Alaska/Pacific Coast

Huge Leap in Alaskan Salmon Catch Expected Compared to 2014
The Fish Site – May 19, 2015
US – Salmon markets have been shaky after predictions of high catch rates this year, but vendors are keeping their cards close to their chest, reports Robert Reierson in the Tradex Foods 3-Minute Market Insight.

Tradex
http://www.thefishsite.com/fishnews/25698/huge-leap-in-alaskan-salmon-catch-expected-compared-to-2014/

Alaska Processors Appeal to MSC Board to Correct Egregious Violations by ASPA Client Group
SEAFOODNEWS.COM  by John Sackton – May 15 2015
Following the rejection by the Alaska Seafood Processors of six major salmon companies joining their client group so as to sell MSC certified salmon this season, the processors made an emergency appeal to the MSC Board.

The MSC Board held reportedly a meeting by telephone Thursday, but as yet has not announced a decision.

This afternoon, the processors applying for client group membership (Alaska General Seafoods, Icicle Seafoods, Kwikpak Fisheries, Leader Creek Fisheries, North Pacific Seafoods, Ocean Beauty, Peter Pan Seafoods, Trident Seafoods) responded to the release of the letter from ASPA (Alaska Seafood Processors Association), refusing to address their request to join the client group.

In addition to the six companies who were rejected, there appear to be at least ten other companies, including smaller processors located in rural Alaskan villages, who have also been refused any answer on their request to join.  Under US anti-trust law, the existing client group and its member companies are vulnerable to illegal restraint of trade actions, anti-trust or potentially even racketeering charges, should they agree to accept some companies but not offer others equal access.

Stefanie Mooreland, Director of Government Relations and Sustainability for Trident, offered the following response for the group:

“When we initially approached ASPA for their advice on how to proceed with our interest in joining the existing MSC certificate for Alaska salmon, they recommended after some discussion that we start the process by formally requesting to join the ASPA through a simple email. That request was sent on April 7th.

The MSC program includes two certificate sharing requirements: (1) fishery clients must prepare and publish a statement on certificate sharing and (2) facilitation of good faith efforts on both sides to enter into a certificate sharing agreement within 30 days of a request to share the certificate. Based upon these two requirements, we believed meaningful negotiation towards a cost sharing arrangement as described in the certificate sharing statement for the fishery would have been required by the end of last week, within 30 days of our request to enter the client group.

When the group of Alaska processors applied to join ASPA on April 7th, the published statement on certificate sharing for Alaska salmon required only a sharing of costs.

Instead of entering discussions toward an appropriate costs sharing formula, as MSC requires, ASPA sent the applicant group a letter on May 12th.  Thus, more than a month had passed with no discussion of cost sharing.

The denial appears to be largely based on the client group’s dislike of the applicants and the actions cited in the letter. If no additional immediate action is taken for 2015, members of the current client group will enjoy exclusive access to the MSC certificate for Alaska salmon this year; a certificate 75 percent funded by an MSC program grant and supported by the State of Alaska salmon research and management programs.

The ASPA response denying requests to join the client group does not acknowledge MSC requirements on certificate sharing or their own terms of the certificate sharing statement that was publically posted at the time of requests to enter.

In arriving at their decision to deny entry, ASPA seems to place much emphasis on companies’ earlier action to withdraw from the MSC program; though ASPA previously allowed many companies to join their group who also withdrew from the MSC program for salmon in 2012, just as the rejected companies did.”

In fact, in August, 2013, Scott Blake, CEO of Copper River Seafoods and a current member of the ASPA, put out a statement saying they were abandoning their MSC chain of custody and client status effective Jan 1, 2014.

“Sustainability certification has helped to raise consumer awareness for the fisheries improvements that are being made globally.  However, it has also caused issues for model fisheries like Alaska by preventing market access for companies that choose to support state and federal fisheries management rather than paying to participate in an approved certification scheme”, said Blake, according to SeafoodNews reports at the time.

However, the ASPA had no objection to Copper River rejoining the client group, despite their very public prior withdrawal from the MSC program.

Because of these egregious violations of the trust put in a client group through allowing them to hold a fisheries certification, “the group has therefore asked the MSC Board of Trustees to intervene by enforcing the MSC’s program requirements that promote inclusion”, said Moreland.

