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Feb 13 - Gulf Reef Shareholders Blast Critical News Report of Red Snapper Catch Share Management


Feb 13 - GAA Backs Production Standards for Farmed Pangasius Industry


Feb 10 - Judge Orders Increased Klamath River Flows to Benefit of Salmon, Tribes, Fisheries


Feb 7 - Aquaculture Stewardship Council Disappointed with Carrefour's Decision to Stop Selling Pangasius


Jan 31 - Carrefour Halts Pangasius Sales on Sustainability Grounds, Other European Retailers Disagree


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


Jan 25 - New ISSF Report Points Out Few MSC Certified Tuna Fisheries Meet Harvest Control Standard


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


Dec 9 - Rabobank Commodity Outlook Sees Strong Salmon, Shrimp Markets; Lower Fishmeal Prices


Dec 7 - "In Their Own Words" RQE: A Way For Charter Halibut Operators to Own a Pool of Commercial Quota


Nov 28 - SIRF Funds DNA Testing Project for Fast Identification of Fish Species


Oct 26 - Wellhead Disaster Averted by 12 Meters in Shell Offshore Drilling Incident on Scotian Shelf


Oct 7 - EDF Says Allegations it Supports Privatization of Gulf Fishing Quotas are Grossly Inaccurate


Sep 22 - Seafood.com News Summary Thursday September 22, 2016


Sep 22 - United Cook Inlet Drift Association Wins Lawsuit Against NMFS on Appeal


Sep 20 - Letters: MPA Proposal Off California Is Yet Another End-Around US Commercial Fishery Management


Sep 15 - Are the Big NGO's Winning the Marine Monument Battle, But Losing the War


Sep 15 - SFP Gets First UK Supplier to Join Its Public Scoring Project using SFP's Rankings


Sep 7 - Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday September 7, 2016


Sep 1 - Seafood.com News Summary Thursday September 1, 2016


Aug 19 - Seafood.com News Summary Friday August 19, 2016


Aug 12 - Seafood.com News Summary Friday August 12, 2016


Aug 4 - ISSF: Electronic Monitoring is Example of How Technology Can Help Pacific Tuna Management (Opinion)


Aug 2 - Seafood.com News Summary Tuesday August 2, 2016


Aug 2 - Stock Assessments Overwhelmingly Support Raising Atlantic Menhaden Quotas (Opinion)


Jul 12 - Opposition to California Offshore Monuments Mounts After Draft Proposal Leaked


Jul 11 - A 40-Year Perspective on Kodiak's Trawl Industry From Al Burch (Opinion)


Jun 15 - Bob Jones Urges Congress to Kill Bill to Take Red Snapper out of Federal Jurisdiction


Jun 15 - Copper River Seafoods Posts Preseason Sockeye Price in Bristol Bay of $.75/lb


Jun 3 - Letters: Mazzetta Continues Dialogue on Gulf Shrimp Issues - Says Tough Policy Choices Needed


Jun 1 - Stronger Sales, Traffic Fuel RPI in April


May 20 - Aquabounty Wins Approval to Sell GMO salmon in Canada


May 18 - NFI's Revamped Website Emphasizes Latest Advocacy Work


Apr 26 - Newfoundland Northern Cod Will Need more than a FIP, It will Need the Unity of All Stakeholders


Apr 25 - Seafood.com News Summary Monday April 25, 2016


Apr 19 - Cook Inlet Salmon is a Prime Example of a Fishery Magnuson Has Not Been Able to Help


Apr 11 - Some Swedes Voice Doubt Over Invasive Threat of North American Lobsters


Apr 7 - After AK Fishing Groups Vehemently Oppose Walker's Plans for Entry Commission, House Holds Bill


Apr 6 - Slow Start to Cold Water Shrimp Fishing as Price Disputes Erupt in Oregon, and Quebec


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Gulf Reef Shareholders Blast Critical News Report of Red Snapper Catch Share Management 

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] February 13, 2017

The Gulf of Mexico Reef Shareholders’ Alliance blasted a series of articles published by a local news affiliate in New Orleans that targeted the commercial red snapper catch share program.

Last week the Fox 8 New Orleans published several articles about the implementation of federal catch shares for the commercial red snapper fishery. The articles conclude that the catch share program created “snapper barons,” a select group of fishermen that control most of the commercial red snapper fishery.

“We are baffled and disappointed that a reporter and a Washington DC politician teamed up to tear down a longstanding program that allows innovative fishermen to build profitable businesses and sustainable fisheries...

