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Monday, January 3, 2024

Monday, January 3, 2024


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Alaska

Alaska's 2023 ecosystem status reports released by NOAA FisheriesNational Fisherman - December 28, 2023NOAA Fisheries released the 2023 Ecosystem Status Reports for the eastern Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands, and the Gulf of Alaska. The reports provide the basis for current conditions and trends for critical oceanographic, biological, and ecological indicators in marine ecosystems.


Small Bering Sea red crab quota fills fast; starvation theory in opilio disappearance

National Fisherman by Charlie Ess - December 27, 2023

The Bering Sea fleet fished on a total allowable catch (TAC) quota of 2.15 million pounds of red king crab in October. Though the regulatory season runs until Jan. 15, the 2023-2024 fishery just lasted until Nov. 18, with 31 vessels delivering nearly all the quota.


Forecasts for 2024 Return of Chinook Salmon to SE Alaska are Equal to or Below Last Year’s Forecasts

SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - December 28, 2023

Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game issued their 2024 forecasts for Chinook salmon returns to Southeast Rivers last week and the numbers are grim.There are five river systems the agency forecasts each year, but this year managers had enough data for only three of the five. For the Situk and Stikine Rivers, insufficient data was available to produce a forecast.ADF&G produces forecasts for “large” fish that are at least 28” in total length and are based on sibling models, using recent brood year age at return and run data along with performance-based hindcasts.The Chilkat River total run forecast is 2,850 large fish, which is within the escapement goal range of 1,750 to 3,500.  Last year the Chilkat River total run forecast was exactly the same.The Taku River terminal run forecast is 17,300 large fish, which is below the escapement goal range of 19,000 to 36,000.  Last year’s forecast for the Taku was 23,000 large fish, within the escapement goal range of 19,000 to 36,000.The Unuk River total run forecast is 1,800 large fish, which is at the lower bound of the escapement goal range of 1,800 to 3,800.  ADF&G’s 2023 forecast for the Unik River was 2,800 large fish, almost double this year’s.While there is no 2024 forecast available for the Stikine River, the terminal run is expected to be well below the escapement goal range of 14,000 to 28,000. Last year’s forecast was lower than this years with only 11,700 large fish.Similarly, since no age data was collected this year, there is no 2024 forecast available for the Situk River.  Last years forecast was 450 large fish, which is at the lower bound of the escapement goal range of 450 to 1,050.Of the 11 Chinook salmon stocks in Southeast Alaska ADF&G monitors and has escapement goals for, 7 — Chilkat, Taku, King Salmon, Stikine, Unuk, and Chickamin Rivers and Andrew Creek — have been designated as Stocks of Management Concern by the state Board of Fisheries.Board approved action plans are located on the ADF&G website at: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=commercialbyareasoutheast.salmon#management

Advisory Announcement web site:


