King salmon sport fishing to close on inside waters for second year
KFSK by Joe Viechnicki - January 9, 2019
Karrie Byrer, center, weighed in her 2017 Petersburg salmon derby winner just before the end of the four-day competition. The 2018 event was cancelled and fishing closures likely mean the same fate for the 2019 derby. (Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)
Sea Watch: ADF&G releases sockeye run projections
Homer News by Cristy Fry - January 9, 2019
Upper Cook Inlet commercial salmon fishermen may see an improvement in their catch this summer with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game forecasting a total sockeye run of around 6 million fish.
King salmon closure could cost Mat-Su businesses millions
KTUU by Blake Essig - January 9, 2019
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — The king salmon fishing season in the Mat-Su Valley typically only lasts two months, but with several years of declining returns, the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game has decided to close the fishery in 2019. It's a decision which local business owners say could cost the community millions.
Bycatch an Issue in 2018 Pacific Hake Fishery; Uncertainty Lies Ahead Amid Shutdown
SeafoodNews.com by Susan Chambers - January 9, 2019
None of the three sectors in the U.S. Pacific hake fishery attained its specified sector allocation in 2018 and all reported problems with bycatch -- either smaller sizes of whiting or other species.
The catcher-processor sector achieved the highest percentage of its allocation, catching 116,074 mt of its 139, 612 mt allocation, or 85 percent. The shoreside sector harvested 76 percent of its 169,127 mt allocation for a total of 129,180 mt in landings. The mothership sector struggled the most last year and attained only 69 percent of its 96,614 mt allocation for 67,096 mt in landings.
"It was one of our better seasons," Pacific Seafood's Mike Okoniewski said, noting that the company's Newport plant did exceptionally well while the Astoria plant had adequate production. "There was a greater amount of nice fish off of Newport this year, so fishermen didn't have to travel far."
Similarly, the Arctic Storm Management Group, a mothership company based out of Seattle, generally had a good season but that was not representative of the whole mothership sector, said Sarah Nayani, Arctic Storm's director of compliance.
"In 2018 our company processed 38 percent of the mothership catcher vessel catch and 26 percent of the total mothership sector allocation. Unfortunately, 31 percent of the mothership sector allocation went uncaught, which is more than any single company processed," Nayani said. "For next year we've planned additional trips to improve attainment and provide more MSC-certified sustainable product to the market."
Around the Columbia River and into Washington, particularly near Willapa Bay, fishermen struggled to find larger fish, around 450 to 500 grams. The CPs and motherships, like shoreside fishermen, traveled north or south of the Willapa area to find bigger, more marketable hake.
However, traveling north led to other problems. The CP and mothership sectors said a lot of other species were mixed with whiting schools and many of those other species had hard caps. Pacific ocean perch rockfish bycatch was an issue as was sablefish, so both sectors continually moved their operations to avoid those other species. Southern areas were problematic as well, since Chinook salmon were frequently prevalent. Both of the at-sea sectors stopped fishing in November to avoid bycatch interactions.
"2018 was a good year for Arctic Storm overall," Nayani said. "We saw demand and prices up for Pacific hake and a strong spring fishery with minimal bycatch. However, even with extra processing capacity from putting Arctic Fjord out on the water this fall (in addition to Arctic Storm) the fall fishery was slow for us due to patchy fishing, higher bycatch rates, and frequent movement to avoid bycatch."
Now, everyone is looking forward to this year's season, but any uncertainty now is due to the U.S. government shutdown and the inability of U.S. scientists to contribute to the stock assessment routinely done collaboratively with Canadian scientists. The stock assessment draft is due to be released Feb. 6, so scientists would normally be assimilating data and running models right now.
In an email to some Pacific hake stakeholders and U.S. fishery managers and scientists, Canadian stock assessment author Joint Technical Committee member Chris Grandin wrote Tuesday that Canadian scientists would produce the whiting stock assessment on time -- but without the U.S. fishery dependent age composition data.
"If the government comes back online before Jan. 14, and U.S. JTC members are back at work we will be producing the hake assessment as usual without any changes," Grandin wrote.
"If not, Andy and I will be producing a hake assessment on time for delivery Feb. 6. It will consist of adding 2018 catch to the base model from last year’s assessment, and some common sensitivity cases. Unfortunately, we cannot get access to the U.S. age composition data due to the shutdown and therefore will not include any 2018 age composition data in the models. Note that the assessment will be of the standard format with an executive summary, and all decision tables and projections in place for the base model.
"We realize the importance of this assessment to the fishery, and will endeavour to do as much as is possible given the constraints placed before us."
U.S. industry representatives and scientists remain hopeful the shutdown will end soon so the stock assessment and management process will get back on track.
"We’re hoping we get a good quota this year, but won’t really know until we see the stock assessment,” Okoniewski said.
What The Government Shutdown Means For Food Safety
Forbes by Jenny Splitter Contributor - January 10, 2019
Without federal funding, the FDA’s routine food safety inspections can’t be scheduled as usual.
