Article Category: Features

Turmoil in Crab Markets as Supply Drops, Along with Retail Customer Interest

Turmoil in Crab Markets as Supply Drops, Along with Retail Customer Interest

Dungeness crab prices rose with increased market demand while domestic snow crab sales brought the lowest prices in five years this past summer, in a struggling commercial shellfish industry plagued by climate change, a global pandemic, supply chain issues and international politics. Prices for a diminished supply of wild Alaska snow crab meat were all over the board, from $74.95 a pound at Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle to $33.95 a pound at 10th &M Seafoods in Anchorage, while the seafood counter at New Sagaya in Anchorage offered Russian snow crab meat for $25.99 a pound. West Coast whole Dungeness crab was in the spotlight at Pike Place Fish Market, with intermittent sales dropping the price for two pounds of legs and claws from $69.98 to $52.49 and other retailers, like Cost...
Catch Processing Technology

Catch Processing Technology

After weathering manifold stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fish processing industry is rolling out a wide variety of new machines. European manufacturers are de-licing without chemicals and slicing filets with speed, while a private-public research collective is building new ways to turn sidestream into commercially viable products. These latest releases could move more fish out the door – and faster than ever. MAREL Multi-national food processing company Marel has released a trio of new machines: the Retail Pack Slicer I-Slice 3400, Pinbone Remover MS 2610 and Salmon Deheader MIS 2721. The single- and dual-lane versions of the Pinbone Remover MS 2610 can process up to 18 and 36 filets a minute, respectively. Each lane uses five liters of water a minute, a roughly 20% reduction ...
Southeast Alaska Troll Fishery Faces Legal Challenge Over Orca Harvest

Southeast Alaska Troll Fishery Faces Legal Challenge Over Orca Harvest

Southeast Alaska’s lucrative commercial king salmon troll fishery faces new challenges from a federal judge’s decision in Seattle over the impact of their harvest on endangered killer whales in Puget Sound. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Jones in Seattle in August challenges the National Marine Fisheries Service’s biological opinion for the Southeast Alaska salmon fishery, the document giving Alaska Endangered Species Act “incidental take” coverage and allowing the state’s Pacific Salmon Treaty salmon fisheries to operate. The lawsuit brought by the Wild Fish Conservancy in Seattle argues that Alaska fisheries threaten the survival of several ESA-listed Chinook salmon stocks in Washington and Oregon and the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales that rely on Chinook salm...

Offshore Wind Update 2022

A lot has happened since the Biden administration in May 2021 announced that California’s northern and central coasts would be open to offshore wind development, identifying two areas in particular: Morro Bay and Humboldt Call. The idea was to pursue the development of floating offshore wind platforms off the California coast as part of the Biden administration’s overall goal of generating 30 gigawatts of domestic offshore wind by 2030. The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is the lead agency on offshore wind. This past May, the department announced offshore wind lease sales for the first time on the West Coast. The Proposed Sale Notice, published May 31 in the Federal Register, includes three proposed lease areas in the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area i...
Smart Technology Advances in Gear Systems, Sonar and Vessel Systems

Smart Technology Advances in Gear Systems, Sonar and Vessel Systems

Advancements in technology for maritime vessels and commercial fishing boats are being applied to autonomous control, smart sonar and systems utilizing artificial intelligence. Some of the top companies in the industry have recently announced innovative products or systems that improve situational awareness, enhance safety, and allow for better assessment of fisheries. Furuno Furuno Electric Co., Ltd., a company headquartered in Japan with bases in the U.S., has continued to focus on advancing technology for marine electronics, including radar systems, fish finders and navigational instruments. A few new products (MARK-2 models of the FSV-25 and FSV-85, and the 3D Sonar Visualizer F3D-S) that have been introduced globally will roll out gradually in the U.S. market this year as the l...
Shipyards of the West 2022: Full Steam Ahead

Shipyards of the West 2022: Full Steam Ahead

We reached out to many of the West Coast’s most notable shipyards to bring you the relevant shipyard dock talk that makes this industry’s world go ‘round. The famous Greek historian Herodotus is credited with saying, “The only good is knowledge, and the only evil is ignorance.” Surely, Herodotus was talking to the working commercial fisherman about the importance of shipyard dock talk. The comings and goings of notable boats, repowers and refits (and regrets), dredging delays, infrastructure grants won, and the like is not idle trivia. One-part gossip, four parts pertinent business information, shipyard dock talk is still the best way for commercial fishermen and professional mariners to maintain the pulse of the scene. It’s in the spirit of spreading useful dock talk that the follow...
What to Consider When Deciding Whether to Rebuild or Repower Your Engine

What to Consider When Deciding Whether to Rebuild or Repower Your Engine

Suffering from climbing maintenance costs, diminished performance or missed trips from engine failure? If so, you may consider whether to rebuild or completely replace your engine. Among the many factors to consider, operators should weigh the financial, technical and operational benefits when making such a decision. Assuming operators are looking to upgrade from an older model, the major advantage of rebuilding an existing engine is the project’s initial capital cost is likely less than replacing it altogether — given that the parts are readily available and that the block has replaceable cylinder liners. However, if the engine has a parent bore block (no cylinder liners), the cylinder bores should be professionally calibrated to ensure they are within manufacturer’s specifications bef...
Demise of Yukon River Chum Salmon Remains Point of Contention

Demise of Yukon River Chum Salmon Remains Point of Contention

On a cool, cloudy summer day at Emmonak, on Alaska’s Lower Yukon River, not a single commercial fishing boat was delivering its catch to Kwik’Pak Fisheries. Instead, families along the lower Yukon were awaiting delivery of state-donated sockeye salmon being sent to them by Kwik’Pak, a subsidiary of the Yukon Delta Fisheries Development Association, which had received a fresh batch of some 5,000 pounds of sockeyes. Another 6,800 pounds of sockeyes, also purchased by the state of Alaska from a processor, were delivered to the Tanana Chiefs Conference in Fairbanks, for delivery to communities along the upper Yukon River.  The problem with the demise of Yukon River chums, known for their rich Omega-3 oils, dates back to 2020. When the fish didn’t show up in numbers justifying any harvests,...
Next Generation of Marine Propulsion Uses Smart Tech, Alternative Fuels

Next Generation of Marine Propulsion Uses Smart Tech, Alternative Fuels

The next generation of marine propulsion technologies for commercial fishing boats are following a similar path as their maritime shipping and land-side counterparts, with a focus on efficiency, smart tech and control, and environmentally friendly solutions. Some of the top companies in the industry have recently announced innovative systems that incorporate artificial intelligence, alternative fuels, and efforts to viably reach zero emissions. HamiltonJet At HamiltonJet, the company’s next generation of products are focused on smart technology and being even more efficient while meeting environmental guidelines in unique and hybrid systems. At last year’s Workboat Show 2021, Tom Latham, general manager of the Americas region for HamiltonJet, was a featured speaker on a panel discuss...
Construction of Alaska Cold Storage Project Expected to Begin This Fall

Construction of Alaska Cold Storage Project Expected to Begin This Fall

A $200-million cargo and cold storage facility at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport that’s projected to take two to three years to complete, is now expected to begin construction in the autumn, a year later than initially anticipated. The exact start of construction depends on when permitting is approved and all negotiations with tenants have been completed. The joint venture of McKinley Capital Management LLC in Anchorage and Los Angeles industrialist Chad Brownstein should be in a position to break ground this fall, but it depends on having an anchor tenant ready to go, according to Joe Jacobson, vice president of private equity for McKinley Alaska Private Investment. Brownstein is the founder of Rocky Mountain Resources, which has amassed an industrial portfolio throughout...