Commercial fishing businesses now eligible for larger paycheck protection loan; deadline is fast approaching
KTUU by Cheyenne Mathews - June 25, 2020
Commercial fishing businesses can now apply for the Paycheck Protection Program loans that include crew in payroll costs, as the Department of Treasury and Small Business Administration has amended a rule that previously counted crew as independent contractors, Alaska’s congressional delegation announced Thursday.
Alaska salmon season is off to a very slow start; more fisheries are coming on line
Fis.com - June 26, 2020
Alaska’s salmon catches are the lowest in at least 12 years for this time of year, although it’s too soon to jump to conclusions. Typically, less than 10% of the annual harvest occurs in by this time and continue to expand and climb sharply into early July.
Fish Factor: All systems are ‘go’ for Alaska’s fisheries
Cordova Times by Laine Welch - June 24, 2020
All systems are “go” for keeping close tabs on fish and crab stocks in waters managed by the state, meaning out to three miles. While constraints from the coronavirus resulted in nearly all annual stock surveys being cut in deeper waters overseen by the federal government, it’s “closer to normal” closer to shore.
Western Pacific Council, Fishery Managers Discuss Marine Monuments, COVID-19 Impacts to Fisheries
SeafoodNews.com by Susan Chambers - June 26, 2020
More than a decade after being established, two marine monuments in the Pacific Islands region may get detailed management plans soon. Maybe.
The plans were supposed to be developed within two years of the 2009 establishment of the monuments.
The National Marine Fisheries Service Pacific Islands Regional Office reported to the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council at its meeting this week that development of draft management plans for two marine national monuments are ongoing. The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument and Marianas Trench Marine National Monument were established on Jan. 6, 2009, by outgoing President George W. Bush under the Antiquities Act of 1906.
Together with the Remote Islands monument expansion by President Barack Obama on Sept. 29, 2014, the monuments prohibit U.S. commercial fishing vessels from operating in nearly 600,000 square miles of exclusive economic zone waters, the Council said in a press release. NMFS Regional Administrator Michael Tosatto said the agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working to identify new and emerging issues to inform the Pacific Remote Islands management planning process and are evaluating the timeline for the public release of the Marianas Trench Monument draft management plan.
The Council recommended the Pacific Islands Region include the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands Monument Advisory Committee and the Territory of Guam in the review of the draft management plan for the Marianas Trench Monument.
The Western Pacific Council and fishermen have been critical of the extensive monuments established in the Pacific Island region. Together with the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, also established by Bush (called the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument and renamed a year later), more than 1 million square miles of marine area is closed to fishing. Papahānaumokuākea is the largest contiguous fully protected conservation area in the U.S. and one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world, according to the monument's website.
NMFS Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center reported to the Council on the impacts of COVID-19 on the Hawai'i commercial fisheries and markets. The report showed that revenue dropped by 80% due to restaurant closures and travel/visitor restrictions. PIFSC Director Mike Seki also shared a tool PIFSC researchers built that provides a visualized market demand curve based on historical data. The tool allows industry to explore tradeoffs in market supply and price to meet objectives. The Council recommended that PIFSC coordinate with agencies and industry representatives in the Territories to provide market monitoring analyses and demand tracking app for each area.
PIFSC Director Mike Seki also reported that three cruises on the NOAA ship Oscar Elton Sette and another on the NOAA ship Rainer have been cancelled due to COVID-19 impacts. Monk seal and turtle field camps have been delayed. Fisheries data collection training, surveys, biosampling, lab work, etc., also have been reduced or suspended.
The Council recommended that PIFSC coordinate with the Council and the Territory of American Samoa's Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources to determine viable logistic solutions to continue the American Samoa research cruise. American Samoa bottomfish has been determined recently by NMFS to be overfished and subject to overfishing. The Council has two years to develop and implement a rebuilding plan for the stock in federal waters. Most of the fishery occurs in waters 0 to 3 miles offshore under jurisdiction of the Territory. Many fishery advisors, fishermen and scientists point to the lack of complete and accurate data as the reason for the pessimistic stock status determination, the Council said in the statement.
The Council also agreed that the impacts of COVID-19 to the region's fisheries should be noted in the Council's 2020 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation reports. The Council reviewed and approved the 2019 SAFE reports, which can be found on the Council's website.
CDC and OSHA Releases Interim Guidelines to Protect Seafood Processing Workers
Urner Barry by Amanda Buckle - June 25, 2020
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in consultation with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have released interim guidelines to help keep seafood workers and food safe during the coronavirus pandemic—a move that the National Fisheries Institute is praising.
“The National Fisheries Institute is pleased to see federal regulators working together to create important guidance to protect workers at seafood facilities and provide guidance for employers,” said NFI president John Connelly.
Seafood processing facilities have been deemed critical during the COVID-19 outbreak, which means that they’ve remained in operation for the past few months. While that has kept many workers employed, it’s also been an issue for employers as they had to obtain personal protective equipment and implement new safety measures to protect their employees and their surrounding communities. CDC and OSHA’s interim guidelines were created to aid seafood processing workers and employers in protecting themselves from COVID-19.
"It is imperative that workers in the seafood processing industry are protected from coronavirus exposure in their workplace," said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. "OSHA collaborated with the CDC and FDA to provide this guidance, which outlines steps employers can take to provide a safe and healthful workplace for workers in this vital industry."
The guidance explains that workers involved in seafood processing cannot be exposed to COVID-19 through fish and other seafood products they handle. But the guidance does note that “processing stations and other areas in busy factories where they have close contact with coworkers and supervisors—may increase their risk of getting infected with the virus.”
The documents include information about modifying workstations so that employees are able to maintain the recommended six feet apart; staggering shifts to limit the amount of employees onsite; creating temporary break areas and restrooms, or staggering breaks to avoid crowding; analyzing sick leave and incentive program policies; and screening and monitoring workers for symptoms. In addition, the guidance covers situations that involve offshore workers.
‘Salmon cannon’ up and running at B.C. landslide, though fish slow to arrive
Gwil Roberts says early runs of chinook can begin arriving in the area in late May
The Canadian Press - June 24, 2020
A pump system dubbed the salmon cannon is up and running along a remote stretch of B.C.’s Fraser River in order to help fish move past a massive landslide.
NOAA ramps up use of drones to collect fish, seafloor and weather data
Unmanned systems helping fill scientific data gaps during COVID-19
NOAA Fisheries - June 19, 2020
Three shiny, orange-red autonomous surface vessels set out on the water from Alameda, California, in May bound for the Bering Sea where they will survey the nation’s largest fish stock and monitor changing weather and ocean conditions in the Arctic.
Labeling and Marketing
Alaska seafood: Keeping all markets moving
National Fisherman by Jessica Hathaway - June 25, 2020
Today I'm talking with Jeremy Woodrow, the executive director of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, about the challenges and bright spots of marketing and selling seafood when consumers are buying and cooking more fish but not necessarily in the usual ways.
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