Full Story »

Judge Orders Increased Klamath River Flows to Benefit of Salmon, Tribes, Fisheries

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Seafood News] by Susan Chambers - February 10, 2017

Klamath River tribes and fishermen who depend on salmon claimed victory after U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick mandated increased water flows on the Klamath River Wednesday.

The ruling says the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation must let more water downstream on the Klamath in the winter to flush out Ceratanova shasta, or C. shasta, a parasite that affects juvenile salmon. In turn, the success of those juveniles affect the numbers of returning adult salmon on which tribes and fishermen depend.

Orrick found the Bureau’s operation of the Klamath Project is causing irreparable harm to the salmon and the Yurok Tribe and fishing families, and that the water levels also appear favorable this year for the mitigation flows needed to reduce that harm. He found that, based on the best available science, “Plaintiffs have demonstrated that flushing flows and emergency dilution flows would reduce C. shasta rates among coho salmon. There is no meaningful dispute among the parties on this point.” 

He rejected pleas for delay to consider more evidence, stating, “Where plaintiffs have shown a threat of imminent harm to coho salmon, waiting for perfect science is not appropriate.” ...

Full Story »

Carrefour Halts Pangasius Sales on Sustainability Grounds, Other European Retailers Disagree

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  by John Sackton  January 31, 2017

Carrefour, the largest retailer in Europe, has announced in the press that it will no longer be selling pangasius from Vietnam in Belgium, France, and Italy. 
 
However other large retailers, including Metro, Lidl, and Delhaize declined to follow suit.
 
Most of the other retailers pointed to pangasius ASC and BAP certifications as a reason to have confidence in the product...

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New ISSF Report Points Few of MSC Certified Tuna Fisheries Meet Harvest Control Standard

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  by John Sackton  January 25, 2017

The ISSF (International Seafood Sustainability Foundation) is a supporter of the MSC, and is working to get tuna fisheries certified by the MSC.  But the organization is also committed to real scientific standards, and to working with the RFMO’s to upgrade tuna fisheries management.
 
The ISSF has released a report showing that one of the critical elements in the Marine Stewardship Council’s 2.0 standard, the presence of harvest control rules, is almost entirely missing...

Full Story »

Rabobank Commodity Outlook Sees Strong Salmon, Shrimp Markets; Lower Fishmeal Prices

 

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  by John Sackton  Dec 9, 2016

Rabobank has issued a comprehensive 2017 food commodity forecast saying that in the US, record production of beef, pork nd poultry is testing the limits of consumer appetite, while exports may hit headwinds due to turbulence in the trade relationship to China.
 
For seafood, the report focused on global trends in salmon, shrimp, and fishmeal.
 
 
 
On salmon, the bank says that after the biggest contraction in supply 17 years, global production should grow by 4%.

Full Story »
SIRF Funds DNA Testing Project for Fast Identification of Fish Species
 
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] - November 28, 2016
 
Research Could Produce Potential Check on Seafood Fraud
 
 The Board of Directors of the Seafood Industry Research Fund (SIRF) have funded research for the development of a fast, cost-effective identification of edible fish and fish products to prevent species substitution and fraud. The project will be led by Dr. J. Aquiles Sanchez, Ph.D. of the Department of Biology at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. 
 
The research seeks to develop a rapid means of seafood species identification using Closed-Tube DNA Bar Coding. Compared to difficult and expensive FDA DNA testing, the Closed-DNA system represents a convenient alternative that can be used with both laboratory equipment and, importantly, handheld...

Full Story »

EDF Says Allegations it Supports Privatization of Gulf Fishing Quotas are Grossly Inaccurate

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] October 7, 2016

The Environmental Defense Fund issued a statement opposing the claims made in a story published in AL.com this week that was critical of the group’s role in supporting catch share management in the US.

According to Matt Tinning, the EDF’s Senior Director of its US Oceans Program, the story seriously misrepresented the group’s work to advance US fishery management reforms.

For the second time this year, AL.com has published a sloppy, inaccurate and inflammatory opinion piece about U.S. fisheries masquerading as investigative reporting. The writer’s primary focus is the Gulf of Mexico...

Full Story »

United Cook Inlet Drift Association Wins Lawsuit Against NMFS on Appeal

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] by Peggy Parker - September 22, 2016

“We won!” wrote Audrey Salmon, manager of the United Cook Inlet Drift Association (UCIDA) to her members when an Anchorage federal appeals court reversed a lower court decision against the fishermen.

