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Feb 20 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday February 20, 2017


Feb 20 - Iceland's Commercial Fishermen Resume Fishing as Labor Deal Gets Narrow Approval


Feb 20 - Effective Management Can Navigate Climate Impacts on the Fisheries


Feb 17 - Seafood.com News Summary Friday February 17, 2017


Feb 17 - Sharp Increase in Iceland's Capelin Quota Could End Fishermen's Strike


Feb 16 - Seafood.com News Summary Thursday February 16, 2017


Feb 15 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday February 15, 2017


Feb 15 - HB Grandi Says Japan's Roe Market Could Benefit as Iceland Raises Capelin Quota to 299,000 MT


Feb 14 - Seafood.com News Summary Tuesday February 14, 2017


Feb 13 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday February 13, 2017


Feb 13 - Icelandic Strike Drives Fresh Norwegian Cod Prices in UK up 40%; Threatening Supermarket Profits


Feb 13 - Task Force Eyes $1 billion Alaska Maraculture Industry


Feb 10 - Seafood.com News Summary Friday February 10, 2017


Feb 9 - Seafood.com News Summary Thursday February 9, 2017


Feb 9 - For Those About to Cook, We Salute You; How Chefs Became Rock Stars


Feb 8 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday February 8, 2017


Feb 7 - Seafood.com News Summary Tuesday February 7, 2017


Feb 6 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday February 6, 2017


Feb 6 - Ken Coons, Seafood Industry Advocate and Long Time Associate Editor of Seafood News, Passes Away


Feb 3 - Seafood.com News Summary Friday February 3, 2017


Feb 2 - Seafood.com News Summary Thursday February 2, 2017


Feb 1 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday February 1, 2017


Feb 1 - Alaska Marine Conservation Council Wants to Reconnect Anchorage Residents to Locally Sourced Seafood


Jan 31 - Seafood.com News Summary Tuesday January 31, 2017


Jan 30 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday January 30, 2017


Jan 30 - US Fisheries at Grave Risk if Government Stifles Science Data (Editorial)


Jan 27 - Seafood.com News Summary Friday January 27, 2017


Jan 27 - NPFMC Director Chris Oliver Receives Massive Industry-Wide Support to be NOAA's Next Fisheries Admin


Jan 26 - Seafood.com News Summary Thursday January 26, 2017


Jan 26 - Chinese Ecommerce Company Sends Michelin Chef to Lucky Customers Home with New Year Order


Jan 26 - SMAST Researchers, Gulf of Maine Fishermen Hope Video Survey System Will Produce Better Cod Surveys


Jan 25 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday January 25, 2017


Jan 24 - Seafood.com News Summary Tuesday January 24, 2017


Jan 24 - Another Round of Negotiations to End Iceland's Fishermen Strike Breaks Down


Jan 24 - Symphony of Seafood Showcases New Alaska Seafood Products


Jan 23 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday January 23, 2017


Jan 20 - Seafood.com News Summary Friday, January 20, 2017


Jan 20 - New England Plaice (Dab)s Gain Sustainability Nod from GMRI


Jan 19 - Seafood.com News Summary Thursday, January 19, 2017


Jan 19 - FDA Says 90% of Fish Species are "Best Choice" for Pregnant Women in Confusing Final Guidance


Jan 18 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Jan 17 - Seafood.com News Summary Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Jan 17 - Alaska Sablefish Is Re-Certified Under RFM for Sustainability


Jan 16 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday January 16, 2017


Jan 13 - Seafood.com News Summary Friday January 13, 2017


Jan 12 - Seafood.com News Summary Thursday January 12, 2017


Jan 12 - Signs point to Surging Market for High-End Imported Seafood in China This New Year


Jan 11 - China Cuts Tariff Rates on Large Range of Imported Seafood


Jan 11 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday January 11, 2016


Jan 11 - NMFS Seeks Comments on Inseason Adjustments to BS/AI Pollock, Cod, Atka Mackerel


Jan 10 - Seafood.com News Summary Tuesday January 10, 2017


Jan 10 - Icelandic Group Continues to Streamline Global Business; Puts Belgian Subsidiary Gadus Up for Sale


Jan 9 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday January 9, 2017


Jan 9 - Bornstein Seafoods On Track to Buy Newport Waterfront Property


Jan 9 - NFI Sues NOAA Over New Seafood Fraud Import Rules Claiming Regulatory Overreach


Jan 6 - Seafood.com News Summary Friday January 6, 2017


Jan 5 - Seafood.com News Summary Thursday January 5, 2017


Jan 4 - Seafood.com News Summary January 4, 2017


Jan 3 - Seafood.com News Summary Tuesday January 3, 2017


Dec 30 - Seafood.com News Summary Friday December 30, 2016


Dec 30 - AFDF Calls for New Products in Alaska Symphony of Seafood Competition, Deadline January 6


Dec 29 - Seafood.com News Summary Thursday December 29, 2016


Dec 28 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday December 28, 2016


Dec 27 - Seafood.com News Summary Tuesday December 27, 2016


Dec 27 - N. Pacific Council Threatens New England Style Fisheries Management Collapse in Gulf of Alaska


Dec 23 - Seafood.com News Summary Friday December 23, 2016


Dec 23 - Social Entrepreneurs Find Growth In Unexpected Places


Dec 22 - Seafood.com News Summary Thursday December 22, 2016


Dec 21 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday December 21, 2016


Dec 21 - Orca Bay Features Alaskan Cod and Shrimp in New Retail Line of Dinner Entrees


Dec 20 - Seafood.com News Summary Tuesday December 20, 2016


Dec 19 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday, December 19, 2016


Dec 16 - Seafood.com News Summary Friday December 16, 2016


Dec 16 - IFFO to Develop 2.0 Version of its Widely Used Fishmeal and Fish Oil Certification Standard


Dec 15 - Seafood.com News Summary Thursday December 15, 2016


Dec 15 - Louisiana Blue Crab is First to be Certified Against G.U.L.F's RFM Standard


Dec 14 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday December 14, 2016


Dec 14 - Two Founders of California Pizza Kitchen Start a New Seafood Concept in LA Called Bottlefish


Dec 14 - Iceland's Fishermen Balk on Labor Deal, Announce Strike That Again Threatens Cod Production


Dec 14 - Commercial Fishermen Pleads Guilty to Illegal Sale and Harvest of Striped Bass from North Carolina


Dec 13 - Seafood.com News Summary Tuesday December 13, 2016


Dec 13 - Icelandic Sells Off Fresh Cod Producing, Exporting Subsidiary Ný-Fiskur to Nesfiskur


Dec 12 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday, December 12, 2016


Dec 12 - Pollock TAC Basically Unchanged in Bering Sea for 2017, Despite Huge increase in Biomass


Dec 9 - Seafood.com News Summary Friday, December 9, 2016


Dec 9 - Obama Administration Publishes Final Rule on IUU and Seafood Fraud; Shrimp Implementation Delayed


Dec 8 - Seafood.com News Summary Thursday December 8, 2016


Dec 7 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday December 7, 2016


Dec 7 - Norwegian Seafood Exports On Pace to Set Record High Values in 2016 from Strong Salmon, Cod Prices


Dec 7 - WWF and FFAW Update FIP for Northern Cod Recovery in Newfoundland


Dec 7 - Smaller Fisheries Like Geoducks, Sea Cucumbers and Winter Kings Continue in Ak (Fish Radio)


