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Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Alaska NPFMC To Tackle Halibut Allocation, Crab Rebuild, Advisory Panel Make-Over in Week Ahead by Peggy Parker - February 7, 2022 If you tune in to the electronic meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s first meeting of the year this week, you’ll be hearing the phrase “uncompensated reallocation” soon and frequently. Tomorrow the 11-member panel will take up the Halibut Catch Share Plan (CSP) allocation review, and proposed shifting of halibut from the commercial sector to the recreational charter sector in Southeast and south-central Alaska. Another phrase you may hear is “overfishing status.” On Wednesday the Council will address Snow Crab rebuilding in the Bering Sea, after a notification from National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) that the Bering Sea snow crab status was changed to overfished last October. Finally, on Friday the Council will review “Reflections on Council process and ideas for change” in the Staff Tasking section of the agenda. Half of that 10-page discussion paper addresses pre-pandemic and current procedures, potential changes that could include hybrid meetings, less than the five full meetings currently scheduled each year, and shifting agenda items to earlier meetings, among other streamlining changes. Of these three headliners, the halibut CSP allocation review has triggered the biggest reaction from industry — over 130 letters advocating for or against a full analytical review for transferring a percentage of the combined catch of both directed commercial and recreational charter sectors to the charter sector. The transfer would be uncompensated, defining one of the most controversial actions of fish management, and one that is not done routinely. Uncompensated realloction does occur, however: when rationalization plans are adopted to replace a 'derby' type fishery, and when one jurisdictional authority increases catch limits, there are invariably winners and losers. When this CSP was adopted in 2014, the charter sector received 125% of their historical use. That extra 25% came out of the commercial allocation. The CSP was adopted after nearly ten years of managing the charter sector under a Guideline Harvest Limit (GHL) a static limit that was exceeded frequently and did not change with stock abundance. The plan provided a higher percentage of the combined catch limit (CCL) during low abundance to protect charter operators’ business models. Two years after the CSP was adopted by the Council, a 2016 NOAA Fisheries policy directive was implemented for periodic reviews of CSP allocations against their objectives. The Advisory Panel, meeting last week, failed to pass a motion that originally called for a 3% of CCL increase to the charter sector in South-central Alaska (Regulatory Area 3A) and a 5% of CCL increase in Southeast Alaska (Regulatory Area 2C), during certain conditions. The Council will likely introduce their own motion tomorrow or Wednesday. The initial Allocation Review is here. Regarding snow crab and its overfished status in the Bering Sea, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) requires the Council to implement a rebuilding plan within two years which would rebuild the fishery within ten years. The Council was scheduled to select alternatives for rebuilding at this meeting, but at last month’s Crab Plan Team (CPT), members agreed the stock assessment model needed “further refinement.” The improved model will be reviewed at the Plan Team's meeting in May. At this week's meeting, the Council will be getting a progress report on the BS snow crab rebuilding plan. Finally, reactions to changes in the Council's meeting calendar and Advisory Panel are expected to draw verbal testimony on Thursday or Friday. AP members are industry stakeholders, representing gear and species sectors, fleet and processor members, and recreational interests as well as commercial. Potential changes to the AP that are included in the Discussion Paper are described as: * nomination/reappointment process and timing, qualifications, term length; * size and/or composition of the Advisory Panel; * clarify the purpose, consider operational changes to agenda, and voting; and * evaluate the purpose and usefulness of all advisory bodies, and consider ways to improve. The public can access the Council meeting by clicking “Meeting” on the Council Meeting page. High “Plateau” in COVID Cases Ended Last Week with 30% Drop in Alaska by Peggy Parker - February 8, 2022 Alaska’s COVID-19 weekly case count dropped dropped thirty percent last week to 10,831 after three weeks of an average weekly case count of 15,625. The epidemic curve in Alaska, a modeled prediction of expected case numbers, is on a downward trend, dropping 3.05% per day and expecting to halve from 1,100-1,200 in just three weeks. But already statewide case counts have gone from 1,400 last Friday to 392 on Sunday. The virus continues to hit 20- to 40-year-olds hardest in the state where 59% of the population is fully vaccinated. Last weekend 3,082 new cases, no new deaths, and 127 hospitalizations were reported across the state. Still high in new cases among the coastal towns and communities was Kodiak at 60 cases for a total active cases of 151, none of which are hospitalized. Yesterday Sitka reported 40 new cases over the weekend, slightly less than Seward’s 43, but more than Homer’s 33. The worst hit parts of the state, after the three population centers of Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau, are the northern and western parts of Alaska. In Nome and the surrounding area, 159 cases were reported over the weekend. Kotzebue reported 95 in the same period, Bethel 76, and Utqiaġvik (Barrow) reported 66 new cases over the weekend. Cases have dropped dramatically in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor where only 15 industry-related and 29 community cases were reported yesterday, down from 245 industry cases and 109 community cases on January 19, 2022. Alaska remains the highest in the nation for average daily cases per capita at 214 while the Southern region of the U.S. is second highest with 98. More than 99.5% of all new cases are now of the omicron variant in Alaska. National Complicated labor picture challenging US restaurant sector growth Seafood Source by Christine Blank - February 7, 2022 A new report from the National Restaurant Association is predicting the U.S. foodservice industry will grow 6 percent to reach USD 898 billion (EUR 786 billion) in sales in 2022. FYI’s Coast Guard cutter and its 140 crew members return to California after a nearly 80-day patrol in the Bering Sea KUCB by Hope McKenney - February 7, 2022 A U.S. Coast Guard cutter and its 140 crew members returned to California late last month after a nearly 80-day patrol in the Bering Sea. Wild Alaska Pollock Awarded 2021 Ocean Champion Award Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers Seafood - February 4, 2022 ORLANDO, Fla.—The Wild Alaska Pollock fishery was recognized for its successful fishery management and sustainability results by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) with its 2021 Ocean Champion Award, the Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP) announced. The Ocean Champion Award is an annual award that was established in 2017 to reward fisheries and companies engaged with the MSC who demonstrate continued leadership on sustainability above and beyond the MSC Fisheries or Chain of Custody Standards. 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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