The suit found fault with the North Pacific Council’s Amendment 12 to the Fisheries Management Plan for Salmon. The council adopted Amendment 12 in 2012, to make official something many people already assumed: that Cook Inlet, Prince William Sound, and the Alaska Peninsula were exempted from the federal fisheries management plan for salmon because the State of Alaska was managing those fisheries adequately.

But UCIDA and the Cook Inlet Fishermen’s Fund urged the Council to reject the amendment...

Full Story »

Are the Big NGO's Winning the Marine Monument Battle, But Losing the War

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  [Editor's View] by John Sackton - September 15, 2016

Coinciding with the opening of the Our Oceans conference in Washington, DC today, President Obama announced a new 5000 square mile marine monument on the southeast corner of George's Bank, encompassing three submarine canyons and some seamounts further off the continental shelf. 
 
The map of the monument closely hews to the proposed map put out by Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal in a letter to Obama in July.  It follows a letter at the end of June from the six senators representing Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, along with a host of environmental NGOs.
 
The argument is simple:  America has created a series of national parks on land.  It should offer the same protections in the marine environment.
 
NGOs have been urging Obama...
 
 

Full Story »

Sweden's Proposed Ban on N. American Lobsters Moves Forward as EU Accepts Swedish Approach to Risk 

The EU's Scientific Forum on Invasive Alien Species confirmed the validity of Sweden’s scientific risk assessment that backs up its claim to ban North American live lobsters from its market. The decision sets in motion a broader review that could lead to the ban of imported live lobster to the EU market. The decision will now be reviewed and possibly considered for a vote by the Alien Species Committee. If approved, the motion would go to the full European Union Commission for a final vote sometime next spring. “This does not prejudge in any way the decision on whether the commission will propose the lobster for listing,” said Iris Petsa, a spokesperson for the EU. “This is a preliminary opinion on a purely scientific risk assessment and not a decision as to whether to ban the species.”

Sea Watch International announced the acquisition of Bar Harbor Foods in an undisclosed deal. Antarctica Advisors served as the independent advisory firm to finalize the transaction. "The acquisition of Bar Harbor will strengthen Sea Watch's position and growth in the U.S. retail segment,” said Bob Brennan, the CEO of Sea Watch International.

In other news, NMFS took most humpback whales off the endangered species list Tuesday, saying their numbers have recovered through international efforts to protect them. Nine of the fourteen distinct population populations of the whales have recovered to the point where they no longer need Endangered Species Act Protections NMFS said. These include whales that winter in Hawaii, the West Indies and Australia. "Today's news is a true ecological success story," said Eileen Sobeck, assistant administrator for NMFS.

Meanwhile, John Sackton writes of Oceana's latest "study" that claims 20 percent of the global seafood trade is mislabeled. The study was not a scientific sampling, but instead an analysis of Oceana’s sampling of high-risk species in various countries such as escolar, pangasius, and hake. They also had a high proportion of snapper and grouper samples, species where literally dozens of genetically distinct species are legally sold under one name. "The fact is that importers still have little control over how restaurants menu their items," Sackton says. The NFI added that Oceana would be far more effective lobbying for stronger enforcement of existing seafood mislabeling laws.

Finally, a US Bankruptcy Court agreed to bring South Korean shipper Hanjin under the umbrella of U.S. bankruptcy law, which temporarily prevents creditors in the U.S. from seizing assets. But the order doesn't guarantee that the ships' cargo will make it to shore. Since the carrier filed for bankruptcy in Seoul last week, ports, cargo handlers, truckers and railways have refused to touch Hanjin's containers, fearing they won't get paid. Nearly 80 Hanjin ships and at least half a million containers are still stranded at sea. There is hope that agreements can be met this week to get cargo moving. "All we can do is assure that the company is working around the clock to raise the financing to pay people and to start moving the cargo and to do what's necessary for our customers," said Hanjin's bankruptcy lawyer Ilana Volkov.

Full Story »

Icicle Seafoods Proceeding With Plan to Relocate Farmed Salmon Pens East of Port Angeles

Icicle Seafoods, which was recently acquired by Canada’s Cooke Seafood still plans to relocate some of its Atlantic salmon pens to a 9.7 acre stretch of water in the Puget Sound, just east of Port Angeles, Washington. The company’s plan for putting pens out in the Juan de Fuca Strait has been driven by U.S. Navy plans to expand its base on Ediz Hook. Under Icicle’s planned development, 14 circular pens, each 126 feet in diameter, would be kept in place by a network of two-to- four-ton steel anchors. The new pens would produce 20 percent more salmon than the old. They would be the first anchored this far offshore in Washington waters.

