Frontiers 157: Bristol Bay Salmon 2018: A Wild Ride KTVA by Rhonda McBride - October 29, 2018 Our goal: to capture the peak of the Bristol Bay sockeye run. We were told to show up in Naknek in the first week of July, and we would see plenty of action. https://www.ktva.com/story/39380750/frontiers-157-bristol-bay-salmon-2018-a-wild-ride Tariff wars: Alaska’s outlook National Fisherman by Alexa Tonkovich - November 1, 2018 The summer of 2018 will be remembered by many in the Alaska seafood industry for the numerous tariff increases enacted by the United States and China on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of products. https://www.nationalfisherman.com/viewpoints/alaska/tariff-wars-alaskas-outlook/ AK Southeast Salmon Drift Gillnet Fishery NOAA Fisheries - November 2018 U.S. fisheries are classified under the Marine Mammal Protection Act according to the level of interactions that result in incidental mortality or serious injury of marine mammals. https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/ak-southeast-salmon-drift-gillnet-fishery Politics In Their Own Words: Dunleavy and Begich Respond to Questions on Alaska’s Seafood Industry SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker - November 1, 2018 Alaska's two candidates for governor responded to seven questions from SeafoodNews, Alaska Fish Radio, the Kodiak Mirror, KMXT, Alaska Sea Grant, and the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce. Here are their responses, released yesterday. 1. What is your long-term vision for Alaska’s seafood industry and what will you look for during the transition? Are there any fishery issues you will be particularly interested in? Dunleavy: “Alaska’s seafood industry is an economic driver for our state. In the long-term, I’d like to see a seafood industry where: • Our coastal communities have a source of jobs and economic activity and are thriving places with working waterfronts. • Our natural resources are turned into value-added products here in the state for maximum value to fishermen and Alaskan jobs. • Alaska seafood is sold throughout the world, broadening our market base, reducing reliance on certain markets and our exposure to exchange rates and trade wars. • More of our fisheries are conducted by Alaskans who will spend their earnings in the state. • We’ve developed product forms and markets for underutilized species and have full utilization of the harvest, broadening our economic base. • We have a stable regulatory environment that allows fishermen and processors to invest in Alaska with comfort. • Our Department of Fish and Game is on the cutting edge of research and management. I’m particularly interested in fisheries issues where we can find creative solutions instead of just fighting the same old fights. As Governor, I would represent all Alaskans. Not just one region or one gear type. I’m going to be interested in hearing from all stakeholders.” Begich: “Alaska’s fishing industry is a critical part of our state’s economy, supporting tens of thousands of jobs – our state’s fisheries are the greatest in the world, and it’s our duty to protect and manage them. Responsible management of our fisheries is critical if we want to make sure our fish stocks are healthy and available for decades to come. “To protect Alaska fisheries, we need to invest in world-class research so we have a clear view of current and long-term needs, including the threat posed by climate change and effective mitigation steps. We must think long-term about every aspect of the industry and the resource, understanding and protecting the needs of commercial fishing, sport fishing, and subsistence users.” “Long-term sustainability of our fisheries is achievable with strong management based on sound science and accurate data. Additionally, we need to protect our coastal fishing communities and the waters that sustain both people and fish. “During the transition, I will continue to solicit new ideas from Alaskans on strengthening our fisheries. As governor, I will reclaim our state’s coastal zone management ability, which the Parnell administration inexplicably surrendered to the federal government – not only will this give us more control over the protection of our fisheries and coast, it will also channel additional federal funding for our state’s use in those efforts.” 2. What qualifications would you look for in a Commissioner of Fish and Game? Begich: “If I’m fortunate enough to be elected, there are several traits and qualifications I will highly value in considering individuals for Commissioner positions – at the top of the list is a commitment to transparency and problem-solving. My approach to governing is action-oriented and responsive to Alaskans’ needs, with a focus on bringing all Alaskans to the table to build consensus and get the job done. Anyone I would consider for a commissioner position must share those values. I’ll listen closely to subsistence users, fishermen, processors, personal use harvesters, and others across the state to find an individual with the knowledge, skills, and temperament to be a successful Commissioner of Fish and Game. “Commercial