Seafood Nutrition Partnership Encourages Americans to Celebrate National Seafood Month by Taking the #HealthyHeartPledge
SOURCE Seafood Nutrition Partnership – October 4, 2016
Eating Seafood Twice Per Week with the Healthy Heart Pledge Promotes a Range of Health Benefits
WASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — In celebration of National Seafood Month, the Seafood Nutrition Partnership is asking Americans to take the Healthy Heart Pledge and eat at least two servings of seafood each week in an effort to raise awareness around seafood’s health benefits.


St. George applies for marine sanctuary
Alaska Public Media by Liz Ruskin – October 3, 2016
The city of St. George, home to 100 people, has asked the federal government to create a marine sanctuary around their island in the Bering Sea. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officially received the application today.

UW gets NOAA grant to begin testing new forecast for toxic shellfish
University of Washington by Hannah Hickey – September 29, 2016
A new NOAA-sponsored University of Washington project brings together academic, federal, state and tribal scientists to develop forecasts for toxic harmful algal blooms in the Pacific Northwest, like the massive bloom that closed Pacific Northwest beaches to shellfish harvesting in summer 2015.

Recent Spike in West Coast Whale Entanglements Prompts Dungeness Industry to Re-Examine Prevention
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Susan Chambers – October 3, 2016
An increasing number of whale entanglements, particularly in California, has prompted a re-examination of preventive measures in the Dungeness crab fishery on the West Coast.

Dan Lawson, a biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Protected Resources Division of the West Coast Region, held three informal meetings recently with Oregon and Washington seafood industry members to identify problems and brainstorm ways to minimize the impacts to marine mammals.

Lawson said that until 2014, there were about a dozen entanglements a year off the West Coast. That number has risen every year since, with 32 in 2014 and 62 in 2015, mostly in California. Furthermore, the entanglements happen year-round.

NMFS, state agencies and the California crab industry started a public awareness campaign, Lawson said, “but there are still a lot of questions.” He hopes to update the campaign this year with current information.

While crabbing gets blamed for most of the entanglements, a portion of that blame is due to regulations that require identification on the gear, like trap tags and IDs on buoys. Other gears, such as longlines or pots for harvesting sablefish, may not require the same types of identification but they may also risk whale entanglements.

Lawson noted he’s seen more mouth entanglements recently in whales and fishermen postulated that perhaps the whales are following the sardines and anchovies that have been seen closer to shore in some areas.

“Krill has not showed up for years down south; now we’re starting to see some,” Lawson said, indicating some whales may be following that food source as well.

Management frameworks outlined in federal stock assessments for whales show that entanglements have surpassed the numbers of takes allowed for Endangered Species Act-listed marine mammals. Therefore, if the industry doesn’t step up and do something, state and federal regulators may be forced to.

Lawson said he hopes to build on some of the California industry’s success in responding quickly to entanglement incidents earlier this year. The Dungeness Crab Task Force and a working group convened to better understand the problem and implemented changes quickly, such closing their crab season early or moving out of areas where whales had been seen consistently. Those kinds of ideas could work elsewhere, Lawson said.

“Anything that results in fewer lines in the water,” he said.

At a September meeting in Charleston, Ore., the industry suggested several ideas to consider, such as minimizing the lines that float on the water, such as those for trailing buoys, which also is listed in the NMFS Best Practices Guide for pot fishing. They also suggested potentially shortening the season, depth restrictions during certain times of the year while whales migrate, GPS tags on the buoys that would identify when a pot travels out of an are and declarations that would identify when a fisherman was done fishing in an area so that any lost gear could be retrieved.

“It may require incremental steps,” Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission Director Hugh Link said.

Link said the industry is willing to work together to find solutions. Some of those solutions may require regulatory changes.

Already, two projects have received funding to find ways to decrease marine mammal entanglements. One project will consider how the gear “behaves” under a range of conditions, document regional or situational differences gear configuration and establish a basis for gear and fishing practice modifications, led by the industry. The second project involves a two-day workshop to go over the results from the first project, generate ideas for gear modifications and then test those changes.


IN BRIEF – Nominations for 2017 Seafood Champion Awards Open – October 3, 2016
Washington, DC – SeaWeb announced on October the 3rd of 2016 the opening of nominations for the 2017 Seafood Champion Awards.

Commandant says Coast Guard modernizing at fastest pace in decades
Seattle Times by Hal Bernton – October 2, 2016
Traveling to the Pacific Northwest last month, Coast Guard Commandant Paul Zukunft checked out the Bluebell, a 71-year-old Coast Guard tender that continues to service navigation aids along the Willamette, Columbia and Snake rivers.

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October 4, 2016