Wednesday, November 28, 2018

US House Votes Unanimously to Pass Coast Guard Authorization Bill

Coast Guard reauthorization legislation that passed the US Senate on Nov. 14 has been unanimously approved by the US House.

The bill now heads to the White House, where it is expected to be signed into law by year’s end. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, hailed the House vote on Nov. 27 as “finally a win for Dakota Creek and the hardworking men and women who build fishing, Navy and other vessels in our state.”

Provisions contained in the huge Coast Guard package deal contain legislation to help protect shipbuilding jobs at Dakota Creek Industries in Anacortes, Washington.

Other provisions include improved oversight of ships that pose oil spill risks, recapitalization of the Seattle-based Polar Star icebreaker and improved paid family leave policies for Coast Guard members and their families.

The legislation also involves the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act, which sets a national standard for regulation of ballast water and other incidental discharges, while providing a permanent exemption for commercial fishing vessels and other commercial vessels under 75 feet from needing permits through the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, the bill reauthorizes the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act, which will improve hydrographic surveying, especially in the Arctic. As noted by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, it will aid in construction of a new homeport for the NOAA research vessel Fairweather in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Seafood Harvesters of America also hailed the benefits of the bill for fish harvesters dealing with ballast water and other discharges. The measure was criticized by the Center for Biological Diversity as a blow to the Clean Water Act’s ability to protect rivers, estuaries and lakes from harmful invasive species.

Co-sponsors of the bill in the Senate included Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski, both R-Alaska, John Thune, R-SD, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Bill Nelson, D-Florida.

Charter Halibut Management to be Addressed at NPFMC Meeting

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) will take final action on recommendations to the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) on charter halibut management in the coming year for Southeast and Southcentral Alaska.

During its Dec. 4 meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, the council will consider the advice of the Charter Halibut Management Committee, which meets on Dec. 3, as well as analysis by Sarah Webster of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Division of Sport Fish on potential management measures to keep the charter sector within their allocation.

The committee requested analysis for area 3A with regards to the following regulations: a two-fish bag limit, 28-inch maximum size limit per fish, four-fish annual limit, one vessel-trip per permit per day, Wednesday charter halibut closure and closure of halibut fishing on six Tuesday from mid-July through mid-August. For area 2C the analysis focused on a one-fish daily bag limit, retained halibut being less than or equal to 38 inches or greater than or equal to 80 inches in length requirement.

An action memo posted online in advance of the council meeting notes that between 2014 and 2018 area 2C charter fisheries have been over their allocation by as much as nine percent and below by as much as 10 percent, while in area 3A, charter fisheries have consistently been over their allocation by 11 to 16 percent, except for the 2018 preliminary estimate which shows only four percent over the allocation.

The IPHC’s own 2017 fishery-independent setline survey indicates that halibut stocks declined continuously from the late 1990s to around 2010 due to decreasing size-at-age, as well as somewhat weaker recruitment strengths than those observed in the 1980s. The 2018 survey shows a second consecutive year of decreased, down seven percent from 2017, with individual biological regions ranging from a six percent increase in region 4B to a 15 percent decrease in region 2.

Weak Run of Pink Salmon Predicted for Southeast Alaska

Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) biologists are forecasting a weak run of pink salmon into Southeast Alaska in 2019, with a point estimate of 18 million fish.

The 2019 forecast is based on juvenile pink salmon abundance indices collected with support of NOAA’s long-term Southeast Coastal Monitoring Project in northern Southeast Alaska inside waters in June and July.

The harvest forecast is about half of the recent 10-year average harvest of 36 million pink salmon. A harvest near this forecast would be the lowest odd-year harvest since 1987, according to biologists. The 2018 peak June-July juvenile pink salmon index value ranked 20th out of the 22 years that SECM information has been collected.

A potential source of uncertainty in the 2019 pink salmon return is the anomalously warm sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Alaska. Warm temperatures that persisted throughout the Gulf from the fall of 2013 through much of 2016 were back in 2018. Pink salmon that went to sea from 2014 to 2016 returned in numbers below expectation and below recent odd-and-even year averages.

