Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Seiners Harvest 14,000 Tons of Togiak Herring

Nineteen seiners engaged in the Togiak herring fishery have harvested upwards of 14,000 tons to date, with an average size of 372 grams and 11.7 percent roe maturity, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G).

Aside from a lot of wind on April 22, when the harvest was likely less than 500 tons, “it has been good fishing and no complaints,” says Tim Sands, ADF&G area management biologist at Dillingham in Southwest Alaska. “Things are good; everything is progressing as far as the harvest rate,” Sands said.

On April 21 along, the seiners brought in 2,590 tons of herring, with an average size of 339 grams and 11.7 percent roe maturity.

State fisheries officials in late March forecast the Togiak District mature herring biomass at 217,548 tons. The estimate was based on aerial surveys and age-structured analysis model that has been used for all Togiak herring forecasts produced since 1993. The projection called for herring ages 4–6 to comprise 50 percent of the biomass, ages 7–10 to make up 32 percent and the remaining 18 percent to be age 11 and older fish.

The total harvest in the Togiak district sac roe herring fishery is expected to be 26,930 tons. The Bristol Bay Herring Management Plan sets a maximum exploitation rate of 20 percent for the Togiak District stock. However, based on three years of poor aerial surveys and one year of missing age composition data, ADF&G applied a conservative exploitation rate of 14 percent for this year.

Alaska House Considers Year of the Salmon Resolution

A resolution working its way through the Alaska House of Representatives honors the International Year of the Salmon and supports an associated global initiative identifying the importance of wild salmon.

House Resolution 8, sponsored by Anchorage Democrat Garen Tarr, calls for support of research efforts to extend through 2022 as part of the global initiative and encourages a collaborative effort to uphold regulatory processes that apply best practices to the management of wild salmon fisheries.

The resolution further calls for support and investment in scientific research to better understand wild salmon populations of the northern hemisphere, and to better manage wild salmon populations and the industries wild salmon support. It also celebrates the health and social benefits the fisheries industry provides to the nation.

HR 8 was heard on April 23 in the House Fisheries Committee, chaired by Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak. It will next be considered by the Alaska House Resources committee before heading for the House floor and Alaska Senate.

Those testifying in favor of the resolution included Tyson Fick, a commercial harvester and owner of Taku River Reds in Juneau, Alaska, and executive director Erin Harrington of non-profit The Salmon Project in Anchorage, Alaska, herself a Bristol Bay harvester, as well as Mark Saunders and Doug Mecum, who are affiliated with the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC), based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The International Year of the Salmon is a project launched by the NPAFC, the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) and other partners. NPAFC members include Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the United States of America.

“We all agree that we like salmon and this is the state that has them” Fick said. “There is a real opportunity in Alaska to celebrate our leadership. We have solved overfishing issues in the U.S. by following Alaska’s lead.”

“Nine out of 10 Alaskans view salmon as an important Alaska value,” Harrington noted. The resolution also drew support from Washington State Rep. Deborah Lekanoff, who is from Yakutat, Alaska, and Oregon legislator Ken Helm, who said he is proud of resolutions in all three states honoring the International Year of the Salmon.

“Political boundaries do not mean a lot to our wild salmon,” Tarr said. “I hope this is just the beginning of these collaborations.

UFA Seats Election Winners

Bruce Schactler has been re-elected and Tyson Fick, Melanie Brown and Cynthia Wallesz were elected to two-year terms as at-large board members of United Fishermen of Alaska. All four took office on April 15.

Schactler, of Kodiak, is a veteran harvester of salmon, Tanner crab, cod, halibut and herring. He is also the director of the Alaska Global Food Air Program with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI). He has been an at-large board member since 1993.

Fick, of Juneau, previously worked as communications director at ASMI, and as executive director of Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers. He now fishes southeast salmon gillnet, salmon hand troll and Dungeness crab, and is co-owner of Taku River Reds.

