Alaska/Pacific Coast

Pacific Halibut Catch On Track at Nearly 8 Million Pounds To Date
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – May 30, 2017
The 2017 Pacific halibut fisheries opened on March 11 with a combined commercial and sport catch limit of 31.4 million pounds. Three months into the 8-month season, commercial landings in Alaska have reached just over 19 million pounds, or 31 percent of the allowable catch.

For comparison, 6.2 million pounds, or 35% of the 2016 catch limit, were landed in the Alaskan fishery by this same date in 2016; however, the opening date of the 2016 fishery occurred eight days later in the year than that of the 2017 fishery. Thus, during the first 72 days of the 2016 Alaskan commercial Pacific halibut fishery, 7.2 million pounds, or 40% of the catch limit, were landed.

By regulatory area in Alaska, landings as of May 22 were:
Area 2C (Southeast): 2.1 million pounds landed of 4.212 million catch limit
Area 3A (eastern Gulf of Alaska): 3 million pounds landed of 7.74 mlbs limit
Area 3B (western GOA): 646,000 pounds landed of 3.14 mlbs limit
Area 4A (Aleutian Islands): 106,000 pounds landed of 1.4 mlbs limit
Area 4B (western AI): 135,000 pounds landed of 1.14 mlbs limit
Area 4CDE (Bering Sea): 40,000 pounds landed of 1.7 mlbs limit

As of May 18, 2017, the British Columbia (Regulatory Area 2B) commercial halibut fishery has landed 1.7 mlbs of a nearly 6 mlbs catch limit. That represents 27% of the 2017 commercial fishery catch limit. For comparison, 1.7 million pounds, or 27% of the 2016 catch limit, had been landed from Regulatory Area 2B by this same date in 2016. Also, during the first 68 days of the 2016 IVQ fishery, 1.9 million pounds, or 30% of the catch limit, had been landed.

For comparison, 1.7 million pounds, or 27% of the 2016 catch limit, had been landed from Regulatory Area 2B by this same date in 2016. Also, during the first 68 days of the 2016 IVQ fishery, 1.9 million pounds, or 30% of the catch limit, had been landed.

In Area 2A (waters off Washington, Oregon, and California), the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) allocated 435,900 pounds of Pacific halibut for commercial use to the Treaty Indian tribes in 2017.

Nearly 41,000 pounds of Pacific halibut were landed during a 35-hour restricted fishery opening beginning May 1. A total of 305,560 pounds of Pacific halibut have been reported landed thus far in 2017. Mop-up fisheries were scheduled for 19-20 May (Washington coast) and 22-23 May (Puget Sound).

The total allowable incidental commercial catch of Pacific halibut allocated to the salmon troll fishery is 39,810 pounds. Incidental catch of halibut in the salmon troll fishery was allowed beginning April 1, 2017. An estimated 738 pounds of Pacific halibut have been landed through May 21.

The total allowable incidental commercial catch of Pacific halibut allocated to the sablefish fishery, which operates north of Point Chehalis, Washington, is 70,000 pounds. Incidental catch of Pacific halibut in the sablefish fishery was allowed beginning 1 April 2017. Preliminary landing estimates are not yet available.

Halibut bycatch lower
Other removals of halibut which are managed by the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council include incidental catch in trawls and longline gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, and in the Gulf of Alaska.

In the Bering Sea and Aleutians, NMFS’s weekly reports note that so far this year “2017 trawl halibut mortality is 913 mt compared to 1,190 mt for the same time period in 2016. In 2017, the catcher/processors account for 572 mt and the catch vessels for 341 mt relative to 2016 when C/Ps accounted for 841 mt and the CVs for 349 mt.

Of the total 913 mt taken to date, trawl gear targeting yellowfin sole took 328 mt of halibut or 36 percent, trawls targeting Pacific cod took 256 mt of halibut or 28 percent, with rock sole taking 175 mt or 20 percent. Pollock took 74 mt of halibut bycatch and “other” species took 79 mt.

This compares to 2016 totals of 1,190 mt of halibut bycatch, with Rock sole taking 448 mt, Yellofin sole 316 mt, Pacific cod 293 mt, Pollock 70 mt, and “Other” 63 mt.

