Alaska Board of Fish To Hear Prince Willian Sound Hatchery Issues Today
SEAFOODNEWS.COMby Peggy Parker - October 16, 2018
The Alaska Board of Fish will hear from all sides on two hatchery issues this afternoon as part of their October Work Session. At issue is whether to accept two Agenda Change Requests (ACR) for consideration this year. They are:
ACR 1 – Prohibit Valdez Fisheries Development Association from incubating, rearing, and releasing pink salmon resulting from additional egg take capacity permitted in 2018 and cap egg take capacity at the level permitted in 2017. This would mean destroying the additional 20 million eggs VFDA took last summer.
ACR 2 – Cap statewide private nonprofit salmon hatchery egg take capacity at 75% of the level permitted in 2000.
The first ACR was submitted by the Kenai River Sportfishing Association. The second by Virgil Umphenour, Fairbanks Fish and Game Advisory Board chairman who has fought the expansion of Prince William Sound hatcheries since he was on the Board of Fisheries in the early 2000s. Both use arguments that more pink salmon will compete for food with wild stocks, and increased production will increase the incidents of straying to other areas outside of Prince William Sound.
There are other ACRs before the Board, but the majority of the 272 comments received are on these two, and most of them are opposed to both requests.
Trident Seafoods opposes both ACRs, and points out that the salmon enhancement program was created to supplement wild stocks, an achievement that has provided stability in the fishing industry.
“Trident is heavily invested in the sustainability of Alaska’s wild salmon. We operate eleven facilities that process salmon throughout Alaska and employ more than 3,000 in salmon processing labor. We buy and process all five species of Pacific salmon and have made significant investments in our facilities to ensure that we remain competitive to the independent fishermen that we purchase from and in global markets where we sell Alaska salmon," wrote Trident's Shannon Carroll.
“Hatchery-origin pink and chum salmon provides important stability that allows us to maintain operations, support our independent fishermen and communities where we operate and expand markets through investing in new product development and sales strategies, all of which benefits the State of Alaska,” Carroll wrote.
“The petitioners make no conclusive, science-based claims that a reduction of twenty million eggs, or a twenty-five percent decrease in total hatchery production, will have a positive impact on Alaska wild salmon returns. Simply, they are exploiting the precautionary principle to achieve a desired policy outcome.
Carroll also pointed out that comprehensive research is currently underway to study carrying capacity and interactions between hatchery-born pink and chum salmon and wild stocks.
Icicle Seafood’s Julianne Curry agreed in their comment letter.
“Both ACR 1 and 2 are attempts to circumvent the BOF process, regular meeting cycle, and the appropriate hatchery egg take permitting process that is driven by science and rigorous analysis.
"There has been plenty of opportunity to comment and participate in the permitting process. This issue does not constitute an emergency or conservation concern. This is the third attempt since May by KRSA to use the BOF process to curtail permitted hatchery production,” she wrote.
“We encourage the BOF to continue to support the ongoing Alaska Hatchery Research Project (AHRP) which was designed to analyze potential interactions between hatchery and wild salmon in Alaska. This research project will provide crucial data and help provide clarity on the multitude of unverified scientific “facts” that are being distributed to confuse the general public.”
Following the Work Session, the Board of Fish will meet with the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council for a Joint Protocol Committee. On the agenda are Pacific cod population abundance, upcoming BOF Pacific cod proposals, and state-waters management. The JPC will also review salmon subjects including the council’s current efforts related to the Cook Inlet salmon fisheries management plan, and Southeast Alaska king salmon management.
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Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings
A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 10/16/2018
The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Pacific Council) and its advisory entities will hold public meetings.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in Statistical Area 610 in the Gulf of Alaska
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 10/17/2018
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 610 in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2018 total allowable catch of pollock for Statistical Area 610 in the GOA.
The State of Our Salmon
US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation
October 20, 2018
U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and the Coast Guard, will convene a hearing titled “The State of Our Salmon,” at 10:30 a.m. ADT/2:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday, October 20, 2018 at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage, Alaska. This hearing will review the health of Alaska’s salmon fisheries and examine the current data and information necessary for maintaining healthy and sustainable stocks.
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