Wallesz, of Petersburg, has been a Southeast salmon drift gillnetter for 25 years and direct markets her family’s salmon. She has also longlined for halibut and fished Dungeness crab in Washington state.

Brown, of Juneau, has fished her family’s Bristol Bay setnet site since 1979 and crewed in the Togiak herring fisheries. She previously serves on the ASMI salmon species committee.

Other election results saw UFA president Matt Alward, of Homer; vice president Bob Kehoe, of Seattle; and secretary Chad See, also from Seattle, each re-elected to another one-year term.

Seafood Processors Looking for 4,000+ Workers

Recruiting sessions are being posted through May by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development in hopes of filling over 4,000 full-time temporary seafood processing jobs for that industry with Alaska hires.

Most of the jobs offer transportation, room and board benefits to those who successfully complete their contracts. Pay depends on the season, but average rate is about $13 an hour, plus overtime, confirmed Bernardita Dobson, lead employment services technician in the Seafood Employment office at the Anchorage midtown job center. “The companies also supply most gear needed for the job,” she said.

According to state labor officials, while processing companies are recruiting far beyond Alaska, employing Alaskans can save those processors the cost of hiring foreign labor brokers, paying fees for labor importation and the high cost of transporting foreign workers to Alaska.

Labor Commissioner Tamika Ledbetter noted that the seafood processing industry is the largest employer of nonresident hires in Alaska. “With Alaska residents making up less than 25 percent of the seafood processing workforce, we need to focus on recruiting Alaskans first,” she said.

Anyone interested in such employment may view a 20-minute seafood processing orientation available online at to learn what to expect in this line of work.

Job openings are posted in Laska’s Labor exchange system (ALEXsys) at, including higher paying skilled and technical positions.

Job seekers may sign up for seafood jobs email alerts online at

Further information is available online at or visit individual processing companies online to learn more about their hiring needs.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Pebble Mine Hearing Draws Increasing Testimony

Testimony continues to pour in regarding the proposed Pebble mine that would be built near the headwaters of the Bristol Bay watershed, now that the US Army Corps of Engineers in Anchorage has released its draft environmental impact statement.

At the Corps’ latest public hearing in Anchorage on April 16, dozens of people testified on the draft EIS. The deadline for public testimony is currently May 30, and the Corps has so far declined to extend that 90-day limit, although it is under increasing pressure to do so.

Opponents of the project, who fear potential adverse impact to the world’s largest run of wild sockeye salmon into Bristol Bay, testified that those potential catastrophic impacts would play out for centuries.

“We want to protect this last place on Earth as it is today” said Gayla Hoseth, director of natural resources for the Bristol Bay Native Association in Dillingham, who said the draft EIS needed at 270-day rather than a 90-day comment period. Hoseth and others told the Corps that people are already suffering mental stress from the decade long battle over the mine.

Bristol Bay Native Corporation board member Joe Chythlook told the Corps that they were moving too fast. “We need to slow it down and allow more people to study it and see what effects it will have,” he said. An overwhelming majority of Bristol Bay and Alaska residents oppose the mine “and I hope you have listened to them,” he said.

A number of those testifying spoke of adverse impact the mine would have on fish and wildlife, including bears of the famed McNeil River State Game Sanctuary and Refuge, the largest know gathering of brown bears in the world.

Backers of the mine, including the Alaska Miners Association and the Resource Development Council, said the project would bring economic benefits to the region, including more jobs. Residents of some Bristol Bay communities were divided on the mine, some saying they can’t live off fishing alone, but commercial fisherman Peter Andrew Jr. of Dillingham told the corps that commercial fishing had put all four of his children through college.

Along with the scientists, engineers, commercial and subsistence fishermen testifying was orthopedic surgeon and commercial fisherman Allen Gross of anchorage, who said the big problem with the draft EIS is that it doesn’t represent the full scope of the mine. “It will be 10 times bigger,” said Gross. “Reject this plan and urge a plan that explores the full scope of the mine.”

