Questions about federal shutdown’s impact on upcoming halibut season go unanswered
KBBI by Aaron Bolton - January 18, 2019
As the federal government shutdown wears on, Alaska’s fishermen have started to see some of its impacts percolate to the surface.
‘We’re left in the dark’: As many industries get shutdown relief, those without political clout feel left behind
Washington Post by Lisa Rein, Juliet Eilperin and Jeff Stein - January 19, 2019
Alaska’s cod and pollock fishing fleet headed out on the Bering Sea this month without delay, thanks to federal inspectors brought back from furlough to certify their boats. And alcohol producers have two calls scheduled next week with Treasury Department officials to discuss how to keep new products moving onto liquor store shelves.
In surprise reversal, Board of Fisheries moves Upper Cook Inlet meeting
Alaska Journal of Commerce by Elizabeth Earl - January 21, 2019
The Kenai Peninsula fishermen who want to speak to the Board of Fisheries at the 2020 Upper Cook Inlet meeting will have to pack their bags after all.
Government Shutdown Costing Fishing Industry Millions; Some Damage is Irreversible
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - January 17, 2019
The longest government shutdown in U.S. history is impacting all U.S. fishing ports on three levels: no federal workers to finalize certain documents needed to go fishing, no federal science teams to conclude stock assessments and no workers to begin survey work, and an extraordinary strain on enforcement and search and rescue duties of the U.S. Coast Guard, an agency now run by service members who are not being paid.
Tomorrow the shutdown will be five weeks old. The handicaps of the shutdown are resulting in millions of dollars being lost nationwide.
In the nation’s most valuable fishing port New Bedford, MA, Nantucket Sound Seafood CEO Allen Rencurrel told SouthCoastToday that he can’t get federal approval for leasing licenses or “tags.” It’s led Nantucket Sound Seafood to only have only one vessel to harvest clams in federal waters.
Rencurrel estimated losses from not being able to harvest clams there exceed $17,00 a week. “And that’s the smallest boat in the fleet,” he told SouthCoastToday.
New Bedford’s most valuable fishery for scallops is on deck with the season schedule to start April 1.
However, if the recently approved Framework Adjustment 30 (to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan) cannot be reviewed or approved by NOAA Fisheries at the federal level, a default quota of far less than what NOAA would implement, would be the only option for the fleet.
“I think it’s safe to say that we’re becoming more concerned that the framework will be (ready to be) implemented on April 1 if the shutdown continues for much longer,” New England Fishery Management Council Public Affairs Officer Janice Plante told SouthCoast Today’s Michael Bonner.
“Right now we need our (National Marine Fisheries Service) partners to be able to review the specifications package, review the whole framework.”
John Bullard, former Regional Administrator for NOAA’s Greater Atlantic region, worked at NOAA during what is now the second longest government shutdown during the Clinton Administration.
“The impact is enormous. All management is supposed to be based on science,” Bullard said. “So when you shut down the science, you’re shutting down what all management is based on.
“Stock assessments are based on the movement of fish. So there’s spring surveys, summer surveys. They can’t just be arbitrarily delayed because you have to do them at certain times of the year.”
“President Trump keeps talking about the emergency on the southern border but with right whales it really is an emergency,” Bullard told SouthCoastToday. “There are real emergencies, the one on the southern border is a manufactured emergency. But climate change is (an emergency), right whales is another. You don’t have to look very far to find an emergency.”
Rencurrel told SouthCoastToday if the shutdown isn’t resolved next month “I’m going to put the tags on the boat and go and report them like it was a transfer. If they want to arrest me, they can arrest me.”
Seriously, though, he said, “I don’t know why one secretary can’t come in there and help the industry out and do their job for a couple days.”
Earlier this week a coalition of groups representing fishermen from Cape Cod to Alaska told the Washington Examiner that the government shutdown is jeopardizing jobs and tens of billions of dollars in revenue for the heavily regulated commercial fishing industry.
