Article Category: News

NOAA Fisheries: More Than Half of Seafood Import Entry Filings Noncompliant

NOAA Fisheries: More Than Half of Seafood Import Entry Filings Noncompliant

A new NOAA Fisheries report to Congress on combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing finds that about 56% of audited import entry filings are noncompliant, mostly for incomplete chain of custody and misreporting of harvest weight. The volume and value of seafood species subject to the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) during fiscal year 2023 included over 1.7 billion pounds of seafood with a combined value of more than $6.4 billion in U.S. dollars. NOAA announced delivery of the report on May 31. The SIMP imports represented about 32% by volume and 30% by value of all seafood imports into the United States last year. The decrease in imports subject to SIMP reporting requirements is reflective of the overall decline in imports observed over the past fiscal year,...
Seaspan Developing Canada’s First Heavy Polar Icebreaker in 60 Years

Seaspan Developing Canada’s First Heavy Polar Icebreaker in 60 Years

Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards is in the process of developing Canada’s first heavy polar icebreaker in more than six decades. At Canada’s Global Defense & Security Trade Show on May 29, the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company gave defense and security representatives an update on its progress. Seaspan said more than 70% of the vessel’s functional design is complete, while the vessel’s 3D modeling is “well advanced,” paving the way for Seaspan to cut steel for the Canadian Coast Guard’s icebreaker vessel before the end of 2024. The 158-meter-long IACS Polar Class 2 (PC2) Heavy Icebreaker is designed to accommodate up to 100 people and features more than 40 MWs of installed power, science labs, a moon pool to ensure safe equipment deployment within the vessel and helicopter fl...
Congressional Bills Introduced to Restrict Bottom Trawling

Congressional Bills Introduced to Restrict Bottom Trawling

Two bills that would restrict bottom trawling, recently introduced in Congress by Rep. Mary Peltola, R-Alaska, are drawing kudos from commercial longliners, crabbers and salmon fishermen and criticism from the state’s pollock fishery. The Bycatch Reduction and Mitigation Act, introduced in the U.S. House on May 22, would authorize the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Bycatch Reduction and Engineering Program at $10 million for five years. The Bycatch Mitigation Assistance Fund to be established under that program would be administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to help harvesters and vessel owners purchase new gear or technology to reduce bycatch, including salmon excluders. The Bottom Trawl Clarity Act would mandate that federal fishery management c...
Commercial Oyster, Clam Harvesting Closed in Oregon

Commercial Oyster, Clam Harvesting Closed in Oregon

All razor and bay clam harvesting was closed coastwide in Oregon on June 6, the state’s Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced. The closure was due to historic high levels of the marine biotoxin Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) are elevated in both razor and bay clams along the entire Oregon coast. PSP is a natural marine biotoxin produced by some species of microscopic algae. PSP levels have been increasing, leading to multiple closures in several shellfish species since May 23, according to the ODFW. As of June 6, Oregon’s agriculture department has closed the following commercial fisheries: Tillamook Bay: oysters. Netarts Bay: oysters. Umpqua bay: oysters. Coastwide: razor clams and bay clams. The Department of Agricul...
NOAA Recommends Funding 46 Fish Passage Projects

NOAA Recommends Funding 46 Fish Passage Projects

NOAA Fisheries has recommended nearly $240 million to fund 46 fish passage projects this year, plus an additional $38 million for addition fish passage projects in future years. The funds are to come through the Biden-Harris administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, NOAA announced May 22. The project list includes over $158 million for 27 projects selected through the Restoring Fish Passage through Barrier Removal funds. The goal is to restore access to healthy habitat for migratory fish nationwide through various efforts, including on-the-ground fish passage restoration.  Funds are currently being processed and the regional federal fishery councils are expected to receive initial funds this summer, with the remainder coming in fiscal 2025, NOAA Fisheri...
NOAA Review to Determine Need  of ESA Action for Chinook Salmon

