Alaska/Pacific Coast

Bristol Bay reds late again; late run Kenai kings start strong
Alaska Journal of Commerce by DJ Summers – July 13, 2016
It’s the second late run in a row for the state’s most valuable salmon fishery, and the late run of king salmon in the state’s most popular river are showing up early in strong numbers.

Wild Salmon Harvest Rises, Bristol Bay Waits
Fishermen’s News – July 13, 2016
Alaska’s wild salmon commercial harvests more than doubled from July 4 through July 12, with deliveries to processors rising from 18.3 million to 42 million fish, in another late run year that left Bristol Bay driftnetters waiting for the surge.

2016 Preliminary Alaska Commercial Salmon Harvest – Blue Sheet
ADFG – July 2016
The Blue Sheet reports cumulative salmon harvest during the commercial fishing season in thousands of fish. Historically, this information was updated each Friday between mid-May and September. Beginning with the 2013 season, these harvest estimates will be updated twice daily. Please note, inseason harvest estimates published in this report are preliminary and subject to change. Confidential catch information is not included in these cumulative totals. For more information on the Blue Sheet, inseason summaries, and harvest timing charts please see our Blue Sheet, Inseason Summary, and Harvest Timing Charts Overview page.


What if there’s no crisis?
National Fisherman by Ray Hilborn – July 2016
What might the future of global  fisheries look like under alternative management regimes? In an at tempt to answer this question, Christopher Costello and a suite of other  scientists (myself included) provided  the first effort to reconstruct the history of abundance in global fisheries  from 1950 to 2012. We submitted our  findings in the paper, “Global fishery  prospects under contrasting management regimes,” which was published  in the journal Proceedings of the National  Academy of Sciences (April 2016).
Hilborn 2016 National Fisherman US fisheries potential

ASMI’s RFM Program First to Achieve GSSI Recognition in Milestone for Seafood Sustainability
SEAFOODNEWS.COM By John Sackton and Peggy Parker – July 13, 2016

The Board of GSSI announced yesterday that ASMI’s RFM certification program was the first to be recognized as being in full compliance with the GSSI Global Benchmark Tool.

This is a milestone for seafood sustainability certifications.  For the first time, a program partially supported by public funds has met the highest standards recognized by NGO’s and Retailers for seafood sustainability certifications.  ASMI’s RFM scheme is the first certification scheme to reach this milestone, ahead of the certifications of many NGO schemes.

“For RFM to be the first sustainability program to meet the essential components of the Global GSSI Benchmarking Tool, and to be recognized by the GSSI Steering Board as successfully fulfilling the requirements of the FAO ecolabelling guidelines, represents the culmination of seven months of tireless effort by the ASMI staff,  RFM Committee and industry stakeholders in the development of a world class sustainability program for fish harvest and marine products,” said Tom Enlow, president and CEO of UniSea and a board member on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

“Today’s customers and consumers want choice, and the Industry needs alternatives to meet sustainability certification.  Thanks to ASMI’s support and development of the RFManagement model, we now have an alternative for the gold standard of global sustainability,” he added.

“We commend the Alaska RFM Program for successfully completing the GSSI benchmark process,” said Audun Lem, Deputy Director Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy and Economics Division, FAO.

“Through a rigorous and transparent process they have proven alignment with the components of the Global Benchmark Tool which are grounded in the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and related instruments. The recognition of robust certification programs by GSSI will improve transparency in seafood certification and increase confidence in the seafood market, objectives FAO fully supports,” Lem said.

At the launch of the Global Benchmark Tool in October 2015, retailers, brand manufacturers, traders and food service companies committed to include the outcomes of the GSSI Benchmark Process in their daily operations by recognizing all GSSI recognized certification schemes as acceptable when sourcing certified seafood.

“Sodexo is committed to accept all GSSI recognized schemes when sourcing certified seafood. We welcome Alaska RFM’s recognition today by GSSI and encourage companies across the seafood sector worldwide to join our commitment,” stated Lesley Sander, Director, Sustainability Metrics and Performance Measures, Sodexo.

The reason ASMI’s achievement is significant is that by achieving GSSI recognition, it is the first certification standard to marry government financing, which pays for part of ASMI’s budget and for fishery management costs in Alaska, with seafood certification schemes.

Most private NGO certification schemes have a marketing component designed to enhance the influence of a particular NGO or certifier.  As a result, a significant portion of total costs are to support the marketing and fundraising of the scheme owner.  Both WWF and the Marine Stewardship Council fall in this category.   In order to add value, these schemes believe that they must enforce an ever more rigorous standard that fine tunes sustainability and they use their market power to convince retailers that they should go far beyond what is scientifically acceptable in managing fisheries for sustainability.

Yet these schemes are also hampered by their own inability to force government actions.  So for example, both the Alaska pollock fishery and the Russian pollock fishery are fully certified by the MSC, yet they have vastly different approaches to bycatch management and reporting.  While the Alaska pollock fleet is required to report every chinook salmon caught as bycatch, and to stop fishing if bycatch limits are exceeded, the Russian fishery is allowed to retain all salmon bycatch and there is no specific reporting requirement.

GSSI requires specific actions and reporting on bycatch and measures to protect habitat.  WWF challenged the Alaska GSSI certification in a comment, claiming that the RFM scheme did not meet the GSSI standard on bycatch reporting because there was no language in the RFM standard requiring specific meetings.  The challenge was ironic given the WWF’s support of the Russian MSC certifications with no bycatch protections.

