Alaska/Pacific Coast

Alaska’s 2016 Salmon Forecast Dips
Seafood News – March 29, 2016
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is calling for a total catch of 161 million salmon this summer, a 40 percent decline in the harvest compared to last season’s landings.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLesIt7MVoTPqBXJyfHTSKzb09u2ekM5AB&v=OnFUWuvb838

Small fish, active spawning close down Sitka’s sac roe harvest
KCAW by Robert Woolsey – March 28, 2016 5:54 pm
For the third time in a half dozen years, Sitka Sound Sac Roe Herring Fishery has closed far short of the target harvest level.
http://www.kcaw.org/2016/03/28/sitka-herring/

Sitka tribe asks state regulators to shut down commercial herring fishery
KTUU by Paula Dobbyn –  March 28, 2016
Sitka Tribe of Alaska is asking state fishing regulators to end the current commercial harvest of herring near the Southeast community, saying too many of the tiny fish are being caught and it’s hurting the tribe’s traditional reliance on herring eggs.
http://www.ktuu.com/news/news/sitka-tribe-asks-state-regulators-to-shut-down-commercial-herring-fishery/38733846

International

Russian Crab Auction for Barents Sea Snow Crab Conducted by Anti-Monopoly Service
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Eugene Gerden – March 30, 2016
Russia has announced the value of its recent crab auction, but not the companies who were successful bidders.  The conduct of the auction was closely monitored by the Federal anti-monopoly service, and they also put forward proposals to restrict the export of crab.

The auction brought in 6.4 billion rubles (US$100 million) for the Russian Federal Agency of Fisheries (Rosrybolovstvo) and the federal budget as a result of the recently completed auctions for the sale of quotas for the production of crab in the Barents and Okhotsk seas.

This is a record figure in the history of crab auctions in Russia.

Among the major trade positions during the auctions were the rights for the catch of snow crab in the Barents Sea and the East Sakhalin subarea Sea of Okhotsk. The number of participants of the auction exceeded 70 organizations and companies. The names of the winning bidders will be announced later this year after the official summarizing of the results.

The conduct of the auctions was strictly controlled by the Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS), who says there is a high threat of the appearance of monopolies in the domestic crab market. According to a recent report, published by FAS, the volume of crab supplies to the domestic market still remains small and does not exceed 27% of the total catch, while the remaning volumes are still exported to abroad.

According to FAS, high level of monopolization, currently remains one of the major problems of the Russian crab market and is reflected by the prevention of entering new players in the market. The situation is aggravated by the existing “historical principle”, of the distribution of quotas for the production of crab in the country, which means that the majority of quotas for the production of crab in Russia is concentrated in the hands of certain local businessman, usually affilated with the state.

As part of the planned measures, is the introduction of mandatory sales of crab in Russia at local auctions, as well as the introduction of practice of licensing of crab exports to abroad.

FAS plans to use the practice of Norway, where a license for crab exports is issued for one year by the special Export Board with the approval of the fisheries department of the country’s government, while the cost of the execution of such a document is about US$1700. It is planned that the introduction of this measure will allow to allocate additional funds to the Russian federal budget.

In the meantime, the latest proposals of FAS has already been criticized in the Russian Rosrybolovstvo. According to Alexander Savelyev, corporate affairs director of Rosrybolovstvo, FAS is turning a blind eye to the fact that each country especially those with developed economies, strongly support export of their products to abroad even at the highest level.

Alexander Savelyev comments “In the case of France, the country’s president has repeatedly assured that would not allow any threats to the exports of foie gras and will made every effort to protect the interests of local farmers. The situation is contrary in the case of Russia, where FAS is looking for ways to complicate doing of business to domestic crab producers. All of these ideas only lead to the degradation of the economy and business. The FAS is not aware that such a delicacy as crab is still uncommon for the domestic market and the majority of its sales still account for foreign markets. The introduction of any restrictions for crab exports to abroad will result in the increase of the share of illegal market”.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1013042/Russian-Crab-Auction-for-Barents-Sea-Snow-Crab-Conducted-by-Anti-Monopoly-Service

Environment/Science

Alaska experiences second warmest winter in last 90 years
KTOO by Matt Miller – March 28, 2016
Alaska 2015-16 winter temperatures
If you thought Alaska was pretty warm and dry this winter, you were right. In fact, it could come close to setting a record.
http://www.ktoo.org/2016/03/28/alaska-experiences-second-warmest-winter-in-last-90-years/

FYI’s

Peninsula ‘Food Hubs’ set to launch in May
KBBI by Daysha Eaton – March 29, 2016
Farmer’s markets are going virtual. Soon Kenai Peninsula residents will be able to buy locally grown food online. The new marketplaces are called ‘Food Hubs’.
http://www.alaskapublic.org/2016/03/29/peninsula-food-hubs-set-to-launch-in-may/

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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March 30, 2016