“Alaska producers that were denied access to the client group this week request that the MSC Board take action to add all interested and eligible fishery participants to the Alaska salmon MSC fishery certificate for 2015. Requestors would compensate current client group members for all associated costs they’ve incurred in order to meet terms of the salmon certificate statement on certificate and cost sharing. It’s our understanding the MSC Board met this week, and we are awaiting their decision.”
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/975869/Alaska-Processors-Appeal-to-MSC-Board-to-Correct-Egregious-Violations-by-ASPA-Client-Group

Cannon Fish Company Opens New Kent, WA Processing Plant to Employ up to 200
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] – May 19, 2015
Canon Fish Company, which was acquired by APICDA in 2013, is opening a new processing facility in Kent, Washington, which will employ up to 200 people.

The Company is hosting a media tour and ribbon cutting event on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 12:00 p. m. at the new plant located at 1025 6th Avenue N, Kent, WA, 98032.

“We are pleased to be opening this new energy efficient, state of the art facility in Kent to process premium Alaska seafood that positively impacts commerce in two states and feeds the world. Owning and operating a primary and secondary processing plant of our own has long been a goal of Cannon Fish Company. This facility will provide us the ability to reduce costs and control our own production. It is a game changer for us, ” explains Pat Rogan, Cannon Fish Company’s President.

Cannon Fish Company is part of the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association (APICDA), one of six western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) corporations. The CDQ program allocates a percentage of all Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands quotas for groundfish, halibut and crab. APICDA and its subsidiary companies generate proceeds through the management of the quotas to fulfill its charitable purpose of developing stable local economies in six remote villages in the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands.

The economic struggles of rural Alaska have been well documented. “The majority of the fish processed at the Kent facility is caught by fishing families living in villages in the Aleutian Islands adjacent to the Bering Sea, ” reports Larry Cotter, APICDA CEO. “Promoting commerce in rural Alaska and stabilizing economies provides employment opportunities for local residents, tax revenue for local governments, economic growth in the community and region, a higher standard of living, and a reduction in social problems. ”

“This facility ties directly to APICDA’s processing plants in Alaska – the Atka Pride Seafoods plant in Atka and the Bering Pacific Seafoods plant in False Pass – and enhances the viability of all three facilities. The new facility also demonstrates that CDQ investments benefit communities and states beyond Alaska, ” added Cotter.

APICDA acquired Cannon Fish Company, a value-added seafood processing and marketing company that caters to a nationwide network of retailers, restaurants, specialty grocers and institutions, in August 2013.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/975954/Cannon-Fish-Company-Opens-New-Kent-WA-Processing-Plant-to-Employ-up-to-200

Environment/Science

Biologists ponder effects of a warmer ocean as pink salmon fry leave early
KTOO by Matt Miller – May 17, 2015
And, they’re off! This season’s first batch of salmon fry will soon be entering the open ocean with lots of food and plenty of predators. Some will be back in a few years to spawn, others will be back as soon as next year after they swim a giant counterclockwise circle of the North Pacific.
http://www.ktoo.org/2015/05/17/pink-salmon-leave-juneau-stream-two-weeks-early/

Chemical tags in ear bones track Alaska’s Bristol Bay salmon
UAF News by Marmian Grimes – May 15, 2015
This otolith has been extracted from a fish. It is still within its fluid sac which is surrounded on the outside by blood vessels. Otoliths help fish with hearing and balance.
http://news.uaf.edu/salmon-otoliths/

Federal Register

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program; Amendment 45; Pacific Cod Sideboard Allocations in the Gulf of Alaska
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 05/19/2015
NMFS publishes regulations to implement Amendment 45 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (Crab FMP). Amendment 45 establishes, for a limited period of time, a process for NMFS to permanently remove Pacific cod catch limits, known as sideboard limits, which are applicable to certain hook-and-line catcher/processors in the Central and Western Gulf of Alaska (GOA) Regulatory Areas. This action authorizes NMFS to remove these Pacific cod sideboard limits in the Central and/or Western GOA if each eligible participant in the hook-and-line catcher/processor sector in a regulatory area signs and submits a request that NMFS remove the sideboard limit. Each eligible participant will be required to submit the request to NMFS within 1 year of the date of publication of this final rule. This action is necessary to provide participants in the Central and Western GOA hook-and-line catcher/processor sectors with an opportunity to cooperatively coordinate harvests of Pacific cod through private arrangement to the participants’ mutual benefit, which would remove the need for sideboard limits in these regulatory areas. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Crab FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), and other applicable law.
https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/05/19/2015-12066/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-bering-sea-and-aleutian-islands-crab?utm_campaign=subscription+mailing+list&utm_medium=email&utm_source=federalregister.gov

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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May 19, 2105