Issue: January 2023

2022 Alaska Salmon Harvest Valued at Over $720M

2022 Alaska Salmon Harvest Valued at Over $720M

A preliminary commercial harvest summary recently issued by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game puts the value of 160.7 million salmon caught in 2022 at $720.4 million, compared to the 2021 harvest of 233.8 million salmon harvested. The 31% decrease in the total harvest is explained by the relatively low pink salmon run size in 2022, a consistent trend for even-numbered years over the last decade, ADF&G biologists said in their mid-November report. The 2022 total harvest of sockeyes accounted for 66% of the total value, at $473.8 million, and 47% of the harvest, at 74.8 million fish.  Chum salmon, numbering 14.9 million, contributed 15% of the overall value at $110.6 million. Coho salmon made up about 2% of the value at $15 million and 1% of the harvest at 1.6 million fish, whil...
New Seattle Effort Aims to Boost Salmon Habitat

New Seattle Effort Aims to Boost Salmon Habitat

Elected officials for Washington’s King County, the cities of Seattle and Tukwila and the Port of Seattle are collaborating to promote a new effort to recover healthy salmon stocks in Seattle’s Lower Duwamish River. The four government entities are hoping to find the right individual to serve as the Duwamish River Basin Steward, who would provide on-the-ground technical services to community members and other stakeholders to protect and restore habitats that assist in helping restore salmon stocks in the river. The effort is designed to include acquisition of open space, complete habitat restoration projects and direct engagement with communities. Basin stewards work with residents and technical staff to develop and implement priority habitat protection and restoration projects in cri...
USDA Proposes Better Access to Seafood in WIC Program

USDA Proposes Better Access to Seafood in WIC Program

Federal officials in late November proposed changes for participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), including improved access to canned fish, to reflect the latest dietary guidelines. These science-based revisions, recommended by the National Academies of Science, Engineers and Medicine (NASEM) and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans for 2020-2025, prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to post the proposed changes in the Federal Register.  Those guidelines recommend two eight-ounce servings of healthy seafood a week, starting at six months of age. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the proposed changes would strengthen WIC by ensuring that it provides foods that reflect the latest nutrition science to support heal...
Bad Storm Inspires  Plan for Sustainable Processing Vessel

Bad Storm Inspires Plan for Sustainable Processing Vessel

A seafood processor stung by an autumn storm in 2020 that grounded and destroyed its processing barge will be back in Bristol Bay for the 2024 salmon fishery with a new vertically integrated vessel that’s expected to produce higher quality fillets to sell year-round in an environmentally superior facility. “We developed the Hannah to produce higher quality fish through a more efficient process that benefits both fishermen and customers,” Ben Blakey, an industry veteran and chief executive officer of Northline Seafoods, with offices in Bellingham, Wash. and Sitka, Alaska said. “This project is a continuation of Northline’s commitment to innovation and environmental sustainability in the fishing industry.” Blakey said he hopes this one-of-a-kind vertically integrated vessel inspires othe...
Coast Guard Cutter Stratton Returns Following Arctic Deployment

Coast Guard Cutter Stratton Returns Following Arctic Deployment

The Coast Guard cutter Stratton and crew returned to Alameda, Calif. on Nov. 23 following a 97-day, multi-mission deployment to the Arctic Ocean and Bering Sea. In August, the cutter and crew departed Alameda to project U.S. sovereignty throughout Arctic waters, provide search-and rescue capabilities in the region and meet with Alaskan communities. Stratton repeatedly operated along the length of the U.S.-Russian maritime boundary line (MBL) from the Diomede Islands to well above the Arctic Circle, while they patrolled within the U.S. Arctic zone. Stratton also patrolled the U.S.-Canadian MBL in the Beaufort Sea, demonstrating a presence in the distant regions of the Arctic. On Sept. 26, the Stratton and Coast Guard cutter Kimball became the first national security cutters to jointly ...
Filmmaker Explores Possible Extinction of Early Run Pacific Chinook Salmon

Filmmaker Explores Possible Extinction of Early Run Pacific Chinook Salmon

A collaborative effort is underway to save the genetically distinct spring Chinook salmon, a fish of critical importance to humans, Southern Resident killer whales and many species that rely on salmon in their life cycles. “Will policy catch up with science before it’s too late?,” asks Shane Anderson, the award-winning filmmaker from Swiftwater Films in Olympia, Wash., whose latest documentary, “The Lost Salmon,” chronicles the challenges of and potential recovery prospects for the iconic Chinook, and the new genetic discovery that could aid in their recovery. “As the first salmon to arrive home in spring, the spring run of Chinook have one of the most fascinating migrations in the animal kingdom,” the documentary states at one point. “They are a species of desire for an entire ecosyst...
Washington Cancels Net Pen Salmon Farm Leases

Washington Cancels Net Pen Salmon Farm Leases

Washington state officials have declined to renew expired leases for two remaining finfish net pens citing the damage done in the Cypress Island net pen collapse of 2017. The state’s Department of Natural Resources informed Cooke Aquaculture, based in Saint John, Canada, in mid-November that the agency would not renew the two aquaculture facilities leases in Rich Passage off Bainbridge Island and off Hope Island in Skagit Bay. Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said that the catastrophic event sparked an effort to terminate finfish net pen operations due to lease violations. “Despite years of litigation—and a company that has fought us every step of the way—we are not able to deny lease renewals for the remaining net pen sites,” Franz said. The decision will return those waters ...
FDA to Require Additional Seafood Traceability

FDA to Require Additional Seafood Traceability

New regulations published in the Federal Register by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) require traceability of high-risk foods, including seafood, in the latest effort to halt seafood fraud and protect consumers. The final rule, a key component of the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint, implements Section 204(d) of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). These new requirements will allow for faster identification and rapid removal of potentially contaminated food from the market, resulting in fewer foodborne illnesses and/or deaths, the agency said. At the core of the rule is a requirement that those who manufacture, process, pack or hold foods on the food traceability list maintain records containing key data elements associated with specific critical tracing even...
Coast Guard Urged to Improve Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Efforts

Coast Guard Urged to Improve Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Efforts

A new report from the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) says that to date the U.S. Coast Guard has implemented just five of 22 key statutory requirements for improved vessel safety in the established strategic goals and performance goals for its commercial fishing vessel safety program. The GAO report, released in early November, noted Coast Guard efforts to conduct dockside exams, engage with industry and collaborate with the National Marine Fisheries Service and other federal agencies. The Coast Guard also issued two-year safety decals to all vessels that successfully completed the dockside exams, the report said. However, the Coast Guard has only partially or not implemented 17 other requirements, according to the GAO, including one to develop alternate safety standards f...
Alaska Coast Guard Sector Helps Battle Tanker Fire

Alaska Coast Guard Sector Helps Battle Tanker Fire

The Coast Guard responded to a fire aboard the tank vessel Atlantic Lily at the Port of Anchorage in November. At about 10 p.m. Nov. 18, thick, black smoke was seen billowing from the exhaust stack of the 600-foot foreign-flagged tank vessel, following by a loud boom and flames, according to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard said that it responded to the emergency by deploying fire hoses and extinguishing the flames, and that Anchorage Fire Department and Port of Alaska personnel arrived on scene shortly after to provide support. The vessel was reportedly transferring jet fuel at the time of the incident and cargo operations were suspended until the fire was extinguished and a thorough investigation was conducted. “It was determined that an issue with the vessel’s auxiliary boiler cau...