Alaska/Pacific Coast

Nome Could See Deep-Draft Port As Early As 2020
KNOM.ORG by Francesca Fenzi – March 23, 2015
Nome could be home to a deep-draft Arctic port as early as 2020, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
http://www.knom.org/wp/blog/2015/03/23/nome-could-see-deep-draft-port-as-early-as-2020/

Politics

Gov. Walker makes another unorthodox pick for Fish Board
Alaska Dispatch News by Nathaniel Herz – March 23, 2015
JUNEAU — Gov. Bill Walker has made a second try at filling a vacant seat on the Alaska Board of Fisheries, this time picking the director of a Kenai Peninsula conservation group for a position traditionally held by members sympathetic to sportfishing interests.
https://www.adn.com/article/20150323/gov-walker-makes-another-unorthodox-pick-fish-board

Walker names Soldotna resident to state Board of Fisheries
Associated Press by MOLLY DISCHNER – March 23, 2015
JUNEAU, Alaska — Gov. Bill Walker has nominated a Soldotna resident to a vacant seat on the state Board of Fisheries.
http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/bbc5ff9b402c4c0ba89e28a996578acd/AK–Fish-Appointment

Labeling and Marketing

Safeway and Fair Trade USA Announce Partnership Launching Fair Trade Seafood
From foodtank.com by Roisin Low – March 23, 2015
In 2014 Fair Trade USA launched a program called the Capture Fisheries Program, which aims to improve the livelihoods of coastal communities by improving working and living conditions, environmental stewardship and protection of ecosystems, as well as increasing the supply and demand. Recently, Safeway and Fair Trade USA announced a new partnership launching Fair Trade certified seafood into the North American market. Maya Spaull, Director of Innovation at Fair Trade USA says, “Fair Trade’s holistic approach has an important role to play in sustaining healthy fishing communities and oceans for generations to come and we’re thrilled that Safeway shoppers will be the first to help create lasting change through their everyday seafood purchases.”
http://www.thedailymeal.com/safeway-and-fair-trade-usa-announce-partnership-launching-fair-trade-seafood

Initial Fresh West Coast Halibut Trades Slow Going with Prices Highest in Last Three March Openers
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh – March 20, 2015
West Coast halibut fishing in the US and Canada commenced on March 14 this year with a higher combined quota, up 6 percent at about 29.2 million pounds. This week Urner Barry listed its first fresh quotations of the season in the $8.00 per pound range, some of the highest prices reported over the last three March openers.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/968827/Initial-Fresh-West-Coast-Halibut-Trades-Slow-Going-with-Prices-Highest-in-Last-Three-March-Openers

FYI’s

Trident Seafoods Named Donor of the Year
SeafoodSource.com by James Wright –  March 17, 2015

SeaShare presented Trident Seafoods with its 2015 NFI (National Fisheries Institute) Donor of the Year award on Monday at the annual Alaska Go Wild! reception at the Seaport Hotel. SeaShare Board President Glenn Reed presented Trident President Joe Bundrant with the award for its donations to the APA Million Meal program and other charitable endeavors.
https://www.seashare.org/blog/2015/trident-seafoods-named-donor-of-the-year

The Arctic is awakening — that’s good and bad
The Economist – March  21, 2015
In November 2011 an American icebreaker, USCGC Healy, set off from Seward, Alaska, to sail north through the Arctic Circle into the Chukchi Sea.
http://www.businessinsider.com/the-arctic-is-awakening–thats-good-and-bad-2015-3

Will Alaska’s weird winter be followed by equally strange summer?
Alaska Dispatch News by Yereth Rosen – March 22, 2015
After an odd Alaska winter of record-warm temperatures and pouring rain instead of snow, will summer be weird as well?
http://www.adn.com/article/20150322/will-alaskas-weird-winter-be-followed-equally-strange-summer

Opinion

The Editor’s View: Gulf States Try and Gut Magnuson in Unbelievable Red Snapper Grab
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [The Editor’s View] by John Sackton – March 23, 2015

In an unprecedented move, the fishery and wildlife managers in five states are seeking to take red snapper out of federal jurisdiction.

The fish and wildlife managers of the five gulf states – Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, have proposed, and gotten some support in Congress, for radical legislation that would opt out of Magnuson Stevens Act for Gulf Red Snapper.

In a letter outlining their plans, the group said their proposal would:

-Extend state jurisdiction out to 200 miles for red snapper, taking precedence over Magnuson Stevens Act and the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council.

-Give states a free hand to change or eliminate commercial snapper management after a 3 year period.

-Require NMFS to continue to pay for survey and enforcement for red snapper, despite removing authority over the fishery from NMFS.

