New MSC Recertification for Pacific Halibut and Sablefish Now Includes Inside Waters
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - August 18, 2021
A team effort over several months resulted in MSC’s recertification of Pacific Halibut and North Pacific sablefish fisheries to include the inside waters of the northern section of Southeast Alaska, including the waters of Chatham Strait, east of Sitka.
Last week the expanded recertification was announced by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and that it now included for the first time the Northern Southeast Inside (NSEI) sablefish fishery. Yesterday the MSC client Eat on the Wild Side, a non-profit of the Fishing Vessel Owners Association (FVOA) and Deep Sea Fishermen’s Union (DSFU), the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (ALFA), and Seafood Producers Cooperative (SPC) issued a joint statement about the new status of both fisheries.
"This recertification rightly acknowledges the hard work of Alaska fixed gear fishermen and fishery managers to maintain healthy fisheries in balance with marine ecosystems," said Bob Alverson, Executive Director of FVOA.“MSC certification requires continued improvement in best fishing and management practices and our sablefish fisheries met all identified criteria."
The Marine Stewardship Council uses its ecolabel and fishery certification program to contribute to the health of the world's oceans by recognizing and rewarding sustainable fishing practices, influencing the choices people make when buying seafood, and working to transform the seafood market to a sustainable basis. The MSC first certified the North Pacific fixed gear sablefish fisheries on April 18, 2006.
"The addition of the NSEI sablefish fishery to the MSC certification makes solid sense both ecologically and from a marketing perspective," said Linda Behnken of Sitka-based ALFA. "Sablefish are highly migratory, with significant mixing between open ocean and 'inside' stocks. The only difference is that one stock is carefully managed under the federal system and one even more conservatively by the State of Alaska -- both merit the MSC label and the label's marketing benefits."
Sitka-based Seafood Producers Cooperative is one of the oldest processing and marketing cooperatives in the nation. They asked FVOA and ALFA to work with the MSC to expand the sablefish certification to include the NSEI fishery. SPC provided essential information required during the certification review, facilitating the successful outcome of the process.
"This was a strong team effort by FVOA, DSFU, ALFA and SPC to secure appropriate MSC marketing benefits for our fixed gear members and the fleet generally," said Stephen Rhoads, VP of procurement for SPC.
"The domestic demand for sablefish, which is an exceptional deep water fish, is growing and customers deserve to know that the fixed gear fishery is sustainably managed throughout Alaska. The MSC label provides that level of confidence both in the US and overseas."
US West Coast fishing industry requests review of sea otter reintroduction
Seafood Source by Brian Hagenbuch - August 16, 2021
Major players in the U.S. West Coast fishing industry sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on Thursday, 12 August, requesting a thorough review of how a proposed sea otter reintroduction might affect the region’s fisheries and coastal economies.
June Imports of Fresh Salmon Stable in Fillets, Unusual High Price For Alaskan Sockeye
SeafoodNews.com by Tom Asakawa - August 18, 2021
According to Japan’s Ministry of Finance customs statistics, fresh head-on salmon and trout imports by air in June recovered to the same level as the previous year. While fillet products, mostly from Norway, came in steadily, air-freighted salmon increased despite the high unit price, reported Suisan Keizai.
As for head-on fish, while the unit price of Norwegian Atlantic salmon has subsided, prices of salmon from Canada and the UK rose. Australian fish also followed the high price level as in the previous month.
As a result, import volume was slightly restrained, falling below the same month last year except for Norwegian salmon, and imports of Atlantic salmon as a whole fell 2.2% from the same month the previous year to 1137 tons in June.
In addition, the CIF unit price per kilo has fallen 3.8% from May due to the downward revision of the Norwegian farm gate price. On the other hand, fish prices from the UK, Canada, and Australia also recovered rapidly from around May. In June, the overall unit price was 1099 yen/kg ($10.06/kg), 6.0% higher than the same month of the previous year, and is recovering from the slump that continued until just after the beginning of the year.
On the other hand, the import volume of fillet products increased almost steadily regardless of the increase or decrease in the import price. Most of the fresh fillets are from Norway. Air freighted Chilean products are less competitive due to high air transportation charges. Most of the Chilean fish for the Japanese market is frozen, and Norway remains monopolized in this category. Imports in June were 1540 tons for Norway, 21 tons for Chile, and 1583 tons including fresh imports from other countries, up 33.6% from the same month last year. In Q1, it increased 20% from the same month of the previous year, and in Q2, up 30 to 40%. In H1, it was 9746 tons, approaching 10,000 tons, which is 27.6% more than the same month of the previous year.
While the growth of head-on products is slow, the increase in fillet products has been remarkable in recent years. It seems that the shift in demand for fillets, which saves the trouble of handling and reduces waste disposal and the risk of germ contamination, is accelerating more than expected.
As a result, the total import volume by air transportation in June was 2891 tons, which was 15.0% higher than the same month of the previous year, and the value was 3,733.93 million yen ($34.06 million), a sharp increase of 18.2%. In H1, it reached 18,958 tons, at a value of 23,359.07 million yen ($213.10 million), the quantity increased by 12.8%, and the value increased by 10.3%. It is the first time that salmon and trout fillets have exceeded 10,000 tons in total.
In June, 113 tons of fresh wild sockeyes from Alaska were imported by air, and the CIF price showed a high of 3796 yen/kg ($34.64/kg). It was 90 kg and 2633 yen/kg ($24.02/kg) last year, so it performed well. The sharp rise in import prices resulted from the sharp increase in purchase prices in Alaska, but the Japanese market had never experienced the unusually high price.
NFI hires new director of public policy
Seafood News by Chris Chase - August 17, 2021
U.S. seafood trade group National Fisheries Institute (NFI) has hired Morgan Bell to serve as its new director of public policy.
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