Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Draft EIS for Pebble Mine Released

Officials with the US Army Corps of Engineers in Anchorage, Alaska, have released a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Pebble mine in Southwest Alaska.

The 1,400-page document is expected to be published on Friday, March 1, in the Federal Register, opening a 90-day public comment period on the controversial project.

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) also has scheduled seven public meetings in the Bristol Bay region, as well as one in Homer and one in Anchorage in March and April. Dates and times are posted on the USACE website,

Release of the draft EIS on Feb. 20 drew praise from the Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) – a subsidiary of Hunter Dickinson Inc., a diversified global mining group based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Tom Collier, chief executive officer of the PLP, said his company’s preliminary review of the draft EIs shows no major data gaps or substantive impacts that cannot be mitigated, and that he sees no environmental challenges that would preclude getting the project permitted.

The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA), which strongly opposes the mine, said the 90-day comment period is far too short of a time period to review and comment on the massive document.

“The speed at which insufficient materials are being pushed through this mine’s permitting process is irresponsible given that the Bristol Bay salmon ecosystem is a biological wonder of the world. This region contains the world’s largest wild salmon runs, which have supported a rich culture for millennia and sustained a thriving commercial fishery for more than 130 years,” said Andy Wink, executive director of the BBRSDA.

Wink pointed out that the BBRSDA members are concerned that the Army Corps of Engineers is not adequately considering the findings of the Environmental Protection Agency’s watershed assessment, which found that a mine of this size would pose an unacceptable risk to the Bristol Bay watershed, home of the world’s largest sockeye salmon run.

United Tribes of Bristol Bay also contends that the draft EIS has several major flaws, including an inaccurate premise that implies there is a need for mining in Bristol Bay.

A group of Bristol Bay fishermen oppose to the mine have announced a presentation on Friday, March 1, at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage by a hydrologist who will present his findings on modeling the impacts of a tailings dam failure at the Pebble Mine. The hydrologist, Cameron Wobus, a senior scientist with Lynker Technologies, has extensive experience in geomorphology, hydrology and environmental data analysis and modeling.

Bristol Bay fisherman Mike Friccero said that the fact that fishermen had to fund this analysis to get an accurate look at Pebble’s proposed environmental impacts is outrageous. It puts the burden of proof on fishermen and Alaskans.

Fisheries Topics Dominate SWAMC Economic Summit

Fisheries economists, processors and researchers are listed as speakers for the Feb 27-28, 2019 Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference’s (SWAMC) annual economic summit in Anchorage, Alaska. Topics will range from fish taxes to robotic seafood processing and changing ocean dynamics.

Garrett Evridge, a fisheries economist with the McDowell Group in Juneau, Alaska, will address how maximizing fisheries value goes far beyond the communities where the fish is harvested.

Jay Douglas, chief operating officer at Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing, in Pittsburgh, Pa., is slated to address the conference on use of robots in seafood manufacturing. Rob Anderson of the German firm Baader will speak about cutting edge fish processing technology, while Joyce Sidopoulos, co-founder of Mass Robotics, in Boston, Mass., will discuss collaborative robots to foster innovation in seafood handling.

Scientists from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center and the University of Alaska will talk about fisheries in changing climate conditions. Tommy Sheridan, fleet manager for Silver Bay Seafoods, will discuss diversifying for value-added opportunities. Tim Sands, the Nushgak/Togiak area management biologist at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Dillingham, Alaska, will speak about his observations of the size and age of salmon populations in Bristol Bay.

The complete agenda for the conference, being held at the Hotel Captain Cook, is available online at

SE Alaska Faces Great OA Impact

An oceanographer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Network says Southeast Alaska is likely to face quicker impact from growing ocean water acidity than other parts of the world.

Jessica Cross, of NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) said during a public presentation hosted by the network on Feb. 20 in Juneau, Alaska, that Southeast Alaska waters are uniquely positioned to be particularly susceptible to ocean acidification, which occurs when water absorbs carbon dioxide causing it to become more acidic.

According to Cross, there are a few reasons for that. One of them is glacial discharge. The second reason is the communities themselves. The same communities which rely on threatened species or threatened marine resources for economic value, cultural perspectives or subsistence food sources.

There are also factors which contribute in making the water in Southeast Alaska naturally more acidic, she stated. Because Alaska is near the end of what is known as the global ocean conveyor belt, the water has more time to absorb carbon dioxide by the time it reaches Alaska and colder temperatures also contribute to the increased absorption rate.

NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center is engaged in ongoing studies on the impact of growing ocean acidification on fish, crab, clams, phytoplankton and other ocean life. Bob Foy, director of AFSC, previously noted that while some species seem more susceptible to ocean acidification, it may not be bad for all, and that it is still uncertain how various ocean life will be impacted in the coming years.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

NOAA Researches Ocean Acidification Impact
on Pacific Cod

Federal fisheries researchers have released results of a new laboratory study showing that larval Pacific cod response to elevated carbon dioxide levels in the ocean varies depending on their stage of development.

The study by NOAA Fisheries scientists and partners specifically examined larval cod behavior, growth and composition of lipids – the fats needed for storing energy and building muscles – against increased ocean acidification.

According to NOAA “studies like this are important because most marine fish mortality occurs at the larval stage of development and the high-latitude oceans where Pacific cod and other important commercial fisheries occur are expected to be among the most vulnerable to ocean acidification.”

“Changing environmental conditions can impact species in multiple ways and not all life stages may respond in the same way,” said Tom Hurst, lead author of the paper, which was published online by Marine Environmental Research. “We wanted to explore this because it has implications for the sustainability of Pacific cod and other important fish stocks in Alaska.”

The behavioral study showed that four-to-five-week-old cod larvae, when exposed to elevated levels of carbon dioxide, moved more quickly to areas of higher light levels than those raised on carbon dioxide levels that presently exist in Alaska seawater. Scientists are just starting to explore the significance of that behavioral shift, which has also been observed in other fish.

In their second study, researchers looked at larval fish growth rates when exposed to elevated carbon dioxide and fed two different diets, one more lipid-rich than the other.

They found that regardless of diet, two-week-old larvae reared at elevated CO2 levels were smaller than those reared at current CO2 levels. They also found that by five weeks of age the fish exposed to elevated CO2 conditions seem to have recovered from their slow start.

The observed differences in growth rates are most likely due to the changing physiology of larvae as they develop. “It is possible that by the time they reach five weeks old cod larvae are able to acclimate to effects of elevated CO2”, Hurst noted.

Researchers also suggested that the faster growth of older larvae may be facilitated by behavior changes that stimulate more aggressive feeding. The researcher team plans to use what has been learned from these studies and other ongoing research to develop computer models to better predict how ocean acidification may affect Pacific cod and pollock larval survival, recruitment and adult fish populations in the Bering Sea 20 to 100 years from now.

The laboratory studies were conducted as a joint effort of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, and the Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies at Oregon State University.

International Gulf of Alaska Expedition Begins

Twenty-one scientists from five Pacific Rim countries have embarked on the International Gulf of Alaska Expedition 2019 ran under the auspices of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission. The organization is hailing the venture as its signature project of the International Year of the Salmon.

The expedition left Vancouver, British Columbia, on Feb. 16, aboard the chartered Russian research vessel MV Professor Kaganovsky. It will visit 72 stations in the Gulf of Alaska before returning to Vancouver on March 18. According to NPAFC, this end-of-winter trawl survey will, for the first time, provide a comprehensive understanding of the abundance, condition, country of origin and location of stocks from the salmon producing countries of Japan, Korea, Russia, the United States and Canada. Such information is needed to better understand how climate and the changing ocean environment affect salmon production.

The goal is to establish a new hemispheric-scale partnership of government indigenous peoples, academia, NGOs, and industry to effectively connect hundreds of organizations with the capacity and desire to address scientific and social challenges facing salmon and people in an increasingly uncertain environment.

Emeritus fisheries scientist Dick Beamish of the Pacific Biological station at Nanaimo, British Columbia, who conceived and planned the expedition, said that this is the first such expedition in decades to study salmon in the high seas. He anticipated that discoveries made during the expedition will allow for more effective stewardship of Pacific salmon in a future of changing ecosystems.

The $1.3 million project is jointly funded by a combination of government, industry, non-government organization and private contributions including the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization and the Pacific Salmon Foundation.

Organizers have released the first video of the expedition, which can be downloaded at More videos will be uploaded during the coming weeks.

Trident Seafoods Protein Noodles Win Symphony’s Grand Prize

Protein Noodles from Trident Seafoods, made with sustainable, wild caught Alaska Pollock, have claimed top honors in the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation’s 2019 Alaska Symphony of Seafood. The competition’s top award was announced on the evening of Feb. 19 in Juneau, Alaska.

