Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Alaska BOF Takes Up SE Alaska and Yakutat Finfish, Shellfish Issues

King salmon and enhancement allocation issues will be on tap when the Alaska Board of Fisheries meets January 11–23 to consider 155 proposals on Southeast Alaska and Yakutat finfish and shellfish.

The Board will review 44 shellfish proposals as well as 15 king and tanner crab submissions, 19 shrimp and miscellaneous shellfish and 9 king salmon proposals in addition to 23 salmon enhancement, special harvest areas, management plans and miscellaneous submissions.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) has recommended that several king salmon stocks be listed as stocks of management concern.

State biologists note that escapement of Chilkat River king salmon has fallen below the lower bound of the existing biological escapement goal (BEG) in five of the past six years, while escapement of chinooks on the King Salmon River has similarly fallen below the lower bound of the existing BEG in four of the past six years. Conservation management measures to reduce harvest of Chilkat River kings and increase escapement, plus actions to reduce Taku River chinook harvests, have so far proven insufficient to consistently achieve the biological escapement goal.

Escapement of Unuk River kings has also fallen below the lower bound of the existing BEG in five of the last six years, with management actions there also proving insufficient.

ADF&G commentary on the need for listing these kings as stocks of management concern are contained in three action plans. Links to the action plans can be found online at

The above website also includes the meeting agenda, road map and other related information, including annual management reports for various fisheries of Southeast Alaska.

To minimize costs for the public and agencies the board will take up the shellfish (Jan. 11–14) and finfish (Jan. 15–23) proposals in two separate sessions.

Chinook Forecast for Southeast Lowest on Record

Forecasts for 2018 Chinook runs in Southeast Alaska’s Situk, Chilkat, Taku, Stikine and Unuk rivers completed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) project are, with one exception, the lowest runs on record, using historical information spanning man decades.

The only exception is the Situk River, where the 2018 Chinook forecast is slightly above the recent 10-year average.

Inseason estimates and associated run projections produced in the spring and summer of 2018 will ultimately supersede these forecasts, state biologists said.

State biologists say reduced productivity of Chinook salmon stocks is a major concern in Southeast Alaska and other select areas of that state. ADF&G released the information to raise public awareness of poor 2018 king salmon forecasts and to provide notice that the agency intends to manage fisheries that encounter Chinook salmon this coming year in a conservative manner. During an Alaska Board of Fisheries work session in October, state biologists provided a stock status an update on Southeast Alaska salmon stocks that included kings. The latest update includes an evaluation of salmon stocks relative to guidance contained in the policy for management of sustainable salmon fisheries.

The state report said that while other Southeast Alaska Chinook salmon stocks – including Stikine, Taku and Situk river stocks – are not designated stocks of concern based on policy for management of sustainable salmon fisheries criteria, that low abundance of these stocks warrants very conservative fishery management in the near term.

Southeast Tanner Crab Opens February 10

The 2017–2018 commercial Tanner crab fishery in Southeast Alaska is set to open concurrently with the commercial golden king crab fishery at noon on February 10.

Biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) say the length of the season will be determined by guidelines set forth in the Registration Area A Tanner crab harvest strategy.

The initial fishing period for Tanner crab in the core areas and non-core areas will be a minimum of six days, with additional fishing time based on the number of registered pots at the start of the fishery.

ADF&G plans to issue a news release on February 10 announcing the total number of pots registered in the fishery for the 2017-2018 season and whether the initial fishing period will be extended. After the initial period, the core area will close to fishing and the non-core areas will remain open for another five days.

Catch survey modeling of 2017-2018 commercial fishery harvest, October 2017 Tanner crab survey data, and summer 2017 red king crab survey data produced a regional biomass estimate 35 percent greater than the previous year.

State biologists said that limited, non-confidential Tanner crab stock assessment information is to be made available to the public in early January.

Pacific Fisheries Technologists Conference

“Tools of the trade” is the theme of the upcoming 69th annual Pacific Fisheries Technologists Conference at the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska February 5–7.

“It’s all about sharing the latest and greatest technology advances,” said Chris Sannito, president of Pacific Fisheries Technologists and a research assistant professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

Presentations are invited on a variety of topics dealing with products, processes analyses and current affairs related to seafood, from fish harvesting and handling to environmental and regulatory issues.

