This Week's Fish News

February 15, 2024

Last week, the Halibut Defense Alliance filed a motion to intervene alongside NMFS in the lawsuit brought by the Amendment 80 trawl sector against Amendment 123, abundance based management (ABM) of halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea. The Alliance comprises 12 parties: Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association, Fishing Vessel Owners' Association, North Pacific Fisheries Association, Homer Charter Association, The Boat Company, Petersburg Vessel Owners' Association, Halibut Association of North America, Alaska Marine Conservation Council, Seafood Producers Cooperative, the City of St. Paul, Alaska, and the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island Tribal Government. 

Senator Lisa Murkowski introduced a bill called the Working Waterfronts Act, which aims to support coastal communities by "boosting the workforce, energy and shoreside infrastructure, food security, and economies of coastal communities in Alaska and across the country. The bill will also support efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change on coastal communities and strengthen federal conservation research projects."

The tribal governments of Savoonga, Shishmaref and St. Paul, along with the Center for Biological Diversity, filed a notice of intent to sue NOAA in an attempt to stop a research project called the Northern Bering Sea Effects of Trawling Study, which would use commercial trawl gear in areas where trawl gear is otherwise prohibited.

A 25% discount on moorage for commercial fishing vessels in Kodiak is still on the horizon, although it wouldn't go into effect until July 1. "[...] since we support fishing and the industry, this relief is worth the money to the fleet and to the community,” - The Kodiak city manager, showing his true colors 👏
UFA is holding their spring board meeting February 20-22 in Juneau, and the Alaska Symphony of Seafood will be held February 21, also in Juneau. 

This week's Alaska Fisheries Report: paralytic shellfish poisoning, the effects of ocean acidification on razor clams, and Governor Dunleavy's electronic monitoring bill. If you haven't had a chance to check out that bill and its ramifications, read up on it here.

Trident's Unalaska plans have found a new obstacle: the city of Unalaska doesn't currently produce enough energy to power the plant. City officials are working with Trident to examine possible wind or wind/diesel combo options.

Roger May, partial owner of Peter Pan Seafoods, and Ari Swiller, partner at RRG Capital Management, which is also a partial owner of Peter Pan, purchased the processing vessel Gordon Jenson from Coastal Star, Inc. The vessel, previously owned by Icicle Seafoods, processes salmon, pollock and herring. The purchase was made "quietly" last fall, and adds a significant share of Pacific cod trawl processor quota to Peter Pan's coffers. 

NMFS is in the process of expanding the critical habitat of North Pacific Right Whales off the coast of Alaska. NMFS hasn't published a timeline, but there will be opportunity for public comment when the proposed rule is published.

The USDA put out a bid for 15.2 million pounds of Alaska pollock and will be purchasing nearly $100 million worth of canned salmon - $70m of pink salmon and $30m of sockeye.