Each eight-ounce packet of the noodles, which can be served hot or cold, contains 10 grams of protein and 70 calories. The noodles are very low in cholesterol. Serving suggestions range from adding marinara sauce and meatballs, tossing themd with pesto sauce and roasted vegetables, or mixing them with chicken and coconut curry sauce to simply adding them to a favorite salad.

Winners in the Symphony’s 26th annual competition for retail, food service and beyond-the-plate competition, based on eating experience, price ad potential for commercial success, were announced in mid-November.

The Protein Noodles, made with Alaska Pollock surimi, won first place in retail competition, while Tai Foong’s Alaska Cod Dumplings claimed top honors among food service entries, and Alaska Naturals Pet Products’ Wild Alaska Pollock Oil won in the Beyond the Plate competition. Alaska Naturals is a division of Trident Seafoods.

AFDF also noted that Trident’s Protein Noodles was voted the Seattle People’s Choice favorite by participants in the gala held during the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle, Wash.

Talk on Ocean Acidification in Alaska to be Livestreamed Tonight

The Alaska Ocean Acidification Network is hosting a gathering Feb. 20 in Juneau, Alaska, featuring the latest updates on ocean acidification from NOAA researchers studying current and future conditions and species response.

Presenters include Bob Foy, director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, and oceanographer Jessica Cross, of the NOAA Pacific Environmental Lab. A question and answer session will follow.

The meeting will take place at 5 p.m. at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall in the state capital. Those unable to attend in person will be able to connect to the live streamed program through the AOOS Facebook page at

Trident Seafoods, EPA, DOJ Reach Agreement on Emissions

Federal authorities say they have reached an agreement with Trident Seafoods Corp. to reduce emissions of ozone-depleting substances from refrigeration equipment on its vessels to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act.

The US Environmental Protection Agency said that under the agreement reached between Trident, the EPA and the US Department of Justice, Trident will spend up to $23 million to reduce coolant leaks from refrigeration and other equipment, use alternative refrigerants, and improve company-wide compliance.

The proposed settlement was lodged in the US District Court for Alaska on Feb. 19 and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval. Trident will also pay a $900,000 civil penalty.

The EPA alleges that Trident violated the Clean Air Act by failing to promptly repair leaks of the refrigerant R-22, an ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbon. According to the EPA, Trident’s failures allowed its appliances to leak refrigerant at high rates for thousands of days, causing over 200,000 pounds of the refrigerant to be released into the atmosphere.

According to the EPA, Trident will retrofit or retire 23 refrigeration appliances used on 14 marine vessels to use an alternative refrigerant that does not harm the ozone layer compared to typical refrigerants. Trident agreed to retrofit nine of these appliances as part of a supplemental environmental project. With these retrofits, nearly 100,000 pounds of the harmful refrigerant will be removed from use, and future leaks will not damage the ozone layer.

Trident will also conduct routine leak inspections of all appliances, promptly repair leaks, install leak detectors to monitor appliances for leaks, add fluorescent dye into appliances to assist staff in detecting leaks, compile information to assist in identifying common failure points on appliances, and train employees to properly manage the appliances.

The settlement also sets a corporate-wide refrigerant leak cap and requires Trident to retain a third-party auditor to review the company’s compliance with the consent decree and regulations.

Trident and its subsidiaries Royal Viking Inc, and Golden Dawn LLC own and operate four factory processors, one freight vessel, nearly 30 catcher and tender vessels and 10 land-based facilities in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. In most of these vessels and facilities, Trident uses ozone-depleting HCFCs in its refrigeration appliances.

The settlement is available online at

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Markets Look Strong for Wild Salmon Season Ahead

Market indicators show strong demand and good prices for Alaska’s upcoming wild salmon season, according to seafood economist and Executive Director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association Andy Wink.

“Market conditions are pretty strong,” said Wink, in an early spring forecast. “We’ve seen pricing increase in the last year for sockeyes, [while] the price of farmed salmon has gone sideways.” The amount of frozen sockeye exported from the US between January and October 2018 was equivalent to the previous year’s numbers, about 35,000 frozen tons, but the value increased by 22 percent. What’s different?

“First of all, we are seeing the quality, particularly from the Bristol Bay fishery, improve year to year, so we are seeing less discount on lower quality product,” Wink said.

