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Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Alaska Pollock pelagic trawl fishery opens Jan. 20 Cordova Times - December 27, 2021 A directed commercial fisheries opener for walleye Pollock using pelagic trawl gear opens in Prince William Sound Area E at noon Jan. 20 with a guideline harvest level of 6.44 million pounds. Seawatch: Alaska had a tumultuous fishing year Homer News by Cristy Fry - December 30, 2021 It was a tumultuous year for fishing in Alaska, with some salmon runs posting records and others going bust, Bering Sea crab quotas on the downswing, and state and federal management decisions with far-reaching consequences. Peter Pan Seafood hails new brand identity Company officials say they are looking ahead to another robust year in 2022 Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman - December 28, 2021 Almost a year into the purchase of Peter Pan Seafood from a major Japanese corporation, the new owners are celebrating a successful 2021 and say they are bracing for more of the same in 2022. CARES Act funds for fisheries relief mailed Commercial harvesters, sport charters, processors and subsistence users will share $50M in funds Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman - December 31, 2021 Attention commercial harvesters: your fisheries relief checks are in the mail. Just be patient. That’s the advice of the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, which advises that round one of Alaska’s pandemic relief funds for commercial fishermen were mailed the week of Dec. 13, but due to the holiday influx of mail and remote location of many relief check recipients, it may take some time for those checks to reach them. Alaska’s Ecosystem Reports Track Sea Changes in Gulf, Bering Sea, Aleutians, and Arctic by Peggy Parker - December 30, 2021 Early last week, NOAA Fisheries released three Ecosystem Status Reports (ESR) — on the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, and Aleutian Islands — that give context and track important changes within the environment where Alaska pollock, cod, crab, and two dozen other species of Alaska’s commercial seafood species live. The Arctic ESR is underway but not yet released. The 2021 report on the Bering Sea — Alaska’s most productive fishery — show on-going concerns about issues related to climate change and how it impacts marine resources there. Top concerns are listed below. Sea ice. “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 square kilometers being near the long-term mean,” the report said. Seasonal sea ice is directly linked to the cold pool, a thermal barrier than has kept Arctic and Bering Sea species away from each other, and is host to under ice algae that feeds young fish and shellfish in the water column and on the seafloor. The diminishing of sea ice means the predator/prey balance is disturbed. Scientists have found Pacific cod, a denizen of the Bering Sea to prey on species no longer in the protection of the cold pool. Cold Pool. The extent of the cold pool in the eastern Bering Sea has increased since 2018, yet the 2021 extent was the 4th lowest on record. Forage fish. “The biomass of aggregate forage fish (i.e., eulachon, Pacific capelin, sand lance species, rainbow smelt, Pacific sandfish, and a group of minor smelt species) declined steeply between 2015 and 2017, and remained below their long term mean in 2021.” Non-commercial animals on ocean floor. The biomass of motile epifauna (animals living on the ocean floor or corals) peaked in 2017 and remained above their long term mean in 2021. Collectively, brittle stars, sea stars, and others in this group account for more than half of the biomass in the guild. Although all three of these groups are well above their long term mean values, the current mean biomasses for all crab groups, including hermit crab, king crab, tanner crab, and snow crab are all below their long term means, the report noted. Yellowfin sole and northern rock sole are below their long-term means in 2021. Alaska pollock. “The biomass of pelagic foragers measured during the bottom trawl survey (June–Aug) was generally stable from 2016 to 2019, but dropped in 2021 to their second lowest value over the time series (1982–2021). The trend in the pelagic forager guild is largely driven by Walleye pollock which, on average, account for more than 66% of the biomass in this guild. Trends in pelagic forager biomass indicate availability of forage fish (i.e., prey to upper trophic levels) as well as predator abundance within the ecosystem. In 2021, the survey index for pollock was the third lowest over the time series. With the exception of Pacific herring, the 2021 index for all other species and functional groups in the pelagic forager guild were below their long term means,” the report said. Pacific cod. The recent (2016–2021) mean biomass for Pacific cod is below their long term mean (1982–2021). Arrowtooth flounder, Sablefish, and Alaska skate are all above their long-term means. Habitat disturbance. “Trawling effort has been at or above average since 2013. This increase … has resulted in an increase to habitat disturbance. Fishing gear can affect habitat used by a fish species for the processes of spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to maturity,” the report said. The Gulf of Alaska ESR notes a return to normal temperatures after the heatwave of 2014-16, and details other indicators, including: • 2021 is the second consecutive non-marine heatwave year, with average ocean temperatures at surface and depth • Mixed trends in prey abundance, with zooplankton below-average to average and forage fish above-average • Reduced abundance of groundfish apex predators (Pacific cod, arrowtooth flounder, Pacific halibut) • Adult salmon returns improved from the lows of 2020 (abundant pink salmon) • Biological community experiencing continued impacts from the 2014-2016 and 2019 marine heatwave