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Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Alaska AK Legislature Opens 1/17, Early Filing Includes 3 Fishing Bills Among Nearly 70 Filed on Monday by Peggy Parker - January 10, 2023 House Speaker Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak) introduced three bills on Monday addressing fishing issues among 57 other bills and five constitutional amendments, the first of perhaps two more batches of prefiled bills before the State Legislature opens January 17, 2023. Stutes introduced HB18, allowing for more regional fishery development associations around the state to “encourage the formation of qualified, regional fisheries development associations for the purpose of developing new fisheries in the state.” Alaska has two RFDAs, one in Bristol Bay and one in the Copper River and Prince William Sound area. Where new fisheries are evolving, this legislation would allow for participants to assess themselves to form an entity to help market, commission research, and better manage the developing fishery. HB 19 simplifies registration of commercial fishing vessels, exempting those from the numbering and registration provisions if they have a certificate of documentation issued by the US Coast Guard. Stutes’ third bill, HB20 addresses participation in Board of Fisheries meetings by members of the Board of Fisheries. It would allow Board of Fish and Board of Game members with conflicts of interest to participate in discussions, but not vote, according to a report from the Alaska Public Media. “Why would you have a board member with an area of expertise, and then not let him share his area of expertise with other board members?” Stutes told APM. “It’s crazy.” The Alaska Senate has made more progress than the House organizing into a bipartisan majority coalition that shares values, including concern about food security. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Cathy Giessel (R-Anchorage) said the nine Democrats and eight Republican in the coalition share a goal. “… and that is working together to keep Alaska a producing state – not a consuming state, but a producing state,” Giessel said earlier this month. Giessel told the Alaska Beacon on January 6 that enhancing the state’s agricultural opportunities may be needed. Coalition members expect to address the recent serious problems in fisheries and other issues connected in part to climate change. “Fish and Game, as a department, needs to have the funding it needs to do the science it needs to help it manage our resources,” Giessel told the Beacon. Earlier this month Giessel and Sen. Click Bishop, the incoming majority whip, addressed a group of business leaders on what may be ahead for the state fiscally. Neither are fans of the State Permanent Fund Dividend program. The Beacon reports that Giessel said the huge dividends that some Alaskans are demanding are unaffordable. “We’ve got to bring that dividend subject under control,” she said. “We need to protect the fund itself.” Bishop said much of the $17 billion that has gone “out the door” in dividends since 2002 could have been better used, as infrastructure investment that would have helped build the state’s economy, for example. During the past decade, he noted, the state’s gross domestic product has declined and Alaska has had net outmigration." Although Bishop is from Fairbanks, his district includes the Copper River and Prince William Sound, home to three fishing communities: Cordova, Valdez, and Whittier. It may take more time for the House to form a majority, especially since Stutes want to continue working with a bipartisan coalition majority. November’s election brought 21 Republicans, 13 Democrats and 6 Independents into the 40-seat Legislature. The Republicans may have a technical majority, but Stutes issued a statement with fellow representatives Bryce Edgmon (I-Dillingham) and Neal Foster (D-Nome) on January 5, indicating she wants to continue to work with a bipartisan coalition. All three are from coastal communities with large fishing fleets. “Our coalition has proven its unwavering support for essential services, protecting our Permanent Fund and savings accounts, and providing sustainable dividends,” said Stutes. “Alaskans expect us to be ready to work in January and to get the job done on time. We look forward to working across the aisle with our colleagues in the House and Senate, as well as with the administration on bi-partisan solutions to make that happen.” “From school closures to record outmigration and a declining economy, the challenges facing our state are monumental,” said Edgmon. “That’s why I’m proud to stand with a coalition who will work hard to put partisan differences aside on behalf of the best interests of Alaskans across the state. “The importance of ensuring every community has meaningful access to public safety, or ensuring PCE continues for rural Alaska can never be understated,” said Foster. “I’m committed to working with my colleagues in the Alaska House Coalition to ensure these priorities are realized this next session.” International Russian Pollock Producers Ready to Increase Catch in Bering Sea by Eugene Gerden - January 10, 2023 Leading Russian pollock producers have responded to the recent decision of the US Department of Commerce to increase the volume of possible pollock production in the Bering Sea by 17% to 1.3 million tons in 2023. According to an official spokesman of the Russian Federal Agency for Fishery (Rosrybolovstvo), the agency is aware of the recent decision of US Department of Commerce, adding that it had not been discussed with the Russian side. In August 2022, the decision to increase pollock production in the Bering Sea was also taken by Rosrybolovstvo, which increased the quota by 26.6% to 559,000 tons. Thus, in 2023 Russian fishermen were allowed to catch 9.4% more - 612,000 tons. Fishing in the Bering Sea is regulated by an agreement on the separation of the water area, which was signed between the U.S. and