Although sea surface temperatures moderated in 2017, effects on the Gulf ecosystem likely persisted and pink salmon that went to sea in 2017 and returned in 2018 had a reduced rate of survival.

ADF&G plans to manage the 2019 commercial purse seine fisheries in-season based on the strength of salmon runs. Aerial escapement surveys and fishery performance data will be used as always to make in-season management decisions.

Fishing Communities Urge Action on Sustainable Fisheries Policy

Members of the Fishing Communities Coalition will ask the 116th Congress in January to defend sustainable marine fisheries management and conservation gains under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

Spokesman John Pappalardo, chief executive officer of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance, said commercial harvesters expect Congress to work in good faith to advance science-based fisheries legislation and defend the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which he said has demonstrated remarkable success in rebuilding fish stocks in U.S. waters.

NOAA Fisheries officials reported earlier this year that the number of fishes on the overfished list reached an all-time low in 2017, thanks to the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

“Young men and women looking to start a career in commercial fishing face daunting challenges, including high cost of entry, financial risks, and limited entry-level opportunities,” said Theresa Peterson, fisheries policy director of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council. Peterson, who also serves on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, said that “breaking down the high barriers to entry for the next generation of commercial fishermen is critical to the very survival of our fishing communities.”

The Fisheries Communities Coalition represents over 1,000 small boat harvesters from Maine, Cape Cod, the Gulf of Mexico, California and Alaska.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Trident, Tai Foong Take Symphony Top Honors

Pollock packed protein noodles, cod dumplings and Wild Alaska Pollock oil for pets claim the top spots of the 2019 Alaska Symphony of Seafoods.

The annual competition, held in Seattle, Wash., and in Juneau, Alaska, focuses on increasing the value of Alaska seafood by encouraging product development which diversifies markets, utilizes more of the resource, and reduces fish waste.

This year’s winners were announced by the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation (AFDF) during the Pacific Marine Expo presented in Seattle, on Nov. 19.

Trident Seafoods’ Protein Noodles took first place in the retail category and claimed the Seattle People’s Choice award. The mild, gluten-free product ready to eat cold or heated up is expected to be on the retail shelves in Costco stores in January.

Tai Foong USA, with offices in Seattle and farms in Belize, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and China, took first prize in the food service category with its Alaska Cod Dumplings. The ready to warm and eat product features good texture and good quality Alaska cod, according to Julie Decker, executive director of AFDF.

Wild Alaska Pollock Oil, a product of Trident’s subsidiary Alaska Naturals Pet Products, won the symphony’s Beyond the Plate competition. The omega-three rich oil is available in 32-ounce and 8-ounce sizes for dogs and 4-ounce containers for cats.

The complete list of winners in the retail, food service and the beyond the plate competition, as well as the People’s Choice awards and the grand prize winner will be announced during AFDF’s Legislative Reception on Feb. 19.

Major sponsors of this year’s events are the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Northwest Fisheries Association, Alaska Air Cargo, Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association, At-Sea Processors Association, Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp., Marel, Northwest Fisheries Association, Kwik’Pak Fisheries LLC, Trident Seafoods, UniSea and United Fishermen of Alaska.

Relief Sought on Incidental Discharges

US Coast Guard legislation that passed the US Senate Nov. 14, would relieve commercial fishing vessel owners and operators from federal and state regulations for ballast water and other incidental discharges.

The Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018, having passed the Senate by a vote of 94-6, is heading back to the House for consideration after the Thanksgiving break, then on to President Trump for his signature, according to staff of Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska.

The ballast water legislation is contained in a provision of the bill known as the Vessel Incident Discharge Act. Sullivan is a co-author of the Coast Guard bill, which is co-sponsored by Senators John Thune, R-SD, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, Bill Nelson, D-Florida, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

The provision provides a permanent exemption on incidental vessel discharge for all commercial fishing vessels and commercial vessels under 79 feet in length. Without this exemption, small vessel operators and fishermen would be forced to obtain Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permits for even the most basic activity, including vessel deck runoff, hosing out their fish holds, and other minor discharges. Sullivan said that the language also provides a comprehensive fix to a broken regulatory framework by establishing a single, nationally uniform standard for the regulation of ballast water and other vessel discharges.

