Tue. May 26 2020

Another COVID-19 First: Five Key Surveys Canceled in Alaska, Sablefish Survey Still Planned


Seafood Worker is First in Valdez to Test Positive for COVID-19, Brings Industry Total to Eight


Massive Fire Hits San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf, City’s Seafood Industry Takes Another Blow


Russian Leading Fish Producer RRPK Accelerates Domestic and Foreign Expansion  


Gulf of Mexico Shrimpers Harvest Another 2 Million Pounds in April  


Alaska Fishermen Give Guidance on Virus Relief Funds


JAPAN: Marine Products Demand Down; Industry Organizations Demand Support


ASMI Japan Campaign: "Eat Alaskan Seafood and Boost your Immunity!"  


Patron Saint of Salmon  


SeafoodNews.com Summary Tuesday, May 26


Fri. May 22 2020

AK COVID-19 Cases Increase at Snail’s Pace, Seafood Communities and Industry Hyper Aware of Threat


AK Sen. Sullivan Talks COVID-19, At-sea Observers, Russian Embargo, and China Trade War


Two Fishery Management Council Agendas to Focus on COVID-19 Effects on Fisheries, Management


US, China Continue to Implement Phase One Trade Agreement


REPORT: Pacific Seafood Temporarily Lays Off About 20% of Workforce


Texas Issues Guidelines to Boost Oyster Farming Industry  


Plant-Based Seafood Brand Good Catch Gets Some Star Power With Celebrity Investors


Has the Coronavirus Caused Consumers to Adopt New Eating Behaviors?


NC Commercial Fishing Resource Fund Launches New Public Relations Campaign Called 'Always NC Fresh'


SeafoodNews Not Publishing on Monday, May 25


BigFish Brand Introduces Two New Fish Cakes to its Lineup in the UK  


Kelp, Shellfish Farming Expands to More Remote AK Regions  


SeafoodNews.com Summary Friday, May 22


Thu. May 21 2020

DFO Announces First Season-Long Fishing Closure in Gulf After North Atlantic Right Whale Sightings  


April Restaurants Sales Hit Lowest Point in 35 Years


Thai Union Reopens Plant in Ghana, Says Positive COVID-19 Cases Lower Than Initially Reported


ANALYSIS: Opportunity for Chinese Catfish with Tight Domestic Supply  


Florida Seafood Business Owners Break Down Reopening Process, Impacts of COVID-19


Conservation Group, Ocean Gold Get S-K Funding for Nearshore Pelagics Study  


China’s Seafood Imports are Recovering Better in the Fishing Off-Season  


Greenpeace Sounds Alarm as COVID-19 Guidelines Push for Restaurants to Use Disposables


Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon Launches New Marketing Program Website


Initial Unemployment Claims Decrease from Previous Week's Level


Make Your Favorite Restaurant Dish at Home; Restaurants Turn to Meal Kits During Pandemic  


Norwegian Seafood Council Sees Industry Playing Key Role Post COVID-19 Shutdown


Entangled Humpback Whale Freed in Monterey Bay


Bakkafrost Orders New Hybrid Wellboat to Lower Carbon Footprint


Aquaculture Stewardship Council Investigates Illegal Use of Sustainability Certificate


SeafoodNews.com Summary Thursday, May 21


Wed. May 20 2020

First Week of Copper River Sockeye Landings Fall Short of Pre-Season Forecasts


Canned NMFS Response to West Coast Observer Waiver Requests Irks Industry  


FDA, USDA Announce Memorandum of Understanding to Protect Supply Chains During COVID-19


Sablefish Season in Prince William Sound Extended to End of Year


SalMar Hits Record Earnings in Q1 2020, Central Norway Business Performs Well  


Copper River Opens to Low Catches/Prices, High at Retail, Early Updates  


Austral Fisheries Launches Start-up Accelerator to Support Future Seafood Innovation


New Show Dates Announced for Pacific Marine Expo and Seafood Expo Asia


CBP Seizes Illegally Harvested Seafood Imports at Hidalgo International Bridge


NOAA Awards Grants to 8 Projects in Greater Atlantic Region Through Saltonstall-Kennedy Program  


Captain D’s Opens New Location in Texas, But Keeps Dining Room Closed Due to Coronavirus


Atlantic Natural Foods Ramping Up Production in U.S. and Thailand


SeafoodNews.com Summary Wednesday, May 20


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Another COVID-19 First: Five Key Surveys Canceled in Alaska, Sablefish Survey Still Planned

In an “unprecedented” move, NOAA Fisheries alerted the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council last Friday that it is cancelling five critical surveys this year in Alaska. 

