This Week's Fish News

August 24, 2023

The State of Alaska Division of Investments will be in Homer September 21-22 to help with new loan applications, loan extension applications, and answer any questions you have about financing, purchasing, etc. More info here.

The sinking of a tugboat in Sitka during the 2017 herring season has resulted in a $1.3 million settlement for beach cleanup and shellfish monitoring. 

The Pacific Seafood Processors Association (PSPA) has appointed Julie Decker as its new president. Decker has been involved in Alaska's fisheries for quite some time, most recently as ED of the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation (AFDF). Accordingly, AFDF is currently accepting applications for executive director.

Japan began releasing treated radioactive water from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster into the Pacific Ocean today. The full release of over 1.3 million tons of water is likely to take decades. China has banned the import of all Japanese seafood products. The US, EU, and many other countries do not have any bans in place, as the International Atomic Energy Agency issued a report stating the release was safe, but some scientists in Alaska still have concerns.

Al Burch passed away earlier this month. Al was a fundamental pioneer of Alaska's groundfish industry, helping to found the AFDF, serving on the NPFMC AP, and founding and serving as ED of the Alaska Draggers Association (now the Alaska Whitefish Trawlers Association), among many other things. 

Seafood News editor John Sackton wrote an interesting, if not depressing, article on the effect China's economic downturn is likely to have on global seafood markets

First Engineer David Kumah died this week aboard the Northern Eagle, a 350 ft factory trawler owned by American Seafoods. The cause of death is thought to be tied to an ammonia leak on board.

After several years of work, a troller out of Sitka is about to make history as one of Alaska's first hybrid fishing vessels, cutting its fuel bill by about 80%.

Shawaan Jackson-Gamble, the first Alaska Native to fill the designated tribal seat on the NPFMC Advisory Panel, has resigned from the AP and was arrested last week for allegedly raping a woman in 2019. A warrant for his arrest was issued in October of 2022; he was appointed to the Advisory Panel in February of 2023. 

The NPFMC is looking for public input to guide its 2024 research priorities. If you have ideas, submit them by October 31.

Will AI change the face of fisheries stock assessments? Maybe. In Africa, a new AI tool is being used to predict fish stocks in areas of low information and infrastructure, with 85% accuracy. In Massachusetts, AI is being used to estimate Atlantic salmon biomass. That's pretty cool.

As a reminder, AgWest is offering $15,000 grants to fishermen who have been operating for less than two years or who plan to start their own operation within the next two years. Applications are due August 31