With no volunteer test fishers, ADF&G keeps searching for herring
KCAW by Katherine Rose - March 25, 2019
ADF&G is moving north in their search for herring after Monday’s surveys yielded similar results to what the department saw over the weekend- results that have yet to meet the 11 percent roe maturity threshold needed to open the fishery.
Northern Lights: A global seafood superpower
National Fisherman by Sen. Dan Sullivan - March 26, 2019
The seafood industry is the lifeblood of many of Alaska’s communities. The industry is the third largest economic driver in Alaska and the top employer. Alaska accounts for more than 50 percent of total U.S. commercial fishery harvest in volume, which contributes more than 78,000 jobs to the Alaska economy. We are also the top exporter in the country of fish and seafood products.
2019 Forecast for Total Run of Pink Salmon in PWS is 23.5M, Copper River Sockeye Run at 1.4M
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - March 27, 2019
Managing Alaska’s salmon fisheries in the post-Blob era is complicated by a whole host of different “what if’s?” focused on how the anomalous heat wave that hit the Gulf of Alaska in 2014-2016 affected the ocean environment for salmon.
Biologists in Southcentral Alaska have estimated a return of pink salmon to Prince William Sound of 23.5 million fish, nearly twice as much as the recent 10 odd-year average (1999–2017) PWS wild pink salmon total run of 14 million.
The 2019 return of Copper River sockeye, prized among Alaska’s salmon runs, as low again this year -- 31 percent lower than the ten year average.
The 2019 wild Copper River sockeye salmon total run point estimate is 1,416,000 fish, 30 percent below the 2009-2018 average wild sockeye salmon run of 2,049,000 fish, according to ADF&G.
The total run, minus escapement and sports harvest, result in a projected commercial harvest of 756,000 sockeye.
The Chinook or king salmon return to the Copper River system is slightly better news: 55,000 Chinook salmon are estimated to return this year, which means a commercial and sport harvest of about 31,000 salmon. The 10-year average return for Chinook to the Copper is 46,000 fish.
Even better news is the forecast in Prince William Sound for Coghill River sockeyes -- a 473,000 salmon return is expected, which results in a harvest (commercial and sport) of 443,000 sockeyes.
Last year’s return of chum salmon to PWS was surprisingly large, and this year’s wild chum total run point estimate of 527,000 fish is 10 percent higher than the ten-year average of 479,000 fish.
The Prince William Sound Aquaculture Association is forecasting 22.3 million pinks returning to three hatcheries in the Sound. The Valdez Fisheries Development Association has not released its forecast for 2019, but last year estimated some 16.9 million pinks returning to its Solomon Gulch Hatchery.
ADF&G’s annual statewide Run Forecasts and Harvest Projections for 2019, expected in late March, will have some updates on the forecasts released to date. But as ADF&G reminds the industry, “Salmon forecasts are inherently uncertain and are primarily used to gauge the magnitude of expected runs and set early-season harvest management strategy.
“In 2019, the department will continue to manage PWS Area commercial salmon fisheries inseason based on the strength of salmon abundance indices including sonar counts, weir passage, aerial escapement surveys, and fishery performance data.”
Salmon exports fall in volume but grow in value
Fis.com - March 25, 2019
In the year 2018 the exports amounted to 89,123 tonnes and USD 617,622,000, which represents 5 per cent less in volume but 6 per cent more in value than in 2017.
MSC research counters findings of other mislabeling studies
Seafood Source by Christine Blank - March 26, 2019
A new Marine Stewardship Council study has found mislabeling of its certified seafood is lower than the average of several other recent studies, which claim to have detected seafood mislabeling rates as high as 30 percent.
Seafood Industry Stepping Up to Tackle Lost Fishing Nets
Seafood News by MAREX - March 26, 2019
The world’s 25 leading seafood companies are making progress in stopping their lost fishing gear, according to a new report from World Animal Protection.
The 2019 report, Ghosts beneath the waves: 2nd edition, ranks 25 seafood companies in Tiers 1 (setting best practice) to 5 (not engaged) on their ability to address the problem of ghost gear.
Ghost gear – lost or abandoned fishing equipment - is one of the biggest threats to marine animals. 640,000 tons of ghost gear is left in oceans each year – more than one ton every minute. These nets, lines and traps can take up to 600 years to decompose.
As in 2018, no companies achieved Tier 1 status. However, Thai Union, TriMarine and Bolton Group have entered Tier 2 for the first time and have now made ghost gear best practice integral to their business strategy.
Overall Lost Gear Ranking
Tier 1 – Leader / setting best practice: None of the assessed
Tier 2 – Achiever / integral to business strategy: Thai Union, TriMarine, Bolton Group
Tier 3 – Improver / established, but work to be done: Bumble Bee Foods, Grupo Nueva Pescanova
Tier 4 – Engaged / on the agenda, but limited evidence of implementation: American Seafoods, Cargill Aqua Nutrition, Dongwon Industries, Grupo Calvo, High Liner Foods, Nippon Suisan (Nissui), Nutreco, Pacific Seafood Group, Princes, Young’s Seafood
Tier 5 – Not engaged / no evidence that ghost gear is on the business agenda: Andrew Marr International, Austevoll, Beaver Street Fisheries, Camil, Clearwater Seafoods, Cooke Seafood, East Coast Seafood Group, Frinsa, Maruha Nichiro Corporation, Nippon Suisan (Nissui), Samherji
The average score for the 15 companies covered in both the 2018 and 2019 assessments has increased from 23 to 30 percent, with seven companies moving up one or more tiers. In 2019 10 additional companies were also assessed.
The average company score was 28, placing the average company in the middle of Tier 4. Only nine of the 25 companies currently acknowledge ghost gear as an issue for them. Just two publicly report on progress against targets on how they take action on ghost gear.
Whales, dolphins, seals, turtles and other marine animals are also impacted by ghost gear. Lost gear is four times more likely to trap and kill marine animals than all other forms of marine debris combined.
In addition, it is also contributing to the ocean’s plastic problem with more than 70 percent of macroplastics by weight being fishing related.
The Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), an alliance founded by World Animal Protection in 2015, is dedicated to tackling the problem of ghost fishing gear at a global scale. Ingrid Giskes, Global Head of Sea Change at World Animal Protection, said: “Over the last year the seafood industry has really stepped up to tackle ghost gear and is now taking its responsibilities much more seriously. Companies, governments and other stakeholders have acknowledged ghost gear is a major problem that must be fixed quickly."
The GGGI has welcomed around 40 new members in the last 12 months.
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