This Week's Fish News

October 27, 2023

ASMI put out a statement on the "extraordinary circumstances" the seafood industry is currently facing, detailing international and domestic pressures, geopolitical factors, and more. It's worth a read, but if you're looking for an answer to "when will this get better?" you won't find it there.

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice of intent to sue NMFS for violations of the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act, related to NMFS' failure to protect marine mammals from being taken or killed in the BSAI trawl fisheries. The notice gives NMFS 60 days to remedy the violations before the Center pursues litigation.

The Alaska Salmon Research Task Force issued their draft October 2023 Report and is seeking public comment on existing knowledge, research gaps, and applied research that is needed to better understand the increased variability and declining salmon returns in some regions of Alaska.

new class in Kodiak is fostering the next generation of ammonia refrigeration specialists. This is the first of its kind in Alaska, and they're already working on scheduling more.

Fishermen in Juneau should expect their harbor fees to go up in January. The Juneau Assembly approved a 9% increase to docks and harbors fees to maintain facilities and put more money into savings.

Alaska's fishery woes made it into Bloomberg this week, in a lengthy opinion article on the chum salmon crisis, the pollock fishery, Pacific halibut, expanding fisheries into the High Arctic and the potential military conflicts that could ensue.

Wondering what to do with old nets in Kodiak? Recycle them.

The US Department of Defense awarded $1.4 million in funding for a study looking at the potential geopolitical conflicts that may arise from climate-related shifts in fish stocks. Another thing to worry about when it comes to climate change and fisheries!

AMSEA has Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor classes coming up in Cordova on Nov 4, in Homer Nov 16-17, and Anchorage Dec 8. There are also classes scheduled for Washington and Oregon.

American Seafoods, the largest Alaska pollock company in the country, is for sale again, and the company is "confident it will happen this time."

NOAA is requesting public input on aquaculture opportunity areas in Alaska through December 18.

This week's Alaska Fisheries Report: ammonia refrigeration training, potential chum salmon cap, and comments sought for Cook Inlet EEZ. 

In North Pacific Fishery Management Council News:

A group of U.S. lawmakers has asked the Biden administration to ban US imports of seafood processed in two Chinese provinces, over human rights concerns. They're also looking to ban Chinese businesses using forced labor from doing business with the US.

A bill called the SEAfood Act was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this month, with supporters from both political parties. On its face, the bill aims to require NOAA to pave the way for increased offshore aquaculture operations. Many industry experts say it will industrialize fishing, prioritize farmed seafood over wild-caught seafood, harm small businesses, and have detrimental environmental effects.

SeafoodNews founder John Sackton wrote a pointed opinion piece on the shift away from expensive, premium products in the seafood industry, and what he expects to see moving forward. Definitely a good read.

The Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP) launched a new campaign called “Pollock People,” which is supposed to improve transparency with consumers. Considering the recent reports of human rights abuses in China's offshore fleet, this was probably a good move.

Remember last week when I shared good news about snow crab being resilient to ocean acidification? As it turns out, they're not so resilient against climate change. Scientists have confirmed a link between the drastic stock collapse and the 2018-2019 marine heatwave, noting that 10 billion crabs likely starved to death.

Let's wrap up on a high note again, because that makes everyone feel better, right? A fisherman out of Washington was rescued by a Good Samaritan vessel after being missing for two weeks. He was found in his life raft about 70 miles off shore. So, take the safety classes, run your safety drills, check your safety gear regularly, and be prepared. Life rafts work! 

And lastly, a few reminders:

The deadline to opt in or out of the electronic monitoring (EM) pool is November 1. For more information click here. If you're already in the pool and want to remain in it, you don't need to do anything. 

The priority deadline to apply for the Marine Resource Education Program (MREP) is November 1. The week-long seminar is completely free to attend (as in, they cover travel, housing, and food), and will be held in Kodiak February 26-March 1, 2024. I (Maddie) attended this seminar in Juneau this spring and I can't emphasize enough how valuable and fun it was. Please apply! And feel free to reach out if you have any questions about it.

ASMI's All Hands on Deck will be held in Anchorage November 2-4 and virtually. If you plan to attend in person, be sure to register by tomorrow, October 28. 

ALFA is hosting their Fall Fishermen's Expo  on November 15. This is a free virtual event, packed with valuable information and guest speakers. Don't miss it!

Registration is open for the 2023 Alaska Young Fishermen's Summit, held December 5-7 in Anchorage. Registration and hotel costs will go up soon, so sign up early!

Be sure to check out the dates below for other upcoming deadlines and events!