Alaska Fisheries Report
KMXT by Maggie Wall - May 3, 2019
We look at mixing zones, the Clean Water Act and an effort to loosen pollution standards in salmon streams.
Sablefish Fishery Opens June 1 Inside Southern Southeast Alaska With Slightly Higher Quota than 2018
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - May 3, 2019
The 2019 Clarence Strait sablefish fishery will open Saturday, June 1 with an annual harvest objective (AHO) of 580,349 round pounds, a 2% increase from the 2018 AHO. The 22 permit holders in this area, officially known as the Southern Southeast Inside (SSEI) Subdistrict, are allocated 26,834 round pounds under an equal quota share (EQS) system.
Alaska’s sablefish fishery is managed by both state and federal governments. The state manages three fisheries: Prince William Sound, Northern Southeast or Chatham Strait and Southern Southeast or Clarence Strait. The PWS fishery opened April 15 with a guideline harvest level (GHL) of 134,000 pounds.
The federally managed fishery opened with the start of the Pacific halibut fishery, this year on March 15, 2019.
Landings statewide have reached 5 million pounds, according to NOAA Fisheries May 2 landings report. Total annual quota for sablefish is 25.97 m pounds, so about 19% of the quota has been caught. Another 20.98 mlbs. are remaining before the season closes on November 15, 2019.
For 2019, the SSEI harvest objective was raised 2% due to continued increases in the longline survey CPUE index, signs of continued recruitment in length and age class distributions in the survey and fishery, introduction of escape rings for pot gear to reduce harvest of immature individuals and increasing trends in sablefish biomass from adjacent areas including the Gulf of Alaska, British Columbia, and Northern Southeast Inside (NSEI) Subdistrict.
Sablefish in SSEI are estimated to have a 30% chance of moving out of SSEI into the GOA and BC after one year of occupancy and therefore trends in abundance observed in adjacent areas are likely mirrored in the SSEI stock.
While the abundance of older individuals has declined in SSEI, ADF&G biologists say that recent large recruitment events suggest a projected increase in spawning stock biomass, though the overall magnitude of that increase is uncertain. These improvements prompted a cautionary increase of the 2019 SSEI AHO to allow for continued recovery of the stock and economic opportunity for permit holders and their local communities.
IPHC Sets Area 2A Halibut Season Limits; Drops 2nd Day of First Opener
SeafoodNews.com by Susan Chambers - May 6, 2019
The International Pacific Halibut Commission has set fishing period limits for the first Area 2A halibut openers in June and July.
The first opener will be held Wednesday, June 26, the second on July 10 for the commercial non-tribal fishery south of Pt. Chehalis, Wash. The overall allocation for this fishery for 2019 is 254,426 pounds or 115.41 metric tons. The fishing periods begin at 8a .m. and end at 6 p.m.
Furthermore, the IPHC has canceled any limits or opening for June 27, as it proposed earlier this year and that was listed in March regulations.
"The decision not to open on 27 June was informed by the response to a survey of fishery license holders conducted by the IPHC during April 2019," the IPHC said in a press release.
The change follows recommendations from the Pacific Fishery Management Council and state fisheries managers to eliminate the June 27 fishing day due to safety, enforcement and logistical reasons.
The Pacific Council in April acknowledged the IPHC would like to see the U.S. assume full management of the Area 2A directed commercial fishery. To that end, the Council, NMFS and states plant to hold a workshop this year to tackle some of the bigger issues that come with transferring management. While the original goal was for U.S. management in 2020, it may not be entirely possible, some cautioned. Full federal management may not be implemented until 2021.
Industry still has many questions about federal management and there is no easy solution. Some fishermen have proposed a quota system, like is already in place in Alaska. Others have suggested just a longer season. Halibut solely as incidental catch in the sablefish fishery also was suggested.
But for this year, 176 fishery licenses have been issued, with 14 more applications currently being processed by IPHC.
Following the July 10 opener, the IPHC may establish and announce fishing period limits for subsequent fishing periods in 2019, dependent upon allocation remaining for the fishery.
Labeling and Marketing
3MMI - Seafood Buyers Update: China Raw Material Pricing Roundup
TradexFoods - May 6, 2019
Russian Frozen at Sea Pacific Cod raw materials are around $3500 per metric tonne compared to $3,900 for Long Line; Chinese processors are anticipating the big year ahead for Alaska Pink salmon, with forecasts showing 138 million pink salmon expected statewide; Pollock raw materials remain strong at $1530 per metric tonne, which could soften in the coming months, but no signs of changes yet...
Derelict barge poses pollution threat
Cordova Times - May 2, 2019
Coast Guard pollution investigators at Kodiak are working with contractors to mitigate the pollution threat from a derelict barge in Womens Bay on Kodiak Island after a light, rainbow-colored sheen was observed near the barge.
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