Bristol Bay Borough working with processors ahead of 2020 salmon fish season amid COVID-19 concerns KDLG by Tyler Thompson - March 27, 2020 In a special meeting by the Bristol Bay Borough, assembly members declared a local emergency response to recieve funding from state and federal government. Community members phoned in to share thoughts about the upcoming salmon fish season. https://www.kdlg.org/post/bristol-bay-borough-working-processors-ahead-2020-salmon-fish-season-amid-covid-19-concerns Video: Bristol Bay’s Andy Wink on 2020 salmon season, covid-19 preparations, Pebble Mine National Fisherman by Jessica Hathaway - March 31, 2020 I sat down this morning for a quick interview with Andy Wink, executive director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, on what the association is doing to prepare for the 2020 season. https://www.nationalfisherman.com/alaska/video-bristol-bays-andy-wink-on-2020-salmon-season-covid-19-preparations-pebble-mine/ Industry And COVID-19: WSI/ASI Lead In Prevention And Preparedness KUCB by Caroline Lester - March 28, 2020 As Alaska braces for an increase in coronavirus patients, Unalaska's processing industry is adjusting to the new norms. There are four major processing plants currently operating in Unalaska: UniSea, Westward Seafoods Incorporated (WSI), Alyeska Seafoods Incorporated (ASI), and Icicle Seafoods. https://www.kucb.org/post/industry-and-covid-19-wsiasi-lead-prevention-and-preparedness US seafood industry gets $300 million in coronavirus relief, hopes for more protections Anchorage Daily News by Laine Welch - March 31, 2020 The U.S. seafood industry received a $300 million assist from the $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress on March 27, and a wide coalition of industry stakeholders is hoping for more. https://www.adn.com/business-economy/2020/03/31/us-seafood-industry-gets-300-million-in-covid-19-relief-hopes-for-more-protections/ National Community-supported fisheries rush to pivot models as coronavirus cuts off restaurant clients National Fisherman by Samuel Hill - March 26, 2020 With restaurants across the country shuttered COVID-19 outbreak restrictions, the seafood supply chain in most regions has grinded to halt. Fishermen are stuck with their catch left unsold and their boats tied up. https://www.nationalfisherman.com/northeast/community-supported-fisheries-rush-to-pivot-models-as-coronavirus-cuts-off-restaurant-clients/ COVID-19: Updated Compendium of Closures/Meeting Changes Seafood News - March 30, 2020 Several state and federal agencies and private businesses made announcements over the past month about closures and changes to schedules or logistics due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. SeafoodNews.com staff broke the story about the coronavirus in January and have kept our readers updated about how the pandemic is affecting the seafood industry. In that vein, the SeafoodNews staff is keeping a list of meeting and event changes and announcements that could affect your business. We will update the list as new announcements are made and include links to additional information. Updated at 10:15 a.m. EDT, Wednesday, April 1, 2020 The New England Fishery Management Council has closed its Newburyport, Mass.-based office until further notice. Council staff is teleworking full time. All staff members are responding to emails and phone calls from home. Phones calls that come into the Council’s telephone system are being forwarded to staff members. Regarding meetings, Council held several advisory panel and committee meetings in March by webinar and will continue to do so in April and beyond if needed based on state and federal guidance. Additionally, the full Council will meet by webinar on April 14-15. The Council meeting webinar instructions and agenda can be found here: https://www.nefmc.org/calendar/april-2020-council-meeting . General information about other Council activities and meetings can be found at https://www.nefmc.org/ (click on "calendar"). The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council has updated its website with advisory panel and committee webinars scheduled for April and the beginning of May. Some of those panels and committees include the Citizen Science Operations Committee, the Socio-Economic Panel, the Information & Education Advisory Panel, the Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel, the Habitat Protection & Ecosystem-Based Management Advisory Panel, the Scientific & Statistical Committee and the public hearings about establishing additional special management zones in North and South Carolina. Details about the dates and instructions to register are online at: https://safmc.net/meeting-materials/ . The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council's Standing, Reef Fish, Mackerel, Ecosystem, and Socioeconomic Scientific and Statistical Committees will meet to discuss the MRIP Fishing Effort Survey and its calibration to historical catch and effort data in July; it was originally planned for April 14-15. The workshop will convene from 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8 and Thursday, July 9, at the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel located at 4200 Jim Walter Blvd., Tampa, FL 33607. More information and webinar registration is available here: https://gulfcouncil.org/press/2020/council-to-hold-a-marine-recreational-information-program-mrip-workshop-with-its-scientific-and-statistical-committees/ . Additionally, the Ad Hoc Red Snapper/Grouper-Tilefish IFQ Advisory Panel meeting for April 21 has been cancelled. Updated at 11:25 a.m. EDT, Monday, March 30, 2020 Throughout the COVID-19 situation, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will continue to support Canadians and Canadian businesses to deliver critical services that serve to