False Pass Processing Capacity to Increase
Fishermen's News - February 13, 2019
Economic activity at Alaska’s False Pass is expected to ramp up considerably this summer as Silver Bay Seafoods opens its processing facilities in June.
IPHC to investigate ‘chalky’ halibut among research plans
Alaska Journal of Commerce by Elizabeth Earl - February 13, 2109
After years of hearing concerns from fishermen about the prevalence of “chalky” Pacific halibut, the International Pacific Halibut Commission is planning to gather information for an investigation into it.
Southern Oregon Crab Under Evisceration Order Again
SeafoodNews by Susan Chambers - February 15, 2019
After waiting two months for the Dungeness crab season to open in southern Oregon, crab from the are must now be eviscerated before being sold due to elevated levels of domoic acid. The meat remains safe for consumption.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced late Thursday the establishment of a biotoxin management zone from Bandon (43° 07’) to the California-Oregon border (42° 00’), effective immediately. Traceability measures will be used to ensure whole crab are eviscerated, the agencies stated.
The new rules are due to ongoing crab biotoxin testing. One crab landed on Feb. 11 tested high for domoic acid, at 56 ppm in the viscera; the action level is 30 ppm.
At the same time, an email notice from the ODA said any whole or live-cooked crab landed between Feb. 11 and Feb. 14 in Zone K -- between Cape Blanco and Gold Beach -- must be recalled.
The order comes as landings are just starting to drop off and some processors have customers looking for whole-cooked crab. Other areas of Washington, Oregon and California opened sooner, so their supplies are already stretched thin as well.
However, because of Oregon’s precautionary management of biotoxins, the South Coast can remain open under an evisceration order. Crabbers can continue to harvest, processors can keep their supply chains going and the public can still have access to crab.
The ODA said crab containing viscera harvested from California waters remain under an evisceration order in Oregon, effective 12:01 a.m. Jan. 15, due to elevated levels of domoic acid in the crab viscera and remains in effect until further notice. California has no such order in place; the state agencies' interpretation of the biotoxin results are that the crab is safe at 30 ppm and that anything above that amount is subject to management action. Oregon and Washington health agencies adopted a more conservative approach. They interpreted a 30 ppm result to require management action.
Both Oregon agencies plan to test more crab next week.
Washington's Anti-Gillnet Bill Draws Strong Support, Opposition in Committee Hearing
SeafoodNews by Susan Chambers - February 13, 2019
The Washington Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources and Parks held a hearing Tuesday on SB 5617, the anti-gillnet bill, and testifiers on both sides of the issue had strong feelings about the bill.
As introduced, SB 5617 would mandate the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife develop a three-phase program for purchasing and retirement of nontribal salmon gillnets by Dec. 31, 2022. However, no appropriations for buying out the permits was included in the bill. It would effectively eliminate gillnet fisheries in Puget Sound, Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay and the Washington side of the Columbia River.
Chief sponsor Sen. Jesse Salomon, a Democrat and vice chair of the committee, introduced the hearing by saying gillnets are the only non-selective gear allowed in Washington waters and said they are not the best management tool for managing salmon, particularly ESA-listed species.
Sport fishermen were the primary supporters of the bill. The arguments and tensions surrounding the issue mirrored controversies and arguments heard on the Columbia River about the reforms put in place six years ago designed to move gillnets off the main river.
Sport fishermen and guides said their fishing and business was dropping and that the only solution was to eliminate gillnetting. Furthermore, recreational fishing is big business and that should count toward support of the bill.
"Our industry is a transfer of wealth from urban to rural Washington," said Mark Bush, an northwest guide and angler. Furthermore, some guides have had to reduce their rates or start guiding on inland fisheries to make up for business losses, he added.
Commercial fishermen and processors countered that idea.
The problem is not with gillnets, they said, but with hatchery production. More hatchery-produced salmon would benefit both sport and commercial fishermen. And, they said, it would benefit the southern resident killer whales whose main diet is salmon.
