Alaska/Pacific Coast

Togiak Herring Season Opened for Seine and Gillnet on Friday
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – May 1, 2017
During an aerial survey on Friday, Alaska Department of Fish and Game management biologists assessed schools of herring inside Togiak Bay and to the east and west, “documenting the threshold biomass of 35,000 tons of herring on this survey” and subsequently opened the 2017 season.

Fishing began with gillnet and seine gear at 6 p.m. on Friday, both fleets authorized to fish “until further notice.”

As of Saturday night, April 29, some 2,280 mt of herring with an average roe percentage of 10.7 percent and an average weight of 436 grams, were reported harvested by the seine fleet. There have been no reports from the gillnet fleet yet.

The 2017 season opened earlier than the average of recent years around May 5-7, but later than last year’s record early opener of April 17. This year, processors and fishing fleets were ready days before the announcement was made.

Based on a preseason poll, processing capacity is expected to be approximately 2,150 tons per day. The preseason poll also indicates that 4 processors will participate in the Togiak sac roe herring fishery with a fleet size of 16 gillnet and 19 purse seine vessels.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1059748/Togiak-Herring-Season-Opened-for-Seine-and-Gillnet-on-Friday

Salmon fishing predictions look bleak for Alaska inlet
Associated Press – April 28, 2017
KENAI, Alaska (AP) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s commercial sockeye salmon outlook this year is predicting Upper Cook Inlet fishermen will have their lowest harvest in the past 15 years.
http://www.ktva.com/salmon-fishing-predictions-look-bleak-alaska-inlet-309/

Pot cod fishery numbers all in
Bristol Bay Times by Jim Paulin – April 28, 2017
Sometimes, a short and wide fishing boat can hold as much cod as one that’s twice as long.
The final numbers are in, and the Dutch Harbor small boat pot cod fishery landed 33,247,414 pounds, leaving 474,148 pounds uncaught in the water, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Unalaska.
http://www.thebristolbaytimes.com/article/1717pot_cod_fishery_numbers_all_in

Politics

Seafood groups praise Trump’s “Buy American” executive order
Seafood Source by Christine Blank – April 24, 2017
President Donald Trump’s 18 April “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order has been positively received by some U.S. seafood trade groups, who say it will help the domestic seafood industry.
https://www.seafoodsource.com/news/supply-trade/seafood-groups-praise-trump-s–buy-american–executive-order?utm_source=informz&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_content=newsletter

International

Russian A Season ends at 874,000 tons of pollock, up 6%; Industry wants TAC decrease in 2018
SEAFODNEWS.COM by John Sackton – May 1, 2017
The Russian A season ended earlier in April with a total catch of 874,000 tons or 82% of the total TAC. This catch level is up 6% from the prior year. However, the Russian industry is concerned about the pollock market and wants to see a decrease in the TAC in 2018.

Pollock stocks in the Far East are Healthy, and the Russian industry has asked not to be saddled with maximum TACs due to the current market oversupply of pollock, and the fact that companies pay taxes on quotas as well as actual landings.

The 2018 TAC recommendation is for a decrease of 5% to 1.786 million tons. Sources indicate that higher level TACS could be maintained biologically, but the industry preferred to scale back somewhat.

By area, TACs for the main fishing grounds in the Sea of Okhotsk (northern Okhotsk, western Kamchatka and Kamchatka/Kurile) were kept more or less at the same level as in last year, while some increase was recommended for southern Sakhalin. By contrast, TAC for southern Kurile area was recommended at a lower level than a year before.

But an expert for TINRO explained that the TAC reduction was minimal, and the stock is foreseen to remain stable toward 2020.

Last year, the institute recommended TAC of about 2.0 million tons on the strength of the evidence for robust stock size. However, the fisheries industry expressed concerns that this size of TAC could cause a downfall of market price as well as a possible tax burden in case a substantial amount of fish is left uncaught.

As a result, the 2017 TAC ended up at 1,884,300, a slight increase over 2016 in line with the industry’s request. At the moment, the institute started the process for obtaining consent on its recommendations at public hearings, including endorsement by environmental conservation experts.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1059747/Russian-A-Season-ends-at-874000-tons-of-pollock-up-6-percent–Industry-wants-TAC-decrease-in-2018

New study suggests overfishing in one of world’s most productive fishing regions
Scripps-led study finds over capacity in Gulf of California’s small-scale fisheries
Eurek Alert by University of California – San Diego – April 25, 2017
A new study suggests that more small-scale fishing boats are operating in the Gulf of California than is economically and ecologically sustainable, suggesting that local fishermen are spending more time and money to catch fewer fish.
https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-04/uoc–nss042517.php

Seafood sustainability schemes gain momentum
Fish Site – April 26, 2017
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) hosted their annual Seafood Futures Forum at Seafood Expo Global in Brussels today.
http://www.thefishsite.com/fishnews/29063/seafood-sustainability-schemes-gain-momentum/

Environment/Science

Trump to Sign Orders on Oil Drilling, National Monuments
Associated Press – April 24, 2017
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will sign executive orders this week aimed at expanding offshore oil drilling and reviewing national monument designations made by his predecessors, continuing the Republican’s assault on Democratic President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy.
https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/04/24/us/politics/ap-us-trump-offshore-drilling.html?_r=0

Federal Register

Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; U.S. Navy Training Activities in the Gulf of Alaska Temporary Maritime Activities Area
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 04/27/2017
Upon application from the U.S. Navy (Navy), we (NMFS) are issuing regulations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to govern the unintentional taking of marine mammals incidental to the training activities conducted in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) Temporary Maritime Activities Area (TMAA) Study Area (hereafter referred to the Study Area) from May 2017 through May 2022. These regulations allow us to issue a Letter of Authorization (LOA) for the incidental take of marine mammals during the Navy’s specified activities and timeframes, set forth the permissible methods of taking, set forth other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat, and set forth requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of the incidental take.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/04/27/2017-08424/takes-of-marine-mammals-incidental-to-specified-activities-us-navy-training-activities-in-the-gulf

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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May 1, 2017