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Apr 28 - News Summary April 28, 2017

Apr 28 - West African Pelagic Fisheries Start Fishery Improvement Project

Apr 27 - News Summary Thursday April 27, 2017

Apr 27 - Iceland's Samherji Boosts Stake in Major Norwegian Fish Producer Nergård

Apr 27 - NGOs Vow to Fight Trump Administration's Executive Order that WIll Review MPA Designations

Apr 26 - News Summary Wednesday April 26, 2017

Apr 25 - Nippon Suisan and its Gortons and Unisea Subsidiaries Partner with GSSI, Along with More Retailers

Apr 25 - News Summary Tuesday April 25, 2017

Apr 24 - News Summary Monday April 24, 2017

Apr 24 - Newfoundland's Fisheries Minister Supports $14 Million Federal Commitment to Study Cod Stocks

Apr 24 - Cautious Optimism About Recovery of Canada's Northern Cod Stocks Noted During Meeting in Brussels

Apr 21 - News Summary Friday April 21, 2017

Apr 21 - Icelandic Group Puts Major UK Seafood Distributor Seachill Up For Sale

Apr 20 - News Summary Thursday April 20, 2017

Apr 20 - Feds Close Flatfish, Rockfish, Sablefish Trawling in Gulf of Alaska 2 Weeks Earlier Than Last Year

Apr 20 - Scientists Spawn Pacific Sardines In Captivity; Results Could Inform Potential for Good Fishing

Apr 19 - News Summary Wednesday April 19, 2017

Apr 19 - Russia Squeezed by High Salmon Prices as Chilean Companies Cut Back Shipments

Apr 18 - News Summary Tuesday April 18, 2017

Apr 17 - News Summary Monday April 17, 2017

Apr 17 - High Liner Recalls Captain's Crew Fish Strips for Undeclared Allergen

Apr 13 - News Summary Thursday, April 13, 2017

Apr 12 - News Summary Wednesday April 12, 2017

Apr 12 - PFMC Approves Limited Salmon Seasons; Effects Ripple to Other Fisheries

Apr 11 - News Summary Tuesday April 11, 2017

Apr 11 - Icelandic Group Sheds Another Asset With Sale of Belgian Subsidiary Gadus to Steinasalir

Apr 10 - News Summary Monday April 10, 2017

Apr 10 - Seafood Harvesters of America Opposes Modern Fish Act

Apr 10 - Chuitna Coal Suspension Fails to Resolve State Debate Over Mining and Salmon Habitat

Apr 7 - News Summary Friday April 7, 2017

Apr 6 - News Summary Thursday April 6, 2017

Apr 5 - News Summary Wednesday April 5, 2017

Apr 5 - Major Fishery and Processor Associations Ask Gov. Inslee's Council Recommendations be Withdrawn

Apr 4 - News Summary Tuesday April 4, 2017

Apr 3 - News Summary Monday April 3, 2017

Apr 3 - Hilborn Study Redefines Forage Fish Predator Relationships; Suggests Fishing Pressure Lesser Factor

Apr 3 - 2017 Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off Will Take Place in Lafayette

Mar 31 - News Summary Friday March 31, 2017

Mar 31 - With Surge in Pangasius Sales to China, Gov't Cracks Down on Smuggling, Will Require Traceability

Mar 31 - Carlos Rafael Pleads Guilty; Up to 13 New Bedford Vessels Could be Seized by Government

Mar 31 - DFO Slashes Inshore Northern Shrimp Quota by 62% in Area 6

Mar 30 - News Summary Thursday March 30, 2017

Mar 30 - Long John Silver's Hires Former Smashburger Exec Angela Sanders as Chief Marketing Officer

Mar 29 - News Summary Wednesday March 29, 2017

Mar 28 - News Summary Tuesday March 28, 2017

Mar 28 - Groundfish Enterprise Allocation Council Wants Newfoundland to Temper Expectations of Cod Rebound

Mar 28 - Lakes Farm Raised Catfish Issues Recall Notice to USDA for Fish that Contain Antibiotics

Mar 27 - News Summary Wednesday March 27, 2017

Mar 27 - WWF-Canada Supports Parliament's Standing Committee Recommendations on Capelin Stock Assessments

Mar 24 - News Summary Friday March 24, 2017

Mar 24 - EU Funding Same DNA Technology That Identified Horsemeat to Properly Label Imported Snapper

Mar 23 - News Summary Thursday March 23, 2017

Mar 23 - Thai Union Expands Work Against Human Trafficking in Supply Chain to Include Global Retailers

Mar 22 - News Summary Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mar 21 - News Summary Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mar 21 - Mariner Seafood Prepared for Retail Distribution of GO WILD Brand That Extends Fresh Shelf Life

Mar 21 - Boston Show Upbeat Again this Year as Footprint Expands

Mar 20 - News Summary Monday, March 20, 2017

Mar 17 - News Summary Friday, March 17, 2017

Mar 17 - Lerøy Seafood Group Objects to Norwegian Restructuring That Will Cost it 20% of Its Cod Quota

Mar 17 - Japanese Fish Sellers Adapt to Changing Market with More Prepared Items, Different Species of Fish

Mar 17 - Commentator Gives up In Confusion Over Sustainable Fish Guides; Just a Personal Choice, She Says

Mar 16 - News Summary Thursday March 16, 2017

Mar 16 - Crabmeat Importer Blue Star Implments Cloud-Based Supply Chain Tracking for Indonesian Blue Crab