Dec 6 - Seafood.com News Summary Tuesday December 6, 2016


Dec 5 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday December 5, 2016


Dec 5 - Hawaii Crew Rights Defender Slams AP News For Failing to Follow Up on Hawaii Industry Initiatives


Dec 2 - Seafood.com News Summary Friday December 2, 2016


Dec 1 - Seafood.com News Summary Thursday December 1, 2016


Dec 1 - Poland’s Fish Production, Consumption on the Rise with More Herring, Smoked Salmon


Nov 30 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday November 30, 2016


Nov 30 - Ecosystem Reports at Council Point to Possible Future Declines in Pollock, Cod after some Good Years


Nov 29 - Seafood.com News Summary Tuesday November 29, 2016


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Iceland's Commercial Fishermen Resume Fishing as Labor Deal Gets Narrow Approval

Commercial fishermen in Iceland commenced fishing on Sunday after an agreement was narrowly passed between the major fishermen’s unions and the boat owners. The deal ends a three-month work stoppage for Iceland’s commercial fishermen that walked off the job in November. On Friday, we reported Iceland’s fishing strike could come to a quick end because of a recent decision to sharply raise Iceland’s commercial capelin quota. This deal should ease upwards pressure on cod prices and shrinking inventories in the UK market. The strike was starting to cut into fresh and frozen cod production out of Iceland, which is a major cod supplier to global markets. Additionally, any fears of fresh cod shortages in the US market, particularly on the East Coast, are also likely to fade.

Leading Russian crab producers failed to reach any agreements with domestic shipbuilders to place orders for new ships. According to a recent law passed by the Russian government, crab producers are required to use domestic shipbuilders to build new fishing vessels. in return for quota allocations."Unfortunately, none of Russia's leading crab producers, which participated in the meeting, was able to complete and place a clear order. Each of producers requires ships in accordance with their own, specific needs, which, however, has nothing to do with mass production. Due to this, we were unable to reach any agreements," said Vitaly Gvozdev, a senior representative of Nordic Engineering

In other news, there will be a concerted effort during Alaska's upcoming Board of Fish meetings to end the so-called "fish wars" and move discussions out of the realm of political battles and keep it firmly in the arena of science-based fisheries management that benefits everyone. At the meeting, the board will consider a 174 fishery management proposals. “I’m not going to do a tit-for-tat allocation battle back and forth,” said David Martin, President of the United Cook Inlet Drift Association. “That doesn’t benefit anybody.”

Meanwhile, President Trumps's executive order that requires two regulations be effectively eliminated for each new one that is created could disrupt the implementation of some federal fishery management regulations. The vast majority of federal fisheries regulations do not the standard, meaning routine closures and assessments should proceed as they always have. However, NOAA Fisheries has several regulations currently under consideration that are “significant regulatory actions” including a proposed update to ensure consistent application of rules at federal marine sanctuaries and an effort to combat the spread of illegally caught or fraudulently identified seafood in U.S. markets.

Finally, some analysts say Vietnam's goal to raise its total annual value of shrimp exports to global markets to $10 billion by 2025 might not be realistic. Experts calculate that if the added value of shrimp is doubled by 2025, the country would earn $6 billion from exports. For the $4 billion remainder, Vietnam would have to produce an additional 1 million metric tons of shrimp. And even though the production goal is attainable, analysts say the value of the shrimp will not be high enough to reach the $10 billion goal.

Full Story »

Effective Management Can Navigate Climate Impacts on the Fisheries

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] - February 20, 2017

BOSTON – Fisheries around the world are likely to come under increasing pressure from climate change. But effective, cooperative management approaches can blunt the projected impacts on both fish stocks and on the billions of people who depend on them – and in some cases even improve the health of key fisheries.

“The future is potentially prosperous, but only if we take action now to adapt to the kinds of changes that we now anticipate,” said Christopher Costello, professor of environmental resource economics...

Full Story »

Sharp Increase in Iceland's Capelin Quota Could End Fishermen's Strike

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh - February 17, 2017

European seafood analysts at Marko Fish said Iceland’s decision to sharply increase its capelin quota this season could spur a quick end to the prolonged fishermen’s strike.

“There are higher probabilities that the strike will be resolved in the next few days than before due to the issue of enlarged quota for capelin of 196 thousand that will be Iceland’s share of the quota. Due to the relatively short catch window for the capelin the pressure to end the strike is increased,” said Marko Fish in its February 16 newsletter...

Full Story »

How Alaskans Forced Snow Crab Prices Above $8.00; This Price Likely to Carry Through to Boston

Reports from Japan say “Bering Sea Opilio Prices are escalating wildly above $8.00” due to the production cutback in Alaska. As a result, wholesale snow crab prices in Japan have smashed all records, and are up about 50 percent over last year. Traders think the $8.00 per pound prices will also be on offer at the Boston Seafood Show. However, they hold out hope for an early opening of the Canadian Gulf season, especially if ice conditions are not severe this year. As far as snow crab buyers go, all eyes are on the opening of the Gulf and Newfoundland seasons writes John Sackton.

Marine Harvest doubled its earnings in 2016 as the operator benefitted from strong global demand for limited inventories of high-priced salmon. “2016 was a great year for Marine Harvest, with both record earnings and cash flow generation. I am very proud of the work all our colleagues have put in to achieve these results,” said Marine Harvest CEO Alf-Helge Aarskog.  The world’s top salmon producer also announced plans to expand its market share in North America with a new processing facility and farming sites in Canada. 

In other news, tilapia processing plants have started back to work after the Chinese New Year. But output is still low. The market situation in 2016 has taken a toll on farmers feeding and stocking of tilapia, which has meant stable prices amid small supplies. Meanwhile, white shrimp production in sheds, or roof covered ponds, exceeded expectations in South China, with the result that for the first time in several years there was no major price increase on shrimp during the New Year festival.

Iceland’s Ministry of Fisheries raised its commercial capelin quota to 299,000 metric tons, which is a sharply higher quota compared to last year. Major Iceland fishing company HB Grandi is among the key capelin harvesting companies in the country and said the higher quota should benefit Japan's roe market. "There is strong demand for roe-bearing capelin on the Japanese market and as stocks are low, roe prices are high," said Garðar Svavarsson, head of HB Grandi's pelagics division.

Finally, the votes fell short for a second round of Southeast Alaska salmon seine permits to be retired, or bought back, by a federal loan. The referendum failed by 26 votes among 315 eligible to participate

Full Story »

Banks Closer to Forcing Pacific Andes Liquidation with Court Win in British Virgin Islands

Banks who are major creditors of Pacific Andes are one step closer to winning liquidation of the company, after a judge ruled in their favor in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). The BVI Commercial Court ordered the appointment of liquidators over Pacific Andes Enterprises Limited, Parkmond Group Limited, and PARD Trade Limited, three BVI incorporated companies that form a key part of the China Fishery Group. The applications were unsuccessfully contested on the principal ground that the appointment of liquidators would irretrievably damage the prospects of a wider, global restructuring of the Pacific Andes Group.

An investment group concluded that Northern Dynasty's Pebble mining deposit in Alaska is not commercially viable. "Mining it would require so much upfront investment that it would actually destroy value," said Kerrisdale Capital in its analysis of Northern Dynasty's assets. The analysis goes a step further and says Northern Dynasty attempted to hide the real value of the assets from the public. "Kerrisdale believes Northern Dynasty’s former partners concluded that the Pebble project had a negative present value – an assessment that Northern Dynasty has spent years trying to conceal from public," the firm said.

