Seafood industry workers test positive for COVID-19, marking first confirmed cases in Unalaska
KUCB by Hope McKenney - June 3, 2020
The City of Unalaska has confirmed its first local cases of COVID-19. Two seafood industry workers tested positive for the virus on Wednesday.
Alaska Gov. Dunleavy Clarifies Travel Restrictions as Cases Rise for Fourth Day in a Row
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - June 4, 2020
Beginning this Saturday, travelers to Alaska will have a test-based option to enter the state, rather than a mandated 14-day quarantine.
Governor Dunleavy laid out the new protocol Wednesday night as the numbers of positive cases in the state rose by another 18 residents and 2 non-residents. The state-wide total of of active cases is now 122.
Two Icicle seafood workers in Unalaska have also tested positive bringing non-resident positive cases to 23. Those two cases were Unalaska’s first.
Late Wednesday, the Unalaska Unified Command announced the positive case results for two asymptomatic Icicle Seafoods workers. They had arrived from Seattle a week ago, after previously testing negative, and were in the middle of their 14-day quarantine when they were tested again. After receiving the positive results, the workers went into isolation, and Icicle began their “cleaning and sanitation protocol,” Chris Pugmire of Icicle Seafoods said in the statement.
“While confirmation of the first positive cases of COVID-19 in our community is concerning, the parties involved did everything correctly," said Melanee Tiura, CEO of Iliuliuk Family & Health Services Clinic and health care consultant to Unalaska’s Unified Command.
At his Wednesday press conference, Dunleavy took the increasing numbers in stride.
“As we mentioned our case load will go up because we’re engaging with more activity, more mixing of people,” said the Govenor. “If we see spikes that are very concerning or clusters, we’ll deal with them. Our plan is to manage this virus in our world today as they race to put a vacinnation put together for the world.”
Total cases since early March are at 505 (plus 23 non-resident), with 373 recovered cases, a total of 47 current hospitalizations and over 58,000 tests given.
The governor launched the new travel mandate with the warning that he will be reassessing how it’s working every day.
Visitors to Alaska will be allowed in if they test negative for COVID-19 no more than 72 hours before their departure, and show their negative test results to screeners in the airport when they land. If they can’t take a test within 72 hours of departure, they’re allowed to be tested within five days of departure, but will need a second test at the airport in Alaska. They are encouraged to restrict any interaction with others until the results are ready. If visitors do not have any test results, they can get a test a the airport, and self-quarantine until the results come back negative.
The state will give vouchers to travelers for a second tst, which must be done seven to fourteen days after their arrival.
ADN also reported that Alaska residents traveling outside the state for five days or less can avoid getting tested out of state before returning home, and will instead be asked to take a test at the airport when they return to Alaska and quarantine until the results come back.
If a traveler refuses testing, they can still self-quarantine for 14 days upon entering the state.
IPHC Revises Area 2A Directed Fishery Vessel Quotas for 2020
SeafoodNews.com by Susan Chambers - June 2, 2020
The International Pacific Halibut Commission released revised vessel quotas for the 58-hour opener June 22-24 off the West Coast Monday afternoon.
On Friday, the IPHC released information that all vessel sizes for the 207 permit applications would receive the same quota, much to the surprise of fishermen and fishery managers. By mid-morning Monday, that press release was removed from the Commission's website.
The new information includes the eight vessel size classes, broken down by the number of permits for each class. Last year, 176 permits had been approved at the time when IPHC released the quota allocations, with 14 permits pending, for a total of 190 permits in 2019. This year, the IPHC approved 207.
And while quotas for each vessel class increase as the sizes of vessels increase, the overall allocations are still quite low. For example, the largest class, greater than 56 feet, was allocated 10,225 pounds for the first two 10-hour openers last year. In contrast, this year, vessels in that class are allotted only 2,045 pounds for the first, 58-hour opener at the end of June.