Mar 16 - Seal Predation Seen Impacting Snow Crab Stocks in Newfoundland

Mar 16 - Plea Hearing for Carlos Rafael Delayed to March 30, 2017

Mar 15 - News Summary Wednesday March 15, 2017

Mar 15 - First In-Season Cod Closure Announced for Some Southeast AK Waters

Mar 14 - News Summary Tuesday March 14, 2017

Mar 13 - News Summary Monday March 13, 2017

Mar 10 - News Summary Friday March 10, 2017

Mar 9 - News Summary Thursday March 9, 2017

Mar 8 - News Summary Wednesday March 8, 2017

Mar 7 - News Summary Tuesday March 7, 2017

Mar 6 - News Summary Monday March 6, 2017

Mar 6 - Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Trains 15,000 Shrimp and Tilapia Farmers Asia, South Pacific

Mar 6 - Mariner Seafood to Debut GO WILD Brand of Vacum Packed Line of Wild Caught Seafood at Boston

Mar 3 - News Summary Friday March 3, 2017

Mar 2 - News Summary Thursday March 2, 2017

Mar 2 - John Sevier Named New President of International Seafoods - Alaska

Mar 2 - West Coast Trawlers Receive Permits to Target Rebuilt Rockfish Stocks

Mar 1 - News Summary Wednesday March 1, 2017

Mar 1 - Long John Silver's Ready to Sell 30 Million Pieces of Fish for Lent

Feb 28 - News Summary Tuesday February 28, 2017

Feb 27 - News Summary Monday February 27, 2017

Feb 27 - Skyrocketing Pangasius (Basa) Prices in Vietnam May Mean an Increase in Chinese Tilapia Prices

Feb 27 - Mariner Seafood Becomes Funding Partner for GSSI; Backs Global Benchmark Tool

Feb 24 - News Summary Friday February 24, 2017

Feb 24 - VIDEO: Red Chamber Argentina Agrees to Shrimp Vessel Observers; Iceland’s Fishermen Get Back to Work

Feb 24 - MSC Streamlines Assessment in Pilot Program for Echebastar Indian Ocean Skipjack Tuna

Feb 23 - News Summary Thursday February 23, 2017

Feb 23 - Adak's Seafood Plant Not Processing Bering Sea Cod Because of Damage, Not Over Deliveries Lawsuit

Feb 22 - News Summary Wednesday February 22, 2017

Feb 22 - Hello Fresh's Meal Kit Delivery Service Commits to Monterey Bay's Seafood Watch Program

Feb 22 - State-Waters Cod Season Opens to Pot Gear as Federal Pot Gear Season Closes in Gulf of Alaska

Feb 22 - EDF Says Smart Reforms are Key to Global Fish Recovery, Even with Climate Change

Feb 21 - News Summary Tuesday February 21, 2017

Feb 21 - Texas' Perciformes Group Sends First Harvest of Farmed Sablefish To Washington DC Market

Feb 20 - News Summary Monday February 20, 2017

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

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PEI's Spring Lobster Season a Go for Saturday

Saturday is setting day for the spring lobster season in PEI. The PEI Fishermen's Association said some fishermen will probably set and pull their traps that day, especially in harbors that aren't far from shore. Close to 1,000 boats will be in the water for setting day. The lobster season in fishing area 24 and 26A runs until June 29. Traditionally, Island lobster fishermen don't fish on Sunday, so Monday could see big landings from the two-day haul.

Shrimp harvesting is now underway in the Mekong Delta but the industry is already expecting production to fall short of processor needs. The expectation is that the harvest will only meet 40-50 percent of the demand from the processing sector. This is likely going to keep raw material prices high in the domestic market and require Vietnamese processors to import raw material.

In other news, the Russian pollock Association signed a five-year review for recertification of the pollock fishery under the MSC at the recent Seafood Expo in Brussels. The signing was attended by the head of the Russian Fisheries Agency Ilya Shestakov and MSC head Rupert Howes. Earlier, the Pollock association joined in the Association of Sustainable Fisheries, which is the industry stakeholder group within the MSC. The meeting of the ASF this year focused on the problems of updating the MSC standards, and the danger than large numbers of fisheries would fail to meet the new requirements.

Meanwhile, the Alaska House and Senate convened together Thursday to take confirmation votes on Gov. Bill Walker's appointees to lead state departments, boards and commissions — including Walker's recent appointments to the Board of Fish — then left without voting. By postponing the votes, lawmakers leave themselves a point of potential leverage over Walker's administration as they try to negotiate budget and deficit-reduction deals. Similar postponements have taken place before.

Finally, halibut quota share values continue to soar in Alaska’s major fishing areas. The halibut IFQ prices have gone up about $5 a year for the past several years as the fish stocks have appeared to stabilize and increased slightly. Dock prices for halibut also have remained high, in the $6 to $7 per pound range at major ports.

Have a great weekend.

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West African Pelagic Fisheries Start Fishery Improvement Project

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] April 28, 2017

The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) announced the beginning of a fishery improvement project (FIP) for small pelagic fisheries in the West African nation of Mauritania.

International fishing sector stakeholders, fishmeal and fish oil buyers, exporters, and processors, together with the Mauritanian fishery authority, signed a memorandum of understanding at the Seafood Expo in Brussels, marking the FIP’s official beginning. The organizations share a common commitment to sustainable fisheries and collaborating to publicly evaluate and improve the fishery the SFP said...

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Iceland's Samherji Boosts Stake in Major Norwegian Fish Producer Nergård

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] April 27, 2017

Major Icelandic seafood producer and distributor Samherji and Norwegian operator Norsk Sjømat each increased their controlling interest in Northern Norwegian fish producer Nergård.

According to the deal, Samherji now owns roughly 40 percent of Nergård, which is Northern Norway’s second-largest fishing group. Norsk also increased its stake in Nergård’s operations and now owns a controlling interest of about 60 percent.

The two companies want to increase Nergård’s ability to produced more value-added fish products...