This radical idea that would overturn the successful history of fishery management in the U.S., is a result of the gulf state’s unhappiness with federal accountability measures, that have closed the red snapper fishery outside of state waters to compensate for state sanctioned recreational overfishing.  The states are also upset that they have had to restrict their own seasons on red snapper in order to keep federal waters open to recreational fishermen.

The five states are responding to demands from one user group – the outboard motor lobby and the Coastal Conservation Association – which have demanded the Gulf Council abandon plans to divide the red snapper fishery into a commercial and recreational sector, each with their own allocation limits.

Gulf red snapper is a fishery management success story.  After serious overfishing, a commercial and charter quota regime was put in place, that led to a rapid end of overfishing on the commercial side, and rebuilding of the fishery.  While the commercial sector was abiding by scientfic limits and managing their catches, the unregulated recreational sector was consistently overfishing.

Despite this, the stock has recovered dramatically, to the point where overall quotas can now be increased.  The council, under heavy pressure from the recreational sector, voted initially to cap the commercial sector harvest, and give the additional fishing quotas to the recreational sector.

This was not sufficient for the CCA.  They wanted the states to have the power to abolish the commercial fishery for red snapper, and make this a completely private recreational fishery, with Americans only allowed to eat imported red snapper.

They have even angered the commercial charter industry, which says this scheme would destroy their livlihoods.

“This scheme would jeopardize a management plan that has successfully kept commercial fishermen under their limits since 2007 and to the rebuilding of the red snapper population,” read the statement from Shane Cantrell, executive director of the Charter Fisherman’s Association, which represents all five of the Gulf states.

“It would also halt significant progress made to improve fishing for millions of recreational anglers who rely on chartered fishing trips to access the Gulf red snapper fishery.”

Gary Jarvis of the Destin Charter Boat Association said he speaks for all charter boat fishermen when he said “we do not want states to have control of federal fisheries.”

“There’s nothing to protect us from this group banning fishing for professional or for-profit or commercial fisherman,” he said. “Historically, states have never been kind to them.”

It is ironic that as the Magnuson Stevens Act and NOAA have demonstrated huge success, more and more groups want to go back to methods that will allow them to overfish.  This push is coming almost exclusively from the recreational sector, funded by the recreational boat manufacturers.

It is part of the battle that has seen gillnets outlawed in Florida, salmon fishermen pushed out of part of the Columbia River, efforts to destroy any commercial fishery for striped bass in federal waters, efforts to shut down parts of the cook inlet commercial salmon fishery in favor of recreational anglers and charter guides, and demands for greater than necessary limits on menahaden catches.

In each case, the recreational groups are asserting that they alone have the rights to these public resources, and that they are not required to share access to them with the American public that does not fish themselves, but relies on commercial fisheries for their access to these species.

The danger here is that the Gulf States could succeed in this radical attack on Magnuson.  There are plenty of examples where Gulf states, acting together, have been successful with legislation or trade initiatives damaging Americans ability to eat seafood.  Two glaring examples are the duties imposed on shrimp and catfish, and the move to inspect catfish via the USDA, in an effort to limit imports.  Both have added huge costs to consumers, and have not led to any benefit to the domestic shrimp and catfish industries, which are now on an excellent track.

The Red Snapper grab is probably the most audacious attack yet on the entire concept of commercial fisheries having a public purpose of feeding the nation, which was the bedrock underpinning of the Magnuson Stevens Act.

The 10 national standards on which Magnuson rests would largely be overturned if the Gulf States succeed in grabbing red snapper.

The standards require:

-achieving optimum yield and preventing overfishing
-use of the best scientific information
-management of fish as a unit throughout their range
-no discrimination between residents of various states
-consideration of efficiency in harvest
-allow for variations and contingencies among different fisheries
-avoid unnecessary duplication
-support local communities consistent with conservation goals
-minimize bycatch
-promote safety

The Gulf states would split snapper management into five areas, each under state jurisdiction, with a body formed above that to review the plans, but without any power to force state management to change policies in their own waters.

The plan does not guarantee using the best science, nor does it guarantee fairness among all US citizens, instead giving the resource to a privileged few for a single purpose. It violates just about every single national standard that currently governs our nation’s fisheries.

Many of these gulf states rely on tourism for economic vitality.  There are a far greater number of tourists who eat red snapper, for example, than actually fish for it themselves.  This type of program that aims clearly at taking red snapper out of the commercial fishing sector is an economic travesty, as well as a moral one.

We would expect that the restaurant industries in the Gulf States would be screaming to the Congressional representatives not to shoot them in the face.

Lets hope this initiative is squashed immediately.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/968998/The-Editors-View-Gulf-States-Try-and-Gut-Magnuson-in-Unbelievable-Red-Snapper-Grab

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
1900 W Emerson Place Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98119
Phone: 206.281.1667
E-mail: pspafish@gmail.com; Website: www.pspafish.net
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March 24, 2015