Registration for the conference, which is held every five years in Alaska, is open, and speakers are invited to submit presentation abstracts through January 5. Sannito is based in Kodiak, where he works with Alaska Sea Grant’s Marine Advisory Program at the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, with a focus on seafood processing, environmental compliance and product development, including Pollock skin pet treats.

The annual international event, which moves between the Pacific states and provinces of Mexico and Canada, attracts several dozen participants engaged in commercial fisheries, university research and related government agencies. The agenda will include presentations and panel discussions ranging from pure research through innovations, worldwide regulations, ecology, economic considerations, quality, product safety, future trends and more.

Display booths will be available to gold, silver and nonprofit sponsors, including research institutes, academia, government agencies and environmental organizations. Sponsors for the event banquet, president’s reception and more are still being sought and asked to contact Sannito at

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Ocean Acidification Legislation Introduced

Legislation introduced in the US Senate would identify and assess communities most dependent on coastal and ocean resources that may be impacted by ocean acidification. The bipartisan Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act of 2017 was introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, with Senators Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Susan Collins, R-ME, Gary Peters, D-MI; and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI.

“This is significant legislation for those living in a state or community whose livelihood greatly depends on the health of our oceans,” Murkowski said.

The act called for conducting coastal community vulnerability assessments related to ocean acidification. It would strengthen collaborations with a wide range of stakeholders, including regional Ocean Acidification Networks and Sea Grants, into the planning and implementation of coastal community vulnerability assessments. The act would require that the assessment identify communities most dependent on ocean and coastal resources, the nature of the social and economic vulnerabilities of the communities, and identify the harmful impacts of ocean acidification on those communities.

According to Sarah Cooley, director of the Ocean Acidification Program at Ocean Conservancy, the assessment will be a step further in understanding the nature of unique risks faced by coastal communities because of ocean acidification, by identifying where further research could be devoted and whether adaptation strategies can be put into place to help those communities.

Colley said the science is clear that the ocean is becoming acidified. “This is a major threat to a variety of ocean resources that coastal communities depend on, and we must rise to the challenge and tackle this problem head on,” she said.

The companion bill in the House, HR 2719, sponsored by Rep. Chaellie Pingree, D-ME, was introduced in May, but has seen little committee activity.

Pebble Mine Promoters Announce New Business Partner

British Columbia’s Northern Dynasty Minerals, owner of the Pebble Limited Partnership, says it has entered into a framework agreement with First Quantum Minerals Ltd., contingent on completion of due diligence, which would allow for the project to move forward.

Northern Dynasty President and CEO Ron Thiessen said that the immediate capital contribution from First Quantum Minerals Ltd. would allow Northern Dynasty to initiate federal and state permitting for the mine in the very near term.

First Quantum chairman and CEO Philip Pascall said his company would make a $37.5 million payment to Northern Dynasty in coming days, as part of an agreement calling for payments totaling $150 million toward the permitting process over the next four years.

According to Pebble Partnership spokesman Mike Heatwole the company will be applying for wetlands permits by the end of this year.

Shares of Northern Dynasty stock fell nearly 17 percent before rebounding to about an eight percent loss on December 18 after Northern Dynasty announced entering into the agreement with First Quantum Minerals.

The proposed mine site lies near the headwaters of the Bristol Bay watershed in Southwest Alaska, where the majority of residents contend such development poses potential adverse impact to salmon habitat. This past summer over 37 million sockeyes were harvested, 10 million more than projected. Backers of the mine contend that it can be developed and operated in harmony with the fishery, which produces the world’s largest run of wild sockeye salmon.

“Bristol Bay’s record-breaking salmon run this summer is a testament to the health and bounty of this world class fishery,” said Norm Van Vactor, CEO of the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp. in Dillingham, Alaska. “Even after 100 years, this commercial fishery is the economic backbone of the region and a literal food factory for the world,” he said. “First Quantum Minerals is wasting their time investing in a project that has little to no local support and no legitimate claim to economic feasibility. At the end of the day, the Pebble mine threatens our fishery and all it supports, and that is just a risk Bristol Bay is not willing to take,” he said.