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Indian Shrimp Exporters Say 5% Strengthening of Rupee Hurting Profitability of US Shrimp Sales

Indian shrimp exporters say a stronger rupee against the US dollar is hurting profits on shrimp sales to the US market. At the present exchange rate, Indian exporters are reportedly incurring losses on each consignment they ship. Since the beginning of 2017, the Indian rupee has appreciated more than five percent against the US dollar. “The net realization for each sale has come down. It will proportionately impact the raw material prices. We are incurring losses,” said Tara Patnaik, chairman of Falcon Marine Exports Ltd, a major Indian shrimp and seafood exporter.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order that will instruct Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to engage in a sweeping review of many national monuments created by presidential proclamation since 1996. The review will evaluate more than 100,000 acres to see whether local communities should be given additional input into their scope and restrictions. An estimated 24-40 monuments are likely to come under review. “When you designate a monument, the local community should have a voice,” Zinke said, adding that the economic impact on miners, loggers and fishermen should be taken into account.

In other news, the Gulf of Maine Research Insitute has discontinued its annual forecast of lobster landings. The GMRI said it is dropping the forecast because of criticism from Maine’s lobster industry about the report’s timing and accuracy, and its effect on lobster prices.

Meanwhile, Cozy Harbor Seafood of Portland, Maine, which has spent years developing an export program to Europe, saw some of its efforts pay off this year wth two Seafood Excellence awards reports John Sackton from Brussels. Cozy Harbor entered three lobster products, a split tail, a whole tail, and lobster meat, which are flash frozen with nitrogen and packed in colorful sleeves. The lobster meat pack, which is a tamper-proof cup with a full-color sleeve, won the best retail product. The company also won a special prize for best seafood product line, which included its lobster meat cup, and the two packs of lobster tails.

Finally, an arbitrater for the World Trade Organization ruled in favor of Mexico over its dispute of the US’s dolphin-safe tuna labeling laws. The decision allows Mexico to impose $163 million in annual sanctions against the US. This decision ends a seven-year battle between Mexico and the US over dolphin-safe tuna labeling laws. Mexico said the US law created an unfair trade barrier on Mexican-caught canned tuna shipments sent to the US market.

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Newfoundland Price Panel Sets Cold-Water Shrimp Minimum Price at $0.95

The Province of Newfoundland Price Setting Panel announced that the minimum cold-water shrimp price for spring 2017 will be $0.95 CA. This is a significant change from the $CA 1.40 per lb awarded by the price panel last year. This year, the panel has apparently determined that the price put forward by the processors was closer to the market indications that the panel considered. Shrimp production will be cut back significantly again in Newfoundland this year due to declining stocks, but even with the decline in supply, the panel was not convinced it would lead to an increase in the market price.

Japanese conglomerate Nissui and its subsidiary, Alaskan seafood processor Unisea, joined the GSSI as partners. Nissui is the first Japanese seafood company to become a GSSI partner. “UniSea, Inc. is proud to join the leaders of the seafood industry in partnering with GSSI. GSSI has made tremendous progress in its mission to solve the problem of the proliferation of eco-certification schemes. We support GSSI’s efforts to provide a choice in certified seafood, and encourage others to join in partnership of supporting this important initiative,” said Tom Enlow, President & CEO of UniSea. Additionally, major retailer Giant Eagle added GSSI's scheme to its seafood procurement policy.

In other news, the New Brunswick snow crab fishery is opening today according to a notice from the Canadian Dept. of Marine Resources. The ice that has been clogging harbors in Shippagan and Caraquet is now broken up and has been moved out enough to allow for the fishery to begin. This is a couple of days earlier than expected last week. In some related snow crab news, Canada will allocate a portion of the Gulf of St. Lawrence snow crab quota to First Nations tribes for the first time in 14 years. Th expectation is that most of the new snow crab allocation will be given to First Nations bands already in the commercial snow crab fishery.

Meanwhile, Vietnam's shrimp exports through two months are down. Reports suggest trade barriers put up by Vietnam's major buyers and raw material shortages are starting to cut into its shipments.

Finally, shrimp landings from the Gulf of Mexico through the first quarter of the year were about the same compared to the first three months of 2016. Wholesale prices continue to hold at higher levels as the industry waits for new season production to reach the market. Meaningful Gulf shrimp production does not start until May. The season traditionally opens in the middle of the month but is dependent on the size of the shrimp in the waters.

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Newfoundland's Fisheries Minister Supports $14 Million Federal Commitment to Study Cod Stocks

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] April 24, 2017

Newfoundland's Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources Steve Crocker said he supports a federal commitment to fund $14 million over the next five years to conduct full northern cod stock assessments starting in 2017-18.   

“I have been requesting increased fisheries science into the species around our waters since becoming minister and I am pleased the Federal Government has listened to these requests and will invest $14 million into full annual scientific assessments for northern cod. Having greater scientific activity is critical especially as we prepare for the transition to groundfish.... 

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News Summary April 21, 2017

Today's Main Story: NMFS Put Councils on Notice about Overfishing or Overfished Conditions on Bigeye, Four Other Stocks

Leading the headlines today is word that the National Marine Fisheries Service has notified regional councils that five species are subject to overfishing and/or are overfishing or overfished, requiring measures be put in place to remedy the situations. Bigeye tuna in the Western and Central Pacific and South Atlantic golden tilefish are subject to overfishing, according to NMFS. South Atlantic blueline tilefish remains subject to overfishing. Pacific Bluefin tuna in the North Pacific Ocean and South Atlantic red snapper are both overfished and also subject to overfishing.

In other news, Russian pollock producers plan to significantly increase the volume of their supplies to the EU market during the next several years, according to an official spokesman of the Russian Federal Agency of Fisheries (Rosrybolovstvo). That will be

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FFAW Says Hundreds of Crab Vessels Iced in Will Need Compensation Due to Late Start, As in Past

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers union said that hundreds of snow crab fishing boats are being kept ashore by the ice that has built up around Newfoundland and Labrador. President Keith Sullivan called on the federal government to pay compensation to fish harvesters who are kept away from the fishery. "For many, E.I. benefits run out next week, which will leave families without any income for the foreseeable future, since ice is expected to be a problem until at least mid-May," the FFAW wrote in a statement.

