National

Settlement will lead US to make rules for seafood imports that may harm marine mammals in 2016
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews]  Jan 7, 2015
A settlement between 3 NGO’s and the U.S. government at the court of International Trade may lead to import rules based on how seafood producers interact with Marine Mammals.

The NGO’s say the agreement will require foreign fisheries to meet the same marine mammal protection standards required of U.S. fishermen or be denied import privileges, thus implementing a 40-year-old provision of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

“The new regulations will force other countries to step up and meet U.S. conservation standards — saving hundreds of thousands of whales and dolphins from dying on hooks and in fishing nets around the world,” said Sarah Uhlemann, senior attorney and international program director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The U.S. government has finally recognized that all seafood consumed in the United States must be ‘dolphin-safe.’ ”

Each year more than 650,000 whales, dolphins and other marine mammals are caught and killed in fishing gear. These animals are unintentional “bycatch” of commercial fisheries and either drown outright or are tossed overboard to die from their injuries.

The Center says that despite U.S. efforts to protect marine mammals in its own waters, fishing gear continues to pose the most significant threat to whale and dolphin conservation worldwide.

They highlight the vaquita — the world’s smallest porpoise — which is being driven extinct by shrimp gillnets in Mexico’s Gulf of California. Fewer than 100 vaquita remain.

Under the new regulations, shrimp from this region would be barred from entering the United States unless fishing in the area meets the more protective U.S. marine mammal protection standards. These standards may include modifying fishing gear and closing fishing in some areas to limit the risk of entanglement.

Since 1972 the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act has prohibited the United States from allowing seafood to enter the country unless it meets U.S. whale and dolphin standards. Under today’s settlement, the federal government must make a final decision by August 2016 about how to implement this requirement and end unlawful imports.

The NGO parties to the suit in addition to the Center for Biological Diversity include Turtle Island Restoration Network, and the National Resources Defense Council.

It is not clear whether the rules are going to be adopted by NOAA, or by the State Department which monitors compliance with turtle exclusion devices.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/958543/Settlement-will-lead-US-to-make-rules-for-seafood-imports-that-may-harm-marine-mammals-in-2016

International

Korea: CJ Aims to Boost “Alaska Salmon” Sales Rise to 60 Bil. Won (70%  increase) This Year
The Korea Economic Daily –  Jan 7, 2015
Cheil Jedang  (CJ) announced on January 6 that it aims to boost the annual sales of its “Alaska Salmon” up to 60 billion won this year ($54 million), up more than 170 percent from a year ago. CJ Alaska Salmon is a canned salmon product made from fresh and wild salmon from Alaska.
http://english.hankyung.com/news/apps/news.view?popup=0&nkey=201501070831331&c1=04&c2=00&nid=04

Chile’s salmon and fish meal exports to China will benefit from becoming duty free in 2015
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Techno Press] January 7, 2015
As of January 1 Chilean salmon and fish meal exports to China were added to a list of goods that will duty free, a move officials believe will increase exports to the Chinese market.

Over 1,600 Chilean products destined to China were cleared of any tariffs. Among the list of grapes, textiles and raisins were salmon and fish meal shipments that will no longer be taxed to enter the Chinese market.

Along with China, other Chilean exports to the US and Australian markets also had tariffs removed. The three markets represent about 37 percent of Chile’s total exports.

“This way, we see how international trade policy that Chile implemented in recent decades through trade agreements, continues to very concrete results. For these three countries, it is important that relief especially help boost exports of Chilean food,” said Andres Rebolledo, director of the General Directorate of International Economic Relations (Direcon).
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/958519/Chiles-salmon-and-fish-meal-exports-to-China-will-benefit-from-becoming-duty-free-in-2015

 

Environment/Science

Whale genes offer clues to longer human lifespans
Scientists think that long-lived mammals likes whales and mole rats have ‘different tricks’ to survive, but may not have many genes in common.
Mother Nature Network by Becky Oskin – January 6, 2015
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In a search for genes that fight off aging, researchers have now charted the bowhead whale genome.

Bowheads are filter feeders found only in the Arctic, and are some of the largest mammals on Earth. Old harpoon points found in bowheads suggest the whales live for some 200 years.

. . . . For instance, the researchers found that bowhead whales have unique mutations in a gene called ERCC1, which is involved in repairing damaged DNA. The mutations in this gene could provide protection against cancer, Magalhaes said. About 30 percent of people will develop some form of cancer during their lives, but whales seem to have a remarkably low cancer rate, despite their huge number of cells and long life span.
http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/whale-genes-offer-clues-to-longer-human-lifespans#ixzz3O9llkRCU

Labeling and Marketing

BRC issues 7th update to its global food manufacturing standards
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews]  Jan 7, 2015
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has published the seventh issue of its internationally recognised BRC Global Standard for Food Safety.  Audits against Issue 7 will begin in July 2015. The BRC Global Standards is recognized as the benchmark for good manufacturing practices in food, packaging, storage and distribution, agents and brokers, and consumer products.

Certification enables customers to have confidence in their suppliers, and helps suppliers by allowing them to show they are maintaining high standards of safety, quality and legal compliance.  Many US companies selling into Europe have undergone BRC certification, which is a lengthy process.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/958507/BRC-issues-7th-update-to-its-global-food-manufacturing-standards

Federal Register

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area; New Cost Recovery Fee Programs (Comments Due 2/6/15)

FYI’s

Marine Resources Company, Jim Talbot’s fishing venture with USSR, helped bridge Cold War
The Bellingham Herald by Tony Allison – January 7, 2015
One of the most astounding and little-known stories of the Cold War is that thousands of Soviet and U.S. fishermen worked together on the high seas of the Pacific Ocean, trawling by day and sharing Russian bread, vodka and off-color jokes in the evenings. During the period from 1978 to 1990 this unique Seattle-based joint venture, called Marine Resources Company, or MRC, caught and processed some 1.5 million tons of fish off the coasts of Oregon, Washington and Alaska.
http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2015/01/07/4057445/marine-resources-company-jim-talbots.html#storylink=cpy

 


Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association

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January 7, 2015