Alaska/Pacific Coast

What happened to the salmon permits given to Bristol Bay residents?
Bristol Bay Times by Molly Dischner – June 8, 2016
An economics research project is looking at what happened to the Bristol Bay salmon fishing permits initially issued to watershed residents.
When the Bristol Bay salmon fishery was limited, about half the permits were issued to watershed residents. In the decades since, some have stayed in with residents, and others have left.

Copper River Sockeye Run Projection Revised Downward
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton – June 8, 2016

This is turning out to be a difficult year for Copper River sockeye, compared to last year’s run.  The inseason timing chart through Week 23 (ending May 28th) shows total landings for sockeye of 368,000 fish. Last year on this date 726,000 sockeye had been caught, and the five year average is 868,000 fish.

However, looking at only the last five years is misleading when measuring actual harvest with pre-season estimates.

“The previous five years were in the top seven runs of all time,” said Jeremy Botz, area management biologist for ADF&G in Cordova. “As recently as 2009-2010 we were at the levels we’re projecting now — 1.1 – 1.2 million fish. It’s still early in the season.”

“Now we’re getting into different stocks entering the run,” Botz said, in terms of timing and coming into different parts of the river.

Comparing year-to-year totals for sockeye salmon, a five-year fish, can also be misleading because pre-season forecasts are based on the size of the escapement from five years ago (2011) and then the number of three-year-olds that showed up two years ago and four-year-olds that showed up last year. So the year-class population estimate from recent years is more important than the size of the total run the year before.

ADF&G looks at six age classes each year to forecast the natural sockeye salmon return to the Copper River.  The 2016 run will be composed primarily of returns from brood years 2011 and 2012. Five-year-old fish (brood year 2011) are expected to predominate Copper River Delta and upper Copper River runs.

So far this season, sockeyes have been averaging smaller than last year, when a downward adjustment of average size was first noted. There have been reports that the entry of salmon into the river system is not following usual patterns, with the fish running deeper, i.e. under gillnets.

Escapement is within accepted ranges for the pre-season forecast, currently at 252,000 on June 6, 2016, with a pre-season estimate of 245,000 for that day.

The opening last Thursday produced an additional 55,000 sockeye, and 800 chinook.  There was another opening Monday of this week, although some adjustments in areas are being made to reduce the amount of chinook caught.

State nixes competing Nushagak annexation plans

Preliminary report to LBC recommends western Bristol Bay instead form long-discussed borough and share revenues from taxes on salmon, herring, and tourism.

KDLG by Shaylon Cochran – June 7, 2016
Neither the city of Dillingham nor the city of Manokotak will likely be collecting raw fish tax through annexation any time soon. A new report by staff to the Local Boundary Commission says petitions from both cities failed to meet the necessary conditions to move ahead with annexation of parts of Nushagak Bay.

Small Bit of Good News for Opilio From Council Meeting in Kodiak

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  by John Sackton – June 8, 2016
It was a quiet start to what may become a very contentious N. Pacific Council meeting in Kodiak this week.

Yesterday the SSC and the AP began their meetings.

During the presentation of the crab plan team to the AP, there was a discussion of the model used for estimating the overfishing and ABC level for snow crab.  Last year (2016) the scientists responsible had difficulty with the model, and it was not fitting the data very well.  As a result, they had to recommend an expanded buffer due to the uncertainty.

This contributed to the low harvest levels this year, once survey data was accounted for.

The same problem did not exist with the other crab fishery models.

The Plan team said that the issues with the Opilio model had been resolved using a new tool called ‘Jittering’, which makes small adjustments, positive and negative, in all parameters to provide a better fit to the actual data.

As a result, the Opilio model used for the 2017 assessments will not need the same buffer as was used the prior year, meaning that regardless of the survey data, there will be more confidence in the allowable catch, potentially increasing available harvest due to a smaller buffer.

Another interesting thing that came up at the meeting was the attempt to link bottom temperature in the Bering Sea to crab recruitment.  Although no conclusions are yet possible, the data showed Bristol Bay was warming significantly faster than the rest of the Bering Sea.

The bottom temperature trend in Bristol Bay has been steadily upward, more so than in the rest of the Bering Sea.

Where a region has exhibited a faster rate of warming, as also is the case with the Gulf of Maine and the North Atlantic, there can be significant impacts on fishery stocks and models. This clearly has impacted lobster and cod in the Gulf of Maine, and it points to possible warming impacts occurring in Bristol Bay as well.

East Coast Fishery

Bristol Seafoods Donates $10,000 to Univ. of New England’s Marine Sciences Program
SEAFOODNEWS.COM – June 8, 2016
Bristol Seafood, a leading seafood processor and distributor in Southern Maine, today announced that its partners made a $10,000 gift to the Center for Excellence in the Marine Sciences at the University of New England.

