Wednesday, June 26, 2019

June 27, 2019

Alaska/Pacific Coast

Bristol Bay Fish Expo kicks off the fishing season
The annual Bristol Bay Fish Expo in Naknek continued for the third year in a row. And from brailer makers and processors to local history projects, it is fast becoming a must for people in the fishing industry.
KDLG by Isabelle Ross - June 25, 2019
A group of kids walked between tables of exhibitors in the Bristol Bay Borough school gym. They were walking alongside a bin that held a large king salmon caught in Egegik.
https://www.kdlg.org/post/bristol-bay-fish-expo-kicks-fishing-season


East Coast Fishery
Owners say Trump's tariffs bring uncertainty
Gloucester Times by Ethan Forman - June 24, 2019
What do a Gloucester seafood processor, a Newburyport lingerie maker, a Peabody bike shop and a worldwide athletic shoe company have in common?
They are all nervous about a proposed 25% hike in tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of products imported from China — a measure that President Donald Trump supports to tackle what is seen as unfair trade practices.
https://www.gloucestertimes.com/news/national_world_news/owners-say-trump-s-tariffs-bring-uncertainty/article_98b47d87-b7b2-539e-aa0b-9fe081c0cd96.html


Environment/Science
Fishing Starts in Bristol Bay as Protests Against Pebble Mine Build
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - June 24, 2019
The iconic Bristol Bay salmon season officially started June 3 with eastside districts and expanded baywide last week as fishing fever crescendos to its peak in early July. But the focus on fishing has not put a damper on the protests against Pebble Mine, a proposed open pit mine that is strongly opposed by the Bristol Bay fleet.

In an announcement released yesterday by the Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay, mid-June was described as a time when “the future of Bristol Bay hangs in limbo in the final days of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ public comment period for the Pebble Mine Draft EIS.”

For many in Bristol Bay’s fishing industry this winter was anything but restful, instead they were fighting to save their livelihoods.

“Our industry in Bristol Bay is in the fight of our lives against relentless attempts by the Pebble Limited Partnership fueled by a “dig baby dig” attitude from the US Army Corps of Engineers to develop the world’s largest and most dangerous open pit mine at the headwaters of our fishery," said the group.

"At this point Bristol Bay fishermen and Alaskans who still overwhelmingly oppose Pebble are looking to Sen. Lisa Murkowski to deliver on her longtime promise of ensuring a permitting process that protects the interests of Alaskans and does not trade one resource for another,” said lifelong Alaskan Alexus Kwachka from his boat F/V No Point on opening day in Naknek, Alaska.

Murkowski reiterated her promise in letters to commercial fishermen over the past few months. In response to the United Fishermen of Alaska’s request that she call for a halt to the flawed and corrupt NEPA process currently underway by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Murkowski wrote, "As I have said in the past, we must have confidence that Brisol Bay's world-class fisheries are protected and I expect the Corps process to remain fair, rigorous, and transparent as Alaskans provide their views to the Army Corp. I will continue to carefully watch as the Pebble [project] undergoes a measured, fully inclusive and transparent permitting process."

"These and other statements from Murkowski and other members of the Alaska delegation are far from reassuring," says Bristol Bay gillnetter Mark Niver. He points to recent letters from fisheries scientists and others highly critical of the Pebble DEIA and the Army Corps' effors to this point.

The American Fisheries Society, representing over 7,500 professional fishery scientists and resource managers, sent a letter to the Corps stating "Based on our review of the DEIS we find it fails to meet basic standards of scientific rigor in a region that clearly demands the highest level of scrutiny and thoroughness.

"The DEIS is an inadequate assessment of the potential impacts of the project. Specifically, as described below, we find the DEIs is deficient because 1) impacts and risks to fish and their habitats are underestimated, 2) many conclusions are not supported by the data or analysis provided, and 3) critical information is missing."

Dr. Daniel Schindler of the School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences at the University of Washington, in his analysis of the DEIS, states "The US Army Corps of Engineers is considering Pebble's mine permit application and released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement for public comment. The National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) EIS process is widely considered the "gold standard" for assessing risks to ecosystems from resource development and it is intended to be scientifically rigorous and fair. However, the outcome from this process is only as good as the science that informs it; if you put garbage in, you get garbage out. The Pebble EIS distinctly underestimates long-term risks to water, fish, and people -- it concludes there are none. The Army Corps of Engineers should be sent back to the drawing board to produce a credible assessment."

The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council also sent a letter noting "The value and reputation of commercial fisheries in Alaska has been earned by consistently providing a superior product to global markets. Both the value and reputation of Bering, Gulf of Alaska, and other Alaska fisheries are dependent on the pristine waters of Alaska's marine ecosystems, and the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute has worked to ensure that the well-earned reputation is a hallmark of North Pacific fisheries.

