IPHC Media Release 2023-005 Completion of the 99th Session of the IPHC Annual Meeting (AM099)
International Pacific Halibut Commission - February 9, 2023
SEATTLE - The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) completed its 99th Annual Meeting (AM099) held in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada 23-27 January 2023 with decisions on total mortality limits, fishing period dates, and other fishery regulation changes. A total of 134 members of the public attended the meeting either in-person (78) or remotely (56), in addition to six (6) Commissioners, and 12 contracting party advisors/experts.
The Alaska Ocean Cluster Rebrands as the AFDF Startup Accelerator
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - February 9, 2023
The Alaska Ocean Cluster, founded by the Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association in 2017, will now be part of the Alaska Fisheries Development Association (AFDF), according to a joint statement from the groups released yesterday. The transfer of the Alaska Ocean Cluster from BSFA to AFDF includes a rebranding of the program to the AFDF Startup Accelerator.
“The largest component of Alaska’s Blue Economy is the seafood industry, which has many research and development needs, particularly related to technology,” said Julie Decker, Executive Director of AFDF.
“The Alaska Ocean Cluster has developed a creative approach to support early-stage companies as they grow, partner with industry, and help realize the potential of our maritime industries. AFDF believes that by combining our efforts and expertise, we can unlock more benefits for the seafood industry and coastal communities.
“We are excited to integrate the program with AFDF and look forward to working closely with our members to strengthen and build upon what’s been started,” Decker said.
The Alaska Ocean Cluster is one of a dozen programs nationwide that are focused on sustainable economic development in the Blue Economy, or ocean related activities that “preserve the health of the ocean ecosystem” according to the World Bank. Some examples of other programs, which are supported by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, include Washington Maritime Blue, SeaAhead, and Gulf of Maine Ventures.
In Alaska, the program was founded by the Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association in 2017. Three years later it was revitalized as a startup accelerator in October 2020 by managing directors Garrett Evridge and Taylor Drew Holshouser. The program has supported more than 16 startups, facilitated multiple deployment projects, and built a globe-spanning network of early-stage founders, investors, philanthropists, and strategic partners. In the last two years, the team has:
*Tested salmon bycatch reduction technology in the Bering Sea aboard three pollock trawlers with SafetyNet Technologies, Denali Commission, and Coastal Villages Region Fund.
* Researched the availability of commercially valuable shellfish byproducts present in Alaska with Sandia National Laboratories.
* Supported development of an improved sea ice forecasting model with PolArctic LLC. and Alaska commercial fishermen.
* Worked with the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to improve the commercial crab offloading process.
* Developed and hosted a two-day event focused on technological innovation needs for U.S. commercial fishermen with Seafood Harvesters of America, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Schmidt Marine Technology Partner, among others.
* Presented at public forums including Pacific Marine Expo, ComFish, Alaska Bycatch Reduction Taskforce, Alaska Mariculture Conference, Arctic Encounter, and the Arctic Circle Assembly.
* Secured a resolution of support from the Alaska State legislature.
* Secured funding through 2024 from Builders Vision, an impact platform founded by Lukas and Samantha Walton.
Moving forward, the AFDF Startup Accelerator will be guided by an Industry Advisory Committee in order to bring focus and synergy between its efforts and the priorities for technology, research and development in the Alaska seafood industry.
Garrett Evridge has joined AFDF as Director of the AFDF Startup Accelerator. Taylor Drew Holshouser will remain involved as a senior advisor and mentor with the program, however his primary focus will be on a family investment firm.
One of the projects Evridge managed last summer partnered the Alaska Ocean Cluster and BSFA with Coastal Villages Regions Fund (CVRF) to tackle salmon bycatch in the pollock fleet. The goal was to measure the effectiveness of LED lights around the escape panel in the trawl net. CVRF own shares in three pollock trawlers and these were the vessels used to test the lights on trawl gear.
A series of Pisces bycatch reduction lights from SafetyNet Technologies was attached to the gear, programed to go on when entering the water and off when taken out. During 52 multi-day trips catching 16,000 mt of pollock, a slight reduction in bycatch was correlated to the use of lights. Further research was recommended to confirm light technology as a viable bycatch reduction tool.
“The technology survived difficult working conditions, was described as ‘easy to use’ and gathered valuable information that can be used to support further deployments and engineering refinements,” Evridge said.
"The project is an example of the Denali Commission partnering with legacy industry and a technology start-up to test the viability of novel technology unlikely to be funded exclusively by industry,” he noted.
Originally from Kodiak, Evridge has a BA in economics and a masters in Natural Resources and Applied Economics from the University of Alaska - Fairbanks. He has done a broad range of commercial fishing in Alaska and spent eight years as an economist at McKinley Management before becoming the managing director for the Alaska Ocean Cluster.
Both AFDF and BSFA were founded in the late 1970s to provide support for Alaska’s fishing industry. AFDF is a collaboration of harvesters, processors, and support sector businesses who identify and face seafood industry challenges head-on. Their mission is to develop efficient, sustainable solutions that help the economy, environment and communities. BSFA is focused on the fishing communities in the Arctic, Yukon, Kuskokwim, and Bristol Bay regions of Alaska. Besides strengthening local economies, BSFA also supports long-term ecological integrity.