preserve the integrity of Canada's food safety system while safeguarding its animal and plant resource base. To do this, its offices will be open by appointment only. Information on local offices and how to make appointments can be found here: https://inspection.gc.ca/covid-19/cfia-information-for-industry/eng/1584462704366/1584462704709#a5. The April 15-16, California Fish and Game Commission meeting will be held via webinar and teleconference. Pursuant to Executive Order N-29-20, commissioners may participate in meetings remotely. The public may observe, provide public comment during the public comment periods, and observe remotely. As always, there will also be a live stream (webcast) for viewing and/or listening only. The agenda is now available on the Commission's website at http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=177983&inline. Updated at 10:44 a.m. EDT, Thursday, March 26, 2020 As of March 18, Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game offices and fish hatcheries are closed to the public until further notice. Boat ramps and fishing areas overseen by DFG’s Office of Fishing and Boating Access remain open to the public for general use. Gov. Charlie Baker's Emergency Order on March 23 required all businesses and organizations that do not provide essential services to close; fishery labor necessary to produce domestic food supplies and workers supporting the seafood and fishing industry are considered essential businesses. Information on Fish and Game office closures can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/alerts/department-of-fish-and-game-offices-are-closed-to-the-public#undefined . Information about Massachusetts essential businesses can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-essential-services. Updated at 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 25, 2020 Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's recent executive order to slow the spread of COVID-19 mandated that, as of today, all Oregon state executive branch offices and buildings, including the Department of Agriculture, Department of Fish and Wildlife, temporarily close to the public. Services will be provided by phone, email, or online as much as possible. When public services require in-person interactions, members of the public should call ahead to make an appointment. The order requires social distancing measures (at least six feet between people) to be implemented and enforced. Updated at 1 a.m. Tuesday, March 24, 2020 The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's Oregon Task Force meeting originally scheduled for April 2 in Florence, Ore., will has been postponed indefinitely: https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/oregon-activities . The National Marine Fisheries Service West Coast Region requests any fishermen applying for permits submit their application packets via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Most NOAA employees have been put on mandatory telework to limit exposure and reduce the spread of the coronavirus and may not be able to process paper permit applications received through the mail in a timely manner. Application fee checks should still be mailed to the NMFS Permits Office. Applicants should also eliminate any identifiable or sensitive information such as social security number, date of birth or tax ID number) on the permit forms. For more information, contact NMFS West Coast Region at 206-526-6140 or visit the website at www.fisheries.noaa.gov. Effective immediately and until further notice, access to all Northeast Fisheries Science Center buildings is restricted to employees and to visitors and deliveries that are deemed essential to the Center's mission. This policy is in force at all of the Center's locations: Orono Field Station, Maine Woods Hole Laboratory facilities in Woods Hole and Falmouth, including the Woods Hole Science Aquarium, Mass. Narragansett Laboratory, Rhode Island Milford Laboratory, Conn. James J. Howard Laboratory, Sandy Hook, NJ The majority of staff are teleworking to the maximum extent possible, and a few are working in the buildings to keep critical functions and operations moving. All meetings and events for March and several in April have been canceled or postponed. (https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USNOAAFISHERIES/bulletins/282ccc5) Updated at 10:12 a.m. EDT Monday, March 23, 2020 The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hold upcoming meetings of its advisory panels and the Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee and Socio-Economic Panel via webinar. Council staff continue to work on the Council's business through telecommuting, conference calls and webinars. The meetings via webinar are open to the public and registration is required. Meeting agendas, overviews, and briefing book materials will be posted on the Council's website two weeks prior to each meeting. Online comment forms will also available. A link to all the advisory panel meetings and information is online at: https://safmc.net/safmc-meetings/current-advisory-panel-meetings/ Information and Education Advisory Panel: April 14-15 Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel: April 15-17 Habitat Protection and Ecosystem-Based Management Advisory Panel: April 22 Scientific and Statistical Committee https://safmc.net/safmc-meetings/scientific-and-statistical-committee-meetings/ SSC Socio-Economic Panel Meeting: April 8-9 Scientific and Statistical Committee Meeting: April 29 - May 1 Updated at 10:53 a.m. EDT Friday, March 20, 2020: The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife public Dungeness crab meetings originally scheduled for March 26 and April 29 at the Montesano City Hall will now be conducted online. The department will provide instructions on how to