"Any analysis that considers development of a large scale mine in the area must also consider reasonably foreseeable future actions including the potential impacts not only on fish populations and habitat, but also on both the value and reputation of North Pacific fisheries. The Corps EIS fails to consider impacts to the Alaska Seafood brand and reputation," the Council wrote.

Trident Seafoods Corporation, which is investing in a thorough review of the draft EIS for Pebble, wrote in a recent pre-season letter to their Bristol Bay fleet, "Trident seafoods opposes the Pebble Mine project because it poses a significant risk to the many families' businesses and communities that rely upon the natural resources of Brisol Bay. The current analysis does not provide certainty because among other things, it only analyzes a 20-year timeframe and unrealistically small footprint for the mine. It does not consider the impact of a catastrophic failure and fails to study the effect on the marketability and perception of Alaskan seafood."
https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1145500/Fishing-Starts-in-Bristol-Bay-as-Protests-Against-Pebble-Mine-Build


FYI’s
We Tried it: Tracing a Natural, Sustainable Pet Food to Its Source Out in Alaska's Bering Sea
PEOPLE boarded a boat and went to one of the America's most remote points to see where the first ingredient in Purina's Beyond Alaskan Cod Recipe comes from
People by Kelli Bender - June 25, 2019
Animal lovers want what is best for their pet’s well-being and happiness. Recently, this devotion to our furry friends has meant increased focus on what we are feeding our animals and how that food is made.
https://people.com/pets/sustainable-sourcing-purina-beyond-alaskan-cod/


Opinion
Opinion: Hilborn: Rebuilding Plans for Widow Rockfish Caused the Collapse of the Fishery
Urner Barry by Amanda Buckle, Ray Hilborn and Kristin McQuaw - June 20, 2019
The June 12 article by Cassandra Profita misrepresents the history of the widow rockfish fishery and the lessons learned.
Widow rockfish was declared overfished in 2001, and the subsequent rebuilding of the species is cited by Ms. Profita as a great success of the management of US fisheries.  From 1995 to 2001, annual widow catch averaged 6,600 MT. After the rebuilding plan was implemented, from 2003 to 2012, annual widow catch averaged 194 tons.  What Ms. Profita and most media coverage ignore, is that by 2007 the scientists assessing the fishery determined that the stock had never been overfished, and thus the dramatic declines in quota, and the collapse of the fishery, was not necessary.  Rather than being cited as a success of fisheries management, it was in fact a failure of fisheries management.  Millions of dollars of potential catch were lost and even though the stock has now been declared rebuilt and quotas are now over 10,000 MT, the loss of markets still affects the fishery.

The current assessment of widow rockfish suggests the stock had declined from 70,000 MT in 1971, to 30,000 MT in 2000 – not the “devastating collapse of fish populations” Ms. Profita references. The 30,000 MT biomass estimated in 2000 is within the 95% confidence limits of the biomass that would produce maximum sustainable yield (MSY). So in retrospect, there was no biological crises and the collapse of the fishery was due to the reductions in TAC, not the reductions in abundance.

The collapse of the widow catch, effectively resulted in the collapse of the midwater rockfish  fishery.  The erroneous declaration that the stock was overfished was due to uncertainty in stock assessments – something that cannot be avoided and the scientific analysis in 2000 that estimated the stock was overfished is not to blame.  What is to blame is the dramatic catch reduction demanded by rebuilding plans.  The science of 2000 suggested the stock was slightly below the overfishing limit.  If the harvest rate and TAC were simply adjusted to be the best estimate of the MSY harvest rate, catches would hardly have declined, and the stock would still have rebuilt.

The 2013 National Research Council report on rebuilding plans recognized the problems of the current rebuilding plans.  “Rebuilding plans that focus more on meeting selected fishing mortality targets than on exact schedules for attaining biomass targets may be more robust to assessment uncertainties, natural variability and ecosystem considerations, and have lower social and economic impact.”  Had such recommendations been in place the widow rockfish fishery would not have been collapsed and would have been maintained as a viable fishery up to present.

Ray Hilborn, professor of aquatic and fishery sciences at the University of Washington, is recognized as a global expert on overfishing, and with his collaborators, has been the leading academic expert of the efficacy of good fisheries management to successfully eliminate overfishing.
https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1145131/Hilborn-Rebuilding-Plans-for-Widow-Rockfish-Caused-the-Collapse-of-the-Fishery
 

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
1900 W Emerson Place Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98119
Phone: 206.281.1667
E-mail: admin@pspafish.net; Website: www.pspafish.net
Our office days/hours are Monday-Friday
8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.

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