This Week's Fish News

March 24, 2024

Feeling behind? Catch previous editions of the Fish Ticket on our website, here!

Worried about halibut bycatch? The Halibut Defense Group is intervening in a lawsuit to enforce trawl bycatch reductions. In a March 5 response to the suit, NOAA said that the Groundfish Forum, who filed the suit, failed to exhaust administrative remedies and has no claim. Regardless, it'll be fought out in court, and a federal judge is expected to issue a decision this spring. Lawsuits are expensive. If this matters to you, please consider donating to the Halibut Defense Fund.

Staying informed on fisheries can be difficult. In good news, Seafood News is now free to read! In bad news, Pacific Fishing has suspended publication of their magazine and their Fish Wrap emails as they search for a new owner. 

UFA hosted a Seafood Market Update webinar with ASMI and OBI last month. Watch the recording here.

Kodiak's south side setnetters are scrambling to adapt after OBI announced they won't be buying or offering support services at their Alitak plant this summer. 

Trident has found buyers for its False Pass, Ketchikan, and Petersburg processing facilities. Silver Bay Seafoods has been identified as the buyer of the Ketchikan facility, and Petersburg is being purchased by E.C. Phillips & Son.

While other processors sell off assets, E&E Foods is expanding their processing capacity in Egegik ahead of the 2024 season. 

The US and Canada are preparing to enter into a new agreement to rebuild Yukon Chinook stocks, which would prohibit all Yukon River subsistence fishing for 7 years. While Alaska tribes acknowledge both pros and cons, some tribal leaders oppose the agreement, in part because ADFG did not consult with them in the decision-making process.

Throwing a lifeline to processors, the USDA awarded contracts for canned salmon: OBI received a contract for nearly $54 million worth of canned pink salmon and over $14 million for canned reds. Peter Pan got $17.2 million for canned pinks and just over $16 million for canned reds. Kanaway was awarded $158,144 for canned reds.

The Alaska King Crabs Research, Rehabilitation, and Biology program is looking into the possibility of a red king crab hatchery program, and the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation was awarded $4 million for research on BBRKC enhancement.

Russia may slow their roll on salmon exports this year. I'm not suggesting we should all be getting our hopes up or that this would solve all of our industry's problems, but it'd sure warrant a happy dance or two.

Meanwhile, Russia's processors aren't doing so hot either. Many are facing fines steep enough to threaten bankruptcy for failing to hit processing quotas.

This week's Alaska Fisheries Report: the Japanese herring scene, Silver Bay Seafoods' purchase of Trident's Ketchikan plant, and Trident’s sale of its Petersburg properties to E.C. Phillips & Son.

Alaska State Rep Sarah Vance (R-Homer) introduced a resolution suggesting NOAA extend Alaska's state fisheries jurisdiction from 3 miles out to 15 miles, a move that promises to go nowhere. 

Salmon fishermen are preparing for a season marked by uncertainty. Here's a status report on Bristol Bay.

Governor Dunleavy named Brian Ritchie and either John Moller or John Jenson as his top choices for the two NPFMC seats opening up in August. 

President Biden's FY25 proposed budget was released earlier this month and it includes the necessary federal funds to continue the Homer Harbor expansion investigation. 

In an effort to revamp herring fisheries, the state is developing a Herring Revitalization Committee. Nominations for committee members and research proposals are due March 29.

S.B. 82, the bill that would introduce a buyback program for east side Cook Inlet set netters, was heard in Senate committee a few weeks ago. It has broad support from permit holders. 

Applications are open for ALFA's 2024 Crew Training Program.

Lilani Dunn has been promoted to executive director of BBRSDA, having previously served as the organization's marketing director.