Dunleavy mandates strict guidelines for commercial fishermen
KDLG by Isabelle Ross - April 21, 2020
Governor Mike Dunleavy has released a new health mandate for commercial fishermen. This comes the same day that Bristol Bay’s regional health corporation called for this year’s commercial fishery to be closed.
Planning underway for fishing season
KBBI by Jay Barrett - April 24, 2020
During the Governor’s Friday Covid-19 press conference, questions came up about Cook Inlet fisheries, commercial, personal use, and guided. Adam Crum, the commissioner of the Department of Health and Social Services said there are many people working to devise a plan for the commercial season.
Killer whale advocates ask judge to halt Alaska’s king salmon season
KCAW by Robert Woolsey - April 21, 2020
An environmental organization has asked a federal judge to halt commercial salmon trolling in Alaska this summer, to protect an endangered population of killer whales in Puget Sound.
Seafood industry visa fix in question after virus outbreak
AP News by Nicole Weinstein - April 22, 2020
WASHINGTON (AP) — With the aid of lawmakers, seafood businesses in Maryland, Virginia, Alaska and North Carolina last month won federal approval of an additional 35,000 visas for non-immigrant workers, but the timing couldn’t have been worse.
Russian Seafood Imports Add to U.S. COVID Market Woes
Seafood News by Laine Welch - April 24, 2020
This is Alaska Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Russian imports add to U.S. COVID market woes. More after this --
Grundens urges everyone to buy seafood directly from Community Supported Fisheries at www.localcatch.org . Your CSF purchases will help U.S. fishing towns thrive. Grundens … supporting fisheries around the world since 1926.
Over 30 percent of fishing deaths in Alaska are from falling overboard. Life jackets save lives, and today’s models fit right into your work gear. Learn more at amsea.org
U.S. fishermen and seafood companies are getting clobbered by COVID-19 hits to markets, but that hasn’t stopped the federal government from spending billions of dollars on millions of pounds of seafood from Russia.
The purchases have continued to grow since the virus hit our shores - although Russia has not bought an ounce of US seafood for six years.
In 2014 Russia placed an embargo on U.S. food products to retaliate for sanctions it and other countries imposed over the invasion of Ukraine. Before that, Russia accounted for over $61 million in Alaska sales, including more than 76 percent of the value for pink salmon roe.
Alaska and Russia catch many of the same types of fish and crabs species and Russian products compete directly in the U.S. at much lower prices.
But no corresponding limits were placed on Russia selling its seafood into the U.S.
In fact, the value of Russian seafood imports to the U.S. has grown 70 percent since 2014 and has tripled to nearly $670 million since 2016.
And it all comes into the U.S. almost entirely duty free.
From January 2019 through February of this year, for example, the U.S. has bought over 80 million pounds of seafood from Russia totaling nearly $700 million, up from $551 million in 2018.
That includes 6.5 million pounds of frozen Russian-caught sockeye salmon valued at nearly $19 million.
Andy Wink, director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, calls it unfair.
“We have a really good domestic market for Alaska sockeye, yet anytime our prices get high, here comes this Russian sockeye and there's no channel for us to send salmon back there. It was a big market for us but it’s been closed and yet we're leaving our gates open for Russian product coming in. And it just seems very unfair as far as trade practices go.”
Through February 2020 the U.S. also has purchased over 37.5 million pounds of Russian red king crab valued at a whopping $336 million. And over 7 million pounds of codfish at over $28.3 million.
Learn more about the Russia seafood trade imbalance in a white paper from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute . Find links at www.alaskafishradio.com and on Facebook and Twitter.
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods - who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. (www.oceanbeauty.com) In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.
Eat Seafood, America to help save an industry that employs 2 million Americans.
Seafood Nutrition Partnership - April 2020
The coronavirus poses a significant threat to the U.S. seafood economy. Support our fishing communities by eating delicious seafood. It’s as simple as that!
The Salmon Sisters Want to Teach You How to Cook Fish
Outside Magazine by Sam Hill - April 20, 2020
Alaska's favorite fishing siblings have a new quarantine skill for you to learn: making seafood delicious. Their new cookbook breaks down everything from filleting a wild-caught salmon to steaming Dungeness crab—and we've included two easy recipes to get you started.
