Alaska/Pacific Coast

Southeast Purse Seiners Make Record Haul of Chums; Some Boats Double Their Income in a Day
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton – September 10, 2018
The purse seine fleet in St. Petersburg and Sitka had a record haul August 30, landing 1.3 million fish in two openings.  The first opening at Crawfish Inlet, south of Sitka, produced 980,000 chums, a state record.

The totals were announced by the Northern Seacoast Regional Aquaculture Association, which manages the chum hatcheries in the area.
The run total to date is about 2.1 million fish and will likely hit 2.5 million or better. This is three times the size of last years return. Cost recovery continued until  Sept. 4th, and a common property opening was scheduled for Sept. 6th, said NSRAA manager Steve Reifenstuhl.

He also said the troll fishery at West Crawfish continues to be robust with 25 boats and a total harvest of 175,000 chum.

With the poor returns of pink salmon to the Southeast, the return of the Hatchery chums, representing 3 and 4 year old fish, was welcome. According to Reifenstuhl, some harvesters were able to double their seasonal income in a single day.

Icicle’s processing plant in St. Petersburg will still be able to handle the chums, although the bulk of their 400 workers left Sept. 1st.

Despite the departure of processing workers, Patrick Wilson, Icicle Seafoods manager told the St. Petersburg Pilot that they will be able to handle the chums coming in from Crawfish Inlet. “We can still do chums, Wilson commented.

“We just wish the run came in two weeks earlier,” before workers were being sent home, he said.

Wilson said his staff can still take care of the catch. “Anything to keep the fleet fishing,” he added.

He said  100 production workers were still on hand, and would be able to handle the fish.


US and Canadian negotiators reach tentative deal over Pacific salmon
KTOO by Jacob Resneck – September 6, 2018
Diplomats are reviewing a Pacific salmon treaty deal. Negotiators from Canada and the United States reached the tentative deal over Pacific salmon almost two weeks ago.

Wait, So How Much of the Ocean Is Actually Fished?
One prominent study said 55 percent, its critics say 4 percent, and they both used the same data.
The Atlantic by Ed Yong – September 10, 2018
How much of the world’s oceans are affected by fishing? In February, a team of scientists led by David Kroodsma from the Global Fishing Watch published a paper that put the figure at 55 percent—an area four times larger than that covered by land-based agriculture. The paper was widely covered, with several outlets leading with the eye-popping stat that “half the world’s oceans [are] now fished industrially.”

ASMI to USTR: Remove Alaska Seafood from List of Chinese Imports Slated for Higher Tariffs
SEAFOODNEWS.COM – September 10, 2018
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute sent a letter to Robert Lighthizer, the  United States Trade Representative late last week explaining that the administration’s intent to slap higher tariffs on a list of another $200 billion of China’s exports to the U.S. includes some U.S.-caught fish. ASMI described the important role that China’s re-processing industry has in getting Alaska seafood distributed around the world.

“Ultimately, the cost of the additional 10 to 25 percent duty on seafood products from China would be felt not by the Chinese, but instead by American companies, Alaska fishermen and U.S. customers,’ Alexa Tonkovitch pointed out. Tonkovitch is the Director of ASMI.

“A number of the products identified in the proposed modification are U.S. seafood products, wild-caught in U.S. waters by U.S. fishermen. China’s reprocessing sector is critical to the overall health of the Alaska industry because it provides a diverse and extensive processing base. We rely on this component of operations to remain price competitive in the global and U.S. market, where Alaska seafood is already an expensive alternative to imported species,” she said.

The Alaska seafood industry harvests 5-6 billion pounds of seafood a year, or 60 percent of the total U.S. seafood harvest, and well over half of the U.S. exports of seafood.

A high percentage of the pollack, salmon, and other species are shipped to China for re-processing, packaging, and shipping to markets in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

“The Alaska seafood industry has invested decades of time and resources in establishing safe, productive processing capacity in China, subject to rigorous audits of labor practices,” Tonkovitch remarked. “Alaska seafood species that undergo secondary processing in China are subject to strict seafood safety regulations that require 3rd party audits to ensure safe processing and handling of Alaska seafood.

Addressing the idea that U.S. seafood processors can move their Chinese plants to other countries, Tonkovitch said, “Shifting processing away from China is not feasible. Further, such a shift would not make the Alaska seafood industry more competitive in global markets. With increased tariff costs on our seafood imports, our customers will likely turn to lower cost supply chains and protein sources, which are readily available from foreign competitors.

ASMI encouraged the USTR to minimize tariffs on U.S. seafood products in key global markets, including China.

“We recognize China is not currently a free and fair market and support the U.S. Government’s intent to level the playing field between the U.S. and China by reforming trade terms. Prior to the June 6th tariff announcement by the USTR and China’s retaliatory actions, the Alaska seafood industry was optimistic about increasingly favorable terms of trade for Alaska seafood products.

“China had made steady progress towards trade parity on seafood, taking steps to reduce the tariff imbalance for seafood products between the two countries. On June 1, 2018 the Chinese Ministry for Finance announced a tariff cut for more than 200 seafood import items including frozen pollock, cod fillets, sockeye salmon and halibut, all products of Alaska,” Tonkovitch said.

Finally, Tonkovitch said that if the U.S. Government proceeds with tariff increases, ASMI asks that the Trade representative exclude over 50 seafood items from the additional 10 to 25 percent duty.


Alaska companies release private data for global seabed mapping project
Alaska Public Media by Rashah McChesney – September 7, 2018
What does the bottom of the ocean look like? A global collaboration of public and private groups are working to figure that out. The goal is to completely map the seafloor by the year 2030 and three Alaska companies are pitching in.


AFDF Calls for Seafood Products for the 26th Alaska Symphony of Seafood
SEAFOODNEWS.COM – September 11, 2018
WRANGELL, Alaska — For more than a quarter century, the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation (AFDF) has hosted a competition for new value-added products made from Alaska Seafood.

Today ASMI issued the Call for Product for the 26th annual Alaska Symphony of Seafood in 2019. The overall goal of the competition is to inspire innovative ways to fully utilize and increase the value of Alaska’s seafood.

Entry forms and fees are due by October 19, 2018. Each product entered in the competition is grouped into one of four categories: Retail, Foodservice, Beyond the Plate, and Beyond the Egg.

“A significant portion of the value and health benefits in any fishery resource is found in the byproducts and roe. The Symphony is continuing to encourage and promote new product development in these particular categories which has an overall effect of increasing the value of the resource, improving nutritional output, and reducing waste – a win‐win‐win,” said Julie Decker, Executive Director of AFDF.

“We are pleased to continue to offer these categories, Beyond the Plate and Beyond the Egg, which also reflect exciting recent trends and investments in the seafood industry.”

Product entries are individually evaluated by a panel of expert judges during a private judging session. Evaluations are based on the product’s packaging, presentation, overall eating experience, price and potential for commercial success.

First, second and third place winners from each category are awarded, as well as an overall grand prize, Seattle People’s Choice and Juneau People’s Choice. First place winners also receive complimentary booth space, as well as free airfare, provided by Alaska Air Cargo to and from the Seafood Expo North America (SENA), the industry’s biggest event of the year.

Southeast sport fishing lodge owner appointed to halibut commission
KBBI by  Aaron Bolton – September 7, 2018
An Alaskan from the sport fishing industry has been appointed to the International Pacific Halibut Commission or IPHC. Richard Yamada was appointed to the commission along with Robert Alverson of Seattle, who currently serves as one of the U.S.’s three commissioners.

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
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Phone: 206.281.1667
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September 11, 2018