In other news, the Russian Fishery Co. plans to significantly expand pollock production volumes, yet its plan, backed by China, may run into opposition from state agencies. Russian Fishery's expansion plan includes a $50-$60 million proposal to expand its fishing fleet with the construction of six factory trawlers. Russian Fishery would rely on a loan from Chinese investors and overseas shipyards to build the boats. But this runs counter to a federal plan that awards catch quotas to operators that commit to using domestic resources to expand the Russian fishing industry.

Meanwhile, we run an Editorial published by the Daily Astorian in Oregon that slams state Governor Kate Brown's intention to squash an agreement that allows for the use of gillnets to commercially harvest some salmon on the Columbia River. "Yes, all Oregonians want recreational fishing to prosper. But by rejecting any compromise on behalf of hardworking commercial fishermen, Brown places herself solidly against jobs for struggling rural voters," the Astorian said.

Finally, Krystal is bringing back Shrimp Po’ Boy sandwiches for the Lenten season in partnership with King & Prince Seafood. The burger chain will feature the fried shrimp sandwiches on its menu in a $5 meal deal. The shrimp can also be ordered by the basket. "Krystal and Shrimp ring nicely together," said Mike Tigani, Director of Marketing for King & Prince Seafood. "We are humbled to be working with a company that prides themselves on the same Southern culture and great food we at King & Prince do."

Full Story »

Icelandic Strike Drives Fresh Norwegian Cod Prices in UK up 40%; Threatening Supermarket Profits

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [The Guardian] by Zoe Wood   February 13, 2017 

Cod supplies from Iceland are down by 75% due to a strike caused by shrinking incomes linked to currency fluctuations and the Brexit vote. The price of a fish supper in the UK could rise in the coming weeks as a strike by Icelandic fishermen threatens the UK’s supply of fresh cod and haddock.

The dispute, which has been fuelled by currency swings following the Brexit vote, has now started to affect British fish industry jobs, with business owners warning consumers that price hikes could be on the horizon. The news threatens a further hit to consumers’ pockets as poor weather in Spain has caused a spike in lettuce, broccoli and eggplant prices.
 
“Since January we have had virtually no Icelandic fish, ” said Martyn Boyers, chief executive of the group that operates Grimsby fish market, the UK’s biggest importer of fresh Icelandic fish. “We are currently down 75% on Icelandic fish in weight terms over the last five weeks. It’s putting pressure on jobs in the supply chain and availability in shops. ”
 
The supply crisis has forced job cuts at the Grimsby market, with roughly one-fifth of staff let go..

Full Story »

Pollock Roe Season May be Positive, but Traders Face a Lot of Uncertainty

The A Season pollock roe auction in Seattle has been set for March 14-16th and developments on the fishing grounds and in the market are giving buyers both cause for optimism, and some concern as well. On the market side, cutbacks in roe production last year, especially due to small fish size on the US side, have led to lower supplies in the market, and roe manufacturers are generally low on inventory and eager to buy. Japanese buyers think that the slight increase in TAC for the pollock A season will help increase the supply of roe. They are also encouraged by increased Russian quotas, stable stocks in Russia, and some indications of larger fish size in the Sea of Okhotsk. However, on the US side, fish sizes trended smaller. At the same time, the pollock fleet is constrained by chinook bycatch concerns. Additionally, there does appear to be a very mixed picture among roe processors in Japan, which means some companies could put in strong bids with others holding back at auction.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said she plans to reverse a compromise that allowed for the limited use of commercial gillnets on the Columbia River in favor of an outright ban on the use of the gear. In a letter to Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Chair Michael Finley, Brown asked the commission to comply with state policy and with an agreement with Washington, which voted in January to end gillnetting in the main channel in two years and increase recreational fishers' portion of Chinook. This order overrides an alternative plan approved by the commission that opted to split the Columbia River chinook harvest between the recreational and commercial sectors 80/20, respectively,

In other news, China is changing from the largest global seafood exporter to the largest global seafood importer with full government support. This has significant implication for both fishing policy, where the government plans to restrict harvests, and for tariff policy, where the government has already reduced some seafood import tariffs and is likely to take further action in this area.

Meanwhile, a Reuters report confirmed that the toxic algae detected in 140,000 dead salmon smolt earlier this week is not located near salmon farms in Southern Chile where the salmon originated from. Rather, this particular strain has infested portions of shipping lanes used by producers. The salmon were infected during transport since boats recirculate ocean water into the tanks where the fish are stored during transport.

Finally, the Associated Press published a follow-up report to its September investigation that identified labor abuse commercial longliners in Hawaii. This time, the AP report says Hawaii appears to be violating its own rules that require commercial fishermen to obtain a state-issued fishing license. The AP said that the state is using voided landing permits to get workers a commercial fishing permit even though they have not lawfully entered the country.

Have a great weekend.

Full Story »
For Those About to Cook, We Salute You; How Chefs Became Rock Stars and What that Means for the Future of Dining 
 
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [National Post] by Claudia McNeilly - February 9, 2017 
 
The fingers on his right hand read "Rock;" the left: "Roll." The words are in a bold black gothic font. Above the lettering there are tattoos of a circus curtain with incoming waves, a large blossoming rose and two metal wrenches crisscrossing over each other on his thumb. 
 
Both hands work quickly, making the letters dance and only stopping once in a while to wipe the sweat of his brow. Ignoring the crowd of people swaying hungrily before him, he looks over his shoulder and sees his assistant. The man behind him nods and passes him a gleaming silver instrument, which he uses to finish plating bites of blackened cod on individual Japanese soup  ...

Full Story »

Surge in Indian Shrimp Shipments Drives US Imports to All-Time Record 1.33 Billion Lbs in 2016

Although December 2016 shrimp imports were down 3.4 percent, annual imports for 2016 were 3 percent higher than last year establishing a new annual record import volume of 1.33 billion lbs. of shrimp. The importance of Indian shrimp imports to the US market cannot be overemphasized. Indian shrimp exports to the US were up 40 million pounds for the year, a 13.5 percent increase. Monthly shipments were exceptionally strong in the 2nd half of the year, corresponding with India's seasonal harvesting schedule

The US market share for Norwegian salmon continues to grow even though output is down. Norwegian salmon exports to the US market in January were up 1,045 metric tons compared to last January. This is because US buyers turned to Norway to help plug production shortfalls from Chile. In December, US imports for fresh salmon fillets from Norway were up 6 percent. For the year, the US imported 44.5 million pounds of fresh salmon fillets from Norway, an increase of 21.6 percent. "Norwegian salmon is strengthening its position in the US and taking market share in a growing market. The market volume has increased from 12 percent in 2015 to 13 percent in 2016. In the United States new salmon products have been launched in cooperation with the major supermarket chains," said Egil Ove Sundheim with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

German Zverev, the head of the Russian Pollock Association, was named the head of major Russian fishing trade group the All-Russian Association of Fishery Enterprises, Entrepreneurs, and Exporters (ARAFEEE). This group represents the industry in negotiating fish policy with the government. Zverev said he plans to focus on the development of the balanced and reasoned position of the Russian fishing business for the forthcoming talks with the government on the distribution of fishing quotas for 2018 by the Russian government. However, some in the industry take issue with Zverev's pro-Chinese position. Under Zverev, fish producers believe that Russia will continue to be mostly export-oriented.

