Alaska Concludes Best Halibut Season in Decades With Stocks Stable, Catches Up and Prices Higher
For the first time in decades, the total Pacific halibut catch for Alaskan and Canadian fishermen is expected to increase 2.3 percent to nearly 30 million pounds this season. Alaska's halibut fishery ended on November 7 for about 2,000 longliners with IFQs. The fishery is expected to produce about 20 million pounds if the entire quota is landed. Assessment data shows Alaska's halibut stock is stabilizing and recovering after a long period of decline. “Fishermen say they’re seeing some of the best fishing they’ve ever seen in their lives there, bigger fish, better production and you see that reflected in IFQ prices,” said Doug Bowen of Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer.
According to the Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters’ Federation foreign buyers are seeking to illegally buy Canadian lobster licenses in Southwest Nova Scotia. Canadian law restricts harvest licenses to fishermen who own or operate their vessels and live in a fishing community. But over time, back door financing has left some of these licenses as little more than fronts for the true owners. “This is against Atlantic Canadian policy in the Fisheries; the only person who can own an inshore lobster fishing license is a Canadian inshore fisherman; someone who lives in a fishing community and goes to work on a fishing boat which he or she owns and operates," said the Harvesters' President Christian Brun.
Meanwhile, about half of Iceland’s fishermen will get back to work after just a three-day-long strike that started last Thursday night. According to a release from government fishery officials with Fisheries Iceland, the Fishermen’s Union of Iceland known as SSI signed a two-year labor deal over the weekend to end the work stoppage. However, two factions of Iceland’s fishing unions, which represent almost 50 percent of the industry, did not sign the deal. Further negotiations with those groups are expected to continue this week.
In other news, Ecuador has signed a free trade agreement with the European Union (EU), Colombia and Peru that is expected to ease tariffs on Ecuadorian shrimp and seafood shipments to the EU market. As of September, the EU accounted for about 30 percent of Ecuador’s shrimp exports, second to Asia. Ecuador’s shrimp export volume to the EU in 2016 is up 14 percent compared to 2012. "The accession of Ecuador to the agreement will provide the parties with new market access opportunities for some of their main exports. These include automobiles, alcoholic beverages and dairy products on the EU side, and fisheries, banana, cut flowers and cacao on the Ecuadorian side," the EU Council said.
Finally, the two major Japanese companies Maruha Nichiro and Nippon Suisan had differing half-year reports, showing them exposed to different economic and market factors. Both companies reported declining sales, problems with pollock roe and surimi markets, and favorable trends in salmon. But Maruha Nichiro achieved record mid-term profit on the strength of decreasing procurement costs due to the yen’s upswing while Nippon Suisan reported a difficult first half of the year, with net profits falling 31 percent.
To Read Full Story Login Below.