This Week's Fish News

December 22, 2023

The Groundfish Forum sued NMFS on Tuesday, challenging the newly implemented Abundance Based Management (ABM) of halibut bycatch. The Groundfish Forum, which represents Amendment 80 groundfish bottom trawlers, claims the new rule is unfair and will force them to reduce fishing operations and incur annual losses up to $100 million. Click here to read the full Complaint.

In yet another industry shakeup, Ocean Beauty Seafoods (50% owner of OBI Seafoods) announced it plans to sell its distribution business. OBS made clear that the move would not affect OBI.

Kodiak residents and fishermen shared their thoughts on Trident's plans to sell their Kodiak plant (as well as three others), noting that everybody was shocked. Nobody was given a heads up, and feel uncertain about the future. 

The effort to close the "loophole" allowing Russian-caught Chinese-processed seafood to enter the US market is gaining momentum,

President Biden signed an executive order today, tightening up the sanctions on Russian seafood, to include seafood caught in Russia and processed elsewhere (like China). Many are touting this as a win, but some have deep concerns that it will tank the US seafood market and cause consumers to switch to cheaper proteins.

ICYMI: Hannah Heimbuch joined none other than Martha Stewart on her show, Martha Cooks, to showcase wild Alaska seafood. The episode aired last month. 

Andy Wink is stepping down as BBRSDA Executive Director. Board President Fritz Johnson will serve as interim executive director until a replacement is found.

USDA is purchasing over $1.2 million in pollock from Channel Fish ($777K) and Trident ($440K). 

Three Alaska Native women were appointed to the NPFMC Advisory Panel (AP). While that's more tribal representation than the Council has ever seen, it's important to note that the AP doesn't get a say in final actions, that power rests solely with the Council, which still lacks a designated tribal seat.

NOAA published their annual Ecosystem Status Report for 2023, which focused on changes in distributions of major groundfish species in the Gulf and Aleutian Islands. The Aleutians recorded their warmest temps since 1900, and the Arctic is warming four times faster than the rest of the planet. Cool, cool (or should I say warm, warm?). Pacific Ocean perch are taking over, and sablefish is way up. Halibut, crab, arrowtooth flounder and cod are down, but cod is showing promising signs of recruitment.  Chlorophyll-a, the building block of our food chain, was at one of the lowest levels ever.