In other news, Vietnam plans to expand the area it devotes to shrimp farming to push exports to $10 billion a year. An increase in salinity in the waters is bad for rice production but good for shrimp farming so the government is teaching rice farmers how to raise shrimp so they can break into the business. “Natural conditions in the Mekong Delta are very suitable for shrimp, and higher seawater level caused by the climate change will allow us to expand the shrimp farms,” said Minister of Agriculture Nguyen Xuan Cuong.

Finally, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) issued a statement that directly addresses the decision by European retailer Carrefour to stop the sale of farmed pangasius out of concern over how the fish are produced. “The ASC is sorry to see that a few retailers have decided to halt sales of pangasius. When farmed responsibly, and according to robust environmental and social criteria as defined in the ASC Pangasius Standard, buyers and consumers can have confidence in their selection of pangasius for their families,” the ASC said in a statement.

Full Story »

Ken Coons, Seafood Industry Advocate and Long Time Associate Editor of Seafood News, Passes Away

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton  February 6, 2017

Kenelm W. Coons passed away on Friday, February 3, 2017 after a three-month illness. Ken will be deeply missed for his kindness, compassion, and humor. He was a great listener and gifted story teller with an inquisitive spirit, keen mind and quick wit.

Ken was a well known advocate for US seafood. 

After graduating from Harvard ...

Full Story »

Oregon Detects One "Hot" Dungeness Crab Near Winchester Bay 

Oregon fishery managers closed part of the state to recreational crabbing Wednesday due to elevated levels of domoic acid, raising concerns about potential changes for the commercial crab fishery. Fishery managers said crab tested from the Newport area were clean and the one "hot" crab off of Winchester Bay might be an anomaly. The recreational closure comes at a time when the commercial fishery off the southern Oregon Coast is booming. A decision about the commercial fishery is expected today.

In other news, Thailand has stepped up prosecutions for human trafficking and hopes its status will be upgraded in the annual U.S. Trafficking in Persons report, the foreign minister said on Thursday. In 2016, Thailand said it investigated 333 cases tied to human trafficking. Of those, Thai officials prosecuted 301 people and convicted 268. In last year's TIP report, Thailand reported investigating 317 cases, prosecuting 242 people, and convicting 241. "We believe that any government would have a good feeling about, or even admire, what we have done," Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said in a news conference. "We certainly are hopeful we'll be viewed favorably."

A notorious anti-science climate skeptic, Kenneth Haapala, is no longer part of the “landing” team overseeing hires at NOAA and the Department of Commerce. Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse was among a group senators that opposed the Trump Administration's decision to include Haapala in the transition team. "Haapala, who does not hold an advanced degree in any of the natural sciences, has made a career out of denying the science behind climate change and advocating against actions necessary to protect Americans from its worst impacts. NOAA is a technical agency that produces world-class science to help businesses, governments and individuals manage risk and understand the environments where they are operating," said Senator Whitehouse in a letter he sent to President Trump.

Meanwhile, Russian fishery officials confirmed quota increases for its snow (opilio) and bairdi crab fisheries in the Far East for the 2017 fishing season. The combined quota from the North Okhotsk and Primorskiy regions will be about 25,700 tons, which is a 16 percent increase. Bairdi will be 5200 tons mostly in the Kamchatka Kurile sub area. The Russian red king crab quota, meanwhile, is set at 21,672 tons, a 25 percent increase to the quota.

Finally, Spain's Supreme Court overturned severe penalties doled out to key figures working for family-owned fishing company Vidal Armadores for their involvement in a large IUU toothfish fishing ring. The Court said that Spanish national law is insufficient to pin a crime on persons when acts are committed in a place where those acts are not a criminal offense, in this case, that means the High Seas. Both legal experts and toothfish industry participants say this decision sets a dangerous precedent that could spark attempts to resume IUU activity.

Full Story »

Alaska Marine Conservation Council Wants to Reconnect Anchorage Residents to Locally Sourced Seafood

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] February 1, 2017

The Alaska Marine Conservation Council (AMCC) wants to reconnect local Anchorage residents with the commercial fishing industry with its Catch of the Season program.

The AMCC is an NGO that advocates for sustainable fishing practices habitat protection, and local stewardship. The organization says supports an ecosystem-based approach to research and marine resource management that incorporates the best science available, experiential knowledge, and the wisdom of tradition...

Full Story »

Halibut Quotas Mostly increased by IPHC for 2nd Year in Row 

The International Pacific Halibut Commission Friday approved a coast-wide catch limit of 31.4 million pounds of the valuable bottom fish. That’s an increase from just under 30 million pounds last year. “What we’re seeing this year is slightly flatter trends than we saw last year,” said fishery scientists Ian Stewart. “The stock assessment itself has come down just slightly in its estimate of overall spawning biomass. But the projections, the 1-3 year projections are still suggesting that removals of around 40 million pounds are pretty close to the overall surplus production that’s available from the stock.”

John Sackton writes of the grave risk that the US Fisheries sector is faced with over federal attempts to stifle scientific research. The commentary is a response to two stories today, one from Canada, and one from Seattle, about the impacts of government suppression of scientific research for political purposes. "Dismantling or crippling the science that undergirds our ability to have sustainable fisheries ends up limiting harvests, undermining consumer trust, increasing fish population volatility and boom and bust, and in short driving down the value of our entire wild capture industry," Sackton writes.

In other news, targeted and scientifically established Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in Pacific waters would have a better chance of attaining specific environmental goals according to Kitty Simonds, the Executive Director of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. Simonds comments explaining this position were published last week on Professor Ray Hilborn’s Cfood blog. They were in response to three specific questions Cfood posed to fishery scientists about the US government’s use of MPAs. The questions were: What is the utility of setting MPA targets? Do MPAs need to be No Take Zones (NTZs)? and What is the utility and wisdom of creating large ocean MPAs?

Meanwhile, Indian shrimp and seafood producer and exporter WestCoast Group says India needs to set up tax incentives to spur investment in its aquaculture and seafood supply chain industries. The operators said there is plenty of opportunity for India to expands its farmed shrimp and seafood output but investors need incentives to build out the industry.

Finally, we have a couple stories from Vietnam. First, is a report about the possibility that Vietnam might not meet the USDA's September 1 deadline to have all of its pangasius production standards compliant, which could lead to a country-wide ban on exports. The other story reports an expectation from Vietnam's Ministry of Trade that the number of anti-dumping lawsuits against its exports will increase dramatically once Vietnam becomes a World Trade Organisation member.

Full Story »

NPFMC Director Chris Oliver Receives Massive Industry-Wide Support to be NOAA's Next Fisheries Admin 

Several letters from major US seafood industry associations and companies were sent to the White House that overwhelmingly support the candidacy of NPFMC Director Chris Oliver to be the next Assistant Administrator for Fisheries at NOAA. In total, the letters represented 55 seafood companies, trade associations and conservation groups. Oliver has spent his career in fisheries management, serving for the past 16 years as the Executive Director of the NPFMC. Prior to serving as Executive Director, Oliver also worked served as the Deputy Director and Gulf of Alaska Fishery Management Plan Coordinator. “America’s fisheries generate millions of jobs and contribute billions to the economy, but we could do a lot more,” said Daniel Occhipinti, General Counsel of Oregon-based Pacific Seafood Group and one of the leaders of the coalition. “We believe Chris Oliver has the experience to increase the economic productivity of our fisheries while also promoting conservation and sustainability, which is critical.”

