Issue: November/December 2021

From the Editor: SoCal Commercial Fishing  is In Crisis

From the Editor: SoCal Commercial Fishing is In Crisis

Before this summer, commercial fishing in Southern California was already at a disadvantage compared to other areas along the West Coast due to various factors. But the massive oil spill off the coast of Orange County in early October, in addition to an acute backlog of dozens of container ships anchored near the Long Beach and Los Angeles seaports, may be helping put the SoCal commercial fishing industry in a state of crisis. It truly doesn’t bode well for commercial fishing communities in Los Angeles and Orange counties if the fishing waters off the coast are soiled by thick globs of oil. Not to mention the fact that shipping lanes are so clogged that ultra-large container vessels have to drop anchor in and around those lanes several nautical miles before they arrive at their desti...
Feds, States Pouring Millions of Dollars into Boosting Declining Pacific Salmon, Steelhead Runs

Feds, States Pouring Millions of Dollars into Boosting Declining Pacific Salmon, Steelhead Runs

For Alaska’s Bristol Bay salmon commercial fishery, 2021 was another robust season, with deliveries of an estimated 40.5 million of the Bay’s famed wild sockeyes. Statewide through late September, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s preliminary harvest data showed 226.3 million salmon delivered to processors, including 156.5 million pinks, nearly 55 million sockeyes, 12 million chums, 2.4 million cohos and 247,000 Chinooks. Still, there were signs of concern even in Bristol Bay which, with its nine major river systems, comprises the largest commercial sockeye salmon-producing region in the world. “In Bristol Bay, average size is at 4.5 pounds per sockeye this year, down from 5.1 pounds in 2020,” fisheries consultant Dan Lesh noted in a late July report for McKinley Research Gr...
Fishing Gear Recycling Reaches 1M Pounds

Fishing Gear Recycling Reaches 1M Pounds

Net Your Problem, a Seattle-based company whose goal is recycling end-of-life fishing gear into new products, has reached the one-million-pound mark with its latest collection of old discarded nets at Dutch Harbor, Alaska. “I feel like I am just cracking the ice on what’s available,” said Nicole Baker, the founder, Pacific Northwest division coordinator and recycler liaison for NYP. “I’ve only been doing this in a couple of places in Alaska primarily, and we have the whole rest of the U.S. to go.” The former North Pacific groundfish fisheries observer first became interested in recycling discarded commercial fishing gear a couple of years after she finished her work as an observer, when she heard about a Danish company that was recycling old fish nets into new products. “And I thou...
450 Shark Fins Uncovered in International Fisheries Boardings in North Pacific

450 Shark Fins Uncovered in International Fisheries Boardings in North Pacific

An international boarding team of maritime inspectors from Canada, South Korea and the United States Coast Guard cutter Bertholf uncovered 450 shark fins and 32 potential conservation and management violations during recent annual efforts of Operation North Pacific Guard. The event is a coordinated effort with cooperating Pacific Rim nations working to counter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. From the beginning of September through Oct. 5, the partners, operating aboard the Bertholf, boarded 15 fishing vessels registered to fish within the Western and Centra; Pacific Fisheries Commission and North Pacific Fisheries Commission convention areas, the Coast Guard said. Potential violations ranged from use of prohibited gear and failure to maintain records of catch to improper v...
Consumer Preferences, Health Concerns, Boost Canned Salmon Market Growth

Consumer Preferences, Health Concerns, Boost Canned Salmon Market Growth

Canned salmon is seeing an upsurge in demand, thanks to increased consumption of seafood for its health benefits, according to a new report by the industry intelligence and market research firm Fact.MR. The report notes that canned salmon is a great source of essential nutrients such as protein, as well as vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. Canned salmon has a unique flavor with a less fishy taste compared to other varieties of fish, the report states. It can be offered in various forms such as smoked, sauteed grilled, steamed and poached, making it a natural for breakfast meals and salads. Consumption of highly nutritional seafood like salmon also helps to prevent various chronic diseases like heart disease, reduces the risk of stroke, cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma...
At-Sea Exercises Strengthen U.S.-Japan Maritime Bond

