Alaska/Pacific Coast

Board declines request to cap Kodiak sockeye harvest
Peninsula Clarion by Elizabeth Earl – October 19, 2017
The Board of Fisheries won’t take up an out-of-cycle request to cap Kodiak sockeye salmon harvests during certain periods of the season, though it won’t be the last time the issue comes up.
http://peninsulaclarion.com/news/local/2017-10-19/board-declines-request-cap-kodiak-sockeye-harvest

Cod Fishermen had an Unusually Bad Season This Year
KMXT by Mitch Borden – October 18, 2017
The Kodiak State-Waters Pacific Cod Pot Gear Season didn’t go well this year. It was open longer than normal and for the first time in its history didn’t meet its target harvest. Nat Nichols is the Alaska Department of Fish and Game area manager for groundfish and shellfish in Kodiak. He says the fishery didn’t even come close to hitting its goal.
http://kmxt.org/2017/10/cod-fishermen-unusually-bad-season-year/

Pacific halibut mortality drops in US West Coast fisheries
Fis.com – October 20, 2017
Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) fishing-induced mortality has declined in United States West Coast fisheries, as highlighted by the scientific annual report developed by the NWFSC’s Observer Program, NOAA informed.
http://fis.com/fis/worldnews/worldnews.asp?monthyear=&day=20&id=94348&l=e&country=0&special=&ndb=1&df=0

Alaska Fisheries Report
KMXT by Kayla Desroches – October 19, 2017
Coming up this week on the Alaska Fisheries Report, Kodiak’s cod season could have been better. One of the challenges fishermen faced was a shrinking cod population. Also, Bristol Bay sees another drop in the total allowable catch for red king crab, tanner crab, and snow crab in the 2017 – 2018 season.
http://kmxt.org/2017/10/alaska-fisheries-report-oct-19-2017/

Politics

Edgmon to gavel in House next Monday for fourth special session of 2017
The House Speaker from Dillingham sat down with KDLG Monday for an interview about the session and other recent topics of interest.
KDLG by Dave Bendinger – October 17, 2017
Gov. Bill Walker called the state’s lawmakers back to another 30 day special session beginning Monday, Oct. 23. Walker has asked them to take up Senate Bill 54, which addresses reforms to Senate Bill 91, and his proposal for a flat payroll tax that could raise $300 million annually.
http://kdlg.org/post/edgmon-gavel-house-next-monday-fourth-special-session-2017#stream/0

International

Fisheries Council of Canada Says Government Secrecy on New Fisheries Law Threatens Jobs, Investment
SEAFOODNEWS.COM – October 19, 2017
The 102 year old Fisheries Council of Canada just finished their annual meeting in Ottawa this week and many members expressed concern about the Canadian government’s lack of responsiveness to the seafood industry.

A new fisheries law is being proposed in Parliment, and under the Canadian system, once the party with the parlimentary majority introduces legislation, it is generally passed exactly as written.  But the industry has gotten very little response from the goverment regarding what significant changes might be in the bill, other than a statement that it will likely be the most significant fisheries legislation in Canada in two generations.

During the meeting, which was also attended by government officials, the Fisheries Council of Canada (FCC) said future investments and jobs in fisheries are being compromised by a lack of clear federal decision making.

In a statement, the Council is called on the government to live up to its commitment for openness and transparency.   “Decisions based on science, collaboration, openness and transparency, this is what the government promised the Canadian seafood sector,” said Bruce Chapman, a member from the Atlantic Coast, “instead we face extraordinary uncertainty with the hiring of new workers and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment now on hold.”

Members of FCC, mostly family-owned businesses, produce wild shrimp, scallops, salmon, lobster, crab, haddock, halibut, the Canadian seafood familiar to consumers in grocery stores and restaurants, as well as many other specialty products.  The Canadian seafood industry creates 80,000 direct jobs, mainly in coastal and rural communities, and accounts for $6.6 billion in exports.  80 per cent of Canadian wild seafood production by value is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, the international gold standard for measuring fishery sustainability.