Closing Russian Loophole a “Long Overdue Win” for Alaska Fishermen

SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - December 27, 2023

Groups ranging from the United Fishermen of Alaska to the conservation group Oceana lauded President Biden’s December 22 Executive Order closing a loophole that allowed Russian-caught seafood processed in China or other countries to enter the U.S.“… President Biden signed an Executive Order expanding the U.S. ban on Russian seafood to include imports of Russian-caught seafood processed in third countries,” wrote Tracy Welch, Executive Director of UFA last week. “The ban applies to salmon, pollock, cod, and crab products harvested in Russian waters or by Russia-flagged vessels, even if those products are substantially transformed in a third country.”Closing the loophole -- acknowledging that Russian seafood processed in China has been entering the U.S. after the Russian embargo began -- has been one of UFA’s main priorities.“This moment has been a long time coming. For nearly a decade, Russia has banned nearly all American seafood, all while their products have continued to flow into the U.S. Closing the loophole on Russian products being reprocessed in another country and then entering the U.S. market is an important step towards ensuring a level playing field for the U.S. seafood industry,” said Welch.UFA worked closely with Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan to resolve the problem. “Russia’s decade-long ban on nearly all American-produced seafood products has created a completely unfair, one-sided trade relationship that has significantly hurt Alaska,” said Senator Sullivan.“United Fishermen of Alaska and the commercial fishing industry in Alaska thank Senator Sullivan for his strong leadership on this issue, and for his years of support for the commercial fishing industry, particularly his support for seafood trade issues we are facing during this challenging time” said Matt Alward, president of the UFA. “Senator Sullivan’s work to enact meaningful prohibition of Russian seafood is a welcome step towards stabilizing the Alaska seafood industry.”Oceana Campaign Director Dr. Max Valentine released the following statement in reaction to President Biden’s executive order to improve and expand a ban on the import of Russian seafood:  “Today’s executive order recognizes the importance of tackling illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing head-on. Import controls are critical tools to help ensure U.S. dollars do not support illegal fishing and other illicit activity. All seafood imports should be required to come with catch documentation and traceability to ensure seafood sold in the U.S. is safe, legally caught, responsibly sourced, and honestly labeled.  "The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently withdrew a proposal to expand the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP), which helps prevent products of illegal fishing, seafood fraud, and human rights abuses from ending up on our grocery shelves and dinner plates. NOAA should be strengthening and expanding SIMP to protect U.S. fishers and consumers who are undermined by IUU fishing,” Valentime said.Lisa Murkowski, Alaska's senior Senator, recognized the impact on Alaska's fishermen.“In the midst of a truly difficult time for Alaska’s fishermen, these are stabilizing steps that will help end Russia’s evasion of sanctions and China’s dumping of overharvested Russian fish onto American markets. That, in turn, will help seafood prices recover, restore balance and basic fairness to markets, and cut off a key source of funding for Putin’s catastrophic war in Ukraine, all at the same time,” Murkowski said. “I want to commend the relentless and dogged advocacy of Senator Dan Sullivan and other Alaskans who have led on this charge to protect Alaska’s fishing industry, and thank the Biden administration for coming around and seeing the wisdom in addressing Russia’s malign behavior.”



Ecosystem reports show continuing effects of warming in Alaska’s marine watersAnnual reports for the Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska reveal mixed signs for fish stocks in changing conditions

Alaska Beacon by Yereth Rosen - December 27, 2023 

The waters off Alaska’s Aleutian Islands registered the warmest winter temperatures in over a century, part of a decade-long period of warming, according to a report issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.



Federal Register

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation of Pacific Cod in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska

A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 12/27/2023

NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amount of Pacific cod from catcher vessels using trawl gear to vessels using jig gear, catcher/processors using trawl gear, and catcher vessels greater than or equal to 50 feet (15.2 meters (m)) length overall using hook-and-line gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to allow the 2023 total allowable catch (TAC) of Pacific cod to be harvested.


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; North Pacific Halibut and Sablefish Individual Fishing Quota Cost Recovery Program

A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 12/28/2023

NMFS publishes the individual fishing quota (IFQ) standard prices and fee percentage for cost recovery for the IFQ Program for the halibut and sablefish fisheries of the North Pacific (IFQ Program). The fee percentage for 2023 is 3.0 percent. This action is intended to provide holders of halibut and sablefish IFQ permits with the 2023 standard prices and fee percentage to calculate the required payment for IFQ cost recovery fees due by January 31, 2024.

A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 01/02/2024

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) Joint Groundfish Plan Teams will meet on January 17, 2024.


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Inseason Adjustment to the 2024 Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Pollock, Atka Mackerel, and Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts

A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 12/26/2023

NMFS is adjusting the 2024 total allowable catch (TAC) amounts for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod fisheries. This action is necessary because NMFS has determined these TACs are incorrectly specified, and will ensure the BSAI pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod TACs are the appropriate amounts based on the best scientific information available. This action is consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area.


