Salmon Update: Humpy harvests in PWS surge to near 12M
Statewide commercial wild salmon harvests top 97M fish
Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman - August 2, 2019
Pink salmon harvests in Prince William Sound leaped to 12 million fish through July 30, boosting the Sound’s overall harvest to over 19 million fish.
Alaska Fisheries Report — Aug. 1, 2019
KMXT by Maggie Wall - August 4, 2019
Statewide, salmon fishermen are pushing the 100-million mark, half of those fish come from Bristol Bay. We have a report of catches and prices.
What happens when the salmon don’t show up? The residents of Chignik on the Kenai Peninsula are suffering the second year of no fish. We look at how a fish-dependent community copes with the loss.
With 14.4 Million lbs. Caught, Halibut Fleet Reaches Half-Way Mark on Landings, Season
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - August 2, 2019
The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) announced catches of 14.4 million pounds as of August 1, out of a total quota of 29.43 mlbs. That catch limit is distributed across the North American west coast from California to the Bering Sea.
In three areas -- IPHC Regulatory Area 2A, 2B, and 2C, the annual limit is subject to various catch sharing plans between commercial, tribal, and sports sectors.
Area 2A’s commercial catch reached 494,583 lbs on July 1 and, with an allowable limit of 497,000 lbs., was closed for the rest of 2019. Fishermen in Washington, Oregon and California caught more than its overall quota during three 10-hour openers, one each on June 26, July 10 and July 24.
The 2A allocation for the commercial fishery south of Pt. Chehalis was 115.41 tons, or 254,426 pounds; fishermen caught 119.75 tons, or 264,000 pounds of halibut. Preliminary reports show the average ex-vessel price to Oregon fishermen this year was $4.57 a pound. The average ex-vessel price in July last year across all three states was $5.10 per pound, but that figure may include halibut caught in other fisheries as well.
The Pacific Fishery Management Council and IPHC are in the process of transferring management responsibility from IPHC to U.S. management - Council, NMFS and the states. Initial discussions about 2020 halibut management will be discussed at the September and November Council meetings in Boise, Idaho, and Costa Mesa, Calif., respectively.
While commercial fishing in Area 2A is closed, recreational fishing in all three states is still open. IPHC reported no landings for the sports sector in Area 2A (WA, OR, CA) as of August 1, 2019.
Area 4CDE has no catch sharing plan, but they are directly impacted by the incidental catch of halibut caught in bottom trawls that target flatfish. That catch, which has decreased over the years due to declining populations and efforts by the flatfish fleet to avoid halibut, is taken off the top in quota calculations at the beginning of the year.
Bycatch is included in the “total removals” metric, which is used for historical comparisons and includes subsistence, recreational, and research takes as well as bycatch.
In a recent broadcast, Laine Welch of Fish Radio reported that halibut fisherman turned broadcaster Jeff Lockwood is now tracking bycatch numbers into weekly reports on KBBI in Homer, the nation’s top halibut port.
“I thought this is kind of interesting. After years of being a halibut fisherman, everybody talks about and knows about halibut bycatch but none of us really knew what was going on,” Lockwood told Fish Radio.
The NOAA spreadsheets through July 13 noted that total halibut bycatch in other Alaska fisheries this year was about 4.8 million pounds of which 92 percent came from Bering Sea bottom trawlers.
So far the bycatch pace is ahead of last year. According to the weekly landings report for flatfish trawlers, 2019 trawl halibut mortality is 1,608 mt or 3.54 mlbs. compared to 1,385 mt or 3.05 mlbs for the same time period in 2018. In 2019, the catcher-processors account for 1,089 mt or 2.4 mlbs and catcher vessels for 519 mt or 1.14 mlbs, about the same ratio as 2018.
Overall, commercial fisheries took 61 percent of the halibut catch in 2018, recreational users took 19 percent, subsistence users took three percent, and bycatch by fisheries targeting other species accounted for 16 percent of the total catch limit.
The record low point on total removals was in 1977 with 34 mlbs. This year total removals are 38.61 mlbs, slightly lower than last year’s 38.78 mlbs and significantly lower than 2017’s 42.58 mlbs. The 100-year average for this fishery is 63 mlbs.
While all areas are around the halfway mark in catches of annual allocation, two fleets -- those fishing off the coast of British Columbia and those fishing the Western Aleutians, are outpacing other areas by a slight margin. Each of those areas have landed 55% of their 2019 quota.
The season is two weeks past the half way mark. Halibut and sablefish season opened in most areas March 15 and will close in all areas, if not closed earlier, on November 14, 2019.