New England regulators will allow lobster fishing in proposed deep-sea coral protection zones on the Mount Desert Rock and Outer Schoodic Ridges. The New England Fishery Management Council voted 14-1 Tuesday to ban most fishing in the canyons and plateaus where slow-growing, cold-water coral gardens flourish in the dark waters of the Gulf of Maine. But pleas from Maine lobster fishermen who say a trap ban in fertile gulf fishing grounds would cost them millions of dollars helped sway an initially resistant council to grant a lobstering exemption. The Council will vote on the exemption at its meeting in June.

In other news, Greenpeace released its annual sustainability rankings of canned tuna products sold in the US market. John Sackton writes how these rankings have almost nothing to do with tuna sustainability. "Instead, like other supermarket rankings undertaken by Greenpeace, the ranking system is used to reward banners that conform to Greenpeace’s ideology and punish banners that don’t," Sackton writes.

Meanwhile, the Gulf Seafood Institute and six other Gulf of Mexico seafood industry organizations endorsed North Pacific Fishery Management Council Executive Director Chris Oliver for the open position of Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries. “It is imperative that NOAA Fisheries be guided by an experienced Administrator with a solid track record of uniting these varying interests with a spirit of positivity and mutual respect,” the groups said in a letter sent to Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Jr.

Finally, biologists at NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center cracked the code on how to spawn Pacific sardines in the laboratory, opening a new window on the life cycle of the commercially important species. Some in the industry hope it will better inform industry and managers as to what environmental factors would augment wild reproduction and recruitment.

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Scientists Spawn Pacific Sardines In Captivity; Results Could Inform Potential for Good Fishing

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Seafood News] by Susan Chambers - April 20, 2017

Biologists at NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center cracked the code on how to spawn Pacific sardines in the laboratory, opening a new window on the life cycle of the commercially important species. Some in the industry hope it will better inform industry and managers as to what environmental factors would augment wild reproduction and recruitment.

Like many species, sardines require just the right conditions to reproduce. Researchers working with sardines in the SWFSC’s Experimental Aquarium had tried for decades to identify ...

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Russia Squeezed by High Salmon Prices as Chilean Companies Cut Back Shipments

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Eugene Gerden - April 19, 2017

Russia may face a shortage of salmon this year, due to the lack of supplies from Norway and the inability of producers from Faroe Islands, Chile and Iceland to fill the vacant niche.  This was laid out by Ilya Shestakov, head of the Russian Federal Agency of Fisheries (Rosrybolovstvo). 

Despite state hopes, domestic fisherman, as well as salmon producers from South America, were not able to replace more than 500 Norway salmon producers and importers, which were banned from Russia at the beginning of 2015 due to sanctions...

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EU Inspecting Mekong Shrimp Exporters for Possible Transshipment of Indian Shrimp Through Vietnam

Vietnam's Ministry of Trade confirmed that EU inspectors examined several shrimp exporters in the Mekong Delta under the suspicion that Indian shrimp is being transshipped to the EU market through Vietnam. Currently, EU import tariffs for Vietnam's shrimp are much lower than those for India. Particularly, the tariff for unprocessed shrimp imports from Vietnam is 4.2 percent, compared to 12 percent for India. For semi-processed shrimp, Vietnam's tariff is about 7 percent while India's is 20 percent. Officials with the EU said they will raise Vietnam's tariff rates for its shrimp shipments if transshipping is detected.

Fortune International has acquired the assets to online seafood distributor Lobster Gram in a deal that expands Fortune's market reach to consumers across the country. “I have always admired Lobster Gram and how [Lobster Gram founder Dan Zawacki] successfully started a live Maine lobster home delivery company from his parents’ garage, now that is entrepreneurship,” said Sean J. O’Scannlain, Fortune International’s President and CEO. “We have always considered entering the e-commerce business given the growth potential and what better way than with an icon like Lobster Gram that shares our commitment to quality service and products.” This is Fortune’s first acquisition of 2017 but just the latest deal that the Bensenville, Illinois-based seafood distributor has made since 2012. Fortune purchased JDY Gourmet in 2012, Chef Martin Old World Butcher Shop Sausage in 2014 and Coastal Seafoods of MN in July of 2016.

The retail market for Bristol Bay sockeye is looking good again this year because of a large push to chill majority of the fish and sell it as a premium product. Last year harvesters set a record volume for the amount of raw material they chilled. "This is huge for the retail potential of Bristol Bay," said Rebecca Martello, the association's executive director. "The fleet is making great strides to ensure Bristol Bay is a quality product and this definitely ties into all aspects of marketing and making Bristol Bay the premium brand we know it to be."

In other news, Chinese tilapia production was flat and the value of its exports fell last year. The industry says its needs to do a better job of developing more international markets to boost sales. In order to do this, producers and processors are being encouraged to increase overseas marketing efforts, develop more competitive brands and increase the quality of the fish.

Finally, the eight percent tariff on Canadian live lobster shipped to Europe will immediately disappear when the free trade deal known as CETA is signed, which could happen as soon as May 1. This coincides with the spring lobster season opener in P.E.I. "For the lobster sector it will mean tariff free access to 27 countries in Europe over the next number of years," said Geoff Irvine, executive director of the Lobster Council of Canada. "[That] will give us, hopefully, an advantage in that market as we compete against other seafood products and other proteins in a market that has 500 million people."

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News Summary April 13, 2017

Today's Main Story: Gulf Snow Crab Quota Even Higher Than Expected, Set at Nearly 44,000 Tons

Today’s main story focuses on how the snow crab supply picture from Atlantic Canada is coming into better focus. The Canadian DFO announced that the quota in the Southern Gulf, which was 21,725 tons last year, will more than double to 43,822 tons this year. Combined with the Newfoundland quota of 35,419 tons, total Canadian harvests from the two primary producing areas will total 79,241 tons of crab or nearly 175 million pounds of live crab if the entire quota is caught.