How Seafood Companies and Organizations Are Giving Back During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Urner Barry by Amanda Buckle - April 24, 2020
There is no denying that this is a trying time for everyone, but some seafood companies and organizations are doing what they can to provide relief during the coronavirus pandemic. Below is a list of what some groups are doing to give back:
Bumble Bee Seafood Company announced last week that they are donating $1 million worth of their shelf-stable seafood products to Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks. Feeding America will use the donation to distribute much needed supplies to Feeding San Diego, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, and the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.
“We are a people-first organization and that’s why it is so important for us to give back to the communities in which we do business,” said Bumble Bee CEO and President Jan Tharp. “It is our sincere hope that our product donations will mean that people in need will gain access to nutritious and delicious ocean-inspired meals that they may not otherwise had access to during this time.”
Century Pacific Food
Philippines-based Century Pacific Food donated food products to hospitals in Luzon. The company also donated 1,500 cans of 555 sardines and 720 cans of Century Tuna Flakes in Oil to students stranded at the University of the Philippines Los Banos.
Hawaii Longline Association
The Hawaii Longline Association collaborated with members of Hawaii's fishing industry to donate 2,000 pounds of fresh seafood to Hawaii Foodbank. The donation is in coordination with United Fishing Agency, Hawaii Seafood Council, Nico's Pier 38, and Pacific Ocean Producers.
"We're pleased to partner with Hawaii Foodbank on this important initiative supplying high-quality fresh fish to community members in need during this COVID-19 situation," said Hawaii Longline Association Executive Director Eric Kingma. "The face of hunger is changing every day and our nearly 140 vessels operating out of Honolulu Harbor are ready and able to make critical contributions to Hawaii's fragile food supply."
SeaPak Shrimp & Seafood Co. has teamed up with Budweiser to donate 100,000 servings of seafood to Freestore Foodbank in Cincinnati, Ohio.
"SeaPak, along with Budweiser, takes great pride in our commitment to feeding families," said Kristen Beadon, SeaPak's director of marketing. "Now, more than ever, we stand united in our shared philosophy of doing everything we can to support communities in need and put seafood onto the tables of those who are struggling during these difficult times."
Non-profit organization SeaShare works to provide seafood to those in need throughout the year. But when the coronavirus began to spread in the U.S., wild Alaska pollock producers stepped up to help increase those donations. SeaShare announced in mid-March that they partnered with wild Alaska pollock producers to donate two million servings of seafood to food banks across 12 states.
“This large seafood donation is important as we work as a nation to combat COVID-19,” said Jim Harmon, Executive Director of SeaShare. “Our most vulnerable populations, including those who struggle with hunger, are at particular risk from the spread of this deadly virus. Wild Alaska pollock provides top-tier nutrition for the clients of food banks, and we are thankful that the seafood industry continues to help feed our neighbors in these uncertain times.”
Last week SeaShare also received 110,000 pounds of wild Alaska smelt from E&E Foods. The donation will be distributed to food banks in Alaska.
In the past four weeks Sysco has donated 13.5 million meals across global regions where they operate.
“We’re pleased to be able to contribute so significantly at a time of unprecedented need. Once our team activated its product donation strategy, they worked to quickly refine and implement the broad-based approach allowing us to provide millions of meals to vulnerable citizens across the communities we serve,” said Neil Russell, Sysco’s vice president, corporate affairs.
Tampa Bay Fisheries
Florida-based Tampa Bay Fisheries was able to secure 40,000 surgical masks and 75,000 gloves to donate to their local city and county front-line employees.
“Our role in this pandemic is to keep food on America’s tables,” said CEO Danny Woodson. “My heroes are our 600 employees working to feed America, and all other critical infrastructure employees putting their health at risk for the greater good of our country. Our team understands our responsibility and what is being asked of them in this difficult time. I am very proud to work with this team and realize what it means to do our part. We are continuing to hire and hope anyone that needs work will come join our team and keep food moving to fill the grocery shelves.”
Thai Union first sent humanitarian aid to the city of Wuhan in mid-February. The company donated more than 52,000 cans of King Oscar tuna to the hospitals at the center of the COVID-19 outbreak in China. In March Thai Union joined a humanitarian assistance program for the Thai Red Cross, donating 42,000 cups of ready-to-eat Tuna Infusions.
Trident Seafoods has been using their food truck, The Fork and Fin, to give back to first responders in Seattle. You can check out some photos on their Facebook.
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