Cook Inlet fishermen celebrate ‘Return of the Reds’ with hope for 2019
Alaska Journal of Commerce by Elizabeth Earl - June 12, 2019
Cook Inlet fishermen are looking forward to their salmon season with high hopes that the sockeye will arrive in better numbers than last year.
Council turns down petition sought to protect Adak processor
Alaska Journal of Commerce by Elizabeth Earl - June 12, 2019
The Aleutian Islands won’t be getting an emergency boost in quota for Pacific cod, despite stakeholders’ assertions that the processing plant in Adak needs it to survive the next season.
Council Rejects Emergency Order Request for Adak Cod Set-Aside for 2020
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - June 12, 2019
This story was updated to include all the plaintiffs in the Amendment 113 lawsuit.
An effort to reinstate the Adak cod set-aside by emergency order failed at the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council last week. Proponents are now reaching out to Congress for a legislative fix in time for the January 2020 cod season.
The 5,000 mt set-aside was established in 2016 with Amendment 113, which was vacated last March in response to a lawsuit brought by the United Catcher Boats, B & N Fisheries Company, Groundfish Forum, and Katie Ann LLC. In his decision, D.C. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly found the amendment did not comply with requirements in the Magnuson-Stevens Act and remanded the rule to NFMS for reconsideration. That process is underway but will not be done in time for the 2020 Aleutian Island cod season.
So representatives of Golden Harvest Alaska Seafoods, the shorebased plant in Adak, the city of Adak, the Aleutians East Borough, the Adak Community Development Corporation (ACDC), fishermen and others supported action by the Council that would provide deliveries to the Aleutian Island's shorebased processing facility for the 2020 cod season.
The paths available to them were a) an Emergency Order issued by the Council, b) an appeal of the March 21 decision by the U.S. Department of Justice and NOAA Fisheries, or c) an act of Congress.
Three days before the Council met last week, the Emergency Order Request was submitted. During discussion that took up most of the following Saturday, the council decided the request did not meet the standards of an emergency. According to NMFS guidelines, an emergency is “limited to extremely urgent, special circumstances where substantial harm to or disruption of the resource, fishery, or community would be caused in the time it would take to follow standard rulemaking procedures.” The guidelines also there must be an “administrative record justifying emergency regulatory action and demonstrating its compliance with the national standards. The only legal prerequisite for the use of the Secretary's emergency authority is that an emergency must exist.”
The urgent need for action was clear to Steve Minor with Golden Harvest. “If we don’t get some relief, some reinstatement of the set aside, we will be out of business.” Golden Harvest processes cod, crab, halibut and sablefish, relying mostly on cod during the first few months of the year. The company has invested millions in the plant based on the 5,000 mt set-aside, and are currently building a $5 million dollar meal plant.
In a letter to the council supporting an EO, Golden Harvest President Jason Ogilvie noted other benefits seen in the area since Golden Harvest purchased the plant.
"The community of Adak has been revived as we employ 300 people in high season and 80 employees year round. Since we have been in Adak, the local school has thrived, and brought many families to the community. New businesses are opening (restaurants, stores, etc), Golden Harvest has rebuilt houses ... We have shipped over 450 ocean freight containers per year since our inception," Ogilvie wrote.
"We have filled every Alaska airlines freighter and passenger planes with fresh product which did not previously exist and booked flights for approx 500-600 people on the planes in and out of the community. New Fisheries are being developed in Adak due to our initiative, this will provide even more jobs for both fishermen and plant employees. Flying in divers, researchers who work with ADF&G on sea urchin, geoduck, sea cucumber, and salmon. None of which have been commercially fished in this area.
"To date we are the first and only company to fly live king crab direct to china from the Aleutian Islands which has been a huge economic development not only for our plant but for the fishermen and the crab fishery itself."
Testimony from others opposed to the EO noted that deliveries to the Adak shoreplant would be made on a voluntary basis next year, but even they admitted it would not be an enforceable action.
Saturday’s discussion ended in a motion to add a “...discussion of trawl CV harvests and deliveries in the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod fishery and the set aside provisions established with Amendment 113 under the “protections for harvesters, processors, and communities” section of the BSAI Pacific cod trawl catcher vessel management scoping document.” The Council’s efforts to reinstate a set-aside for the Aleutians is ongoing.
Last April the Council addressed another burgeoning problem in the area -- that of a growing number of catcher/processors acting as motherships to accept cod deliveries. Those deliveries were dramatically impacting Bering Sea shoreplants, including Adak, so the Council took final action on limiting the number of motherships allowed.
There has not been a comprehensive approach to the BSAI cod fishery as there has been with pollock or crab. Rationalization of this fishery is all but certain but how and when that happens is still undetermined.
For the Aleutians cod fishery, the answer may be legislation by Congress. That was noted in a letter from the Alaska Commissioner of Fish and Game Doug Vincent-Lang, in response to ACDC’s support for an EO.
“The State of Alaska agrees that enactment of federal legislation is the only method currently available to preserve the opportunity for Aleutian Islands trawl catcher vessels, processing plants, and communities to participate in the Pacific cod fishery until the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) can develop regulations to address the impacts of the Court Order. The State will contact the Alaska Congressional delegation to express its support of legislation to reinstate the regulations as modified by the NPFMC in December 2018,” Vincent-Lang wrote to ACDC’s president Rick Koso on June 7.
During staff tasking, the last agenda item for the North Pacific Council on Monday, ADF&G Deputy Commissioner Rachel Baker made a formal motion to request “ ... the [Council] chair and Executive Director ... draft a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Department of Justice recommending an appeal of the D.C. District Court’s decision on Amendment 113.” The timeline for an appeal, like the timeline for regulatory action through the Council process, will not provide relief for Adak’s processing facility in the 2020 cod season in the BSAI.
Taking Stock of the Fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing
Alaska Native News by NOAA Fisheries - June 11, 2019
This week marked the second observance of the International Day for the Fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing. This day was declared by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2017 to raise awareness about this global problem. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, IUU fishing and related activities are responsible for the loss of more than 11 million tons of fish each year, amounting to an economic cost in excess of $10 billion. IUU fishing also represents a significant threat to the U.S. commercial seafood industry, as approximately 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported.
Conservationists raise alarm over wild fish found on B.C. salmon farms
The Canadian Press - June 11, 2019
VANCOUVER — A conservation charity said it's concerned by what it calls a "growing trend" of wild fish killed by the salmon farming industry on British Columbia's coast.
New Vessel Registration Issues Spark Confusion
Fishermen's News - June 12, 2019
With the commercial salmon season already under way in Alaska many vessel owners are suddenly finding out about a new law effective on January 1, 2019 requiring them to register their vessels with the state Department of Motor vehicles. Under Senate Bill 92, the Derelict Vessel Act, passed by the Alaska Legislature in 2018, fishing vessels are required to comply with the law even if they are documented vessels, for a $24 fee good for three years.
Wild Salmon Season Is Here
Brilliant red, mildly sweet and velvety, it may be more expensive than its farmed counterpart, but it’s so much finer.
New York Times by David Tanis - June 7, 2019
Fish, like everything else we eat, is seasonal. I generally don’t eat tomatoes or peppers out of season. Similarly, I prefer to wait for salmon season, which usually runs from late spring through late summer. Call me a snob, but farmed salmon doesn’t hold a candle to the real thing. Consider it an annual splurge.
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