In other news, we post an opinion piece regarding The Coastal Conservation Association of N.C. which (it is written) appears to find much joy in destroying families and livelihoods of North Carolina commercial fishing communities, in which gill nets play a major

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PFMC Approves Limited Salmon Seasons; Effects Ripple to Other Fisheries

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Seafood News] by Susan Chambers - April 12, 2017

Sacramento, Calif. -- Dire West Coast ocean salmon seasons haven't officially started but already are affecting non-salmon fisheries such as sablefish and Pacific whiting.

Sablefish harvesters will get increased trip limits to help avoid salmon conflicts, and the whiting fleet will get a special additional bycatch allocation since moving out of Klamath salmon areas will force them into a higher bycatch zone.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council approved Tuesday no summer salmon seasons in parts of Oregon and California and limited seasons on the rest of the coast to protect struggling stocks such as coho in Washington and Klamath fall Chinook and Sacramento winter Chinook in Oregon and California. ...

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Icelandic Group Sheds Another Asset With Sale of Belgian Subsidiary Gadus to Steinasalir 

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh - April 11, 2017

Icelandic Group has completed the sale of its Belgian subsidiary, Gadus, to another group of seafood companies based in Iceland.

Steinasalir has acquired the full assets to Gadus’ operations. Steinasalir is owned by established Icelandic seafood companies, including Saemark Seafood, Fishproducts Iceland, and Akur, an Icelandic based private equity fund. The buyers aim to further promote sales and marketing of high quality seafood in Belgium and Central Europe.

Gadus handles and produces about 7.000 metric tons of products annually and employs about 130 people...

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Seafood Harvesters of America Opposes Modern Fish Act

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] - April 10, 2017

Washington, D.C. – A new bill focused on recreational fishing has drawn strong opposition from the nation's largest organization of commercial seafood harvesters.

SHA clams that The Modern Fish Act would hamstring federal regional fishery councils’ ability to manage the fishery sector and most species, while also limiting the ability to innovate new solutions to overfishing...

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Vietnam's Pangasius Exports to EU Down Sharply in 2017 as Consumer Demand Continues to Erode

A report by the Vietnam Pangasius Association (VPA) showed that drastic declines in pangasius fish exports to the EU market are still occurring in 2017 with the total value down over 17.5 percent so far this year. Consumer demand for Vietnamese pangasius in the EU is eroding because of attacks on the industry's production methods. A decision by Carrefour Belgium to ban the sale of pangasius at its stores earlier this year sparked a series of very negative news stories that incorrectly said Vietnam's production methods were damaging the environment. NGOs were quick to jump on these stories to further destroy the perception of Vietnamese pangasius among EU consumers. 

Major Indian shrimp exporter Devi Seafoods has attained four-star certification from the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) program. Devi achieved the four-star designation after its shrimp feed mill received BAP certification in its first year of operation. Devi has also opened a second shrimp feed production plant that will boost its annual output to 100,000 tons.“Devi Seafoods has grown steadily over the years by investing in integration and consolidating its position in the industry,” the company said in a press release. “With a fully integrated supply chain, Devi Seafoods has better control over the quality of its produce and is actively working towards sustainability by participating in the ASC and BAP programs.”

In other news, Indian seafood exporters say the EU does not have a good reason for stepping up its inspections of imported shrimp. EU Customs officials are now inspecting 50 percent of all imported shrimp that enters the market from India, which exporters say is a non-tariff barrier. “There is no justifiable reason for increasing the EU import-surveillance norms. Normally, such measures are taken when frequency of rejections is on the rise. However, there are no such reports,” said Norbert Karikkassery, President, Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI)

Meanwhile, a massive years-long, undercover operation by the US Department of Justice has led to arrests and guilty pleas of elver poachers and traffickers up and down the East Coast. The guilty pleas over the past six months account for $2.75 million worth of Maine elvers.

Finally, grocer LIDL Italy has joined with LIDL Denmark and LIDL Germany to announce it will work to end transshipment at sea in all its seafood supply chains. This has been a demand of tuna campaigners led by Greenpeace in Europe.“LIDL Italy’s actions on sustainable seafood procurement and transshipment at sea are significant steps in the right direction. We continue to see consumers around the globe demanding more responsibly-caught seafood products, and retailers are answering the call by adding those products to store shelves," said Greenpeace Italy Oceans Campaigner Giorgia Mont.

Have a great weekend.

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Alaska's Salmon Permit Values on the Decline Ahead of Summer Season

The value of Alaska's salmon fishing permits is on the decline this year. Some say Alaska's poor season last year is pushing down the cost of the permits even though preseason forecasts for the upcoming 2017 harvest period are quite positive. "If you were involved in salmon last year you probably didn’t have a great year, unless you were in the bay. So there wasn’t a lot of extra money to pick up an extra permit or move into a different fishery and I think we’re seeing that," said Doug Bowen runs Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer. Bowen says what’s needed to perk up salmon permit values is a good fishing season.

The Russian government is considering increasing duties on exports of fish and seafood in an attempt to prevent massive exports of fish out of the country. Currently, duty rates on Rusian fish exports are set at 3 percent, however, the state could increase these rates up to 10 percent. Analysts at the Russian Ministry of Agriculture said this could prevent a surge in Russian fish exports to China where the fish is sold at a very cheap price. But Russian fisherman said the duty increase can make further fish production unprofitable and could result in fisherman leaving the business.

In other news, the Washington State Department of Health closed commercial shellfish harvesting in six areas. State tests of the water quality in the Hood Canal, Annas Bay, North Bay, Rocky Bay, Swinomish and Port Susan showed high bacteria levels. State health officials are working with local public health and county partners as well as shellfish growers to implement plans to find and fix pollution problems in these areas.