“Due to the uncertainties created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the unique challenges those are creating for the agency” the Aleutian Islands bottom trawl survey, the eastern Bering Sea bottom trawl survey, the northern Bering Sea bottom trawl survey, the Bering Sea pollock acoustics survey, and the Fall Ecosystem Survey have all been cancelled. 

The annual Alaska Longline Survey ...

Full Story »

Massive Fire Hits San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf, City’s Seafood Industry Takes Another Blow

A four-alarm fire erupted at the San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf on May 23, leading to the collapse of a warehouse full of fishing gear.

The 100-foot high blaze took out Shed C on Pier 45 with no injuries or deaths reported as 150 firefighters were on the scene to battle the blaze, the San Francisco Fire Department said the cause remains under investigation.

The fishing industry in San Francisco, already reeling from the impacts of COVID-19, was dealt another bad hand...

Full Story »

Seafood Worker is First in Valdez to Test Positive for COVID-19, Brings Industry Total to Eight

Update: COVID-19 and Alaska’s Salmon Season

More evidence that the seafood industry’s protocols against COVID-19 are working was announced on Friday with the first positive case in Valdez of an asymptomatic seafood worker.

"The patient was identified as part of a routine employer screening put in place specifically to protect their workforce and our community,” Dr. Angela Alfaro, physician consultant to the Valdez Unified Command, said on Friday.

The contact/trace investigation is ongoing. 

Louisa Castrodal of Alaska’s epidemiological task force ...

Full Story »

Russian Leading Fish Producer RRPK Accelerates Domestic and Foreign Expansion  

The Russian Fishery Company (RRPK), one of the country’s largest fish producers, is accelerating expansion both in the domestic and foreign markets, despite the ongoing spread of COVID-19 and the negative consequences for economics, the company said in an exclusive interview with SeafoodNews.  

According to RRPK, while the pandemic had a negative impact on the global economy and fish market, the company was able to flexibly respond to all challenges, which allowed them to achieve record-breaking catch in its history this year...

 

Full Story »

Gulf of Mexico Shrimpers Harvest Another 2 Million Pounds in April

Despite the pandemic, shrimpers in the Gulf of Mexico increased their shrimp landings in April.

The National Marine Fisheries Service Fishery Monitoring Branch of the Southeast Fisheries Science Center released data last week that showed 2.2 million pounds of landings -- the third year in a row they were down for the month of April. The situation was similar in March. The April landings also were 18.5 percent lower than the prior 18-year historical average of 2.8 million pounds for April...

Full Story »

Alaska Fishermen Give Guidance on Virus Relief Funds

A rapid response by nearly 800 Alaska fishermen will provide a guideline for giving them a hand up as the coronavirus swamps their operations.             

An online survey from April 14-May 3 by Juneau-based nonprofit SalmonState asked fishermen about their primary concerns both before the Covid outbreak and in the midst of the pandemic in April. It also asked what elected officials at local, state and federal levels can do to help them directly.

Over half of the 817 responses came in over four days, said Tyson Fick, Salmon State communications...

Full Story »

ASMI Japan Campaign: "Eat Alaskan Seafood and Boost your Immunity!" 

Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) Japan uploaded four recipes on "Kurashinisuta," an online life information portal. Following the Alaskan seafood introduction, which is 100% wild and sustainable, the page reminds the audience that the ingredients of many traditional Japanese meals have been incorporating a variety of Alaskan seafood for a long time. Grilled sockeye salmon and Pacific cod are used in popular pot dishes, as well as surimi products using Alaska pollock. Those kinds of seafood are very nutritious and rich with high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals...

