Thursday, June 30, 2022

Personnel file

The governor today announced the nomination of Rachel Baker, of Juneau, to the International Pacific Halibut Commission.

Baker is deputy commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. She presumably would replace sportfishing lodge owner Richard Yamada on the IPHC.

The governor also announced the reappointment of Jack Schultheis to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute board of directors. Schultheis is general manager of Kwik'pak Fisheries.

Bristol Bay heats up

Bristol Bay fishermen already have taken more than 10 million sockeye, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports.

A gigantic catch is expected this season, based on the state's preseason forecast.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Council picks confirmed

The U.S. Department of Commerce today confirmed Gov. Mike Dunleavy's picks for the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

106,900 treaty Chinook up for grabs July 1

Here's the announcement from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Peter Pan again sets the pace

For the second consecutive season, a major Bristol Bay salmon processor is posting ex-vessel prices before the bulk of the harvest is in, not after.

Peter Pan Seafood, a few days ago, posted a base price of $1 per pound for sockeye. Today, we have word the company is sweetening its price to $1.15.

Here's a statement from Jon Hickman, vice president of operations:

The reason we make early starting price announcements is to intentionally put the fleet at ease with a starting point so that they know they will receive a fair price for the long hours and hard work they are about to endure participating in the world's largest sockeye fishery.

So once again, Peter Pan was the first out with a price in Bristol Bay for the 2022 season. After posting an initial starting price last week, we've already increased the starting price to $1.15 as a testimonial to our belief in a valued partnership with the Bristol Bay fishing fleet. We will continue to evaluate the fishery and the market with the hope that price can move up as this possible record Bristol Bay season progresses.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Cook Inlet reopening

In a huge ruling issued today, a judge has vacated Amendment 14, which closed the federal waters of Cook Inlet to commercial salmon fishing.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

A pink plague on the Emerald Isle?

Here's a very interesting article out of Ireland regarding the spread of Pacific pink salmon.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Uncle Sam's salmon

The U.S. Department of Agriculture purchased $20.2 million in canned red salmon from packers Peter Pan and OBI.

Responding to the Western Alaska salmon crisis

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council, meeting in Sitka, passed this hard-hitting motion acknowledging the Western Alaska salmon crisis.

The motion "requests" the pollock industry do more to avoid chum bycatch, and calls for a discussion paper and a "working group."

Meantime, Gov. Mike Dunleavy says salmon donations will continue this year to the Yukon-Kuskokwim region.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Personnel file

Here are a few notes about people making moves recently.

• Mark Fina, a former North Pacific Fishery Management Council economist who later worked for trawl operator United States Seafoods, is the new executive director of the California Wetfish Producers Association.

• Jerry McCune has retired as Cordova District Fishermen United board chairman, and Jess Rude has come aboard as executive director.

• Luke Peterson is now the Bristol Bay Fishermen's Association board president, taking over for longtime skipper David Harsila.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Some interesting observer observations

The North Pacific Observer Program 2021 Annual Report is loaded with details on fishery observer deployment rates, costs, and compliance.

It also includes the following paragraphs under the heading "Observer Safety and Professionalism." OLE refers to NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement.

In 2021, there were 14 individual observers who reported other observers for different forms of harassment. Many of these complaints occurred at shoreside processing facilities. Observer-on-observer harassment is a disturbing trend as it is important for observers to support one another and work together. This is a topic of discussion during observer training.

During the course of different investigations, OLE received several reports that observers were engaging in sexual relations with crewmembers. Observer providers are required to have a policy in place that addresses sexual relations with crew. Sexual relations with crew can be viewed as a conflict of interest and may negatively impact data collection. OLE did not receive any reports of observers coming back to the vessels intoxicated, which has been a complaint in previous years.

Freezer barge proposal to BBRSDA fizzles

Details in this update.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

State hammers Silver Bay Seafoods

Silver Bay Seafoods has been penalized $467,469 for water quality violations at Bristol Bay, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation says.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Trawl operator sued

A Tokyo insurer has filed a lawsuit against United States Seafoods, claiming the Seattle-based factory trawl operator shipped frozen fish to Japan that lacked "proper freshness."

Monday, June 6, 2022

A big week

This is a big week in Alaska fisheries.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is meeting in Sitka. Janet Coit, head of the National Marine Fisheries Service, is expected to be there.

And the board of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association is meeting tomorrow in Dillingham on a proposed $15 million processing venture (the Circle Seafoods freezer barge proposal).

Saturday, June 4, 2022

The revolving door, again

Glenn Merrill, a high-ranking official in the Alaska office of the National Marine Fisheries Service, has "separated from federal service" and "accepted a position in the private sector," this agency memo says.

Deckboss hears reliably that Merrill is going to work for Glacier Fish Co., a top trawl operator.

Merrill was assistant regional administrator in the Sustainable Fisheries Division.

His transition to the private sector means Merrill will vacate his seat as the U.S. government representative on the International Pacific Halibut Commission.

This certainly isn't the first time we've seen a regulator jump ship to join the ranks of the regulated. It happened last year.