Praise for Reduction in Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishing Capacity Reduction Buyback Loan
Urner Barry by Amanda Buckle - August 13, 2020
Politicians are praising the recent news that NOAA Fisheries has reduced the outstanding principal balance on the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishing Capacity Reduction Buyback Loan. The loan has been reduced by nearly $6 million.
In 2000 the West Coast groundfish fishery was declared an economic disaster. In response, Congress authorized a $46 million buyout to reduce overcapacity. $36 million in funds was provided in the form of a loan that the remaining fishing vessels agreed to repay based on a 3.5%-5% fee on ex-vessel revenue over 30 years. Interest started accruing in March 2004, but NMFS did not implement a repayment system until September 2005. Vessels could not make any loan repayments during this time, which added $3.8 million in interest. And now, because of that error, those remaining vessels now owe over $13 million more than they would have if NMFS had immediately implemented a repayment system. The Pacific Coast groundfish industry has made payments of more than $34 million towards the loan, but as of December 2019 still owed $22.4 million.
In December members of Congress sent letters to House Committee on Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey and Ranking Member Kay Granger requesting that the interest accrued on the loan be forgiven. Now, NOAA announced that they have reduced the loan by nearly $6 million, reducing the outstanding balance to $13.3 million.
“It cannot be overstated what an important step this is to reducing the incredible debt burden on our Oregon fisheries,” Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader said in a press release. “For years, I have been working in Congress to address this issue and get some relief for our hardworking trawl fishermen. Funds that would have otherwise left the state will now remain in fishing communities at a time when they need them the most. I will continue to work tirelessly to pursue other ways to reduce the rest of this debt burden for my constituents on the coast.”
“The success of our local fishermen is essential to a healthy North Coast economy and community, but the unwarranted interest from this loan, coupled with the damage from the coronavirus pandemic, has left everyone who relies on the fishery struggling to make ends meet,” said California Rep. Jared Huffman. “Removing these unfair costs will go a long way toward helping these fishermen stay afloat so they can continue to benefit communities across the Pacific Northwest.”
Heather Mann of the Midwater Trawlers Cooperative is also praising the decision.
“This current action results in an overall savings of more than $11 million dollars for fishing businesses,” said Mann. “That money will now stay in fishing communities and support jobs, maintain infrastructure and assist with product and gear development. This remedy is literally one of the most important and meaningful actions Congress has taken that provides positive benefits to the trawl industry.”
JAPAN: Frozen Pacific Ocean Perch Sourcing Shifts to Alaska
SeafoodNews.com by Tom Asakawa - August 18, 2020
Frozen Pacific ocean perch imports were on a downward trend, with a quantity of 30,742 tons in 2013 and the import price peaking at 418 yen/kg ($3.92/kg) in 2015, and 19,394 tons and 332 yen/kg ($3.12/kg) in 2019. Reason for departing from once a famous fishing ground of the North Atlantic Irminger water area is the resource decline and soaring price. Importers considered more inexpensive production and processing areas, reports Minato Shimbun.
Traditionally, the products of the North Atlantic Irminger area have been popular in Japan with preferred colors. However, in recent years, resources and catches have decreased in the region, and prices have risen. From 2015 to 2019, imports of the fish from Irminger waters decreased, as products of Iceland decreased by 52% to 1,522 tons, and Russian products decreased by 48% to 2,481 tons in 2019.
On the other hand, the amount of low-priced Norwegian fish imported increased to 2,995 tons, 2.1 times higher than in 2015. Besides, American products such as those from Alaska fell to 7,861 tons, down 34% from the previous year, but in recent years, "a certain amount has entered the Japanese Market through processors in China. Bone-removed products are popular," according to trade company sources.
In 2020, the market price of the Chinese processed product fell, contrary to the price rise expectation in Europe caused by the acquisition of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification by the American producers. The Chinese processed fish lost the shipping opportunities affected by the new coronavirus pandemic. Still, mass retailers' demand is increasing in Japan. The import price for January through June was 338 yen/kg ($3.20/kg), 11% down from the same period of the previous year, and the import volume was 33% higher at 7,916 tons.
NOAA grant awards funding boost to nine fisheries, aquaculture start-ups
Seafood Source by Chris Chase - August 17, 2020
NOAA recently announced its picks to receive part of USD 3.1 million (EUR 2.6 million) in grant funding as part of its Small Business Innovation Research Program.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation of Pacific Cod in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 08/17/2020
NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amount of Pacific cod from vessels using jig gear and catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 feet (18.3 meters (m)) length overall (LOA) using hook-and-line gear to catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) length overall using hook-and-line or pot gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) management area. This action is necessary to allow the 2020 total allowable catch (TAC) of Pacific cod to be harvested.
Federal fisheries board October meeting will be online only
The Cordova Times - August 17, 2020
Written public comment is being strongly encouraged for the October meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, which has moved the session normally held in early October in Anchorage to three online dates: Oct. 2, Oct. 9 and Oct. 12-16.
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