Full Story »

AK COVID-19 Cases Increase at Snail’s Pace, Seafood Communities and Industry Hyper Aware of Threat

Alaska’s COVID-19 curve resembles the ripple in a pond -- high where the rock hit the water back in April, with much lower wave crests as the ripple comes to shore. Today’s projected curve shows a slight increase in the coming weeks, with more fishermen and processing workers arriving. The state reported three additional cases this week.

People in Alaska’s coastal communities are as familiar with the changing data as they are with the day’s weather report. Of interest in most fishing towns...

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Two Fishery Management Council Agendas to Focus on COVID-19 Effects on Fisheries, Management

Concerns relating to the coronavirus have meant many state, federal and international fishery management meetings have gone virtual. But now two of those meetings are tackling COVID-19's direct effect on fisheries and fisheries management.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is seeking input on COVID-19 impacts on fisheries and management when it meets virtually for its June 2020 meeting. The council may also consider management changes to ease those impacts.

"We aim to gather input from fishermen and those involved in...

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REPORT: Pacific Seafood Temporarily Lays Off About 20% of Workforce

Pacific Seafood has reportedly laid off about 20% of their workforce. The news was first reported by the Catholic Sentinel.

“New realities are setting in,” CEO Frank Dulcich told the outlet. “It’s horrible and it’s emotional. These people who come to your teams are essentially saying they like you and they trust you to make good decisions for their livelihoods. It took 35 years to build this company up and six weeks to dismantle part of it.”

Based in Oregon, the seafood company employs approximately...

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Plant-Based Seafood Brand Good Catch Gets Some Star Power With Celebrity Investors

Lance Bass wants you to “buy, buy, buy” plant-based seafood.  

The *NSYNC alum, as well as “Zombieland” actor Woody Harrelson, “Big Little Lies” actress Shailene Woodley, and heiress Paris Hilton, are the latest investors in plant-based seafood brand Good Catch.

Good Catch, founded by chefs Derek and Chad Sarno, has been shaking up the retail space with plant-based alternatives to seafood, including fish-free tuna, plant-based fish burgers, plant-based crab cakes, and plant-based fish cakes...

Full Story »

NC Commercial Fishing Resource Fund Launches New Public Relations Campaign Called 'Always NC Fresh'

The NC Commercial Fishing Resource Fund this week launched a statewide public relations campaign called Always NC Fresh. The goal of the campaign is to increase awareness of commercial fishing and fishermen, support existing sustainable fishing practices and help commercial fishermen communicate their contributions – economic, cultural and environmental – to the state and its citizens.

"The Always NC Fresh public relations campaign could not have come at a better time as many of our fishermen have been hit hard by the impacts of COVID-19...

Full Story »

BigFish Brand Introduces Two New Fish Cakes to its Lineup in the UK

Seeking something a little sweet? Or rather, some slmon with a sweet potato twist?

JCS Fish has introduced two new frozen fish cakes to its BigFish range: Salmon & Sweet Potato and Thai Salmon & Sweet Potato.

Both recipes are unique to BigFish and combine sweet potato, herbs and spices with a generous proportion of responsibly sourced salmon, according to the company. The Thai fish cake is a zestier version with an Eastern Thai seasoning that includes lime, coriander and lemongrass. Both are free of artificial additives...

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DFO Announces First Season-Long Fishing Closure in Gulf After North Atlantic Right Whale Sightings

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has announced the first season-long fishing closure in the Gulf of St. Lawrence due to sightings of the endangered North Atlantic right whale. 

The seasonal closure is for grids GV44, GW42, GW43, GW44, GW45, GW46, GX45 and GX46. Pre-notice of the closure was given earlier this week to allow fishermen time to remove their gear from the waters. The closure will begin at 5 p.m. on May 21 and run through November 15, 2020...

Full Story »

Thai Union Reopens Plant in Ghana, Says Positive COVID-19 Cases Lower Than Initially Reported

Thai Union confirmed that they have reopened the Pioneer Food Cannery in Ghana following a number of workers testing positive for COVID-19.

