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Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Alaska Low crab counts force closure of crabbing seasons KTUU by Joey Klecka - October 11, 2022 JUNEAU, Alaska - The winter crabbing seasons for Bristol Bay red king crab and Bering Sea snow crab offshore of Western Alaska have been shut down by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, according to a press release. Alaska Closes Bering Sea Snow and King Crab, Sets TAC for Tanner at Just Over Two Million Pounds by Peggy Parker - October 11, 2022 The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced yesterday that the Bristol Bay Red King Crab (BBRKC) season will be closed in the Bering Sea for the 2nd year in a row, and that the Bering Sea snow crab season will be closed for the first time in the history of the North Pacific Council. Both were closed due to conservation concerns amid a warming, more acidic, and rapidly changing ecosystem in the Bering Sea than ever before. The snow (opilio) crab stocks dropped by 90% between 2019 and 2021. There was no ocean survey done in 2020 due to the pandemic, but commercial fishermen harvested more than 36.6 million pounds that year, according to the NOAA Fisheries. Last year, with the shocking survey numbers, the TAC was lowered to 5 million pounds and the fleet had a hard time harvesting that amount. There is still no clear reason what happened to the snow crab, but hypotheses include increasing predation of Pacific cod on juvenile snow crab, disease, stress, the cumulative effects of climate change and unobserved mortalities, or they moved away from the survey area. Bristol Bay Red Kings have been on a steady decline for 15 years. Like all Bering Sea crab fisheries, the BBRKC fishery is rationalized, a gold-standard type of management that issues quota and assigns TAC based on the modeled results of annual survey data. The model, however, is not perfect and many scientists who use the model acknowledged that enough problems exist with it to be cautionary in catch limits. “Management of Bristol Bay red king crab [and of Bering Sea snow crab] must now focus on conservation and rebuilding given the condition of the stock,” said the ADF&G’s two statements released yesterday. “With crab industry input, ADF&G will continue to evaluate options for rebuildng, including potential for sustainably fishing durin periods of low abudnance,” the department’s statement explained. “This will allow ADF&G to work on issues related to state and federal co-management observer coverage, discard mortality and fishery viability.” "We have extreme conservation concerns about the population,” ADF&G senior scientist Ben Daly told the Seattle Times yesterday. “We have serious doubts about the model," he said. Public testimony and a motion from the industry Advisory Panel to the Council called for urgent action in the short term that would close sensitive areas for king crab during their mating and molting cycle from all gear, or from gear that would be most damaging to their habitat during a time when most crab are defenseless and immobile. They suggested fall or winter pot surveys that would have a smaller footprint than the trawl survey and would monitor crab where they are during a commercial season. Tagging studies, using a variety of tags, would deepen scientists’ understanding of where the crab move in their lifetime. Much of this work could be done using the crab fleet as scientific platforms, stakeholders urged. It would help address a growing problem of increased work load and decreased staff that was discussed at length throughout the ten-day council meeting. But the council took no action to expand the closure of the Bristol Bay Red King Crab Savings Area to other gear types or to amend any of the bycatch limits on the vulnerable stocks. Deputy Commissioner of ADF&G Rachel Baker introduced a motion that identified both stocks as a priority conservation concern. To address it, the council promised to review an analysis of the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers (ABSC) emergency order request to the Secretary of Commerce to keep pelagic trawl, pot and hook-and-line fisheries out of the Red King Crab Savings Area and Subarea at the December 2022 meeting. That could result in rulemaking. Baker herself offered to work with industry and managers on ways all sectors can avoid BBRKC and Eastern Bering Sea snow crab in the non-directed fisheries and present a work paper in December to help the Council take action. Meanwhile, her motion, which passed unanimously, encourages research and testing on • pot gear modifications, soak times and handling practices that reduce unintended mortality of crab PSC • evaluating the interactions of pelagic trawl gear with the sea floor and crab to inform gear modifications to reduce unintended mortality of crab PSC and impacts on benthic habitat • methods to gather data on interannual and seasonal distribution of crab, such as additional surveys and tagging studies. Although tanner (bairdi) crab is at historically low