At-Sea Exercises Strengthen U.S.-Japan Maritime Bond

Joint at-sea exercises at Dutch Harbor, Alaska, Hawaii, Japan’s Ogasawara Islands and in the North Joint at-sea exercises at Dutch Harbor, Alaska, Hawaii, the North Pacific Ocean and Japan’s Ogasawara Islands are helping to strengthen maritime cooperation and mutual respect between the United States and Japan, U.S. Coast Guard officials say. Over the past year, the U.S. and Japan have shared exercises between Coast Guard cutters and their Japanese counterparts several times, the latest being in late September between the Coast Guard Cutter Kimball and the Japanese Military Special Defense Forces, aboard their Naval Training Vessel Kashima in the Aleutian Chain near Dutch Harbor. Capt. Thomas D’Arcy, commanding officer of the Kimball, said his crew welcomed the opportunity to meet the K...
Study: No Apparent Shortage of Chinook Salmon for Southern Resident Killer Whales

Study: No Apparent Shortage of Chinook Salmon for Southern Resident Killer Whales

Research results published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences show that the number of Chinook salmon in the Salish Sea in summer months are four to six times more abundant for southern resident killer whales than northern resident killer whales. The research, published on Tuesday, Oct. 12, debunks a popular belief that there are fewer Chinook salmon during the summer in Canadian waters for southern resident killer whales compared to an abundance of fish for northern resident killer whales. “People have been talking about a prey shortage as if it’s a fact, but this is the first study to quantify and compare the amount of their preferred prey, Chinook salmon, available to southern and northern resident killer whales,” said lead author Mei Sato, who was a research ass...
Ropeless Gear – Into the Unknown

Ropeless Gear – Into the Unknown

In 2015 and 2016, unfavorable conditions in the eastern Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California resulted in a spike in interactions between fishing operations and whales. In a memo released in March of this year, NOAA reported 61 entanglements in 2015 and 70 in 2016. That same memo noted the commercial Dungeness crab accounted for a significant number of entanglements which could be confirmed to a specific trap fishery—73 between 1982 and 2017. Litigation was initiated against the director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) alleging “[he] has caused and is causing the illegal ‘take’ of threatened and endangered humpback whales, endangered blue whales, and endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtles” in violation of Section 9 of the Endangered...
ODFW to Consider Dungeness Crab Fishery Management Plan

ODFW to Consider Dungeness Crab Fishery Management Plan

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission on Oct. 15 adopted regulations implementing the Oregon Dungeness Crab Fishery Management Plan. That plan describes the status of Dungeness crab and the department’s management of the bay and ocean commercial crab fisheries, and the bays and ocean recreational crab fishery. The conservation plan considered by the commission in September is limited to the ocean commercial sector and mitigation of entanglements of protected marine species. Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife officials noted that Oregon’s Dungeness crab fishery forms the economic backbone of commercial fishing activity along the Oregon coast, including tourism, recreational crabbing and the seafood industry. They said that the FMP provides a transparent reference for the rationale behi...
Pollock Producers Board Invests $1.6M in Innovative Products

Pollock Producers Board Invests $1.6M in Innovative Products

A key market promoter of wild Alaska Pollock says its partners are preparing to launch new products featuring the nutritious, sustainable white fish. The announcement was made in mid-September by the Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP), which recently awarded over $1.6 million in funding to 14 partners that are engaged in creating new products. GAPP’s chief executive officer, Craig Morris, said competition ranged from the Hawaiian firm Okuhara Foods to a luxury branded retailer and a significant foodservice distributor. “You’re going to see wild Alaska Pollock products popping up in countless new ways, places and menus in the coming year thanks to these partners and their vision for our fish,” he said. In addition to new partners, GAPP focused on new products — especially in the gr...