Alaska Tanner crab commissioner’s permit fishery opens March 1 Cordova Times - January 29, 2021 A commissioner’s permit Tanner crab fishery is set to open March 1 in the eastern and western districts of Prince William Sound. https://www.thecordovatimes.com/2021/01/29/tanner-crab-commissioners-permit-fishery-opens-march-1/ IPHC Sets Catch Limits for 2021 Pacific Halibut Season at 39 Million Pounds SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - February 1, 2021 With a nod to the scientific advice coming from the International Pacific Halibut Commission, the six-member panel adopted catch limits that met harvest policy standards and gave each area a boost over 2020 levels. A total mortality limit of 39 million pounds is higher than the last three year’s adopted limits, which have ranged from 36.6 mlbs to 38.61. The six IPHC commissioners, split evenly between Canada and the United States, also agreed to open the season on March 6, nearly a full month before members of the Processors Advisory Board (PAB) recommended, but exactly the date recommended by the fishermen members of the Conference Board. Similarly, the Commissioners bowed to the fishermen’s request of December 7 to close the season, while processors recommended the traditional date of November 15. Members of the PAB cited market uncertainties and additional costs staffing plants in Alaska during COVID. In some halibut ports, the combination of state and local quarantine rules mean plant workers must comply with a 40-day quarantine, during which processors are paying for their room and board. Last spring halibut suppliers had to pivot many times to find a market for fish during the beginning of restaurant shut downs across the country. This year, suppliers and customers have changed business models to accommodate the pandemic, but there are no guarantees that consumers will be returning to restaurants or inside dining by spring, or even summer this year. The 2021 total breaks out to the following catch limits across Alaska, British Columbia and the West Coast. In IPHC Regulatory Area 2A (Washington, Oregon, California), 1.65 mlbs is an agreed-to fixed amount. 2021 is the third year of a four-year agreement guaranteeing that area a fixed catch limit. In Area 2B (British Columbia), 7 mlbs is the 2021 catch limit, a result of a complicated formula negotiated three years ago. Similar to Area 2A, the agreement was for four years. In 2C, Southeast Alaska, the catch limit for 2021 is 5.8 mlbs. That amount is further divided through a catch share program for the charter sector. In Alaska’s Area 3A (Gulf of Alaska and Southcentral Alaska), which is considered the heart of the halibut range, a total of 14 mlbs was set for 2021 catch. That amount is further divided through a catch share program for the charter sector. Area 3B, the western Gulf, gets 3.12 mlbs. Area 4A received 2.05 mlbs. Area 4B, received 1.4 mlbs. Area 4CDE, representing the Pribilof Islands and surrounding waters of the Bering Sea, received 3.98 mlbs, which was further broken down based on a long-term catch share plan in those areas. https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1190926/IPHC-Sets-Catch-Limits-for-2021-Pacific-Halibut-Season-at-39-Million-Pounds National Commercial fishing associations demand voice in Biden’s conservation planning Seafood Source by Cliff White - February 1, 2021 Groups representing a variety of fishing sectors and environmental causes have issued responses to U.S. President Joe Biden’s climate plan, which includes a plan to commit 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters to conservation by 2030. https://www.seafoodsource.com/news/environment-sustainability/commercial-fishing-associations-demand-voice-in-biden-s-conservation-planning International U.S. Coast Guard, Russian Border Guard Continue Patrols Along Maritime Boundary Line SeafoodNews.com by Susan Chambers - February 1, 2021 A Joint U.S.-Russia patrol along the border was recently completed to support search and rescue missions, communications exercise, and operations related to fishing. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star crew and a Russian aircraft crew patrolled the Bering Sea maritime boundary line between Russia and the U.S. this month. Following routine coordinated communications between the Russian Border Guard Directorate for the Eastern Arctic District and the U.S. Coast Guard 17th District in Juneau, Alaska, cutter Polar Star crew and a Russian Border Guard AN-26 aircraft crew patrolled a portion of the 1,700-mile maritime boundary line to support mutual agreements. The agreements consist of combined operations including search and rescue missions, contingency operations, routine communications exercises, and operations to counter illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. The purpose of combined operations and communications exercises were designed to enforce rules and regulations and to protect the sovereign rights and economies of both countries. The routine coordination maintains a strong working relationship and improves joint response capabilities for pollution, law enforcement, and search and rescue cases along the shared maritime border, according to a Coast Guard press release. A working relationship at the operational level between the Coast Guard and Russian Border Guard remains critical to ensuring stability in the region, the USCG said. The partnership protects shared interests in fish stocks, safety of life at sea, coordinates environmental responses and counters illicit activity on the high seas. In July 2020, Coast Guard Cutter Munro conducted a similar communications exercise with the Russian Border Guard Vessel Kamchatka in the Bering Strait. In late August, the U.S. pollock fleet was forced from its traditional fishing grounds for several days as five branches of the Russian military conducted live-fire exercises in the area. U.S. military, including the Coast Guard, had been notified of the exercise at headquarters, but the news had not reached the fleet. Because some of the Russian military vessels and aircraft were inside the U.S. 200-mile zone, the boundary line between Russia and the U.S. in the Bering Sea was described as an international boundary protecting a nation's resources, but not necessarily passage of foreign vessels. The maritime boundary patrolled by the joint U.S./Russia exercises last month was established most recently by a 1984 treaty with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, promulgated in 1990 and largely based on the 1867 treaty ceding Alaska to the U.S. The Russian Border Guard's effective enforcement of the maritime boundary line and direct communication with its fishing industry significantly reduces foreign fishing vessel incursions of the U.S. exclusive economic zone, the Coast Guard said. Since 2018, the Coast Guard has detected only one Russian fishing vessel incursion in the area. The Russian Border Guard immediately conducted an investigation of the incident and issued fines for that incursion. "The United States Coast Guard works diligently to maintain a unique cooperative relationship with the Russian Border Guard in an effort to enhance the protection of shared interests in and around the Arctic region," USCG 17th District Chief of Enforcement Capt. Jason Brennell said in the statement. "The coordinated communications exercises on the high seas these past weeks with Polar Star demonstrate a recognition of the importance of that relationship." Photo: Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star crew and a Russian aircraft crew patrolled the Bering Sea maritime boundary line between Russia and the United States in mid-January. The 45-year-old heavy icebreaker is underway for a months-long patrol to support national security objectives throughout Alaskan waters and into the Arctic, including along the Maritime Boundary Line between the United States and Russia. Credit: U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Cynthia Oldham. https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1190911/US-Coast-Guard-Russian-Border-Guard-Continue-Patrols-Along-Maritime-Boundary-Line Federal Register Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Catcher Vessels Greater Than or Equal to 60 Feet Length Overall Using Pot Gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 02/02/2021 NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 feet (18.3 meters (m)) length overall (LOA) using pot gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season apportionment of the 2021 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) allocated to catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using pot gear in the BSAI. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/02/02/2021-02127/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-pacific-cod-by-catcher-vessels-greater-than-or Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Catcher Vessels Less Than 60 Feet (18.3 Meters) Length Overall Using Hook-and-Line or Pot Gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 02/02/2021 NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 meters (m)) length overall (LOA) using hook-and-line or pot gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2021 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) allocated to catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear in the BSAI. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/02/02/2021-02133/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-pacific-cod-by-catcher-vessels-less-than-60-feet Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Vessels Using Pot Gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 02/02/2021 NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by vessels using pot gear in the Central 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 vessels using pot gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/02/02/2021-02121/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-pacific-cod-by-vessels-using-pot-gear-in-the
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