Huffman in Seattle, WA for Next Stop on Fisheries Listening Tour
The Office of Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA)
November 21, 2019 — The following was released by The Office of Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA):
Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) Chair of the House Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife, will be hosting the next stop on his listening tour tomorrow, Friday, November 22, at 1:45p.m. in Seattle, Washington. This is the third stop on a nationwide listening tour on federal fisheries management designed to engage diverse perspectives, interests, and needs of individuals who have a stake in the management of federal ocean and fisheries resources. The event is free and open to the public and press.
Ocean Can Provide More Food; NOAA Pick Withdraws; Dungeness Season Delayed; Snow Crab Analysis
SeafoodNews - November 22, 2019
Ocean Can Provide More Food; Trump’s NOAA Pick Withdraws; Myers Heads DFO; Central California Dungeness Season Delayed; Snow Crab Analysis; Sponsored by COMTELL
City of Adak Asks Court for One-Year Stay to Keep Plant Open for Cod A Season
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - November 18, 2019
Last week the city of Adak asked a federal court to stay their order from last March -- until January 1, 2021 -- so the city’s only processing plant can operate during the Pacific cod season next year.
The March 2019 court decision agreed with plaintiffs representing the Bering Sea bottom trawl fleets that target flatfish, mackerel and cod, that Amendment 113, setting a 5,000 mt cod set-aside for remote villages in the Aleutian Islands, was not compliant with the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
The court vacated Amendment 113 and instructed the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council to work on an amendment that would comply with the legislation in specific areas.
The Council took up the issue, beginning an arduous process of analysis, developing alternatives, and public comment that will take at least another 18 months.
Meanwhile, representatives of the Adak plant, central to the economy of the 350-resident community, began an ambitious effort to find a pathway that would allow the set-aside to continue while the Council worked on corrections to a new amendment. But their efforts fell short, whether it was a plea for emergency action or language in new federal legislation for a temporary fix, last summer.
Even though the Council asked industry sectors to work together for a solution that could keep the Adak plant viable, there was no longer any authority providing a separate allocation for Adak, and little incentive to find an industry-based workaround.
In addition, all fleets targeting Pacific cod in the Bering Sea and the Aleutian Islands were well aware of the recent situation for cod stocks. Recent scientific assessments indicate the biomass is increasing in the northern Bering Sea and decreasing in traditional areas. Was the biomass moving north? How fast? Could the fish be crossing over to Russian waters? The ‘race for fish’ nature of the BSAI fishery made even the previously acceptable 5,000 mt set-aside -- now vacated and available to anyone -- more valuable than it was a few years ago.
Last Wednesday’s Memorandum in Support of Defendant-Intervenors’ Motion for Limited Relief From Judgment and Indicative Ruling included declarations of support from Adak as well as the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Golden Harvest plant owner Jason Ogilvie, the Adak School District, and other private enterprises that rely on the winter operations of the plant.
City Manager Lyle Lockett noted that without continuous operation of its sole fish processing plant, Adak will see cascading economic impacts causing irrepairable harm to the community, including the city stopping subsidies to the school district, the medical clinic, the library, the gymnasium, and the community center.
“Shutting down the City Hall building would force all of these services to scramble to find a new location on the island, perhaps in private residences, which would be disruptive and likely expensive for Adak’s residents,” according to the memorandum.
Adak’s only school serves 19 students, 13 whose parents are employed directly or indirectly through the Adak plant. If enrollment drops to 10 or less, the state of Alaska’s subsidies stops and the school shuts down.
Both the crab and cod fleets that deliver to Adak would have no option other than Dutch Harbor to deliver their catch to -- a 450-mile one-way trip.
The request asks the court to respond by January 10, 2020, ten days before the A season begins next year. The motion supporting the stay was filed while the original decision is under appeal, and would be subject to that ruling if it came before.
Weak Run Forecast for Southeast Pink Salmon in 2020
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - November 22, 2019
A joint forecast was released last Wednesday for a pink salmon harvest in Southeast Alaska in 2020 of 12 million fish. The prediction was made by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game with NOAA Fisheries Auke Bay Laboratories in Juneau.
