This Week's Fish News

November 10, 2023

The Pacific Marine Expo wrapped up today. Anecdotally, attendance appeared to be lower than last year, and events seemed a little less lavish. It's almost like people have less money to spend or something? 🤔

Did you miss ASMI's All Hands on Deck last week? Check out Undercurrent's recap here.

US lawmakers are creating a 'seafood caucus' to cut seafood imports from China and Russia.

The Alaska Bycatch Advisory Council (BAC) reports that progress is being made, albeit slowly. Specifically, the NPFMC is working on increasing electronic monitoring, a chum salmon bycatch cap, protections for Kodiak Tanners, better estimates of halibut discards and unobserved crab mortality, a review of areas closed to fishing, and bycatch utilization. Separately, ADFG commissioner Doug Vincent Lang wrote an opinion piece defending the NPFMC progress on bycatch.

Speaking of bycatch utilization, the BAC subcommittee is holding a Zoom meeting on just that! Join on November 20 and contribute to the conversation. If you can't comment live, submit your thoughts to dfg.dcf.bycatchreview@alaska.gov any time.

And, on November 27, ADFG commissioner Doug Vincent Lang will host a bycatch town hall in Homer. I know we'll all be recovering from the food coma that is Thanksgiving, but I hope you come chime in. I'll be there!

The US government plans to purchase more Alaska pollock (815,000 pounds) as the industry calls for more help. Now if we could just figure out a way to get them to buy some black cod...

The CEO and CFO of OBI Seafoods are both retiring next month. John Hanrahan will step up as CEO and Monica Hollenback will be the new CFO. It's not just OBI, either. Internationally, it seems we're seeing a seismic shift in seafood execs. Is it just me, or does it kind of seem like there's a mass exodus going on?  

It would appear that Silver Bay Seafoods and Peter Pan Seafoods have reached an agreement for SBS to purchase Peter Pan's Valdez plant. This comes after prior negotiations this spring came to an impasse. Peter Pan president Rodger May said he's looking for a mutually beneficial agreement that would ensure the two companies are "joined at the hip."

This week's Alaska Fisheries Report: the power of pink salmon, an average red run for Bristol Bay 2024, and east side setnet closures in Upper Cook Inlet.

Federal lawmakers have reintroduced a bill to ban most single-use plastics and new plastic production, the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2023. Temporary exclusions would be made for seafood products for one to two years. 

In Canada, ropeless crab gear is catching on. (See what I did there?) After a rocky start, gear and technology improvements and a lending program are making ropeless gear more feasible for East Coast crabbers. And the whales are probably happy about it too, so that's cool. 

The International Groundfish Forum is predicting the 2024 wild caught whitefish supply will remain roughly on par with 2023, thanks largely to an increase in Alaska pollock expected from Russia, the US and Canada.

Some species are handling climate change better than others. Pink salmon appear to be thriving in warmer waters, which new research suggests might be harming other salmon species and the rest of the marine ecosystem. That's...less than ideal. ADFG commissioner Doug Vincent Lang disagrees, arguing that the paper is more of a hypothesis without definitive evidence.

Alaska wildlife experts saved a young humpback whale that had entangled itself in crab gear near Gustavus, Alaska. 

The EPA will eventually begin limiting (or eliminating!?) 6PPD, a chemical commonly used in car tires, as it was found to kill salmon (like, three years ago). Better late than never.

A few reminders:

November 13 is the deadline for written comments on Lower Cook Inlet Board of Fisheries proposals. If you have thoughts to share, speak now or forever hold your peace!

AMSEA has Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor classes coming up in in Homer Nov 16-17, Juneau on Dec 2, and Anchorage Dec 8. There are also classes scheduled for Washington and Oregon.

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!