fishing for salmon, halibut, groundfish, crab, and more is a major part of Alaska’s economy. Subsistence, sport, and personal use fisheries are central to our Alaska lifestyle, tourism, and Alaska Native culture. Alaska must have a Commissioner of Fish and Game dedicated to addressing the tough questions, using data and sound policy, without regard to politics. With that comes the need for strong management skills, particularly with respect to the budget, staff, and deliverables. We must recruit and retain highly talented scientists, analysts, and other public servants to our state government, and commissioners play a vital role in achieving those goals.” Dunleavy: “Given the employee and budget responsibilities, the Commissioner must first and foremost be a strong administrator with proven leadership experience. In addition, demonstration of the following attributes and experience: • Team player in both the cabinet and the department; capable of working collaboratively with other resource commissioners and building a team of competent professionals from which they will take advice. • Broad fisheries background and expertise. • Experience in international, national, and state fisheries management forums. • Recognition of the importance of game in the ADFG portfolio. • Capable of working closely with the legislature on budget and other issues. “I’ve been talking to fishermen and processors all over the state and have asked for characteristics of the qualities they want to see in a Fish and Game commissioner, in a fisheries advisor, and in a Board of Fish or North Pacific Council appointment. I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback and in the transition; I’m going to be looking for new leadership to help set policy for the fishing industry. I’ll be looking for opportunities to appoint those who share my vision for a robust seafood industry and want to secure Alaska’s economic future.” 3. Ecosystem changes are affecting the ocean’s food web. A variety of fish stocks such as cod and pink salmon are significantly reduced and surveys show Bering Sea fish/crab stocks are moving northward. Ocean acidification and water warming threats are looming. Does the state have a role in protecting and sustaining our fisheries from impacts of these ecosystem changes? If so, what would it be? Dunleavy: “The State has a role in addressing environmental conditions that might affect our fisheries. Although documenting oceanographic changes in the North Pacific basin may be beyond our scope and jurisdiction, our scientists can collaborate with those doing the work and learn from their results. “We also have the opportunity through several different forums to influence federal and international prioritization of research and funding. We have scientists on staff that can focus on drawing the correlations between environment and fish stock health. Even if we can’t control the environment, understanding what to expect and how stocks and fishermen will be affected will allow us to make more informed decisions and better adapt to changing conditions.” Begich: “Yes. In Alaska, we are experiencing the impacts of climate change more intensely than almost anywhere else. Alaskans know climate change is real, and we see it around us every day – warming waters, ocean acidification, changing fish patterns, and impacts on our coastal communities. “The state has an important role to play in protecting and sustaining our fisheries and assisting impacted communities. We must be serious about addressing the risks associated with climate change, and central to that is acquiring comprehensive and accurate scientific data. In consultation with fisheries and climate change experts at the University, the state must combine sound data with an effective action plan.” 4. The migration of permits out of rural communities has been continuing for years now. How do you propose to ensure rural access to commercial fishing? Begich: “For years, I have heard about and witnessed the underrepresentation of rural areas of Alaska, at many levels. Rural participation in fisheries management at every level is key, and I believe in leading by example – I am committed to bringing more equity to fisheries management. I also see the need to help young Alaskans succeed in Alaska’s fishing industry. This means stronger programs in fisheries education and financial support to enter and stay in the business. New and increased opportunity is a key component to long-term success for beginning and legacy fishermen as they struggle with rapid changes in the market, the environment, and our culture. “As Governor, I will bring together unique partners such as fishers and tech companies to create greater value for the industry, potentially also increasing safety and efficiency. We will work with the Division of Economic Development to enhance and strengthen the self-sustaining commercial fishing revolving loan program. My administration will work to find ways to reduce Alaska transportation costs, one of the main cost drivers impacting processors and ex-vessel price. Commercial fisheries need to be represented on the University of Alaska