Mike Niver of Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay said harvesters know that by taking care of the waterways upstream from the Bay that the salmon will continue to take care of them. “Bristol Bay is no place for experimentation and Pebble mine is a very bad investment,” he said.

Togiak Herring Forecast

A forecast of 136,756 tons of biomass has been issued for the Togiak herring fishery in 2018, allowing for a harvest of 27,351 tons, based on the 20 percent exploitation rate, with 1,500 tons for the Togiak spawn-on-kelp fishery.

Alaska state fisheries biologist set the Dutch Harbor food/bait allocation at 1,810 tons, based on seven percent of the remaining allowable harvest, with 24,042 tons for the Togiak District sac roe fishery. The purse seine allocation was set at 16,829 tons, or 70 percent; and the gill net allocation at 7,212 tons, or 30 percent. Last year’s forecast of a biomass of 130,852 tons allowed for a Togiak District sac roe fishery of 22,943 tons, with 16,060 tons for the purse seine harvesters and 6,883 tons for the gillnet fleet.

Biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) also announced a guideline harvest level for the 2018 Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery of 11,128 tons, based on a 20 percent harvest rate of a forecast mature biomass of 55,637 tons.

Like last year, the forecast will not be updated with winter test fishery weight at age, as had been done prior to the 2017 fishery, biologists said.

ADF&G has scheduled a stakeholder meeting at the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association in Sitka at 6 p.m. on January 12 to discuss management strategies for the coming season.

Bristol Bay Fish Expo Set for June 8–9

Early registration is open for the Bristol Bay Fish Expo set for June 8–9 in Naknek, Alaska, complete with a dressed for success fisheries fashion show, speed hiring for captains and potential crew members, and a new mug up history event to share canned fish stories.

Bristol Bay Fish Expo, a fundraiser for Naknek’s Little Angels Child Care Academy, got its start a year ago, bringing in upwards of $15,000, said Katie Copps-Wilson, a physician’s assistant at the Camai Health Center in Naknek, and a Fish Expo organizer. That was enough to make payroll for five part-time employees at the child care center, which Copps-Wilson, who has three children, said is an important socioeconomic issue for community.

“People started moving out because there was no child care,” she said. Then in September 2016 the Bristol Bay Borough allocated $80,000 toward materials to create the child care facility within the local high school in this town of 544.

Last year’s expo attracted 44 exhibitors, along with sponsors for the fashion show, speed hiring–which is like a speed dating scenario – and other events. The fashion show features everything from the rain gear on deck look to going to town ensembles. The speed hiring event was successful in bringing captains and potential crew members together for interviews, and some crew got hired during the event, Copps-Wilson said.

Several companies have signed up already for the upcoming expo, and sponsors are still needed for the events. “We’re still working mothers trying to pull a show off,” she said.

Information about the 2018 expo and to sign up to participation is online at

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Bill Would Extend Vessel Discharge Protections for Harvesters

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-WA. has introduced the Fishing and Small Vessel Relief Act (S.2194) that would extend a current moratorium exempting fishing vessels and vessels under 79 feet from costly incidental discharge permitting requirements mandated by the US Environmental Protection Agency. These vessels have been continuously exempt since 2008 under a temporary moratorium, as they do not pose a serious environmental risk, Cantwell said.

“Fishermen are key drivers of Washington state’s growing economy,” the senator said. “We need their boats out fishing, not bogged down by regulations meant for large vessels like oil tankers.”

Cantwell said her bill aims to bring stability to small vessel owners uneasy over the impending December 18 expiration of the current moratorium. Most of the more than 115,000 small vessels nationwide that would be covered are commercial fishing boats, but many research vessels, tour boats, tugboats, towboats and offshore supply boats would also qualify.

The EPA’s vessel incidental discharge permitting requirements are intended to prevent water pollution and the spread of invasive species through release of bilge water, ballast and other discharges. These regulations, said Cantwell, are critical to safeguard the environment from large vessels that are more likely to carry pollutants and run a greater risk of introducing invasive species. Vessel discharge from smaller vessels does not pose a serious environmental risk, the senator said.

