Salmon Deliveries to Alaska Processors Reach 192.7 Million
Alaska Native News - September 8, 2019
Commercial catches of Alaska’s wild salmon fishery reached 192.7 million fish this past week.Some much-needed rain and cooling temperatures helped to boost the pink salmon overall harvest to nearly 120 million fish, still well below the 137.8 million forecast. Meanwhile, the sockeye catch, holding at nearly 55 million fish, exceeded the 41.7 million fish forecast.
BOF issues 2019-2020 proposal book
Cordova Times - September 6, 2019
Proposals to be considered by the Alaska Board of Fisheries during its 2019-2020 meeting cycle are now available for download at boardoffisheries.adfg.alaska.gov.
Prince Rupert ferry cancellation shocks community
KRBD by Eric Stone - September 5, 2019
The state announced Wednesday it’s shutting down ferry service to Prince Rupert, British Columbia. That news has been met with shock and disappointment in Ketchikan. The two communities have been linked by state ferry since 1963.
Impacts of vetoes to fisheries programs becoming clear
Bristol Bay Times by Laine Welch - September 6, 2019
Now the shuffling begins at Alaska fisheries offices around the state as the impacts from back and forth veto volleys become more clear.
U.S. and Canadian Pacific Halibut Groups Oppose MSC Certification of Russian Halibut
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - September 5, 2019
Last week, representatives of the Pacific halibut industries in Canada and the United States voiced their opposition to the Marine Stewardship Council’s consideration to award certification to Russian-caught halibut.
“We feel that the fishing practices of the Russian commercial Pacific Halibut fishery is substandard and deficient in the areas of stock rebuilding, harvest strategy, habitat management,” wrote Bob Alverson in a press release August 29.
Alverson teamed with Chris Sporer and Jim Johnson to submit their comments to the current draft report on the Russian fishery’s application for MSC certification. Alverson is executive director of the Fishing Vessel Owners Association and Eat on the Wild Side, which is the current holder of Pacific halibut MSC certification in the U.S. Sporer is executive manager of the Pacific Halibut Management Association of British Columbia, also an MSC client for Canadian-caught Pacific halibut. Johnson is the executive director of the Deep Sea Fishermen’s Union and a trustee of Eat on the Wild Side.
“The Marine Stewardship Council is an independent non-profit organization which sets a standard for sustainable fishing,” said Alverson. “Fisheries that wish to demonstrate they are well-managed and sustainable compared to the science-based MSC standard are assessed by a team of experts who are independent of both the fishery and the MSC. Seafood products can display the blue MSC ecolabel only if that seafood can be traced back through the supply chain to a fishery that has been certified against the MSC standard.”
In Russia it is the recently organized Longline Fishery Associaiton (LFA) applying for MSC certification, with help from the Sustainable Fishery Partnership (SFP) to start a Fisheries Improvement Plan as early as May 2013.
The most recent report from LFA notes few improvements from earlier reports on fisheries management improvements for the Russian halibut industry.
As Sporer noted under the Stock Rebuilding section of the draft assessment, the “stock has been below Bmsy [a biomass that can support maximum sustanable yield, a Magnuson-Stevens Act standard] since 2011 and seems to have increased only slightly since 2013. The scoring does not explain a) what the rebuilding measure and timeframe for rebuilding are, or b) what is the evidence that continuing current F [fishing] levels will rebuild the stock to Bmsy within two generations time when there is no evidence of this happening to date.”
Alverson is currently a commissioner at the International Pacific Halibut Commission and Sporer has served as chairman of the IPHC’s Conference Board, representing fishermen, in the past. Their comments about harvest strategy used in the Russian fishery noted that it “... is not achieving stock management objectives for the P-K Pacific halibut stock” and ask, “Without evidence that stock rebuilding is to be expected for this stock” how anyone can they know the strategy is effective?
Under the section on Habitats Outcome, Sporer noted “In other jursidictions operating in similar fisheries, sensitive habitat areas have been closed to longline fishing by authorities or voluntarily. Even for non-VME habitats, an inabiilty to recover in less than 20 years should lead to explicit consideration of effects on such habitats. There is every indication that such sensitive habitats would be present, but no evaluation or management in place.”
The group also noted a concern about transparancy. PHMA of BC and Eat on the Wild Side, representing respectively the holders of the Canadian and US MSC certificates for Pacific Halibut have been accepted by Marcert (the Certifying Advisory Board, or CAB for the Russian fishery) as stakeholders, yet they were not advised that the draft public comment draft report (PCDR) was released.
“We were surprised therefore that we had to find out about the PCDR for Russian Halibut from an MSC notification rather than direct from the CAB. We note that our CAB requires a much higher level of disclosure to stakeholders of key stages in the MSC process than has been followed by Marcert. We therefore have a procedural issue as well as the substantive ones we have raised,” Sporer wrote.
According to the most recent report on management of the Russian halibut fishery, stock assessments are still not being done annually, or on any regulary basis. Much of the data on stock size and health is being determined through catch data. Six areas of improvement were targeted as of November 2017:
1. Improvement of data on all removals including bycatch.
2. Standardize methods used for stock assessments in different management areas.
3. Develop robust harvest control rules (HCR), establish biological reference points and create simulation models.
4. Establish clear internal rules of behavior for the fishermen while in the fishery.
5. Better understand and analize how IUU fishing occurs.
6. Improve transparency and public access to information about management, harvests, and monitoring.
NOAA announces a new marine heatwave is shaping up to look like ‘the Blob’
KMXT by Kavitha George - September 6, 2019
Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced on Thursday that millions of square miles of water in the Pacific Ocean are heating up. They’re calling it a marine heatwave, and it’s looking pretty familiar.
Labeling and Marketing
3MMI - China Raw Materials Update Ahead of an Early Chinese New Year
TradexFoods - September 9, 2019
Pollock, Cod, Salmon, Haddock, Tilapia, Halibut: Pollock pricing finally flattens out, US demand weak. Atlantic Cod Demand from the EU strong, EU big buyer. Overall demand for Pacific Cod is down. Sources report that the Japanese may take Russian Chum's. Haddock demand from US is still weak due to tariffs. Tilapia raw materials pricing ticking upwards.
GUEST COMMENTARY: ‘Open for business’ means Alaska must protect Bristol Bay
Alaska Journal of Commerce by Benjamin Blakey, Guest commentary - September 4, 2019
Bristol Bay’s salmon fishery raised me. I spent my summers commercial fishing with my brothers and later helped my family run a seafood processing company.
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