If realized, the harvest would be about one-third of the recent ten-year average harvest of 35 million pinks.
The forecast is based on juvenile pink salmon abundance indices collected by the Southeast Alaska Coastal Monitoring (SECM) project in northern Southeast Alaska inside waters. Surveys conducted cooperatively by NOAA and ADF&G in June and July in upper Chthan and Icy Straits are correlated with the harvest of adult pink salmon in the following year. the 2019 peak JuneJuly pink salmon index value ranked 21 out of the 23 years the SECM has been conducted.
“The low juvenile abundance index in 2019 was not unexpected,” the forecast explained.
“Pink salmon escapements in the parent year (2018) were very poor throughout northern Southeast Alaska inside waters and the escapement goal was not met in that subregion, which may have resulted in below optimal egg deposition.”
Since 2012, escapement and harvest of pink salmon in the Northern Southeast Inside subregion have been very poor. Salmon biologists expect this trend to continue. Escapement goals for the Southern Southeast and Northern Southeast Outside subregions were met in 2018, but harvests were well below average.
The low juvenile abundance index in 2019 may also indicate that brood year 2018 pink salmon experienced poor freshwater and/or early marine survival. It is possible that drought conditions present in Southeast Alaska from the parent year 2018 spawn through the spring of 2019 reduced spawning success or negatively impacted overwinter survival of developing juvenile salmon, but the exact reasons for the low juvenile abundance are not known.
However, this year’s juvenile pink salmon caught in the survey trawls were among the largest (in length) in the 23-year time series indicating favorable nearshore marine conditions in the spring. The size of juvenile pink salmon was similar to the large size of juveniles observed during the marine heatwave of 2014–2016 and returns from those juvenile years were all below average.
A potential source of uncertainty in the 2020 pink salmon return is the anomalously warm sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Alaska in 2019. Warm temperatures that persisted throughout the Gulf of Alaska from fall 2013 through much of 2016 returned in 2018 and strengthened in 2019.
Compared to sea surface temperatures since 1997, when NOAA first started the SECM project, surface temperatures in the Gulf of Alaska in 2019 (immediately offshore of Southeast Alaska) were the warmest of the time series in July, the 4th warmest in August, and 3rd warmest in September.
Sea surface temperatures were well above average across the entire Gulf of Alaska during that time2. Pink salmon that went to sea from 2014 to 2018 returned in numbers below expectation and below recent odd- and even-year averages. The impact of warm sea surface temperatures on the survival of pink salmon that went to sea in 2019 is unknown and adds uncertainty to the forecast.
Bill focuses on Arctic maritime opportunities
Murkowski: U.S. must maintain leadership role in this region of global importance
Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman - November 19, 2019
Legislation calling for creation of an Arctic shipping federal advisory committee has been introduced in the U.S. Senate, in an effort to improve the safety and reliability of maritime transportation in Arctic waters.
Trade war impacting Alaska industries
Frontiersman by Tim Bradner - November 20, 2019
Deep in the heart of Trump country – in Southeast Alaska’s logging camps – President Donald Trump’s trade war with China is causing anguish.
Old Arctic sea ice disappearing rapidly
Last Ice Area offers a sanctuary for wildlife reliant on sea ice for survival
Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman - November 21, 2019
Scientists with the American Geophysical Union say the oldest and thickest Arctic sea ice is now disappearing at twice the pace of ice in the rest of the Arctic Ocean.
Cannery History Project Marks 100th Anniversary of Spanish Flu in Bristol Bay
Fishermen's News - November 20, 2019
The NN Cannery History Project is focused on the historic salmon cannery at Naknek in Bristol Bay Alaska. It features a tragic chapter in 1919 when a second round of the Spanish Flu outbreak devastated residents of villages in Bristol Bay. Crews from the Alaska Packers Association (APA) arriving in Bristol Bay to can salmon late that spring ended up caring for the afflicted villagers.
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