Alaska/Pacific Coast

51.3 million: ADF&G predicting another big year for Bristol Bay sockeye in 2018
The 2018 forecast also calls for the largest return ever to the Nushagak District: 21.8 million. Naknek Kvichak: 16.6 million; Egegik: 9.1 million; Ugashik: 2.9 million; Togiak: 860,000.
KDLG by Dave Bendinger – November 14, 2017
Just in time for the Pacific Marine Expo, the state’s 2018 Bristol Bay sockeye forecast is out, and it’s another big one. ADF&G is predicting a total run of 51.3 million sockeye, allowing for a harvest of 38.8 million and 12.5 million counted as escapement to the spawning grounds.

Fisheries representatives discuss economic impacts
KRBD by Maria Dudzak – November 13, 2017
Representatives of two fishing industry organizations spoke about their economic impact during last week’s Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Latest Stock Assessment Shows 80% drop in GOA Pacific Cod ABC for 2018
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – November 15, 2017
The Groundfish Plan Team released the most recent version of their stock assessment and the deeper look at the numbers did not improve them. The Pacific cod stocks in the Gulf of Alaska are down to alarming levels, an almost 80% drop from last year. Most of the people crowding into the room had heard the bad news six weeks earlier.

Now the data and modeling had been reviewed, and the earlier calculations turned out to be right. There will be an almost 80% drop in the allowable biological catch (ABC) for Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska.

This year, the allowable biological catch (ABC) is 18,000 mt for 2018 and 17,000 mt for 2019. The catch limits will be set by the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council next month. In years past, they’ve set the total allowable catch (TAC)  at about 75% of the ABC.

Last year the ABC was set at 88,342 mt with the TAC at 64,442 mt. As of October 11, 2017 only 45,364 mt had been caught.

The data was presented by Dr. Steven J. Barbeaux of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle to a room packed with scientists, fleet managers, skippers, Council members and others. Barbeaux and his team looked at three surveys, catch per unit effort (CPUE) of three different gear types targeting P-cod, and frequency of P-cod as bycatch in pollock and flatfish trawls last summer.

The results showed:

*The lowest population estimate ever recorded by the bottom trawl survey in the Gulf.

*There was a 72% decline in abundance [numbers of fish] since 2015, and 83% since 2013.

*There was a 58% decline in biomass [mts] since 2015, and 78% since 2013.

*The longline survey showed a 53% decline from 2016.

*P-cod bycatch was the lowest on record in the GOA pollock fishery and the shallow-water flatfish fishery.

Deep and persistent warmer ocean temperatures appeared in 2014 – 2016 off the coast of Vancouver Island and extending north into the Gulf. It was such a distinct anomaly it was dubbed “The Blob.”

The higher temperatures led to higher forage needs for juvenile cod that were hatched in 2011 and 2012. But the warmer ocean produced less food in 2015-16 resulting in higher P-cod mortality.

“Due to high mortality of the 2011 and 2012 age classes and expected poor recruitment 2013 – 2016,” Barbeaux says the model predicts a continued drop in population until 2020, when the TAC could fall below a reference point that would shut down fishing completely.

“The first increase is expected in 2021, given mean recruitment [is acheived] post 2016,” the report says.

Federal Register

Fraser River Sockeye and Pink Salmon Fisheries; Inseason Orders
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 11/15/2017
NMFS publishes Fraser River salmon inseason orders to regulate treaty and non-treaty (all citizen) commercial salmon fisheries in U.S. waters. The orders were issued by the Fraser River Panel (Panel) of the Pacific Salmon Commission (Commission) and subsequently approved and issued by NMFS during the 2017 salmon fisheries within the U.S. Fraser River Panel Area. These orders established fishing dates, times, and areas for the gear types of U.S. treaty Indian and all citizen commercial fisheries during the period the Panel exercised jurisdiction over these fisheries.

Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Application for an Exempted Fishing Permit
A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 11/15/2017
NMFS announces the receipt of two exempted fishing permit (EFP) applications. The first application was received from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) for an EFP to test commercial pot fishing gear for selective harvest of lingcod. The lingcod pot gear EFP is intended to provide for the selective harvest of lingcod with fixed gear inside the non-trawl rockfish conservation area (RCA), allowing harvest of lingcod within existing annual catch limits (ACLs) while keeping catch of co-occurring overfished species (e.g. yelloweye rockfish) within rebuilding ACLs. The second application was received from the West Coast Seafood Processors Association, Environmental Defense Fund, Oregon Trawl Commission, and Midwater Trawlers Cooperative for an EFP to test if and how the removal of certain trawl gear, time, and area restrictions for the Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program may impact the nature and extent of bycatch of prohibited species.


Nominating process opens for the next wave of Seafood Champions
Seafood Source by Madelyn Kearns – November 13, 2017
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2018 Seafood Champion Awards, organizer SeaWeb announced on 13 November.

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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November 15, 2017