Issue: September 2022

From the Editor: Tackling Illegal Fishing

From the Editor: Tackling Illegal Fishing

In the June issue of Fishermen’s News, we ran a lengthy feature article on illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and how, for multiple reasons, such fishing is a leading global maritime security threat. Well, as a follow up to that report, I’m happy to report this news: the United States is strengthening its commitment to combating IUU fishing. In late June, at the United Nations Ocean Conference in Portugal, the U.S. made a series of announcements that elevates the country’s commitment to combat IUU fishing and the labor abuses associated with it. In conjunction with the announcements, President Biden signed memorandum addressing IUU fishing and related harmful fishing practices. Among the measures that the Biden administration spells out in the memorandum are that the ...
UW Study Supports ‘Safety in Numbers’ Hypothesis for Pacific Salmon

UW Study Supports ‘Safety in Numbers’ Hypothesis for Pacific Salmon

A University of Washington study published in late June found that Pacific salmon in large groups face a lower risk of being consumed by predators, although for some salmon species that tradeoff means more competition for food. While most people think of salmon spawning in freshwater streams, they also spend a huge amount of time in the ocean feeding and growing, said Anne Polyakov, lead author of the study, which was published in the journal Science Advances. “One of the reasons why this study is so unique is that we essentially can’t observe these fish at all in their natural ocean environment, and yet we’re able to pull out these really strong results on how grouping affects predation risk and foraging success for individual fish using this incredibly valuable dataset,” said Polyako...
Tax Credit Program for Seafood Processors Extended

Tax Credit Program for Seafood Processors Extended

Legislation signed in early July extends the sunset date for an Alaska tax credit program for seafood processors that bring value-added product to market. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, continues the tax credit for salmon and herring value-added products until Jan. 1, 2027 and also allows tax credits for products from other Alaska fish species. The program, the Alaska Salmon Product Development Tax Credit, is credited as a major reason for the boost in the commercial value of Alaska seafood since its inception in 2003. Data compiled by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and the Pacific Seafood Processors Association concludes that $114.4 million in new revenue has been generated from the program. Stevens said that the new law extends the ability for Al...
Public Comment Sought on Reducing Mortality for Red King Crab, Snow Crab

Public Comment Sought on Reducing Mortality for Red King Crab, Snow Crab

Federal fisheries managers are seeking public comment through Sept. 23 on how to reduce fishing-related mortality for Eastern Bering Sea snow crab and Bristol Bay red king crab. A notice published by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in the Federal Register on July 14 invites comments to be posted online at “Request for Information (RFI) – Bristol Bay Red King Crab and Eastern Bering Sea Snow Crab” (found online at www.federalregister.gov). The National Marine Fisheries Service notified the council in October of 2021 that Eastern Bering Sea Snow crab’s status had been changed to overfished. The Eastern Bering Sea snow crab assessment showed that mature male biomass was 50,600 metric tons, less than the minimum stock size threshold of 76,700 metric tons. Total snow crab m...
Feds Acknowledge, Take No Action  on Plan to Store Fish in Columbia River

Feds Acknowledge, Take No Action on Plan to Store Fish in Columbia River

White House officials have recognized that two new reports aimed at restoring salmon and steelhead populations in the Columbia River meet federal and state clean energy goals, but say what is really needed is a long-term strategy to manage the river basin. The first report was written by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with input from the Nez Perce Tribe and the state of Oregon. Actions identified propose significant reductions in direct and indirect mortality from mainstem dams, including breaching one or more Lower Snake River dams. State and tribal fish managers were expected to review the report over a 30-day period. The second report was commissioned by the Energy Department’s Bonneville Power Administration and conducted by E3, a private consulting fi...

Wildfire Destroys Pebble Mine Prospect Supply Camp

Heatwole said the company, part of  Northern Dynasty Minerals, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, was notified of the damage done by the Upper Talarik fire by the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center. PLP had been working with the group for a few weeks since fires were spotted in the area and there were signs they could spread toward the supply camp.  Heatwole said it’s worth noting that the camp was not for a mine in Bristol Bay, but rather to support the company’s exploration drilling, maintenance, reclamation and environmental studies. “We are what the industry calls an advanced exploration project,” he said. Employees who work at the site are housed in the nearby communities of Iliamna and Newhalen and flown by helicopter to work daily. There were no employees present at the ...

Norton Sound Fishermen Harvest 308,623 Pounds of Red King Crab

Alaska’s only summer red king crab fishery concluded on July 24, with the entire guideline harvest of 308,623 pounds of the succulent crab delivered by Norton Sound small boat fishermen, with retail prices commanding up to $74.95 a pound. Biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said in mid-July that they expected that given the catch rate for the open access fishery which began on June 15, the quota would be achieved.    Eight permit holders for the 2022 winter commercial fishery harvested 7,357 pounds of the 27,328-pound guideline harvest level for the winter fishery. According to ADF&G biologists, the average weight of the king crab caught in this fishery was about 2.8 pounds. The total Norton Sound red king crab guideline harvest level is 341,600 pounds, with 7.5...
Demise of Yukon River Chum Salmon Remains Point of Contention

Demise of Yukon River Chum Salmon Remains Point of Contention

On a cool, cloudy summer day at Emmonak, on Alaska’s Lower Yukon River, not a single commercial fishing boat was delivering its catch to Kwik’Pak Fisheries. Instead, families along the lower Yukon were awaiting delivery of state-donated sockeye salmon being sent to them by Kwik’Pak, a subsidiary of the Yukon Delta Fisheries Development Association, which had received a fresh batch of some 5,000 pounds of sockeyes. Another 6,800 pounds of sockeyes, also purchased by the state of Alaska from a processor, were delivered to the Tanana Chiefs Conference in Fairbanks, for delivery to communities along the upper Yukon River.  The problem with the demise of Yukon River chums, known for their rich Omega-3 oils, dates back to 2020. When the fish didn’t show up in numbers justifying any harvests,...
SNP Urges Stronger Focus on Seafood Nutrition

SNP Urges Stronger Focus on Seafood Nutrition

The value of seafood nutrition needs to be included in the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health as part of the strategy to end hunger, increase healthy eating and reduce diet-related diseases, members of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership say. That advice came in SNP’s response to a White House request for public comment in advance of finalizing that strategy at the Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health set for September. “After learning that we can reduce our risks of heart disease by 30-50% with eating more seafood, and the breadth of science on seafood nutrition, I made it my personal mission to share this information as widely as possible, Seafood Nutrition Partnership President Linda Cornish said. “What we eat matters to our health and seafood is a vital par...

Offshore Wind Update 2022

A lot has happened since the Biden administration in May 2021 announced that California’s northern and central coasts would be open to offshore wind development, identifying two areas in particular: Morro Bay and Humboldt Call. The idea was to pursue the development of floating offshore wind platforms off the California coast as part of the Biden administration’s overall goal of generating 30 gigawatts of domestic offshore wind by 2030. The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is the lead agency on offshore wind. This past May, the department announced offshore wind lease sales for the first time on the West Coast. The Proposed Sale Notice, published May 31 in the Federal Register, includes three proposed lease areas in the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area i...