Alaska/Pacific Coast

Nushagak River king run tapers slightly after early surge
The Nushagak River chinook return got off to a good start this year, but has tailed off a bit. Run seems likely to hit 95,000 escapement goal by July 4.
KDLG by Shaylon Cochran – June 27, 2016
The 2016 Nushagak River king run took off in a fury, with 87,000 counted past the Portage Creek sonar through June 26. That’s well above the bottom end of the in-river escapement goal, and edging very close to the 95,000 target. The biggest days to-date were June 17 and 18, when 17,000 and 21,000 kings were counted respectively. The run has tapered slightly since, but apparently not on account of the commercial sockeye fishing in the district, which has landed less than 10,000.
http://kdlg.org/post/nushagak-river-king-run-tapers-slightly-after-early-surge

Puget Sound Salmon Fishing Given Green Light in Many Areas with More Openings Scheduled July 1
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [The Seattle Times] Mark Yuasa-June 28,2016
After a two month delay, NOAA Fisheries has given state Fish and Wildlife the approval to reopen sport salmon fisheries effective immediately.

“This opening puts the year’s salmon fisheries back on track,” John Long, a state Fish and Wildlife salmon policy coordinator said in a news release. “I know it has been a frustrating start to the salmon season for anglers fishing in waters around the Sound.”

The negotiations that began in early March between state and tribal fishery managers was the most protected in history, stretching far deeper into the spring than in the past three decades of such talks, and one of the most contentious.

Talks broke down in mid-April which lead to a stalemate, and threatened to close all of Puget Sound’s marine waterways for salmon fishing as well as many lakes and rivers on May 1.

The heated issue stemmed from how to carve out fishing seasons while putting an emphasis to help conserve weak runs of Puget Sound wild coho and chinook listed under the federal endangered species act. Both the state and tribes finally came to an agreement on May 26.

Now that federal guidelines have been achieved and the permit processed, marine areas like south-central Puget Sound, southern Puget Sound and the Tulalip Bubble Fishery are open for hatchery chinook only, and anglers must release all coho and wild unmarked chinook.

Many other marine waterways will open on July 1 including the Strait of Juan de Fuca at Sekiu and Port Angeles for hatchery chinook fishing.

A change for the San Juan Islands is a hatchery chinook only directed fishery from July 1-30, and then for all chinook Aug. 31 to Sept. 30.

Most year-round piers in Puget Sound are open for salmon fishing, but anglers must release all coho. Anglers fishing from piers within Sinclair Inlet are only required to release wild coho.

Many marine areas will see extended closures in late summer and fall to protect a weak return of coho to Puget Sound. In fact, Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish will be closed to all game-fish from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31.

Freshwater areas open now include the Skykomish and Cascade rivers for hatchery chinook and steelhead; and Skagit River for sockeye, and hatchery chinook and steelhead.

The ruling also reopens lakes that have been closed to all fishing including Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish.

To view what is open in marine waters, rivers and lakes, go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01726/.  For any exceptions, anglers should also check the state fisheries webpage at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.

The coastal salmon fisheries were unaffected by the issue, and a federal fishery council in mid-April approved a limited summer sport ocean salmon fishing season set to begin July 1 at Ilwaco, Westport, La Push and Neah Bay.

The overall ocean sport quota this season is 35,000 chinook (64,000 last year) and 18,900 hatchery-marked coho (150,800).

Tribal officials, during the negotiations pressed the need to refocus on restoring the Puget Sound salmon runs and habitat throughout the region.

During negotiations in May with the tribes, the state agreed to close the sport-fishing season on the Puyallup River during peak chinook arrival time; closing central and northern Puget Sound once the summer hatchery chinook quota has been achieved; increase monitoring during the catch and release fishery in central Puget Sound during June and northern Puget Sound in early July; and close the winter salmon fishery in south-central Puget Sound – known as Marine Catch Area 11 in the Tacoma area – from November through January.

In turn the tribal fishery managers agreed to reduce the Makah tribal winter troll fishery off the western edge of the Strait of Juan de Fuca from a catch quota of 8,500 to 4,500 chinook; and reduce their coho netting time on the Puyallup River.

Fishery officials are pointing the finger at poor salmon returns on ocean survival, which was undermined by the blob, a vast area of warmer ocean water that altered the makeup of the food chain in the waters off the West Coast.