Alaska Board of Fisheries Nominees Face Confirmation Hearing

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has nominated Israel Payton, of Wasilla, and named three new appointees to the Alaska Board of Fisheries.

Dunleavy announced on April 1 that Marit Carlson-Van Dort, of Anchorage, would replace Orville Huntington, of Huslia, who was appointed to the Alaska Board of Game.

Former board member Karl Johnstone, of Anchorage, was named to replace Al Cain, also of Anchorage, and Gerad Godfrey, of Eagle River, will replace Robert Ruffner, of Soldotna.

All four face confirmation hearings today, April 17, before the Alaska Legislature.

If confirmed, Payton will be joined on the board immediately by Carlson-Van Dort and Johnstone, and Godfrey will come on the board on July 1, when Ruffner’s term expires.

Johnstone, a retired Alaska Superior Court judge, served previously as a member and chairman of the Board of Fisheries from 2008 to 2015. His nomination is supported by sport fishermen, who say he will bring balance to the board, and opposed by commercial harvesters, who say he has a bias against commercial fishermen.

During a hearing of the Alaska House Fisheries Committee on Monday, April 15, Johnstone was questioned by committee chair Louise Stutes of Kodiak about a newspaper commentary he wrote in which he said farmed fish are the way of the future. “Are you advocating for farmed salmon in the state of Alaska?” Stutes asked. Johnstone responded that it was merely “an opinion piece meant to get people thinking.”

In response to questions from other committee members, Johnstone said that there is a lot of competition for the resource, and later that “if you take gear out of the water, it will benefit everybody who remains.”

Among the dozens of harvesters calling in to testify at the House Fisheries hearing was Linda Behnken, executive director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association in Sitka, who said ALFA’s experience with Johnstone is that “he has not had a deep commitment to science-based management. He has disregarded the impact to coastal communities,” Behnken said. “We need managers, policy makers, who will take care of the resource.”

Retired commercial harvester Clem Tillion, of Halibut Cove, a former chairman of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, threw his support to Johnstone, warning that if legislators rejected Johnstone that another sport fish advocate would be nominated. Said Tillion “I’ll stick with the devil I know.”

Is Fish Slime an Untapped Resource?

Researchers seeking potential replacements for current antibiotics losing their effectiveness against multidrug-resistant pathogens have identified a possible option in the protective mucus that coats young fish.

The team, led by principal investigator Sandra Loesgen at Oregon State University, presented their findings at the recent meeting of the American Chemical Society Spring 2019 National meeting and Exposition in Orlando, Florida.

The bacteria is seen as a promising antibiotic to counter known pathogens, even dangerous organisms such as the microbe that causes MRSA infections. MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body and is resistant to come commonly used antibiotics.

The protective mucus coating young fish is a viscous substance that protects fish from bacteria, fungi and viruses in their environment, trapping the microbes before they can cause infections.

The slime is also rich in polysaccharides and peptides known to have antibacterial activity.

According to Molly Austin, an undergraduate chemistry student in Loesgen’s laboratory, the fish mucus is interesting because the environment the fish live in is complex. “They are in contact with their environment all the time with many pathogenic viruses,” she said.

Others on the team supplied mucus swabbed from juvenile deep-sea and surface-dwelling fish caught off the Southern California coast, and screened 47 different strains of bacteria from the slime. Five bacterial extracts strongly inhibited methicillin-resistant MRSA and three inhibited Candida albicans, a fungus pathogenic to humans. A bacteria from mucus from a particular Pacific pink perch showed strong activity against MRSA and against a colon carcinoma cell line.

While the research team is interested in new sources for antibiotics to help people, they a e also looking at other ways to apply this knowledge. For example, they said, the study of fish mucus could help reduce the use of antibiotics in fish farming by leading to better antibiotics specifically targeted to the microbes clinging to certain types of fish.

