Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Crabbers go to court

The Inter-Cooperative Exchange, a cooperative of Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands crab fishermen, is suing the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Here's the 15-page lawsuit.

ICE is seeking the release of agency records, including text messages and the like, related to the crab price arbitration system.

The suit indicates a NMFS official took a stance that could tilt the arbitration system in favor of crab processors. ICE, with its suit, is demanding agency records that might shed light on the matter.

The arbitration system is "so critical to ICE members receiving a fair price for crab," the suit says.

F/V Tlingit Lady update

Silver Bay Seafoods has acquired the seiner Tlingit Lady.

Here's the court order confirming the sale.

Monday, October 29, 2018

West Coast support for Ballot Measure 1

The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations is endorsing Alaska's Ballot Measure 1.

Does the halibut fishing season need fixing?

Commercial halibut season dates have fluctuated somewhat in recent years.

This year, the season opened March 24 and will close Nov. 7.

Last year, the season ran from March 11 to Nov. 7.

Now, the staff of the International Pacific Halibut Commission is proposing to fix the season dates from March 15 to Oct. 31.

"Fixing the season will allow stakeholders to more effectively develop business plans and will allow the IPHC Secretariat to more effectively monitor and manage the fishery," the IPHC says.

This change appears to have only limited support within the industry.

Earlier this year, the IPHC's Processor Advisory Board said it was OK with fixing the closing date to Nov. 1.

But the advisory board said the opening date should "remain flexible and be determined ... based on advice from stakeholders and depending on the amount of frozen product in inventory, the timing of the Boston Seafood Show, regional tides, and potential weather concerns."

The IPHC is set to hold its interim meeting Nov. 27-28 in Seattle.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Sitka man rescued from sinking troller

From the Alaska State Troopers:

Location: Sitka
Type: Search and rescue
On 10/27/18 Alaska Wildlife Troopers onboard the P/V Courage responded to a distress call from a vessel reportedly rolling over outside the Sitka harbor. Troopers located Calvin "Mark" Bigelow, 62, of Sitka, onboard a partially capsized and rapidly sinking 40-foot commercial troll vessel, the F/V Safari, near Kasiana Island. Bigelow was transferred to the P/V Courage safely. U.S. Coast Guard personnel and salvage crews responded to the scene for investigation, potential spill response and recovery operations. The vessel reportedly became unstable in a heavy gust of wind causing it to list severely and take on water. Bigelow was transported to the Sitka harbor. No injuries reported, no impairment involved.

Silver Bay's growth spurt

Silver Bay Seafoods is buying a processing plant at Los Angeles. Here's the press release.

The company also is planning to open a new processing plant at False Pass, Alaska.

Silver Bay has posted a slew of job openings on its website, including plant manager, fleet manager, chief engineer, head of refrigeration, and more.

"Our False Pass location will process salmon as well as whitefish and will begin operations during the 2019 salmon season," says the ad for plant manager.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Crab quotas are out!

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game today posted quotas for major crab fisheries opening Oct. 15.

The Bristol Bay red king crab total allowable catch (TAC) is 4.3 million pounds, down 35 percent from last season.

The Bering Sea snow crab TAC is 27.6 million pounds, up 45 percent.

The Bering Sea bairdi TAC is 2.4 million pounds, down 2 percent.