The Senate vote drew quick praise from Seafood Harvesters of America and criticism from the Center for Biological Diversity.

Chris Brown, president of Seafood Harvesters of America, said the bill reflected “strong environmental protections for the nation’s waters, along with the reduction on nonsensical regulatory burdens on the commercial fishing industry.

Brett Hartl, government affairs director for the Center for Biological Diversity, took issue with what he called “a significant blow to the Clean Water Act’s ability to protect rivers, estuaries and lakes from harmful invasive species.

“The Coast Guard has never upheld its obligation to fight the spread of aquatic species in ballast water,” Hartl said. “This new law makes matters worse by allowing them to shirk that responsibility for years or decades to come.”

NOAA Approves Killing Sea Lions at Willamette Falls

NOAA Fisheries has approved killing up to 93 sea lions annually at Willamette Falls, where the pinnipeds are consuming as much as 25 percent of wild winter steelhead trout and up to 9 percent of wild spring Chinook salmon.

While the sea lions are protected under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, they are eating fish species that are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The decision by NOAA Fisheries was reported in the Nov. 19 edition of The Columbia Basin Fish & Wildlife News Bulletin.

After efforts at hazing and non-lethal removal of the California sea lions failed to keep them from hanging out at Willamette Falls, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) applied to NOAA in 2017 for authorization to lethally remove some of them under a MMPA Section 20 permit.

This fall NOAA convened a Willamette Falls Pinniped Task Force, which issued a recommendation on Oct. 15 that the permit be authorized.

Oregon filed for the application because its analyses showed that the high levels of predation by sea lions, including 25 percent of the steelhead run in 2017, meant there was an almost 90 percent probability that one of the upper Willamette steelhead runs would go extinct.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Game noted in a news release that the level of predation of spring Chinook, although at 7 to 9 percent annually, is enough to increase the extinction risk by 10 to 15 percent.

The permit applies only to California sea lions, and not the much larger Steller sea lions, which, according to ODFW policy analyst Shaun Clements, are present at the Falls in growing numbers and prey on white sturgeon. “Current federal law prohibits us from doing anything about that,” Clements said.

Removing the sea lions is about striking a balance between recovery of imperiled salmon and steelhead and the ongoing conservation of sea lions.

According to ODFW predation by pinnipeds also threatens gains made by significant regional investment to improve fish passage at dams, restore fish habitat and implement fishing regulations that prohibit anglers from harvesting wild fish.

40M Sockeye Forecast for Bristol Bay in 2019

Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) has released its latest sockeye marketing report, noting that in 2018 the Bay witnessed a record run of red salmon and produced its second largest harvest in history.

In nominal terms, this was also the most valuable Bristol Bay salmon harvest ever recorded, with a preliminary ex-vessel value of $281 million, noted BBRSDA executive director Andy Wink. After factoring in quality premiums and volume bonuses, the final value is projected to be over $335 million.

The report also notes that first wholesale prices for all major sockeye product forms continued to rise during the May to August sales period, compared to the same period a year ago, and that frozen Bristol Bay sockeye prices are approaching 2013 levels but at double the volume.

State biologists meanwhile are forecasting a run of some 40 million sockeye salmon into Alaska’s Bristol Bay in 2019, 16 percent greater than the long-term average of 34.2 million fish from 1963 through 2018. That would allow for a potential total harvest of 27.6 million fish, including 26.11 million reds in Bristol Bay and 1.49 million reds in the South Peninsula.

