Increased Kenai River sockeye escapement goals before Board of Fish KTUU by Grant Robinson - February 10, 2020 ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Proposals to increase escapement goals for Kenai River late-run sockeye salmon drew passionate response from stakeholders during the Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting in Anchorage Monday morning. https://www.ktuu.com/content/news/Increased-Kenai-River-sockeye-escapement-goals-before-Board-of-Fish-567751721.html Fish dip: Commission cuts Pacific halibut quotas based on sex study National Fisherman by Jessica Hathaway - February 11, 2020 As expected, the International Pacific Halibut Commission set quotas down for 2020 at its annual meeting in Anchorage last week. https://www.nationalfisherman.com/alaska/fish-dip-commission-cuts-pacific-halibut-quotas-based-on-sex-study/ Fish Factor: Commercial fisheries aid subsistence, personal use harvesters Cordova Times by Laine Welch - February 8, 2020 Alaska gets a good return on investment from its commercial fisheries. And surprise! Commercial fisheries expertise also sustains Alaska’s subsistence and most of the personal use fisheries. https://www.thecordovatimes.com/2020/02/08/fish-factor-commercial-fisheries-aid-subsistence-personal-use-harvesters/ Environment/Science Ghost fishing gear, 'snowdrifts' of foam major hurdles in ocean cleanup: B.C. government report Fishing nets, buoy balls, plastic net bags, oyster trays, and long lines are just some of the marine debris choking wildlife and breaking down to micro plastics in the ocean. So what can B.C. do about it? Vancouver Sun by Tiffany Crawford - February 7, 2020 Derelict fishing gear, abandoned boats, and “snowdrifts” of plastic foam are some of the enormous challenges B.C. communities are facing when it comes to cleaning up marine debris, according to a B.C. government report. https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/ghost-gear-snowdrifts-of-foam-major-hurdles-in-ocean-cleanup-b-c-government-report Oregon, Washington Making Crab Fishery Changes to Minimize Entanglements SeafoodNews.com by Susan Chambers - February 11, 2020 Potential whale entanglements are changing the way Dungeness crab fishermen can fish. California already is subject to court-ordered season changes. Washington and Oregon are proposing or implementing new requirements for this season and into the future. Industry notices to Washington crabbers this month detailed reduced pot limits that will take effect in May and annually after that. Between May 1 and Sept. 15, Washington crab licenses with a permanent pot limit of 500 will be reduced to 330 pots; licenses with permanent pot limits of 300 will be reduced to 200 pots. Additionally, crabbers fishing after May 1 must have summer buoy tags attached to their gear. Each tag costs $1.25. "The intent of these changes is to reduce the risk of whales becoming entangled in commercial crab gear by reducing the number of lines in the water during the peak time when humpback whales are present off the Washington coast," the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said in an industry notice this week. At the same time, the Department made changes to its replacement tag program, eliminating the second period for replacement tags. The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the changes at its January meeting. It also approved requiring crabbers use only the amount of line necessary to compensate for ocean conditions. Like the best practices promoted by California and Oregon in the interim before formal rulemaking, Washington formally adopted this change effective March 1. The idea is to reduce the slack line at the surface -- that excess line has been shown to increase the risk of entangling whales. After extensive public comment and meetings with industry over the last two years, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is proposing a package of short-term and long-term proposals to reduce the entanglement risks. The package, similar to Washington, includes gear reductions of 80 percent effective May 1, late-season buoy tags and requiring taut lines. Unlike Washington, Oregon may also consider a 30-fathom depth restriction beginning June 1. That is, gear could not be placed seaward of the 30-fathom line. The Department held a conference call with industry advisers earlier in the month and may modify some of the proposals based on feedback. As the ideas circulated among the fleet afterward, some fishermen, particularly those with smaller vessels or who depend on the spring and summer fisheries, were concerned. They depend on the limited availability of crab during those months when the weather starts to calm down to keep their crews employed and keep crab coming to coastal markets, they said. This year, a series of winter storms kept many of the smaller boats from fishing until late January or early February -- and by that time, most of the crab was already caught, eliminating the chance for many smaller vessels to even set their gear. The Department said another short-term goal is to continue education outreach to the industry to encourage best practices and encourage fishermen to participate in disentanglement training. Both Oregon and Washington also have plans to require line marking in the 2020-21 season, to make it easier to identify from which state and fishery a line originates on any whale that becomes entangled. The three states and National Marine Fisheries Service plan to coordinate the line marking changes over the summer. https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1163744/Oregon-Washington-Making-Crab-Fishery-Changes-to-Minimize-Entanglements FYI’s GAPP Launches Wild Alaska Pollock Sandwich in 7-Eleven® Stores GAPP - February 10, 2020 SEATTLE, Wash.—As part of its third round of the North American Partnership Program, 7-Eleven will launch a new Wild Alaska Pollock Fish Sandwich menu item in participating U.S. stores, the Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP) announced today. The herb-crusted Wild Alaska Pollock (WAP) fillet with American cheese and tartar sauce on a buttery bun will be available until April 20, 2020 and will retail for $2.49. Consumers looking for a Lenten meat alternative can purchase the product for a promotional price of $2 on Fridays through the 7REWARDS loyalty app. https://www.alaskapollock.org/about-us/news/gapp-launches-wild-alaska-pollock-sandwich-in-7-eleven-stores
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