NOAA Predicts 30 Percent Lower Brown Shrimp Catch off Texas and Louisiana
NOAA is predicting a 12-month brown shrimp harvest of 39.2 million pounds in the western Gulf of Mexico, far below the historical 55-year average of 56.4 million pounds. The prediction covers the period from July 2016 through June 2017 for state and federal waters off Louisiana and federal waters off Texas. NOAA blames torrential rainfalls and record flooding across the Gulf Coast but especially in Texas. "These extreme environmental factors may impact our forecast of the harvest of brown shrimp this year since it is unknown whether survival of shrimp was reduced or shrimp just moved out of our sampling area because of the reduced salinities and low oxygen levels."
Alaska Gov. Bill Walker unveiled proposals for a new 3 percent statewide sales tax and two oil-tax increases as part of his latest deficit-reduction package released at the start of the state Legislature's second special session of the year. The legislation will be considered during the session along with a separate omnibus tax bill that increases existing charges on alcohol, cigarettes, commercial fishing, mining and motor fuel.
In other news, tilapia prices in China are either stable or down slightly in June as reports indicate poor market conditions for the fish in overseas markets. Producers are reporting small profits from low export prices. According to US Census data, the overall import price per pound for frozen tilapia fillets sold in the US market through May is down about 11 percent compared to this time last year.
Meanwhile, Susan Chambers writes of opposition to establish marine monuments around nine seamounts, ridges and banks of the California coast. Nearly 40 people representing sport and commercial fisheries signed on to a letter opposing the designation of monuments that could include Gorda Ridges and Mendocino Ridge off of northern California; Gumdrop and Pioneer seamounts, Guide Seamount and Taney Seamounts off of central California; and Rodriguez Seamount, San Juan Seamount, Northeast Bank and Tanner and Cortes Banks off of southern California. “Those are productive fishing grounds and to lose them forever would be a huge economic blow to many fishermen, processors, and local communities," said Diane Pleschner-Steele, one of the signatories to an opposition letter.
Finally, updated harvest figures from Bristol Bay show this year's salmon season is running close to 2015 timing. As of yesterday the cumulative catch in the Bay was 17 million sockeye. This year’s forecasted harvest is 29.52 million sockeye, which if realized, means the season is at about the halfway point, writes Peggy Parker.
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