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Inseason Adjustment to the 2024 Gulf of Alaska Pollock and Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts

A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 12/26/2023

NMFS is adjusting the 2024 total allowable catch (TAC) amounts for the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) pollock and Pacific cod fisheries. This action is necessary because NMFS has determined these TACs are incorrectly specified, and will ensure the GOA pollock and Pacific cod TACs are the appropriate amount based on the best scientific information available for pollock and Pacific cod in the GOA. This action is consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska.


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Catcher/Processors Using Hook-and-Line Gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska

A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 12/26/2023

NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher/processors using hook-and-line (HAL) gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2023 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) apportioned to catcher/processors using HAL gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA.


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation of Pacific Cod in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska

A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 12/26/2023

NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amount of Pacific cod from vessels using pot gear to catcher vessels using trawl gear, catcher vessels using hook-and-line gear, and vessels using jig gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to allow the 2023 total allowable catch (TAC) of Pacific cod to be harvested.

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/12/26/2023-28465/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-reallocation-of-pacific-cod-in-the-western Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; North Pacific Observer Program Standard Ex-Vessel Prices A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 12/27/2023 NMFS publishes standard ex-vessel prices for groundfish and halibut for the calculation of the observer fee under the North Pacific Observer Program (Observer Program). This notice is intended to provide information to vessel owners, processors, registered buyers, and other Observer Program participants about the standard ex-vessel prices that will be used to calculate the observer fee for landings of groundfish and halibut made in 2024. NMFS will send invoices to processors and registered buyers subject to the fee by January 15, 2025. Fees are due to NMFS on or before February 15, 2025. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/12/27/2023-28567/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-north-pacific-observer-program-standard North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 12/27/2023 The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) Scientific and Statistical Committee Subgroup (SSC Subgroup) meeting will be held. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/12/27/2023-28520/north-pacific-fishery-management-council-public-meeting Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; North Pacific Observer Program Standard Ex-Vessel Prices A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 12/27/2023 NMFS publishes standard ex-vessel prices for groundfish and halibut for the calculation of the observer fee under the North Pacific Observer Program (Observer Program). This notice is intended to provide information to vessel owners, processors, registered buyers, and other Observer Program participants about the standard ex-vessel prices that will be used to calculate the observer fee for landings of groundfish and halibut made in 2024. NMFS will send invoices to processors and registered buyers subject to the fee by January 15, 2025. Fees are due to NMFS on or before February 15, 2025. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/12/27/2023-28567/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-north-pacific-observer-program-standard FYI’s NOAA Fisheries Introduces New Communications Tool Fishermen's News - January 3, 2024 The Ecosystem and Socioeconomic Profile completes an ecosystem-based fisheries management feedback loop by integrating ecosystem and socioeconomic information into fisheries advice for decision makers. Image: NOAA Fisheries. https://fishermensnews.com/noaa-fisheries-introduces-new-communications-tool/ Opinion OPINION: Banning Russian seafood imports is good for Alaska Anchorage Daily News by Julie Sande and Doug Vincent-Lang - December 28, 2023 In Alaska, it is well known that “seafood sustains us.” What isn’t as well known is that Alaska seafood also sustains the rest of the United States and the world. Alaska produces nearly two-thirds of our nation’s wild-caught seafood and supplies around 100 countries with seafood worldwide. Supporting our fishing industry is a no-brainer. So, when the seafood industry in Alaska has been under attack for almost a decade by Russia’s lack of sustainable fishing practices and artificially low prices, it is in our best interest as a nation to protect it by enacting policies that penalize the purchase of Russian-origin seafood products and rescinding any certifications issued to Russian fisheries by the Marine Stewardship Council. https://www.adn.com/opinions/2023/12/28/opinion-banning-russian-seafood-imports-is-good-for-alaska/

Pacific Seafood Processors Association 1900 W Emerson Place Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98119 Phone: 206.281.1667 E-mail: admin@pspafish.net; Website: www.pspafish.net Our office days/hours are Monday-Friday8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. *Inclusion of a news article, report, or other document in this email does not imply PSPA support or endorsement of the information or opinion expressed in the document.

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