Wednesday, January 27, 2021

COVID-19 Virus Spreads Through Trident Seafoods Plant at Akutan

Alaska health officials say 135 employees at Trident Seafoods’ plant at Akutan, in the eastern Aleutians, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and they are working with Trident to assure they have enough virus testing and other supplies to deal with the outbreak.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services also confirmed similar efforts to help two Unalaska seafood processing facilities operated by Westward Seafoods and UniSea, where employees have tested positive for COVID-19. The disruptions come in the midst of the multi-million-dollar Bering Sea Pollock fishery.

Trident announced on Jan. 21 that its Akutan plant would halt operations for three weeks after several employees tested positive for the virus. “We will take every step possible to ensure our people and plant are safe before restarting production,” said Joe Bundrant, chief executive officer of the Seattle-based company.

According to Stefanie Moreland, vice president of government relations at Trident, only half of some 700 employees on site had been tested as of Jan. 26. As testing continues, the company is also assessing and monitoring the health of all individuals across the facility. Moreland also said that Trident arranged Coast Guard assisted evacuations for two employees whose condition was quickly worsening, and that more private sector resources have been lined up in case further emergency evacuations are needed.

Meanwhile employees at higher risk of illness are being transferred to monitored quarantine sites that are more accessible than Akutan for easier access to care.

All Trident workers at Akutan are being paid during their quarantine, and Moreland said morale is high on site, despite the disruption. “We’re providing safe activities, wellness support, WIFI data cards for downloading books, magazines and other entertainment, and are providing a safe checkout and return process for on-site games and movies,” she said.

Trident, a 100-percent owned and privately held seafood processing company, provides seafood to markets in over 50 countries. Its Akutan plant, 750 miles southwest of Anchorage in the Aleutian Chain, processes mainly Pollock, but also large amounts of Pacific cod, Alaska king and snow crab, halibut and other seafood.

High Seas Salmon Expedition Rescheduled to 2022

A Pan-Pacific winter high seas expedition aimed at advancing an understanding of how extreme climate variability impacts Pacific salmon has been rescheduled to 2022 due to unprecedented circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The International Year of the Salmon (IYS) and North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC) note that the 2022 expedition will build on research from 2019 and 2020 International Gulf of Alaska Expeditions, which have helped advance understanding of the winter ecology of Pacific salmon in the North Pacific Ocean.

The 2022 expedition will be a comprehensive ecosystem survey to learn how increasingly extreme climate variability and associated changes in the physical environment of the North Pacific Ocean influence abundance, distribution, migration growth, fitness and survival of Pacific salmon and surrounding species. As many as four vessels will go to sea in late winter 2022 to conduct this first ever pan-Pacific, epipelagic ecosystem survey. The epipelagic zone is that part of the ocean where enough light penetrates for photosynthesis to occur.

The principal objective is to demonstrate the value of such a winter ecosystem survey and inform on how increasingly extreme and volatile climate conditions in the North Pacific might influence survival of Pacific salmon and associated species.

International Year of the Salmon researchers said recent research has indicated that increasingly poor and variable marine survival has contributed to declines in many salmon populations in the North Pacific and North Atlantic oceans since the mid 1990s. They hope that the 2022 expedition will improve their understanding of these mechanisms and better inform management decisions.

The IYS is working with the five NPAFC member countries – (Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and United States) - plus academic and government partners and non-government organizations to plan the expedition. Indications, now pending formal approval, are that Canada, the Russian Federation and the United States will each contribute one research vessel available for the survey. More information is online at

The IYS is a five-year initiative, running from 2018 through 2022, to establish conditions for the resilience of salmon and people in a changing world. The partnership is led by the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission and the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization.

Coast Guard Warns Against Disabling AIS

Coast Guard officials in Oregon are warning mariners and commercial fishermen against disabling the Automated Identification System on their vessels.

According to the Coast Guard there has been an alarming increase in commercial fishing and crabbing vessels disabling their AIS purportedly in an effort to keep their competitors from knowing where they are fishing.

“AIS is a vital tool in a host of Coast Guard missions including search and rescue and port security,” said Lt. Collin Gruin, boarding team supervisor at the Coast Guard Sector Columbia River. “It’s not only illegal to turn it off but also incredibly dangerous.”

While crabbers may think they are protecting their businesses, they actually make search and rescue efforts more difficult if they have an emergency at sea, he said.

AIS is a maritime navigation safety communications system adopted by the international maritime community to save lives and facilitate safe transit of navigable waters. The system automatically transmits vessel information to shore stations, other ships and aircraft, including vessel identity, type, position, course, speed, navigational status and safety-related information.

Regulations require that all self-propelled vessels of 65 feet in length or more engaged in commercial operations and operating on the territorial seas (within 12 nautical miles of shore) must maintain AIS in effective operating condition. That includes continual operation of AIS and its associated devices at all times while the vessel is underway or at anchor and, if moored, at least 15 minutes prior to getting underway.

Effective operation condition also includes the accurate input and upkeep of all AIS data fields.

The Coast Guard notes that an AIS encoding guide is provided to facilitate compliance with this requirement. Violators of the regulation may receive a civil penalty of up to $35,486 per violation.