In another step forward for global acceptance of the Global Seafood Sustainability Initiative (GSSI), the Japan Fisheries Association announced that the Japan Marine Ecolabel, known as MEL-Japan, will seek to be benchmarked by the standard. Initially, the Marine Ecolabel Japan Council will revise the current certification standards of the MEL Japan scheme and will announce the new standards in mid-February this year. As of last October, this certification had been granted to a total of 70 Japanese operators (with 11 of them having duplicate certification for fisheries and distribution/processing.)

Demand is high for octopus in the US and other major markets since its versatility in the kitchen makes it one of the emerging items in the seafood industry. "It is extremely popular with millennials who can build their own poke cups or bowls and have fresh ingredients with no waste or leftovers and have tons of variety," said Mike Daniels, VP of Operations and Sales at Seaport. But while demand for octopus in the US is booming, production declines have limited supplies. This is has pushed up prices in all octopus categories in the US for this emerging seafood item.

Meanwhile, Chilean mussel company St. Andrews Seafood intends to double its sales to the Asian market. St. Andrews is already largest mussel seller in the world, so the increase means its planned output will reach 25 thousand tons.

Finally, Russia's Association of Crab Catchers of the Far East says domestic king crab consumption has doubled. Demand for crab in Russia is steadily growing because of the country' improving economic situation, which has given rise to the purchasing power of local consumers. The Association says as much as 25 percent of Russia's crab landings are now making it to the domestic market and that this figure could go higher in the next several years.

Also be sure to check out our latest Seafood News Weekly recap video. This week's show discusses some of our top stories including the canceled Bairdi crab season in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico's poor shrimp harvest. Also featured is a special segment from the National Fisheries Insitute that recaps the Global Seafood Market Conference in San Francisco. 

Have a great weekend.

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Tumultuous Dungeness Crab Season Leads to Abundant Supply 

A spike in West Coast Dungeness crab deliveries in early January resulted in a glut of landings with nowhere to go reports Susan Chambers. This year's Dungeness season has been far from smooth. Openings were slightly delayed and scattered, China shut down imports of live crabs from the US and fishermen went on strike for better boat prices. But once fishing started, West Coast processors were unable to keep up with a surge of deliveries. Crab was everywhere: stacked in totes, chilled on vessels, stored in live tanks, cooked and frozen. However, reports now suggest the back up is easing after a series of storms slowed fishing last week. This gave processors some time to catch up. Meanwhile, China is now accepting limited live crab shipments.

Based on numbers by the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game, fishery managers are predicting a much better pink salmon run for 2017 in the major producing regions. The pinks returning to Alaska this summer will be from the 2015 pack, the largest year on record. For Southeast Alaska, the catch forecast calls for 43 million pink salmon, slightly above the 10 year average. The Prince William Sound run could top 60 million pinks this summer according to ADF&G.

Chinese shrimp producers Beihai Wanjing Marine Products and Beihai Evergreen Aquatic Product Science and Technology have passed an official FDA examination against new standards in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). These are the first food companies in Beihai of Guangxi to get FDA approval under the FSMA guidelines. Both companies process and sell shrimp to the US and other markets.

In other news, prices for imported frozen salmon from Chile are now at all-time record high levels in January according to Urner Barry. This is a function of more limited farmed production from both Chilean and European suppliers, in addition to Alaska’s historically poor pink salmon run in 2016. Fresh salmon demand has limited the available supply to produce more frozen product. This happened at the same time that Alaska’s pink salmon run was a major bust, which forced buyers to use Chilean salmon to fill their need for frozen product.

Finally, seafood wholesalers in Australia are preparing their customers for a spike in shrimp prices because of the country's ban on imported raw white shrimp. Australia banned imports after the 's first ever case of white spot was confirmed in five shrimp farms in Queensland. Wholesalers say supplies are getting tight and the expectation is for prices to possibly triple in just a few months.

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Iceland's Commercial Fishermen Resume Fishing as Labor Deal Gets Narrow Approval

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh - February 20, 2017

Commercial fishermen in Iceland commenced fishing on Sunday after an agreement was narrowly passed between the major fishermen’s unions and the boat owners.

The deal ends a three-month work stoppage for Iceland’s commercial fishermen that walked off the job in November. The fishermen demanded better prices of fish sold at auction compared to the fish not sold at auction; guaranteed salaries, bonus incentives; a larger budget for clothing and third party safety assessments...

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Red Chamber to Allow Federal Observers Aboard its Red Shrimp Boats in Argentina to Meet FIP Goal

Red Chamber said it will participate with Argentina’s national fisheries research institute INIDEP in a fishery observer program for the inshore Patagonian pink shrimp fishery. Argentina’s Patagonian pink shrimp are also known as red shrimp or Pleoticus muelleri. They are a wild-caught coldwater shrimp. Red Chamber Argentina (RCA) said it committed to the observer program for the Patagonian shrimp in order to fulfill goals listed in a Fishery Improvement Program for the fishery that the company is participating in. “We are looking forward to working with INIDEP to track juvenile hake bycatch in the red shrimp fishery and make progress towards management improvements,” said RCA President Marcelo Mou.

Cod prices in UK markets are on the rise from the combination of the prolonged fishermen's strike in Iceland and because of high salmon prices. Analysts say high-priced salmon has UK motivated consumers to switch to lower-priced cod. However, UK cod supplies are starting to feel the pinch from Iceland's prolong fishermen's strike that started in November. In a related story, European fish market analysts at Marko Fish say Iceland's sharply higher capelin quota announced this week could motivate Iceland's fishermen to end their strike. “There are higher probabilities that the strike will be resolved in the next few days than before due to the issue of enlarged quota for capelin of 196 thousand that will be Iceland’s share of the quota. Due to the relatively short catch window for the capelin the pressure to end the strike is increased,” said Marko Fish.

In other news, Vietnam's largest pangasius exporter Vinh Hoan purchased all of the assets to pangasius processors Thanh Binh Dong Thap Seafood for an undisclosed amount. The move increases Vinh Hoan's processing capacity by 20 percent according to a local report.

Meanwhile, NMFS said it will prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) on the U.S. Pacific Island deep-set tuna longline fisheries, which target bigeye tuna. The PEIS will analyze the environmental impacts of management of deep-set tuna longliners, which operate out of Hawaii, American Samoa, and the U.S. West Coast. "The PEIS is a proactive step in the management of deep-set tuna longline fisheries," said Western Pacific Fishery Management Council Executive Director Kitty M. Simonds. "It streamlines environmental review for future management decisions and facilitates the ability of fisheries to adaptively respond to changing conditions."

Finally, the United Fishermen of Alaska flagged concerns about House Bill 511, an income tax bill that begins hearings today in the House Finance Committee. UFA says many fishermen will have "major difficulties" complying with withholding requirements on payments to fishing crew.

Have a great weekend.

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Nova Scotia Tests Project with Chinese Online Retailer Tmall  to Export Only Premium Quality Lobsters

Three Nova Scotia lobsters exporters and Chinese online retailer Tmall agreed to participate in a pilot project that will ensure Chinese consumers are getting premium lobsters. During this project, which is to run from May through to September, three Nova Scotia companies will export 300,000 live lobsters to be sold through Tmall. Under the deal inked by Nova Scotia and Tmall, which is part of Alibaba's e-commerce business, lobster exporters will submit to a quality-control initiative. This will include a quality standards manual, a training program and regular audits at participating export plants in Nova Scotia and the receiver sites in China. “The online market in China is a huge, huge business opportunity and we’re seeing this as an opportunity to reach new customers," said Robert MacDonald, Gidney’s president and general manager.