The run forecast includes:
  •  16.12 million to Naknek-Kvichak District (6.95 million to the Kvichak river, 3.97 million to the Alagnak river, and 5.21 million to the Naknek river)
  •  9.07 million to the Egegik District
  •  3.46 million to the Ugashik District
  •  10.38 million to the Nushagak District (4.62 million to the Wood river, 4.18 million to the Nushagak river, and 1.58 million to the Igushik river)
  •  1.15 million to the Togiak District

Sockeye salmon runs into Bristol Bay have historically been highly variable. In issuing the 2019 forecast biologists noted that forecasting future salmon returns is inherently difficult and uncertain. Individual river forecasts have greater uncertainty compared to bay-wide forecasts, they said, but over-forecasting returns to some rivers while under-forecasting returns to other rivers means that the overall Bristol Bay forecast is often more accurate than the forecast to any individual river.

The 2018 Bristol Bay sockeye forecast, by comparison, was for a total run of 51.28 million fish and a harvest of some 38 million.

According to the preliminary summary, the 2018 inshore run of reds into Bristol Bay was 62.3 million fish, the largest on record dating back to 1893, and was 69 percent above the 36.9 million average run for the latest 20-year period. It was the fourth consecutive year that inshore sockeye runs exceeded 50 million fish and proved 21 percent over the preseason inshore forecast.

The harvest of 41.3 million reds was 10 percent over the 37.6 million preseason forecast and the second largest harvest on record. Commercial harvesters also delivered 41,696 kings, 1.9 million chum, 138,466 silver and 218.998 pink salmon for a preliminary ex-vessel value of $281 million for all species. That was 242 percent above the 20-year average of $116 million.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Commercial Fleet Gets Relief on Vessel
Ballast Water Issue

US Coast Guard legislation that passed the US Senate today, Nov. 14, will relieve commercial fishing vessel owners and operators from federal and state regulations for ballast water and other incidental discharges.

Staff in the office of Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, said the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018 now goes back to the House for consideration after the Thanksgiving break. The ballast water legislation is contained in a provision of the bill known as the Vessel Incident Discharge Act. Sullivan is a co-author of the Coast Guard bill, which is co-sponsored by Senators John Thune, R-SD, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, Bill Nelson, D-Florida, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

The provisions provides a permanent exemption on incidental vessel discharge for all commercial fishing vessels and commercial vessels under 79 feet in length. Without this exemption, small vessel operators and fishermen would be forced to obtain Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permits for even the most basic activity, including vessel deck runoff, hosing out their fish holds, and other minor discharges. Sullivan said that the language also provides a comprehensive fix to a broken regulatory framework by establishing a single, nationally uniform standard for the regulation of ballast water and other vessel discharges.

The Senate vote drew a quick reaction from the Brett Hartl, government affairs director for the Center of Biological Diversity, who called the action “a significant blow to the Clean Water Act’s ability to protect rivers, estuaries and lakes from harmful invasive species.

“The Coast Guard has never upheld its obligation to fight the spread of aquatic species In ballast water,” Hartl said. “This new law makes matters worse by allowing them to shirk that responsibility for years or decades to come.”

Also included in the bill is a provision that would provide an exemption to the Jones Act for fishing company Fishermen’s Finest, which is waiting to take delivery of a new vessel that was built in Anacortes in violation of the Jones Act.

SeaShare Deliveries Exceed One Million Pounds

The nonprofit entity SeaShare has delivered more than one million pounds of seafood so far this year to disaster areas and food banks across the country. Another 270,000 pounds of seafood to provide thousands of protein rich meals are in process.

Executive director Jim Harmon said in an email update this past week that the organization was busy in October, sending a truckload of Pollock, cod and salmon to Georgia following Hurricane Michael, as well as two truckloads of Pollock to Missouri, and large quantity of salmon to food banks in Connecticut and Oregon.

In Washington state SeaShare is working with Seattle’s Food Lifeline to support 300–400 smaller agencies across Western Washington with nutritious seafood. Harmon confirmed that this represents 115,000 pounds so far this season.

In addition to regular donations to food banks in Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks and Kodiak, SeaShare is also adding new regional hubs to accept and distribute more seafood to Western Alaska. This year they have worked with freight carriers, including the US Coast Guard, to transport fish to Dillingham, Nome, Kotzebue and Chignik. In all, 34 communities in Western Alaska received fish from SeaShare in 2018.

