Alaska/Pacific Coast

Assembly Approves Joint Letter on Gulf Trawl Bycatch Management
KMXT by Jay Barrett – September 27, 2016
The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly held a special meeting on Thursday night with one purpose: to review and pass a letter it is sending to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. The letter, being sent in conjunction with the City of Kodiak, is in regards to the rules the fishery council is promulgating to manage Gulf of Alaska trawl bycatch.

New Funds for Electronic Monitoring Project
Fishermen’s News – September, 28, 2016
The North Pacific Fisheries Association, in Homer, Alaska, has received a $595,047 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant to support pre-implementation of electronic monitoring on up to 30 vessels in the Alaska Pacific cod fixed gear fishery.

Kodiak Seiner Heads South in Search of Anchovy
Fishermen’s News – October 1, 2016
Anchovy and sardines are the world’s single largest fisheries by landed tonnage. Photo by Peter Marsh.
The 58-foot combo-seiner F/V Anthem was launched in 2012 at Hansen Boat Company in Everett, Washington, and is based in Kodiak, Alaska, where it follows a predictable Alaskan schedule: purse-seining for salmon in summer, trawling and pot-fishing in winter. But 2016 has not been a typical year, beginning with a forecast for salmon in Prince William Sound that wasn’t encouraging. The boat’s co-owners, Sam Mutch and Matt Hegge, started considering alternatives and consulted with their herring spotter Frank Foode.

Few Options Left for Industry to Avoid Multi-Year Closure of (Bairdi) Tanner Crab in the Bering Sea
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – September 28, 2016
Unless the Alaska Board of Fish agrees to schedule an emergency hearing on bairdi (tanner) crab in the next 11 days, the industry is looking at no season until 2019 at the earliest.

This summer’s survey showed the female population of bairdi below a threshold for Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game to calculate a total allowable catch (TAC) for the upcoming season, which starts on October 15.

“The threshold has to be met for two consecutive years before it can open,” explained Ruth Christianson, Science Advisor for the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers.

Since it was not met this year, both next year’s survey and the 2018 survey would need to surpass that threshold before ADF&G could consider opening the fishery, which targets male crab only.

“Once it reaches that threshold, the TAC is automatically reduced by half. If our petition is denied, that’s what we’re looking at in the 2018-19 season, best case scenario,” Christianson said.

The Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers filed an emergency petition earlier this month, asking the Alaska Board of Fish to reconsider their harvest policy for tanner crab. The cities of Unalaska and Saint Paul signed on to the petition. The Board of Fish has a month to respond, which would be October 9.

Christianson expects a response sooner. In her letter to Board executive director Glenn Haight, she said, “The Bering Sea Tanner crab harvest strategy is the only harvest strategy for Bering Sea crab species and only harvest strategy for tanner crab throughout the state of Alaska that utilizes a female only threshold for opening a fishery.

“A female only threshold makes little sense for commercial fisheries specifically designed and executed to harvest only mature male crab,” Christiansen wrote. The tanners are “neither overfished or experiencing overfishing,” she said.

“A complete closure of the Bering Sea tanner fishery will have extremely negative socioeconomic impacts on harvesters, processors, coastal communities, and the State of Alaska when this level of revenue is unnecessarily foregone for the next several commercial seasons,” Christiansen said.

Unalaska City Council member Frank Kelty agreed. He’s worried about the loss to the community in sale revenue, grocery and fuel sales when the area’s 65 crab boats are not fishing. “It would be a terrible hit to Unalaska,” Kelty said, “We already have a snow crab fishery that’s possibly in jeopardy, and if we lose the bairdi fishery too … things are looking very bleak,” he said.

Petitioners have also pointed out that the eastern Bering Sea situation is more dire than the western area, and the Board of Fish should consider that when making their determination on a full closure.

According to the policy on Emergency Petition Process, the Alaska Board of Fish needs only two members to agree that a petition merits an emergency hearing. If an emergency meeting is agreed to, that would be the time a decision would be made. It is a rare event, however, that emergency petitions asking to ease the harvest policy are allowed hearings, and rarer still that they are approved.


State, federal managers unsure of next move after salmon decision overturned
Alaska Journal of Commerce by DJ Summers – September 28, 2016
State and federal managers don’t yet know what to expect after the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a 2011 decision by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to remove several Alaska salmon fisheries from federal management plan.

Fishermen, state, in flux after circuit court overturns state control of Cook Inlet salmon
Alaska Public Media by Rashah McChesney – September 28, 2016
In Cook Inlet, managing the salmon runs for commercial, sport and subsistence interests is so controversial, it’s often called a fish war.


Mixing new technology and people power for an accurate count of endangered Steller sea lions
AFSC News by Katie Doptis – September 26, 2016
Fall at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center means researchers are sifting through all the data they collected over the summer months in the field. For the Steller sea lion team that means reviewing hundreds of thousands of photos.

Labeling and Marketing
New Cod Fillets Debut in Washington, Oregon
Fishermen’s News – September 28, 2016
Packages of wild Alaska cod fillets marinated with lemon, herbs and butter from Alaska Leader Fisheries have debuted in nine Costco stores in Washington State and Oregon, and company officials say there are more marinated flavors to come.

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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Phone: 206.281.1667
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September 29, 2016