Oregon Closes 65-mile Stretch of Coast to Commercial Dungeness Crabbing
Oregon health and fishery managers took the rare step late Thursday of closing the commercial Dungeness crab fishery in a roughly 65-mile area after the season was already open, due to one crab with viscera that had an elevated level of domoic acid. The state closed recreational crabbing in the area from the North Jetty at Coos Bay north to Heceta Head, north of Florence, on Wednesday. The temporary rule issued Thursday for the commercial industry includes a closure and also evisceration orders, documenting procedures and other instructions for fishermen and processors. "The closure is limited to that portion of the Central Coast," ODFW managers said in a statement. "Areas south of Coos Bay and north of Heceta Head remain open to commercial crabbing."
One cod importer in Boston says the prolonged fishermen's strike in Iceland has forced many US buyers to use suppliers and it could take years for Iceland's cod exporters to regain their market share. “The problem here in the US is that most customers order the same amount on a regular basis. For those customers, the quality of the product matters much, and that’s where Iceland excels beyond all others, but stability is also important," said Eric Kaiser, CEO Aquanor Marketing in Boston. "Since we started importing fish from Iceland in 1992, the supply has always been steady. Now, for the first time, there is a long-term lack of products, and most of the customers have found new suppliers. They import fish from Alaska, the Pacific Ocean, Norway and Canada.”
In other news, the value of Vietnam's seafood exports to China could reach $1 billion in 2017. This would be a record-setting figure for Vietnamese exporters. VASEP says the forecast is based on high demand in China for seafood given the expansion of the middle class. “As Chinese consumption rises, Vietnamese seafood exports are expected to top $1 billion in 2017,” said Truong Dinh Hoe, the chairman of VASEP.
Meanwhile, discussions continue in Alaska on how to patch up the state’s $3 billion budget hole, and again fishermen will feel the cuts from one realm or another. The ADF&G's budget has been slashed 30 percent since 2014. Among the concerns is if enough money will be available to conduct crucial salmon assessments like funding for salmon weirs. “These salmon fishermen can’t survive without the information of these weir counters that the department has seen to eliminate. I almost have to question if this is an attention-getting measure…. a message to the Legislature that you can’t cut our budget because we’re going to cut weirs," said Kodiak Rep. Louise Stutes.
Finally, Louisiana's newly elected Gov. John Bel Edwards told a group of recreational anglers Thursday that he was open to state regulation of red snapper fishing off Louisiana’s shore. “We ought to be able to regulate ourselves when it comes to fishing,” Edwards told the Coastal Conservation Association Louisiana. The Governor's position runs counter to the state's Wildlife Department that said Louisiana could not afford a state-sponsored snapper management program. However, that was the position under Department head Charlie Melancon, who has since resigned from the position.
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