Members of the At-Sea Processors Association donate 250,000 pounds of frozen Pollock annually. Harmon said this year they combined that generosity with donated materials and processing from HighLiner Foods and Trident Seafoods to generate 1.8- million servings of breaded, over ready portions, packaged for distribution by food banks.

SeaShare was started by Alaska fisherman back in 1994, and to date more than 200 million seafood servings have been distributed. For a list of SeaShare’s seafood industry partners and more information log on to

Red King Crab Inspires Tasty Appetizers

In a year when Bristol Bay red king crab quotas dropped to a 4.3-million-pound quota, the lowest since 1985, a few fine dining restaurant chefs are employing the gourmet seafood in creative ways, to accommodate both tastes and consumer budgets.

Upscale restaurants in Washington state and Alaska are showcasing the succulent crab both in moderately priced appetizers and robust entrées.

In the cozy, upscale Marx Brothers Café in Anchorage, Alaska, diners may choose a Yukon Gold Gnocchi, with Cambazola moray, red king crab and pancetta, prepared by sous chef Michael Adlam.

King crab legs with drawn butter are not on the menu.

“It’s so boring,” said Jack Anon, partner and executive chef of Marx Brothers. “We will do king crab legs with drawn butter on request, but they can get that anywhere.”

Other chefs apparently agree.

The appetizer list at the Kincaid Grill in Anchorage includes king crab cakes with corn relish, serrano-lime aioli. At Seven Glaciers restaurant at the Alyeska ski resort in Girdwood, Alaska, chefs offer an appetizer of crab cake, scallops, spicy remoulade, and seasonal salad while Elliott’s Oyster House in Seattle, Wash., features crab cakes of Dungeness, Jonah and red king crab, with dill aioli Aleppa chili.

At Simon & Seaforts Saloon and Grill, diners may begin their dinner with Alaskan Ceviche, an appetizer composed of king crab, halibut, sidestripe shrimp, avocado, lime juice, tequila and crispy tortilla chips. Menu entrées include seared sea scallops with king crab risotta, mushroom confit, sweet pea puree, preserved lemon, scallop butter sauce. Other offerings promote Norton Sound red king crab with herb parmesan mashed potatoes, melted butter and blistered lemon.

For those who want more of that Bristol Bay red king crab, Orso, in downtown Anchorage, features Bristol Bay red king crab legs with broccolini, house smoked salmon, stuffed tomato and drawn butter. Bristol Bay red king crab appetizers average about $18, and the entrées $70.

For consumers who prefer to prepare their own gourmet food, Bristol Bay red king crab is available for purchase online from seafood shops in Anchorage and Seattle for about $33 to $40 per pound, plus shipping.

British Columbia Moves Toward Cleaning Up Tulsequah Chief Mine

The British Columbia government issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the development of a remediation plan to enable mitigation of contamination from the Tulsequah Chief mine, which has been polluting transboundary salmon rivers for years. The deadline is the end of November.

The RFP comes in the wake of bankrupt mine owner Chieftain Metals and its main creditor, West Face Capital, missing another deadline in October to provide a revised mine cleanup plan for the abandoned mine.

Chris Zimmer, Alaska campaign director for Rivers Without Borders, hailed the request for proposals, saying it is encouraging to see British Columbia stepping in to take over responsibility for the cleanup. “I think they are looking for a permanent solution and not some temporary measure,” he said.

John Morris Sr., vice president of the Douglas Indian Association in Southeast Alaska, and a member of the Transboundary Commission, said he is “very hopeful” thanks to the provincial government’s action. Morris grew up on the Taku River in the 1940s, fishing for salmon as a gillnetter and set netter, and hunting moose. He recalled seeing, in travels to the mine site, an eight-inch pipe that was leaching contaminants into the Tulsequah Chief River, which empties into the Taku River, the largest salmon producer in the transboundary region. “We have been advocating for cleanup for many years,” he said.