Alaska's Department of Fish and Game is poised to open the state’s largest herring fishery in Togiak after a few thousand tons of the fish were spotted from an aerial survey off the tip of Hagemeister Island. The state estimates 130,852 tons of herring this year, and the fishery can be opened when 35,000 tons have been documented on the grounds. “I’m thinking it’s the vanguard of fish starting to move in,” said ADF&G area management biologist Tim Sands. “My expectation at this point is over the next couple of days the biomass will build up. I’m hoping we can go Thursday and document threshold biomass and open up the fishery.”

Finally, Japan surpassed the U.S. to become the biggest buyer of Vietnamese seafood in the first quarter of this year, according to the monthly report of Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

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NGOs Vow to Fight Trump Administration's Executive Order that WIll Review MPA Designations 

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [The Boston Globe] by David Abel - April 27, 2017

President Trump on Wednesday will issue a sweeping executive order to review as many as 40 national monument designations made by his three predecessors, an unprecedented move that could curtail or rescind their protected status.

It was unclear which areas would come under review, but the list could include monuments designated last year by President Barack Obama, including thousands of acres of pristine woods in northern Maine and sensitive marine habitats in the submerged canyons and mountains off Cape...

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Nippon Suisan and its Gortons and Unisea Subsidiaries Partner with GSSI, Along with More Retailers  

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] April 25, 2017

During the Seafood Global Expo show in Brussels this week, the Global Seafood Sustainability Initiative announced the addition of a couple more partners and received support from a major US retailer.

Japanese conglomerate Nissui and its subsidiary, Alaskan seafood processor Unisea, joined the GSSI as partners. Nissui is the first Japanese seafood company to become a GSSI partner.

Nissui is a major Japanese corporation that owns seafood operations across the world. In addition to Unisea, Nissui's also owns North American operators Nippon Suisan USA, Unisea, Gorton’s, BlueWater Seafoods, F.W Bryce, King & Prince Seafood and Glacier Fish Company...

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Alaska Orders Pebble Developers to Cleanup Mine Site and Commit $2 Million to Restore Land

Alaska will require developers of the stalled Pebble mine to do extensive cleanup and monitoring this summer — and to commit $2 million to ensure disturbed land is eventually restored. The conditions were announced by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and immediately drew a favorable reaction from Bristol Bay tribes, environmental groups and fishing interests. "We are thankful that the Department of Natural Resources took a hard look at what was happening at the Pebble site, rather than simply rubber stamping these permits as was done in the past," said Robert Heyano, president of The United Tribes of Bristol Bay. Pebble said its work this summer will be as DNR has directed, and will protect the public interest.

Richard J. Pandolfo, a senior executive at Gloucester-based National Fish & Seafood pleaded guilty to one count of tax fraud Thursday in U.S. District Court in Boston and is set to be sentenced in July, the Justice Department announced. Prosecutors allege Pandolfo failed to pay federal tax on about $90,000 of the $95,000 in “substantial supplemental income” he received from former National Fish & Seafood executive and part-owner Jack Ventola from 2008 to 2012.

In other news, cautious optimism about the status of Canada’s Northern Cod fishery was noted during the second annual consultation meeting among the Association of Seafood Producers, the Groundfish Enterprise Allocation Council and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, which was held in Brussels this week. Meanwhile, Canada's federal government said it would commit $14 million over the next five years to conduct full northern cod stock assessments starting in 2017-18. “We are cautiously optimistic, but must practice restraint with respect to catch increases until a stainable recovery trajectory is confirmed," said Jim Cannon, President of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.

Nearly 500 Walmart stores in the Midwest market will sell frozen, pre-portioned and seasoned Norwegian Salmon fillets distributed by The Salmon Man. The salmon is supplied by Platina Seafood, which has a sales office in Miami, Florida. The Norwegian Seafood Council said there is an especially high demand for European salmon in the midwest because of a large Scandinavian population in the region.

Finally, a competition dubbed the "Lionfish Throwdown" was held in Bermuda last week that challenged chefs to come up with restaurant quality dishes that feature invasive lionfish. This is part of a growing movement to create a consumer market for lionfish that have pushed into Atlantic waters around the Gulf of Mexico. Some local retailers in the Southeast are featuring lionfish in seafood cases.

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Cautious Optimism About Recovery of Canada's Northern Cod Stocks Noted During Meeting in Brussels

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] - April 24, 2017 

Cautious optimism about the status of Canada’s Northern Cod fishery was noted during the second annual consultation meeting among the Association of Seafood Producers, the Groundfish Enterprise Allocation Council and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, which was held in Brussels this week.

Representatives from France, the UK, and Canada were in attendance. Overall, the meeting reported progress towards rebuilding Northern cod stocks through a Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP).

The meeting reviewed stock status and population projections, and updated the FIP Action Plan...

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Icelandic Group Puts Major UK Seafood Distributor Seachill Up For Sale 

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh - April 21, 2017

The Board of Icelandic Group has initiated a sales process for its UK operations, Seachill. This is the latest operation that Icelandic Group has decided to sell off.

 Seachill is a leading supplier of chilled fish to the UK retail market since it was founded in 1998. The business has grown to be one of the largest chilled fish processors in the UK, with well-invested facilities and an established supply chain Icelandic Group said.

Seachill owns The Saucy Fish Co. brand which has a fast growing reputation globally. The brand recently expanded to the North American market.  In 2017, The Saucy Fish Co. entered the frozen retail category with a line of ready to cook frozen products.

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Feds Close Flatfish, Rockfish, Sablefish Trawling in Gulf of Alaska 2 Weeks Earlier Than Last Year

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  by John Sackton  April 20, 2017

NMFS has closed the deepwater trawl fisheries in the Gulf directed at rockfish, sablefish, flatfish and arrowtooth flounder effective April 13th.

