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Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Alaska COVID spike pushes Alaska's health care system to brink AP News by Mark Thiessen and Becky Bohrer - October 5, 2021 TANACROSS, Alaska (AP) — One Alaska Native village knew what to do to keep out COVID-19. They put up a gate on the only road into town and guarded it round the clock. It was the same idea used a century ago in some isolated Indigenous villages to protect people from outsiders during another deadly pandemic — the Spanish flu. https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-science-business-health-pandemics-18bd9ffb116ce59872451f11067e94eb ADFG: Bristol Bay sockeye runs set all-time record Alaska Journal of Commerce by Elizabeth Earl - October 5, 2021 It’s official: Bristol Bay’s 2021 commercial salmon season was the largest on record. In-season escapement and harvest estimates already set the stage for the record, but the end-season summary released by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game confirmed it. https://www.alaskajournal.com/2021-10-05/adfg-bristol-bay-sockeye-runs-set-all-time-record U.S. Coast Guard Kimball, Royal Canadian Navy crews conduct joint exercise near Dutch Harbor U.S. Coast Guard - October 4, 2021 JUNEAU, Alaska – U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Kimball and Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) crews conducted a joint exercise off the coast of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on Sept. 23, 2021. https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDHSCG/bulletins/2f5f176 Alaska’s Crabbers Urge NPFMC to Act Immediately to Protect Bering Sea Crab Stocks SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - October 5, 2021 The North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (NPFMC) October meeting formally opens tomorrow, but advisory bodies have been meeting since last week. They have heard an earful from fishermen, processors, research scientists and stock assessment experts. Jake Jacobsen, Executive Director of the Inter-Cooperative Exchange (ICE) summarized the concern of many in his comment letter. “The health of the opilio stocks and the long-term future of the fishery is our primary concern. While we have many questions and concerns related to the scope of the summer trawl survey and the limited area surveyed, we are not inclined to challenge the science or a science-based decision to reduce the TAC or even close the fishery if managers feel it is absolutely necessary,” Jacobsen said. "That said, closure of the fishery would deprive scientists of an important source of additional information relating to stock locations, depths and temperatures, CPUE, the spread of bitter crab disease and other factors relating to the movement and health of this valuable resource.” Jacobson’s comments were submitted weeks after the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced that there would be no fishery for Bristol Bay red king crab (BBRKC) this year, due to below-threshold numbers of female BBRKC. Later, the news that the snow (oplio) crab population had taken an unprecedented dive in the last two years (no survey was done last year) put not just a catch limit, but a season-opening this year in a tenuous state. The drop in snow crab has been explained as a mortality event but could be caused by the crab moving north and west outside of the U.S. EEZ, to cooler waters. “Closure of the opilio fishery would also deprive our fishermen of much-needed income in a year of record-high price offerings for opilio crab,” Jacobsen explained in his letter. The Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers have brought the issue of bycatch and unobserved mortality (crabs that die from a bottom trawl rolling over them and not bringing them up in the net for observers to include in the data) to the Council before. Now, alarm bells are ringing on more issues. “Alaska’s Bering Sea crab fishermen are bracing for over a $200M hit to harvesters if recommendations from scientists are adopted by decision-makers this week,” wrote ABSC executive director Jamie Goen. “And that number grows once you consider impacts to processors, communities, and on up the supply chain. The Bristol Bay red king crab fishery will be closed this fall for the first time in over 25 years and the Bering Sea snow crab fishery may be reduced by around 80%,” she wrote to the Council. The most recent survey data and modeling show that the threshold for opening the Bristol Bay red king crab fishery was short by just a small number of female adult crab. “We need to protect those females so they rebound,” Goen wrote. “Our directed fishery targets males only and that population was up from last year. We understand we must be closed when females are at low numbers to protect the stock as a whole and keep it sustainable. "What we are proposing with an emergency closed area and requested voluntary industry actions from all fishing sectors should help crab stocks rebound and hopefully allow us to have a fishery next year,” Goen said. Crabbers are asking that all sectors, including their own, reduce fishing impacts on crab through avoiding closed areas, ramp up hotspot reporting among skippers in the fleet, and reduce mortality by “limiting the amount of time crab are on deck and by gently returning them to the water.” In addition, the crab fleet plans to explore increased mesh sizes and soak times to reduce catch of small crab and avoid areas of higher female abundance while reporting that hotspot to their fleet. “Crabbers are working with other pot fisheries, such as pot cod, to reduce crab bycatch through gear design work under an NOAA Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program grant looking at different tunnel and ramp designs on pots to keep crab out while letting cod in,” she wrote. ICE is considering a number of proposals to learn more about crab stocks that are moving in response to environmental factors, predation, bycatch, and disease. Their proposals will look at a variety of issues, including survey methodology, area closures, and stock assessment models. “In future months, we plan to meet with representatives of other fishery sectors, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the Bering Sea Research Foundation, federal crab managers and our members to craft consensus-driven solutions to the sudden collapse of our fisheries,” wrote Jacobsen. “We’re looking to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries to take action quickly to implement conservation measures to protect important areas for crab,” wrote Goen, “… such as the high abundance areas for Bristol Bay red king crab, and for the longer-term, to create meaningful incentives to reduce crab bycatch in other fishing sectors, to reduce fishing impacts on molting and mating crab, and to estimate unaccounted for bycatch from unobserved fishing mortality from bottom and pelagic trawl nets, as well as pot and longline gears. “Alaska’s Bering Sea crab stocks have the potential to recover back to levels to support a directed fishery, but we must all do our part and take action now,” she wrote. https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1209518/Alaskas-Crabbers-Urge-NPFMC-to-Act-Immediately-to-Protect-Bering-Sea-Crab-Stocks National Celebrate National Seafood Month 2021 NOAA Fisheries - October 1, 2021 The United States is recognized as a global leader in sustainable seafood for both wild-caught and farmed species. Join us for National Seafood Month and get inspired by savory seafood along the way. https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/celebrate-national-seafood-month-2021 International Russian Pollock Producers May Face Losses Due to Skyrocketed Shipping Costs SeafoodNews.com by Eugene Gerden - October 4, 2021 Leading Russian pollock producers may be faced with serious losses this year due to a two-fold increase in the cost of transportation as the volume of their shipments from the Far East to the European part of Russia significantly declined. That has already forced the Russian Rosrybolovstvo to call on the domestic anti-trust regulator the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) to check the current situation with tariffs within the territory of the country. According to the Russian Kommersant business paper, citing some leading Russian fishermen, so far, many of them have begun to suspend their pollock supplies to the European part of the country due to unprofitableness, caused by high tariffs. As a result, refrigerating capacities in the Far East are now utilized by 90%, of which 60% are occupied by pollock, herring, mackerel, although earlier the bulk of stored fish accounted for more expensive salmon. As Alexander Efremov, manager of the Dobroflot Group, one of Russia’s largest fish processors told in an interview with Kommersant, due to the difficulties with exports and lack of storage capacities, pollock is getting cheaper. According to the Russian Pollock Association, the selling price of headless pollock in Vladivostok in August this year dropped to 58 rubles (US$0,79) per kg from 101 rubles per kg in August 2019. As the debt burden of the fishing industry remains high, that may lead to a decrease in the financial stability of companies and problems with the implementation of their investment projects. In the meantime, the increase in shipping costs negatively impacts retail prices for pollock, which cost in Russian retail has already grown by 10%. https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1209388/Russian-Pollock-Producers-May-Face-Losses-Due-to-Skyrocketed-Shipping-Costs 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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