NOAA Review to Determine Need of ESA Action for Chinook Salmon

NOAA Fisheries has begun a review of the status of Chinook salmon in the Gulf of Alaska to see if protections under the Endangered Species Act being sought by a Seattle conservation group are warranted. NOAA’s May 24 announcement in the Federal Register for a study sought by the Wild Fish Conservancy in Seattle noted that in reviewing the conservancy’s petition, it found numerous factual errors, omissions, incomplete references and unsupported assertions and conclusions. But the petition contained enough information for a reasonable person to conclude that the petitioned action may be warranted, NOAA said. The agency will accept public comment on the petition through July 23. The Wild Fish Conservancy, which advocates for more Chinook salmon to feed southern resident orca whales in Pug...
BioBlitz Takes Environmental Snapshot in Advance of Removal of Kellogg Dam in Oregon

BioBlitz Takes Environmental Snapshot in Advance of Removal of Kellogg Dam in Oregon

Removal of the Kellogg Dam in Milwaukie, Ore., which has impeded passage of salmon and other fish for over 167 years, probably won’t happen until about 2027, but groups partnering with NOAA Fisheries are already documenting important environmental information about it. In mid-May, volunteers fanned out near the mouth of Kellogg Creek for the first-ever creek “bioblitz,” a community science survey in which scientists, naturalists and others document living species within the designated area to create a snapshot in time. Lower Kellogg Creek is targeted for major restoration work beginning in 2026 or 2027. The bioblitz data is expected to help track how conditions change when the dam is removed and the stream restored from a stagnant, shallow impoundment to a healthy flow connected to the...
Copper River Commercial Harvest  Off to Robust Start

Copper River Commercial Harvest Off to Robust Start

Commercial harvests on the celebrated Copper River salmon fishery got off to a robust start on May 16, with 376 deliveries bringing in an estimated 41,857 sockeyes, 1,108 Chinook, 251 chum and two cohos, state fisheries biologists said. Processors responded by offering fishermen $7 a pound for red salmon and $16 a pound for kings. Seafood aficionados yearning for a taste of first-of-the-season wild salmon, meanwhile, paid $489.93 for a whole fresh wild Copper River king and $139.99 for a whole five-pound wild Copper River red salmon at Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle. Costco stores in Anchorage were selling fillets of Copper River reds for $23.95 a pound for the first run, but as harvests continues to build, reaching a total of167,712 sockeyes by the third opener on May 23, Costco dr...
‘Deadliest Catch’ Commercial Crab Boat Sinks at Seattle Pier

‘Deadliest Catch’ Commercial Crab Boat Sinks at Seattle Pier

U.S. Coast Guard officials are investigating the sinking of the 91-foot crab vessel f/v North American, which became submerged May 14 at a pier east of Ballard Bridge on the south side of the Lake Washington Ship Canal in Seattle. It was unclear whether anyone was aboard the vessel at the time of the sinking, but no human casualties were reported by the Coast Guard. There were also no reports of injured wildlife or impacts to vessel traffic due to the incident. The North American, one of the commercial crab fishing boats featured on the Discovery Channel series “Deadliest Catch,” had a maximum fuel capacity of 32,500 gallons of diesel. The Coast Guard opened the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and contracted Global Dive and Salvage, an oil spill response company, to conduct clean-up ope...
California Judge Denies Injunction Relief in Wind Farming Ocean Survey

California Judge Denies Injunction Relief in Wind Farming Ocean Survey

California’s San Luis Obispo Superior Court on May 15 denied a request from commercial fishing entities for injunction relief in approving permits for ocean site surveys for offshore wind development. The litigation to stop approval of permits for site surveys was filed Feb. 29 by the Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen’s Organization (MBCFO) and Port San Luis Commercial Fishermen’s Association (PSLCFA). Defendants included the California Coastal Commission, the State Lands Commission, three offshore wind development firms and the environmental consulting company CSA Ocean Sciences.  The three companies that hold leases to potentially develop floating wind turbines in the Morro Bay wind energy area offshore of Cambria and San Simeon are Atlas Wind, Golden State Wind and Even Keel Wind. No...