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Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Alaska Seaweed, salmon and sablefish win big in Alaska seafood competition National Fisherman by Jessica Hathaway - March 1, 2022 The Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation celebrated its final round of prizes for the annual Alaska Symphony of Seafood competition in Juneau Thursday, Feb. 24. https://www.nationalfisherman.com/alaska/seaweed-salmon-and-sablefish-win-big-in-alaska-seafood-competition West Coast Oregon fishing advocates organize to pressure BOEM on offshore wind National Fisherman - February 25, 2022 Solicitation by U.S. federal energy planners of wind-energy developer interest offshore of the U.S. state of Oregon has the state’s commercial fishing advocates organizing to push for major environmental analysis before any decision-making takes place. https://www.seafoodsource.com/national-fisherman/oregon-fishing-advocates-organize-to-pressure-boem-on-offshore-wind Environment/Science Record precipitation for King Salmon as winter temperatures flip-flop KDLG by Isabelle Ross - March 1, 2022 King Salmon tied its fifth warmest February on record, and the average temperature there was about 8 degrees above normal. https://www.kdlg.org/environment/2022-03-01/record-precipitation-for-king-salmon-winter-temperatures-flip-flop Federal Register Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; Final 2022 and 2023 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 03/02/2022 NMFS announces final 2022 and 2023 harvest specifications, apportionments, and prohibited species catch allowances for the groundfish fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the remainder of the 2022 and the start of the 2023 fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP). The 2022 harvest specifications supersede those previously set in the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications, and the 2023 harvest specifications will be superseded in early 2023 when the final 2023 and 2024 harvest specifications are published. The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the BSAI in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/03/02/2022-04292/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-bering-sea-and-aleutian-islands-final-2022-and Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of Alaska; Final 2022 and 2023 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 03/02/2022 NMFS announces final 2022 and 2023 harvest specifications, apportionments, and Pacific halibut prohibited species catch limits for the groundfish fishery of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the remainder of the 2022 and the start of the 2023 fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP). The 2022 harvest specifications supersede those previously set in the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications, and the 2023 harvest specifications will be superseded in early 2023 when the final 2023 and 2024 harvest specifications are published. The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the GOA in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/03/02/2022-03844/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-gulf-of-alaska-final-2022-and-2023-harvest FYI’s ComFish Alaska Brings Industry Members and Policy Makers Together March 24-26 in Kodiak SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - March 1, 2022 ComFish Alaska, the state's longest-running and largest commercial fisheries trade show will take place in Kodiak, Alaska's Emerald Isle, for three days, March 24-26, 2022. On the agenda are forums on the topics of the day, including many that address climate resiliency for fisheries. Kodiak, with 100% of its energy sourced from renewable resources, is an appropriate venue for those discussions. Show organizers are adding information every day on the workshops and conference presentations, but so far the agenda includes: * Ben Daly of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) on the health of crab stocks in the eastern Bering Sea — snow, tanner, and Bristol Bay king crab; * Marysia Szymkowiak, Research Social Scientist with NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center on Gulf of Alaska fishing communities and climate change adaptation; * Alaska’s Congressional delegation - Senators Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Rep. Don Young - providing a federal legislative update; * Ashley Heimbigner and Bruce Schactler of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) on market updates and predictions; * Garrett Evridge, Managing Director, Alaska Ocean Cluster on innovation and what’s ahead for the Alaska seafood industry; and much more. Getting to Kodiak was just made easier by a special show discount from Alaska Airlines of 7% off of any published fares between Kodiak and any Alaska Airlines US or Canadian city (except Prudhoe Bay & Hawaii). The offer is valid on travel from March 21 to March 29. Attendees can register now for the three-day event. The expo part of ComFish showcases new gear, technologies, safety equipment, and information on climate change, fisheries management, seafood markets, and much more. A list of exhibitors is here. At press time there were only a few spaces left for exhibitors in the convention hall. Hosted by the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce, which began the event in 1980, more information can be found at CHAMBER@KODIAKCHAMBER.ORG. https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1219991/ComFish-Alaska-Brings-Industry-Members-and-Policy-Makers-Together-March-24-26-in-Kodiak Opinion The Winding Glass: Seafood Price Volatility Looms as Russian Bank Sanctions Hit Crab, Groundfish SeafoodNews.com by John Sackton - February 28, 2022 [The Winding Glass is the opinion and commentary column from John Sackton, Founder of SeafoodNews] This was the March we were supposed to get back to normal. The pandemic is receding. Demand for seafood is high, and prices for crab and lobster are at record levels and groundfish prices are strong. Before last week, the most pressing issue for the crab industry was how to negotiate a smooth climb down from the historically high prices, which have stifled customer demand and led to growing inventories. Russian crab prices had begun to soften, and the price differential between Russian and Canadian snow crab in the U.S. market was beginning to reappear. In the normal course of events, the opening of the Canadian season is an opportunity to set a new price point that crab producers think the market will accept. The price would factor in the lack of Alaskan snow crab this year and the growth in the importance of snow crab supplies from Russia. In 2021, the U.S. imported 41 million lbs. of snow crab from Russia, accounting for 30% of total imports. At the moment, there are plenty of inventories, and demand is soft, so the fact that there is a cutoff is not creating an immediate crisis. Furthermore, the monthly supply of Russian crab seems opposite that of Canada, so that when Canadian production is strong, very little Russian crab is imported. But as the trade graphic shows, since 2019 the volume of Russian snow crab shipped to the U.S. has grown substantially and accounted for most of the increase in supply. Russian sales to the U.S. have doubled during this period.