In the Gulf of Alaska, halibut bycatch is also lower this year than last. The 2017 trawl halibut bycatch mortality is 503 mt compared to 808 mt for the same time period in 2016.

The 2017 hook-and-line halibut mortality is 95 mt compared to 211 mt for the same time period in 2016.

The deep-water trawl species category opened May 15, 2017 when NMFS manages
on the combined 2nd season deep-water/shallow-water halibut mortality limit of 810 mt.

As of May 20, 2017, halibut mortality for deep-water species is 386 mt and for shallow-water is
110 mt out of the combined 810 mt 1st/2nd season limit.

The Rockfish Program cooperatives have reported 8 mt of halibut PSC out of the 2017 halibut PSC limit of 191 mt.

The 3rd season limits become available July 1, 2017.

Halibut mortality for the hook-and-line C/Ps is 22 mt out of the 1st season limit of 110 mt
and for the hook-and-line CVs is 73 mt out of the 1st season limit of 111 mt. The 2nd season limits become available June 10, 2017.

The 2nd season limits become available June 10, 2017.

The hook-and-line CV halibut PSC (prohibited species catch) rates were very high for the first 2 weeks of 2017, with 18 mt caught the week of January 7 and 20 mt caught the following week. The fleet stood down the week of January 28 due to the halibut PSC rates.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1063155/Pacific-Halibut-Catch-On-Track-at-Nearly-8-Million-Pounds-To-Date

Feds will take over Lower And Middle Kuskokwim beginning June 12
KYUK by Anna Rose MacArthur – May 26, 2017
Beginning June 12, management of king salmon on the lower and middle Kuskokwim River will switch from state to federal control. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will hand over management to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
http://www.alaskapublic.org/2017/05/26/feds-will-take-over-lower-and-middle-kuskokwim-beginning-june-12/

Southeast Alaska spring troll fishery shut down for lack of king salmon
KFSK by Joe Viechnicki – May 25, 2017
The spring season for commercial salmon trolling in Southeast Alaska is shutting down Monday, May 29 except for a few areas near hatchery salmon release sites. The spring season began in May and was to run through the end of June. However, poor returns of king salmon are prompting the closure.
http://www.alaskapublic.org/2017/05/25/southeast-alaska-spring-troll-fishery-shut-down-for-lack-of-king-salmon/#

Federal Agency to Gain Control Over Salmon Management
The management of king salmon on a southwestern Alaska river will transfer from state to federal control starting next month.
Associated Press – May 27, 2017
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — The management of king salmon on a southwestern Alaska river will transfer from state to federal control starting next month.
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/alaska/articles/2017-05-27/feds-to-gain-control-over-alaska-river

National

Trump budget guts NOAA, slashes marine science and conservation efforts
Seafood Source by Christine Blank – May 26, 2017
U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget, released on Tuesday, 23 May, includes drastic reductions in the budgets of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Those cuts could harm fisheries, ocean conservation efforts, and domestic seafood consumption, according to seafood and food policy groups.
https://www.seafoodsource.com/news/supply-trade/trump-budget-guts-noaa-slashes-marine-science-and-conservation-efforts?utm_source=informz&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_content=newsletter

Labeling and Marketing

3MMI – Pacific Cod Prices Skyrocketing Closing In On Atlantic Cod Pricing
TradexFoods – May 29, 2017
Poor Pacific Cod harvests pressure single frozen fillet availability, as strong raw materials approach price points comparable to their Atlantic counterpart. In the twice frozen market, Pacific Cod prices have been strengthening since last December as a result of raw material shortages.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WG3Rb25nk88

FYI’s

Navy to Scan Kodiak Waters for WWII Explosives
KMXT by  Kayla Desroches – May 23, 2017
Next month, the Navy will scan Kodiak and Unalaska waters for World War II era munitions using underwater drones. It’s part of an ongoing effort to eventually remove the explosives.
http://kmxt.org/2017/05/navy-scan-kodiak-waters-historic-munitions/

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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May 30, 2017