Issue: November 2022

Commerce Dept. Allocates $17.4M For West Coast Fisheries Disasters

Commerce Dept. Allocates $17.4M For West Coast Fisheries Disasters

Six tribal entities have been awarded $17.4 million by the U.S. Department of Commerce for salmon fisheries that from 2014 to 2019 have been determined to be disasters. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo made the announcement in early September. She said it is her hope that the disaster declaration will help affected tribes recover and increase their ability to combat such challenges in the future. In order to allocate funds across the eligible disasters, NOAA Fisheries used data on commercial revenue loss. The agency also took into consideration traditional uses that cannot be accounted for in revenue losses alone, such as cultural and subsistence uses. The funds went to the: 2019 Fraser River & Skagit River Salmon Fisheries (the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Tulali...
Bristol Bay Marks Record Run & Salmon Harvested

Bristol Bay Marks Record Run & Salmon Harvested

The 2022 inshore Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run of 79 million fish proved the largest inshore run on record, with harvesters delivering 60.1 million reds to processors, the largest harvest on record, with the preliminary exvessel value estimated at $351.7 million, data show. According to Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists, the ex-vessel value —the price paid to harvesters—is based on major buyers’ base price and do not include future price adjustments for icing, bleeding, floating or production bonuses. The run itself was 81% above the 43.6 million average run for the latest 20-year period (2002-2021), and was just the fourth time on record that the Bristol Bay inshore sockeye salmon run has exceeded 60 million fish, data show. State fisheries biologists said all sockeye sa...
Study Notes Potential Impact of Climate Change on Maritime Boundaries

Study Notes Potential Impact of Climate Change on Maritime Boundaries

A new study released Sept. 12 concludes that the rules for atolls and coral reefs in international law of the sea, already subject to interpretation due to their shifting nature, will be under greater stress as sea levels rise and ocean acidification disrupts reef integrity. These reef islands, found across the Indo-Pacific, are already growing and shrinking due to complex biological and physical processes yet to be fully understood. Now climate change is leading to new uncertainties for legal maritime zones and small island states, according to the University of Sydney study, which was published in Environmental Research Letters. Thomas Fellowes, a postdoctoral research associate at the university and the lead author of the paper, called the situation “a perfect storm that is bringing...
Mature Snow Crab Struggling in Eastern Bering Sea,  But Immature Numbers Rising

Mature Snow Crab Struggling in Eastern Bering Sea, But Immature Numbers Rising

A NOAA Fisheries analysis, released Sept. 2, of the summer survey of Bering Sea crab stocks has concluded that in the wake of consecutive years of record warm temperatures, numbers of mature male and female snow crab are still down, but there’s a significant increase in immature snow crab abundance. “Depending on how many of these young crabs actually survive to adulthood, this could be one bright spot for the fishing industry in a few years,” said Mike Litzow, survey lead and director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s Kodiak Laboratory. “We are providing these early results to stock assessment scientists and resource managers to inform science and management discussions that will occur over the next few months to identify fishery management measures for the 2023 fishing year,” ...

Sunken Fishing Vessel Raised Off San Juan Island

A commercial fishing vessel that sank near Washington’s San Juan Island on Aug. 13, with estimated 2,600 gallons of diesel and oil on board, was successfully lifted to the surface as part of a lengthy process that ended the evening of Saturday, Sept. 17. The lifting of the Aleutian Isle began during that weekend afternoon and continued late into the night. The Coast Guard said after the vessel was brought to the surface that the crew began the complicated task of dewatering and removing fuel. The vessel was partially dewatered and approximately 775 gallons of oily-water liquids were removed, but crews were unable to safely access all spaces and completely dewater the vessel.   The Aleutian Isle is now floating with assistance from the barge DB-24. The incident commander, Coast Guard C...
Oregon OA, Hypoxia Levels Steadily Increasing: Report

Oregon OA, Hypoxia Levels Steadily Increasing: Report

A new report delivered to Oregon legislators by the Oregon Coordinating Council on Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia says that impacts of ocean acidification and hypoxia are now predictable every summer. That steady increase in acidification is approaching or meeting levels problematic not only for oysters, but for crab, mussels, urchins, salmon rockfish and other species, according to the report from the Oregon Coordinating Council on Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia (OAH Council). The diverse stakeholder group provides science-based recommendations to legislators in Oregon. Since it was created by legislators in 2017, the OAH Council has worked to understand, mitigate and adapt to changing ocean conditions and associated negative impacts. Over the last two years, the OAH Council invest...
Fishing Industry Pinpointed as Common Culprit in Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Fishing Industry Pinpointed as Common Culprit in Great Pacific Garbage Patch

A new study on the gigantic garbage patch floating in the North Pacific Ocean points to a major source of that trash: the fishing industry.   To date, the trash pile, also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, has accumulated some 80,000 tons of plastic waste and that estimate continues to climb, according to an article in Popular Science, which sites the study by six researchers from the Netherlands. Most of that litter in the ocean is delivered by way of rivers that carry waste and human pollution from land to sea, but the origin of floating debris in offshore areas is not fully understood. An analysis of the garbage by the nonprofit project Ocean Cleanup found that 75-86% of the floating plastics come from offshore fishing and aquaculture activities, with the U.S., Japan, China...
EPA Extends Consideration Period for Proposed Pebble Mine

EPA Extends Consideration Period for Proposed Pebble Mine

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has extended its consideration period for proposed restrictions on mining at the proposed Pebble mine site in Southwest Alaska, this time until Dec. 2. The comment period was originally set to end in July, then continued to early September. While the comment period is now closed, the EPA is giving itself additional time to render a decision. The crux of the issue is the potential adverse impact of the mine on the Bristol Bay watershed, home of the world’s largest run of sockeye salmon. The 2022 season was a record breaker for the millions of salmon caught in Bristol Bay, providing thousands of jobs to workers and millions of dollars to the industry and economy of Alaska. The EPA is currently faced with whether to withdraw proposed restrictions ...
Growth in Protein Demand is Driving the Global Aquaculture Sector

Growth in Protein Demand is Driving the Global Aquaculture Sector

A new analysis from the San Antonio, Texas research firm Frost & Sullivan says innovation in aquaculture technologies and smart farming methodologies are revolutionizing the sector and generating billions of dollars in revenue streams. The company predicts that the market will garner $415.82 billion in revenue by 2030, up from $284.63 billion in 2021, an uptick at a compound annual growth rate of 4.3%. According to Frost and Sullivan research analyst Akheela Dhiman, the aquaculture industry has fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, after facing the most intense impact in the first half of 2020. Dhiman said that with reopening of hotels, restaurants and cafes since and recovery in global household demand have revived the aquaculture industry. To take advantage of the expandi...
Hawaii Longline Fishery Achieves Global Sustainability Certification

Hawaii Longline Fishery Achieves Global Sustainability Certification

The Hawaii Longline Association’s (HLA) swordfish, bigeye and yellowfin tuna fishery has achieved certification for sustainable fishing practices, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) announced in mid-September. The certification follows a rigorous 16-month review carried out by third-party assessment group Control Union UK Limited. The fishery is the first from Hawaii to enter the MSC program. The MSC Fisheries Standard is a globally recognized standard used to assess if a fishery is well-managed, and reflects the most up-to-date understanding of internationally accepted fisheries science and management. The Fisheries Standard has three core principles that every certified fishery must meet including: 1) sustainable fish stocks, 2) minimizing environmental impact, and 3) effective fish...