Alaska/Pacific Coast

Notice of Public Meeting of the Alaska Joint Board of Fish and Game


Chinook research funding a casualty of Walker budget cuts
Alaska Journal of Commerce by DJ Summers – June 8, 2015
Gov. Bill Walker’s plans for Alaska involve a lot of budget cutting, and a vital research project for king salmon is on the slab.

As petroleum prices dive and Alaska finances look grim, the Chinook Salmon Research Initiative is one of many items Walker cut from former Gov. Sean Parnell’s proposed capital budget, potentially halting several ongoing programs and complicating an Alaska fishery regulatory item.

Parnell introduced the $30 million initiative into his budget in 2012 to study declining Alaska chinook salmon stocks. Parnell’s plan gave an initial $10 million to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, or ADFG, and was to include an additional $20 million over the subsequent four years for a total $30 million, five-year effort. To date, the state has given $15 million of the planned $30 million in two payments of $7.5 million. Parnell had proposed $5 million in the fiscal year 2016 budget.

Halibut bodies to meet amid growing bycatch concerns
Alaska Journal of Commerce by DJ Summers – January 8, 2015
Few fish have to swim through more red tape than the Pacific halibut.

Halibut has been governed by two regulatory bodies for more than 40 years, and 2015 will hopefully see an increase in mutual understanding between the two, as well as a welcome public display of cooperation.

At a joint meeting Feb. 5 in Seattle, the two bodies that control the halibut fishery — the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and the International Pacific Halibut Commission — will review processes of mutual interest, including collection issues relating to stock assessment, bycatch assessment, mortality accounting framework, and abundance-based bycatch limit considerations.

Focus on Snow Crab Slows Pacific Cod Season
KUCB by Annie Ropeik – January 08 2015
A big snow crab harvest kept Bering Sea fishermen hard at work through the holidays. Now, it’s overshadowing the start of a major groundfish season, too.

The Pacific cod fishery kicked off in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands this month. There’s about 250,000 metric tons of Pacific cod up for harvest in state and federal waters.


California: Preparing for a fourth year of drought, NOAA Fisheries takes action with partners for 2015 water operations
NOAA – Winter 2015
Recent rains in California are a welcome relief to a state stricken with drought. However, similar levels of precipitation must fall consistently throughout the coming winter and spring for reservoir storage conditions to improve to the point of recovery. Since Governor Brown’s drought declaration last January, NOAA Fisheries has worked with federal and state partners to manage the state’s limited water supply as efficiently and effectively as possible—meeting competing demands for human health, agricultural production, and protected salmon and steelhead. Partners have now turned their attention to the upcoming season, seeking to put a plan in place for 2015 water operations. The result of these efforts is the 2015 Interagency Drought Strategy.


Norway: Seafood exporters set new records in 2014
FIS – Friday, January 09, 2015
Norway exported seafood worth NOK 68.8 billion (USD 8.9 billion) in 2014, a 12 per cent, or NOK 7.3 billion (USD  941.3 million) more than in 2013, setting a new record for a second year in a row.

“Norwegian seafood has never enjoyed a stronger position in the world market. Despite the collapse of the Russian export market due to sanctions this year, the Norwegian seafood industry has shown it can adapt to meet the needs of new markets. The result has been record export figures for salmon, cod and mackerel,” said Terje E. Martinussen, Chief Executive of the Norwegian Seafood Council.


January ENSO update: The little engine that couldn’t quite
NOAA Climate by Emily Becker – January 8, 2015
Subsurface temperature anomaly

A month ago, I wrote about the factors we look for when declaring the presence of “El Niño conditions.” Last month we were close: monthly average sea surface temperature anomalies in the Niño3.4 region were above +0.5° Celsius, and they looked to stay that way for at least another few seasons.

Subsurface temperature anomaly along the equator, averaged over December 29, 2014 – January 3, 2014. Vertical axis is ocean depth, from 450 m deep to the surface. Horizontal axis is longitude. Figure by Climate Prediction Center.


Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute

Did you know in the early days of Bristol Bay’s commercial fishery, salmon were harvested with sailboats called double-enders? Thanks to Melvin Monsen, Jr for this Throwback Thursday photo. Beautiful!

Public Most Concerned Over Overfishing and Marine Pollution
The Fish Site – January 9, 2015
EU – A pan-European survey has revealed the public’s awareness, concerns and priorities about human impacts on the oceans. The results show high levels of concern about marine pollution in particular, and that, generally, respondents were most concerned about the issues they felt most informed about.

. . . . The researchers conducted a survey into public perceptions of the marine environment to help inform policy. Their online questionnaire was completed by 10,106 people in 2011 across 10 European countries.

. . . . When participants were asked to write down the three most important marine environmental problems that immediately come to mind, the most common answer was pollution, listed by 33per cent of respondents. This was followed by overfishing (eight per cent), coastal erosion (five per cent) and wildlife conservation (five per cent).

Participants rated their levels of informedness and concern about specific issues on a scale of 1-5 (1=not informed/concerned at all, 5=very informed/concerned). They felt most informed about: pollution, melting sea-ice, overfishing, sea level rise and coastal flooding. Average informedness scores for these ranged between 3.13 and 3.32. They felt least informed about: acidification, invasive species and jellyfish blooms (score range: 2.2-2.5).


Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association

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January 9, 2015