Alaska/Pacific Coast

Western Alaska Users Call on Council to Adopt 60% Reduction in Chinook Salmon By-catch at April Mtg
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [] – April 2, 2015
Five major groups from Western Alaska – the Association of Village Council Presidents, Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association, Kawerak, Incorporated, Tanana Chiefs Conference and the Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association – sent a letter to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council this week calling on them to reduce bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock fisheries. The Council is slated meet in Anchorage next week, and the coalition outlined steps the Council should take to achieve the greatest possible levels of bycatch reduction, including reducing the current cap and performance standard by 60 percent in times of low abundance.

The groups say “Every single Chinook salmon is critical to the future and the rebuilding of these historic runs and is essential to the long-term cultural, nutritional and economic well-being of Western Alaska communities. Reductions in salmon bycatch are needed not only a matter of conservation, but also a matter of equity and basic human rights to food security.”

Chinook salmon runs are in a crisis state throughout Western Alaska. In 2014, even subsistence harvests were closed on the Yukon River, and almost entirely closed on the Kuskokwim River.

Commercial fisheries have been closed for years.

While in-river users are not allowed to harvest Chinook salmon as a critical source of food, economies and cultures, the pollock fishery is legally permitted to kill up to 60,000 Chinook salmon in any two out of seven years without consequence. To rebuild Chinook salmon stocks, all sources of mortality must be reduced, and it is long past time to put a lower limit on Chinook salmon bycatch when runs are this depressed.

Study Suggests Humpies Outcompeting Sockeye Salmon for Food
Fishermen’s News – April 1, 2015
A new study in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences suggests that increased abundance of pink salmon in the North Pacific Ocean is linked to declining trends in sockeye salmon populations.


ASMI’s budget gets a small boost, but ADF&G Cut Further in AK Senate Committee
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Juneau Resources Weekly] by Dave Theirault – April 2, 2015
A tough budget cycle for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute got a bit easier this week as a Senate committee added $850,000 in state support back to the marketing agency’s budget.

Sen. Lyman Hoffman chairs the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development’s finance subcommittee where the ASMI budget is housed. Hoffman represents much of Southwest Alaska including the state’s busiest fishing community, Dutch Harbor. While adding funding back to ASMI, Hoffman cut Alaska Travel Industry Association’s budget by $3 million. He explained that by adding back to ASMI and cutting tourism advertising, overall cuts to the two marketing agencies would be equal on a percentage basis.

One member of the committee seemed surprised by the Hoffman’s moves, questioning the reasoning for the proposal. “Did we have testimony on how they’re related?” asked Sen. Lesil McGuire on bringing the funding reductions funding to both marketing groups at the same percentage basis. “I don’t know equal amounts of reductions are warranted.”

Another lawmaker focused on the fundamental rationale for continued state support of ASMI. “If I got first grabs on the inventory and got subsidized for doing it, I’d probably think that was a good deal,” said Sen. Bill Stoltze characterizing the commercial fishing industry’s benefits from ASMI promotions as a sweetheart deal. ASMI receives a majority of it’s funding from fees self-imposed by the seafood industry. The agency promotes Alaskan seafood nationally and internationally through it’s marketing efforts.

Meanwhile another Senate finance subcommittee rolled out even deeper cuts to the Department of Fish and Game budget beyond those proposed in the House, with commercial fisheries taking the biggest hit. The latest version of the agency’s budget was released late Thursday afternoon and includes another $2.1 million in cuts.

Staff to Sen. Mike Dunleavy, who chaired the committee, reported that total reductions to the Department of Fish and Game now stand at $15 million. Cuts are spread across all of the department’s programs with commercial fisheries taking the largest hit of $815,000, with a half-million dollars of that coming from compliance efforts for the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

The Division of Sport Fisheries is slated to lose just over $500,000. Twelve habitat conservation projects are on the chopping block as is $240,000 for the state’s sport fishery enhancement and hatchery program. One habitat biologist is also being slashed from the Division of Habitat. Thirty-six habitat biologists are still funded.

The budget process is far from over with a final vote in Senate needed and conference committee work awaiting before it heads to Gov. Walker for final approval.


More bad news for B.C.’s wild sockeye
Pink salmon populations augmented by hatchery programs hurt sockeye returns, study finds
Vancouver Sun by Randy Shore – April 1, 2015
Nations around the Pacific Ocean may have to cap the number of hatchery salmon they release if sockeye salmon runs are to return to sustainable levels, according to a new study.

Canadian Study Shows Effects of Sea Lice on Foraging Sockeye Salmon
Fishermen’s News – April 1, 2015
A study published on the web of the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences in late March says high abundances of sea lice affect the foraging abilities of out-migrating juvenile Fraser River sockeye salmon.

Labeling and Marketing

Costco’s change of salmon supplier could affect the sector – April 02, 2015
Giant retailer Costco’s decision to purchase the bulk of its fresh farmed salmon from Norway, instead of buying it from Chile as it has been doing so far, could be affecting the fish marketplace.

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
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Phone: 206.281.1667
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April 2, 2015