Thursday, February 27, 2020

Disaster aid OK'd for cod, Chignik salmon fisheries

Alaska's congressional delegation says $24.4 million in disaster relief has been approved for the 2018 cod crash and $10.3 million for the 2018 sockeye failure at Chignik.

More details in this press release.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Juneau watch

State Rep. Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage, has introduced a bill relating to "the delegation of authority to fish under a limited entry commercial fishing permit."

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

'Fishermen shooting at bears from their boats'

Quite an interesting letter here from the National Park Service to the Alaska Board of Fisheries.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Halibut takes a dip

The International Pacific Halibut Commission today set a coastwide catch limit of 36.6 million pounds for this year.

That's a reduction of 5.2 percent from last year.

The commission set season dates of March 14 to Nov. 15.

The IPHC manages U.S. and Canadian halibut stocks. The bulk of the commercial catch comes from Alaska.

Here is the full slate of 2020 catch limits, by regulatory area, expressed in millions of pounds.

Regulatory area2019 catch limits2020 catch limits% change

Click here for a map of IPHC regulatory areas.

Juneau watch

Legislators this week held a hearing on Senate Bill 115, which would raise taxes on motor fuels.

The bill would double the tax on marine fuel to 10 cents per gallon.

"With this increase, Alaska would still have the lowest marine fuel tax in the nation," Sen. Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks, says in a sponsor statement.

Chile, China and the coronavirus

SalmonChile, the industry association for Chilean salmon farmers, says "all salmon shipments to China have been suspended ... until the health emergency is controlled."

"This measure is not directly related to the infectious effect," SalmonChile says in this public statement. Rather, it's because of a drop in demand as Chinese authorities recommend people avoid crowds, leaving restaurants and supermarkets without customers.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Fresh halibut all the time?

Barring a standoff between the United States and Canada, we should get the 2020 catch limits Friday from the International Pacific Halibut Commission.

Meantime, the IPHC's Conference Board has "requested the formation of an ad-hoc stakeholder working group to review options for shifting to a year-round fishery."

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The Russian embargo

We've heard a lot about the trade war between the United States and China.

But another international conflict, this one involving Russia, has been crimping Alaska's seafood industry for more than five years now.

This four-page white paper from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute details the situation.

In 2014, Russia imposed an embargo on food products from the United States and other countries as retaliation for Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

The Russian embargo bans virtually all Alaska seafood products. Alaska seafood producers exported $61.3 million in goods to Russia in 2013, the year before the embargo, with salmon roe accounting for most of the total.

Now, here's the kicker: Although the Russian market is closed to the U.S. industry, the United States remains an open and lucrative market for Russian seafood.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

A leviathan exits

The Ocean Phoenix, a 635-foot processing ship active for many years in the Bering Sea pollock fishery, recently went to scrap at Brownsville, Texas. Built in 1964 and originally used as a freighter, the Ocean Phoenix was said to be the largest fishing vessel in the United States. She worked as a "mothership" taking deliveries from trawlers. This photo shows her docked in Seattle in July 2019. The operating company has acquired a replacement ship, the 276-foot Pacific Glacier, and renamed it the Phoenix. Wesley Loy photo