Alaska/Pacific Coast

North Pacific council to take up Cook Inlet salmon plan
Peninsula Clarion by Elizabeth Earl – March 28, 2017
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will open up a process next week that will likely take years to redesign the Cook Inlet salmon fishery management plan.

More participation expected for 2017 Togiak herring
KDLG by Dave Bendinger – March 29, 2017
Now with some funding for management, Fish and Game monitoring sea ice and surface temperatures, and predicting early May arrival of state’s largest herring fishery. Some 19 seiners and 16 gillnetters expected to fish, with early market signals suggesting a price in the $100-$150 per ton range.

Oregon Salmon Industry Requests 2016 Fishery Disaster Declaration
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Susan Chambers – March 28, 2017
The 2017 ocean salmon seasons in Oregon and California seem grim due to low Klamath River Chinook forecasts, but the Oregon Salmon Commission already is hoping for disaster assistance for the 2016 season.

In a letter to Gov. Kate Brown earlier in March, the Commission requested she declare the 2016 season a disaster — the first step in a formal request to the U.S. Department of Commerce for a federal declaration and thus, opening the way to federal funding if Congress approves.

The process may take quite awhile.

While the 2016 season resulted in a total ex-vessel value of around $4.2 million, down from prior years in 2014 and 2015, the real issue was distribution of the catch.

“The only salmon friendly water due to changing ocean conditions was off of Newport where the majority of the landings were located,” Commission Executive Director Nancy Fitzpatrick wrote in the letter. “The next two major ports, Astoria and Charleston, showed a noticeable decline, and the smaller ports have very few landings or near nothing in 2016.”

Fitzpatrick noted the difficulty this presented to smaller ports and the salmon fleet as a whole. Many vessels in the salmon fleet are smaller boats.

“This has had a dramatic impact to the smaller ports and their communities. Many of the fishermen in these areas are not able to travel distances at sea to follow the fish. They travel shorter distances and fewer days leaving and returning to their home ports,” the letter said.

Fitzpatrick said that, in light of the 2017 forecasts, salmon trollers are looking at another tough year.

“Our fishing families will have a hard time making it though another bad season, and therefore we ask you to declare the 2016 Oregon commercial salmon season a disaster,” she said in the letter.

Already, the 2017 season — or lack thereof — is very similar to 2006, when the Oregon ocean salmon season was closed for most of the state due to poor conditions for returning Klamath fall Chinook. And the forecasts then were better than the ones for 2017. That 2006 season was declared a fishery failure and Congress passed disaster relief funding that arrived more than two years later, in some cases.

Fitzpatrick noted the lack of a season in 2006 exposed how important the local salmon industry is to not only the fishermen and their families, but support industries such as gear stores, shipyards and more.

Gov. Kate Brown has made no recommendation or declaration yet.


Russia Dangles More Pollock Allocations if Koreans Invest in Russian Processing
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Eugene Gerden – March 28, 2017
The Russian government will consider increasing pollock quotas for South Korea and Japan for the fishing in the Russian territorial waters this year, according to recent statements of Ilya Shestakov, head of Rosrybolovstvo.

Implementation of these plans, however, will depend on certain conditions.

According to Rosrybolovstvo, the quota of South Korea for catching fish in Russian waters has been reduced twice in recent years, however there is a possibility that it could be increased already this year in the case of the revival of economic cooperation between the two countries. According to some sources close to Rosrybolovstvo, that means the participation of South Korean investors in the projects for the establishment of large-scale fish processing facilities in the Russian Far East.

Despite all the efforts of the Russian government, which have been made in recent years, Russia still experiences a shortage of facilities for fish processing, as the majority of local fish producers are more interested in the exports of fish to abroad, and in particular to China and other countries of the Asia-Pacific region, instead of the establishment of processing capacities within the territory of the country.

Ilya Shestakov comments:

“As for South Korea, in recent years we have indeed reduced their quota for the pollock catch in the Russian economic zone by two times. This is due to the fact that they do not fulfil their obligations for the building of processing infrastructure in the Russian Far East. However, in the case of resuming of investment cooperation between the two countries, the issue of the quota increase will be considered again».

According to Rosrybolovstvo, in 2016 the quota of South Korea for the catch of fish and seafood in the Russian territorial waters was set at 36,000 tonnes, including 20,500 tonnes of pollock. This is significantly less the figures of 2014, which were set at the level of 59,900 tonnes.

Regarding with Japan, it is planned that future quota of the country will depend on the ability of its government to reach the compromise with Russia, in regard to the future of Kuril Islands.

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
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Phone: 206.281.1667
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March 29, 2017