But first, Loesgen said, they want to understand more fundamental questions, such as what makes healthy microbiomes, which are microorganisms in a particular environment, including the human body. Their research was reported by EurekAlert, the online journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

GAPP Approves $1 Million for Product Development

Board members of the Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers has approved one million dollars for a second found of its North American Partnership Program to fund new projects promoting wild Alaska Pollock.

The program was conceived by the GAPP board to provide support for companies in the wild Alaska Pollock industry looking to develop new ways to market these versatile fish. The organization received a number of applications for the second round of funding and selected a dozen proposals to move forward with.

Second found partners, including High Liner Foods and True North Seafood, will use the partnership funds to bring innovative new products to market. Others, like Fishpeople, plan to utilize partnership funds to deliver wild Alaska Pollock to consumers via their popular line of responsibly sourced, traceable Wildly Delicious Seafood Kits available in retail and online.

Funding will also go to American Seafoods for expansion of its successful launch of their Perfect Pollock portions to other test markets and to Trident Seafoods to bring their award winning Protein Noodles made of wild Alaska Pollock to big box stores I the Northeast and Bay area of California, said Craig Morris, chief executive officer of GAPP.

Each partner is bringing equal or greater funds to the project. While exact partner investments will remain confidential the one million dollar GAPP investment will be more than tripled with matching partner funds, Morris said.

What all these proposals have in common, he said, is a passion and dedication to elevating wild Alaska Pollock in epically new and exciting ways.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Sockeye Harvest Down, But Possible Record Chum Catch

Forecasts for the 2019 Alaska commercial salmon season released in early April project a harvest of 213.2 million fish, mostly due to increases in pink and chum salmon harvests compared to 2018.

Biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said that if realized the projected commercial chum salmon harvest would be the largest on record for Alaska.

The prediction calls for a harvest that includes 112,000 Chinook salmon divided into 41.7 million sockeye, 4.6 million coho, 137.8 million pink, and 29.0 million chum salmon in areas outside of Southeast Alaska.

Compared to 2018 commercial harvests, the projected 2019 numbers are expected to be: pink salmon – 96.9 million more; sockeye salmon – 8.9 million fewer; coho salmon – 900,000 more; and chum salmon – 8.7 million more.

Except for Southeast Alaska, pink salmon forecasts are generally based on average returns from previous brood years.

The report notes that the pink salmon run forecast for 2019 is partly an artifact of this method and that there is a great deal of uncertainty in predicting pink salmon returns.

For Southeast Alaska, the harvest forecast is for a total of 43,749,000 sockeye, coho, pink and chum salmon from natural and hatchery production, with the expected catch listing 1.2 million sockeye, 2.6 million coho, 19.3 million pink and 20.6 million chum.

For the central region, including Bristol Bay and Prince William Sound, the harvest forecast is for a total of 105,396,000 fish, including 73,000 Chinook, nearly 32 million sockeye, 984,000 coho, 68.3 million pink and 4.1 million chum. The prediction for the western region shows a total of 61.5 million fish, divided into 38,000 kings, 8.5 million reds, 759,000 silvers, 50.1 million humpies, and 2 million chum salmon.

The complete forecast is available online at

NPFMC Approves Mothership Restrictions in BSAI, GOA

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has adopted catcher processor mothership restrictions for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) and Gulf of Alaska when taking delivery of non-community development quota Pacific cod from trawl catcher vessels.

Alternatives adopted by the council on April 4 in Anchorage, Alaska, allow catcher/processors to take delivery of P-cod from catcher vessels in the BSAI no-CDQ P-cod trawl fishery only if the catcher processor acted as a mothership and received targeted Pacific cod deliveries under certain circumstances. Options include being from Amendment 80 catcher/processors and non-Amendment 80 catcher/processors that acted as motherships in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The council ruling also prohibits from receiving P-cod harvested in the Pacific cod directed fisheries in the BSAI and Gulf of Alaska all Amendment 80 vessels not designated on Amendment 80 quota share permits and amendment 80 LLP licenses, or Amendment 80 LLP/quota share licenses.