The Lobster Council of Canada is urging Canada's lobster exporters to speak with their overseas customers about opposing Sweden's proposal to ban live North American lobsters from its market. “We’re asking our exporters to ask their importers to lobby their own governments,” said Geoff Irvine, executive director of the Council. The European Union’s Scientific Forum on Invasive Alien Species is expected to express an opinion about the proposed ban on Aug. 31.

In other news, Copper River's coho season opened on Monday, August 15 with an estimated landing of 19,000 silvers, which puts the run on track with the preseason estimate of 201,000 fish. “If the run comes in as forecast, harvest could be over 45% higher than last year when 137,000 Copper River coho were caught,” said ADF&G biologist Steve Moffitt. The Bering River District, an important coho river system, will open this Monday morning on August 22 for a 24-hour commercial fishing period.

Meanwhile, the Alaskan Jack Corp., the US-based company related to Yihe in China, announced a line extension to its Alaskan Jack's salmon products with three salmon dumplings. The new dumpling products are all Alaskan wild-caught pink salmon, made in the USA and have all-natural and GMO-free ingredients. Yihi said that some customers demanded a made in America product, and opened Alaskan Jack's Corporation in the US, with Steven Chen, president of Yihe, also president of Alaskan Jack's.

Finally, a push to create a commercial market for Florida's invasive lionfish appears to be working. Retailers including Whole Foods and Wegmans are featuring the fish in their seafood cases and now restaurants up and the down the East Coast are reporting good sales of the fish. "Almost every customer that's approaching our seafood teams [is] chatting about it," said David Ventura, Whole Foods' seafood coordinator in Florida. "Demand is very strong, and given the dedication of the divers, I'm confident the supply will be there."

Full Story »

ISSF: Electronic Monitoring is Example of How Technology Can Help Pacific Tuna Management (Opinion)

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] Opinion by Victor Restrepo - August 4, 2016

Dr. Restrepo currently serves as Chair of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation's Scientific Advisory Committee and as a member of the ISSF Board of Directors. Previously, he worked with the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).

Throughout the world, advanced technology is increasingly used to provide solutions to the practical challenges of sustainable, modern fisheries management once thought insurmountable. From the eradication of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing to improved data collection for better resource management overall, there _is_generally “an app for that.”

Consider electronic monitoring systems or EMS. In the world's largest tuna fishing grounds — the Western and Central Pacific Ocean— the use of EMS is expanding. On board fishing vessels, EMS cameras and sensors can record fishing activities as well as collect and archive accurate facts and figures...

Full Story »

Stock Assessments Overwhelmingly Support Raising Atlantic Menhaden Quotas (Opinion)

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] Opinion by Al Dudley - August 2, 2016

Dudley is a commercial fisherman based in Beaufort, North Carolina.

This week, fisheries managers have the chance to expand opportunities for fishermen as they consider a scientifically supported increase in the coastwide menhaden quota. Although generally not consumed in their own right, menhaden are the bait of choice for both commercial and recreational fishermen and are prominent producers of the Omega-3 nutrients often used in health supplements.

In recent years, commercial fishing of menhaden has been needlessly restricted by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), the regulatory body charged with managing the species and maintaining the health of the stock...

Full Story »

A 40-Year Perspective on Kodiak's Trawl Industry From Al Burch (Opinion)

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [OPINION]  By Al Burch - July 11, 2016

A pioneer in Alaska’s fishing industry, Al Burch helped develop the groundfish industry in the Gulf of Alaska. Al also helped found the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation, which set up the infrastructure for pollock and other groundfish processing in the state. He has served on numerous national and international fishing boards, including a 30-year career on the Advisory Panel of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, and was the executive director of the current Alaska Whitefish Trawlers Association for nearly 40 years.  In 2009, Al was inducted into the United Fishermen of Alaska’s Seafood Hall of Fame.


Something remarkable happened in my home town of Kodiak recently. 

Roughly 1,000 people turned out to celebrate our groundfish trawl fishery. It was a family affair, with processing workers and their kids, fishing families, support businesses, and local officials all participating in the parade and the barbeque picnic that followed.  Over 2,000 meals were served, and $17,000 was raised for the local Brother Francis Shelter.