Alaska state and congressional leaders have met with their Canadian counterparts over concerns stemming from threats to fish habitat from existing and planned British Columbia mines near transboundary waterways. Mine pollution in these transboundary waters would have a very negative impact on commercial, sport and subsistence fishing in Southeast Alaska, as well as tourism and wildlife. Last month Alaska Gov. Bill Walker urged B.C. officials to do “everything you can to expeditiously gain control of the Tulsequah Mine site, stop the unpermitted discharges, and fully remediate the site”.

ASMI Leader Signs to Pursue Graduate Studies

Alexa Tonkovich, who has served as executive director of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) since 2015, is resigning from the post to pursue graduate studies in international business.

ASMI board chairman Jack Schultheis, general manager of Kwik’Pak Fisheries, made the announcement on Nov. 9. He said that Tonkovich would stay on through mid-December to help the board recruit candidates for her replacement and to provide for a smooth transition period.

Schultheis said that Tonkovich’s dedication to the Alaska seafood industry has been unparalleled. “While she will be missed, we also support her decision and wish her the very best in what is sure to be a very bright future,” he said.

ASMI’s board will meet on Nov. 19 to discuss appointing an interim executive director and to draft a notice to recruit a replacement. Additional information regarding the position will be posted online at

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Alaska’s Stand for Salmon Ballot Measure Fails

With 88 percent of ballots counted in Alaska’s general election, a ballot initiative that aimed to better protect fish habitat in Alaska was headed toward defeat. The vote in this divisive campaign, with millions of dollars spent in television, newspaper and sign board advertising, was 141,918 opposed and 80,861 favoring the Stand for Salmon initiative.

“Our diverse, statewide coalition was a major factor in the outcome of this campaign,” said Kasti Capozzi, campaign manager for Stand for Alaska. Capozzi said the coalition included Alaska businesses, Alaska Native corporations, labor unions, trade groups and thousands of Alaskans.

According to Stand for Alaska, the vote “sends a clear message that Alaskans are not in favor of outside interests’ attempts to regulate our land and resources.” The biggest contributors to defeat the ballot measure were oil and gas and mining companies, many of whose headquarters are in the Lower 48 states and Canada.

Backers of the ballot initiative said that while they didn’t garner enough votes to win that they were cheered by Alaskans across political and geographic boundaries who united in support of stronger salmon habitat protections through the ballot initiative.

“We are in the midst of a new era where Alaskans are ready to see stronger salmon protections and more responsible development in our state,” said Gayla Hoseth, an initiative sponsor.

“Through our conversations throughout this campaign, it’s been clear to us that all Alaskans are connected to salmon and want to do more to protect the last wild salmon runs in the country,” said Stephanie Quinn-Davidson, a ballot initiative sponsor and director of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal fish commission.

Foy Named Research Director for AFSC

Bob Foy is taking the helm as the new science and research director for NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center at Auke Bay, Alaska, on Nov. 11. Foy spent the previous 11 years as the director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) laboratory in Kodiak, Alaska.

In his new role, Foy will oversee the agency’s work monitoring the health and sustainability of fish, marine mammals and their habitats across nearly 1.5 million square miles of water surrounding Alaska. He will oversee research work at the AFSC in Seattle, Washington, and research laboratories in Juneau and Kodiak, Alaska, as well as Newport, Oregon, in addition to field stations in Little Port Walter, St. Paul Island and St. George Island, Alaska.

He will direct scientific research to support and sustain a range of marine resources including commercial fisheries for Alaska Pollock, red king crab and sablefish in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea. He will also oversee agency research in the Aleutians and the Arctic Ocean, home to marine mammals including bowhead and beluga whales, and bearded and ringed seals.

Foy has co-authored more than 60 scientific, technical and stock assessment papers focused on the response of marine species to environmental forces in the sub-Arctic and Arctic regions of Alaska. He has also directed the crab data collection on the annual Eastern Bering Sea bottom trawl survey. This data supports stock assessment for 10 crab stocks valued at roughly $500 million.