“We are pleased to have an opportunity to support the Center for Excellence in the Marine Sciences as it continues to help its students in the areas of ocean studies, marine conservation and restoration, marine entrepreneurship, and sustainable aquaculture and fisheries,” said Peter Handy, President & CEO at Bristol.

“We are so grateful for this gift from Bristol and its partners,” said Barry Costa-Pierce, director of the Center for Excellence in the Marine Sciences at UNE. “These funds will be instrumental in helping our talented faculty, staff and students continue the research that will expand the marine economy both in Maine and around the globe.”


Russia’s Anti-Foreign Ownership Drive Likely Cause of Magnus Roth Sale of 33% of Ocean Trawlers
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Eugene Gerden – June 8, 2016
Russia’s billionaire Vitaly Orlov has become the sole owner of country’s largest fishing producer after buying out his partner, Magnus Roth.  The company, Karat,  controls 10 companies, specializing in fishing activities in the North and Far East of Russia on 15% of the quotas for pollock, cod and herring, and also the holding company that owns Ocean Trawlers.   The holding company owned by Magnus Roth and Orlov is also the owner of Ocean Trawlers, which is the name of the company more well known in the West, but Ocean Trawlers is part of an integrated fishing operation.

Vitaly Orlov, Russia’s fishing tycoon and one of the founders of Karat holding, Russia’s largest fishing producer in terms of quota holdings,  has officially announced the acquisition of the 33.3% stake of the company from his partner Magnus Roth, a well-known Swedish businessman and one of the co-owners of Karat.

Prior to the deal, Orlov owned the 67% stake in Karat, and Roth owned 33%.  Vitaly Orlov will now become the sole owner.

Currently Karat controls 10 companies and annual revenue of Karat is US$500-600 million.

The reasons for the termination of the partnership are not disclosed. According to Karat, the departure of Roth will not affect the recently announced plans of the company to continue its expansion in the Russian fishing market.

In the meantime, according to analysts of Russian Rosrybolovstvo,  the sale of Roth’s stake in the company may be closely related to the ban on the participation of foreigners in the capital of fishing companies, which was recently approved by the Russian government.

According to the current Russian legislation, participation of foreign investors in the capital of the domestic fishing companies may be only in accordance with the approval of the Russian Governmental Commission on Foreign Investments.

Starting from the middle of 2015, the Russian government has authorized the Federal Agency of Fisheries (Rosrybolovstvo) to refuse to issue permits for fishing, if a company has foreign capital, not officially approved by the Commission.

The amount of the deal is not disclosed, however, according to some sources in Rosrybolovstvo, it may be in the range of US $300-330 million, taking into account that the entire value of the holding is estimated at about $1 billion.

Orlov has been working with Roth for more than 25 years.

The company has been increasing its sales of frozen at sea fillets, and has converted one of its seven longliners to producing frozen at sea Pacific cod.  They have also converted two H&G vessels to supply Barents Sea cod to a new plant in Murmansk to produce land frozen fillets.

The company is also one of the largest sellers of Russian pollock blocks.

Karat, which is one of the largest cod and haddock quota holders in the world, has been steadily expanding its fillet production over the past few years.

Labeling and Marketing

Hilton reinforces its commitment to responsibly source seafood – June 8, 2016
Hilton Worldwide reinforced its commitment to the environment by announcing multi-year sustainable seafood goals on World Oceans Day.

Federal Register

Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Tribal Usual and Accustomed Fishing Areas
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 06/08/2016
This final rule implements the decision in United States v. Washington, 2:09-sp-00001-RSM, (W.D. Wash. Sept. 3, 2015) (Amended Order Regarding Boundaries of Quinault & Quileute U&As), which set forth certain boundaries of the usual and accustomed (U&A) fishing areas in the Pacific Ocean of the Quileute Nation (Quileute) and Quinault Indian Nation (Quinault). This action also includes related changes to NMFS regulations to provide consistency for tribal U&A fishing area boundaries across all fisheries managed by NMFS under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson Act).


World Oceans Day is today and why that’s important
USA TODAY by Molly Podlesny – June 8, 2016
Healthy oceans, healthy planet. That’s the theme for this year’s World Oceans Day.
This unofficial holiday isn’t just about enjoying beaches, but also respecting the earth’s aquatic resources. This year, people and organizations are encouraged to specifically work toward eliminating plastic pollution, according to the World Oceans Day website, an offshoot of The Ocean Project.

Talk of the Rock: North Pacific Fishery Management Council
KMXT by Kayla Desroches – June 7, 2016
On today’s Talk of the Rock, host Kayla Desroches holds a discussion about the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting going on in Kodiak and the three trawl bycatch management alternatives. Julie Bonney, Duncan Fields, and Terry Haines join.

Ann Owens
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June 9, 2016