For me this was very special. My brother and I were some of the pioneers of the trawl fishery here in Kodiak. We started from scratch when...

Full Story »

Copper River Seafoods Posts Preseason Sockeye Price in Bristol Bay of $.75/lb 

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [KDLG.org] By Dave Bendinger - June 14, 2016

Copper River Seafoods Bristol Bay manager Vojtech Novak posted a price for this week's sockeye catch, and says he intends to post a weekly price every Sunday. It's an unusual step for one of Bristol Bay's buyers to list a price before the catch comes in.

"You know, the owner of our company was a fisherman, and he feels like he's still a fisherman," said Novak. "His dream was always to know the price before going fishing, and we're trying to work on that and give our fishermen a price. Before they go fish, they know what they're getting."

Copper River Seafoods opened a second plant in Bristol Bay last summer, moving into the Naknek facility most know as the old Baywatch. Before Copper River, it housed a fly-by-night cash buyer known as Extreme Seafoods which also posted...

Full Story »

GAA Backs Production Standards for Farmed Pangasius Industry 

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] February 13, 2017

The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) is the latest organization to defend the farmed pangasius industry in response to a ban on the sale of the fish at some grocery stores in the EU.

Last month Carrefour, the largest retailer in Europe, announced that it will no longer be selling pangasius from Vietnam in Belgium, France, and Italy.

Carrefour's action was not directed at the quality of the fish itself but rather was based on an opinion that such a high concentration of pangasius production in the Mekong delta does not fit into its concept of sustainable development.

But the GAA, which certifies farmed pangasius operators against its Best Aquaculture Practices standard, defended the industry...

Full Story »

Aquaculture Stewardship Council Disappointed with Carrefour's Decision to Stop Selling Pangasius

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] February 7, 2017

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 »

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...

Full Story »

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

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  [News Analysis and Opinion] by John Sackton - December 27, 2016

Before the holidays we missed a major story about a North Pacific Council Action that threatens the economic health of the Gulf of Alaska.
 
As practically the last agenda item on a day when many people had left town, the council tabled without further action all options for the Gulf of Alaska groundfish rationalization at their December meeting.
 
In doing so, they violated a promise made to the Gulf of Alaska Trawl Fleet, and in my view, have emulated one of the fateful decisions that doomed fisheries management in New England...

Full Story »

"In Their Own Words"  RQE: A Way For Charter Halibut Operators to Own a Pool of Commercial Quota

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] by Peggy Parker - December 7, 2016

To understand what an RQE -- Recreational Quota Entity -- is and why the North Pacific Council is taking final action on it this week, one must look back ten years to the efforts of charter boat skippers and longline halibut fishermen to resolve the age-old problem of sharing the resource. 

The need was triggered by an unexpected rejection of an original plan to put charter operators under an individual fishing quota (IFQ) program. When the Council started over, a Halibut Charter Subcommittee was appointed to come up with new ideas. By then the charter industry in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska had grown to many times its size of five years earlier, and the halibut resource was...

 

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Wellhead Disaster Averted by 12 Meters in Shell Offshore Drilling Incident on Scotian Shelf

 

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  [Toronto Star] [Opinion] by Peter Puxley   October 26, 2016

Shell Oil’s Stena IceMAX drill ship, drilling for oil on March 5th, two kilometres below the surface of the Atlantic on the edge of the Scotian Shelf, was the site of what regulators euphemistically call an “incident. ”

Battling unexpectedly high waves, the drill ship crew successfully secured the well and disconnected the ship from the wellhead to protect the operation. Shortly after, the riser, a 2,100 metre-long protective series of 21-inch diameter pipes, each weighing 20 tons, broke free of the drill ship before it moved clear of the site. The riser pipes fell to the ocean floor missing the wellhead by a mere 12 meters.
 
A Shell investigation of the “incident” was monitored and matched by an internal review by the regulator, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB). The federal/provincial CNSOPB is the equivalent of the National Energy Board, regulating oil industry activity in our offshore.
 
In June, after receiving Shell’s report on the event, Stuart Pink, the CNSOPB’s chief executive officer, declared, “We are satisfied that the cause of the incident has been properly determined...
 

