Alaska Releases Plan and Application Forms for CARES Act Fisheries Relief
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - October 6, 2020
The state of Alaska released its plan to “broadly distribute stimulus payments to those eligible individuals and businesses” who qualify for the $50 million allocated to Alaska in May through the CARES Act. Alaska and Washington state each received $50 million, a combined total of $100 million or about a third of the full $300 million appropriated by Congress for fisheries relief nationwide.
Eligible sectors are seafood processing, commercial harvesting, sport charter, subsistence, and aquaculture.
Allocation percentages to individual sectors were originally calculated by NOAA Fisheries were based on past revenues and not on the estimated scale of loss for each sector due to COVID-19. So the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) adjusted the revenue percentage allocations to provide funding allocations to aquaculture (1%) and subsistence (3%) sectors, and increased the sport charter allocation (32% from 5.5%) to help mitigate loss to that sector resulting from travel restrictions and health mandates that reduced demand for sport charter services.
The commercial harvesting (32%) and seafood processing (32%) sector allocations also help mitigate loss from changes in demand and markets for commercial seafood products from Alaska. The seafood processing sector, originally earmarked for 59.3%, was the one most severely cut by the states’s calibration. In addition to updating sector’s scale of loss, ADF&G considered input from affected fishery participants.
The spend plan must be approved by NOAA Fisheries before eligible fishery participants can submit applications for review and payment. The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission will develop application materials consistent with this spend plan and then solicit, review, and approve applications prior to disbursing funds.
Eligibility requirements are included in the plan, and require verification of a more than 35% revenue loss from March 1, 2020 to November 1, 2020 as direct or indirect result of COVID-19. The loss will be calculated by comparing March 1, 2020 to November 1, 2020, gross revenue to average annual gross revenue for the same period over the past five years (2015-2019). Applicants cannot include losses that were compensated for by other grants or loans.
Revenue from purchases of seafood product by the USDA or other federal entities should be included in the economic revenue loss calculation to determine whether the loss threshold was met.
While salmon hatcheries are not eligible for Section 12005 assistance, Alaska’s budding aquaculture industry, for kept, shellfish, etc. is allowed.
For Alaska processors, compensatory payments are calculated using a seven tiered table based on average annual wholesale revenues. Once all applications have been received, shares will be determined, and payments calculated accordingly. Payment amounts will be the same for all qualifying applicants within each tier.
Alaska’s processors have a ‘special consideration’ of being allowed to apply for each of their processing facilities individually.
Chum, chinook returns fall short across Yukon, Western Alaska
Alaska Journal of Commerce by Elwood Brehmer - October 7, 2020
Poor chum and coho returns led to some of the lowest commercial harvests in decades across much of Western Alaska and biologists are unsure why far fewer Yukon chinook are making it to Canada in recent years.
Short salmon supplies send prices upward
Alaska Journal of Commerce by Laine Welch - October 7, 2020
Now that the 2020 pack of Alaska salmon has been caught and put up, stakeholders will get a better picture of how global prices may rise or fall.
Coho swarm Willapa: Astounding run brings increased limits
Chinook Observer by Luke Whittaker - October 6, 2020
WILLAPA BAY — An unexpectedly strong coho salmon return in the Willapa has fishery managers and biologists reassessing run size and potentially considering more commercial and recreational fishing opportunities in the days ahead as more data is collected.
USCG Cutter Douglas Munro Returns from Two Month Patrol in Operation North Pacific Guard 2020
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - October 8, 2020
For the past 25 years, North Pacific Rim nations – including Japan, China, Russia, South Korea, Canada, and the United States – have joined forces in Operation North Pacific Guard to uphold international maritime laws and to support conservation and management measures adopted by several Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMO) in an effort to protect migratory fish stocks on the high seas.
The United States Coast Guard leads the operation with a C-130 aircraft and a surface asset with an embarked MH-65 helicopter. Participating nations contribute by providing surface and air patrols and by sharing intelligence that facilitates at-sea inspections targeting IUU fishing activity.
Originally focused on targeting illegal high seas driftnet fishing, the operation expanded in recent years to counter all forms of IUU fishing in the North Pacific Ocean. The operating area for Operation North Pacific Guard operation encompasses more than three million square miles of high seas area and the convention areas of three RFMOs: North Pacific Fisheries Commission, Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, and North Pacific Anadromous Fisheries Commission.
The coalition is charged with conserving and governing important commercial fisheries, including squid, tuna and salmon and locating fishing fleets and evaluating whether their operations are illicit or legitimate requires significant efforts and coordination. Global Fishing Watch, a non-governmental organization committed to improving transparency in global fishing, provided valuable information to this year’s operation to highlight suspicious transshipment of fish products at sea and vessel tracking systems that appeared to be spoofed or intentionally manipulated to report false information.
Investigation of these reports by the Fishing Agency of Japan and the Canadian Marine Security Operation Center was critical in the identification of numerous vessels of interest. MSOC also provided reconnaissance support, which further helped identify and target potential illicit activity. The Japan Coast Guard and Fisheries and Oceans Canada contributed aircraft resources that detected a potentially stateless vessel.
The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro recently completed a nearly two-month patrol, traveling 12,500 miles throughout the North Pacific Ocean, supporting Operation North Pacific Guard, an annual high seas U.S. fisheries international law enforcement operation designed to detect and deter illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Supported by a multi-lateral intelligence effort to detect suspicious vessels of interest, the Douglas Munro crew conducted at-sea inspections aboard 11 fishing vessels from four different nations during this year’s operation and found 14 potential violations, including potential serious violations aboard three Chinese flagged squid fishing vessels. Following these boardings, nearly the entire fleet of 31 vessels stopped fishing and fled hundreds of nautical miles west across the Pacific Ocean, avoiding further inspection.
IUU fishing is a pervasive, far reaching security threat that undermines international agreements and fisheries conservation measures, jeopardizes global food security and produces destabilizing effects on vulnerable coastal states.
To achieve robust maritime enforcement presence on the high seas, the U.S. Coast Guard relies upon collaboration with like-minded partners, particularly Canada and Japan.
“The westward evasive movement of the fishing fleet indicates and potentially validates suspected illicit activity, and further demonstrates the need for more than a single vessel deployed to compel compliance at sea," Capt. Jason Brennell, chief of enforcement for the Coast Guard’s Seventeenth District said.
"Increased commitment from all partner countries to provide at-sea enforcement capability, particularly those nations whose vessels are engaged in fishing, is absolutely critical to both the health of world fish stocks and the future success of Operation North Pacific Guard,” he added.
In September, the Coast Guard released a 37-page new strategy to enhance global safety, security, and stewardship of the maritime domain by combatting IUU fishing. The IUU Fishing Strategic Outlook announces the Coast Guard’s commitment to leading an international effort to combat illegal exploitation of the ocean’s fish stocks and to protect national interest.
“The Coast Guard’s IUU Fishing Strategic Outlook outlines the service’s efforts to combat the scourge of IUU fishing over the next decade," said Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl L. Schultz. "We are committed to working with our allies and like-minded partners to strengthen the international fisheries enforcement regime and counter this pervasive threat.
Trump administration plan would open Tongass to logging
SalmonState: Plan threatens habitat for millions of salmon
Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman - October 7, 2020
A Trump administration decision to eliminate the Roadless Rule and open 9 million acres of Tongass National Forest to logging and road construction is drawing praise from Gov. Mike Dunleavy and Alaska’s congressional delegation, and condemnation from conservationists.
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