Oregon Detects One "Hot" Dungeness Crab Near Winchester Bay
Oregon fishery managers closed part of the state to recreational crabbing Wednesday due to elevated levels of domoic acid, raising concerns about potential changes for the commercial crab fishery. Fishery managers said crab tested from the Newport area were clean and the one "hot" crab off of Winchester Bay might be an anomaly. The recreational closure comes at a time when the commercial fishery off the southern Oregon Coast is booming. A decision about the commercial fishery is expected today.
In other news, Thailand has stepped up prosecutions for human trafficking and hopes its status will be upgraded in the annual U.S. Trafficking in Persons report, the foreign minister said on Thursday. In 2016, Thailand said it investigated 333 cases tied to human trafficking. Of those, Thai officials prosecuted 301 people and convicted 268. In last year's TIP report, Thailand reported investigating 317 cases, prosecuting 242 people, and convicting 241. "We believe that any government would have a good feeling about, or even admire, what we have done," Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said in a news conference. "We certainly are hopeful we'll be viewed favorably."
A notorious anti-science climate skeptic, Kenneth Haapala, is no longer part of the “landing” team overseeing hires at NOAA and the Department of Commerce. Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse was among a group senators that opposed the Trump Administration's decision to include Haapala in the transition team. "Haapala, who does not hold an advanced degree in any of the natural sciences, has made a career out of denying the science behind climate change and advocating against actions necessary to protect Americans from its worst impacts. NOAA is a technical agency that produces world-class science to help businesses, governments and individuals manage risk and understand the environments where they are operating," said Senator Whitehouse in a letter he sent to President Trump.
Meanwhile, Russian fishery officials confirmed quota increases for its snow (opilio) and bairdi crab fisheries in the Far East for the 2017 fishing season. The combined quota from the North Okhotsk and Primorskiy regions will be about 25,700 tons, which is a 16 percent increase. Bairdi will be 5200 tons mostly in the Kamchatka Kurile sub area. The Russian red king crab quota, meanwhile, is set at 21,672 tons, a 25 percent increase to the quota.
Finally, Spain's Supreme Court overturned severe penalties doled out to key figures working for family-owned fishing company Vidal Armadores for their involvement in a large IUU toothfish fishing ring. The Court said that Spanish national law is insufficient to pin a crime on persons when acts are committed in a place where those acts are not a criminal offense, in this case, that means the High Seas. Both legal experts and toothfish industry participants say this decision sets a dangerous precedent that could spark attempts to resume IUU activity.
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