The fishery has come up against its halibut bycatch limit of 256 metric tons. 

This is a temporary closure, and the fishery will reopen May 15th, with their third-period allocation.

The fishery will close at the latest on July 1st, under the management plan.

The closure this year is two weeks earlier than last year's closure..

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European Whole Salmon Floods US and Cuts into Canada's Market Share

European salmon producers, beset with sea lice problems, appear to be harvesting fish early and flooding the US market with unusual amounts of smaller whole fish. This has had an impact on Canadian producers, who normally dominate the whole fish market in the US. while demand for salmon in the US and other global markets has been exceptionally high, this particular rise in European shipments to the US market has not been totally demand driven. Rather, it appears US buyers have opted to import more whole salmon from Europe in 2017 because the surge in available supplies lowered prices to competitive levels compared to Canadian product.

More than 750,000 pounds of West Coast rockfish have been landed in roughly a month under an exempted fishing permit, creating a small boon for fishermen and markets. The harvest included only four Chinook salmon and no catches of green sturgeon or eulachon smelt, both ESA-listed species. Five vessels made 17 trips since the beginning of March. Oregon Trawl Commission Director Brad Pettinger said the success of a midwater rockfish fishery + something common when he was fishing more than 20 years ago + is a validation of sacrifices made since 2000. "We're on the verge of placing the last piece of the puzzle to rebuilding this fishery," Pettinger said. "It's been a lot of work over the last decade-plus."

In other news, we run a Letter to the Editor from Garrett Fine, the cooking business unit manager for Laitram Machinery who disagrees with claims from our April 18 article that said some in Japan think steam cooking snow crabs hurts the quality of the product. "Myself and my colleagues have literally been in the plant with one of the “Big 3” Japanese buyers, have feedback from our customers’ other Japanese buyers, as well as the plants’ QC department and owners, Canadian, and US buyers. The overwhelming feedback is that the product quality is better; in fact, they say the product texture, color, taste, and extractability are all much better," Fine writes.

Meanwhile, Russia may face a shortage of salmon this year, due to the lack of supplies from Norway and the inability of producers from the Faroe Islands, Chile and Iceland to fill the vacant niche according to federal fishery officials at Rosrybolovstvo. Among the issues causing the shortages is the inability of the domestic industry and producers in South America to replace imports from more than 500 Norway salmon producers and importers, which were banned from exporting fish to the Russia at the beginning of 2015 due to sanctions.

Finally, the New England Fishery Management Council has initiate changes that will attempt to reduce the conflict between large and small boat scallopers in the Northern Gulf of Maine. The management council says there is a "critical need to initiate surveys and develop additional tools to better manage the area." It also says the new rules could include limiting some boats from fishing in the area until the total scallop population can be more accurately determined.

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Japanese Crab Negotiations with Newfoundland Full of Uncertainty

Sources in Japan say that the negotiations with Newfoundland snow crab packers are in a high state of uncertainty. Although there were reports of a price of $6.95 between one or two packers and a Japanese buyer, others in Japan say there was a condition on this contract that limited the amount of product to only a portion of what the buyer purchases in the first week. Overall the Japanese see great uncertainty in the market and expect the situation to clarify more once production is in full swing in both Newfoundland and the Gulf.

Nearly half of all the natural World Heritage sites on the planet are being ravaged by poachers who are driving some endangered animals towards extinction, according to a report from the World Wildlife Fund. The illegal wildlife trade was estimated to be worth some $19 billion, making it the fourth largest international criminal trade after drugs, guns and human trafficking, according to the ‘Not For Sale’ report. The report warned that species listed on the landmark Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) are being killed. "The current international approach to preventing illegal harvesting of Cites-listed species in World Heritage sites is not working, and stakeholders must redouble their efforts and address all parts of the wildlife trafficking value chain," the report said.

In other news, fishermen are petitioning the New England Fishery Management Council to protect tuna and other fisheries from the herring fleet by agreeing to have measures asking for year-round closures of up to 50 miles east of the Cape. “There’s a strong feeling that fisheries that used to happen here have been displaced by 10 years of intense herring removal,” said John Pappalardo, executive director of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance, and a member of the New England council and its herring committee.

Meanwhile, Bristol Seafood in Maine is looking to capitalize on the growing interest in the social responsibility of seafood as its New England scallops are the first domestic fishery in the country to earn certification from Fair Trade USA. To achieve the certification, companies need to submit to an audit and interviews to make sure the food is produced with fair working conditions and environmental stewardship along the supply chain. Fair Trade USA also certifies shrimp from Mexico, yellowfin tuna from Indonesia, and skipjack and yellowfin tuna from Maldives. "There's a certain sanctity to food when it comes to the story about it," said Peter Handy, president of Bristol "It tastes better the more you know."

Finally, Maruha Nichiro expects higher costs of purchasing seafood from overseas suppliers to cut into its profits by about 12 percent. Maruha's purchasing costs abroad are rising due to the yen's depreciation.

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High Liner Recalls Captain's Crew Fish Strips for Undeclared Allergen 

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] April 17, 2017

High Liner Foods Inc. is recalling High Liner Captain's Crew brand breaded fish strips and High Liner Captain's Crew brand breaded fish nuggets from the marketplace because they may contain milk which is not declared on the label.

According to the notice submitted to Canadian health authorities, consumers with an allergy to milk should not consume the recalled products.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products...

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Quinlan Bros. Starts Snow Crab Processing at Rebuilt Plant in Bay de Verde

Quinlan Brothers Ltd. announced on Tuesday that a small quantity of snow crab will be run through the processing line to ensure the plant is ready as boats begin returning to shore with their first landings of the new season later this week. The plant will process only snow crab this season, but the company is preparing to expand into groundfish when stocks allow. Around a year ago the Quinlan Brothers' processing facility burned to the ground, which had widespread implications for Newfoundland's snow crab industry from the people the plant employed to buyers that had lined up snow crab deals for the season.