Individual areas, their quotas and actual catches are below.
Area 2A: landings to date .75 mlbs out of 1.5 mlbs 2019 quota
Area 2B: landings to date 3.27 mlbs out of 5.95 mlbs quota
Area 2C: landings to date 2.38 mlbs out of 4.49 mlbs quota
Area 3A: landings to date 5.03 mlbs out of 10.26 mlbs quota
Area 3B: landings to date 1.14 mlbs out of 2.33 mlbs quota
Area 4A: landings to date .5 mlbs out of 1.65 mlbs quota
Area 4B: landings to date .66 mlbs out 1.21 mlbs quota
Area 4CDE: landings to date .62 out of 2.04 mbls quota
Environment Concerns Add New Species to US Overfished List
The federal government is adding several stocks of fish to its list of overfished species, including a pair of salmon that is popular with seafood fans.
US News by Patrick Whittle - August 2, 2019
Changes in the environment, including warming waters, are prompting the U.S. government to add eight populations of fish to its federal overfished list, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday.
Number of US fish stocks at sustainable levels remains near record high
Phys.org by NOAA Headquarters - August 2, 2019
Today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released the Status of U.S. Fisheries Annual Report to Congress, which details the status of 479 federally-managed stocks or stock complexes in the U.S. to identify which stocks are subject to overfishing, are overfished, or are rebuilt to sustainable levels.
Canada, First Nations reach fisheries reconciliation agreement
Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman - August 2, 2019
An agreement between the Canadian government and Coastal First Nations aims to advance economic opportunities and collaborative governance, as well as expansion of community-based commercial fishing access for seven First Nations entities.
China’s Move to Weaken Currency Will Hit Cod, Pollock and Salmon Regardless of New US Tariffs
SeafoodNews.com by John Sackton - August 5, 2019
One of the problems with shooting from the hip in a trade war is that there will always be unintended consequences. Trump’s latest 10% tariff was imposed over the objections of almost all his trade and financial advisors, who knew that China would not stand still.
This morning, China devalued its currency by allowing it to fall below the support level of 7 Yuan per US dollar. Global stock markets tanked again, with the Dow down over 500 points this morning.
For the US seafood industry, including both importers and exporters, the move to currency devaluation will hurt them potentially more than tariffs.
As of now, Alaska’s cod, pollock, and salmon are included in the list of proposed 10% new tariffs by President Trump, reversing exclusions that had been carved out due to the fact that most of these products from China originate in the US, and go to China for processing only.
But by allowing its currency to weaken, China can effectively increase the pain of these tariffs on US purchasers while helping its own exporters. The Yuan traded at around 6.70 per dollar until mid-May, when it jumped about 2.5%, coincidentally with the breakdown in trade talks. Today it jumped again, so it is 5% weaker than it was 3 months ago. This adds 5% in real costs to all products from China imported into the US, including those exempt export products. It also gives Chinese exporters some protection by making their exports 5% more valuable in local currency.
So this will hit importers of tilapia, flatfish, and red swimming crabmeat as well, and it will be on top of whatever tariffs the US ultimately decides to impose on September 1st.
This means the net cost increase will be 15%, not ten percent, as things stand today, if the tariffs are implemented as proposed.
The other problem, exacerbated by these cost increases, is that a lot of consumer goods are also imported from China, including toys, apparel, and electronics such as iphones and computers. A 15% cost increase on these items just before Christmas has the potential to slow or reverse the optimism American consumers have felt so far this year. A change in consumer sentiment is a warning sign for the seafood industry.
In the past, when consumers have reigned in spending, sales of higher priced seafood items like crab, lobster, and salmon have plummeted, especially in foodservice settings where consumers have less ability to switch to cheaper products.
Of course, China's exporters are hurt by higher prices for their products also; but a weaker currency cushions the impact as they get more local currency for thier exports. This pushes the logic of the US trade warriors to take even more extreme action, such as raising tariffs to 25% across the board. The financial markets are already signaling what they think about this, and the result could easily end the longest economic expansion in US history.
It has been several years since the overall US seafood industry has faced serious market headwinds. But that time may be upon us within six months, based on the erratic and undisciplined US trade policy.
Labeling and Marketing
3MMI - How Does Climate Change Affect Alaska Seafood?
TradexFoods - August 5, 2019
Alaska’s marine fish, species distributions, and food webs are increasingly affected by retreating and thinning Arctic summer sea ice, increasing temperatures, and ocean acidification. The distribution of many ocean fish species is shifting northward as the ranges of warmer-water species expand and colder-water species contract in response to rising ocean temperatures...
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