Alaska/Pacific Coast

Jig gear for P-cod prohibited in CGOA
Cordova Times – January 5, 2018
Federal fisheries officials are prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by vessels using jig gear in the central regulatory area of the Gulf of Alaska through June 10 to prevent exceeding the “A” season allowance of the 2018 Pacific cod total allowable catch by jig gear in that area.

One Petersburg salmon cannery won’t operate again in 2018
KFSK by Joe Viechnicki – January 5, 2018
One of two salmon canneries in Petersburg won’t be operating in 2018 for the second year in a row. Ocean Beauty Seafoods says it won’t have its can lines running in Petersburg again this year.

Bering Sea Pacific Cod “A” Season Could be Shortest Yet
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – January 8, 2018
The first season for trawl-caught Pacific cod in the Bering Sea starts January 20 and participants are already wondering if it will be the shortest on record.

Although the “A” season for trawlers lasts until April 1, last year’s “A” season ended February 23, the earliest in recent memory. The “A” season allocation is 74% of the annual total allowable catch (TAC). It is the most valuable of the three seasons because of roe content and quality of meat.

Most years, the “A” season for trawlers ends the third week in March or later.

But this year will likely be earlier, for at least two reasons. First, the overall P-cod TAC for the Bering Sea is 17% less than last year’s: 188,136 mt compared to 223,704 mt for last year.

Second, the P-cod TAC in the Gulf of Alaska is down 80 percent, which will severely restrict the fleet there, and may send some of those vessels west to the Unimak Pass P-cod grounds.

There are 116 trawl vessels licensed to fish the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands for P-cod. Last year, 62 of those licenses were not active in the fishery. The 54 vessels that were active marked the highest participation in the history of the fishery. Since 2009, the trend of participation in Bering Sea trawl-caught P-cod has steadily grown from 31 vessels to last year’s 54.

Of the 62 licenses that did not fish P-cod in 2017, 46 are active in other fisheries and 16 show no participation in any fishery. Since 2009, the number of latent licenses has varied between 14 and 18. It is unclear how many are truly latent (no fishing will be conducted under them) and how many may be ready to fish this year.

Regardless of how short the “A” season for P-cod will be this year, the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council has recognized that participation in the fishery is growing and are concerned that delivery behavior may be shifting from shore-based plants to off-shore catcher/processors (CPs). At their December meeting, the council adopted a purpose and needs statement, the first step in adopting management tools to limit participation and offshore deliveries.

According to the discussion paper before the Council at its December meeting, the number of vessels delivering at sea has risen from 5 in 2015 to 10 in 2016, and then 17 in 2017.  At the same time, the number of catcher-processors who are acting as mother vessels and purchasing fish increased from 2 in 2015 to 8 in both 2016 and 2017.

That growth in offshore deliveries isn’t as steep as it looks because four of the vessels delivering offshore last year were vessels committed to a shorebased floating processor that underwent extensive refitting and, unable to take deliveries of its four-vessel cod fleet, asked the offshore CP to accept deliveries for one year only.

Not surprisingly, the increase in pounds delivered to the offshore sector last year compared to 2016 nearly equaled the decrease in deliveries to the shore-based sector between 2016 and 2017.

However, the clear growth in participation and the potential for a decrease in shore-based deliveries got the attention of the Council, in part because of the economic boost shore-based deliveries bring to remote communities and the state revenue from fish tax that is shared by communities.

Thus, the Council agreed to set a control date of December 31, 2017 for eligibility in any future management action. An analysis of three preliminary alternatives will be presented to the Council at their June meeting in Kodiak. However, even with a control date, there is nothing to prevent more vessels selling to catcher processors this season, even if limits are placed in the future.

The Council’s challenge will be to achieve the competing goals of protecting the shore-based plants and their communities’ economy while providing a modest expansion of the market for the fishermen to sell their catch to the Amendment 80 catcher-processors.

Cooke Aquaculture Pacific Files Lawsuit to Fight Washington Decision to Cancel Port Angeles Lease
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Amanda Buckle – January 8, 2018
In December Cooke Aquaculture Pacific was ordered by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to dismantle their fish pens at Ediz Hook. Now the company is fighting back.

Cooke Aquaculture announced on Friday that they have filed a lawsuit in Clallam County Superior Court against the Department of Natural Resources. The company says that the government organization’s attempt to terminate their lease is “not supported by the facts and will unnecessarily result in the loss of scarce rural jobs.”

As previously reported, state Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz, the elected head of DNR, canceled the aquatic lands lease due to a series of violations. Styrofoam discharges, a defective anchoring system and operating 500 feet outside of the leasehold area were all listed as violations.

“Cooke Aquaculture Pacific acquired the Washington salmon farms when it purchased Icicle Seafoods in 2016,” Joel Richardson, Vice President for Public Relations at Cooke Aquaculture, said in a press release. “The Department of Natural Resources, then led by Commissioner Franz’s predecessor, approved the transfer of those farm leases at that time and raised no concerns or objections to the manner in which Cooke’s predecessor company was managing the leased aquatic area. We can only assume that the recent decision to terminate the Port Angeles lease is based upon misinformation or a misunderstanding of the facts and history related to the site.”

At the time of canceling the lease, Franz said that the decision was non-negotiable and that there is no appeal process in place. However, reps for Cooke say that they hope to meet with Franz to discuss DNR’s decision to terminate the lease and answer any questions that the Commissioner might have about their operations.

“While we regret the need to file suit before meeting with the Commissioner, we are required to do so in order to protect the company’s legal rights,” Richardson said. “Nonetheless, Cooke believes that a fulsome dialogue with DNR, which it regards as a long-standing partner in its recently acquired Washington aquaculture program, can likely resolve any legitimate, substantive factual issues between the parties. If those issues cannot be amicably resolved by dialogue with the Commissioner then we are prepared to assert our legal rights by way of the judicial system.”


Drill, maybe drill: Federal government considers offshore oil drilling in Southeast
New Trump administration proposal would call for lease sales off all Alaska coasts
Juneau Empire by James Brooks – January 5, 2018
The Trump Administration has released a draft plan calling for oil and gas lease sales across Alaska’s coasts, including in Southeast waters.
The proposal, published at 9 a.m. Alaska Time on Thursday by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, calls for a lease sale in federal waters off Southeast Alaska in 2023.

Coastal governors oppose Trump’s offshore drilling plan
Washington Examiner by Josh Siegel – January 4, 2018
Governors along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts are opposing the Trump administration’s proposal to open almost all U.S. waters to oil and natural gas drilling.


Seafood science issues highlight upcoming gatherings
IPHC, NPFMC, Alaska Board of Fisheries take on a range of fisheries issues
Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman – January 5, 2018
Harvesters, processors, research biologists and technologists engaged in boosting Alaska’s commercial fisheries industry have a busy meeting schedule from January through the start of the spring fishing season.

Labeling and Marketing

3MMI – China Raw Materials Roundup – Atlantic Cod, Pacific Cod, Pollock, CNY Closures
TradexFoods – January 8, 2018
With Chinese New Year Plant closures ahead, many processors are speculating market pricing based on raw material trends in the New Year. Atlantic Cod raw materials have now just approached $4400 per metric tonne.


Public comment wanted for ADF&G fish stock plan
Juneau Empire – January 7, 2018
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game expects to stock state waters with approximately 7 million sport fish this year, according to a recent press release.


Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
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Phone: 206.281.1667
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January 8, 2018