Issue: May 2022

Commercial Crab Fishing Violations On the Rise in California, CDFW Says

Commercial Crab Fishing Violations On the Rise in California, CDFW Says

Officers with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Marine Enforcement Division said March 1 they’ve seen an uptick in the number of commercial Dungeness crab cases in North Coast waters in the past few months. Since Dec. 9, 2021, there have been seven cases regarding possession of undersize crabs by commercial crab fishermen, according to the CDFW. “Commercial Dungeness crab fishermen are expected to measure their entire catch and keep only crabs that are equal to or greater than 6 ¼ inches, which is slightly more than the required 5 ¾ width required of recreational crabbers,” officials said in a statement. “There is a provision in the law to authorize possession of no more than one percent of the catch to be undersize.” In all seven cases, citations were written, t...
Hawaii’s Restricted Bottomfish Areas Reopened by BLNR

Hawaii’s Restricted Bottomfish Areas Reopened by BLNR

On Feb. 25, Hawaii’s Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) approved the re-opening of eight restricted areas that had been closed to fishing since 2007. The re-openings were effective immediately. This follows a similar action from nearly three years ago, when four of the 12 total Bottomfish Restricted Fishing Areas (BFRA) were reopened for both commercial and non-commercial fishing of Deep-7 bottomfish species, among Hawai‘i’s most popular fish for consumption. In its presentation to the BLNR regarding the reopening, the agency’s Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) said it “believes that opening of all 12 of the BFRAs (four opened as of July 2019), will not adversely affect the overall sustainability of the Main Hawaiian Island (MHI) Deep-7 fishery, and will be a benefit to local...
USCG Uncovers  Illegal Halibut Catch  Near Kodiak, Alaska

USCG Uncovers Illegal Halibut Catch Near Kodiak, Alaska

A U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement boarding team discovered illegally caught fish about 12 nautical miles northeast of Kodiak, Alaska on Feb. 19, officials said. The crew of Coast Guard cutter Bailey Barco, homeported in Ketchikan, Alaska, boarded the 38-foot fishing vessel Competition and discovered 18 halibut and one lingcod onboard that were retained while the season was closed. The crew seized the catch; those aboard the Competition crew are suspected of violating three regulations—possession of halibut during a closed fishery, operating beyond three nautical miles with an expired radio beacon hydrostatic release and not having a current commercial fishing vessel safety examination. The cutter crew transferred the seized catch to NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement in Kodiak,...
Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Sets Control Date for Growing Commercial Market Squid Fishery

Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Sets Control Date for Growing Commercial Market Squid Fishery

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has set Jan. 1, 2022 as the control date should it consider a limited-entry structure for the state’s growing commercial market squid fishery in the future. This means that if the commission decides to change from an open access to limited entry fishery in the future, only commercial fishermen participating before Jan. 1 of this year could be considered for permits allocated based on historical participation. Commercial market squid is a relatively new fishery for Oregon, but is growing in popularity, leading to concerns about the resource’s sustainability. Also during its February meeting, the commission directed Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) staff to come back with a proposal to prohibit light boats in the fishery beginning in 20...
Coast Guard Patrols EEZ in Partnership with Samoa

Coast Guard Patrols EEZ in Partnership with Samoa

Working with the government of Samoa, crews from the U.S. Coast Guard vessels Juniper (WLB 201) and Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126) conducted security patrol operations in Samoa’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) throughout February to protect fisheries and other natural resources. The crews helped fill the operational presence needed to deter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing while Samoa’s Nafanua II patrol boat is out of service. “We always look forward to assisting our partners in the region,” Cmdr. Jeff Bryant, the 14th District’s chief of enforcement, said. “The United States offered to assist the government of Samoa by providing security and sovereignty operations in Samoan waters due to the absence of their patrol boat.” The cutters have been underway in Oceania supporting Ope...
Kurland Succeeds Balsiger as NOAA Regional Administrator for Alaska

Kurland Succeeds Balsiger as NOAA Regional Administrator for Alaska

NOAA Fisheries veteran Jon Kurland has been named by the agency as the new regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries’ Alaska Region, succeeding Jim Balsiger, who is retiring after 21 years in that post. Kurland’s tenure began March 27 as head of the agency’s regulatory and management programs for fisheries, marine mammals and habitat conservation, including managing about 105 employees and 20 contractors and other affiliates. The Alaska regional office is located in Juneau, with field staff in offices in Anchorage, Kodiak and Dutch Harbor. Kurland’s staff works with its counterpart, the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, in science-based stewardship of living marine resources and their habitats in the waters of the North Pacific and Arctic oceans off of Alaska. “Alaska’s waters support ...
Seafood Processors Association Applying  for Processing Facility Grant Funding

Seafood Processors Association Applying for Processing Facility Grant Funding

The West Coast Seafood Processors Association has joined with the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay to seek grant funding for a feasibility study that would evaluate opportunities to construct a multi-user byproduct recovery center on port property. Among the goals of the proposed multi-user facility, according to the association and port, would be supporting the local and regional seafood processing industry by reducing capital and operational costs associated with treating wastewater from the individual processing facilities. The project also would create opportunities to recover organic material and improve the sustainability of wastewater treatment. The aim—to identify ways to treat the material, allowing it to be re-used rather than sent to landfills. Due to increased regulat...
Seafood For Heroes Program Provides Meals for Ukrainian First Responders

Seafood For Heroes Program Provides Meals for Ukrainian First Responders

The Seafood For Heroes program, organized and managed through the Napa Seafood Foundation, is using donations from seafood companies to provide healthy meals to first responders in Ukraine through the World Central Kitchen. The program, established in the early days of the global COVID-19 pandemic, initially allowed participants to give back to first responders and health care workers on the front lines. “When COVID hit, we got together as a group and said, ‘What can we do?’,” explained The Food Group CEO Mark Cotter, a board member for the Napa Seafood Foundation. Cotter said the original idea was to help healthcare and frontline workers laboring under difficult conditions, along with the struggling restaurant industry. The program provided money and ingredients for meals to restaura...

Alaska Togiak Herring Forecast is Robust

Alaska state fisheries biologists are predicting a 2022 mature herring biomass of 357,536 tons of sac roe herring at Togiak, the highest forecast since an age-structured assessment model was first used for the 1993 forecast. Under a 20% exploitation rate, the 2022 potential harvest is 71,507 tons in all fisheries and 65,107 tons in the Togiak sac roe fisheries, both purse seine and gillnet. Fishery managers said that due to the more normal cold winter, including ice, the first fishery would likely occur about the first part of May. The forecast is primarily due to the largest estimated recruitment of age-4 fish on record in 2021, preceded by another large recruitment event in 2020. These cohorts are projected to make up an even larger portion of the population in 2022 due to increasing...
USDA Awarding $50 Million in Grants to Support the Seafood Industry

USDA Awarding $50 Million in Grants to Support the Seafood Industry

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced an investment of about $50 million in grants to support facilities and vessels through the Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety Block Grant Program (SPRS). The funding, which was announced in mid-February and is to be distributed through state agencies, is to help defray costs incurred by seafood processing facilities and processing vessels preparing for, preventing exposure to, and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is funded as part of pandemic assistance provided in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. SPRS recipients include state agencies, commissions or departments responsible for agriculture, fisheries, wildlife, seafood, commercial processing or related commerce activities. West Coast an...