The Russian Federal Fishery Agency officially announced that it will hold an auction for the distribution of crab quotas in the Far Eastern fishing basin on May 18-19 of the current year. The auctions will allow companies to control crab quota through 2026. The quotas will include all of the major crab species in particular species of king crab, helmet crab, and opilio crab in major crab-producing areas.

A report on raw material prices for Vietnamese shrimp shows prices are up 24 percent since 2016 and are at a two-year high. Lack of domestic shrimp in the market has been attributed to the spike in prices this year. The Vietnamese have stepped up importing shrimp from foreign suppliers like India in order to meet the needs of processors.

We run an opinion from Tom Mazzetta who calls for increased cooperation between domestic and imported seafood operators in the United States. Mazzetta points to the success of the Maine lobster and Alaskan salmon industries as examples of how domestically sourced and imported seafood products can coexist in the US. "We need to come together as an industry to support increased seafood consumption as an overall goal, not only for the benefit of our collective bottom-lines, but for the health benefits of eating more seafood, the environmental benefits of seafood production versus other proteins, and to address regulations that artificially inflate prices for American shoppers and diners," said Mazzetta.

Finally, dire West Coast ocean salmon seasons haven't officially started but are already affecting non-salmon fisheries such as sablefish and Pacific whiting writes Susan Chambers. The Pacific Fishery Management Council approved no summer salmon seasons in parts of Oregon and California and limited seasons on the rest of the coast to protect struggling stocks such as coho in Washington and Klamath fall Chinook and Sacramento winter Chinook in Oregon and California. Sablefish harvesters will get increased trip limits to help avoid salmon conflicts, and the whiting fleet will get a special additional bycatch allocation since moving out of Klamath salmon areas will force them into a higher bycatch zone.

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Trident to Sell Newport Surimi Plant to Pacific Seafoods, If Pacific Gains Community Support

Trident Seafoods intends to sell their Newport, Oregon surimi plant to Pacific Seafoods. Trident said it believes Pacific has the best chance of successfully operating the plant because of its existing infrastructure in Newport and experience marketing products produced from Pacific whiting. However, there is an issue that could prevent the deal from happening, and that is the anti-trust lawsuit that has been filed against Pacific by some harvester groups. Pacific Seafood and Trident plan to meet with fishermen, community stakeholders, and government regulators to gauge support for the proposed sale, with hopes of saving the 2017 whiting season. "We wanted to do everything possible to make sure that the people who work at the plant have stable employment and our fishermen continue to have good markets for their catches," said Trident's CEO Joe Bundrant.

The forecasted harvest for Prince William Sound pink salmon this year is the largest on record while the Copper River sockeye harvest was reported at a more modest level according to the latest ADF&FG forecast. If the 2017 natural stock pink salmon forecast is realized it would be the second largest natural run on record, and well above the 1997–2015 odd-year average return. The Alaska salmon seasons have expected start dates between mid-May and mid-June depending on the region and the species.

In other news the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Commission said they want more data before setting the dates for the season. LDWF biologist Jeff Marx said data he’s collected show better conditions than in previous years. But nearly all of the shrimpers at the meeting said they would rather wait for the season to open at the normal time so the shrimp can grow to be larger. The spring shrimp season usually opens in mid to late May.

Meanwhile, Hogne I. Tyssoy, a portfolio manager for major Norwegian seafood investment fund Holberg Triton will accompany Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg's delegation to China this month as the two countries continue to rebuild their trade relations. Tyssoy said he is interested in seeing first hand what growth opportunities are in store for Norwegian fish farmers in China.

Finally, some members of Atlantic Canada's fishing industry are concerned how the United State's implementation of new seafood import rules will impact shipments to the market. As of this week the US is requiring proof that its seafood imports are harvested in a way that minimizes harm to marine mammals. Countries now have to submit a list of fisheries measures in place to limit by-catch and gear entanglements with whales, turtles, porpoises and seals. "I think for everybody this is really concerning," she said. "We have not been privy to the actual ongoing discussions between the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the U.S. government. What for us is uncomfortable is how these things are being viewed from office buildings," said Melanie Sonneberg of the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association in New Brunswick.

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News Summary April 10, 2017

Today's Main Story: Western Rock Lobster Price Falls Due to a Drop in China Demand, Cheaper American Exports

Headlining the nws, the value of premium species of lobster sourced from Western Australia has plummeted, causing the lucrative industry to grind to a near halt. The western rock lobster 'beach price', which is the price professional fishers receive direct from processors, has slumped to about $50 a kilogram. Compared to six months ago, the price has shed about 30 per cent of its value. Almost all the western rock lobsters, caught on the continental shelf mainly from Perth to Geraldton, are exported live to China. A seasonal drop in demand from the Chinese market, along with the strengthening of the Chinese Yuan bearing down on Australia's return in the exchange rate, are major factors behind the price fall. Cheaper lobster from America is also suspected as cause for lower prices. The emergence of America as a key exporter of a more affordable lobster to China is also thought to be contributing to the problem.

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Chuitna Coal Suspension Fails to Resolve State Debate Over Mining and Salmon Habitat

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Peninsula Clarion] by Ben Boettger - April 10. 2017

Although a plan to strip-mine coal from beneath the Chuitna River’s west Cook Inlet tributaries is done for the moment, elements of controversy may continue to ricochet.

For opponents, the Chuitna Coal Project’s eleven years of permitting were a weary battle against the dewatering of salmon spawning streams. For proponents such as Alaska Mining Association executive director Deantha Crockett, it was a regulatory and legal “death by a thousand cuts.” After Monday’s announcement that Delaware-based PacRim Coal, the Chuitna project’s parent company, was halting its quest for permits, ...

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