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Friday, May 17, 2024

Alaska Alaska salmon season LIVE: Iconic Copper River salmon fishery opens todayThe industry hopes its fortunes will improve over 2023. Intrafish by Drew Cherry, Rachel Sapin, John Fiorillo - May 16, 2024 Welcome to our live coverage of the 2024 Alaska salmon season. We'll be following the most important fisheries, from Copper River to Bristol Bay to Prince William Sound, and giving you updates on catches, prices and other key events. https://www.intrafish.com/salmon/alaska-salmon-season-live-iconic-copper-river-salmon-fishery-opens-today/2-1-1645527 Federal subsistence Chinook salmon fishery closes on the Stikine River KSTK by Colette Czarnecki - May 16, 2024 The federal subsistence Chinook salmon fishery closed on May 15 until June 20 in the Stikine River. It’s the eighth year in a row the king fishery has closed due to low projected numbers. https://www.kstk.org/2024/05/16/federal-subsistence-chinook-salmon-fishery-closes-on-the-stikine-river/ As Alaska salmon season opens, Silver Bay’s CEO assesses grim times National Fisherman by Wesley Loy - May 15, 2024 The opening of the famed Copper River fishery – it starts this year on May 16 – traditionally marks the beginning of a new commercial salmon season in Alaska. Rather than excitement, however, much of the industry feels apprehension, anxiety, and even anger. Since last year, we’ve seen a procession of negative and worrying developments, leading some to question the future of the salmon business. Alaska's seafood industry is floundering due to factors including glutted markets, unfavorable… https://www.nationalfisherman.com/alaska/as-alaska-salmon-season-opens-silver-bays-ceo-assesses-grim-times *Requires Subscription 17 Industry Groups Ask Congress to Fund North Pacific Fisheries Surveys at No Less Than $15M SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - May 15, 2024 A letter from 17 industry leaders to Senators Patty Murray of Washington and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska urged Congress to “prioritize immediate and long-term funding” for the annual surveys of core commercial fisheries populations in the North Pacific done by the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC).The May 10 letter was based on an earlier letter from the Freezer Longline Coalition (FLC), a trade association representing the owners of 19 longline vessels that target Pacific cod, urging the senators to bolster the survey program with funding and a strategic plan.FLC’s executive director Chad See noted in his April 25 letter how essential collection of data is to support the sustainable management of North Pacific species, which provide “60% of all seafood harvested in the U.S. each year, directly support nearly 50,000 jobs and contribute nearly $16 billion to the U.S. economy.”Just as annual surveys give scientists core data over a long term, missing or delaying surveys may leave scientists in the dark on anomalies that impact a species' health. The cancellation of surveys during Covid meant managers were unaware of a continued, catastrophic drop in Bering Sea snow crab abundance. The head's up they would have gotten in 2019 was not fully realized until 2021, delaying measures to recover the stock and contributing to unintentionally high catch limits.“Stock data aside, North Pacific surveys also generate a wealth of other data that is helping NMFS scientists and fisheries stakeholders to better understand the impacts of climate change in the region and to anticipate potential management changes and other actions to support the continued sustainability of the fisheries, the marine ecosystem and the fishermen and communities that rely on the resource,” FLC’s See wrote in the April letter. “Perhaps more than anywhere else, the Arctic region within which the North Pacific lies is experiencing first-hand the impacts of a changing climate.”The May 10 letter, signed by 17 processor and harvester groups representing all gear types and from Alaska and Washington, asked the Senators to support four needed initiatives:- Not less than $15 million to the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) for North Pacific surveys, that would cover the costs of the dozen or so surveys (about $1.2 million each in 2024), provide an offset to increased survey costs and help restore depleted funding for delayed survey work. National Marine Fisheries Service, the federal agency in charge of survey’s nationwide, estimates they lose the equivalent of one survey per year solely due to inflation.- Creation of an agency-funded backstop on cost-recovery surveys when markets for fish do not provide for a survey to be funded by cost-recovery alone. In 2024 the sablefish survey was cancelled because NMFS and the industry vessel they charter to conduct the surveys could not reach an agreement on price.- FY25 funding and beyond to meet the milestones identified for the AFSC’s survey modernization project. AFSC is reducing surveys to accommodate new work in a NOAA project to evaluate new gear, methods, and survey design to better respond to changes in environmental conditions by cancelling some surveys, including the Northern Bering Sea surveys for 2024 and 2026 and amid NOAA’s cancellation of other surveys, including this year’s sablefish survey, portions of the Bering Sea slope survey for several years, and portions of the Gulf of Alaska pollock survey since 2020.- Development of a NOAA strategy to finance, build, and maintain the next generation of agency survey vessels (white ships).Regarding the cost-recovery surveys, the cancelled sablefish survey relys on two vessels for annual data collection in the Gulf of Alaska since 1987 and in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands since the 1990s. It supports a sablefish fishery valued upwards of $100 million annually. The cost-recovery survey model is designed to minimize costs to NMFS while allowing the fish harvested on the survey to be sold at market price. But markets for sablefish are at historic lows and the sale of fish is not enough to cover the costs of the vessel to complete this survey."This is a continuation of a trend in recent years in which the ... vessel contracting to perform this survey has lost revenues performing the work," See wrote in his April letter to the senators.The Alaska and Washington industry annually harvests 5 - 6 billion pounds of wild Alaska salmon, pollock, Pacific cod, crab, halibut, sablefish, rockfish, Atka mackerel, and flatfish creating an annual national economic impact of $15 billion. They support 100,000 jobs nationwide, resulting in $6 billion in labor income. In Alaska, commercial fisheries directly support coastal communities which are severely affected by climate change.“We have written multiple times to request NOAA focus more of its efforts on maintaining core surveys in the North Pacific, without which none of these benefits are possible,” the authors wrote in the May 10 letter.“These same surveys provide the environmental and ecosystem data needed to understand and respond to a changing climate and its rapid effect on fisheries, marine mammals, and the communities, people, and businesses dependent on science-based regulation. As such, they are wholly consistent with and necessary to meet NOAA’s climate ready objectives …”The North Pacific Council’s Science and Statistical Committee has frequently noted the importance of vessel-based surveys, saying there are no substitutes for vessel surveys to supply the quality and quantity of fisheries-specific data needed to reduce uncertainty in fisheries assessments. https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1277816/17-Industry-Groups-Ask-Congress-to-Fund-North-Pacific-Fisheries-Surveys-at-No-Less-Than-15M Federal Register North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 05/17/2024 The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and its advisory committees will meet June 3, 2024, through June 12, 2024, in Kodiak, AK. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2024/05/17/2024-10854/north-pacific-fishery-management-council-public-meetings Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 05/17/2024 The Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, Greater Atlantic Region, NMFS, has made a preliminary determination that an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) application contains all of the required information and warrants further consideration. The EFP would allow federally permitted commercial fishing vessels to fish outside fishery regulations in support of exempted fishing activities proposed by the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC). Regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act require publication of this notification to provide interested parties the opportunity to comment on applications for proposed EFPs. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2024/05/17/2024-10850/magnuson-stevens-fishery-conservation-and-management-act-provisions-atlantic-coastal-fisheries

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