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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Alaska North Pacific Fishery Management Council - April 2021 Newsletter Appointments and Call for Nominations, Written Public Comment Changes, Scallops, BSAI Halibut Abundance-based Management of the Amendment 80 PSC Limit, Sablefish Pots and IFQ Committee Report, IFQ Access Opportunities, Recreational Quota Entity Funding Mechanism, Salmon Genetics and Avoidance Plans, Economic Data Reporting and the Social Science Planning Team, Research Priorities ... https://www.npfmc.org/april-2021-newsletter/ Fundraising campaign aims at testing Anchorage salmon streams for toxin traced to tires Anchorage Daily News by Laine Welch - April 26, 2021 Are toxins from road runoff a threat to salmon in Anchorage’s most popular fishing streams? A Go Fund Me campaign has been launched so Alaskans can chip in to find out. https://www.adn.com/business-economy/2021/04/26/fundraising-campaign-aims-at-testing-anchorage-salmon-streams-for-toxin-traced-to-tires/ West Coast NMFS Publishes Finale Rule on Humpback Whales Pacific Ocean Habitat SeafoodNews.com by Susan Chambers - April 23, 2021 Pacific Ocean humpback whales gained more protection this week as the National Marine Fisheries Service designated more than 115,000 square nautical miles as critical habitat. The final rule covers three threatened or endangered populations of humpbacks: the Western North Pacific distinct population segment (endangered), the Central America DPS (endangered), and the Mexico DPS (threatened). Specific areas designated as critical habitat for the Western North Pacific DPS of humpback whales contain approximately 59,411 square nautical miles in the North Pacific Ocean, including areas within the eastern Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska; approximately 48,521 square nautical miles in the North Pacific Ocean within the portions of the California Current Ecosystem off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California for the Central American DPS; and approximately 116,098 square nautical miles in the North Pacific, including areas within portions of the eastern Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska, and California Current Ecosystem for the Mexico DPS, the notice said. Much of the areas overlap. The action was prompted by a 2018 legal victory by the Center for Biological Diversity, Wishtoyo Foundation and Turtle Island Restoration Network, according to a Center press release. The groups sued over the federal failure to designate critical habitat as required by the Endangered Species Act. “Pacific humpbacks finally got the habitat protections they’ve needed for so long. Now we need to better protect humpbacks from ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear, their leading causes of death,” Center attorney Catherine Kilduff said in the press release. “To recover West Coast populations of these playful, majestic whales, we need mandatory ship speed limits and conversion of California’s deadly trap fisheries to ropeless gear.” All three West Coast states already are taking steps to reduce entanglements in the Dungeness crab fisheries by making gear changes and promoting best practices among the fleets. California took the added step of including surveys of humpback whales and other threatened or endangered species in its waters to decide whether to open or close some areas of the coast to crabbing. Critical habitat protection will help safeguard ocean areas essential for migrating and feeding, the Center said. The designation will ensure that federally permitted activities do not destroy or harm important whale habitat. NMFS received more than 180 written public comment submissions and more than a dozen comment submissions during public hearings. A large majority of the comment submissions that expressed concern or opposition to the proposed designations pertained to proposed critical habitat areas in Alaska, the notice said. Subsequently, the agency made five changes from the Proposed Rule, including: - revising the "essential feature" description. Multiple commenters requested more specificity to the term, so specific prey species and relevant age classes for those prey species were added; - Excluded Unit 1, Bristol Bay Area, from the final designations for the Western North Pacific DPS; - Excluded Units 1, 4, 6, and 10 from the final designations for the Mexico DPS; - Reduced the area excluded for the Quinault Range Site; and - Added regulatory language to clarify that the critical habitat does not include manmade structures (e.g., ferry docks, seaplane facilities). Other commenters said the analysis supporting the rule lacked sufficient economic analysis and that fisheries such as the Dungeness crab fishery, need to be considered. However, NMFS said designating critical habitat for humpbacks will not directly close the fishery since Dungeness crab are not a prey species for the whales. "The Dungeness crab fishery occurs within important humpback whale feeding areas for the [Mexico] DPS and within the only documented feeding habitat for the [Central American] DPS of humpback whales. Because