There is also strong market demand globally for wild and farmed salmon. China is importing more and more salmon, including farmed salmon to make sushi. Demand from the European markets remains strong, although not as much as China or the US.

“All the direct markets have done a fantastic job of cultivating the Alaska image, the Alaska brand,” said Wink, a former economist for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. “They associate Alaska with premium products. A lot of consumers will ask ‘do you have Alaska salmon?’ But there are five species and they come from all over the state, Alaska salmon, even though it has a strong, positive image, it is not a specific thing.”

“The benefit of marketing Bristol Bay sockeye is it is a specific product and we have large volumes, frozen H&G (headed and gutted), and frozen fillets, he said. “When you talk to retailors, they acknowledge that fresh, high quality salmon will sell itself. Customers come in during the summer and buy it, but they don’t know when the salmon run. They just know they can get salmon, but a lot of people want wild salmon. With frozen and refreshed salmon you can buy it all year.”

New wild salmon products are continuously being introduced to retail markets. Costco stores in Alaska now offer refreshed wild Alaska sockeye salmon fillets year-round, while Target sales Simply Balanced packages of ready to bake and eat wild caught Alaska sockeye salmon fillets and Pacific cod.

In early February, Costco stores in Anchorage, Alaska introduced Wild Alaska Salmon Corn Chowder from the Portland, Oregon-based company Fishpeople. Each box contains six 10-ounce pouches of chowder ready to heat, either by microwaving or in boiling water. Target stores in other states are selling one-pound packages of wild-caught Alaska sockeye by Marine Harvest, a producer of farmed salmon products based in Bergen, Norway.

Pteropods Provide Look into Ocean Acidification

A scientist with the Southern California Coastal Research Center who studies pteropods – key forage for a variety of fish including juvenile salmon, sole and pollock – says they are being affected by ocean acidification in the Beaufort Sea and Western Gulf of Alaska.

Nina Bednarsek discussed the findings of her research team during a recent presentation at the annual Alaska Marine Science Symposium.

Due to their extreme sensitivity, these tiny ocean snails serve as a kind of canary in the coal mine, an excellent ocean acidification indicator, with the potential to provide insight into changes in the ecosystem integrity, which is essential to effective fisheries and marine resource management, she noted. Bednarsek and fellow researchers developed baseline information on several species – including species distribution and incidence of shell dissolution and their coupling with ocean acidification parameters –during several trips to the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea and Beaufort Sea between 2014 and 2017. The results, she said, demonstrate the biological vulnerability to ocean acidification across different high latitudinal environments.

Bednarsek said the Beaufort Sea pteropods were the most affected, followed by those found in the western part of the Gulf of Alaska, while at least seasonally the Bering Sea pteropods have not yet shown signs of vulnerability.

Bednarsek said that ultimately the study would contribute to robust baseline data sets that will help to recognize potential refuges and habitats of concern, to identify priorities for future monitoring, and provide information to better manage ecosystems in the larger subarctic and Arctic ecosystems.

False Pass Processing Capacity to Increase

Economic activity at Alaska’s False Pass is expected to ramp up considerably this summer as Silver Bay Seafoods opens its processing facilities in June.

The company, headquartered in Sitka, Alaska, plans to process salmon as well as white fish at its newest location. “It means in a town of 58 residents, there will be more jobs available than people to fill them,” noted Laura Tanis, communications director for the Aleutians East Borough, in a recent article for the borough’s online publication “In the Loop.”

Currently there are about 200 seasonal employees working at the only processor in town, False Pass Seafoods, formerly BPS, owned by Trident Seafoods and APICDA Joint Ventures, a subsidiary of the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association.

The number of processor workers is expected to jump to about 500 once Silver Bay comes on line. Silver Bay Seafoods is an integrated processor of frozen, headed and gutted salmon products for domestic and export markets. The company, which began as a single salmon processing facility in Sitka in 2007, also has processing facilities at Naknek, Valdez, Sitka, Craig and Metlakatla.

Alaska Sea Grant Schedules Oil Spill Workshop

On the eve of the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster in Alaska’s Prince William Sound an oil spill workshop is planned for Feb. 20-21 in Anchorage, Alaska, as part of a national series sponsored by the Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Program.

The event, a collaboration of the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine; Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative; and Sea Grant programs around the country, will focus on public health, social disruption and the economic impacts of major spills. The goal is to identify specific regional needs and priorities for improving preparedness. Presenters from the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Council, the Alaska Ocean Observing System, the US Coast Guard and Sea Grant hope to come away with protocols to build resilience in the event of future spills.