"Our delegation, our association in Bellingham is against this bill, …" said Shannon Moore, a Puget Sound gillnetter. "This bill will not accomplish anything expect putting families out of business."
Moore also noted a letter from Ron Garner, president of the Puget Sound Anglers, that was posted on SquidPro Tackle's Salmon Chronicles website, mentioned the unintended consequences of banning gillnets. SB5617 would stop hatchery production increases, Garner wrote.
"It does not address the ESA requirement of commercial clean up or commercial netting to stop the excess hatchery fish on spawning beds. This state bill removes the tool in the tool box that allows those increases to happen. There are ways to work with the commercials to adjust but this is flat out to remove them and going to stop hatchery increases dead in its tracks.
"Our commercials are the ones tasked to clean up excess hatchery fish, allowing us to make more fish for our Orcas, communities, and fishers of Washington. This is law in today’s world that cannot be ignored, until newer science is adopted, which is being working on. While the general public thinks it is the right thing to do, they do not understand the full dynamics and end result it will be bring," the letter continued.
The letter also showed a graph of orca populations trending down at the same time salmon hatchery production dropped off over several years.
Shortly after Moore's testimony and mention of Garner's letter, committee chair Sen. Kevin Van De Wege said Garner sent him an email rescinding that letter.
Some of Washington's tribes also opposed the bill. The Lummi Nation representative, Lisa Wilson, said it would negatively impact the tribe, despite the bill's wording of "non-tribal" gillnets. The Quileute Tribe also opposed the bill based on four premises: it did not acknowledge the status of tribes; it was written on the false premise that gillnets are non-selective; it also included the false premise that mark-selective fisheries would always protect wild stocks; and that it's time for all fishermen -- sport, tribal, commercial -- to come together to work on the real issues affecting salmon management and orca declines.
Salmon For All's Jim Wells, a gillnetter, made the point that there is "... no biological reason for banning gillnets."
The committee room was packed, with several audience members seated in a nearby overflow room. More than 67 people signed up to speak. Due to time constraints, each person was limited to one minute of testimony. The future of the bill is uncertain and it may not move out of committee as it is rumored some of the co-sponsors are re-considering their supporting position.
East Coast Fishery
Making the Most of a Tough Situation
NOAA Fisheries - February 8, 2019
The longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history started during the holidays when schedules and workloads are typically lighter. But as those initial couple of weeks stretched on, staff became anxious and stress increased due to missed or looming deadlines and missed paychecks. Several staff channeled this emotion into something positive by helping others and continuing to be dedicated public servants. While some staff became new volunteers with local organizations, others dedicated more time to their ongoing community service efforts. However one staff member, Mark Murray-Brown, took this to another level by volunteering with several organizations that serve the Cape Ann community - providing inspiration to fellow staff to volunteer in their communities.
Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings
A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 02/13/2019
The Pacific Council and its advisory entities will meet March 6-12, 2019. The Pacific Council meeting will begin on Thursday, March 7, 2019 at 9 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST), reconvening at 8 a.m. each day through Tuesday, March 12, 2019. All meetings are open to the public, except a closed session will be held from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., Thursday, March 7 to address litigation and personnel matters. The Pacific Council will meet as late as necessary each day to complete its scheduled business.
Western Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings
A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 02/13/2019
The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold its 131st Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) meeting, Joint Advisory Panel (AP) meeting, 176th Council meeting and its associated meetings to take actions on fishery management issues in the Western Pacific Region. A portion of the Council's Executive, Budget and Legislative Standing Committee meeting will be closed to the public.
World’s first salmon ATMs in Singapore
Straits Times by Angelii Trissha Mohan - Feb 11, 2019
SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - Salmon lovers can now get the fish from the Norwegian Salmon ATM found at several locations around the island. The vending machines are operated by local company Norwegian Salmon.
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