Issue: June 2024

Harvesters Heading for Bristol Bay Are Cautiously Optimistic

Harvesters Heading for Bristol Bay Are Cautiously Optimistic

Some of the Bristol Bay commercial fishermen gearing up for the 2024 harvest of the world’s largest run of wild sockeye salmon say they’re anticipating a good season ahead, despite challenging market conditions, buoyed by cautious optimism that comes with the territory. Veterans of the fishery, in fact, told Fishermen’s News that they’re already seeing it as a year they can bank on. “I’m feeling real good about it,” said Antonio Arena, of Dillingham, Alaska, for whom this will be his 15th year fishing the bay, “I’ve seen upswings and downswings (over the years). I think (this season’s) going to be really solid.” Arena said that this year he’ll be selling his catch for the first time to Northline Seafoods, which is introducing its new vessel, The Hannah, to Bristol Bay. The salmon are ...
ASMI, Holland America Partner on Seafood Education

ASMI, Holland America Partner on Seafood Education

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) has formed a partnership with Holland America Line to educate the cruise line’s employees on the species, benefits and responsible fishing practices of the Alaska fishing industry. Through the partnership, which was announced May 7, ASMI is offering the cruise line’s dining and galley staff a short online digital course on Alaska seafood species, health benefits, fishing methods and the state’s overall sustainability practices. The “Seafood U” training for Holland America Line’s culinary teams began earlier this year in advance of the cruise line’s 2024 Alaska season. Some 2,500 shipboard team members working on six ships are to undergo the training, according to ASMI. “With this new step, Holland America Line has committed to not only ser...
Watertight Integrity: Voluntary Safety Standards and Good Marine Practices

Watertight Integrity: Voluntary Safety Standards and Good Marine Practices

Your vessel is a means of transportation to your work site, but it’s also the place where your work is conducted, your meals are prepared, and it serves as your home away from home. Unlike your permanent home, which is bolted to a foundation, you work home is floating on water. Although your vessel was designed and built to keep the water outside your vessel, not in it, it’s up to everyone on the vessel to preserve and maintain it to keep your watertight envelope. There are a number of ways to preserve your vessel’s integrity. Some of these are found in the U.S. Coast Guard’s Voluntary Safety Standards & Good Marine Practices on their commercial fishing safety website at https://www.dco.uscg.mil/NCFSAC/ This website and the USCG District 13’s website, https://www.fishsafewest.info/...
Newsmakers

Newsmakers

New CEO Joins Bumble Bee Seafoods Seafood industry veteran Andrew Choe has joined Bumble Bee Seafoods as the San Diego-based company’s chief executive officer. His appointment, effective April 1, was announced by Bumble Bee Board of Directors Chair Jerry Chou. In his statement, Chou said that Choe “has priceless knowledge and expertise in our complex industry and is a people-focused leader with a history of helping talented teams succeed.” For eight years, Choe was CEO of StarKist Co., highly engaged in all aspects of the business, including supply chain management, manufacturing, customer and broker relations, innovation and brand building. Most recently Choe served as CEO for SENSEE World, a company that provides products to help the visually impaired. Choe holds degrees in psycho...
Alaska Legislature Approves Task Force  to Help Commercial Fishing Industry

Alaska Legislature Approves Task Force to Help Commercial Fishing Industry

Alaska legislators on May 12 approved creation of a task force to make policy recommendations to help the state’s struggling commercial fishing industry. It is to be modeled after another legislative task force created over 20 years ago to help the salmon industry at a time when harvesters were facing the impact of low prices and competition from farmed fish. The resolution by the House Special Committee on Fisheries, and sponsored by the Alaska Senate Finance Committee, acknowledges the economic distress for harvesters in danger of being without markets and the number of seafood processing facilities for sale, closing or planning to shut down for a portion, or all of, the 2024 fishing season. The task force is to be composed of eight members, with the state senate president serving as ...
Alaska Legislators Reject Porcaro Nomination for Fisheries Commission

Alaska Legislators Reject Porcaro Nomination for Fisheries Commission

Legislators have rejected Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s nomination of conservative radio talk show host Mike Porcaro to serve on the state’s Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission. In a tie vote on May 7, state legislators just said no to keeping Porcaro on as an CFEC commissioner, a post he has held since his appointment last summer. Porcaro, who has never fished commercially and has no ties to the commercial fishing industry, said he did not ask for the job but was willing to accept it when the governor’s office offered it. When he was nominated for the $136,000 a year post in August of 2023, Dunleavy spokesman Jeff Turner issued a statement describing Porcaro as “longtime Alaskan and successful business owner with comprehensive knowledge and participation in Alaska’s business, nonprof...
Emergency Action on Bering Sea Chinook Salmon Bycatch Denied

Emergency Action on Bering Sea Chinook Salmon Bycatch Denied

NOAA Fisheries has denied a request to institute a zero cap on Chinook salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea, saying the petition did not meet the criteria necessary for emergency action. The decision, announced on April 18, was in response to a petition submitted Jan. 17 by five Native Alaska tribal entities asking Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to close the Bering Sea pollock fishery, which opened on Jan. 20, to ensure there was no bycatch of Chinook salmon in the fishery. The petition was signed by the Association of Village Council Presidents, Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, Tanana Chiefs Conference, Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association and Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. The petitioners also asked the Commerce Department to urge the North Pacific Fishery ...
Vessel Profile: the F/V Progress

Vessel Profile: the F/V Progress

Flashback to March 2018: the fishing vessel Progress fights for her life in the Bering Sea as what’s been described as a giant rogue wave crashes into her. The pilothouse is a total loss as thousands of gallons of seawater flood into the accommodations and engine room below. But fortunately, the Progress, which was built by Harold Hansen Boat Co. in 1974 and has fished Bering Sea pollock since the 1980s, was able to maintain structural integrity long enough to be towed to Reedsport, Ore. for repairs in the Fred Wahl Marine Construction yard. “We worked with Fred Wahl and Hockema Group to design an improved vessel,” Hunter Berns of vessel owner Bering North explained.  Bering North is majority owned by two Alaskan CDQ (Community Development Quota) groups, the Coastal Villages Region Fu...
Salmon Fishery Disasters Declared by Commerce Secretary

Salmon Fishery Disasters Declared by Commerce Secretary

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on April 19 announced the determination of salmon fishery disasters in Alaska and one in Puget Sound. They include: the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe’s 2021 Puget Sound fall chum and coho salmon fisheries, the 2022 Kuskokwim River salmon fishery and the 2021 and 2022 Upper Cook Inlet East Side setnet salmon fishery. The determination came in response to requests from the late Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe Chairman Jeromy Sullivan and Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy. Raimondo’s office evaluates fishery resource disaster requests based primarily on data submitted by the requesting official. Each request must meet specific requirements under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. For example, there must be economic impacts and an unexpe...
Study: Alaska Snow Crab Collapse Attributed to Starvation

Study: Alaska Snow Crab Collapse Attributed to Starvation

Federal fisheries researchers studying the dramatic crash of snow crab in the Bering Sea from 2018 to 2021 have found that their caloric requirements quadrupled when sea temperatures rose. Unable to meet those needs, the crab ultimately starved to death. Snow crabs will eat almost anything they can catch and break open with their claws, a diet that may include fish, shrimp, crabs, worms, clams, brittle stars, snails, algae and sponges, as well as anything dead they find. In 2018, there were more snow crab in the Bering Sea than ever seen before, Cody Szuwalski, a fisheries biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center, said. So the decline of roughly 10 billion crab from 2018 to 2021 was a precipitous unexpected collapse, he said ...