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Thursday, October 27, 2022

Alaska Ketchikan’s tribe asks federal board to expand subsistence hunting and fishing opportunities KRBD by Raegan Miller - October 25, 2022 Access to traditional foods has long been a priority for Ketchikan’s federally recognized tribe. But for decades, Ketchikan residents have been barred from taking part in federal subsistence hunts and fisheries. International NOAA Releases Five-Year Strategy for Combating IUU Fishing Fishermen's News - October 26, 2022 Federal fisheries officials and their partners have released their National Five-Year Strategy for Combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, a global problem impacting ocean ecosystems, the economy and food security. Numbers of Temporary Foreign Worker Visas To Nearly Double in 2023 Fishermen's News - October 26, 2022 The number of temporary nonagricultural worker visas to be issued for 2023 is expected to nearly double under a new H-2B plan from the Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Labor Department. Russia hikes 2023 Bering Sea pollock TAC again as Sea of Okhotsk continues down Russian pollock TAC for 2023 will be down marginally this year, with a further increase in the west Bering Sea not entirely offsetting the continued drops in the Sea of Okhotsk Undercurrents News by Tom Seaman - October 26, 2022 The overall Russian pollock total allowable catch (TAC) for 2023 will be down marginally this year, with a further increase in the western Bering Sea not entirely offsetting continued drops in the Sea of Okhotsk (SOO) *Requires subscription Environment/Science NOAA Points to 2019 Marine Heatwave as Link to Sudden Decline in Alaska Crab by Peggy Parker - October 24, 2022 Dr. Robert Foy, Science and Research Director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries, released a statement on Friday linking the sudden decline in Bering Sea snow crab "to extreme oceanographic events.” Foy noted the population drops in Alaska snow crab and Bristol Bay red king crab (BBRKC) “are part of 50+ year history of highly variable stock abundance that included previous fishery closures.” He said the snow crab decline “…was more sudden and linked to extreme oceanographic events. “In 2019, a marine heatwave was responsible for numerous marine ecosystem changes. The heatwave likely affected adult and juvenile snow crab survival in a number of ways (e.g., starvation, disease, migration, predation, etc.) leading to the population decline,” Foy wrote. Looking to the 2019 Ecosystem Status Report of the Bering Sea to see how much warmer the ocean was that year showed only a continuing trend of higher sea-surface and ocean-floor temperatures. Changes in climate trends often aren’t clear until years later. In 2019 the report noted “The mean sea ice extent across the Bering Sea (1 August–31 July; western and eastern) has exhibited no long term trend, though four of the past five seasons have a mean ice extent lower than any season prior to 2014–2015” and “The eastern Bering Sea experienced a second winter of low sea ice conditions, which resulted in a reduced cold pool over the northern shelf.” In 2019, the report for opilio and bairdi crab was startling, though, noting that “Opilio crab decreased 43% and Tanner crab decreased 38% from 2018.” Fast forward to the most recent report, 2021's Ecosystem Status Report of the Bering Sea and scientists are still not seeing a long-term trend in mean sea ice extent, but “… a steep decline in ice extent was observed from 2012 (highest extent on record) to 2018 (lowest extent on record). Sea ice extent increased from 2018 to present, with the 2020–2021 daily mean extent of 268,748 km2 being near the long-term mean.” Scientists noted three ‘red flags’ in the 2021 report card: “…(1) crab population declines (p. 145), (2) salmon run failures in the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region (p. 26), and (3) seabird die-offs combined with low colony attendance and poor reproductive success (p. 147).” On page 145 of the report, scientists report a slight increase in BBRKC, but not enough to make up for the combined 2019 and 2020 drop. There was no survey in 2020, but the 2021 survey indicated the decline continued. “In 2021, Bristol Bay mature male red king crab biomass increased by 28% relative to 2019 estimates, which while a slight rebound, continues a -66% decline since 2014. Mature female red king crab biomass declined by 24%,” the ecosystem report noted. For tanner crab: “Mature male Tanner crab biomass declined by -21 to -39%. The -39% decline in western district mature males marks a dramatic departure from recent stable/increasing trends, but continues a decline observed in 2019. Mature females increased in the western district (+36%) and increased substantially (+332%) in the eastern district.” And for snow crab: "Total snow crab biomass declined by 77% relative to 2019, and 86% relative to 2018, with this being driven by across the board declines in immature female (-94%), mature female (-72%), immature males (-83%), legal males (-66%), mature males (-55%), and industry preferred males (-57%).” Foy, who has spent more time with stakeholders recently than other Alaska Science Center directors, clearly wants to find answers. The urgency of changes in the Bering Sea commercial species of crab and salmon has triggered a need for collaboration on all fronts. “In addition to ecosystem data, NOAA Fisheries and our State of Alaska partners have provided survey and fishery data and conducted stock assessments to track abundance trends and inform fisheries management since the 1970s in Alaska,” Foy noted in his statement last week. “Our science-based management process is outlined in Fishery Management Plans developed in accordance with federal requirements under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Stock assessments and data sources are subject to a public, transparent, and rigorous, peer-review process. External experts are an important part of the review process to ensure that the integrity of the science and management responses are appropriate and based on the best scientific information available. “Climate change will continue to present challenges to our understanding of marine ecosystems in Alaska and elsewhere. We have a robust science enterprise and management system that will allow us to better prepare and adapt to these changes,” Foy said. Pacific Seafood Processors Association 1900 W Emerson Place Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98119 Phone: 206.281.1667 E-mail:; Website: Our office days/hours are Monday-Friday 8:00 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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