Fishing operations in Whittier back in action after explosion
KTUU by Taylar Perez - July 9, 2019
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Commercial fishing operations are resuming with an alternate plan to deal with the backlog of fish after the DeLong dock in Whittier was shut down after Monday's explosion.
N. Pacific Council Asks Dept of Justice to Follow Through on Appeal Invalidating Adak Cod Set Aside
SeafoodNews.com by John Sackton - July 9, 2019
The N. Pacific Council is concerned that the Justice Department, although they filed a notice of appeal to overturn the decision by a district court invalidating amendment 113, has not followed through with an actual filing of an appeal.
After hearing from NOAA general council last month, the council has written the Dept. of Justice to ask that the Solicitor General approve the appeal, and go forward.
In March, the US district court in Washington DC upheld a challenge by the Groundfish Forum, United Catcher Boats, B & N Fisheries Company, and Katie Ann LLC, that overturned Amendment 113. The amendment, which was the result of three years of council and stake holder effort, was an attempt to preserve a window of opportunity for Adak based vessels to land cod.
The BSAI cod season runs from January 20 to April 1st. Once the quota is caught, all fishing must stop, including that in the Aleutian Islands. As the Aleutian fishery generally starts later than that in the Bering Sea, Adak vessels were faced with the potential that the entire cod quota would be caught before they had a chance to fish their normal season.
The council solution was to require that a small portion of the overall quota (5000 tons) be designated a catcher-vessel only fishery, and that fish must be delivered to Adak, meaning it was not available to catcher processors. The rationale was that without these protections, the expansion of catcher-processor effort would effectively kill processing opportunities on Adak, taking away the only viable economic activity for that remote Aleutian community.
The court invalidated this decision, saying that NMFS could not allocate to a specific community unless it had a conservation reason for doing so. This is despite the fact they are allowed to allocate for specific sectors such as catcher-processors. In fact, it is precisely an IFQ allowance to the catcher processor sector that has allowed those vessels to become more efficient, and expand their footprint to catching Adak cod. The court reached this decision despite two specific national standards in Magnuson that say fisheries must be managed to promote the economic well-being of coastal communities.
There is a good chance of this decision being overturned on appeal, because if allowed to stand, it would undercut many of the management tools that have been used by the N. Pacific Council to resolve user conflicts. Several parties to the lawsuit, including the city of Adak, have filed an appeal. But the Justice Dept. has not followed through on their own notice of intent to file an appeal.
In the letter, Simon Kinneen, chair of the NPFMC said “The Council recognized the challenges faced by participants in the AI Pacific cod fishery and agreed that deliveries of Pacific cod to the AI shoreside processors is vital to the economic health of the AI communities. The Council determined that Amendment 113 was crucial, providing necessary economic benefits and stability to both harvesters and fishery-dependent fishing communities. Amendment 113 is consistent with long-standing Council policies to provide harvesting and processing protections for fisheries that are not included in a catch share program and provide opportunities for harvesters and shoreside processors participating in AI fisheries."
“Given the importance of Amendment 113 in providing economic benefits and stability for both harvesters and fishery-dependent communities in the AI, the Council encourages DOJ to proceed with appealing the District Court's decision.”
Without court action, a new council finding and action could take another three years, during which time Adak is in danger of losing the successful processing business that has been established there over the past few years.
Groups praise updated US government seafood guidance
Seafood Source by Christine Blank - July 9, 2019
U.S. seafood groups are lauding an updated government guidance that encourages pregnant and breastfeeding women and children to eat more seafood.
Despite Higher Tariffs, the U.S. May Still Turn to China for Processed Seafood
SeafoodNews.com by Amy Zhong - July 8, 2019
According to American media, the country’s plan to raise tariffs on Chinese commodities has taken a toll on bilateral trading and also its seafood industry. Some industry participants in the U.S. are worried and have called on the government to stop the action that is expected to increase the costs of local processed seafood.
Within the past two decades, China has been playing a leading role in processing seafood. Large quantities of seafood like fish have been sent from the U.S. to China for processing and then delivered back to the American market. One company said about 20% of its seafood are from China, which is equipped with satisfactory processing technologies and equipment.
Now fish like cod and salmon are on the seafood list with higher tariffs. Such tariffs will bring an increase in America’s seafood prices and also take a toll on local restaurants, according to news media. But it will take years to find new ones to replace Chinese processing plants, said one U.S. fish importer.
The situation is similar with other products like breaded shrimp. According to an industry insider, it is hardly possible to find substitutes of Chinese processing plants within the coming three years, even when the tariff reaches 25%. Now in terms of export value, about 50% of breaded shrimp in the U.S. has come from China, while the number accounts for 52% of China’s export.
Some processing plants, especially large ones, in China have expressed concern about potential consequences of higher tariffs, one of which is likely to be lower profitability. A manager at one plant said it hires 700 workers and sells about 200 containers of breaded shrimp to the U.S. every year now but it may have to develop new markets, such as a domestic market, with the new tariff policy.
China’s breaded shrimp export is estimated to be in decline. However, one undeniable thing is that other countries lag behind in production scale, technologies and costs. It is difficult for U.S. buyers to find other suitable suppliers in the near future due to their great demand. Even large producers like India can hardly satisfy their needs.
Meanwhile, it is hardly possible to replace China also due to its technological advantages. One difficult part in processing breaded shrimp is to find the ideal ratio of breading to shrimp. It takes more than two years to build a supply chain, and American buyers also need time to taste different products in order to find the right one, said one Chinese insider.
Currently, even with rising labor costs and shrimp prices, China still beats others in the profitability of its breaded shrimp business. Even with higher tariffs since last September, there is still some increase in China’s breaded shrimp export to the U.S.
In addition to Chinese companies, others also share this view. For example, according to Marine Gold Products, one Thailand company, local companies are not competitive at all compared with Chinese ones regarding costs and prices, though they can compete in quality and product traceability.
Though Thailand was the second-largest supplier of shrimp meal to America last year, few local companies took action to try to grab more U.S. market shares of breaded shrimp during one Thailand exposition last month. Even when there is no other option, America may turn to Vietnam rather than Thailand for breaded shrimp supply, said one insider.
Avanti Feeds, an Indian company, also said the trade war would not exert much influence on the company. Now it has not started the business of breaded shrimp processing because of a lack of relevant technologies. The company's leaders hope this war may trigger local companies to invest more in such technologies.
With one significant player losing competitive edges, others may try to enter the U.S. market and profit from its demand for processed seafood products. But some insiders are skeptical about whether others can beat China, even with higher tariffs, due to such factors as labor, costs and technological barriers.
Thousands of scientists comment on Pebble Mine's EIS
KDLG by Sage Smiley - July 9, 2019
Comments to the Army Corps of Engineers from thousands of fisheries scientists, resource managers, biologists and former mine employees make clear that Pebble Mine's Environmental Impact Statement is anything but the rigorou?scientific assessment that Sen. Lisa Murkowski and others have said the project demands.
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