Alaska/Pacific Coast

Halibut Bycatch Announcement Causes a Stir
The Fish Site – March 17, 2015
tradex 8.46.15 AMUS – The recent halibut bycatch announcement has caused a stir in the fishing industry this week, reports Kyla Ganton, in the Tradex Foods 3-Minute Market Insight


Sen. Murkowski Introduces “Frankenfish” Bill
KSRM Radio by Ashley Smith – March 16, 2015
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski has again brought forward a bill which aims to fully investigate impacts of “Frankenfish”.


Rising tide of America’s sustainable seafood by Ray Hilborn – March 17, 2015
This year marks 40 years since the passage of landmark Congressional legislation that fundamentally overhauled how the $90 billion U.S. commercial fisheries industry is managed. It established a unique public-private partnership in which the industry, working with scientists and both federal and local authorities, would regulate fishing according to agreed-upon scientific standards for environmental sustainability, even as the industry stretched to meet skyrocketing demand for seafood. As the world’s marine science and fisheries experts convene in Boston this week at the International Boston Seafood Show, the implications of the bold decisions taken in 1976 on U.S. fisheries should be assessed in light of a race to the bottom of the seas elsewhere due to overfishing.

Reprieve on H2B Visa Mess Brings Temporary Relief to Seafood Processors Around the Country
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton  March 18, 2015
Seafood Processors in Maine, Maryland, Virginia, Louisiana, and Alaska have been spared huge disruption as a temporary halt to H2B Visa processing by the Dept. of Labor has been reversed.

The Dept. halted processing all applications last week, which are heavily used by processors for seasonal foreign processing workers, after a Florida judge ruled the Labor Dept. did not have the authority to determine prevailing wage rates or whether American workers could take these regional jobs.

As a result, the Dept. shut down all H2B visa processing.  In the past, they had made non-binding findings on prevailing wages and whether foreign workers were needed.  Under current regulations these are now binding, and the court has called these regulations into question.

Yesterday, the Obama adminsitration supported by a raft of Senators, asked the court to allow continued processing of the visas while the litigation proceeded.  The request was unopposed, and therefore is now in effect.

The labor and homeland security departments asked the court to stay its ruling after a bipartisan group of 14 senators, including the two Virginians, asked the agencies to immediately resume accepting and processing H-2B visa applications.

“These workers are essential for Virginia’s seafood businesses, which are about to start peak harvesting season,” said Virginia Senator Mark Warner. ““Businesses that depend on this visa program deserve clear and reasonable rules of the road.”

He said he would keep pushing for better administration of the visa program.

“I met with representatives from Virginia seafood companies in Washington today to discuss this situation,” said Kaine. “However, companies need more specifics in order to plan ahead.

He wants to work on a long-term solution to avoid the uncertainty about the program created by these court rulings.

Warner and Virginia Sen. Kaine were joined by Senators Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; Richard Burr, R-N.C.; Ben Cardin, D-Md.; Bill Cassidy, R-La.; Thad Cochran, R-Miss.; Susan Collins, R-Maine; Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska:, David Vitter, R-La. and Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

The agreement means that H2B visa processing will continue at least until April 15th.


Warmer waters ok for area Chinook? by Matt Martin – March 17, 2015
Researchers and fish and wildlife experts are gathering in Dillingham this week for the annual Southwest Interagency Meeting. How the low snow pack and warmer water temperature this year can affect the health of Chinook salmon runs was the topic of a presentation Tuesday. KDLG’s Matt Martin has more:

Labeling and Marketing

Seafood Expo North America: First Day of Show 2015
SEAFOODNEWS.COM – March 16, 2015
seafood-newsThis year’s Boston show sold a record amount of booth space, over 200,000 sf, and the reason is clear: this market is firing on all cylinders.


Federal Register

Fisheries Off West Coast States; West Coast Salmon Fisheries; Management Reference Point Updates for Three Stocks of Pacific Salmon
A Proposed Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 03/18/2015
NMFS proposes updates to management reference point values for Southern Oregon coastal Chinook salmon, Grays Harbor fall Chinook salmon, and Willapa Bay natural coho, as recommended by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) for use in developing annual management measures beginning in 2015. This update is implemented as part of the 2014 methodology review where the Council and its advisory bodies considered new information on the three stocks of salmon to make a determination on whether changes to reference points for these stocks were warranted.


Entrepreneur Pitches “Fish Franks” As Key to Recovery in St. George
KUCB.ORG by Lauren Rosenthal – March 17 2015
The Aleutian Marketplace contest was designed to gather ideas and provide funding for new start-up businesses around the Bering Sea.

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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Phone: 206.281.1667
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March 18, 2015