levels, ADF&G agreed that a sustainable fishery could occur. A total catch of 2.013 million pounds in both the West and east side of the Bering Sea was set this season, which will open October 16. The breakdown is: West of 166 degrees W Longitude, 765,000 pounds will be allocated to Individual Fishing Quota holders while Community Development Quota share of 85,000 pounds will go to CDQ groups. In the eastern Bering Sea, east of 166 degrees W longitude, IFQ holders will get 1,046,700 pounds and CDQ groups 116,300 pounds, for a total TAC of 1.163 million pounds. International Russian seafood still making its way into Japan, despite sanctions Seafood Source by Chris Loew - October 11, 2022 Russian seafood exports continue to flow into Japan, despite revoking Russia’s most-favored-nation status in March 2022 in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Federal Register Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod in the Bering Sea Subarea of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 10/12/2022 NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod, except for the Community Development Quota program (CDQ), in the Bering Sea subarea of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the non-CDQ allocation of the 2022 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) in the Bering Sea subarea of the BSAI. FYI’s FDA Partners With NOAA, USDA, and EPA For Study on Seafood Consumption in Child Growth, Development Urner Barry by Amanda Buckle - October 12, 2022 On Tuesday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the launch of an independent study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) on the “Role of Seafood Consumption in Child Growth and Development.” The study is being done in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which supports the goals of the FDA’s “Closer to Zero Action Plan” for reducing the exposure of babies and young children to mercury, arsenic, lead and cadmium from foods. There is no denying that seafood is a part of a healthy eating pattern and provides key nutrients during pregnancy and breastfeeding. During early childhood eating seafood also supports a child’s brain, spinal cord and immune system. Last October the FDA updated their advice regarding seafood consumption for children between ages 1 - 11 years old. Due to the omega-3 and omega-6 fats, iron, and choline, as well as the iron, zinc, protein, vitamin B12, vitamin D and selenium found in fish, the FDA recommends that children eat two servings of fish a week from the “Best Choices” list. The “Best Choices” list features many different species, including cod, clams, crab, flounder, haddock, lobster, pollock, salmon and shrimp. The advice also warns about the importance of limiting the intake of mercury, and provides a list of species that children should avoid, including king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish (Gulf of Mexico) and bigeye tuna. The study with NASEM is set to dive deeper into that by convening a committee of experts to conduct systemic reviews of the scientific literature on seafood nutrition and toxicology. The FDA says that taken together, this data will “inform the basis for evaluating how seafood consumption impacts child growth and development.” Based on the data from the study, it will also help inform whether a new update is needed for the current “Advice About Eating Fish” for children and those who might become or are pregnant or breastfeeding. The study is expected to take around 18 months. NASEM will publish the committee’s report once the study is complete. AMSEA Executive Director Role Enters Transition Phase Urner Barry by Ryan Doyle - October 10, 2022 The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) announced it has begun a search for its next executive director after Jerry Dzugan announced that he would be stepping away from the helm of AMSEA. Dzugan will leave his post in January and after 36 years, AMSEA said he looks forward to “teaching more, developing marine safety curricula, and spending more quality time with his sailboat, S/V Wyldewind.” AMSEA explained that under Dzugan’s leadership, the group developed U.S. Coast Guard-accepted curricula that have been taught to hundreds of marine safety instructors and more than 20,000 fishing vessel drill conductors, in classes on every U.S. coast. “Hundreds of fishermen have used the skills learned to keep themselves and their crewmates safe in vessel disasters and other emergencies at sea,” the group wrote in a blog post. “AMSEA looks forward to continuing in its role as the leading marine safety education organization for commercial fishermen.” Now, AMSEA’s board of directors will undergo a search for its next leader. In the words of Board Chair, Julie Matweyou, the board is "seeking an individual who is committed to and passionate about the mission, core values and longevity of our organization." AMSEA said those interested can get more information at 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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