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United Cook Inlet Drift Association Wins Lawsuit Against NMFS on Appeal 

The United Cook Inlet Drift Association (UCIDA) won its appeal in a lawsuit against NMFS that sought to overturn the North Pacific Council’s Amendment 12 to the Fisheries Management Plan for Salmon. Amendment 12 exempted Cook Inlet, Prince William Sound, and the Alaska Peninsula from federal fisheries management for salmon because the State of Alaska was managing those fisheries. However, UCIDA and the Cook Inlet Fishermen’s Fund urged the Council to reject the amendment, citing a 51% decline since 1981 in the commercial catch of sockeye salmon. “United Cook attributed this decline to two management failures by Alaska,” said Judge Andrew D. Hurwitz, who wrote the 20-page opinion on behalf of a unanimous bench. In a press release, UCIDA said “the ruling allows the Cook Inlet salmon resources to once gain benefit from the Magnuson-Stevens Act."

Public Safety officials in Dutch Harbor believe fishmeal dust was the likely cause of a Monday evening explosion at the Westward Seafoods processing facility. The blast likely occurred when an undetermined ignition source detonated dust from the production of fishmeal said Mike Holman, director of Unalaska's Department of Public Safety. There were employees inside the building at the time of the explosion, but no injuries were reported. The plant's sprinkler system extinguished the resulting fire before crews arrived but contributed to damage estimates well beyond the $100,000 first reported after the fire.

The latest round of monthly shrimp landings out of the Gulf of Mexico provided more confirmation that the spring seasons in Louisiana and Texas were a bust. Landings continue to trend well below the five-year-average for the fishery, which has kept inventories tight and wholesale prices high in September. Average Urner Barry prices for 21-25 count Gulf Domestic white shrimp in September, for example, are up nearly 18 percent compared to 2015 levels.

In other news, a follow-up investigation into Thai labor practices by the Associated Press found that while Thai companies that export shrimp to the U.S. have given formerly entrapped workers better jobs in-house, some still use middlemen who employ laborers in remote, guarded warehouses.

Finally, Urner Barry and Seafood News have launched a podcast network that to provide market and industry news in an audio format that is accessible on mobile devices. The Urner Barry Market Digest and the Seafood News podcast are available for download and to stream through your iPhone or Andriod devices using iTunesGoogle Play or SoundCloud. This week’s Seafood News podcast summarizes some of the major news stories that came of out the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s GOAL 2016 Conference in China, which concludes today.

Full Story »

Letters: MPA Proposal Off California Coast Is Yet Another End-Around US Commercial Fishery Management

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] Opinion by Larry Collins - September 20, 2016

Collins is president of the San Francisco Cab Boat Owners’ Association and vice president of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. He also manages the San Francisco Community Fishing Association. 

Dear Seafood News, 

Do you know that you own the fish in the sea? Yes, you do.

We call fish a “public trust resource” for a reason. You, as a member of the public, own those fish in the sea, the water they swim in, and the habitats they call home.

I’m a professional seafood harvester. I offer a service by catching fish and making it accessible to you so you can concentrate on other productive endeavors. As part of my job, I comply with a dense set of rules to ensure the sustainability of the service I provide, and of the seafood at your dinner table...

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SFP Gets First UK Supplier to Join Its Public Scoring Project using SFP's Rankings

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton  September 15, 2016

Joseph Robertson of Aberdeen will be the UK’s first seafood supplier to participate in SFP’s Ocean Disclosure Project (ODP) .  

As more major western fisheries are certified, NGOs have emphasized scoring schemes to try and carve out distinctions between healthy certified fisheries, and at the same time keep up buyer demand for their improvement projects.
 
Ocean Disclosure is SFP's attempt to have companies link their purchasing species/areas to SFP's own scoring system, that gives even MSC certified fisheries various rankings from A to C. 
 
For example, Norwegian inshore cod is fully MSC certified, but SFP ranks this a "C" fishery, compared to others such as Russian salmon, which it ranks "A"
 
Morrisons, Skretting, the Co-Operative, Biomar and Asda are all renewing their participation in the project this year...
 

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EU Commission Delays Recommendation on Sweden's Proposed Live Lobster Ban Till Next Week 

The EU’s Scientific Forum on Invasive Alien Species postponed issuing an opinion about Sweden's proposal to ban North American live lobsters from its market to the end of next week. According to Enrico Brivio, a spokesman for the EU Commission, committee members are still gathering information and need more time before weighing in on the proposed ban. An opinion was expected on August 31.