As previously reported, Thai Union temporarily closed their plant to disinfect and clean after a worker tested positive for the coronavirus on April 17. The seafood giant said that they were using that time to allow any necessary self-quarantining of staff and to trace contacts to identify any potential risks. Almost a month later Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo, confirmed that...

Full Story »

Florida Seafood Business Owners Break Down Reopening Process, Impacts of COVID-19

The seafood sector in Florida is beginning to reopen businesses and the Gulf Coast Seafood Alliance provided a look into how they are approaching the process.

Florida members of the Alliance, which represents restaurants, hotels, fishermen and seafood dealers tied to the fishing economy in the Gulf of Mexico, are placing a priority on limiting the spread of COVID-19 and supporting those impacted by the pandemic while following all of the state’s reopening guidelines.

The guidelines state that restaurants must restrict seating to 50 percent capacity...

Full Story »

Conservation Group, Ocean Gold Get S-K Funding for Nearshore Pelagics Study

Casual conversation over coffee has turned into fully-funded collaborative sardine research project between the seafood industry and fishery scientists.

Ocean Gold Seafood, based in Westport, Wash., received word this week it received a $295,800 Saltonstall-Kennedy grant on behalf of the West Coast Pelagic Conservation Group. The collaborative study will help inform sardine stock assessments and improve the understanding of other pelagic species such as herring, anchovies and mackerel.

“We learned a lot from this process about what the sardine population – and other...

Full Story »

Initial Unemployment Claims Decrease from Previous Week's Level

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in the week ending May 16th, initial unemployment claims totaled 2,348,000. This is a decrease of 249,000 from the previous week's revised level. Claims totaled 2,687,000 in the last week, and the 4-week moving average was 3,042,000, a decrease of 501,000 from week prior. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 17.2% for the week ending May 9th, an increase of 1.7 percentage points from the previous week's revised rate.

The advance number of initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, reached 2,174,329 in the week ending May 16th. This represented a decrease of 182,265 or 7.7%. To compare, there were...

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JAPAN: Marine Products Demand Down; Industry Organizations Demand Support

At the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Fisheries Joint Board of Directors, fisheries groups such as JF-ZENGYOREN (National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations), and the Japan Fisheries Association, strongly requested support for damages attributed to the new coronavirus pandemic, according to Suisan Keizai Shimbun.

Hiroshi Kishi, President of JF-ZENGYOREN, said, "The national demand for marine products has fallen by about 30% on average due to shipping restrictions and sluggish consumption in the consuming market. For instance, demands notably decreased are sea snails in Hokkaido by 70 percent...

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Patron Saint of Salmon

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch…There really is a patron saint of salmon!

As Alaska’s salmon season gets underway, it seems appropriate to acknowledge the patron saint of salmon.

It’s Saint Kentigern of Scotland. Born long ago in 518, Kentigern was the illegitimate son of a king’s daughter.

He trained as a priest at a monastery, where his saint-hood evolved around a dangerous love-triangle.

Legend has it that the king suspected his wife of having an affair, because she had given one of her favorite rings...

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AK Sen. Sullivan Talks COVID-19, At-sea Observers, Russian Embargo, and China Trade War

Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) said he has discussed recently reassessing the China trade war and lifting the Russian embargo on seafood exports in recent weeks with senior level administration officials. 

Sullivan made the remarks towards the end of a 90-minute Oceans Caucus briefing on the impact of COVID-19 and the fishing industry. The statements were part of a summary covering a broad array of topics.

“And although we're in the middle of a pandemic we're still continuing to very strongly advocate...

Full Story »

US, China Continue to Implement Phase One Trade Agreement

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) noted progress in the implementation of the U.S.-China Phase One trade deal, in a joint announcement.

Both countries took steps to complete agriculture-related provisions including updates regarding seafood exports to China.

The USTR highlighted d China’s updated list of 397 seafood facilities that are eligible to export products to the country. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service also updated its export library, providing additional guidance for U.S. meat exporters including information about what products can be shipped...