there are no anticipated economic impacts on the Dungeness crab fishery stemming from the critical habitat designations, there is no basis to exclude this area from the designations," NMFS said in the rule. The rule also identified the whales' prey species, but said management for them isn't likely to change: Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax), northern anchovy (Engraulis mordax), capelin (Mallotus villosus), and juvenile pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus). "Thus, theoretically, fishing activities that adversely affect these species would have the greatest potential to result in destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. However, because prey species are also important to ensuring Federal agencies avoid jeopardizing the listed whales and to protecting these whales under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, NMFS already considers how fisheries for the prey species may affect whales and provides recommendations via section 7 consultation, even without any critical habitat designation," the agency said in the rule. "We do not expect particular changes in the management of these fisheries to result specifically from the critical habitat designation." https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1197366/NMFS-Publishes-Finale-Rule-on-Humpback-Whales-Pacific-Ocean-Habitat International Russia May Tighthen Requirements for Fish Catch in Domestic Territorial Waters SeafoodNews.com by Eugene Gerden - April 27, 2021 The All-Russian Association of Fisheries (VARPE) has proposed to tighten the requirements for companies bidding for quotas on the fish catch in the domestic territorial waters in a move to create conditions for more active development of processing. In accordance with the current requirements, companies are obliged to process up to 70% of their total catch. However, the new requirements propose a significant increase of these figures, as well as the increase of production of deeply processed products — minced meat, fillets and surimi. The government began the provision of investment quotas to investors in exchange for construction of fish processing plants in 2017. By 2020, 19 enterprises were built using this mechanism, with five more expected to be commissioned this year. Overall, the total number of factories that should be built in the Northern Basin will amount to 11 enterprises, and 14 in the case of the Far East. According to data of the Russian Kommersant business paper, so far the overall volume of investments in the building of fish processing factories in Russia exceeded RUB 21 billion (US$280 million). These figures continue to grow. In April, the head of the Russian Federal Agency for Fishery, Ilya Shestakov, announced that the government will allocate additional investment quotas that will provide an opportunity to the industry to reduce its dependence from China. Now total processing capacities in the Russian Far East are estimated at 100,000 tonnes, while in the Northern Basin — 200,000 tonnes. In the meantime, the latest proposal of VARPE has been criticized by some leading Russian fish producers and processors, which may create additional problems for them doing business in the domestic market. As Alexander Efremov, head of Dobroflot Group of Companies, one of Russia’s leading fish producers and processors, told in an interview with Kommersant paper, even with the existing requirements, processors face serious difficulties. For example, according to him, for the production of fillets the company primarily uses pollock with a size of 25 cm or more. At the same time, up to 25-30% of fish are found in the catch is smaller, although it still should be processed at onshore factories. https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1197558/Russia-May-Tighthen-Requirements-for-Fish-Catch-in-Domestic-Territorial-Waters FYI’s On the Water in Alaska, Where Salmon Fishing Dreams Live On Each summer, salmon begin their journey back to the rivers where they were spawned. Alaskan fishermen, along with whales, eagles and bears, share in the abundance. New York Times by Photographs and Text by Colin Arisman - April 19, 2021 At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, with travel restrictions in place worldwide, we launched a new series — The World Through a Lens — in which photojournalists help transport you, virtually, to some of our planet’s most beautiful and intriguing places. This week, Colin Arisman shares a collection of images from the shores of Alaska. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/19/travel/alaska-salmon-fishing.html?campaign_id=2&emc=edit_th_20210425&instance_id=29722&nl=todaysheadlines&regi_id=32230303&segment_id=56339&user_id=ae5c74789227bb6e509dd43889538824 Econ 919 — Turning salmon scraps into garden gold KDLL by Sabine Poux - April 23, 2021 Earth Day was April 22. For this week’s Econ 919, Ryan Bacon with Alaska Salmon Fertilizers talks about his company’s work to recycle fish waste into nutrient-rich plant fertilizer. https://www.kdll.org/post/econ-919-turning-salmon-scraps-garden-gold#stream/0

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