participate online soon. WDFW's overall guidance on public meetings is available at: https://wdfw.wa.gov/news/washington-department-fish-and-wildlife-switches-online-format-future-public-meetings-due. The California Fish and Game Commission's March 23 teleconference meeting has been revised to remove the in-person participation location in Sacramento. Consistent with Gov. Newsom's Executive Order N-29-20, the public and Commissioners will participate in the meeting exclusively by teleconference. The revised agenda, which includes call-in instructions, is available at: http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=177820&inline. The Maine Department of Marine Resources is postponing all aquaculture hearings and scoping sessions through May 1. Applicants and other stakeholders affected by this measure will receive updates as the situation evolves. The Department is also postponing all aquaculture pre-application meetings through April 1. After that time, DMR will re-evaluate scheduling pre-application meetings. Additionally, Applicants cannot schedule scoping sessions from the effective date listed above through May 1. Applicants interested in scheduling a pre-application meeting should contact Angel Wilson at Angel.Wilson@maine.gov or 207-350-7902. Updated at 11:49 a.m. EDT Thursday, March 19, 2020: The Greater Atlantic Region is fully staffed and operational. However, access to GARFO buildings is currently restricted to employees and essential services. For more information contact the Region via email (email@example.com) or phone (978) 281-9300. Most staff are teleworking and a few are working in the buildings to keep critical functions and operations moving. https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/about/greater-atlantic-regional-fisheries-office Most North Pacific Fishery Management Council staff are teleworking, according to its updated operations status Wednesday, March 18. The notice at https://www.npfmc.org/wp-content/PDFdocuments/meetings/coronavirus.pdf details which committees will meet and whether by conference call, webinar or are tentatively scheduled for in-person meetings. Council leadership will decide in mid-April regarding the June Council meeting, logistics and critical items to consider. The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s April meeting will be conducted by webinar only. This webinar-based meeting replaces the in-person meeting previously scheduled to be held in Galloway, New Jersey. Because of the revised format, several non-essential agenda items have been postponed, and the meeting has been shortened to occur over two days (April 7-8). The agenda, briefing book information, webinar instructions and online public comment forms can be found here: http://www.mafmc.org/briefing/april-2020 . The Caribbean Fishery Management Council has canceled several meetings, including the District Advisory Panel meeting on March 25; the Scientific and Statistical Committee meeting April 14-16; and the regular Council meeting scheduled for April 21-22. More information is online at: https://www.caribbeanfmc.com/meeting-documents Updated at 1:22 p.m. EDT Wednesday, March 18, 2020: Access to all Maine Department of Marine Resources facilities in Augusta, West Boothbay Harbor, Bangor, Lamoine, Jonesboro, and Rockland will be by appointment only. Contact information for DMR staff can be found at https://www.maine.gov/dmr/about/employees.html. Pacific Fishery Management Council's salmon hearings in Washington, Oregon and California will be conducted via RingCentral webinar only, at the following links: Washington (Westport): https://www.pcouncil.org/events/public-hearings-on-salmon-management-alternatives-westport/ Oregon (Coos Bay): https://www.pcouncil.org/events/public-hearing-on-salmon-management-alternatives-coos-bay/ California (Eureka): https://www.pcouncil.org/events/public-hearing-on-salmon-management-alternatives-eureka/ Instructions for joining a RingCentral online meeting can be found at: https://www.pcouncil.org/documents/2020/02/how-to-join-a-ringcentral-meeting-webinar.pdf/ Updated at 9:49 a.m. EDT Wednesday, March 18, 2020: The Pacific Fishery Management Council and its advisory bodies will meet April 4‐10, 2020 by webinar only, to address issues related to groundfish, salmon, Pacific halibut, coastal pelagic species, and administrative matters. The April 4-10, 2020 Council meeting notice at https://www.pcouncil.org/council_meeting/april-3-10-2020-council-meeting/ will be updated with agendas and webinar instructions prior to the meeting. NOAA Fisheries canceled the NOAA Open House that was planned for Saturday, March 21, at the Pascagoula, Miss., lab (https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/event/canceled-noaa-fisheries-pascagoula-mississippi-laboratories-offers-open-house) The NOAA Fisheries Teacher Workshop for Middle School Science Teachers in Honolulu, Hawaii on March 26 has been canceled. (https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/event/cancelled-teacher-workshop-middle-school-science-teachers-2020) The St. Petersburg, Florida, NOAA Southeast Fisheries Permit Office walk-up window at 263 13th Ave. S., is closed effective immediately, and will remain closed until further notice. The Southeast Fisheries Permit Office encourages all eligible permit holders to use the 24/7 online permit system for renewal applications at: https://portal.southeast.fisheries.noaa.gov/seroapplication/ . The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has made additional changes to its operations. The North of Falcon salmon season-setting process will be updated regularly at https://wdfw.wa.gov/nof for the latest information about when meetings or presentations will take place, as well as ways to provide public comment. Information from previous meetings will