Eighty Percent Drop in Pacific Cod Allocation

A drastic drop in the biomass and abundance of Pacific cod, due to anomalous warm conditions in the Gulf of Alaska, starting in 2014 and lasting at least through 2016, has prompted an 80 percent cut in the allowable catch for 2018.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council set the Gulf’s cod quota at 13,096 metric tons, down from 64,442 metric tons in 2017. The forecast for 2019 is a TAC of 12,368 metric tons.

The council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) noted that the unusual warm event, known as “the blob” affected the entire ecosystem. The decline was most obvious in a sharp reduction in the 2017 bottom trawl survey biomass, with Pacific cod consistently encountered in very low abundances throughout the survey region.

The council also cut Gulf Pollock TAC for 2018 to 166,228 metric tons, down from 184,243 metric tons in 2017, with a forecast of 112,677 metric tons in 2019.

The overall TAC for all Gulf of Alaska groundfish harvests in 2018 was set at 427,512 metric tons, down from 535,863 metric tons a year earlier.

The situation poses a big economic concern for Gulf of Alaska coastal communities, as the cod fisheries could be reduced from weeks to days of fishing.

Julie Bonney of the Alaska Groundfish Data Bank told the council it is important that everyone engaged in the cod fishery, including harvesters and processor workers, be aware of what’s happening, so that they’re not surprised when the season opens. “It doesn’t make sense to gear up, spend all that money, and then fish for a few days, so I think the number of folks who will fish will be less,” she said. “I’m concerned that people don’t know what the production means in terms of the fishing plan.”

Bonney said she expected the subject to be up for discussion today when the Kodiak fisheries work group meets in Kodiak, Alaska.

The TAC for Arrowtooth flounder was down from 103,300 metric tons in 2017 to 76,300 metric tons for the coming year. TACS were also lowered for flathead sole, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, dusky rockfish and other rockfish.

The catch allowance for sablefish, by contrast, rose from 10,074 metric tons to 11,505 metric tons for 2018. Other TAC boosts included shallow water flatfish, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, Pacific Ocean perch, rougheye and blackspotted rockfish, demersal shelf rockfish and thornyhead rockfish.

The Council also approved a TAC of 1,364,341 metric tons of Pollock in the Eastern Bering Sea, up from 1,345,000 metric tons in 2017, with a forecast of 1,383,000 metric tons in 2019.

Elsewhere in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands, Pacific cod TACs went in the other direction, set at 188,136 metric tons for 2018, down from the 2017 TAC of 223,704 metric tons, with a forecast of 159,120 metric tons in 2019.

Sablefish TACs for the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands rose from 1,274 metric tons in 2017 to 1,464 metric tons for 2018, with a forecast of 2,061 metric tons in 2019.

Pacific Ocean perch TACs rose from 34,900 metric tons to 37,361 metric tons, with a forecast of 37,880 metric tons in 2019. Northern rockfish TACs were up too, from 5,000 metric tons to 6,100 metric tons, with a forecast of 6,500 metric tons in 2019.

NPFMC Examines Bering Sea Cod Vessels

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) has initiated an analysis prompted by concerns over the number of catcher vessels delivering Pacific cod to motherships and a decrease in P-cod deliveries to shoreside processing facilities in the Bering Sea.

The motion by Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten noted the council’s concern over potential for future growth in offshore deliveries of P-cod to Amendment 80 vessels or other vessels operating as motherships, and the potential impacts those increases could have on shoreside processors, communities and participating catcher vessels.

The action came during the council’s December meeting in Anchorage, Alaska.

The council motion noted that despite a high level of latency, the pace of the fishery has increased shortening the season resulting in decreased ability to maximize the value of the fishery and negatively impacting fishery participants. The concern is that more entrants could exacerbate this situation, threatening the viability of the fishery.

The council will consider limiting entry of vessels that have no participated, or have not participated recently.

The Pacific Seafood Processors Association (PSPA) urged the council to establish a control date to use as a reference point to limit access into the trawl catcher vessel and Amendment 80 mothership sectors of the directed non-Community Development Quota Bering Sea trawl cod fishery.

PSPA’s Nicole Kimball explained in her testimony that processing plants and communities dependent on the inshore cod fishery include Dutch Harbor King Cove Akutan, some in Sand Point, Adak and the Aleutians East Borough. While the Amendment 80 sector pays a resource landing tax of three percent to the state, the shoreside processors pay both the three percent fisheries business tax and local fish taxes, which range from one and a half percent to two percent, and community dependence on fisheries landing taxes is significant, she noted.