Valentine’s Day 2023: Salmon to Dominate at Retail, But Same Can’t Be Said For Lobster
Urner Barry by Amanda Buckle - February 9, 2023
Valentine’s Day, a holiday of love… and spending. This year the National Retail Federation reports that consumers are expected to spend $25.9 billion on Valentine’s Day, which is up from $23.9 billion in 2022, and one of the highest spending years on record. But with inflation, is this really a surprise?
Of course many plan on spending money on gifts, like candy, greeting cards and flowers. But the gift of an experience – including dinner – is also at the top of the list for many. Americans reportedly plan on spending nearly $4.4 billion on a special evening out.
“Men, in particular, are more likely to give a gift of experience compared with last year,” explained Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy, Ohil Rist. “Another notable finding is more than half of consumers say they will take advantage of sales and promotions as they celebrate Valentine’s Day this year.”
A focus on sales and promotions may benefit salmon lovers. Chilean fresh fillets are promoted heavily at retail and become a very popular promotional item heading into both Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday. Looking at Urner Barry’s retail data through February 5, promotional activity is up and so is price. Currently, retail features are up over last year by 33% and the most current week’s promotions are 9.4% above the 3-year average. When looking at price, the average retail price for Urner Barry’s retail feature are 11.4% higher through the same time last year.
Salmon has become such a staple at retail and its dominance looks to continue to persist with both higher promotions heading into Valentine’s Day along with higher prices.
The same cannot necessarily be said for live lobster. Valentine’s Day falls during the calendar year when live lobster net supply and inventory shortages are the most pronounced. Winter weather dictates fishing opportunities—or lack thereof. High winds and cold temperatures limit days at sea for fishermen as catch levels taper off. Replacement costs rise as buyers compete for a portion of a finite supply.
This scenario has certainly played out recently in Canada and Maine. Inconsistent trips and lower landings resulted in a push of the shore price in Canada from $8.00 CAD in early January to the current shore price of $12.00 CAD. NE hard shell 1 ¼ lbs. lobsters are trading 29.82% higher since the beginning of this year. However, compared to this time last year, prices are 20.73% lower.
Similar to last year, the rapid rise in replacement costs and subsequent selling prices makes it difficult to feature live lobster for retail promotions for the Valentine holiday. The uncertainty of cost, in addition to the economic pressure that has altered consumer behavior, has retailers either skipping this holiday or taking smaller positions.
Meanwhile in Europe, the impact of Valentine’s Day on European food service may be reduced by price inflation severely hitting the sector. Traditionally, like in the rest of the world, couples dedicate some time together for the occasion, offering each other gifts and enjoying a table for two in a restaurant. However, this year, it may be a different story, for both chefs and guests. The level of inflation this winter on energy, petrol and food prices brings much uncertainty to the HORECA channel in terms of revenue. The latest Eurostat monthly change of the HICP (Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices) for restaurants and hotels in the EU, climbed to +9.8% in December 2022, while standing at +5.0% in February 2022 and +1.0% in February 2021. This level of increase on consumer prices for hotels and restaurants was never registered in the EU since the data started to be compiled in 1997. Restaurants will surely get more bookings this Tuesday, compared to Tuesday last week, but no one can assume that Valentine’s Day would have a strong impact on revenue in February.
At Christmas, even if the volume of consumption was generally satisfactory, we noted a 35% drop for lobster sales in France. In all countries, the menus are carefully planned with more affordable protein ingredients, like chicken. Among the seafood items, shrimps are well positioned, as import prices in December reduced significantly since last year. The 30-40 head-on shell-on vannamei shrimp from Latin America stood at around 5.10 euros per kilo in December 2022, against 6.40 the previous year (CFR quotations from Urner Barry). In this context, shrimps stand as a great seafood option for the Valentine menus, also considering the substantial volumes of inventories currently available in Europe.
'There is a giant piece of missing info': Pollock industry plays guessing game on Russia
US quick-service restaurants are gobbling up premium product, which leaves questions around how much standard pinbone fillet blocks will be available.
Intrafish by Rachel Sapin and Dominic Welling - February 8, 2023
It's a tale of two markets when it comes to pollock prices in the United States and Europe.
While major quick-service restaurants (QSR) in the United States have largely secured their deepskin pollock fillet blocks to meet booming domestic demand, companies in Europe have remained in a wait-and-see mode, hoping Russia will be able to fulfill pinbone-out (PBO) pollock contracts at a lower price.
NOAA researchers probe Petersburg fishermen for climate observations
KFSK by Shelby Herbert - February 8, 2023
Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration visited Petersburg to take the pulse on climate change from the local fishing fleet. About a dozen fishermen came to discuss community resilience under a changing climate.
North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 02/09/2023
The Center of Independent Experts (CIE) review of the Ecosystem Status Reports will be held February 28, 2023, through March 2, 2023.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Amendment 122 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area; Pacific Cod Trawl Cooperative Program
A Proposed Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 02/09/2023
NMFS issues a proposed rule to implement Amendment 122 to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI). Amendment 122 would establish the Pacific Cod Trawl Cooperative Program (PCTC Program or Program) to allocate Pacific cod harvest quota to qualifying groundfish License Limitation Program (LLP) license holders and qualifying processors. The PCTC Program would be a limited access privilege program (LAPP) for the harvest of Pacific cod in the BSAI trawl catcher vessel (CV) sector. This proposed action is necessary to increase the value of the fishery, minimize bycatch to the extent practicable, provide for the sustained participation of fishery-dependent communities, ensure the sustainability and viability of the resource, and promote safety and stability in the harvesting and processing sectors. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the BSAI FMP, and other applicable law.
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