Alaska/Pacific Coast

Walker orders mariculture task force
Alaska Journal of Commerce by DJ Summers – February 29, 2016
Gov. Bill Walker issued an administrative order on Feb. 29 establishing a mariculture task force for shellfish and sea plants.


Radiation from Fukushima nuclear disaster not found in B.C. salmon
The Globe and Mai by Mark Hume – February 23, 2016
Five years after the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, radioactive contaminants continue to circulate across the Pacific to Canada’s West Coast, but not at dangerous levels.

Peer Review Group Approves Pacific Hake Stock Assessment
SEAFOOD.COM NEWS by Susan Chambers – February 29, 2016
The Joint U.S.-Canada Scientific Review Group, a peer review collaboration of scientists and seafood industry representatives, last week approved the findings of the 2016 Pacific hake stock assessment and at the same time rejected a recent claim that Pacific hake landings have been underreported for years.

The median female spawning biomass at the beginning of 2016 was 1.828 million mt, according to the base model of the stock assessment. It represents a 10 percent increase from 2015, due to the model estimates showing strong recruitment in 2014 and 2012. It’s an increase of 300,000 mt over 2015 and the highest figure seen in a decade.

Under the U.S.-Canada Treaty, harvest levels default to an F40 percent level, a level of fishing effort that would leave 40 percent of the spawning biomass in the water, which could mean almost double the amount of harvest allowed in 2015. However, both the industry and the Joint Management Committee, which recommends the final harvest level to both governments, have traditionally followed a more conservative approach. That approach includes the status quo of 440,000 mt in a table in the stock assessment.

The Sea Around Us project, a research initiative at the University of British Columbia and led by Dr. Daniel Pauly and Dr. Dirk Zeller, suggested that hake harvests have been underreported for quite some time. However, scientists on the review group and in the audience pointed out several flaws in both the data and the methodology. Similar claims by Pauly and Zeller in a recent paper using historical catch reconstruction have been soundly refuted by other scientists from around the world.

A very early draft of the review group’s report said, “The SRG concludes that the coastal Pacific hake stock is not overfished and that overfishing is not occurring for this stock.”

Indeed, the decision tables show the Pacific hake stock is doing very well. The base model shows median catches of 804,399 mt in 2016 and 889,918 mt in 2017 are possible while fishing at F40 percent.

The assessment also estimated roughly 21.4 percent of the biomass was in waters off British Columbia and 78.6 percent off the U.S. West Coast.

The SRG’s report also will include suggestions for future surveys. The group also determined it might be helpful to have a presentation of the Mexican hake fishery, research and management at a future SRG meeting, as well as a presentation about the recent U.S. winter hake survey.

The group’s report and stock assessment will serve as the basis for fishing recommendations, which will be made during the U.S.-Canada Joint Management Committee meeting during March 17-18 in Vancouver, B.C. Assuming the JMC reaches agreement, the final allocations for the U.S. fishing sectors will be made during the April meeting of the Pacific Fishery Management Council.



Scientists plot sea levels using GPS satellites
Using sat-navs could provide a thirty-fold increase in the measurement of oceans.
Engadget by Steve Dent – February 26, 2016
Accurate sea level measurements are more critical than ever, but there are a limited number of radar satellites designed for that purpose. However, a team from the UK’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC), University of Michigan and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have discovered a new way to do so using much cheaper and more plentiful GPS satellites. The technique is called GNSS-R, and involves bouncing low-powered signals from GPS satellites off of the ocean’s surface and measuring the reflected signal with a GNSS-R receiver. That lets the sat-nav contellation act as a type of distance-measuring radar without disrupting its regular job — guiding cars and airplanes.

Federal Register

Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permit
A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 03/01/2016
The Regional Administrator, NMFS West Coast Region, has determined that an application for an exempted fishing permit (EFP) warrants further consideration and requests public comment on the application. The application requests a 2-year exemption from prohibitions under the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species (HMS FMP) to test the effects and efficacy of using modified drift gillnet (DGN) gear to fish for swordfish and other highly migratory species (HMS) off the U.S. West Coast in the Pacific Leatherback Conservation Area (PLCA) when environmental conditions are favorable during the PLCA closure period.

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska; Central Gulf of Alaska Rockfish Program
A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 03/01/2016
NMFS publishes the standard ex-vessel prices and fee percentage for cost recovery under the Central Gulf of Alaska Rockfish Program. This action is intended to provide participants in a rockfish cooperative with the standard prices and fee percentage for the 2015 fishing year, which was authorized from May 1 through November 15. The fee percentage is 3.0 percent. The fee liability payments were due from each rockfish cooperative by February 15, 2016.


Keeping Your Catch Cold
Fishermen’s News by Cristy Fry – March 1, 2016
Many Processors are moving forward with their mission of improving fish quality. A large number of Bristol Bay Fishermen have received letters stating that their processors will no longer be accepting dry fish and ice will not be made available as early as 2017. Fishermen may find themselves caught in a fog as to how ready their boats for this requirement. Vessel owners will need information and support fast.

New life raft regulations for fishing boats no longer required
KFSK by Angela Denning – February 26, 2016
Commercial fishermen scrambling to buy life rafts for their boats this winter can rest a little easier. Congress has changed a new law that would have required life rafts for fishing boats traveling at least three miles off shore.

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
1900 W Emerson Place Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98119
Phone: 206.281.1667
E-mail:; Website:
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March 1, 2016