The Exxon Valdez environmental disaster polluted thousands of square kilometers of sea surface just before the arrival in Prince William Sound of the annual migrations of fish, birds and sea mammals.

The spill has been the subject of renewed discussion as the anniversary date approaches. Retired NOAA research chemist Jeff Short, a lead chemist for the state and federal government in the wake of the Exxon Valdez disaster, spoke about the legacy of the spill at the recent 2019 Alaska Marine Science Symposium presented in Anchorage, Alaska. Short noted that research funded by a $900 million fund from the settlement has led to major discoveries regarding effects of the spill, including the ecotoxicology of oil pollution, the persistence of oil and long-term impairment of marine life populations. That research had direct benefit in early detection of abrupt ecosystem changes, such as oceanographic regime shifts and the recent marine heat wave in the Gulf of Alaska, known as “the Blob.”

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

IPHC Gives Small Boost to Halibut Catch Limits

Commissioners of the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) have set the commercial catch limit for 2019 at 38.61 million pounds, up from 37.21 million pounds a year ago. The action came on Feb. 1 during the 95th meeting of the organization in Victoria, British Columbia.

“We are reasonably happy with overall numbers and glad some progress [has been] made with Canada, but disappointed commissioners did not follow unanimous recommendation from stakeholders on distribution of catch between areas,” said Linda Behnken, executive director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association in Sitka, Alaska.

“We feel like the overall catch limit was conservative, responsive to current stock status; that there was progress made in identifying equitable sharing of the catch with Canada, but we were a little surprised by the distribution of catch between areas,” Behnken said. “The one disappointment was the commissioners did not follow what was a precedent setting unanimous support from the US harvesters and processors on the distribution of catch limits across Alaska areas, but deviated from that somewhat.”

The change in projections, which prompted the small boost in catch limits, is based on the revised estimated strength of the 2011 and 2012 classes, but Behnken noted that it is “still too soon to be sure of year class strengths, so [there is] a fair bit of uncertainty and fishermen are uncomfortable with being too optimistic.” “I feel like 3A got less fish in order to balance the books on area 2A, 2B and 2C,” said Malcolm Milne, a longliner and president of the North Pacific Fisheries Association in Homer. “Canada was guaranteed a harvest based on a formula that weighed their harvest over the last five years, which far exceeded the IPHC recommendations.

“The IPHC is an independent scientific body with a well-educated professional staff that gives the commission science-based recommendations that are negotiated both in total harvest and by area allocations, Milne said. “A year-by-year comparison of the IPHC recommended catch levels versus the adopted catch levels clearly demonstrates how much overharvest has been negotiated,” he added.

US Commissioner Chris Oliver, the administrator for NOAA Fisheries, said that while the overall quota is a slight increase over 2018 the catch limits agreed to at the meeting “reflect a sensible, conservative approach that will secure the future of this iconic and economically important species. We solved several challenging international fishery management issues and we accomplished our goal in the spirit of cooperation and compromise.”

The IPHC set the catch limits by areas as follows: 2A (California, Oregon and Washington, 1.65 million pounds; 2B (British Columbia) 6.83 million pounds; 2C (Southeast Alaska) 6.34 million pounds; 3A (Central Gulf of Alaska) 13.50 million pounds; 3B (Western Gulf of Alaska) 2.90 million pounds; 4A (Eastern Aleutians) 1.94 million pounds; 4B (Central/Western Aleutians) 1.45 million pounds; 4 CDE (Bering Sea) 4.00 million pounds.

Study Finds Climate Changes Ocean Color

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say climate change is causing significant alterations to phytoplankton that will affect the ocean’s color, intensifying its blue and its green regions.

Reporting on their findings in the open access journal Nature Communications, the researchers said satellites should detect these fluctuations in hue, providing early warning of wide-scale changes to marine ecosystems. The researchers said they have developed a global model that simulates the growth and interaction of different species of phytoplankton, or algae, and how the mix of species in various locations will change as temperatures rise around the world. They also simulated the way phytoplankton absorb and reflect light, and how the color of the ocean varies as global warming affects the makeup of phytoplankton communities.

They predict that by 2100 more than 50 percent of the world’s oceans will shift in color, due to climate change.

