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Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Alaska News Release: Coast Guard reports second operational fatality-free year for Alaska commercial fishing industry U.S. Coast Guard 17th District Alaska - October 25, 2022 JUNEAU, Alaska -- The Coast Guard 17th District Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety office reported the second fatality-free commercial fishing season in Alaska for the fiscal year 2022. https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDHSCG/bulletins/3341d41?reqfrom=share Murkowski Has Ideas to Improve Alaska’s Coastal Infrastructure, Wants To Hear More From Alaskans SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - October 25, 2022 Alaska’s senior senator called working waterfronts the “beating heart” of coastal communities and has created a framework for future legislation to help expand coastal infrastructure and help Alaska's blue economy grow. Although the framework inludes 14 areas of focus, Murkowski wants more input from Alaskans before December 2, 2022. “I’m announcing this framework to continue my conversations with Alaskans about the needs and great potential of our working waterfronts,” said Murkowski. “The blue economy is set to be a $3 trillion industry by 2030. We have the biggest pieces of the puzzle already. Alaska’s 66,000 miles of coastline and strong ties to our oceans and rivers prime us for growth in sustainable industries like fisheries and mariculture. “I don’t want to see us held back by a lack of infrastructure and support for our marine-based livelihoods,” Murkowski said on October 3 when she announced the framework. “In many cases, tweaks to eligibility for existing programs would open up a world of possibility for communities who depend on our rivers and oceans. Alaskans brought these ideas to me and my team and I look forward to the work and collaboration that will make them a reality.” “Eighty three percent of Alaskans live in coastal areas,” Murkowski said. “Working waterfronts are the beating heart of those areas, providing access to nourishing marine resources for commercial, recreational, and subsistence users. They can also be the most vulnerable to nature’s power, as we saw recently during powerful storms in Western Alaska." Much of the Working Waterfronts Framework recounts perennial areas of need, but other areas of focus are new. Some familiar issues include: * Young Fishermen — reduce barriers to entry, costs of vessels and gear, and mitigate pollution, climate change, and geopolitical issues. "The “graying of the fleet’ is a challenge to the industry, but also an opportunity for mentorship and workforce development,” she said. * Domestic Seafood Marketing and Promotion – The majority of seafood caught in the U.S. is exported, while the majority of seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported from other countries. One avenue to correct this is to bolster marketing and promotion efforts for U.S. seafood. The Saltonstall-Kennedy (S.K.) Promotion and Development account was created for this purpose. However, only a small percentage of S.K. account funds support marketing and promotion of U.S. seafood, while the lion’s share support science and research at NOAA. The Senator proposes to increase the percentage of funds that are used for marketing of domestic seafood by amending the Saltonstall-Kennedy Act of 1954. * Small-Scale Community Processing – Murkowski proposes to increase support for community infrastructure such as cold storage, cooperative processing facilities, and mariculture/seaweed processing facilities and equipment. She would do this through competitive grants and cooperative agreements for pilot projects for new seafood and mariculture processing infrastructure that would be offered the Department of Commerce and the Department of Agriculture. Newer ideas include an alternative to the years-long fisheries disaster aid process and elevating subsistence users' losses during a fisheries disaster, listed below. * Crop-Insurance for Fisheries – The fisheries disaster process is not working for anyone. Commercial, recreational, and subsistence users are not able to access relief funding for years after disaster strikes. The multi-year process is nearly useless for fishermen and communities experiencing a stock collapse as federal relief comes too little, too late to save vulnerable fishing operations. The Senator proposes to look at the federal crop insurance process used by the agricultural sector as a model to develop a new approach to fisheries disaster relief. * Accounting for Subsistence Users in the Fisheries Disaster Process: Existing fisheries disaster recovery programs do not adequately address the impacts on families that rely on subsistence fishing for food security, and those programs also fail to account for impacts on traditional practices and culture. “It is time that subsistence users be qualified for fisheries disaster assistance in their own right,” she said. Murkowski has proposed language in a bill to ensure relief for subsistence users. Also includes in Murkowski's draft are: * USDA Loan Guarantees: USDA implements loan programs for meat and poultry producers and food supply chain infrastructure. Opening those programs to fishing and mariculture businesses would improve access to needed food security and economic opportunities for coastal residents and businesses. * Small Boat Harbors/Boat Ramps: The Maritime Administration’s mission and current suite of grant programs do not align well with the projects sought by smaller port and harbor communities that do not have robust cargo volumes, Murkowski explained. Coastal Alaska communities that are primarily oriented