periods. The full report on the Aleutian Islands divides the area into three ecoregions -- the Western, from the farthest western point to 177 degrees East; the Central from 177 degrees East to 170 degrees West, or Samalga Pass; and the Eastern ecoregion, from Samalga Pass to False Pass. These annual reports, which have been done in Alaska since 1995, are now the result of a collaboration scientists who number over 100, working for more than 20 agencies or communities. The Science and Statistical Committee is the primary audience for all of the reports, as the final Acceptable Biological Catches (ABCs) are determined by that advisory body and form the basis on the Total Allowable Catches adopted by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council each year. West Coast US Pacific whiting fishery first outside Alaska to enter RFM assessment Seafood Source by Emma Desrochers - December 23, 2021 The Pacific whiting (hake) mid-water trawl fishery, covering U.S. federal waters off the coast of the states of Washington, Oregon, and California, is being evaluated against the Responsible Fishery Management (RFM) standard. International Russian government, retailers seeking ways to boost domestic demand for fish Seafood Source by Ivan Stupachenko - December 24, 2021 The Russian government is working with seafood retailers and producers to seek a way to enhance domestic demand for Russian-caught seafood. Russian Crab Producers Hope For Further Increase of Crab Exports to U.S. in Years to Come by Eugene Gerden - December 27, 2021 Exports of Russian crabs are steadily growing due to the existing high demand from major importers and a sharp jump in prices, which is associated with the start of supplies of the most valuable species – the Kamchatka (king) crab. The Kamchatka crab fishing season begins in the Russian Northern Basin from August 15, while in the Far East - from September 1. In 2021 the price for finished products, such as frozen-cooked crab, also grew. This forced many companies that previously specialized in the supply of live crab to switch to supplies of finished products to some foreign markets, such as the market of the U.S. As Ilya Bereznyuk, Managing Partner of Agro & Food Communications Agency, one of Russia’s leading analyst agencies in the field of agriculture and fish market, said in an interview with the Russian RBC, high demand in the U.S. market became one of the reasons for a sharp growth of export prices for Russian crab. According to him, the U.S. crab fishermen had a bad season this year and the suppliers "are raising prices by taking advantage of the shortage." In the meantime, Alexey Buglak, head of the Russian Pollock Association, in an interview with the same RBC, said Russia and Canada are currently the main suppliers of frozen crab to the U.S. market. According to him, in 2020, Russian products accounted for 49% of the U.S. crab imports, while Canada provided 41%. In three quarters of the current year the U.S.' imports of frozen crab from Russia increased by 28% to US$766 million. Canada increased supplies more significantly, 1.9 times to US$1.3 billion. According to the earlier report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the demand for crabs and prices for them in the U.S. soared in 2020, despite pandemic-related restrictions on restaurants. According to FAO, home consumption of crabs has become a steady trend in the United States. However in 2021, California's Pacific coast crab season became unsuccessful, with catches at an all-time low, which contributed to a further growth of prices. According to FAO, in Q1 2021, Russia was even the largest supplier of crabs to the United States, with a share of about 45%. In accordance with its statistics, for 10 months of 2021, the United States imported 26.600 tons of crabs from Russia for US$877.5 million, which is 34% more than in the same period of 2020 in value terms and only 3% in volume. FAO also said about the recovery in demand in the traditional Russian crab market in China, where according to its data, in Q1 2021, shipments increased by almost 105% compared to 2020. Environment/Science NOAA data on Alaska's oceans highlight warming trends Anchorage Daily News by Zachariah Hughes - December 30, 2021 The annual Ecosystem Status Reports from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration collect a wide range of data to better assess maritime trends and help steer fisheries management. Cool phase forecast out for GOA in 2022 Ocean temperatures return to pre-heatwave condition, but Gulf remains in transition Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman - December 27, 2021 Even as the Gulf of Alaska concludes a second consecutive non-marine heatwave year, with average ocean temperatures on the surface and at depth, impacts of four years of marine heatwave period are continuing to impact the Gulf ecosystem. FYI’s Juneau restaurant hit by Bristol Bay king crab season closure, skyrocketing prices KTOO by Lyndsey Brollini - December 23, 2021 Tracy’s King Crab Shack has served Alaska king crab below market price for years, but the restaurant isn’t able to do that anymore. Owner Tracy LaBarge said prices have gone up 100%. Opinion Opinion: Southeast hatcheries are criticial to Southeast’s economy Every Alaskan in our region is impacted by our salmon hatchery program. Juneau Empire by Robert Venables - December 31, 2021 Southeast Conference is the state-designated Alaska Regional Development Organization and federally designated Economic Development District for Southeast Alaska. These two designations require the Southeast Conference to invest time and personnel into resource management and economic development planning. Our mission is to undertake and support activities that promote strong economies, healthy communities, and a quality environment in Southeast Alaska. 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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