself.

TACOMA, Wash. — The historic ferry Kalakala has reached its final destination.

The owner plans to have the rusting hulk scrapped later this month in Tacoma, The News Tribune reported Sunday.

Constructed with the hull of another ship, the 276-foot Kalakala went into service in 1935 on Puget Sound and carried millions of cars between Seattle and Bremerton until 1967. In the days before the Space Needle, the silver art deco style vessel was the postcard symbol of Seattle.

Euro falls to nine year low against dollar as theats mount to EU zone economies
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Reuters]  (Opinion) by James Saft  Jan 6, 2014
With Greece in the ejection seat and the European Central Bank facing a no-win decision on bond buying, the euro’s fall is far from over.

And that’s before we consider the poor economic fundamentals, not to mention the single currency’s new unpopularity with other central banks seeking a safe place to store their reserves.

The euro fell to near nine-year lows on Monday, hurt by fears that a push for vastly easier debt terms by a new Greek government, expected after Jan. 25 elections, would lead not to agreement, but to Germany opening the door to a euro exit.

A report in German media that leaders in Berlin see a euro exit by Greece as “manageable” may qualify more as a negotiating tactic than an analysis, especially given that no template for such a move exits. Either way, that we find ourselves here can be nothing other than negative for the euro, which would likely be in a cyclical decline even if its structural future were not in doubt.

The immediate consequences for the euro from a fracture in its line-up would probably be very negative, and certainly extremely volatile.

By the time we learn what kind of government Greece has elected, we will likely see important changes to monetary policy, with the ECB widely expected to make a significant announcement involving sovereign bond buying at its Jan. 22 monetary policy meeting. This may be one of those rare events in which all news is bad news for the single currency: if the ECB exceeds expectations with a large or forceful funding program, the euro will fall almost as a matter of policy; if the ECB disappoints, the euro will fall anyway.

The idea of buying up government bonds is more popular in Germany than wholesale Greek debt forgiveness, but only just. That German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble voiced concerns about QE and lauded uber-skeptic Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann’s arguments against such moves recently implies that bond buying is far from assured. It will be hard to deliver meaningful QE while not appearing to stray into direct financing of euro zone members, or at least the mutualization of risk.

“Any ECB decision to go ahead with QE, without substantial modification, would now entail severe loss of face for the German government, which might be obliged to abandon the condition which has so far governed its participation in the single currency arrangements,” Stephen Lewis, economist at ADM Investor Services in London, wrote in a note to clients.


While few can agree about what the ECB should do or how Greek issues should be handled, facts, of which there are many on the ground, are not in dispute and not terribly encouraging. Take deflation, the risk of which was illustrated by German inflation falling to just 0.1 percent annually in December, from 0.5 percent in November. Data on Wednesday may show the first negative such reading; that is, deflation.

Remember, the price of energy continues to decline, and its impact on inflation in the euro zone has yet to be fully felt. And while a cheaper euro is stimulative – this is partly the point of bond buying – business and consumer confidence is not helped by the way in which the riven politics show up euro zone structural inadequacy.

Then there is interesting new data showing that global central banks are no longer adding their support to the euro, something they have generally done since its inception. While central banks will usually buy a reserve currency as it falls in order to keep their portfolios at the desired mix, that is not happening with the euro. The euro’s share of global reserves fell to 22.6 percent in the third quarter, according to new IMF data, down from 24.1 percent in the previous quarter, a decline of 122.9 billion euros.

“The euro has also become rather undesirable for central banks to hold,” Stephen Jen of hedge fund SLJ Macro Partners wrote to clients. “Nobody likes to hold a currency with a negative yield, and with the central bank managing the currency explicitly wanting the value of the currency to go down. ”

Perhaps central banks are seeing the parallels between the euro and Japanese yen, which though it represents the third- largest economy in the world, accounts for only 4 percent of central bank reserves. Both economies face not only deflation, but seemingly intractable problems with making and implementing policy.

At some point, something will happen to arrest the fall of the euro. But not, probably, in the next month.


Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association

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January 6, 2015