around recreational, sportfishing, or smaller-scale commercial operations have a difficult time accessing funding from existing programs for activities that are not under the umbrella of Army Corps responsibilities, which only include dredging and navigational improvements. The types of projects Alaska coastal communities are seeking funding for include boat haul-out ramps, docks, storage or warehouse facilities located in the port, powerhouses, cold storage or other uplands improvements. Federal programs like PIDP require applicants to have a draft of at least 20 feet to apply. To address this gap, Senator Murkowski secured an additional $5 million in the Senate’s draft FY 2023 appropriations bills for the Denali Commission to fund waterfront projects. The Senator plans to seek additional funds for the Denali Commission to fill this gap in working waterfronts support for Alaska. In addition, Murkowski’s draft framework includes ocean and coastal aidification research and monitoring, coastal renewable energy key to economic growth in rural areas; Workforce development for Maritime Trades, shellfish mariculture, coastal vegetation inventory, fishing vessel electrification, and tourism. Murkowski urges Alaskans to answer the following questions by December 2 and email your responses to Working_Waterfronts@Murkowkski.Senate.Gov. Are there ideas in the Framework that you particularly like and have suggestions to improve? Are there ideas in the Framework that you disagree with? Do you have other ideas that the Senator should add to her Framework? https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1238066/Murkowski-Has-Ideas-to-Improve-Alaskas-Coastal-Infrastructure-Wants-To-Hear-More-From-Alaskans West Coast $36 Million to Head Towards Puget Sound Salmon Recovery, Conservation Projects Urner Barry by Ryan Doyle - October 25, 2022 U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Patty Murray (D-WA) announced $36 million in grant funds to state, local, Tribal and federal partners focused on conservation and restoration of the Puget Sound. The funding was awarded from the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Estuary Program and the Puget Sound Geographic Funds to support the development and implementation of the Puget Sound Action Agenda. "With this $36 million investment in Puget Sound, government agencies and Tribes will work to stop stormwater pollution, improve water quality, restore habitat and accelerate the recovery of our salmon and orca populations. This investment will help provide a healthier Puget Sound for our people, our economy and our wildlife," said Senator Cantwell. The total $36 million will be allocated to the following programs: - $8.5 million to the Puget Sound Partnership. The Puget Sound Partnership will also receive $900,000 in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding. - $7.0 million to 19 federally recognized Tribes, the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, Skagit River System Cooperative and Point no Point Treaty Council - $7.2 million to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Washington Department of Natural Resources for habitat recovery - $5.7 million to the Department of Ecology for stormwater work, including transportation runoff - $4.5 million to Washington Department of Health for shellfish restoration and pathogen reduction - $3.3 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for federal science through Interagency Agreements with NOAA, USGS, USFS and DOE "Puget Sound is vital to so many Tribes and communities throughout Washington state. It's central to our economy, our environment, and our way of life. Salmon, shellfish, orcas, and the families who have grown up on the water's edge count on it to be healthy and vibrant," said Senator Murray. "We owe it to future generations to preserve this precious ecosystem and its native wildlife -- and this funding I worked to pass will help Washington state do just that. I'm glad we are able to make these critical investments, and I am going to continue doing everything I can to protect the Sound and ensure it is clean, safe, and thriving for years to come." Information from Cantwell’s office indicated that Congress has appropriated over $420 million in Clean Water Act National Estuary Program and Geographic Program funds for Puget Sound since 2006. State, local, Tribal and federal partners have used these funds to leverage nearly $2.1 billion of additional funds largely from the state of Washington. “These grants have helped restore more than 50,000 acres of habitat, increased protection of over 150,000 acres of harvestable shellfish beds, and funded cutting edge research on chemicals in automobiles and roadway runoff, per Cantwell’s office. https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1238058/36-Million-to-Head-Towards-Puget-Sound-Salmon-Recovery-Conservation-Projects Federal Register Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in Statistical Area 620 in the Gulf of Alaska A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 10/26/2022 NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 620 in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2022 total allowable catch of pollock in Statistical Area 620 in the GOA. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/10/26/2022-23244/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-pollock-in-statistical-area-620-in-the-gulf-of Pacific Seafood Processors Association 1900 W Emerson Place Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98119 Phone: 206.281.1667 E-mail: admin@pspafish.net; Website: www.pspafish.net 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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