Board of Regents, Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, and other educational and business entities. Alaska also needs access to critical support services such as machinists, welders, electricians, and refrigeration techs. And we need to utilize our public education institutions to help grow the next generation of the fishing industry in Alaska.” Dunleavy: “Our rural communities have relied on commercial and subsistence fishing for generations. State loans and grants and infrastructure are examples of ensuring [that] rural residents have continued access to fishing. Part of it starts with state policy but we should also be using our seats on the North Pacific Council effectively to ensure our residents have access to a variety of species, not just salmon.” 5. How would you address funding challenges for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, fishery research, stock assessment surveys and fishery management? Dunleavy: “We need to manage our fisheries based on sound science, and I am committed to providing the resources necessary to support excellent management. Natural resource management is clearly an essential and indispensable function of state government. The funding challenge is obviously tied into the larger imperative of balancing the state’s budget. My approach is to reduce overall state spending to a sustainable level. “I want to focus on the basic priorities of state government, including public safety, schools, roads, and natural resource management. Government spending on programs that are not constitutionally mandated should be scrutinized very carefully to identify savings. We need to eliminate waste and fraud, identify areas where we have duplication of services, privatize certain functions when it’s practical, and implement methods for providing essential government services with greater efficiency. “On the revenue side, we need to focus on the development of our vast lands and natural resources. This holds the key not only for attaining state revenue goals, but also for providing a healthy tax base for local governments. There is no way to escape the reality that we must generate new wealth in Alaska. Otherwise, some of the taxation proposals amount to nothing more than competing schemes for slicing up an ever-smaller pie. We take money from one group of Alaskans and give it to another group and label it a “fiscal plan.” Growing the size of the pie is crucial to avoid this stalemate.” Begich: “Good fisheries management decisions require using the best science available. I support research, management oversight, and data collection. With changes in climate, we have seen drastic shifts in fish returns that raise questions that need to be answered. We must deal with this reality and designate needed state resources to agencies on which we rely. “The agency needs resources to manage appropriately. With fish playing such an important role in Alaska, the agency with management responsibility must be able to do the job expected of them. It’s an overall budget question I am eager to tackle as part of my broader fiscal plan. We cannot cut our way out of the budget situation we are in and cannot expect one of the biggest industries in Alaska to thrive without proper resources.” 6. Many coastal communities rely on fisheries for their local economies. Alaska’s hatchery program enhances fisheries for all user groups. What is your vision for the future of Alaska’s hatchery program? Begich: “Alaska is well-suited to continue developing a viable and sustainable hatchery program, as well as a mariculture industry, where we can enhance fish stocks and produce shellfish and aquatic plants for the long-term benefit of Alaska’s economy, environment, and communities. “I oppose farmed fish and realize we must continue to educate folks about the real difference between hatcheries and fish farming. We can see the progress that has been made with some of the hatcheries as new, state of the art facilities come online. Hatcheries are an important [part] of fisheries in Alaska and can be very successful when coupled with good management and stable funding.” Dunleavy: “Alaska’s hatchery program has been a mainstay of our coastal economy since it was established in the 1970s. Our program was carefully designed to always put wild stocks first. I think it’s fair to acknowledge that there are things we don’t know about the ecosystem and environment, and that’s why I support the research work that’s on-going to learn more about hatchery fish interacting with wild stocks. “I see our hatchery program continuing, with ever evolving research so as the state of knowledge changes we stay at the forefront of responsible management.” 