Alaskan cod and pollock fishing and processing in Adak has been put on hold for the second straight year. According to Adak city officials, fishermen do not want to catch pollock because of low prices. Meanwhile, the city's processing plant said it would likely only process pollock if it could also start receiving cod deliveries. However, cod fishermen are currently suing to stop a 2015 NPFMC decision that requires them to deliver tons of their harvest to Adak.

In other news, Hawaii lawmakers advanced a bill that requires more oversight of the commercial fishing industry after an Associated Press investigation found labor abuse aboard US owned and operated commercial tuna longliners. The bill would require fishing boat owners who want a commercial license in Hawaii to provide state officials with a copy of employment contracts held with every fisherman on board before the license is granted. The bill passed the House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs Tuesday and it goes next to the Judiciary Committee.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament has approved the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada. The deal, which has been seven years in the making, will eliminate almost all trade tariffs between the European Union and Canada. Economists say tariffs on Canada's seafood exports to the EU are likely to be phased out over the next three to seven years under CETA.

Finally, Eastern Pacific fisheries managers finally reached an agreement last week on fishing for Pacific bigeye and yellowfin tunas. It took more than seven months and the measures are not without criticism, but the regulations align with other international management and acknowledge excessive fishing effort may harm the tuna resources.

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HB Grandi Says Japan's Roe Market Could Benefit as Iceland Raises Capelin Quota to 299,000 MT

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] - February 15, 2017

Iceland’s Ministry of Fisheries raised its commercial capelin quota to 299,000 metric tons, which is a sharply higher quota compared to last year.

In January, an assessment of Iceland’s capelin fishery by the Marine Research Institute said the stock could support a total quota of 57,000 metric tons.

However, the January survey was conducted during poor weather with sea ice covering the survey area.  Except for the need to spawn in relatively warm waters, capelin is a pure cold-water species...

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ASMI Pushes Back Against British Campaigners Who Object to Alaska Salmon Processed in China

A statement from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Insitute explained why Alaskan salmon sold at grocery stores in the UK is processed in China. This response was prompted after Tesco explained its supply chain practices to customers on social media who wanted to know why its wild Alaskan salmon fillet products carry a Country of Origin label that says China. The grocer's response triggered some blowback about the carbon footprint that is created to produce Alaskan salmon for the UK market. But ASMI defended the industry's practices. "'Salmon... are exported to China because it is the most efficient means of providing a quality product," an ASMI spokesperson said. They added that hand filleting provides a better yield than machine filleting, which "offsets the CO2 footprint and means more of the fish is consumed and utilized."

An updated set of fishing data sheets compiled by United Fishermen of Alaska emphasizes the importance of commercial fishing and seafood processing to many Alaska communities, including Cordova. “Alaska’s commercial fisheries bring millions in fishing and processing revenue and employ may thousands in the major fishing ports every year,” said Jerry McCune, president of UFA. “Alaska’s seafood industry is also a significant contributor for tax revenues and indirect jobs for virtually all Alaska communities." 

In other news, federal fishery officials in Chile enacted algae monitoring protocols in the Gulf of Penas after a toxic strain was detected last week in 149,000 dead salmon smolt. Surveillance is now underway for waters in the Gulf of Penas, which is a major shipping lane that salmon producers use to transport fish by boat. The salmon were infected with the Karenia mikimotoi strain of algae during transport since the boats recirculate the Gulf waters into the salmon holding tanks during the relocation process.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard is still searching for a Seattle-based crab boat with six crew members aboard that apparently sank in rough seas about two miles northwest of St. George Island, Alaska. The 98-foot crab boat the F/V Destination sent out an emergency beacon Saturday morning from an area where 30 mph winds, below-freezing temperatures and snow had whipped up 5- to 8-foot seas. The boat is based in Seattle and two Seattle residents are listed among its ownership group. The Coast Guard said the boat operates out of Sand Point, Alaska.

Finally, Maine-based Bristol Seafood was named the "2016 Vendor of the Year" by major West Coast seafood distributor Santa Monica Seafood. "They have a very high fulfillment rate, little to no quality issues, and they are great at not only providing us market data, but also presenting us several options before we make a strategic purchase," said Roger O’Brien, CEO of Santa Monica Seafood. Bristol also named Ted McDermott as the Regional Sales Manager for its new branch on the West Coast.

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Task Force Eyes $1 billion Alaska Maraculture Industry

 
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Alaska Dispatch news] by Laine Welch - February 13, 2017
 
A task force created by Gov. Bill Walker is working on ways to boost the harvest of shellfish, sea cucumbers, geoduck clams and seaweed. Some say a billion-dollar industry is possible within 30 years.
 
Shellfish, sea cucumbers, geoduck clams, seaweeds and biofuels are crops envisioned by a group of Alaskans crafting a framework for a statewide mariculture industry expansion.
 
An 11-member task force created last February by Gov. Bill Walker is working towards putting a comprehensive report on...

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Oregon's Domoic Acid Scare Eases as Coos Bay Reopens Under Evisceration Order 

Oregon agencies reopened a Dungeness crab harvesting area in Coos Bay that was closed last week after a single crab tested for elevated levels of toxic domoic acid. Fishermen and processors said the decision to completely close the area resulted in chaos, especially for those dependent on live buyers. However, a round of tests confirmed domoic that acid levels were below the minimum threshold that would trigger a closure. The closure order was lifted but an evisceration order remains in place. "Considerations for the removal of the evisceration requirement on crab harvested from the biotoxin management area will occur when there are two successive rounds of domoic acid test results all below 30 ppm in viscera," Oregon officials said in a statement.

Four McDonald's restaurants in San Francisco will test a crab sandwich item beginning today. The sandwich is made with snow crab that is blended with seasoned mayonnaise and diced celery. “We wanted to test our own take on the beloved crab sandwich,” Nick Vergis, McDonald’s Co-op President for the Greater Bay Area, said in a statement. “We’re excited for our customers to try it and share their feedback.” The Co-Op said if the product performs will they will launch the item to 250 McDonald's stores in the Bay Area.

In other news, the head of Samherji, Iceland’s largest fishing and fish processing company, has warned that the fishermen’s strike could lead to certain fish products disappearing from the shelves of major UK retailers such as Marks & Spencer. Both M&S and Waitrose are major buyers of Icelandic cod and haddock, much of it flown to the UK within a day or two of being caught. The length of the strike, now at three months and counting, is what is causing major concerns for buyers not just in the UK but also in the East Coast of the US.

Meanwhile, at their Seattle meeting Feb. 1-6, the North Pacific Fishery Management council focused on some of the structures at the core of fisheries management, reviewed catch share programs and looked for areas to tune up in both the halibut IFQ fishery and the Bering Sea pollock fishery. Today's story recaps some of the major themes from the meetings.

Finally, Maine's Department of Natural Resources will propose a lottery system to issue new fishing permits for the valuable elver fishery. Right now, entry into the fishery is closed, but current permit holders are getting older with about a dozen fishermen having exited the fishery in the last two years. “We’re all getting older and eventually we’re going to pass away,” Darrell Young, head of the Maine Elver Fishermen Association. “As people die off or give up or whatever, there will be a drawing.”

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Ocean Beauty Will Not Can Alaskan Salmon This Summer at Petersburg Facility

Ocean Beauty Seafoods will not be canning fish at the company’s plant in Petersburg this summer. Tom Sunderland, vice president of marketing, says current market conditions favor selling frozen salmon over canned. “We’re gonna make a lot more money selling frozen salmon than canned salmon this year and the Petersburg plant is essentially a cannery,” Sunderland explained. We reported how wholesale prices for imported frozen salmon from Chile reached an all-time record high at the end of January. 