“We need four things from government,” noted Christina Burridge, an FCC member from the Pacific Coast, “effective management of fish resources and habitat, secure licence and quota shares, a clear regulatory regime and access to export markets.  Right now most of these are uncertain, particularly licence and quota shares, so lenders and people in the fishery including small family businesses and corporations, don’t know whether their investments will be undermined by government.”

One example, she explained, is the proposed changes to the Fisheries Act expected later this year.  The government of Canada consulted widely on restoring much-needed habitat protection through the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans and directly with Canadians, then proposed a wide range of additional non-habitat changes to fisheries management and licencing policy without meaningful consultation.

“Our situation is worse than the proposed small business tax changes, said Bruce Chapman, “FCC and some of its members asked to testify before the Standing Committee; we were refused.  These changes potentially represent the most significant shifts in Canadian fisheries management in generations and could derail growth and innovation in this industry.”

“We were told in late August about the changes in very general terms and asked to provide comments in less than three weeks.”

Under the Fisheries Act, the government of Canada regulates fisheries through licencing restrictions and controls such as total allowable catches, time, and area and gear restrictions.  While a licence is a privilege not property, it enables fishermen to invest in vessels, gear and technology, science and research, new products and new markets, all of which involve multi-year commitments.

“The Fisheries Act is just one of our worries.  FCC members broadly support the government of Canada’s direction with marine protection and Reconciliation, and we are proud of our conservation record,” Christina Burridge said, “but how we implement these directions needs careful policy development. Industry as well as other stakeholders need to be part of the process if these policies are to succeed.  Right now we see middle class families, communities and even conservation of the resource at risk from government policies developed behind closed doors.  We need meaningful dialogue before the government enacts fundamental changes.”
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1079738/Fisheries-Council-of-Canada-Says-Government-Secrecy-on-New-Fisheries-Law-Threatens-Jobs-Investment

Environment/Science

‘Bioblitz’ turns up no new non-native aquatics
Alaska Journal of Commerce by Elwood Brehmer – October 18, 2017
WHITTIER — When on the hunt for invaders, no news is usually good news.
That’s exactly the kind of good news Smithsonian Environmental Research Center scientists were able to report to the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council after a summer-long search in 2016 for non-indigenous species in the waters around Valdez.
http://www.alaskajournal.com/2017-10-18/bioblitz%E2%80%99-turns-no-new-non-native-aquatics#.Wei_SoZrw_U

Pebble Mine

Opinion: Don’t sign the ‘Stand for Salmon’ initiative
Alaska Dispatch News Sophie Minich, Rex A. Rock Sr. – October 19, 2017
Starting during the Alaska Federation of Natives Annual Convention this week, Alaskans will be confronted by signature gatherers asking them to sign a controversial new ballot initiative that claims to “Stand for Salmon.” As leaders of Alaska Native regional corporations, we urge you not to sign it.
https://www.adn.com/opinions/2017/10/18/dont-sign-the-stand-for-salmon-initiative/

FYI’s

Salmon sex linked to geological change
Fish effects on stream bed have long-term consequences
Science Daily – October 19, 2017
It turns out that sex can move mountains.
A Washington State University researcher has found that the mating habits of salmon can alter the profile of stream beds, affecting the evolution of an entire watershed. His study is one of the first to quantitatively show that salmon can influence the shape of the land.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171019100827.htm

Could migrating squid help Alaska predict climate change?
Chasing warmer waters, the market squid might be here to stay
Juneau Empire by Kevin Gullufsen – October 16, 2017
Attracted to warming ocean temperatures, small, iridescent squid have been moving into Southeast Alaska waters. They could be a cipher to understanding how sea life reacts to climate change, said University of Alaska Southeast associate professor Dr. Michael Navarro at an Evening at Egan talk Friday at UAS.
http://juneauempire.com/local/news/2017-10-14/could-migrating-squid-help-alaska-predict-climate-change

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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E-mail: pspafish@gmail.com; Website: www.pspafish.net
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October 20, 2017