also be available there. In addition, fish hatcheries and regional offices' public spaces are closed until further notice. Regional staff will not be available for walk-in service at regional offices but are still available by phone and the public is encouraged to call for guidance on particular issues. (https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/covid-19-updates) The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is closing public access to state-operated fish hatcheries so staff can continue to run the 33 hatcheries that raise millions of fish. (https://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2020/03_mar/031720.asp) Updated at 10:42 EDT Tuesday, March 17, 2020: The California Fish and Game Commission cancelled the San Diego in-person location for the Tuesday, March 17, Marine Resources Committee meeting. The committee co-chairs will remotely via teleconference and webinar. At least two commission staff will participate from the Santa Rosa public location. The meeting will be available via teleconference and webinar for public participation. The revised agenda, including information on how to participate remotely, is online: http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=177566&inline. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council's Shrimp Advisory Panel will meet via webinar from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. EST on Tuesday, March 24, with an abbreviated agenda. The agenda includes a biological review of the Texas closure and modifications to skimmer trawl regulations. The agenda and a link to register for the meeting can be found here: https://gulfcouncil.org/meetings/ap/shrimp-advisory-panel_mar-2020/ . Urner Barry's Executive Conference in Las Vegas has been postponed to Oct. 4-5, 2020 (it was originally scheduled for April 26-28). The event remains scheduled at the Bellagio. For more details, see: https://www.urnerbarry.com/executive/pdf/ub_executive_conference_postponed_2020.pdf Updated at 1 a.m. EDT Monday, March 16, 2020: North Pacific Fishery Management Council's April meeting (March 30-April 5) is canceled for the Council and its advisory bodies. (https://www.npfmc.org/wp-content/PDFdocuments/meetings/coronavirus.pdf) Pacific Fishery Management Council's April meeting and all advisory body meetings originally scheduled for April 4-10 in Vancouver, Wash., will be held by webinar, likely with abbreviated agendas. (https://www.pcouncil.org/documents/2020/03/april-4-10-council-meeting-advisory-body-meetings-and-march-salmon-public-hearings-will-be-held-by-webinar.pdf/) The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council's March30-April 2 meeting has been canceled (https://gulfcouncil.org/press/2020/gulf-council-meeting-cancelled/). Several New England Fishery Management Council advisory bodies and committees have been transitioned to webinars. The NEFMC's April 14-16 meeting in Mystic, Conn., is still scheduled to take place. However, Council staff is monitoring the situation as it evolves and may also convert the full Council meeting to a webinar. (https://s3.amazonaws.com/nefmc.org/NEFMC-Converts-In-Person-Meetings-to-Webinars.pdf) The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting scheduled for March 20 has been canceled (https://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2020/03_mar/031320c.asp). The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission meetings will be held virtually, including all salmon outreach meetings. (https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/management/north-falcon/public-meetings) Washington Gov. Jay Inslee mandated all bars and restaurants close with the exception of restaurants providing take-out service to customers. At the same time, public gatherings of more than 50 people will not be permitted (https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-statement-statewide-shutdown-restaurants-bars-and-limits-size-gatherings-expanded) The Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission postponed its in-person Commission meeting last week and will hold an online meeting instead on March 18 (www.oregondungeness.org). The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's Oregon Task Force meeting originally scheduled for April 2 in Florence, Ore., will be changed to an online/webinar format. More information will be available online at: https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/oregon-activities . https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1166427/COVID-19-Updated-Compendium-of-Closures-Meeting-Changes Federal Register Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation of Pollock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 04/01/2020 NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amounts of the Aleut Corporation's pollock directed fishing allowances from the Aleutian Islands subarea to the Bering Sea subarea directed fisheries. These actions are necessary to provide opportunity for harvest of the 2020 total allowable catch of pollock, consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/04/01/2020-06813/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-reallocation-of-pollock-in-the-bering-sea-and Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in the West Yakutat District of the Gulf of Alaska A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 04/01/2020 NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in the West Yakutat District of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2020 total allowable catch of pollock in the West Yakutat District of the GOA. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/04/01/2020-06785/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-pollock-in-the-west-yakutat-district-of-the-gulf
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