Trident Diverts Fishing Tenders from Wrangell Plant, Limits Processing Because of Water Shortage
Trident Seafoods was forced to direct two of its fishing tenders away from its processing plant in Wrangell, Alaska and limit its production activities on Tuesday to just three hours because of a shortage of treated water in the town. Trident took the measures after Wrangell's Borough Assembly officially declared the city to be in a state of disaster because its supply of treated water is dangerously low. Trident and Sea Level Seafoods are the two major processing plants that operate in Wrangell, which use about half of the town's treated water. Both plants have been working with the city to reduce their overall water usage, finding efficiencies with salt water where possible. Trident Southeast manager John Webby estimated the Wrangell plant had cut its treated water usage in half since last year. Managers at both Trident and Sea Level are now concerned about Wrangell's water treatment production capabilities and questioned if the utility could be relied on to deliver when fish production escalates next month. The water situation has been added to the Wrangell Assembly agenda for its next scheduled meeting on July 26.
Northern Canada's largest shrimp harvester Baffin Fisheries is worried that federal officials will reallocate a portion of their shrimp quota to other operators. Baffin is among the four First Nation fishing companies that operate in Canada's Nunavut territory. Baffin wants to ensure that decisions made by the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board on shrimp allocation are respected and not superseded by any new policies dictated by the federal government, which now includes the recent decision to scrap the LIFO management plan
In other news, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission extended some of Maine's emergency Atlantic herring restrictions to Massachusetts to try to close a loophole that threatened to derail the summer supply of lobster bait. The Council voted to cut the number of days that herring boats can land fish each week within its jurisdiction from five to two, with Maine and New Hampshire representatives voting in favor of the landing day reduction and Massachusetts voting against it. "Without constraints on the landing (in Massachusetts) we would not make it into August, much less September," said Terry Stockwell of Maine Department of Marine Resources.
Meanwhile, the MSC announced its intention to develop a certification scheme that will address labor issues in the seafood supply chain. John Sackton writes that the MSC's dive into labor issues does not relate to the basic mission that their scheme was founded on. "The original success of the MSC came about due to the confluence of environmental and economic concerns. Labor issues - no matter how severe and complex they are, are economic and social issues, not environmental ones," Sackton writes.
Finally, the New England Fishery Management Council submitted a proposal to NMFS that asks to shift the start to commercial scallop fishing in the Mid-Atlantic fishery one month to April 1. The proposal is an effort to give federal and third party researchers more time to submit stock assessment findings so a comprehensive fishery management plan can be finalized before each fishing season. This would reduce the need for mid-season adjustments to the management plan. The shift is not likely to have a large impact tio Mid-Atlantic scallop fishing since most major industry stakeholders have been aware of the plan. Additionally, historical data shows that March and April are generally low producing months for a majority of the region's scallopers.
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