Monday, October 26, 2009

An Olympic opportunity lost for golden king crab?

Alaska Glacier Seafoods Inc. saw a chance to come out a big winner in Vancouver, British Columbia, site of the upcoming Olympic Winter Games.

All the Juneau-based processor needed was a little help from the Alaska Board of Fisheries.

But the board rejected the company's plea during a work session this month in Anchorage. Here's the details:

Alaska Glacier told the board it markets roughly half of the Southeast golden king crab catch each season, with most of it sold in Vancouver.

The Winter Olympics presents an exceptional opportunity to sell fresh, live crab.

But timing of the games is a problem.

The Olympics are scheduled for Feb. 12-28, while the crab fishery will start sometime between Feb. 10 and 17, depending on the tides.

That means Alaska Glacier's crab won't arrive in Vancouver for the most part until after the games are over.

"This will create a very adverse marketing situation," Alaska Glacier's president, Mike Erickson, told the board. "Our Vancouver buyers expect a major drop-off in restaurant spending following the expected very high sales during the Olympics."

Selling into that down market could mean crab fishermen will earn a subpar $2.50 to $3 a pound at the docks, versus the potential $5.35 for golden king crab delivered in time for the Olympics, Erickson said.

So, Alaska Glacier proposed opening the 2010 season, and only the 2010 season, three weeks earlier than usual.

The board didn't act directly on that idea.

Rather, the question at the work session was whether the board would add Alaska Glacier's proposal to the agenda of the Dec. 1-8 board meeting on Bristol Bay salmon issues. The board otherwise isn't scheduled to consider Southeast crab proposals again until 2012.

In the end, the board declined to grant Alaska Glacier's agenda change request, finding it didn't meet strict policy requirements for such changes.


Anonymous said...

Typical bureaucrats. Heaven forbid they use common sense on any fisheries issues.

How about some leadership from the Governors office? Is that too much to ask??

Bribery seems to be the only way to get 'er done in this state.

Anonymous said...

Of course it is the bureaucrats...


Because putting in a proposal to the BOF in this year's cycle of 2009 (now in your best Borat voice - that's a right, this year in 2009, same year date as this year, 2009) when it was in cycle in SE Alaska and the board could have LEGALLY taken up this issue, would have caused too much emotional or intellectual distress for Alaska Glacier.

They didn't have the time to actually put in a proposal that would have been heard this year by the BOF, cause that would have required too much work and planning.

Too much work and planning for a company that makes its money in the state's commercial fisheries - regulated by the BOF.

Oh you mean that Board of Fisheries - the one that met earlier this year to make any changes in regulations of the SE Alaska crab fisheries.

Yeah, that one.

Nah, with the 2010 Olympics just around the corner, let just plan on doing something the day of the Olympics, bribe a couple of people if we have to (as noted in the comment above), call in a couple of favors from the Governor's office, and start from there.

Screw the BOF and its cycle. It is just too frickin inconvenient to have to plan in advance - that always prevents me from opportunities to make a quick buck.

Anonymous said...

Either you are a bureaucrat or a competing processor.

God forbid anyone in the fishing business dare to want to take advantage of an opportunity and make an extra buck- without getting permission from all the bureaucrats.

Whats the big deal anyway?

Anonymous said...

Bristol Bay salmon fisherman and Vancouver Olympic hopeful Callan Chythlook-Sifsof will be bringing the Alaska fishing industry with her to the 2010 Olympics.

There isn't a more appropriate, nicer face to represent Alaska seafood!

Anonymous said...

typical response when operatin outside the law

"what's the deal officer..."

"I didn't know I couldn't do that..."

"It's not my fault..."

"pond scum burrcrat"

WTF - the regular BOF meeting was just in Petersburg this past spring - and the board chair is a SE crabber

Shit - open the fishery to anyone then if you don't want rules - open it up and let er rip.

Stupid burrcrats.

Heh stupid - take responsibility and learn the rules - and don't cry about like a little baby cause you didn't know about it. It is your responsibility to do so.

Instead of crying about it, fire the knucklehead who was asleep at the wheel and get a new manager.

BTW - not a processor or a burrcrat - just a person who hates whiners who can't chew gum and talk at the same time.

Anonymous said...

A normal person would think the State would be happy to help get a higher ex-vessel price and generate some additional raw fish tax to cover the usual shortfall in the ADF&G budget.

Nevermind, that makes too much sense.

Anonymous said...

The author(s) of post 2 and 5 are on point...but let me expand.

The concept was submitted as an Agenda Change Request (ACR) because it is outside of the regular 3-year cycle for SE shellfish (which was just last year). Before the Board can debate on the merits of the ACR iteslf, it must first decide whether or not the ACR meets certain criteria that would justify the Board accepting an out of cycle proposal.

The ACR criteria are quite clear ...the Board will accept an ACR only:
a) for a fishery conservation purpose or reason;
b)to correct an error in regulation; or
c)to correct an effect on a fishery that was unforseen when a regulation was adopted

I see that they (Alaska Glacier Seafoods) tried to make their arguments under (c) of the guidelines...but it was pretty weak, given that (in their own words), the "season opening regulation was adopted in 1980's".

Typically, when an ACR meets criteria (c), it is a recently adopted regulation.

Now, I'll agree that the merits of the ACR itself are compelling, but it certainly doesn't seem to meet any of the three criteria for modifying the schedule.

Anonymous said...

God forbid there could be any flexibility in bureaucratic fish regs, even if it is their mandate..

"The Alaska State Constitution establishes, as state policy, the development and use of replenishable resources, in accordance with the principle of sustained yield, for the maximum benefit of the people of the state. In order to implement this policy for the fisheries resources of the state, the Alaska Legislature created the Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) and the ADF&G."