Wednesday, July 31, 2019

July 31, 2019


Alaska/Pacific Coast

Alaska ferry workers strike for 6th day contract talks break off
Reuters by Yereth Rosen - July 30, 2019
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - A federal mediator on Monday suspended contract talks aimed at settling a strike that has shut down Alaska’s state ferry system at the peak of the tourist season, with services to more than 30 coastal communities halted for a sixth straight day.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-alaska-politics/alaska-ferry-workers-strike-for-6th-day-contract-talks-break-off-idUSKCN1UP096

Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 29, 2019
KDLG by Isabelle Ross - July 29, 2019
We’re in the final stretch of our show this summer, and we don’t have a daily run summary for the bay today. So we’re taking a look at the South Peninsula’s Area M. It’s cumulative harvest for pink salmon is now almost 11 million. The majority of those fish were caught in June, making up that month's largest harvest on record.
https://www.kdlg.org/post/bristol-bay-fisheries-report-july-29-2019#stream/0

ALASKA: Sockeye salmon continue to surge into Kenai River
Anchorage Daily News by Matt Tunseth - July 30, 2019
Sockeye salmon continue to pour into the Kenai River, where biologists have increased personal use fishing hours and sport bag limits to deal with the flood of fish.
https://www.savingseafood.org/news/state-and-local/alaska-sockeye-salmon-continue-to-surge-into-kenai-river/


Environment/Science
EPA withdraws proposed Bristol Bay area mining restrictions
KTUU by Associated Press - July 30, 2019
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has withdrawn proposed Obama-era restrictions on mining activity in Alaska's Bristol Bay region, angering opponents of the Pebble Mine project.
https://www.ktuu.com/content/news/EPA-withdraws-proposed-Bristol-Bay-area-mining-restrictions-513400991.html

Global Warming Is Pushing Pacific Salmon to the Brink, Federal Scientists Warn
The fish, critical to local economies and the food chain, were already under pressure from human infrastructure like dams. Climate change is turning up the heat.
InsideClimate News by Bob Berwyn - July 29, 2019
Pacific salmon that spawn in Western streams and rivers have been struggling for decades to survive water diversions, dams and logging. Now, global warming is pushing four important populations in California, Oregon and Idaho toward extinction, federal scientists warn in a new study.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/29072019/pacific-salmon-climate-change-threat-endangered-columbia-river-california-idaho-oregon-study

ADF&G releases more Preliminary Results of its 5 Year Hatchery Study
SeafoodNews by John Sackton - July 30, 2019
The ADF&G has released some additional findings from its long-term study on the impact of straying hatchery fish, and any potential interactions between wild and hatchery raised fish.

The results released this week are focused on some small  samples of reproductive success, based on pink salmon in two streams.

The findings confirm that hatchery parentage fish have lower reproductive success than wild parentage fish.

“What was really interesting is that if you look at the relative reproductive success, the hatchery-hatchery origin parents produced the lowest relative reproductive success,” said Chris Habich, , one of the ADF&G scientists working on the project.  “The ones that were half hatchery and half natural produced intermediate reproductive success. The natural-natural produced the highest reproductive success.”

But Habich also cautioned that the sample size from the two streams may be too small for definitive results.  “It'd be like taking a poll of about five people or 10 people and then trying to say something about who's going to win the next election,” he said.

The full study, to be completed by 2024, will have a much higher level of data quality.

The reason the preliminary results are out now is that a requirement of the project’s funding was that interim reports would be publicly released.

The new results also showed significant differences in male and female reproductive success in the two streams samples.  In both streams, female hatchery fish were similar, in that they lost about half their reproductive success.  But male hatchery fish in one stream only produced 1/3 the offspring that wild males did, while in the other stream, both hatchery and wild males produced the same amount of offspring.

If the findings are further developed over the remaining period of time, it may become necessary to manage on the basis that hatchery fish depress reproduction when they interact with wild fish.

In 2012, the Marine Stewardship Council withdrew its certification of Prince William Sound pink salmon due to conflicting opinions about hatchery fish that the certifier could not resolve.  The Alaska Responsible Fisheries Program and the GSSI continued to certify PWS pinks. The following year the MSC label was reinstated, partly after the ADF&G pledged to undertake a study.

Now the next five year MSC review of Alaska salmon will take place before the results of the ADF&G study are finalized, so there may be a lot of pressure from advocates based on very preliminary data.

The bigger picture is that something is happening with pink salmon stocks in Alaska that is likely due to global warming and temperature changes in the N. Pacific, and in the salmon spawning streams.  Hatchery production, which has been going on for more than one hundred years in times of both boom and bust is not likely to emerge as the key factor in the variability of pink salmon.

Unfortunately, the MSC process is ill equipped to deal with climate change issues, as the volume of unknown questions overwhelms the traditional scoring system, which does not allow for comparisons of species success in different environmental regimes.

For example, it could be that in a global warming regime, hatcheries are vital to the survival of pink salmon stocks, despite the fact that in instances of straying, they have a negative impact on wild stocks.  But there is nothing in the MSC process that could address that question, as it is designed for advocates to seize on one or two issues, and use them to object to an overall score.
https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1148491/ADFG-releases-more-Preliminary-Results-of-its-5-Year-Hatchery-Study
 

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
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Phone: 206.281.1667
E-mail: admin@pspafish.net; Website: www.pspafish.net
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