Alaska's State Senate Finance Committee asked Alex Tonkovich, the executive director of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, if the group could tap into its reserve funding rather than take $2 million in state funding. Tonkovich said she would bring the state's request back to the ASMI board, but noted that ASMI’s reserves were earmarked to deal with unexpected events in the global seafood industry. “We need flexibility to react to changing market conditions,” she said “We have had to react very quickly in the past,” she said. 

In other news, Japanese squid processors in Hokkaido are struggling for survival by diversifying their product lineups in face of a serious raw material supply shortage. For some processors, squid accounts for as much as 70 percent of their processing capacity. Operators are now seeking alternative items in and out of seafood including octopus, salmon and even potatoes.

Meanwhile, Alaska's Board of Fish is meeting this month and will consider 174 fishery management proposals for the Upper Cook Inlet commercial, sport, person use and subsistence fisheries. “What we do is we’ll walk a group through the Board of Fish process – go through the term s, the meeting lay out, how it moves from staff reports to public testimony, to committee and deliberations and just tell them where they want to fit in and get their input in and how to provide more effective testimony, how to speak to board members and make a strong impact ,and just make them more familiar with it," said Board director, Glenn Haight. The Board will meet February 23 through March 8 in Anchorage.

Finally, Chilean salmon producer Nova Austral said toxic algae killed 149,000 smolts as they were being shipped to grow out centers in the Magallanes region from Los Lagos. The toxic algae strain Karenia mikomotoi was detected in the smolt when they arrived dead. Nova Austral has suspended all salmon planting at its centers until they can confirm the algae is not spreading. So far there is no indication where the algae originated from.

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Ken Coons, Seafood Industry Advocate and Long Time Associate Editor of Seafood News, Passes Away 

We are sad to report that Kenelm W. Coons passed away on February Friday, 3, 2017 after a three-month illness. Ken was a well known advocate for the US seafood. His long career in the industry started at Doxsee, marketing clam products. He later helped found and was named the Executive Director of the New England Fisheries Development Foundation, which was eventually renamed the New England Fisheries Development Association (NEFDA). He held this position in Boston for two decades. While at NEFDA Ken partnered with the Canadian Consulate in Boston to found the Boston Seafood Show. Later on, Ken worked with John Sackton as an Associate Editor for Seafood News. “It was truly a gift that in the last 13 years Ken was able to contribute to SeafoodNews. His broad experience, commitment to the industry, and wide range of seafood interests was a perfect fit," said John Sackton. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor Ken's memory may contribute to the Kenelm W. Coons Marine Affairs Scholarship at the University of Rhode Island.

The year’s first round of seafood refusal data from the FDA showed a decline in the volume of rejections but that filth is still on the Administration’s radar. A decline in snapper rejections is mostly why January refusals were down overall and specifically for filth. Still, filth accounted for the bulk of the month’s rejection, responsible for 40 percent of January’s refusals. Mahi, which was last year’s most rejected seafood item of the year, was the fifth most refused item in January all because of filth.

In other news Trident and Alaska Airlines are actively planning to build an airport terminal on Akun Island to increase the number of charter flights available for its employees. Many seafood workers change planes in Anchorage, after flying in from the south 48 states and other countries, going from big jets to the smaller planes that fly to rural Alaska. The Unalaska airport saw fewer Trident Seafoods workers this year as the company chartered flights directly to their Akutan plant, with the planes landing at the 5-year-old state airport on Akun Island and then taking a short hop in a helicopter across the bay. Akutan is about 40 miles east of Unalaska.

Meanwhile, proposed legislation wants to allow non-Texas shrimpers to sell their catch in the state. State Rep. Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, recently filed House Bill 1260 that would allow non-Texas commercial shrimpers to obtain an occupational license in order to unload their catches in Texas. If passed, out-of-state shrimpers who trawl federal waters would be able to pass through, come to port and unload at Texas docks thus giving Texas the economic value. The bill would not allow the fishermen to harvest in state waters.

Finally, the Monterey Bay's Seafood Watch program downgraded Washington state's geoduck fishery in Puget Sound from "best choice" to "good alternative" because of the industry's use of plastic gear. “Any sort of plastic in the environment is not the best choice,” said Ryan Bigelow, a Seafood Watch program manager. “Plastics tend to break down, and that works its way into fish and shellfish. Eventually, all that ends up back in us.”

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Oregon Closes 65-mile Stretch of Coast to Commercial Dungeness Crabbing 

Oregon health and fishery managers took the rare step late Thursday of closing the commercial Dungeness crab fishery in a roughly 65-mile area after the season was already open, due to one crab with viscera that had an elevated level of domoic acid. The state closed recreational crabbing in the area from the North Jetty at Coos Bay north to Heceta Head, north of Florence, on Wednesday. The temporary rule issued Thursday for the commercial industry includes a closure and also evisceration orders, documenting procedures and other instructions for fishermen and processors. "The closure is limited to that portion of the Central Coast," ODFW managers said in a statement. "Areas south of Coos Bay and north of Heceta Head remain open to commercial crabbing."

One cod importer in Boston says the prolonged fishermen's strike in Iceland has forced many US buyers to use suppliers and it could take years for Iceland's cod exporters to regain their market share. “The problem here in the US is that most customers order the same amount on a regular basis. For those customers, the quality of the product matters much, and that’s where Iceland excels beyond all others, but stability is also important," said Eric Kaiser, CEO Aquanor Marketing in Boston. "Since we started importing fish from Iceland in 1992, the supply has always been steady. Now, for the first time, there is a long-term lack of products, and most of the customers have found new suppliers. They import fish from Alaska, the Pacific Ocean, Norway and Canada.”

In other news, the value of Vietnam's seafood exports to China could reach $1 billion in 2017. This would be a record-setting figure for Vietnamese exporters. VASEP says the forecast is based on high demand in China for seafood given the expansion of the middle class. “As Chinese consumption rises, Vietnamese seafood exports are expected to top $1 billion in 2017,” said Truong Dinh Hoe, the chairman of VASEP.

Meanwhile, discussions continue in Alaska on how to patch up the state’s $3 billion budget hole, and again fishermen will feel the cuts from one realm or another. The ADF&G's budget has been slashed 30 percent since 2014. Among the concerns is if enough money will be available to conduct crucial salmon assessments like funding for salmon weirs. “These salmon fishermen can’t survive without the information of these weir counters that the department has seen to eliminate. I almost have to question if this is an attention-getting measure…. a message to the Legislature that you can’t cut our budget because we’re going to cut weirs," said Kodiak Rep. Louise Stutes.

Finally, Louisiana's newly elected Gov. John Bel Edwards told a group of recreational anglers Thursday that he was open to state regulation of red snapper fishing off Louisiana’s shore. “We ought to be able to regulate ourselves when it comes to fishing,” Edwards told the Coastal Conservation Association Louisiana. The Governor's position runs counter to the state's Wildlife Department that said Louisiana could not afford a state-sponsored snapper management program. However, that was the position under Department head Charlie Melancon, who has since resigned from the position.

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West Coast Whiting Stock Assessment Shows Population Highest Since 1980s 

The draft stock assessment for the Pacific whiting (hake) stock off the West Coast of North America was released yesterday with higher estimates of spawning biomass that last year, which could result in an estimated median catch limit for 2017 of 969,840 tons writes Peggy Parker. The new estimate for the catch is based on the whiting default harvest rule. “The stock is estimated to be at its highest biomass level since the 1980s as a result of es­timated large 2010 and 2014 cohorts. The 2014 cohort has not yet been observed by the survey and only twice by the commercial fishery, thus its absolute size is highly uncertain,” reads the report.