7. Seafood is Alaska’s #1 export. What role would you take as Governor to minimize the impacts from the new tariffs that have been imposed? Dunleavy: “A Governor of one state clearly doesn’t set trade policy for the nation. As Governor, I would work with this administration and our congressional delegation on the tariff issue. Although some seafood is subject to new tariffs, other species and product forms have been exempted. We will continue to work with our seafood companies to identify candidates for exemptions. We will work together with our friends in other food production industries to call for sensible trade policy. As Governor, I will use the Office of International Trade and the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute to increase our presence in alternate markets.” Begich: “Alaska fish is traded on a global market and must be handled with the same attention as other Alaska natural resources. Tariffs on our fish and fish products have enormous negative economic impact – not only do they reduce our exports to our trading partners, but Alaska consumers pay more out of pocket for imported products. We must work for exemptions for Alaska seafood and products, diversify our trading partners, and strongly fund our seafood marketing program so our trade relationships are durable. “As Governor, I won’t sit on the sidelines when national policies hurts Alaska – like Trump’s trade war with China. I’ll bring together a bipartisan group of governors from states like Alaska with strong exports to Asia to pressure the federal government to change course. It’s important the governor fights for our state, no matter the partisan politics.” https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1121779/In-Their-Own-Words-Dunleavy-and-Begich-Respond-to-Questions-on-Alaskas-Seafood-Industry International ANALYSIS: 6 Seafood Markets Trending Higher in October Contrary to Seasonal Pattern SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Lorin Castiglione, Liz Cuozzo, Janice Schreiber & Jim Kenny - November 2, 2018 It’s no secret – October was named National Seafood Month as part of an effort to boost sales during a normally slow time. However, that doesn’t mean that every market struggles during the month. Check out what markets trended higher this October: Tilapia Demand for tilapia, the largest seafood species by volume imported from China into the U.S., was up in October. Prices have been strengthening on both chem-free and moisture added frozen fillet products amid 10% punitive tariffs that were implemented in early October. However, the industry is more concerned about the 25% tariffs that are set to go in place January 1.
Tilapia reached record high prices back in 2014. Soon thereafter demand fell at those high prices, leaving the market flat for about two years. In May of this year we started seeing the market strengthen again, some which can be attributed to a shift in demand from record high pangasius prices. However, while the industry is encouraged at the pickup in demand, many are concerned as to what will unfold under the 25% tariffs. Will history repeat itself and the market fall flat again with notable price increases? Will other countries be able to produce the same quality as Chinese tilapia? Will we see other species such as cod or pollock take over some market share? We will have to wait and see. Stone Crab The stone crab season has just begun with very limited landings which has resulted in extremely high prices. All sizes are trading at their recorded high – a 10-year record. For example, large stone crabs are trading at an average price of $24.00, which is 55.93% higher than this time last year. Initial landings last year were more abundant after Hurricane Irma. Many attributed the strong landings to the hurricane which churned up the water, making it cloudy and giving protection to the crabs as they search for food. However, landings started to diminish by November. Prices steadily increased to a record high of $19 in early December – peak demand time for the holidays. Last year production and price cycle was the exception. Normally, prices start high as the initial landings are inadequate for an active demand. As the weather cools and water currents change, catches should improve. In turn, prices should recede to more reasonable price levels.
Fresh Halibut The western fresh halibut season is coming to a close in early November. Prices have firmed as the fishing conditions become more adverse and landings scarce. Import numbers from Canada for the month of August were down 65.8% from the previous month and are down 38.3% year-over-year. Prices for 20-40 lb. halibut are trading at an average price of $8.25 up from the $7.50 price we saw early this month. That’s a 10% increase. However, prices overall are off from the $9.38 record high seen in 2014, and are trading below their three-year average.
Lobster Tails Lobster tails have been experiencing a strong month this October. Currently supplies of either cold or warm water tails are extremely tight. Demand appears to be easily outstripping supply and sellers report that they are still unable to build supply. For warm water tails, new season production means that product will begin moving through the supply chain quite easily. There’s a decidedly firm bias across all sizes of both Brazil and Caribbean origin tails. Warm water tails quotations are all at 52-week highs with 3-ounce tails from Brazil at an all-time record high this week. 10-12 ounce Caribbean tails are 14.6% higher than this time last year and Brazil is 13.33% higher on the same size.