the USSR as far back as in 1990. The entire catch was divided in a ratio of 80% to 20% in favor of the U.S. But in March 2022, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev proposed achieving parity between the two countries by dividing production in half. After that, the Russian Federal Agency for Fisheries increased the quota for Russian fish producers, referring this decision on the conclusions of the All-Russian Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (VNIRO). The president of the All-Russian Association of Fisheries said in an interview with the Vedomosti business paper that such a decision is mainly due to the desire of the U.S. to withdraw Russian pollock processors from the European market for primary frozen pollock fillets. According to him, U.S. fish producers will now be able to offer EU buyers a guaranteed volume of supplies at an acceptable price for them. This will make it possible to repeat the situation of the early 2000s, when Russian fishermen were practically forced out of the European markets, which are their main ones for them. In the meantime, as the president of the Russian Pollock Association Alexei Buglak told Vedomosti, after a mutual increase in the volume of permitted production, the potential global catch of pollock will increase to 3.8 million tons, which is the highest figure in recent years. According to him, given the recession in the main consumption markets, the level of competition between Russian and American producers for export markets will now intensify. Buglak has also added Russia and the United States now account for 95% of the world pollock catch and production from this type of fish. At the same time, both countries supply most of the products for exports. The key market for pollock fillet is Europe, which in 2012-2019 imported an average of 270,000-280,000 tons of such products worth about US$800 million, according to the data of the Russian Pollock Association. U.S.+ producers occupied 30-32% of the European market, and Russian fishermen - no more than 10%. But according to the results of the three quarters of 2022, Russia for the first time pressed American products in the European market, taking 28% of the pollock market against 25% from the United States. According to latest data, Russian enterprises overtook the Americans in terms of supplies of pollock fillets to Europe - 42,200 tons against 38,600 tons. According to Russian analysts in the field of fish business, the desire of the US to push out Russian fishermen out of the EU market is logical, as the US and Russia are the main pollock suppliers to the world market. If this succeeds, then the volumes of Russian pollock fillets that are now supplied to the EU market will have to be redirected to the markets of Korea and China, but it will be difficult to do this, as these countries prefer to buy just gutted pollock and process it on their own. In the meantime, according to Alexei Osintsev, president of the Russian Association of Fishing Fleet Owners (ASRF), over 90% of pollock catches by American fishermen go into deep processing, while this figure is 2.5 times lower for Russian fisherman, says Osintsev. In his opinion, the Russia fishing industry needs to use the US experience in order to increase its share in the global market. Before the agreement with the United States on the delimitation of maritime spaces, Russian fishermen could catch pollock in more eastern areas, which means that the geography of fishing was wider and the availability of different fish stocks was better. Still, it will be difficult to increase the Russian quota all at once, as Russian fishermen simply do not have excessive fishing capacity to sharply increase production, which means that the quota, even with an increase, may not be fully utilized. Environment/Science Ocean heat surged to another record-high temperature in 2022. Here’s why that’s so worrisome. Anchorage Daily News by Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis, The Washington Post - January 11, 2023 The amount of excess heat buried in the planet’s oceans, a strong marker of climate change, reached a record high in 2022, reflecting more stored heat energy than in any year since reliable measurements were available in the late 1950s, a group of scientists reported Wednesday. *Requires Subscription Federal Register North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 01/10/2023 The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) Salmon Bycatch Committee will meet January 25, 2023. FYI’s Ronald Rogness Joins GAPP as its Director of Industry Relations, Partnerships and Fishery Analysis Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers - January 9, 2023 Seafood industry veteran Ronald Rogness will join the Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP) as its Director, Industry Relations, Partnerships and Fishery Analysis. In this position, Rogness will have oversight of the GAPP Partnership Program as well as critical membership services including the Association’s various fishery and trade reports. Rogness, who previously served as a consultant to the organization on economic and fishery matters, will also now devote attention to representing GAPP in broader seafood collaborations and committees and securing additional funding to advance GAPP’s mission to build awareness and demand for wild Alaska pollock, through grants and other opportunities. In Memoriam Remembering Terry Johnson Alaska Sea Grant - January 5, 2023 Alaska Sea Grant is saddened to hear of the passing of our friend and colleague, Terry Johnson. Terry joined us in 1991 as the Marine Advisory Program agent for Bristol Bay, after many years as a fisherman and freelance writer. In 1999, he became the southern Kenai peninsula MAP agent, and later served as our recreation and tourism specialist based in Anchorage. When he retired from UAF in 2017, Terry was honored as professor emeritus. 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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