Expo is the gateway to Alaska fisheries
National Fisherman by Jessica Hathaway - November 2, 2018
It’s a familiar sight for an Alaska fisherman: a throng of beasts streaming through a narrow passage to spread out onto the flats, where they compete for the best resources, hoping to secure their legacy. When the call over the radio announces the opening of Pacific Marine Expo, fishermen rush, shoulder to shoulder, down the stairs, then fan out on the show floor in their annual imitation of the spawners they haul from their nets.
Lower Cook Inlet fishing season summary released
KBBI by Aaron Bolton - November 1, 2018
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has released its season summary Wednesday for lower Cook Inlet. In all, roughly 2 million salmon were harvested in the management area. The total commercial catch came in at about 758,000 fish and the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association harvested about 1.2 million fish for cost recovery, valued at $4.6 million.
Press Release: 2018 SALMON HARVEST SUMMARY
ADF&G Press Release - November 2, 2018
(Juneau) — The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) has published preliminary harvest and value figures for the 2018 Alaska Commercial Salmon Fishery (PDF 124 kB).
The 2018 Alaska commercial salmon fishery all species harvest was approximately 114.5 million fish with an estimated preliminary ex-vessel value of $595.2 million, a 13% decrease from the 2017 value of $685.0 million.
November Alaska Economic Trends
Alaska Economic Trends - November 2018
Each November, Trends estimates fish harvesting employment around the state. After a dismal 2016, jobs rebounded in 2017, with growth across most regions and species. Also this month is a look at injuries and illnesses in seafood processing, which has the highest rate among Alaska industries. The largest share of seafood processors in Alaska is in the Aleutians, whose eastern borough’s economy and population we profile in this issue.
LISTEN: October Seafood Market Highlights and September Imports
SEAFOODNEWS.COM - November 5, 2018
This week on the SeafoodNews Podcast, co-hosts Amanda Buckle and Lorin Castiglione take a look at six seafood markets that trended higher in October - contrary to seasonal pattern. Plus, listen for an update on September 2018 lobster and shrimp imports.
This week’s episode is brought to you by Urner Barry’s Reporter, the quarterly newsmagazine for the food industry professional packed with the latest industry headlines, analysis and trending articles. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be a featured sponsor in the spring edition of the Reporter, which is distributed to thousands of protein industry professionals, including a 5,500 bonus distribution to attendees at Seafood Expo North America in Boston. Make sure you are in front of your customers!
Fish fingers surprisingly sustainable, say conservationists
BBC News - November 2, 2018
Fish fingers are surprisingly sustainable and some of the best products to buy are also the cheapest, the Marine Conservation Society says.
Labeling and Marketing
Study: Eco-labeling encourages sales of all kinds of seafood, not just sustainable products
Seafood Source by Jason Holland - November 1, 2018
Shoppers will buy larger quantities of seafood – both sustainably certified and non-certified – when given information about eco-labels, new research has found.
Duncan Fields, New ASMI Board Member, Reflects on His Decades in Alaska Fisheries
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker - November 2, 2018
The newest member on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Board of Directors is Duncan Fields, a Kodiak harvester who served on the Board once before from 2004 2007. Fields left to join the federal North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, from which he termed out last year. He replaces Fritz Johnson, a Dillingham-based gillnetter who has served on Alaska’s Board of Fish and is currently a director on the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association.
Fields’ earlier term on the ASMI board was as a small processor. It was a time of profound changes as the board structure and ASMI's funding changed.
Reflecting back on that during this week’s “All Hands on Deck” annual meeting, gave Fields a perspective for the challenges Alaska’s seafood industry faces today.
With the election days away, one of the biggest questions for Alaska’s harvesters and processors -- second only to who will win the governor’s seat -- is who will be appointed Commissioner of Fish and Game.
“It’s such a difficult job,” Fields said. “There’s “Game”, a whole sphere of engagement on its own, and then there’s the “Fish” part. Within that is commercial, sports, subsistence, and personal. Plus the [North Pacific] Council which creates a whole additional sphere of engagement.
“The commissioner is the fisheries policy voice for the State of Alaska; he’s got the bully pulpit for articulating what’s best for the resource and best for the state, and responsible for directing the regulatory process toward those goals,” Fields said.
“Most of the time the Commissioner leads and five other Alaska members of the Council follow,” he said.
“It’s seldom that you find someone able to do well in all of those spheres. It is also important for any commissioner to have lived in or experientially been engaged with rural Alaska fishing communities. It’s very difficult for any leader to understand the interrelational -- social, cultural, and economic -- relationship between fishing in rural Alaska.”
Fields is worried about the problems facing rural coastal Alaska. “We are seeing a substantial decline in coastal communities in Alaska. Whoever the Commissioner is, that person needs a rural Alaska frame of reference.”
A potential solution to young people and businesses leaving coastal communities would be a shift in current resource management from catch shares or other resource allocation plans that transfers access to a fishery without providing for a community engagement, to a new scheme of resource management.
“You need to tie harvest of the resource to the community it comes from,” Fields said. “A modified CDQ [Community Development Quota] where quota is held by an independent third party would give the fleet the advantage of quota and the annual security of catching the resource, without the ownerhsip of the quota.
“I am an advocate for coastal communities, and I’d like my advocacy be part of a larger construct,” Fields said. He had pushed for a more regional approach in his last year on the Council, and met opposition. In the end, the Council dropped a plan to rationalize groundfish in the Gulf of Alaska.
Fields sees benefits of a wider-area cooperative in improvements managing bycatch, keeping entry-level crew jobs within the community, protecting rural fishing areas, and providing a much-needed economic engine along the coast.
His focus these days, though, is on marketing and promoting the State’s best export: seafood.
“ASMI is the board I’ve served on that I’ve enjoyed more than anything else,” he said. “I’ve always gotten positive energy from everyone who helps the other, seeing the unity among processors and harvesters, to seek what’s good for the industry.
“ASMI is the tip of the spear for our industry,” he said. “Whatever happens -- tariffs in China, radiation in Japan, mercury in halibut, climate change -- ASMI is the braintrust that we rely on. What would happen if ASMI wasn’t there?”
He credits the technical side -- ‘the critical weapon to have in our arsensal’ as providing the structural integrity of ASMI, with the backbone its Responsible Fisheries Management sustainability program.
“ASMI’s role in Alaska continues to be misunderstood, though,” said Fields. This is the first year ASMI has not gotten any funding from the State.
“Every legislator needs to understand ASMI as a public/private partnership in which individuals and the state are equal partners. But if the public side is not going to participate, cut ASMI loose. We’ll avoid regulatory burdens,” he said. “I don’t want to be cut loose because I believe in the pairing. It makes for a powerful and effective voice for Alaska seafood.”
Fields says he’s optimistic about an industry that produces protein that’s feeding the world.
“My experience with salmon,” he said, " I take those first few fish home to eat and think, ‘Nothing we did created this. We are priviledged to have access to this fishery.’ That fundamental value is those resources -- they are a precious gift.
“With that view I have to be optimistic because Alaska has such good fisheries managment.”
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