King Crab Low import volumes out of Russia for king crab has been unfolding throughout 2018. Upward pricing pressure continued this month with most sizes now at record highs. 16-20 Russian red king crab is up 26% from where it was this time last year. The golden king crab market out of both Alaska and Russia has also been seeing upward pricing pressure due to tight supplies.
Red Swimming Crab Meat China’s new red crab meat season started this October and inventories prior to the opening of the new season were already low. With the additional variable of the 10% punitive tariff, and with the 25% punitive tariff on the horizon, this starved market is firm and the undertone extremely firm as well. As product from China comes into the U.S. market, market participants report that product is being sold quickly. As fast as it comes in, it goes out. Many orders are being pushed into 2018 to avoid the higher tariff starting January 1. Pricing on jumbo lump for red swimming crab meat is 34.3% higher than this time last year. All sizes are at record-breaking high-priced levels.
While October is certainly a struggle for the seafood industry overall, these markets prove that you can still have wins – even during a slow month https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1121816/ANALYSIS-6-Seafood-Markets-Trending-Higher-in-October-Contrary-to-Seasonal-Pattern
Federal Register Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Several Groundfish Species in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 11/02/2018 NMFS apportions amounts of the non-specified reserve to the initial total allowable catch (ITAC) and total allowable catch (TAC) of Aleutian Islands (AI) Greenland turbot, Bering Sea (BS) sablefish, Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Alaska plaice, BSAI northern rockfish, BSAI “other flatfish,” BSAI shortraker rockfish, BSAI sculpins, BSAI skates, and Central and Western Aleutian Islands (CAI/WAI) blackspotted/rougheye rockfish in the BSAI management area. This action is necessary to allow the fisheries to continue operating. It is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the fishery management plan for the BSAI management area. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/11/02/2018-23990/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-several-groundfish-species-in-the-bering-sea-and Shipping Act, Merchant Marine, and Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) Provisions; Fishing Vessel, Fishing Facility and Individual Fishing Quota Lending Program A Proposed Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 11/02/2018 The NMFS' Fisheries Finance Program (FFP or Program) proposes to revise the operating rules of the Program and set forth procedures, eligibility criteria, loan terms, and other requirements to add FFP financing to construct fishing vessels or reconstruct fishing vessels in limited access fisheries that are neither overfished or subject to overfishing. NMFS believes that this change will help preserve the economic benefits the nation derives from its commercial fishing fleets. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/11/02/2018-23956/shipping-act-merchant-marine-and-magnuson-stevens-fishery-conservation-and-management-act North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 11/02/2018 The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) Electronic Monitoring Committee will meet November 19, 2018 through November 20, 2018. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/11/02/2018-23979/north-pacific-fishery-management-council-public-meeting FYI’s Council Rejects DOC Proposal To Employ Inmates At Unalaska Fish Plant — For Now KUCB by Laura Kraegel - October 31, 2018 This winter, prison inmates won't be allowed to finish their sentences while working at UniSea's processing plant. http://www.kucb.org/post/council-rejects-doc-proposal-employ-inmates-unalaska-fish-plant-now Gathering will focus on future of salmon Cordova Times - November 1, 2018 An all-day open space technology workshop on the future of salmon is set for Tuesday, Nov. 13, at Change Point Church in Anchorage. https://www.thecordovatimes.com/2018/11/01/gathering-will-focus-on-future-of-salmon/ Open Letter An Open Letter to America’s Chefs National Coalition for Fishing Communities - October 31, 2018 Members of the National Coalition for Fishing Communities have long believed that the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) is one of the great success stories in fisheries management. Originally co-sponsored over 40 years ago by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) and Rep. Gerry Studds (D-Massachusetts), the MSA has become a worldwide model, and is one of the reasons the U.S. has some of the best-managed and most sustainable fish stocks in the world. https://www.savingseafood.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Open-Letter-to-Americas-Chefs.pdf
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