This Week's Fish News

December 14, 2023

Trident Seafoods announced plans to sell four of its 12 shoreside processing plants (False Pass, Kodiak, Petersburg, and Ketchikan), and sell or close the Naknek Diamond NN cannery and its facility in Chignik. In addition, they plan to lay off 10% of staff at their Seattle headquarters and reevaluate their approach to company-owned vessels. I guess my first question is, who do they expect will buy them? None of the other processors are exactly flush with cash right now. And my second question is, what happens if those four plants don't sell before the 2024 season? Will they operate?

Two Washington companies are finishing construction of floating barges that will serve Bristol Bay this season, freezing whole fish in the round, storing them through the season, and processing them later, with the hopes of increasing efficiency and quality while lowering costs.

NMFS confirmed the causes of death/injury for the 11 orcas caught incidentally earlier this year. Nine were caught by BSAI bottom trawl catcher processors, of which six were killed by trawl fishing gear, two were already dead when caught, and one was caught and released alive but seriously injured. The single orca caught by a pelagic pollock trawl catcher processor was determined to have died prior to being caught. And the single orca became entangled in longline survey during a AFSC survey was the first observed orca death in the survey's 30 year history.

Arctic Storm and American Seafoods are both readying new vessels for the 2024 pollock season, which opens next month.

The Biden Administration is considering submitting an amicus brief in a fishing rights lawsuit between the state and the tribal government of Metlakatla. 

More Alaska groups are joining the lawsuit against NMFS over salmon bycatch and trawl management.

The Wild Seafood Connection, a one-day conference geared towards commercial fishermen looking to learn about direct marketing to restaurants, retailers, brokers, and seafood buyers, will be held February 29 in Bellingham.

Senator Tom Cotton introduced the Ban China's Forbidden Operations in the Oceanic Domain Act. (If that sounds clunky to you too, just know it was all for a good cause: the nickname Ban C-FOOD Act.) If passed, this legislation would ban US imports of Chinese seafood, sanction companies that import Chinese seafood, and slap tariffs on countries that aid in the shipment of it.

BBRSDA hired Barry Collier, former CEO of Perter Pan Seafood, to "advise the group on its global marketing initiatives."

This week's Alaska Fisheries Report: The early lives of chum salmon, a lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service, Trident’s Alaska divestiture.

Last week's Alaska Fisheries Report: The take of killer whales in Alaska fisheries is up, the Alaska Seafood Development Foundation has a new CEO, and a look at the emerging mariculture industry.

Fishing vessel owners in Kodiak might get a break on moorage in 2024. Next month, the City Council will consider a 25% reduction in moorage fees for commercial vessels in light of the disastrous season.

The National Marine Fisheries Service is expected to pay $160,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by Gulf of Mexico charter captains, who successfully challenged NMFS requirement that they pay for VMS. A similar case brought by Rhode Island herring fishermen will be heart by the US Supreme Court on January 17. Interesting...

Lawmakers from Alaska and New England are pushing for the expansion of a federal program that supports the health and wellbeing of commercial fishermen to include substance use disorder and worker fatigue, and to allow fishermen access to more safety training and mental health resources.