Study, Summit Focus on New Generation of Harvesters

A new study of Alaska’s commercial fisheries identifies factors that have contributed to the graying of the fleet and offers recommendations on how to support participation of young harvesters and coastal communities dependent on them for economic survival.

“Turning the Tide,” funded by the North Pacific Research Board and Alaska Sea Grant, concludes that privatizing fisheries access through requirements to purchase permits and quota has created financial and other barriers for the next generation of harvesters, and has especially impacted small rural fishing communities.

Privatization of these fisheries has resulted in the need for increased financial capital and other risks, including a lack of stable markets, the report concludes. Limited entry and individual quota programs have led to a contraction of fishing fleets in communities where fishing rights have been sold or migrated away, affecting access to those fisheries for future generations.

Residents of fishing communities in Bristol Bay and the Kodiak Archipelago identified many social barriers to accessing fisheries. They included a lack of exposure to commercial fishing, lack of experience, knowledge and family connections to fishing, discouragement from pursuing fishing as a career, and substance abuse and related problems in communities.

Those findings are consistent with others worldwide that improve access to commercial fisheries where access has been privatized is needed for young people, small scale fishermen and rural communities to fill jobs now held by harvesters whose average age if 50 years old, a decade older than the average fisherman of a generation ago.

The graying of the fleet and loss of local access in several important fishery regions of Alaska threatens the healthy succession of fishing as an economic and cultural mainstay in Alaska’s communities, and creates a public policy concern for the state, the report said.

To turn the tide, and remove these barriers to entry, the report makes several recommendations, including developing ways to protect and diversify community-based fishing access, including establishing youth permits or student licenses and mentorship or apprenticeship programs to provide young people with exposure to and experience in fishing and a pathway to ownership.

The report also recommends support of local infrastructure to maintain local fisheries, and establishment of a statewide fishing access for Alaskans task force to review and consider collaborative solutions to reverse the trend of a graying fleet and loss access to the fisheries for rural Alaska communities.

The complete study is available online on the project website:

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Agreement Would Halt Commercial Fishing in Central Arctic Ocean

Officials from 10 countries have reached a legally binding agreement to abstain from commercial fishing in 1.1 million square miles of the Central Arctic Ocean for at least 16 years, while research is conducted to learn more about marine life there. The area is roughly the size of the Mediterranean Sea.

The document was signed in Washington, D.C. on November 30 by representatives from the United States, Canada, Norway, Russia, Greenland, Iceland, Japan, South Korea, China and the European Union, said Scott Highleyman, a member of the U.S. delegation.

Delegates must now undertake a legal and technical review of the agreement’s provisions, and seek final approval of their respective governments to sign the document.

“This precautionary action recognizes both the pace of change in the Arctic due to climate change as well as the tradition of Arctic cooperation across international boundaries,” said Highleyman, who is vice president of conservation policy and programs at Ocean Conservancy, a non-profit entity working to protect the ocean from global challenges.

The agreement will establish and operate a joint program of scientific research and monitoring aimed at improving the understanding of the area’s ecosystem, and, in particular, determining whether fish stocks might exist in this area that could be harvested on a sustainable basis. The agreement envisions the possibility that one or more additional regional fisheries management organizations or arrangements may be established for this areas in the future.

The agreement came two years after the U.S., Canada, Norway, Greenland and Russia issued a declaration that they would voluntarily refrain from fishing in the high Arctic. They also pledged to work toward a binding agreement with non-Arctic nations operating commercial fishing fleets in distant waters. Similar precautionary Arctic fisheries plans were enacted by the U.S. off the northern coast of Alaska in 2009 and by Canada in 2014 in collaboration with Inuvialuit officials. More than 2,000 scientists from around the world, called on Arctic countries in 2012 to take similar precautionary action in the Central Arctic Ocean.

While the initial term of the agreement is 16 years, it is to be automatically extended every five years until science based fisheries quotas and rules are put into place, Ocean Conservancy said.

Value Outlook for Bristol Bay Sockeyes is Relatively Stable

A new market analysis of sockeye salmon produced for the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) shows first wholesale prices of all major sockeye product forms increased in 2017, indicating strong demand.