Also, during the spring meeting, the council took final action on a motion to require full retention of rockfish species by all fixed gear catcher vessels even if the species is on prohibited species status and prohibits these retained rockfish from being sold.

Current regulations for demersal shelf rockfish retention in Southeast outside District of the Gulf of Alaska remain unchanged by this action.

Bristol Bay Fishermen Sue BBRSDA Over Pebble Mine

Six Bristol Bay fishermen, funded by developers of the proposed Pebble mine, are suing the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) over its contracts with mine opponents SalmonState and United Tribes of Bristol Bay.

In their complaint filed in Alaska Superior Court, BBRSDA members Trefim Andrew, Tim Anelon, Gary Nielsen, Henry Olympic, Abe Williams and Braden Williams contend that the BBRSDA can only legally use its money to market seafood. The six harvesters are represented by the international law firm Perkins Coie, which was hired on their behalf by the Pebble Limited Partnership.

According to the BBRSDA, the lawsuit’s purpose is to silence Bristol Bay fishermen and prevent them from participating in the US Army Corps of Engineers comment period, which is currently set to end on May 30, by blocking their educational efforts related to the corps’ draft environmental impact statement on the Pebble project.

In a statement issued on April 2, BBRSDA Executive Director Andy Wink said the association is engaging on the Pebble issue “specifically because we are worried about its potential effect on both the abundance and the marketability of our product and the region’s prolific salmon runs.

The vast majority of BBRSDA’s fishermen members consider the Pebble mine to be their number one concern,” Wink said. “All of BBRSDA’s actions are geared towards building abundance and per-pound value and frankly, it’s working very well.”

Wink noted that consumers choose to pay more for wild sockeye salmon “because it’s a healthy, abundant, premium wild salmon species from a pristine and unspoiled environment. It’s a unique resource unlike anything else in the world,” he said. “The Pebble mine could jeopardize that, and at the very least we believe it’s important to engage in the permitting process so that if the mine does proceed, it’s built with adequate safeguards for fishermen, residents and sockeye consumers.

The Alaska House Resources Committee meanwhile is also looking into the corps’ draft EIS, and held a hearing this past week to listen to a presentation from the corps. An audio of that presentation to the legislative committee is available online at

To read the complaint document go to

Businesses and Tribes Push to Close BC Mine

Fishing and tourism entities, joined by other businesses and tribes, are urging Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy to ensure that the government of British Columbia cleans up and closes the Tulsequah Chief Mine.

Their focus is toxic acid mine drainage that has been flowing from the Tulsequah Chief and its impact on the Taku River watershed since the mine was abandoned in 1957. There have been numerous calls for cleaning up the mine over the past two decades, but to no avail.

What has changed, the group explained, is that “the New Democratic party-led British Columbia government appears to realize that this is not a viable mine and that previous provincial hopes that a company would reopen and eventually clean up the mine aren’t realistic.”

The British Columbia government has accepted a joint proposal for mine cleanup from SRK Consulting and SNC-Lavalin. Still there could be much latitude as to what constitutes proper remediation, and Alaska’s continued involvement will be crucial, they noted.

After 20 years, we are finally seeing the B.C. government begin to address the Tulsequah Chief problem,” said Chris Zimmer, of Rivers Without Borders. “Alaskans need our new governor to keep the pressure on B.C. to ensure the province follows through with its commitment to clean up ad close down this polluting mine.”

The nearly three dozen signers of the letter included the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, Alaska Trollers Association, Southeast Alaska Seiners Association, Taku River Reds, Taku Fisheries/Smokeries, and United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Join the Parade!

Commercial working vessels and other decorated vessels representing their companies are warmly invited to participate in Seattle's Opening Day on May 4th.

