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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Alaska After barge didn’t show in St. Paul, Bering Sea fishermen forced to make 500-mile detour to refuel KUCB by Hope McKenney - March 19, 2021 The COVID-19 pandemic has already disrupted Alaska’s winter Bering Sea fishing seasons, closing plants and adding quarantine-related complications for crews. ComFish Alaska Starts Tuesday March 30, Promises to be “Not Your Typical Virtual Event” by Peggy Parker - March 23, 2021 The Kodiak Chamber of Commerce is hosting ComFish Alaska next week, the state’s largest and longest-running expo/conference in Alaska. It happens every other year on the island of Kodiak and draws hundreds of people from across Alaska. This year’s conference will be virtual, but organizers are promising something different. This year the platform is Hopin (as in ‘hop right in!”), an all -in-one platform for virtual events that can easily accommodate 50 attendees or 100,000. Hopin has a Reception, Stage, Sessions, Networking, and Expo area. Registration is here, and it's free. Once you're registered you can start virtually exploring the entire event. Unlike webinars, where a few people talk and everybody else listens, Hopin facilitates live video interactions between participants. That could be automated, random (or targeted) one-on-one networking, multiple concurrent virtual roundtables for breakout group discussions, a stage for live broadcasting to hundreds of thousands of people, and an expo booth for interacting with sponsors and vendors. Over the course of two days, that’s what ComFish Alaska offers visitors. Every aspect of commercial fishing, from equipment, technology, and gear exhibitors to government agencies and nonprofits is part of the event. Forums on relevant topics are organized every year for the purpose of sharing ideas and fishing information with the public and throughout the fishing industry. The first day starts out with Alaska’s Congressional delegation updating participants on issues regarding Alaska’s seafood industry followed by briefs from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and the Alaska’s Governor’s fishery advisory, Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the Fish and Game Department to review legislation. The Bristol Bay fishing leaders and Tribal coalitions will wrap up with their efforts to find permanent protection for Bristol Bay. The second day begins with California Congressman Jared Huffman and an update on his efforts reauthorizing the Magnusen-Stevens Act. Each presentation will have ample time for questions during and after. Other topics are salmon and herring management in Western Alaska, innovation in Electronic Monitoring (EM) for Pelagic Trawl Vessels in the North Pacific, and crab research. Those lucky enough to be on the island during the event, are invited to an evening reception on Tuesday to enjoy fish tacos and beer with other participants. Those off-Island can do the same, they just have to make their own fish tacos — the event is otherwise open to all.

Sponsors for this year’s event number just under 40 this year, and there are 20 vendors. Show-discounts will be available for purchases. For a full list of vendors, sponsors, and all speakers, go to the event page.

International GAO Recommends FDA Improve Monitoring of Imported Seafood Warning Letter Process Urner Barry by Amanda Buckle - March 19, 2021 GAO released a report on Friday recommending that the FDA monitor whether it’s following procedures and meeting goals for their imported seafood warning letters. The FDA sends out warning letters to companies that violate food safety regulations and pose a public health risk. The warning letters generally ask the company to describe the steps being taken to correct the violation, and ask the company to respond with how it plans to correct the issue within 15 working days. In addition, the FDA set a goal to conduct follow-up inspections within six months of issuing the warning letter to ensure that the violations highlighted were corrected. However, GAO says that based on warning letters that the FDA sent from 2014 to early 2019, they did not consistently follow key procedures or meet key goals. GAO claims that of the 125 warning letters sent for significant inspection violations during that time period, only 14 received follow-up inspections within the six month period. Of those 125 letters, 56 received follow up inspections from the FDA more than 6 months after the warning letter was issued. GAO says the average for that visit was two years. The remaining figure has yet to receive a follow-up inspection from the FDA as of March 11, 2020.

“While FDA has some monitoring tools, the agency does not have a monitoring process that allows it to determine whether all imported seafood warning letters (to both domestic and foreign firms) consistently follow procedures and meet goals, and FDA officials stated the agency had not conducted such a review of all letters,” GAO reports. GAO is recommending that the FDA commissioner establish a process to monitor whether the agency is “consistently following key procedures and meeting key goals for its imported seafood warning letters, and take corrective action when necessary.” GAO is also recommending that the FDA commissioner develop performance goals and measures to assess the effectiveness of its warning letters in ensuring the safety of imported seafood. An example would be reviewing the “percentage of warning letter cases that have been resolved, either through a closeout letter or import alert placement, within one year of being issued.”Check out the full report from GAO here. U.S. imported $2.4 billion in illegally fished seafood in 2019, U.S. agency says Reuters by David Lawder - March 18, 2021 WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States imported $2.4 billion worth of seafood from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in 2019, representing 11% of total U.S. imports, the U.S. International Trade Commission said in a report released on Thursday. Environment/Science One Of Biden's Biggest Climate Change Challenges? The Oceans NPR by Lauren Sommer - March 18, 2021 A few years ago, marine biologist Kyle Van Houtan spotted an online video that he couldn'tquite believe. It showed a young great white shark, about five-feet long, swimming just off a pier in Central California. FYI’s “When Crab Was King” comes to downtown KMXT by Dylan Simard - March 18, 2021 The Kodiak Maritime Museum has long worked to tell the tales of the fishing industry on the island of Kodiak, and with a new series of aluminum panels depicting Kodiak locals who worked and fished the island since the start of the Kodiak crab fishery, it goes the extra mile to enshrine the stories of fishingfolk with a visual representation. Pacific Seafood Processors Association

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