China Halts Live Dungeness Crab From California in Response to Domoic Acid Reports
China has suspended all inspections and approvals for live Dungeness Crab from California to enter its market in response to a state report that identified toxic algae blooms off the Pacific Coast from Humboldt Bay to Point Reyes, and that "half of the Dungeness crabs there are found to contain toxins." Chinese authorities also revoked licenses already issued and industry reports now say at least two companies that have sent live Dungeness crabs to China were refused entry.
Katrina Nakamura, a research scientist who runs a company called Sustainability Incubator offering the Labor Safe Screen, and who is based in Hawaii, says the Associated Press has not reported the Hawaiian tuna fleet's efforts to to verify the status of foreign contract workers on their ships, nor have they reported the industry's work to uncover potentials for abuse and trafficking. Nakamura also says the AP has not clarified certain errors in its reporting about the labor abuse situation surrounding the Haiwaiin issue following federal investigations into the matter. "For those of us who have dedicated our efforts to crew rights, it is not easy to raise questions for fear of looking defensive or naive about slavery. My intent is not to refute the story but rather to understand the conclusions based on the weight of evidence and in line with global definitions and findings by the authorities," said Nakamura.
In other news Chilean Sea Bass (Toothfish) wholefish is selling at record levels this year and importers are growing concerned that the fish may price itself out of its primary markets. Some have recently begun recommending cuts in portion sizes to high-end chefs to no more than 6 oz. in order to keep it on the menu. Demand for toothfish is up in recent years for two reasons: the decline in the available supply of IUU sourced toothfish to international markets and an increase in demand for certified sustainable fish here in the US.
Meanwhile, Oregon crab fishermen and state fishery managers may opt to open part of the state to Dungeness crabbing today, as domoic acid levels have dropped in the southern part of the state. The Garibaldi port has tested clean for one test already, after having a couple crab in November with elevated levels of domoic. Vessels collected more crab from Garibaldi, Newport and Coos Bay on Thursday, Dec. 1, for more testing.
Finally, Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans says it's cracking down on so-called "controlling agreements" that result in fishermen holding a fishing licence in name only. DFO will not reveal the results of its targeted license review, saying that could identify those under review. However, the department said results varied, meaning one or more license holders were in violation.
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