Alaska Alaska Fishing Seasons Begin in the Second Year of COVID — Here’s What to Expect SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - March 5, 2021 Alaska’s halibut and sablefish season opens tomorrow, next week ADF&G will hold Sitka’s informational herring season meeting in Sitka — online, of course — followed by herring seasons up the coast and then it's salmon season. Preparations for seafood workers in and outside of the state are underway for gear and plants for a second year of seafood production under pandemic conditions. Over the past year of the pandemic in Alaska, the highest increase in cases came last November and December, followed by a sharp decline. But while daily case counts have dropped down to low levels, most regions in Alaska are still in the highest alert category due to the current per capita rate of infection, according the state Department of Health and Human Services. Yesterday the state reported 137 new coronavirus infections with no new deaths; a day earlier, the death of an as yet unidentified seafood worker in his 70’s, a non-resident working in the Aleutians East Borough, was announced. Currently 24 people with COVID are hospitalized in Alaska, two on ventilators. A total of 299 Alaskans and four nonresidents with COVID-19 have died since the first case was discovered last March. Alaska still has one of the lowest death rates per capita and highest vaccination rates in the country. More contagious variants of the virus from the U.K. and from Brazil were found in the state last month, and ten cases of a new coronavirus strain first discovered in California were announced last week. Yesterday the city of Anchorage released a statement they would be relaxing COVID restrictions starting next Monday, March 8, 2021. EArlier, the Anchorage assembly voted down a request from some of their members asking the mayor to rescind all of the city’s emergency orders. Their announcement this week includes: • Indoor gatherings for meals are allowed with up to 25 people, and gatherings without meals up to 35 people. • Outdoor gatherings can have up to 60 people who are eating, and up to 100 with no food or drink. • For bars and restaurants, capacity restrictions are lifted, but masks are required and there must be a 6-foot distance between groups of patrons. • Alcohol can be served until 2 a.m. • Theaters can operate at full capacity as long as people wear masks and there is a 6-foot distance between groups. • Gyms and fitness centers can operate at full capacity, though masks and social distancing are also required. State officials expanded distribution of the vaccine earlier this week to residents who are 55 and older, and people over 16 who are essential workers, live in multigenerational homes, are considered potentially “high-risk” for severe illness or live in a community where homes lack water and sewer systems. “While vaccine supply remains limited, we are offering it to groups who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, who are at risk for severe illness or death or who work in essential jobs,” Dr. Anne Zink, the state’s chief medical officer, said. More than 103,000 doses of the vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna are expected this month, reported the Anchorage Daily News yesterday. Over the next two weeks, according to state officials, Alaska will receive 8,900 does of the newly authorized Johnson & Johnson vaccine, an inoculation that is only one shot, not two as Pfizer and Moderna are. “Expanding the vaccine eligibility to reach more people is significant in protecting Alaskans and in getting Alaska reopened and our economy back up and thriving,” Gov. Mike Dunleavy said at the time. The State’s Health and Social Services describes the statewide alert level as high with an average daily case rate over the past 14 days of 16.88 cases per 100,000 people. Yesterday, state epidemiologists said widespread community transmission is happening in most regions of Alaska. The regions with the highest transmission rate, all over 10%, are: * Matanuska-Susitna Region: 36.41 cases per 100,000 * Other Southeast Region - Northern: 34.3 cases per 100,000 * YK-Delta Region: 24.22 cases per 100,000 * Other Interior Region: 19.37 cases per 100,000 * Fairbanks North Star Borough: 15.37 cases per 100,000 * Other Southeast Region - Southern: 15.18 cases per 100,000 * Anchorage Municipality: 13.6 cases per 100,000 Intermediate transmission rate areas (>4.8-10 cases/100,000): * Juneau City and Borough: 9.67 cases per 100,000 * Kenai Peninsula Borough: 5.82 cases per 100,000 * Southwest Region: 5.56 cases per 100,000 Low transmission rate areas (0-4.8 cases/100,000): Northwest Region: 3.42 cases per 100,000 Sarah Oates, president and CEO of the Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant and Retailers Association, told Anchorage Daily News reporters Emily Goodykoontz and Morgan Krakow that the removal of capacity restrictions will have less of an impact than the extension of the time to serve alcohol. “I think the number of businesses who will have significant increases in their capacity will be very small,” she said. 907 Alehouse owner Robert Kilby told ADN he hopes this cautious approach will continue to work. He will be operating at about 80% with the social distancing mandate now. ”It’s a much better place than we were a year ago, so nothing but positive vibes and hopefully, hopefully by the summer we’re able to have some concerts again,” Kilby said. “I would hope that this just continues in this direction and we don’t have some kind of setback,” he said. https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1193594/Alaska-Fishing-Seasons-Begin-in-the-Second-Year-of-COVID--Heres-What-to-Expect West Coast IPHC Media Release 2021-011 Commencement of the 2021 Commercial Fishing Period for Pacific Halibut International Pacific Halibut Commission - March 5 2021 SEATTLE – The commercial fishing period for Pacific halibut commences Saturday 6 March 2021 at 1200h local time. https://iphc.int/library/documents/post/iphc-media-release-2021-011-commencement-of-the-2021-commercial-fishing-period-for-pacific-halibut National Yearbook: Fishing fleets flex National Fisherman by Jessica Hathaway - March 5, 2021 With revenues up 3 percent in January and February of 2020, the industry was looking ahead to another strong year in the global marketplace. https://www.nationalfisherman.com/national-international/yearbook-fishing-fleets-flex Labeling and Marketing 3MMI - Seafood Tariffs - Time to Go, or Here to Stay? TradexFoods - March 8, 2021 The new Administration has tough decisions to make now - remove the tariff and weaken the image of a strong trade partner, or continue the tariffs that many economists have indicated directly burden Americans' household income. When calling the US Trade Representative's office for a statement we were advised that... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fupEIwmD-0U&t=3s Federal Register 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 03/08/2021 NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher/processors using hook-and-line gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season allowance of the 2021 total allowable catch (TAC) of Pacific cod by catcher/processors using hook-and-line gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/03/08/2021-04770/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-pacific-cod-by-catcherprocessors-using FYI’s UFA urges postponing fisheries meetings Cordova Times - March 6, 2021 Members of the Alaska Board of Fisheries are to hold a special virtual meeting on Monday, March 8 to schedule meetings for the 2021-2022 cycle, but United Fishermen of Alaska is urging postponement of all such meetings for one year. https://www.thecordovatimes.com/2021/03/06/ufa-urges-postponing-fisheries-meetings/ Pacific Seafood Processors Association 1900 W Emerson Place Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98119 Phone: 206.281.1667 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.pspafish.net Our office days/hours are Monday-Friday 8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M. 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Monday, March 8, 2021