Foy has also led multidisciplinary research programs to improve scientific advice to management entities including the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. He recently developed research programs to assess acclimation capacity of marine organisms to changes in the environment. These programs provide accurate predictions on climate change and assess the feasibility of mariculture in the state.

ASMI Sees Boost in Alaska Global Food Aid Program

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s (ASMI) global food aid program marketing efforts are paying off with increased domestic and overseas purchases, putting wild Alaska Pollock and salmon on the menu for millions of hungry people.

The introduction of wild Alaska Pollock fillet portions into The Emergency Food Assistance Program, on the heels of wild Alaska Pollock whole-grain breaded fish sticks into the National School Lunch Program last year resulted in millions of dollars in Pollock purchases by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said Bruce Schactler, director of ASMI’s Global Food Aid program.

The food aid market has been and is a reliable and very good customer for the Alaska seafood industry, Schactler noted, in his annual update to ASMI’s All Hands on Deck meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, in late October. The preference for wild Alaska seafood in several domestic feeding programs has made wild Alaska Pollock and canned wild Alaska salmon a steady item on participants’ menus, he explained. “Supporting the balance of supply and demand between the industry’s production and agency needs is one of the elements in our portfolio that never seems to let up,” he told those in attendance.

For fiscal year 2018, purchases of wild Alaska salmon and Pollock by the US Department of Agriculture for government food and nutrition programs totaled over $22 million.

The National School Lunch Program reaches over 13 million children daily. Another eight million families have access to meals offered through The Emergency Food Assistance Program. Some 87,000 individuals participating in food distribution programs on Indian reservations are now receiving traditional wild Alaska salmon fillets.

ASMI’s global food aid representatives have been carrying out a marketing blitz aimed at all USDA food distribution directors in more than 500 state agency contacts,all 344 tribal leaders and also organizing tastings of other species with key USDA decision makers, and the results have been extremely rewarding, Schactler said. Rewards included the recent purchase of 324,000 pounds of four-ounce vacuum packed wild Alaska sockeye salmon fillet portions, valued at about $4 million.

Consumer research conducted by the Alaska global food aid program also identified renewed demand for wild Alaska canned salmon in domestic and international food programs. Canned salmon is frequently included in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program that serves 684,000 elderly people each month and seafood is a must-have in all meal programs, Schactler said.

With more research and development, there is hope that wild Alaska herring can become the newest product of the Alaska global food aid line. That product is particularly well positioned for international food aid programs which need high protein, shelf stable products at the best price possible.

Changes Coming for Alaska Board of Fisheries Meetings

Several changes and additions approved in October will affect the Alaska Board of Fisheries meetings, beginning with the Bristol Bay finfish meeting scheduled for Nov. 28-Dec. 3 in Dillingham, in southwest Alaska.

The fisheries board also changed the date of the Alaska Peninsula, Chignik and Aleutian Islands finfish meeting to Feb. 21-26 and the statewide finfish and supplemental issues meeting to March 9-12. The Jan. 15-19 date for the Arctic/Yukon/Kuskokwim finfish meeting remains unchanged. All but the Bristol Bay finfish meeting are scheduled to take place in Anchorage, as is the March 8 meeting on hatcheries.

The Bristol Bay finfish meeting hosted at the Dillingham Middle School will include a training course on how to navigate the board process. All meeting participants are welcome to attend. The board will also be considering several proposals on harvest management plans related to commercial, sport and subsistence salmon, in addition to a Bristol Bay herring management plan.

The tentative deadline to sign up to testify at the Dillingham meeting is 2 p.m. on Nov. 28, and public testimony will continue until everyone who signed up by the deadline has been heard.

The board will also consider proposal 175 put forward by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game with regards to super-exclusive guided sport ecotourism Dungeness crab fisheries in George Inlet and Nakwasina Sound.

All portions of these meetings are open to the public and a live audio stream is intended to be available on the board’s website site at

Copies of advanced meeting materials, including the agendas and roadmaps, are available from the Boards Support Section by calling 1-907-465-4110 or online at

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