Alaska Southeast Alaska Dungeness Crab Fishery Opens Today SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - June 15, 2021 The 2021/2022 commercial Dungeness crab fishery in Southeast Alaska opened this morning but fishermen won’t know this year’s catch limit or how long the season will last for another two weeks. “The [Alaska Fish and Game] department will use catch and effort information from the first seven days of fishing to predict total harvest for the season, which will be compared to regulatory thresholds described in the Southeastern Alaska Area Dungeness Crab Management Plan to determine season length,” ADF&G management biologist said in an announcement released last week. “Fishermen should expect an advisory announcement by June 29, 2021, informing the fleet of the regionwide season length. The department will be conducting dockside sampling in all major ports and aerial surveys on the grounds to determine fleet distribution,” ADF&G said. Last year’s season closed on February 28 of this year. Last year’s catch of nearly 6.7 million pounds came close to the record 7.3 million pounds caught in 2002. That total is the sum of the summer and fall Dungeness fisheries, is more than double the 10-year average Dungeness catch in Southeast. Fish Radio reported in April that prices to fishermen averaged $1.72 last year, down “by more than a dollar from last season, making the dockside value over $11.5 million for the region,” Laine Welch reported. Kodiak began fishing Dungeness crab May 1. So far, 68,358 pounds have been landed in 20 deliveries from eight vessels. Average weight this year so far is 2.03 lbs compared to 2.25 lbs last year. The harvest in Kodiak last year was was just under 2.8 million pounds by the fleet of 29 boats. That is more than any year since 1991. https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1201238/Southeast-Alaska-Dungeness-Crab-Fishery-Opens-Today National USDA Announces Additional $700 Million in PPE Grants to Small Businesses, Seafood Processors SeafoodNews.com by Susan Chambers - June 16, 2021 Personal protective equipment, or PPE, has increased costs to seafood processors during the pandemic but the USDA wants to help cut those costs. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Tuesday additional aid to agricultural producers and businesses as part of the USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Earlier this year, Secretary Vilsack announced plans to use available pandemic assistance funds to address a number of gaps and disparities in previous rounds of aid. As part of the Pandemic Assistance initiative announced in March, USDA pledged to continue Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments and to provide aid to producers and businesses left behind. Implementation of the assistance announced today will continue within 60 days to include support to timber harvesters, biofuels, dairy farmers and processors, livestock farmers and contract growers of poultry, assistance for organic cost share, and grants for PPE. That means potentially millions of dollars worth of PPE funding for seafood processors. Already, changes to seafood processing to account for social distancing during the pandemic and the increased use of protective gear have cost some processors hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece. “USDA is honoring its commitment to get financial assistance to producers and critical agricultural businesses, especially those left out or underserved by previous COVID aid,” Secretary Vilsack said in a press release. “These investments through USDA Pandemic Assistance will help our food, agriculture and forestry sectors get back on track and plan for the future. Since January, USDA has provided more than $11 billion of assistance directly to producers and food and agriculture business.” In March, USDA announced $6 billion in available funds through Pandemic Assistance Part 1 to support a number of new programs or to modify existing efforts. Part 1 funding would primarily help family-owned timber businesses, biofuel producers, the dairy industry and poultry and livestock producers. However, $700 million in Pandemic Response and Safety Grants will be available for PPE and other protective measures to help specialty crop growers, meat packers and processors and seafood industry workers, the USDA said. The funding is planned for implementation within 60 days, and will continue to be focused on filling gaps in previous rounds of assistance and helping beginning, socially disadvantaged and small and medium sized producers that need support most. The funding associated with USDA Pandemic Assistance is meant to serve as a bridge from disruptions associated with the pandemic to longer-term investments to help build back a better food system, the agency said. Through USDA’s Build Back Better initiative, USDA has already announced $5 billion in a mix of loans, grants and innovative financing to make meaningful investments to build a food system that is more resilient against shocks, delivers greater value to growers and workers, and offers consumers an affordable selection of healthy food produced and sourced locally and regionally by farmers and processors from diverse backgrounds. “As the economy continues to bounce back, USDA will ensure American agriculture is ready to seize the moment," Vilsack said in the statement. This latest round of assistance follows USDA's May announcement to purchase up to $70.9 million worth of seafood products through the Agricultural Marketing Service. https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1201334/USDA-Announces-Additional-700-Million-in-PPE-Grants-to-Small-Businesses-Seafood-Processors International Salmon Fishing Season Gaining Momentum in Russia SeafoodNews.com by Eugene Gerden - June 16, 2021 The salmon fishing season is gaining momentum in Russia, with the expected catch of 459,000 tonnes, including about 359,000 tons in Kamchatka. It is expected that most of the planned catch (up to 70%) will account for pink salmon. At the same time the share of chum salmon and sockeye salmon in the overall structure of catch will reach 20% and 7% respectively. In addition to Kamchatka, among the other biggest salmon-producing regions in Russia this year will be the Sakhalin Region and Khabarovsk Territory, with the planned catch volumes of 45,000 and 37,000 tons, respectively. The overall forecasted salmon catch of 459,000 tonnes will be comparable to the average annual values over the past 10 years. Of these, the production of pink salmon is expected to reach 322,000 tons, which is 1.8 times higher than the actual catch of the previous year. The chum salmon catch for 2021 is projected at 93,000 tons, which is 11% higher than last year; the catch of sockeye salmon is forecasted to be 5% higher in the amount of 32,000 tonnes, while coho salmon by 11%, up to 11,000 tonnes. https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1201329/Salmon-Fishing-Season-Gaining-Momentum-in-Russia Environment/Science Tiny specks bring big hope that ocean is improving after the devastating ‘Blob’ Seattle Times by Lynda V. Mapes - June 14, 2021 Some are iridescent, shimmering blue as sapphires in the sea. Others have a space alien visage, rivaling anything Hollywood could come up with. Some sprout spines. Others glow at night with bioluminescence. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/years-after-the-devastating-blob-ocean-conditions-appear-to-be-improving-plankton-survey-shows/ *Subscription required Federal Register Fishing Capacity Reduction Program for the Southeast Alaska Purse Seine Salmon Fishery A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 06/16/2021 NMFS performs an annual evaluation of the Southeast Alaska Purse Seine Salmon Fishing Capacity Reduction (Buyback) Loans. Our analysis reveals Loan A (or BBSA-001A) is currently ahead of schedule and Loan B (or BBSA-001B) is 2 years, or approximately $410,000, behind its scheduled amortization. Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, NMFS has determined it is in the best interest of the fishery to keep the annual Buyback fee rates for both Loan A and Loan B at 1 percent for 2021. Maintaining the current fee rates will minimally impact Loan A and Loan B will receive approximately $30,000 more than the scheduled annual amortized amount. The 2021 fishing season runs from June 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/06/16/2021-12667/fishing-capacity-reduction-program-for-the-southeast-alaska-purse-seine-salmon-fishery FYI’s NPRB seeks research recommendations Cordova Times - June 13, 2021 Officials with the North Pacific Research Board in Anchorage are seeking research ideas from both researchers and the public for consideration in the organization’s 2022 core program due out in October. https://www.thecordovatimes.com/2021/06/13/nprb-seeks-research-recommendations/
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