Rebuilding global fisheries under uncertainty
Fis.com - July 23, 2019
Many fisheries that have been historically overexploited are now considered to be rebuilding, with a hope that current best practices could ensure the recovery of most overfished species by mid century. Our analysis suggests this optimism may be premature, as current projections typically assume managers can have perfect measurements of current stock sizes. We demonstrate how such an assumption can undermine rebuilding efforts under current best practices and even drive unintentional stock declines. By borrowing novel decision methods from the field of robotics, we also show how stock rebuilding can be achieved in the face of measurement and environmental uncertainty, while also achieving higher economic returns than expected under current approaches.
Lieutenant Governors Call for Five- to Ten-Cent Fee Per Pound on Imported Seafood
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - July 24, 2019
At the annual meeting of the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) last week, the nation’s second-in-command approved a resolution with three imperatives:
1. US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration take immediate measures to increase seafood inspection at the sites where it is harvested and at our borders.
2. Every lot of imported seafood is fully compliant with our food and drug laws.
3. These increased activities be paid for by imposing a “five to ten cent inspection fee per pound on all imported seafood, which would allow additional hiring of inspectors to ensure inspection of all imported seafood, excluding American seafood shipped overseas for processing and consumption in the U.S.”
The resolution was written by Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and co-sponsored by lieutenant governors from Connecticut, Delaware, Nevada, and Alaska.
“I am requesting that the USDA and FDA take immediate measures to significantly increase the level of seafood inspections at the sites where it is harvested, and at our borders,” Nungesser said. “The lack of inspection cause a health and safety risk and places our domestic seafood producers at a significant economic disadvantage.”
The group cited seafood imports of $21.5 billionin 2017 were 10.5 percent higher than in 2016. They also noted exports are growing, but slower: 2017 exports were $5.4 billion, up 7.1 percent from 2016. Those statistics do not include re-export, which were valued at $6.4 billion in 2017.
The group met in Wilmington, DE July 17-19, 2019.
In a brochure titled “Sea What’s in Your Seafood”, created to accompany the resolution, the group noted that less than two percent of imported seafood is inspected by the FDA currently, and that FDA’s shrimp refusals due to banned antibiotics come from about a dozen countries, but that 88 percent are from india, China, and Vietnam. The group based much of the resolution on a 2017 study conducted by the U.S. Governmental Accountability Office. They cited antibiotics admiinistered by foreign aquaculture facilities as a practice that may lead to unhealthy levels of chemicals and antibiotics in the seafood being consumed by Americans, and the practice putting American seafood producers at a competitive disadvantage due to being held to higher standards.
The group said a $.10/lb fee on foreign imports could generate some $600 million and allow for the hire of 12,000 additional inspectors, with an overal result of higher quality seafood and lower health risks to consumers.
A Closer Look at the Heat that Smashed All-Time Records in Alaska
Weather Nation - July 22, 2019
[NOAA by Tom Di Liberto] Experiencing a summer heat wave with temperatures in the nineties is probably pretty normal for most people. But now imagine you live in Alaska. Not so normal anymore, is it? Alaska has just come to the end of a period of warmth that re-wrote the record books for multiple cities and communities across the state. And crazy enough, it was one of several jaw dropping climate events taking place across our largest state. You can read our initial article here; lets take a closer look at what happened:
Icebreaker and UA Research Vessel Sikuliaq Key to Sustainability of Alaska’s Fisheries
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - July 22, 2019
Today, due to Governor Dunleavey's unprecented $444 million budget veto earlier this month, the University of Alaska Board of Regents will consider whether to make a Declaration of Financial Exigency, a condition triggered by “imminent financial crisis which threatens the survival of the institution as a whole.”
Alaska’s legislature still has not reached a budget compromise and the current veto still cuts the UA budget by $130 million.
Last weekend Moody’s Investors Service downgraded UA’s rating by several notches due to the funding crises. In its report, Moody’s called the 41% state funding cut the UA system faces “unprecedented,” according to a report in the Anchorage Daily News.
A declaration allows the Board to start cutting academic programs and removing tenured faculty, as well as begin the restructuring of the university system.
The impact of such a move would impact every Alaskan, but cuts to the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (CFOS) would be a blow to Alaska’s seafood industry in many ways, including future research and current sustainability. Last week, Laine Welch reported how the R/V Sikuliaq is an example of what state support in its university system can accomplish.
Dean of CFOS Brad Moran told Welch, “We are entrusted to operate a $200 million federal asset in that vessel which is owned and paid for by the National Science Foundation. All of the funding for that ship is externally coming into the state.”
The R/V Sikuliaq, pronounced [see-KOO-lee-auk], is a 261-foot oceanographic research ship capable of bringing scientists to the ice-choked waters of Alaska and the polar regions. Sikuliaq, one of the most advanced university research vessels in the world, is able to break ice up to 2.5 feet thick. The Sikuliaq is home ported in Seward, Alaska, at UAF's Seward Marine Center.
Last September, Moran updated the UA Board of Regents on the university’s investment in the vessel.
“The state of Alaska provide a half-million dollars a year as an investment that turns back roughly $12 million in revenue,” Moran told the group.
“And in FY18, believe it or not, 74 percent of the time at sea doing science, it was someone from the university on that vessel,” Moran said. “That’s an amazing statistic. We were shooting for 20 percent in our strategic plan.”
Moran says that will help the university when it has to compete to retain the NSF operation contract in 2023. Moran also highlighted the recent purchase of a large trawl net that will enable the Sikuliaq to conduct fisheries research.
“It’s a very large contraption, takes a lot of people to use,” Moran said. So we’ll see how this goes, but I do believe that this investment of $250,000 will open up some new finding opportunities that we don’t actually have on the ship right now.”