Featured especially this year will the Lake Union Drydock Company, celebrating their 100th Anniversary, with a flotilla of vessels they have built over the years.

Registration is required by 4/25/2019.

For more information see or contact Dan Barr at 206-285-1111.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

May 30 Deadline for Pebble Draft EIS Comments

Public hearings are underway in the Bristol Bay region and Southcentral Alaska in advance of a May 30 deadline for public comment on the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Pebble mine adjacent to the Bristol Bay watershed in Southwest Alaska.

There is still no word from the US Army Corps of Engineers on whether that deadline will be extended, but pressure is mounting from the fishing industry for that extension.

The Alaska House Resources Committee heard this past week from Bristol Bay residents, fisheries leaders and scientific experts about the economic, social and environmental values of the Bristol Bay watershed and their concerns about the Corp’s draft EIS.

Norm Van Vactor, chief executive officer of the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp. told legislators “If Pebble goes in, the Bristol Bay Sockeye brand and the entire Alaska seafood brand will be tarnished. The State of Alaska has invested millions into building these brands and establishing Alaska as a premium brand in the marketplace. That brand is based on pristine habitat, sustainability, and high quality, not open-pit mining districts and acid mine drainage.”

“Alaskans should be dismayed; Alaska’s leaders should be outraged,” said Daniel Schindler, a professor in the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. “The Army Corps of Engineers should be ashamed of themselves and embarrassed if they are going to put this environmental impact statement forward as a piece of credible science. It is not. The EIS is a bit of a farce. I hate to use that term, but it does not have scientific credibility and it distinctly underestimates risks.”

Meanwhile, in Kodiak on March 29 several dozen harvesters marched to the site of a forum on the Pebble mine at a downtown hotel, waving signs in opposition to the mine and others urging Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan to take a stand against the mine. Inside the hotel, Melanie Brown of Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay and Ryan Spies, a consultant with Lynker Technologies, discussed problems they had identified with the draft EIS.

The Lynker Technologies report, published online by Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, can be found at

The analysis is based on 28 actual failures at tailings storage facilities worldwide and a detailed hydrological model that estimates how much material would be deposited downstream across a range of failure scenarios.

The ComFish forum occurred on March 29, the same day as the Corps’ public hearing at New Stuyahok in the Bristol Bay region, where Martin Speak, a Bristol Bay fisherman from Seattle, Wash., told the Corps "It is a complete folly to think you can contain these proposed massive tailing ponds. Murphy's law, if something can go wrong it will go wrong. Earthquakes, large storms, human error. Just look at Mount Polley. To date, nobody is being held responsible for that disaster, and they're telling us this time they're getting it right."

Preliminary figures showed that at the first five Bristol Bay hearings a total of 305 people attended the Corps’ hearings, with 83 testifying in opposition to the mine, 23 in support of the mine and 17 neutral.

All comments on the draft EIS must be postmarked by May 30 and mailed to USACE Alaska District, Attn: DA Permit Application 2017-271, Pebble Limited Partnership, 645 G Street Suite 100-921, Anchorage, Alaska 99501.

Further information is available at

SE Alaska Chinook Harvest Limit 137,500 Fish

Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials have set a preseason Chinook salmon all-gear harvest limit for Southeast Alaska of 137,500 fish, as mandated under provisions of the Pacific Salmon Treaty.

This year’s all-gear harvest limit includes a two percent reduction to serve as a buffer to avoid exceeding the all-gear limit and payback provisions within the treaty, the state agency announced on April 1. The all-gear harvest limit for Southeast Alaska is determined by the Chinook technical committee of the Pacific Salmon Commission. It is based on a forecast of the aggregate abundance of Pacific Coast Chinook salmon stocks subject to management under the Pacific Salmon Treaty as determined by catch per unit effort in the Southeast Alaska early winter troll fishery.