The latest Bristol Bay sockeye harvest was the second largest of the past two decades and resulted in the largest total ex-vessel value since the mid-1990s after adjusting for inflation, but it could have been even better, the McDowell Group said in its 43-page report to the BBRSDA, which represents Bristol Bay’s driftnet fleet.

Limits put on harvests resulted in over-escapement for several river systems, and an opportunity cost to harvesters of an estimated $29.2 million, the report said.

Still early sales volumes of frozen, headed and gutted sockeye produced in 2017 trailed 2016 sales by 31 percent, and selling out frozen inventory ahead of the 2018 season will be critical for pricing prospects next spring.

While future market developments can’t be predicted with total certainty, the value outlook is relatively stable, the report read.

McDowell Group researchers noted that prices of headed and gutted and fillet products have increased faster than canned forms in recent years, resulting in processors canning less sockeye salmon, despite larger harvests. While lower production volume has pushed canned salmon prices upward, this could result in less demand for canned salmon going forward, with the recent spike in harvest value not expected to be followed by a sharp decline, which is what happened in 2014-2015, according to the report.

Frozen fillets and fresh sales have seen growth in recent years, with statewide sockeye fillet production up 63 percent between 2013 and 2016, and may have increased even further in 2017, including sales of fresh headed and gutted sockeye from Bristol Bay up 39 percent to 3.1 million pounds.

The preliminary ex-vessel value of Bristol Bay sockeyes rose 37 percent this year to $210 million, with ex-vessel prices up 34 percent over 2016, while sockeye harvests rose by two percent, according to preliminary data. Assuming static prices, the value of 2017 foregone sockeye harvests in the Bay is estimated at $29 million, the report read.

Global sockeye harvests meanwhile fell five percent, about 20 million pounds, again based on preliminary data.

In preparation for the report, McDowell Group compiled information from the Alaska Departments of Fish and Game and Revenue, including fish ticket data and the commercial operators annual report, in addition to export data from the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The complete report is online at

Behnken Honored by Alaska Legislature

Veteran halibut harvester Linda Behnken, executive director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (ALFA) in Sitka, has been honored by the Alaska Legislature for her efforts to protect small boat fisheries and coastal communities.

An honorarium and framed certificate were presented to her during a “Gearing up to 40 years” reception for ALFA late November. The honor comes on the heels of Behnken’s national recognition in 2016 as a “Champion of Change for Sustainable Seafood” by the White House.

The reception also celebrated 40 years of ALFA’s leadership in fishery conservation locally and nationally. Behnken, the association’s executive director since 1991, also started ALFA’s Fishery Conservation Network, to engage fishermen and scientists in conservation projects.

A former member of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, Behnken has for years urged all seafood harvesters to share in the responsibilities of sustainability of the resource. Under her leadership, ALFA has been recognized nationally for its role in harvester-led advocacy in support of coastal fisheries and communities.

“Really the accolades belong to the entire ALFA team—staff, board and members—and to the incredible community that supports us” Behnken said. “My inspiration comes from all of you.”

Recruiting Gets Underway for Upcoming Groundfish Season

Recruiters for the At-Sea Processors Association will hold a job fair tomorrow, December 7, at the Alaska Department of Labor’s Anchorage Midtown Job Center to attract crew willing to spend two to three months aboard a catcher-processor vessel during the upcoming groundfish fisheries. Applicants must be pre-registered and present at a seafood familiarization session, and then attend orientations coming up the following week.

Participating companies include Arctic Storm, Aleutian Spray, the Coastal Village Region Fund, Glacier Fish Company and Trident Seafoods. All are members of the At-Sea Processors Association, and participate in groundfish fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council, whose December meeting is underway at the Anchorage Hilton this week, will release its annual quotas for groundfish harvests in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands, and the Gulf of Alaska, during the meeting.

The At-Sea Processors Association is advising applicants that the work averages 16 hours a day, seven days a week, and will start in January, lasting for approximately two to three months. Applicants must understand and be able to speak English, and pass a health, drug screen and criminal background check. Pay is based on a percentage of the catch or case rate depending on the company. Room, board and transportation are provided based upon successful completion of contracts. For more information, call 1-907-269-4775.

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