Mike Andres, president of McDonald’s Corp.’s U.S. division since 2014 will retire at the end of the year. “Mike has been relentless in his commitment to building a better brand,” McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook said in a statement. “From significant strides in food quality to meaningful customer initiatives like all-day breakfast and forging an even stronger partnership between U.S. operators and the company, his commitment to our customers is unmistakable.” Chris Kempczinski, currently the executive vice president of strategy, business development and innovation, has been picked to succeed Andres. The change will be effective Jan. 1. 

In other news, reports from Japan suggest that even though scallop production is down, export sales are slow at this time as buyers are not convinced they have seen a market bottom. The Hokkaido Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations said there is an effort to bring down scallop prices in order to increase sales domestically and to overseas markets, specifically to the US.

Meanwhile, Mexico announced the start dates to commercial inshore and offshore wild shrimp fishing. The inshore fleet will get its season going on September 12 while offshore trawlers will start on September 20.

Finally, Chicken of the Sea announced a donation of more than $80,000 in canned and pouched seafood to those impacted by the recent flooding in Louisiana. “We hope this shelf-stable product brings some small relief and nourishment to the Louisiana community affected by the severe flooding,” said Maureen McDonnell, Chicken of the Sea director of brand marketing. “Our hearts and thoughts are with all of those in the flood region.”

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White Spot Outbreak Forces Indian Shrimp Farmers in Tamil Nadu to Clear Ponds 

An outbreak of white spot disease at shrimp farms in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu forced farmers in the area to destroy the shrimp in the ponds. Farmers blamed low-quality broodstock for why the outbreak spread so rapidly in just a matter of days. Producers also said MPEDA failed to inspect the quality of the broodstock that was supplied to the farms. “It is a tough time for us. The entire area is affected with this white spot disease. We have no other options except to destroy the farms completely,” said D. Mathiyazhagan a shrimp farmer with operations in the area.

A federal court upheld NMFS's cost recovery program that charges catcher-processor co-ops a tonnage fee that is used for management, scientific research and public education. On Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit upheld a lower court's decision that approved the fees and accounting methodology, but did rule the calculations for the 2014 fees should be revisited. According to the majority opinion written by Judge Sandra Ikuta NMFS "could reasonably determine the co-op permit to be a limited access privilege." In 2014, Glacier Fish Company challenged the fees, claiming NMFS is only authorized to collect the fees from "limited access privilege holders."

Restaurant same-store sales declined 1.4 percent in July, and traffic fell 3.9 percent, which was the weakest performance for both metrics since December 2013 according to TDn2K’s Black Box Intelligence. Ongoing declines in US restaurant sales run counter to government data, which show overall growth in US economic performance, including from food and drinking establishments. However, restaurant performance is uneven depending on the sector.

In other news, squid inventories in Japan are at historically low levels. The volume of squid in cold storage at the end of May was below 40,000 tons, 7 percent less than the previous month. The low inventories are attributed to the poor catches in most squid producing areas. Japanese processors say they are limited in what they can do to make up for the poor supply situation.

Finally, NMFS says Sweden has issued a rebuttal to back up its proposal to ban imports of live North American lobsters from its market. Sweden's report is a response to a US-Canadian scientific analysis that explains why there is not enough evidence to support Sweden's claim that North American lobsters are invasive. NMFS said it will brief fishery officials in New England about Sweden's response and is working on an official statement. "We received Sweden's response to the U.S./Canadian scientific analysis on August 1," said Kate Brogan, a NOAA spokesperson. "NOAA is working closely with Canada and other U.S. agencies on an official response, which I can share with you when available."

Have a great weekend.

 

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Blue Harvest Completes Scallop Deal for Hygrade Ocean Products, Brings Scallop Fleet to 15 Vessels 

Blue Harvest Fisheries announced the acquisition of Hygrade Ocean Products, a New Bedford-based processor and distributor of scallops, cod, and other fish products. Hygrade operates a 33,000 square foot state of the art plant and dock and has about 100 employees. Blue Harvest says that with this purchase, they will begin marketing and distributing company landed scallops, bluefin tuna, and swordfish directly to customers. With operations in Newport News, Virginia, and Fairhaven, Massachusetts, Blue Harvest owns a fleet of 15 scallop vessels and is an active participant in the bluefin tuna and swordfish fisheries. “By vertically integrating, Blue Harvest can now provide its customers with greater product traceability, quality assurance, and variety,” said Jeff Davis, CEO of Blue Harvest.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game reduced the total allowable catch for golden king crabs in the Western Aleutians by a quarter to 2.2 million pounds. "There's a 25 percent reduction in the TAC for the western stock this year based on declines in several stock abundance indicators," said the ADF&G's Ethan Nichols. "We're not exactly sure what's going on, but for the last two seasons, the TAC has not been achieved." This is the first time in years that ADF&G has made a reduction in the Golden King Crab Quota.