Chart Source: US Customs Data The smooth landing scenario has been upended by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent cutting of Russian links to the dollar economy. This is not like 2014. Back then, Russia imposed an import embargo on food from the West, and some exports were hit. But the U.S. never retaliated, and continued to import plenty of Russian pollock, cod, crab and salmon. Nor did the U.S. sanction the banking system. This time, it is not the specific products that are at risk, but the banking system. The U.S. is treating Russia like it treated Iran. The U.S. is undertaking the following bank sanctions: Sberbank: Cuts off Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, and 25 subsidiaries from US dollar transactions (there are some exceptions for oil and gas). VTB Bank: Assets are frozen, meaning the bank cannot do business with U.S. or UK nationals. Alfa Bank and Bank Otkritie: The U.S. has imposed full blocking sanctions on Otkritie, and debt and equity restrictions on Alfa-Bank. Promsvyazbank, Sovcombank and Novikdombank: The U.S. has imposed full blocking restrictions. In addition, the U.S. and other countries are cutting participation of Russian banks from SWIFT, which is the international bank settlement system. SWIFT is the plumbing for international financial transactions. When a U.S. importer brings in a load of crab (regardless of whether they are a U.S. or Foreign company), they get a letter of credit in dollars, lets say from a Seattle bank. When the load is received, the Seattle bank transfers dollar funds to the Russian bank used by the seller, lets say Sberbank. Sberbank then puts the funds in the seller's dollar account, and the seller can convert to Rubles as needed to pay for their expenses. Even if the importer of record has a U.S. bank account, the payment ultimately has to be transferred to Russia before the company can use the money. Without SWIF, there is no electronic guarantee for these funds. So even if Sberbank was not sanctioned, the U.S. bank has no counterparty to whom to send the funds. So they won't do it. Finally, by the U.S. freezing the dollar assets of the Russian central bank and other dollar assets overseas, the Russians have no ability to convert dollars into other currencies. So trade will come to a full stop. Russian producers will have these problems with Japanese buyers who also use dollars, and probably South Korean buyers also. They still will be able to conduct sales in Chinese currency. For Russian crab and groundfish producers a large part of their production will suddenly become unsellable, except on the black market. There will likely be an explosion of black-market supplies of Russian seafood. But unlike in 2005 and 2006 when black market Russian crab overtook the U.S. market, today there are far more stringent import controls, and the traceability put in place for MSC custody and other certifications means many large buyers will no longer take loads they cannot trace. So the black-market channel will be difficult in the U.S. Canadian snow crab quotas have not yet been set for 2022, although the industry is expecting increases. The increases will not be enough to offset the loss of Russian supply. The Russian TAC for snow crab in 2022 is around 46,000 tons, including both the Barents Sea and the Far East. In 2021, 67% of the total Russian snow crab TAC came to the U.S. Where is this product going to go in 2022? Will it even be caught if there is no market? A similar disruption looms for groundfish. Russian produced Alaska pollock is heavily sold into Europe. This channel will be largely cut off. Russian pollock also comes into the U.S. In the same vein as crab, there will be tremendous production that will have little home except for the Russian domestic market. This is likely to increase groundfish prices from non-Russian sources, and create a huge pool of black-market groundfish whose provenance may be hidden. Once again, the major users of whitefish are in no position to try and flout sanctions or seek out illegal fish. It is companies on the sidelines that are more likely to take that risk. The likely short term economic reaction is higher prices than otherwise would occur on both crab and groundfish. But the longer term likelihood will be to shrink markets for these species as a significant portion of their supply has been vaporized. Once again, external forces beyond our control will determine seafood pricing in ways outside our conventional experience. With the pandemic, this turned out very well as our products were favored by the adjustments in consumption. At this point, we don’t know yet how the Russian sanctions will play out for seafood, and whether the extra price pressure is good for U.S. and Canadian producers, or a poison pill that will destroy our markets. https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1219875/The-Winding-Glass-Seafood-Price-Volatility-Looms-as-Russian-Bank-Sanctions-Hit-Crab-Groundfish

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