“Commercial fishermen, charter fishermen, and private recreational anglers have spent years working to reach common ground, and now this shutdown could delay the sustainable solution that private anglers have been looking for,” said Eric Brazer, deputy director of the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance, one of the groups raising alarm with the Trump administration.
Alaskan fisheries are panicking that they could lose a big chunk of the fishing season without federal permit approvals being issued in time.
"We are working to help young fishermen gain access to local fisheries, but that access depends on government workers being at their desks to process transfers and manage fisheries — none of which is happening right now," said Linda Behnken of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association.
Fishermen and processors continue to struggle with the lack of U.S. information being included in this year's Pacific hake stock assessment. The joint effort between Canadian and U.S. scientists starts the annual process of setting overfishing limits and annual catch limits. But the shutdown has prevented U.S. federal scientists from contributing last year's catch data.
State officials and scientists have offered to provide access, but the data would remain incomplete or inaccessible without federal access to specific databases. Canadian researchers have stated they will produce the stock assessment by Feb. 6 and do the best they can with what information they have.
West Coast salmon seasons may also be affected if the shutdown goes on much longer. The Pacific Fishery Management Council is moving ahead with its Salmon Technical Team meetings, since the states and tribes provide most of the primary catch data anyway. The first of three reports, a review of last years seasons, could still be produced before the Council meets in March to decide on a range of season options. However, the Council and state fishery managers must have a NMFS guidance letter by the April meeting so they can adopt final seasons for both sport and commercial fishermen by May 1.
From Gloucester, MA to Newport, OR lawmakers and coastal communities are struggling to find ways to help U.S. Coast Guard families survive the shutdown.
In Massacusetts, State Rep. Diana DiZoglio has proposed the state pay Coast Guardsmen during the federal government shutdown, and seek reimbursement later.
"It's a public safety issue," DiZoglio told reporter Christian Wade for North of Boston Media Group.
”These people are out there protecting us and they need to get paid."
Civiilian volunteers have stepped up to provide food and other necessities for Coast Guard families in the Boston area.
"The impact of the shutdown is devastating," said Don Cox, president of the Massachusetts Military Support Foundation, which organized the food pantry. "We're asking these people to go risk their lives to rescue people, and they're not getting paid for it. Something is wrong with this picture.”
Cox's foundation has collected donations from the public and businesses such as Ocean State Job Lot and Shaw’s Supermarkets. It has created a GoFundMe campaign to solicit donations.
The Coast Guard is the only branch of the military not being paid for the work deemed “essential” because they are not part of the Department of Defense, but rather the Department of Homeland Security.
Cox, who has been through several other government shutdowns, said he isn't sure the state has the legal authority to assume payroll responsibilities for a federal agency.
"It's a great idea but I can't fathom how they're going to pull that one off," he said. "I honestly hope they can do it, because these kids deserve every dime they can get.”
Massachuset’s Gov. Charlie Baker is looking at ways to provide relief, possibly through the state's unemployment insurance system, but said there are "a lot of complexities.”
"We might have to appropriate funds to do it, which is problem No. 1," he told reporters Monday. "The other issue is how do we charge the federal government for paying benefits to their employees and contractors."
Baker asked the White House and Congress to resolve the impasse.
"This has dragged on way too long," he said. "They need to get together and not leave until they have a deal, so that people don't have to worry about whether or not they'll be able to put food on the table.”
In Newport, the city is taking action to help their guardsmen, reports KATU-2. Last week, a USCG crew was sent out to a deadly fishing boat accident in which three fishermen died. Earlier this week, crews rescued two surfers stranded north of Newport, deploying an air crew and conducting a 150-foot hoist to lift the two men to safety.
"We want to support these folks because they are a part of the fabric of our community," said Newport mayor Dean Sawyer. "The Coast Guard is very important to us, we want to help out and do as much as we can."
But because the guardsmen can't take direct donations, but Sawyer says he is working with county commissioners and local groups, like the Fishermen's Wives to find a solution.