In other news, Stavis Seafoods announced a select partnership with G&C Food Distributors that will start with the warehousing and delivery of more than 80 of Stavis Seafoods’ products. Stavis will supply G&C with several of its name brand lines including its pasteurized Foods From the Sea Pasteurized Crabmeat, Prince Edward Hard Clams, BOS’N Shrimp & Calamari, Canadian & South African Lobster Tails and Ocean Delight Ahi Tuna Grillers & Sliders. "G&C’s re-distribution capabilities are an exceptionally efficient system for servicing customers, providing more ways for them to get the products they need,” said Richard Stavis, CEO of Stavis Seafoods.

Meanwhile, salmon prices in West Coast markets trended higher this spring with demand strong for more limited inventories but have since leveled out reports Susan Chambers. In Oregon, the ocean salmon fisheries started with high prices in the spring, at around $11 a pound, Oregon Salmon Commission Administrator Nancy Fitzpatrick said. However, prices are have since dipped below $10 as salmon from other sources, including more Chinook from West Coast rivers has reached the market. 

Finally, Atlantic States Fisheries Commissioners are scheduled to issue a final decision on the 2017 Atlantic menhaden quota on Wednesday. Mid-Atlantic fishermen want fishery officials to raise the quota by the maximum 80,000 metric tons. We include an opinion from one of the region's fishermen who says there is plenty of scientific evidence available to the Commission that shows menhaden stocks are in good shape and capable of supporting a higher quota.

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Opposition to California Offshore Monuments Mounts After Draft Proposal Leaked

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Susan Chambers - July 12, 2016 -

What do creation of national monuments have in common? A lack of transparency when it comes to discussing the potential access restrictions with stakeholders. That same closed-door effort is happening off of California, as effort mounts to create offshore monuments on both west and east coasts.

California sport and commercial interests first became aware of the proposal to establish monuments around nine seamounts, ridges and banks...

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Bob Jones Urges Congress to Kill Bill to Take Red Snapper out of Federal Jurisdiction

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Opinion]  by Bob Jones  June 15, 2016

Bob Jones is the Executive Director of the Southeastern Fisheries Association

HR 3094, which in being marked up by the House Natural Resources Committee today, would remove Red Snapper from Federal Fisheries Management.  The Southeaster Fisheries Association released this statement:

HR 3094 will scuttle, by action and precedence, the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA). We believe the MSA has done much to make US fishery resources sustainable.
 
Before there was a federal fishery management zone, commercial fishermen brought their issues before the state legislatures. They were assured fair hearings by legislative committees. Then some state fish commissions, in Florida for example, assumed the management without legislative oversight. The Florida Marine Fisheries Commission did come under the Governor and SIX elected Cabinet Officers for a few years where fishery issues were fully discussed. 

Then an autonomous Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission was established so the commercial fishermen came under a SEVEN person group. 

In Florida we started out under a 160 member legislature, then down to a SEVEN member commission and now HR 3094 places us and a billion dollar seafood industry under the whims of THREE people

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Letters:  Mazzetta Continues Dialogue on Gulf Shrimp Issues - Says Tough Policy Choices Needed

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Letters]  June 3, 2016

To the Editor, SeafoodNews:
 
"Rhetoric isn’t the solution for LA Shrimpers’ Challenges"
 
On May 31, 2016, Louisiana Shrimp Association President, Acey Cooper, Jr. submitted an opinion piece to SeafoodNews entitled “LA Shrimpers Say Mazzetta Wrong about Sustainability, Failed to Note Cooperation with NOAA”. His piece was drafted in response to an earlier op-ed I penned entitled “TEDs Just the Tip of the Iceberg for Louisiana Skimmer Boats”.
 
In my original op-ed, I opined that the NGO Oceana, whom I rarely agree with, got it right when they called out the Gulf of Mexico shrimp trawl fishery for having roughly 62% bycatch, one of the highest bycatch totals of any United States fishery. They also got it right by pointing out the failures of the Gulf with respect to the use of Bycatch Reduction Devices (BRD) and TEDs. These management failures are not news. Anyone who has been involved in the Gulf shrimp industry for any length of time is well aware ...

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