The all-gear harvest is allocated among sport and commercial troll and net fisheries under management plans specified by the Alaska Board of Fisheries, with purse seiners, 4.3 percent of all-gear, getting 5,900 salmon; drift gillnetters, 2.9 percent of all-gear, getting 4,000 salmon; set gillnetters 1,000 salmon. Trollers, get 80 percent or 101,300 fish after net gear is subtracted, and sport anglers are allocated 25,300 fish, or 20 percent, after net gear is subtracted.

The Alaska Board of Fisheries approved action plans for three Chinook salmon stocks of management concern on the Unuk, King Salmon, and Chilkat rivers at the 2018 Southeast and Yakutat finfish meeting. Two of these three stocks did not achieve escapement goals in 2018.

Winter troll fisheries concluded in all waters of Southeast Alaska/Yakutat on March 15. Spring troll fisheries for some districts were set to begin May 1.

Four Seats Filled on Alaska Board of Fisheries

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has reappointed Israel Payton, of Wasilla, and named three new appointees to the Alaska Board of Fisheries.

Dunleavy announced on April 1 that Marit Carlson-Van Dort, of Anchorage, would replace Orville Huntington, of Huslia, who was appointed to the Alaska Board of Game.

Former board member Karl Johnstone, of Anchorage, was named to replace Al Cain, also of Anchorage, and Gerad Godfrey, of Eagle River, will replace Robert Ruffner, of Soldotna.

Payton will be joined on the board immediately but Carlson-Van Dort, Johnstone, and Godfrey will come on the board on July 1.

Payton is a lifelong Alaskan who grew up living a subsistence lifestyle in Skwentna, along the Iditarod Trail in Alaska’s Matanuska-Susitna Borough. He is employed by Airframes Alaska, the state’s largest manufacturer and seller of aviation parts.

Carlson-Van Dort, also born and raised in Alaska, spent over a decade salmon seining. She has a degree in conservation biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has done graduate work in fisheries science and secondary education. She is the director of external affairs for NANA Regional Corp.

Johnstone, a retired Alaska Superior Court judge, served previously as a member and chairman of the Board of Fisheries from 2008 to 2015.

Godfrey, who grew up commercial fishing in the Kodiak area, is the vice chair of the board of Afognak Native Corp., where he has been employed since 2009.

Seafood Marketing Discussed at ComFish

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) and the McDowell Group teamed up for ComFish Alaska 2019 to give fishermen an update on where Alaska seafood stands in the global marketplace.

The short message was that the US dollars is strengthening against the yuan, yen and Euro, and the salmon market is positive, but trade disputes are a threat and the global whitefish supply outlook is lower.

The report noted that while quotas for the commercial halibut fishery are up by eight percent, for a total of 18.9 million pounds, the Canadian supply of halibut offers a challenge, but that early prices have been stable.

The quota for sablefish is 41 percent higher than a year ago, for a total of 46.4 million pounds.

According to the report, the quota for Pacific cod is down 40 percent since 2017, and while the value is rising, it is not enough. Meanwhile, the volume of P-cod in Russia is up, and that fishery is expected to get Marine Stewardship Council certification this year. The Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands total allowable catch for crab is higher by 20 percent, with record values.

The big challenges, said McDowell’s Garrett Evridge and ASMI’s Arianna Elnes, are the ongoing trade disputes with China, the Russian embargo and the uncertain issues of Brexit, in addition to significant competition from farmed and other proteins, and the high prices of some key species. But there are opportunities to be had with successful application for federal marketing funds, qualities that align with consumer ethos, and the fact that wild Alaska seafood has an incredible story to tell.

ASMI currently has eight regional programs in 31 countries to promote Alaska’s seafood, plus domestic promotions in foodservice, retail and through distributors.

Promotions for online sales in China sold over $1 million in product in return for only $10,000 spent in advertising, and a 2018 week-long retail promotion in Japan produced over $223 million in Alaska seafood sales for $35,000 worth of promotion, the report read.

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