The shutdown threatens regulatory protections for the food system already in place, as insufficient as they may be.
Controversial IUU science paper finally retracted
More than a year after a US fisheries official and eminent scientists called for a retraction of the paper, the journal in which it was published relents.
Intrafish by John Fiorillo - January 10, 2019
A controversial science paper that the US government asked -- over a year ago -- be retracted has now, indeed, been retracted.
The controversial report, which alleges a significant portion of Alaska salmon, crab and pollock is entering the Japanese market from illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fisheries, was retracted just before Christmas by the Marine Policy journal, Tony Pitcher, one of the report's authors, told IntraFish on Wednesday.
The retraction came at the request of the editor of the journal, said Pitcher, a professor of fisheries science at the University of British Columbia.
"A revised version has been submitted, responding to points raised by three new peer reviewers for the journal," Pitcher told IntraFish in an email.
It remains unknown at this time who the peer reviewers are or when the revised version of the paper might be published.
It has been more than a year since US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Assistant Administrator for Fisheries Chris Oliver requested a retraction of the controversial scientific paper published in the journal Marine Policy that alleges a significant portion of Alaska salmon, crab and pollock is entering the Japanese market from illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fisheries.
Last October, Oliver challenged the veracity of the scientific paper and asked that it be retracted to avoid damaging the reputation of the US fishing industry and its fisheries management. In December, a team of top US fisheries scientists, led by preeminent fisheries researcher Ray Hilborn of the University of Washington, joined the US government in demanding a retraction of the paper. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), under which the fisheries are certified sustainable, also came out in support of the industry.
In June, Hance Smith, editor of the journal Marine Policy, told IntraFish: “The status is simply that we have been waiting for additional reviews of the paper. I expect we shall be able to progress shortly.”
The paper, said its critics was fundamentally flawed, and is eerily similar to a 2014 paper by the same researchers -- Tony Pitcher, Katrina Nakamura, and Ganapathiraju Pramod -- that provided estimates for IUU fish entering the US market. This report has been cited at least 59 times in academic reports and countless times in government and NGO reports.
The 2014 study was cited regularly by those supporting the creation of the US Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP), which was indeed launched in January and requires a new level of record keeping by US importers aimed at eliminating IUU fish from the US seafood supply chain.
Hilborn, in December, said the paper at the heart of the current controversy cites several dozen published papers as sources yet none have any mention of IUU fishing. "The paper also lists a number of 'sources' of IUU such as 'unreported catch in artisanal fisheries' which do not exist," said Hilborn. "As near as we can tell, the paper made up all of its results without any data on IUU fishing."
NOAA's Oliver, in his October 2017 letter to the report's authors, said the "allegations made in the paper, are absent of transparency regarding the data, and assumptions supporting them are irresponsible and call into question the authors' conclusions."
The Japan study claims that an estimated 15 percent of the US pollock entering Japan is from IUU fisheries. Further, the study says between 10 and 20 percent of the salmon and crab coming from Alaska fisheries is IUU. In the paper, Pitcher and the other authors argue for the creation of a seafood traceability program in Japan to thwart what they claim is the importation of seafood produced by IUU fishing activity.
The paper was funded by the Walton Foundation, which has largely skirted the fray.
Pitcher told IntraFish in a November email that "neither the Walton Foundation nor the Marine Stewardship Council has been in touch with us to ascertain the truth of the matter."
He also said at that time that he had a revised table showing "only 2 percent IUU from that US pollock fishery," and he says that the revised table "has been waiting to be inserted [into the paper] for almost a year now." In other words, the original 15 percent IUU estimate is wrong.
"The editor wants us to retract and then resubmit to include the new table, and despite our arguing that is not necessary as they can easily insert a correction, Ray Hilborn in Seattle has queered the pitch by a ridiculous letter accusing us of data fraud and absurd unprofessional threats that the journal will be 'exposed on his blog,'" Pitcher said in his November email to IntraFish.
Get Smart About Storing Seafood
HealthDay by Len Canter - January 7, 2019
With concerns about overfishing, it's shocking to learn that 40 percent of the edible U.S. seafood supply is lost or wasted every year -- and half of that is by consumers.
Expedition Cruise Line Powered by Dead Fish
Fishermen's News - January 9, 2019
A Norwegian expedition cruise line is introducing liquid biogas, a fossil-free, renewable gas produced from dead fish and other organic materials, to power its vessels for Arctic and sub-Arctic tours. Hurtigruten has announced plans to operate at least six of its ships on a combination of biogas, liquid natural gas and large battery packs by 2021.
Speakers Named for Alaska Symposium
Fishermen's News - January 9, 2019
Changing oceans, earthquakes, tsunamis and the scientific legacy of the Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster are themes for keynote speakers at the 2019 Alaska Marine Science Symposium which opens Jan. 28 in Anchorage, Alaska.
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