The purchase of the trawl gear is one of only a few capabilities the vessel doesn’t have.
Sikuliaq allows researchers to collect sediment samples directly from the seafloor, host remotely operated vehicles, use different types of winches to raise and lower scientific equipment, and conduct surveys throughout the water column and sea bottom using an extensive set of research instrumentation. The vessel has a low environmental impact, including a low underwater radiated noise signature for marine mammal and fisheries work. Sikuliaq has accommodations for up to 26 scientists and students at a time.
The trawl gear, which can be used under the ice, was bought with funds left over from the sale of the NSF previous research vessel, the Alpha Helix. Moran said at that time that the university was also investing in up to 5 new faculty who would be working aboard the Sikuliaq.
”This is important because we want to ensure faculty at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and across the state use this vessel,” Moran said.
The vessel has been in nearly constant use since its arrival in Alaska. In 2018, R/V Sikuliaq operations amounted to 153 days out of a total of 190 operational days at sea. Those days at sea supported 10 research projects last year.
The Sikuliaq, an Inupiaq name meaning "young sea ice" has revolutionized data collection in the Gulf of Alaska by increasing the space and workforce available to conduct complex experiments at sea.
For two decades, the Northern Gulf of Alaska Long-term Ecological Research program has studied how physical processes and climate variability influence the base of the food web in that area.
With the Sikuliaq, researchers are able to expand their understanding of what drives environmental variability in the Gulf of Alaska.
“It’s kind of like we moved from working out of a tiny camper van to working out of an entire house,” explained CFOS researcher Russ Hopcroft, the principal investigator for the 2018 project in the Gulf.
“The ship we have been using in the past could easily fit on the back deck of Sikuliaq. Working on Sikuliaq is a game changer,” Hopcroft said.
“Because the ship is bigger, she is more stable in the stormy Gulf of Alaska and is therefore able to operate in a wider range of conditions. We can have twice as many researchers onboard, and the increase in lab space opens up the opportunity to conduct complex experiments at sea.”
This summer the Sikuliaq continues a 50-year samples survey and a the 23rd consecutive year of Seward Line physical-chemical-phytoplankton-zooplankton-seabird sampling.
But it is the first year of special studies involving high-resolution sampling of the Copper River discharge plume.
“We suspect this plume is a source of iron (and other nutrients), therefore driving some of the high productivity in the Gulf of Alaska,” the cruise blog reported recently.
The Sikuliaq crew also deployed the Gulf of Alaska Ecosystem Observatory (GEO) last month. During the next year, it will report oceanographic conditions in real-time.
Last year the vesel was used for jellyfish research in the Bering Sea, supporting 8 scientists and 22 crew.
The Siluliaq was the platform for the Arctic Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (IERP) to study marine processes in the northern Bering and Chukchi Seas. The program, sponsored by the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB), Collaborative Alaskan Arctic Studies Program, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the Office of Naval Research Marine Mammals and Biology Program integrates data collected over three years (2017- 2019) to better understand how reduced Arctic sea ice and associated environmental changes influence the health of marine ecosystems.
In all, twelve cruises were supported by the Sikuliaq in 2018. Ten were National Science Foundation sponsored in the eastern Pacific and Arctic Oceans.
This year the Sikuliaq continues its work in the Arctic with the newly formed international Arctic Research Icebreaker Consortium (ARICE). Thirteen countries are part of the project, focused on planning and implementation of Arctic research cruises by better coordinating the existing icebreaker fleet.
Retreating sea ice and warming waters have given rise to unprecedented political, economic, and scientific interest in the Arctic Ocean over the past decade.
ARICE wants to help increase the efficiency of how icebreaker cruise time is designated so this limited resource is used effectively.
"Our role as a key partner in ARICE raises the international visibility of Sikuliaq and brings new resources to support our ship operations," said Moran.
"A priority of this program is to enhance international scientific collaboration in the Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas, and in that regard, we look forward to increased demand for use of Sikuliaq by the broader research community. This is an important accomplishment for CFOS as operator of Sikuliaq.”
For the first time, scientists conducting research in the Arctic Ocean will be able to apply for fully funded access to six international icebreakers, including Sikuliaq. While cruise time will be granted to researchers based on merit, ARICE project coordinators hope the program will increase opportunities for early career researchers and scientists from countries who do not have easy access to an icebreaker.
ARICE will increase coordination between icebreaker operators and work with marine businesses to expand data collection on Arctic commercial vessels. In the long run, ARICE aims to implement a sustained International Arctic Research Icebreaker Consortium to continue to maximize and expand the use of these resources.
As the U.S. representative in ARICE, Sikuliaq is positioned to serve an increasingly international audience, and to foster greater collaboration between U.S. Arctic ship users and international partners, Moran pointed out.
Labeling and Marketing
Official data on production, prices, markets and destinations of Alaska Pollock surimi
Fis.com - July 24, 2019
Table 1: Catches and production of Alaska Pollock surimi (Gadus chalcogrammus), tonnes, 2019-2018
Taking into account that the quota for both seasons amounts to 1,497,081 tonnes, it is estimated that at the end of the year, surimi production totals about 92,300 tonnes, to total approximately 197,000 tonnes.
Kodiak whale necropsy adds to the growing body of data about 2019 gray whale deaths
KMXT by Kavitha George - July 19, 2019
Yet another gray whale washed up in Alaska this month, this time on Kodiak’s Surfers Beach. These strandings are becoming increasingly common, but scientists still don’t have a solid picture of what’s going on with the population.
Trident Seafoods appoints Sunderland, formerly of Ocean Beauty, as new salmon category director
Seafood Source by Madelyn Kearns - July 22, 2019
Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.-based company Trident Seafoods has hired Tom Sunderland, formerly of Ocean Beauty Seafoods, as its new salmon category director.
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