Full Story »

Texas Issues Guidelines to Boost Oyster Farming Industry

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission issued guidelines for oyster mariculture for the state on Thursday. These rules will help develop an oyster growing industry in Texas.

Wild oyster populations in the state are struggling. Overfishing, hurricanes, drought, floods and pollution are behind the populations in the Lone Star state.

The new industry in the state will help meet consumer demand and boost coastal economies. Texas marks the last Gulf state to adopt oyster aquaculture. The state passed HB 1300 allow the practice but before the industry could get off the ground...

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Has the Coronavirus Caused Consumers to Adopt New Eating Behaviors? 

Although social distancing measures have forced many people to stay indoors and start experimenting in the kitchen, the verdict is mixed on home cooking. According to Datassential, two in five consumers did not actually start cooking more often. However, about 35% found joy and excitement in discovering new dishes, yet more than a third of Gen X and households with children are sick of having to cook more often for their families.

For the most part, the pandemic has encouraged very few consumers to adopt new shopping and dining strategies, the rest are maintaining their prior routines. Online grocery shopping and grocery delivery have benefited the most from these new trials, with 21% trying grocery pickup for the first time, and...

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SeafoodNews Not Publishing on Monday, May 25

SeafoodNews will not be publishing on Monday, May 25 in observance of Memorial Day. We will return to our normal publishing schedule on Tuesday, May 26.

In the meantime, catch up on our recent major news stories by checking our Featured Stories page.

From all of us here at SeafoodNews, we wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday!  

Full Story »

Kelp, Shellfish Farming Expands to More Remote AK Regions

This is Alaska Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch –

 

Interest continues to grow for startups of shellfish and seaweed farms - and in more remote regions of Alaska.

Eighteen growers put in applications for new or modified farms in the 2020 time slot that runs from January through April. That’s an increase of three from last year.

Fifteen plan to grow kelp only, 2 aim to grow oysters, and one will farm kelp and geoduck clams. 

Most of Alaska’s growing operations occur in Southeast, near Homer and...

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April Restaurants Sales Hit Lowest Point in 35 Years

According to the National Restaurant Association, consumer spending at eating and drinking establishments was at its lowest level since October 1984, when adjusted for inflation.

In the month of April, sales at eating and drinking establishments reached $32.4 billion, on a seasonally-adjusted basis according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. In January, sales were more than double April’s mark at $65.4 billion.

April sales were the smallest in volume since March 2005, but when adjusting for inflation it was the lowest mark in 35 years...

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ANALYSIS: Opportunity for Chinese Catfish with Tight Domestic Supply 

Wholesale quotes collected on Chinese catfish frozen fillets during week 21 saw a wider range of prices compared to previous weeks. Depending on individual frozen inventory levels, prices ranged from $3.45 per pound on smaller 3-5 oz. sized fillets up to $3.80 per pound reported on 5-7 oz. sizes.  The bulk of trade, however, fell in between $3.55-$3.70 per pound. The wholesale market has continued to adjust lower in May due to the COVID-19 related halt in demand and sales...

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China’s Seafood Imports are Recovering Better in the Fishing Off-Season

This May has witnessed the beginning of China’s fishing off-season, and some seafood prices have started to increase. The imported seafood market has also begun to rebound in the Asian country, which is gradually recovering from the coronavirus, though it is still haunted by some uncertainties in the near future.

Since early May, salmon, for example, has seen noticeable increase of both sales and prices in this oriental market. There is even shortage in some regions due to lower supply...

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Greenpeace Sounds Alarm as COVID-19 Guidelines Push for Restaurants to Use Disposables

Many restaurants and retailers were just getting into the swing of using reusables and decreasing their use of plastics—and then the coronavirus pandemic hit. Those that weren’t forced to close completely transitioned to take-out, which almost solely relies on disposables, and in some cases plastics. Now, a few months after the lockdown, some restaurants are being allowed to reopen. However, many states have strict guidelines in place—and those include restaurants using disposables.

For example, restaurants in Florida were able to reopen at...

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