"What we're trying to do is, I hate to say it, but find a way around the government regulations to help them out," said Sawyer.
Sawyer says next week, he's going to try to set something up with the city to wave any late utility payments during the shutdown for Coast Guard families.
Admiral Karl Schultz, Commandant of the Coast Guard, wrote in a blog post that despite the shutdown the guard is "deployed, standing the watch, and committed to supporting the mission."
"Uncertainty fuels anxiety and requires strong and steady leadership navigating forward," Schultz wrote. "Now is the time to 'lead through leaders' and I call on you to be intrusive leaders at your respective units, demonstrating empathy, conveying key information, and identifying and ensuring our most vulnerable shipmates get the assistance they need.”
In Sarasota, FL the government shutdown has prevented NOAA’s from tracking Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in Florida. The satellite imagery typically used by the agency is now unavailable, exacerbaing the ongoing red tide crisis in Florida.
In Panama City, FL, Dr. John Carlson is prevented from going to his lab and being able to collect or analyze data as part of their work to study and protect the marine environment in Florida.
One California State University researcher, who studies marine acoustics, told NPR recently that if the shutdown continues, she will be prevented from deploying instruments for her work and they may miss an entire season of data.
Ocean Conservancy issued a statement calling the impact “devastating.”
“From the personal level harms to federal employees and others all the way to risking profits of major ocean industries. It brings stark clarity to the importance of well-funded and healthy government agencies supporting ocean science, resource management and the communities and industries that depend on the ocean.”
The note posted by the Gulf of Mexico regional management council describes what industry members can expect if the shutdown continues into February.
“Due to the partial government shutdown, the required Federal Register Notice was not published in advance of this meeting. As a result, the Council will not be able to take final action on the following two agenda items: Reef Fish Amendment 50 – State Management of Recreational Red Snapper and the Abbreviated Framework Action to Replace Historical Captains Permits with Federal Charter/Headboat Permits.
“If the partial government shutdown remains in place during the Council meeting, the Council will conduct as much business as possible given the federal furlough. Many NOAA Fisheries and Southeast Fisheries Science Center staff are key contributors to the development of Council documents and provide critical input and analyses at Council meetings. However, many of those federal employees will not be able to participate in the Council meeting.”
International Year of the Salmon is underway
Researchers around the world will collaborate to solve shared problems
Cordova Times by Mary Catharine Martin - January 21, 2019
2018 was a mixed year for Alaska salmon. Bristol Bay saw its biggest run on record when 62.3 million sockeye salmon returned to the bay. Other Alaska runs, in contrast — the lowest number of sockeye salmon returned to the Chignik River since statehood — were disastrous.
2018 was hottest year on record for oceans
The Hill by Aris Folley - January 16, 2019
Ocean temperatures in 2018 were the highest ever recorded, according to figures released Wednesday by a group of international scientists.
Scientists see another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon
Peninsula Daily News by Gene Johnson, Associated Press - January 20, 2019
SEATTLE — Over the years, scientists have identified dams, pollution and vessel noise as causes of the troubling decline of the Pacific Northwest’s resident orcas. Now, they may have found a new surprising culprit: pink salmon.
Conversations That Matter: Secrets live of Pacific salmon
Nineteen scientists are heading deep into the Gulf of Alaska to shed light on the factors that support or hinder the lives of salmon.
Vancouver Sun by Stu McNish - January 18, 2019
Scientists in B.C. have been researching salmon for a century, collecting information about spawning, spawning grounds and the forces that affect the environment where salmon return after their journey out to sea.
Labeling and Marketing
3MMI - Where Is The Haddock Market Going This Year?
TradexFoods - January 21, 2019
Now that the tariffs have remained at 10 percent we have a more clear outlook for Haddock markets in North America. The US market is way down because of the tariffs but with Atlantic Cod prices so high, buyers aren't switching from Haddock to Cod. Twice frozen Haddock Loin pricing has reached a new high of over $4.00/lb on the East Coast, only a few cents lower than where Atlantic Cod loins currently sit.
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