Alaska/Pacific Coast

No Agreement on Oregon Crab Price; Domoic Acid Test Results Imminent
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Susan Chambers – November 21, 2016
Oregon seems to be taking a hit this year when it comes to an upsetting season start.

Oregon fishermen and processors met Nov. 16 and 17 during state-monitored price negotiations but came away with no resolution. They plan to meet again this week. There was some concern about the meat quality test results from the Astoria area that showed crab weren’t quite mature. It was unclear whether crab from that area would mature in time for a Dec. 1 opening.

But it may be a moot point.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on Friday closed most of the Oregon Coast, from south of Tillamook Head, near Astoria, to the California border, to recreational crabbing due to elevated levels of domoic acid. Those crab were only between Cascade Head and Cape Falcon, on the northern Oregon Coast, but state managers closed most of the coastline out of precaution. The state is doing more testing this week.

“Additional sample results will be used to inform the reopening areas and the opening of the ocean crab fisheries …,” a state press release said.

Domoic testing of commercial crab from Brookings showed very low levels of the toxin during the second week of November. Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission Director Hugh Link said he expects domoic testing results from other parts of the coast soon.

California domoic acid testing shows consistent elevated levels from crab in the Fort Bragg area; state officials are continuing to test.

Meanwhile, California fishermen report the central California fishery around Sn Francisco is going well, with an ex-vessel price of around $3 a pound since the season opened on Nov. 15. Some reported a significant drop in productivity after the first pull, but some of the larger vessels made only one delivery as of Sunday, Nov. 20.

And as if the season opening issues weren’t enough to cause concern for the industry, the Center for Biological Diversity sent a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service on Nov. 14, requesting a federal fisheries management plan for Dungeness crab. Currently, each of the states adhere to a Tri-state cooperative management system and provide regular reports to the Pacific States Fisheries Management Commission, since Dungeness crabbing is considered a state fishery in each state.

Federal lawmakers approved this management system several years ago with the inclusion of a sunset clause of Sept. 30, 2016, in the law. Absent federal legislation, management would return to the states. The states may elect to retain the Tri-state agreement.

The Dungeness industry in all three states supported legislation to remove the sunset clause. West Coast lawmakers also supported the legislation in both the House and the Senate, but the bill didn’t move — yet.

“The fact that California, Oregon and Washington manage the Dungeness crab fishery in state waters does not relieve NMFS from developing and implementing a federal fishery management plan for Dungeness,” the Center for Biological Diversity wrote.

Our opportunity: an aging fishing fleet
The fishing fleet in the North Pacific and Bering Sea, much of which is homeported here, needs to be replaced. Leaders are pushing for Washington to get its share of that business.
Seattle Time by Jon Talton – November 17, 2016
Seattle’s homeowners aren’t the only ones getting grayer. The fleet that is the backbone of Washington’s fishing industry is getting older, too.


Q&A with Ray Hilborn
National Fishermen by Cliff White – November 17, 2016
The 2017 SeaWeb Seafood Summit is taking place in Seattle from June 5-7, 2017. Ray Hilborn, a global fisheries expert and University of Washington professor of aquatic and fisheries science will once again be participating as an attendee and presenter. In an interview with SeafoodSource, Hilborn praised the show for promoting a healthy dialogue between commercial and scientific interests. He also called for more commercial fishermen — and especially those from the Pacific Northwest — to make an effort to attend.


South Korea facing pollock Shortage, Aims to Rebuild Imports and Trade Ties to Russia
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Eugene Gergen – November 21, 2016
South Korea plans to significantly increase the volume of pollock imports from Russia in the coming years, according to recent statements of the Russian Pollock Association (RPA), a public association, which unites Russia’s leading pollock producers.

According to a spokesman of RPA, South Korea has faced with a shortage of pollock, caused by a significant decline of its stocks in the Sea of Japan and the reduction of supplies from Japan.

The situation is also aggravated by the reduction of quotas to South Korean fisherman for pollock in the Russian territorial waters. In 2015 and 2016 the quota was set on the level of 38,000 tonnes, compared to 60,000 tonnes in previous  years.

Currently the annual consumption of pollock in South Korea is estimated at about 260,000 tonnes, while the current tensions with Russia may result in a shortage of the fish at South Korean retailers.

In addition to the government support of Russian sanctions, the current situation with pollock in South Korea is also due to a recent breakdown of Seoul obligations on investments in Russian ports.

In January 2014, South Korea announced its readiness to invest up to US$250 million in the development of fishing industry of the Russian Primorye region, in exchange of the granting of additional quotas for the catch in the Russian territorial waters, however, due to the introduction of sanctions against Russia and isolation of the country in the international arena, these plans were never implemented.

Currently the talks are underway and there is a possibility that part of supplies of Russia pollock  to South Korea will take place by air. Planned volumes of supplies are not disclosed.


Hope for habitat: Salmon symposium addressess watershed issues, how they affect species
Frontiersman by Chris Ford – November 20, 2016
PALMER — “Stability and productivity of fish derived systems is basically a result of a diverse, but also changing, landscape. We have to allow these landscapes to continue to evolve. They’ve never been static and any disturbance we impose on them is by making them static. We have to allow them to continue to move around….that’s what’s going to make them resilient over the long run.”

Labeling and Marketing

3MMI – Strong Twice Frozen Haddock Fillet Pricing on the Horizon
TradexFoods – November 21, 2016
3-Minute Market Insight:
A drastic price increase on Atlantic Haddock finished goods COULD hit North American markets as early as next April.

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
1900 W Emerson Place Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98119
Phone: 206.281.1667
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November 21, 2016