Cooke Aquaculture confirmed that Chris Reuttgers will step down as CEO of the company. Pal Angell-Hansen, will take over as interim Chairman of Icicle on February 13. According to a statement from Cooke Aquaculture CEO Glenn Cooke, Reuttgers elected to resign from the top executive spot at Icicle. “After leading Icicle through the subsequent transition period, Chris made the personal decision to pursue other career opportunities,” Cooke said in a statement. "We appreciate the strong and experienced management team in the Seattle office and know they will provide critical support to Mr. Angell-Hansen and the Cooke management team as we invest in and further develop the business."

In other news, levels of hazardous substances at the proposed relocation site for Japan's Tsukiji Market spiked suddenly according to a January 30 probe by Tokyo officials. Toxic levels of benzene and arsenic were found to exceed national environmental standards by as much as 79 times. Officials have ordered another round of groundwater testing with results expected in early March.

Meanwhile, Fishwise has issued two white papers on seafood traceability and labor abuse in the seafood supply chain. Both papers are comprehensive reviews of how both government and industry is tackling the problems identified. The reports include some recommendation on supply chain best practices, that Fishwise hopes will be adopted by its retail partners. The reports also detail the industry support of many of these initiatives through corporate programs, including those of Thai Union, High Liner, Young's Seafood and the National Fisheries Institute.

Finally, Deviled Crab, an iconic Richmond, Virginia seafood specialty since the late 1970s, will continue to be available thanks to the absorption of the former Dickie’s Seafood and Veterans’ Best operations by Sustainable Sea Products International (SSPI). The new company will be called Sustainable Sea Products International – Mid-Atlantic and will also sell other prepared seafood items in addition to Dickie's existing product lines. “Dickies Seafood, and Dickies deviled crabs are part of Richmond culture and history. That won’t go away,” said SSPI President, Stephen White. “Today’s consumer wants convenient, high quality seafood that is easy to prepare and responsibly sourced. We can deliver that now.”

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Performance Food Group Buys Assets to Orlando-Based Distributor Bar Harbor Seafood 

Performance Food Group (PGF) has purchased the assets to major Florida-based seafood distributor Bar Harbor Seafood. According to the deal, Bar Harbor’s current president and founder Jeff Hazell will retain his title. The company will also keep its name and will be roped into PFG’s Specialty Company cluster. Bar Harbor is a $73 million seafood distributor with headquarters in Orlando. The company operates out of a 41,000 square foot facility and employs 150. “Bar Seafood is a highly regarded organization dedicated to delivering a full range of live, fresh and frozen seafood items with a reputation for high-quality products and great service,” said Jim Hope, PFG’s Executive Vice President of Operations. “This acquisition will enable Performance Foodservice to expand its seafood offerings and strengthen its focus on independent street business and especially customers in the Florida market.”

A new study says marine “dead zones” in the Gulf of Mexico are responsible for causing price spikes for large-sized, wild caught Gulf brown shrimp. According to Martin D. Smith, a professor at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, this study provides the first, long-sought evidence linking Gulf hypoxia to economic impacts. “Many studies have documented the ecological impacts of hypoxia, but establishing a clear causal link to economic losses in affected fisheries has been elusive. Our study does this by showing how seasonal hypoxia off the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts drives monthly fluctuations in market prices in the Gulf brown shrimp fishery,” Smith said.

In other news, the longstanding tension between Canada and the US regarding best ways to manage a shared resource was brought into sharper relief this year at the annual meeting of the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) in Victoria, B.C, writes Peggy Parker. In the end, catch limits were agreed to, Canada again received 58 percent more than the Blueline and 41 percent higher than the Spawning Potential Ratio since the stock assessment numbers are good in Canada. But it’s not the assessment in area 2B that the IPHC’s science team and the U.S. Commissioners worry about. It’s what the increased intensity of fishing in 2B could be doing to the rest of the coastwide stock.

Meanwhile, the Department of Commerce said that exported shrimp would continue to be dumped on the US market if it lifted duty rates on Vietnamese shippers. That was Commerce’s conclusion in its second five-year sunset review of the antidumping duty order on certain frozen shrimp exports from Vietnamese suppliers. “As a result of our analysis, the Department finds that revocation of the AD order would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping,” Commerce said in the January 30 edition of the Federal Register.

Finally, we run a letter to the editor from Shannon Carrol, Fisheries Policy Director for the Alaska Marine Conservation Council that is critical of John Sackton's column about the NPFMC's decision to table without further action all options for the Gulf of Alaska groundfish rationalization during their December meeting. "[John Sackton] compares the Gulf of Alaska groundfish fishery to the groundfish fishery in New England, and claims that the Council decision will take the Gulf down the same downward path followed by New England. Yet, the case of the New England groundfish fishery is entirely inapposite to that of the Gulf of Alaska," Carrol says in the letter.

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US Fisheries at Grave Risk if Government Stifles Science Data (Editorial)

 


SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Editorial Opinion] by John Sackton - January 30, 2017

Those who know me have no doubt that my personal political opinions reflect more Massachusetts and California than Texas and Louisiana.  But in an industry that has a diverse range of political views, there has always been common ground when it comes to the business of fish.

We all support profitable and healthy fish companies; we support use of our seafood resources for food and encourage maximum sustainable production, and we support business accountability, accurate labeling, sustainability, and compliance with labor laws.

And most importantly, to get these things we support sound fisheries science. The genius of the fishery management system in place since the passage of the original 200 mile limit and the Magnuson Act in 1976 has been the commitment to make fisheries decisions based on sound science.

The regional management councils were set up to allow conflict: various fisheries stakeholders will not agree about gear, allocation, seasons, quota shares, observers or many other features of a modern fishery management and enforcement system.  But all agree on one thing, as required by law:  decisions must be made in accordance with the best scientific advice and the councils cannot legally overrule peer reviewed formal scientific conclusions.


We have two stories today, one from Canada, and one from Seattle, about the impacts of government suppression...

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NPFMC Director Chris Oliver Receives Massive Industry-Wide Support to be NOAA's Next Fisheries Admin

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] January 27, 2017

In a nearly unprecedented display of unanimity, members of the fishing industry representing New England, Pacific, North Pacific, MidAtlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Hawaiian and Southeastern fisheries, as well as the National Fisheries Institute based in Washington, D.C. have rallied to support the appointment of North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) Director Chris Oliver as the next Assistant Administrator for Fisheries at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The push comes at a time when more 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported from overseas, resulting in an astonishing $13 billion seafood trade deficit...

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Chinese Ecommerce Company Sends Michelin Chef to Lucky Customers Home with New Year Order

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Amy Zhong and John Sackton 

Competition in e-commerce is heating up in China.  One innovative company surprised a customer by sending a Michelin chef and two waitresses to her banquet, along with her food.
 
Huang, a Guangzhou customer ordered a large menu on the Preliminary Eve, instead of her traditional Cantonese pun choi cuisine.
 
She ordered  Chilean king crabs, fish from New Zealand, live Canadian lobsters, clams, Vietnamese tiger prawns, plaice from Iceland, Russian codfish and live shame-faced crabs from France. Her commodities have arrived within 24 hours. And along with the seafood comes a Michelin-starred chef and two foreign waitresses...
 

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