Many Puget Sound coho that went to the ocean either didn’t survive or came back in an unhealthy state.

When the state and tribes failed to come to an agreement during the normal salmon-season setting process from March through mid-April, it essentially closed many fisheries that fed into Puget Sound and created some friction among sport fishermen.

Various sport-fishing organizations and fishermen took to protesting a Swinomish tribal spring chinook gill-net fishery on May 4 in the Skagit River, followed by another protest May 5 at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/National Marine Fisheries Service Office in Lacey that drew an even larger crowd of 100 protesters.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1024085/Summer-Salmon-Fisheries-Given-the-Green-Light-to-Get-Under-Way-in-Many-Areas

International

Russia Proposes Controversial Plan to Lift Trawling Ban to Raise Crab Catch 27% by 2018
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Eugene Gerden – June 28, 2016
Russia announced a controversial plan to lift a ban on trawling in order to raise its crab catch to 72,000 metric tons a year by 2018

According to a proposed plan by Russian fishery officials with Rosrybolovstvo, the production of red king crab in Kamchatka by 2018 should be increased four times, compared to the current figures  to 20,000 metric tons. At the same time the overall crab catch in Russia during the next two years would increase from 56,000 to 72,000 metric tons per year.

Russia is completing preparations for the beginning of crab fishing season . Last year the volume of crab catch out of the Kamchatka region increased by 1.5 times to 5,580 metric tons. The catch was valued at 15 billion rubles (US$300 million).

Overal, Russia’s total crab catch last year was 56,700 metric tons of which almost 90 percent was exported. Japan currently remains the largest market for Russian crab. In 2015, exports the Japanese market totaled to 35,000 metric tons. At the same time, the volume of supplies to the United States totled to 10,000 metric tons. The South Korean market took another 10,000 metric tons.

However, crab catch volumes are considered insufficient by the Russian government, which is what prompted to lift the trawling ban.

However, these plans have already been criticised by some leading Russian analysts in the field of fisheries.
According to the Kamchatka Research Institute of the Fishing Industry, one of Russia’s leading research institutions, since the 1990s population of snow crab off the coast of Kamchatka has decreased by four times from 56 million to 12.5 million and there is a possibility that it may further decline in the case of the planned increase of production.

Scientists of the Kamchatka Research Institute of the Fishing Industry fears that a significant increase of crab production in the country may result in the repetition of the same situation, that observed in the US Alaska in 1970s, when the uncontrolled catch of king crab resulted in the depletion of local population by 10 times.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1024093/Russia-Proposes-Controversial-Plan-to-Lift-Trawling-Ban-to-Raise-Crab-Catch-27-percent-by-2018

Environment/Science

328 foot-long floating barrier will collect ocean trash
The Ocean Cleanup is testing a prototype that could lead to a barrier 62 miles long.
Engadget by Jon Fingas – June 26, 2016
There are numerous efforts underway to clean the world’s oceans, but The Ocean Cleanup is testing what may be both the simplest and the most ambitious. It just launched a 328 foot-long prototype floating barrier that will collect trash floating in the North Sea. If it can survive the rough conditions of those waters, the plan is to deploy a 62 mile-long (!) barrier in the Pacific Ocean and reduce the size of the notorious Great Pacific Garbage Patch — the hope is to halve the size of the trash field in 10 years.
https://www.engadget.com/2016/06/26/giant-ocean-trash-barrier/

A Drone Start-Up Explores Underwater
New York Times by John Markoff – June 26, 2016
GLENBROOK, Nev. — A vast, largely unexplored world is being opened by hobbyists piloting robotic submarines capable of traveling hundreds of feet below the surface of lakes, rivers and oceans.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/27/technology/a-drone-start-up-explores-underwater.html?_r=1

Federal Register

Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; 2015-2016 Biennial Specifications and Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 06/28/2016
This final rule announces inseason changes to management measures in the Pacific Coast groundfish fisheries. This action, which is authorized by the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (PCGFMP), is intended to allow fisheries to attain their allocations and maintain year-round fishing opportunities while keeping harvest within the annual catch limit (ACL) for sablefish north 36° N. lat.
https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/06/28/2016-15155/magnuson-stevens-act-provisions-fisheries-off-west-coast-states-pacific-coast-groundfish-fishery?utm_campaign=subscription+mailing+list&utm_medium=email&utm_source=federalregister.gov

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June 28, 2016