Here's another comparison: The largest vessels this year, the H-class vessels, will get less than half of what the smallest vessels, 0 to 25 feet long, the A-class vessels, were allotted last year. Those small vessels were allowed 4,525 pounds of halibut in 2019.
The IPHC has proposed the U.S. take over management of the fishery off the Washington, Oregon and California coasts and has worked with the Pacific Fishery Management Council to that end over the past couple years. An IPHC survey revealed fishermen prefer a longer season than the single 10-hour openings every two weeks. Safety was cited as a primary issue, but bycatch was also a concern.
Fishermen and managers understood that a longer season would likely mean greater participation and therefore, smaller per-vessel quotas. But maybe not this low.
The IPHC report, IPHC Pacific Halibut Fishery Regulations: Commercial Fishing Periods (Sect. 9) from December 2018 analyses several options for multi-day fishing periods and shows that in years past, roughly 50 percent of the permitted vessels actually fished during the derby fishery. This year's longer season, 58 hours, could mean more than half the permitted vessels actually fish this year.
IPHC's 2018 report analyzed several options, including 2-day, 5-day, 20-day and 30-day fishing periods.
"Assuming a similar [catch-sharing plan] sector allocation, the IPHC Secretariat estimates that an initial 5-day fishing period would entail a fishing period limit of approximately 6,000 lb (2.72 t) for H-class vessels, with proportionally lower limits for smaller vessels," the report said.
Those figures are still much higher than this year's revised version of individual vessel period limits.
The IPHC "has re-established the fishing period limits for all licensed vessels for the first fishing period (22 to 24 June 2020) for the non-tribal directed commercial fishery ... in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A," Monday's press release said. The overall annual allocation for this fishery for 2020 is 115.41 metric tons, 254,426 pounds, the same as last year.
The first opener will begin at 8 a.m. on Monday, June 22, and end at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24. The full press release can be found here.
Vessel Class A, 1-25 feet, 905 pounds
Vessel Class B, 26-30 feet, 905 pounds
Vessel Class C: 31-35 feet, 905 pounds
Vessel Class D: 36-40 feet, 1,364 pounds
Vessel Class E: 41-45 feet, 1,364 pounds
Vessel Class F: 46-50 feet, 1,818 pounds
Vessel Class G: 51-55 feet, 1,818 pounds
Vessel Class H: 56+ feet, 2,045 pounds
The fishing period limits above are dressed, head-on weight, and fishermen are reminded that regulations require that all Pacific halibut be landed with the head naturally attached.
Following this 2020 fishing period (June 22-24), the IPHC may establish and announce fishing period limits for subsequent fishing periods in 2020, dependent upon allocation remaining for the fishery.
New Report Shows Surge in Marine Economy
Fishermen's New - June 3, 2020
A new federal Commerce Department report shows that America’s marine economy contributed about $373 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product in 2018, growing faster than the nation’s overall economy.
Climate change has setnetters worried about Alaska’s sockeye
Last year, the state’s Ugashik River was so warm salmon wouldn’t swim up it to spawn.
High Country News by Miranda Weiss - June 1, 2020
Last summer, across southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay region — home to the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world — tens of thousands of fish washed up dead along riverbanks. Rivers running at temperatures above the threshold for salmon health were killing the fish even as record numbers of them were returning from the ocean to reproduce.
Reminder: Habitat Committee Webinar on Scenario Deepening, June 5
Pacific Fishery Management Council - June 3, 2020
The following was released by the Pacific Fishery Management Council:
As part of its Climate and Communities Initiative (CCI) the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) is sponsoring a series of webinars with its advisory bodies, which are open to the public.
Coast Guard to conduct dockside fishing vessel exams for Bristol Bay, Alaska
USCG News Release - June 3, 2020
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The Coast Guard will offer courtesy dockside examinations of commercial fishing vessels in Bristol Bay in anticipation of the 2020 Bristol Bay salmon fishery season.
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