Alaska/Pacific Coast

Halibut quota discussions ongoing in D.C.
KMXT by Kayla Desroches – March 1, 2018
The halibut season begins at the end of March, and the organization that decides on quotas in American and Canadian waters is in disagreement.
http://kmxt.org/2018/03/halibut-quota-discussions-ongoing-d-c/

Politics

Alaska Sen. Murkowski Sends Harsh Letter to FDA Chief for Inaction on Seafood Consumption Guidance
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – March 2, 2018
During Dr. Scott Gottlieb’s confirmation hearing for Commissioner of the Food & Drug Administration last April, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) had two things on her mind: genetically engineered salmon and FDA consumption guidance for seafood.

She was unhappy with the FDA on both counts. She decried the way the Obama administration had pushed through recent consumption advice that had not relied on the FDA’s own nutritional science but instead used the Environmental Protection Agency’s toxicological report that ignored the health benefits of seafood.

Murkowski asked Gottlieb to change the advice to reflect their own Net Effect Report, which concluded a regular diet of seafood by pregnant women and nursing mothers can add almost 3 IQ points to a child’s growing brain. Not to mention the cardiovascular benefit to mothers and other adults.

During her 3-minute questioning at the hearing, Senator Murkowski said, “This is one of those issues I’m really running out of patience on.”

Gottlieb promised Murkowski “Senator, you have my commitment to making sure that the FDA guidance is fully science-based in providing proper guidance to consumers…You have my commitment that I will take a look at it and work with you on it.”

And then he didn’t.

He did discuss the issue with her “several times” according to the Senator. Among other corrections, Murkowski wanted FDA to move halibut and sablefish out of the “Good” category and into the “Best Choices” category, as FDA’s own science report recommended.

In January the two spoke again; this time Murkowski was even more upset that nothing had been done.

“I think the FDA has consistently abdicated its responsibilities on this, and when Commissioner Gottlieb promised me that he would take a thorough look at the guidance, I was extremely disappointed that the agency did not follow through.  I have an obligation to Alaskans, and Americans, to make sure the nutritional advice they receive from the government is based on accurate and sound science,” Murkowski said yesterday.

Her February 12 letter to the Commissioner left little doubt of her displeasure with the FDA chief.

“I am disappointed that you have so easily abjured your responsibility as Commissioner in this matter and ignored your professional commitment as a physician to peer-reviewed science,” she told him.

“Making sure that the FDA guidance is fully science-based demands more than a cursory glance and a quick dismissal,” she said.

Recalling Gottlieb’s promise to work with her, Murkowski wrote, “Given our phone conversation I do not feel you have honored those words.”

Murkowski referred to the nutritional benefits that come from eating good seafood, adding, “This could not be gained from just taking omega-1 pills, as you remarked during our recent call.”

“While I understand that your career has been focused on the Drug side of the agency, I remind you that not every American takes drugs. However, every American eats. The Food component of your agency is no less important and deserves no less attention than the Drug component.

“Allowing the Environmental Protection Agency, which has no role in nutrition, to override the Food and Drug Administration does not make sense. Alaskans deserve better, Americans deserve better.”

The full letter can be found here.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1094065/Alaska-Sen-Murkowski-Sends-Harsh-Letter-to-FDA-Chief-for-Inaction-on-Seafood-Consumption-Guidance

Environment/Science

Stand for Salmon jumps signature hurdle
Juneau Empire by Kevin Gullufsen – February 28, 2018
Initiative inches closer to November ballot, but still faces court appeal and final approval
A ballot initiative aimed at protecting salmon habitat has cleared a significant hurdle on its track to making a November state election ballot, according to a Tuesday report from the Division of Elections.
http://juneauempire.com/news/state/2018-02-27/stand-salmon-jumps-signature-hurdle

Oil spill cleanup under way north of Kodiak
Cordova Times – March 1, 2018
A unified command has been established and efforts for clean-up operations are under way at the site of an oil spill north of Kodiak that supports northern sea otters and Steller sea lions, both of which are listed under the Endangered Species Act.
https://www.thecordovatimes.com/2018/03/01/oil-spill-cleanup-way-north-kodiak-2/

Federal Register

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Alaska Groundfish and Halibut Seabird Working Group; Public Meeting
A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 02/28/2018
NMFS Alaska Groundfish and Halibut Seabird Working Group will meet to discuss use of electronic monitoring (EM) to report seabird bycatch and a discussion on the challenges of quantifying seabird bycatch in the trawl fisheries.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/02/28/2018-04104/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-alaska-groundfish-and-halibut-seabird-working

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of Alaska; Final 2018 and 2019 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 03/01/2018
NMFS announces final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications, apportionments, and Pacific halibut prohibited species catch limits for the groundfish fishery of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2018 and 2019 fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska. The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the GOA in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/03/01/2018-04124/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-gulf-of-alaska-final-2018-and-2019-harvest

FYI’s

Traditional halibut hook inducted into Alaska Hall Of Fame
Juneau Empire by Gregory Philson – February 22, 2018
Annual Innovation Summit kicks off in Juneau
The hook on the first day of the Juneau Economic Development Council Innovation Summit was exactly that.
http://juneauempire.com/local/news/2018-02-20/traditional-halibut-hook-inducted-alaska-hall-fame

Cordova Chronicles: First hatchery was not “eggs-actually” a success
20,000 sockeye salmon spawn annually in Eyak Lake
Cordova Times by Dick Shellhorn – February 24, 2018
The first hatchery in the Cordova area was located a mere seven miles from town, on what is now known as Power Creek Road.
https://www.thecordovatimes.com/2018/02/24/cordova-chronicles-first-hatchery-not-eggs-actually-success/

Cordova fishing vessel exams set for April
Cordova Times – February 23, 2018
Dockside examinations of commercial fishing vessels in Cordova are set for April 10-25 by the U.S. Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Unit.
https://www.thecordovatimes.com/2018/02/23/cordova-fishing-vessel-exams-set-april/

NPRB seeks feedback through March 12

Cordova Times – March 1, 2018
The North Pacific Research Board in Anchorage is accepting comments through March 12 on its core program proposal process to provide a more stable, flexile funding platform for researchers.
https://www.thecordovatimes.com/2018/03/01/nprb-seeks-feedback-march-12/

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
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Phone: 206.281.1667
E-mail: pspafish@gmail.com; Website: www.pspafish.net
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March 2, 2018