GSSI replied that the new 1.3 version of RFM addressed this issue, and the objection was not accepted.

More certification schemes are expected to meet the GSSI standard this year.  However, the application process is confidential, so other than the GAA Best Aquaculture Practices, which has announced their application, other schemes such as Iceland’s Responsible Fisheries, and various government organizations that may apply have not confirmed publicly whether they are doing so.

But GSSI is the future, for the simple reason that certifying sustainability and having the legislative power to carry out the necessary regulations go hand in hand.

That is why the NGO community has been so reluctant to see this project succeed.  If successful, GSSI removes seafood certifications as a fund-raising and marketing tool for NGO’s, and instead allows retailers and suppliers to prove their sustainable practices at a lower cost and on a more permanent basis.

The FAO guidelines do not address every social problem but are focused on the science and regulations needed for long term seafood sustainability.  They do not address working conditions, ownership, or other issues that are important to NGO’s and retailers.  Nor do they replace corporate social responsibility guidelines for procurement.  But they do simplify the process and lower the cost for certifying seafood as sustainable.

For the long term, having a tool that does one job well is preferable to having a tool that constantly tries to adjust to the marketing winds pushing NGO activities this way and that.

ASMI and RFM deserve congratulations on doing the very hard work needed to bring their program up to the GSSI standard in all essential areas, including governance.

New survey sees seafood consumers placing sustainability before price and brand
Seafood Source by Madelyn Kearns – July 13, 2016
Sustainability is an important factor driving seafood sales, perhaps even more so than brand and price, according to new independent research that takes stock of 21 countries overall and what consumers in each region find essential when purchasing seafood products.



NOAA Fisheries Updates U.S. Congress on Deep Sea Coral Research
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – July 13, 2016
A report to Congress submitted last month describes the 2014 and 2015 research activities on the nation’s deep-sea coral areas. The report also briefly describes progress during this period in MSA-related management actions that contribute to protecting deep-sea coral areas.

Feldwork in two regions was done during 2014-15. A survey of 31 submarine canyons between Maine and Virginia and the discovery of coral gardens just 25 miles off the coast of Maine was done by the Northeast Fieldwork Initiative.

In Alaska, images of the seafloor at more than 200 stations throughout the 1,200-mile Aleutian Islands chain were taken, confirming widespread corals and commercially important fish using the coral areas.

These initiatives tell researchers about many deep-sea coral communities that no humans had seen before. The involved scientists shared their findings and enabled the respective  management councils to act on the newest data.

NOAA’s Deep Sea Coral Research Program is a central partner for new research in the Pacific Islands region that began in 2015 and will continue until 2017. This research is also discovering deep-sea coral communities, and likely new species, in places never before surveyed.

Deep-sea corals can live for hundreds or thousands of years, creating remarkably complex communities in the depths of the oceans. Their habitat in the deep sea ranges from 150-foot depth to more than 10,000 feet.

Deep-sea coral habitats have been discovered in all U.S. regions on continental shelves and slopes, canyons, and seamounts. Their full geographic extent is still unknown, because most areas have yet to be adequately surveyed.

A few deep-sea coral species form reefs that, over millennia, can grow more than 100 meters (300 feet) tall. Many other coral species are shaped like bushes or trees and can form assemblages similar to groves or forests on the seafloor.

Nationwide, these complex structures provide habitat for many fish and invertebrate species, including certain commercially important ones such as grouper, snapper, sea bass, rockfish, shrimp, and crab.

The full report can be found at

Federal Register

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Cost Recovery Program
A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 07/14/2016
NMFS publishes notification of a 1.60 percent fee for cost recovery under the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program. This action is intended to provide holders of crab allocations with the fee percentage for the 2016/2017 crab fishing year so they can calculate the required payment for cost recovery fees that must be submitted by July 31, 2017.

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reapportionment of the 2016 Gulf of Alaska Pacific Halibut Prohibited Species Catch Limits for the Trawl Deep-Water and Shallow-Water Fishery Categories
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 07/14/2016
NMFS is reapportioning the seasonal apportionments of the 2016 Pacific halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) limits for the trawl deep-water and shallow-water species fishery categories in the Gulf of Alaska. This action is necessary to account for the actual halibut PSC use by the trawl deep-water and shallow-water species fishery categories from May 15, 2016, through June 30, 2016. This action is consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska.

Job Posting

Alaska Seafood Cooperative (AKSC) Manager.  Full Job Description is located at the Alaska Seafood Cooperative website.
Location: Seattle, WA
Due Date: Submit cover letter and resume by July 20, 2016.  Position is open until filled.
Summary of Position: The Cooperative Manager is responsible for overall administration of the Alaska Seafood Cooperative.  Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, ensuring compliance with Amendment 80 regulations; overseeing harvest of cooperative quota; ensuring members have access to critical information; cooperative communications and outreach; overseeing compliance with sustainability certification requirements, and other duties as assigned. The Coop Manager receives a comprehensive and competitive benefits package.  Salary is commensurate with experience.

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
1900 W Emerson Place Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98119
Phone: 206.281.1667
E-mail:; Website:
Our office days/hours are Monday-Friday
8:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.

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July 14, 2016