Their research suggests that blue regions, such as the subtropics, will become even more blue, reflecting even less phytoplankton and life in general in those waters, compared with the current status. Some regions that are now greener, such as those near the poles, may turn even deeper green, as warmer temperatures brew up large blooms of more diverse phytoplankton.

Lead author Stephanie Dutkiewicz said their model suggests that changes won’t appear huge to the naked eye, and the ocean will still look like it has blue regions in the subtropics and greener regions near the equator and poles, “but it’ll be enough different that it will affect the rest of the food web that phytoplankton supports,” she said. “It could be potentially quite serious,” she added. “Different types of phytoplankton absorb light differently, and if climate change shifts one community of phytoplankton to another, that will also change the types of food webs they can support.”

The study was also reported at EurakAlert, the online journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

GE Salmon Labeling Bill Reintroduced in Senate

Bipartisan legislation to assure clear labeling on any genetically engineered (GE) salmon products has been reintroduced in the US Senate.

The legislation by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, would specifically ensure that GE salmon products entering the US marketplace are clearly labeled “genetically engineered” in the market name. Co-sponsors are Senators Maria Cantwell, D- WA, Jeff Merkley, D-OR, and Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska.

The US Department of Agriculture last month published labeling guidelines for genetically engineered foods, including GE salmon, with what Murkowski described as weak requirements that could confuse consumers, potentially paving a way for GE salmon to enter domestic markets without clear labels.

“USDA’s new guidelines don’t require mandatory labeling and instead allow producers to use QR codes or 1-800 numbers, which is a far stretch from giving consumers clear information,” Murkowski said. “There’s a huge difference between genetically-engineered salmon and the healthy, sustainably-caught, wild Alaska salmon. My legislation will ensure that consumers have all the facts, allowing them to make more informed decisions when they purchase salmon.”

The senator said consumers have the right to know what they are eating. “When you splice DNA from another animal and combine it with farmed salmon, you are essentially creating a new species and I have serious concerns with that,” she said. “If we are going to allow this fabricated fish to be sold in stores, we must ensure there is at least clear labeling.”

Murkowski’s campaign to assure clear labeling of GE salmon began when the US Food and Drug Administration announced its decision in late 2015 to approve GE salmon for human consumption. Murkowski vowed to block the confirmation of cardiologist Dr. Robert Califf as FDA commissioner until her concerns on labeling guidelines for GE salmon were resolved. She then secured a provision in the omnibus bill to block the FDA from introducing GE salmon into the market until it published labeling guidelines to make consumers aware of what they are purchasing.

In January 2016, the FDA announced an import ban on GE salmon until those labeling guidelines were published. Murkowski lifted her hold on Califf’s nomination only after the FDA provided her with technical drafting assistance on legislative language to effectively mandate labeling of the GE salmon. Several months later Murkowski voted against the Biotechnology Labeling Solutions Act, which would have allowed for voluntary, rather than mandatory, labeling of GE salmon. In July 2017, she introduced legislation to mandate labeling of GE salmon.

New Silver Bay Seafoods President/CEO

Cora Campbell, who joined the management team of Silver Bay Seafoods in Sitka, Alaska, in 2018 as chief external affairs officer, has been promoted to president and chief executive officer.

Her promotion was announced by Richard Riggs, who served as CEO of Silver Bay since its inception in 2007, and Troy Denkinger, co-founder and president since 2012. Both will remain active in the company as managing partners. Riggs will continue to oversee all sales and related activities, while Denkinger will focus on the overall fishermen experience throughout the organization, the company announced. Denkinger and Riggs will also remain on the company’s board of directors, with a focus on strategic direction, vision and growth. Denkinger will act as chairman of the board.

“This internal promotion/transition is yet another strategic growth initiative for Silver Bay,” Riggs said. “Cora has a proven track record, both as an Alaska fisherman and seafood executive, and under her leadership Silver Bay will continue to promote the values of the company in the quest to build a world class seafood company.”

“Silver Bay has always prioritized finding the best team to serve our fishermen, and Cora’s skills and experience in fisheries management, policy and business make her uniquely qualified to lead our company,” Denkinger noted.

Silver Bay was founded 12 years ago with a focus on vertical integration of the Alaska salmon fleets to produce high quality salmon products for reprocessing and distribution. The company has processing and freezing facilities throughout Alaska, operating in Sitka, Craig, Valdez, Bristol Bay, Metlakatla and, starting this year, in False Pass. Silver Bay is also active in the California Loligo squid fishery.

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