Pebble Appeals Permit Decision, Salmonstate Calls for Permanent Protections of Bristol Bay

The U.S. subsidiary of a Canadian mining company seeking to build a massive mine in the Bristol Bay watershed is appealing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denial of critical Clean Water Act permit for the project. According to John Shively, chief executive officer for the Pebble Project, a subsidiary of Northern Dynasty Minerals in Vancouver, British Columbia, conclusions reached by the Corps are not supported by the record established in the final environmental impact statement for the project.

Shively contends that Pebble has a strong case in its appeal, and that the project would bring needed jobs and economic activity to the region and state.

Opponents like SalmonState, who support the Corps decision, say what’s needed is an Environmental Project Agency veto of the mine itself.

The first step, said SalmonState executive director Tim Bristol, is for the Biden administration to reestablish the Clean Water Act protections previously in place. The second step, said Bristol, is for Congress to protect the waters of Bristol Bay in perpetuity, as called for by Bristol Bay tribes and other organizations.

The controversy lies in the location of the proposed mine to Bristol Bay, home of the world’s largest sockeye salmon run. For the last six years alone, more than 50 million salmon have returned, much of the run to be harvested in a multi-million-dollar commercial fishery, as well as charter and other sport harvesters, and hundreds of subsistence fishermen who call the region home. The salmon resource is also critical to the abundant wildlife population.

The Pebble Partnership has maintained that the copper, gold and molybdenum mine can be built and operated in harmony with the fishery.

SalmonState, Trout Unlimited and United Tribes of Bristol Bay say the mine is not in the public interest and poses far too great a risk to Bristol Bay and all that it sustains. “The decision to deny Pebble’s permit was based on hundreds of thousands of public comments, a formal process upheld by Pebble itself, and clear science that shows the project cannot be built without destroying the clean water and abundant salmon populations that make the Bristol Bay region so special” said Nelli Williams, Alaska director of Trout Unlimited.

Bristol Bay Fishermen Offer New Cooking Website

Bristol Bay fishermen have launched a new online Salmon Cooking Guide to teach thousands of people now cooking at home during the COVID-19 pandemic easy steps for preparing salmon entrees, plus tasty recipes with easy to find ingredients. The website,, includes cooking demonstrations, expert tips and ore from leading culinary experts, including YouTube star Adam Ragusea, renowned Seattle Chef Tom Douglas, Alaska-based culinary influencers Maya Wilson and Kaylah Thomas, Bristol Bay salmon experts Susie Brito and Apay’uq Moore, award-winning Texas barbecue pitmaster Jess Pryles, and more.

With people cooking at home now more than ever, and seafood sales seeing a huge spike at retail, consumers are looking for easy, health recipes that they feel like they can manage and cook better salmon meals for their families, said Lilani Dunn, marketing director at Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon.

To get started, the website notes, all one needs is an oven, a baking dish and salmon. From there the chef at home can prepare anything from hot honey broiled sockeye salmon to mustard maple glazed salmon with roasted veggies to potato chip crusted salmon and more. Additional recipes, all with cooking instructions, range from a salmon grilled cheese sandwich and salmon fried rice to the Bay Bounty salmon tacos, sockeye salmon poke bowls, salmon waffles, oven poached salmon, smoked salmon pot pie, boatyard salmon burgers, barbecue sockeye flatbread and sockeye salmon citrus veggie skewers. Rising Tide Communications in Anchorage produced the new website, along with a new Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon Buyer’s Guide, at, for the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, a fisherman-funded entity whose goal is to boost the value of fish from the world’s largest wild run of sockeye salmon. The marketing website offers product forms, sizing and best practices for wholesale buyers and retail teams. The buyer’s guide also addresses frequently asked questions from dozens of retail partnerships with the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon brand over the last four years.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

AMSS Keynote Speaker Include Fisheries Historian
Bob King, Oceanographer Carin Ashjian

Alaska fisheries historian Bob King and biological oceanographer Carin Ashjian are among the keynote speakers for the 2021 Alaska Marine Science Symposium, which is going virtual from Jan. 26 through Jan. 28.

King, once the dean of Alaska fisheries reporters, worked for decades at public radio station KDLG in Dillingham and was renowned for his daily in season updates on the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon fishery. Now retired in Southeast Alaska, he continues to work on fishery history issues as a member of the Alaska History Society. He will deliver the keynote address for the Bering Sea section of the symposium.

Ashjian, a biological oceanographer with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts, will provide an overview of the MOSAiC project, the largest polar expedition in history, during the symposium’s Arctic section. In late January 2020, Ashjian left Tromso, Norway on a Russian Icebreaker for the MOSAiC ice camp near the North Pole, where she spent 4.5 months involved in research.

For 11 years she and her colleagues also worked out of Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow, in Arctic Alaska, on a research vessel studying how and why the Beaufort Shelf near Point Barrow is a feeding hotspot for migrating bowhead whales during the whales’ fall migration from the Canadian Arctic to the Bering Sea, and how climate change might impact the formation of that hot spot.

Speakers for the Gulf of Alaska section of the symposium include Molly McCammon of the Alaska Ocean Observing System; Phil Mundy, retired division director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s Auke Bay Laboratories; Robert Spies, of Applied Marine Sciences Inc. in Little River, California; retired NOAA scientist Jeep Rice, also of NOAA”s Auke Bay Lab; and Jim Bodkin, a research wildlife biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska who studies population biology and ecology of marine mammals.

The complete agenda for the first ever virtual symposium is online at Free online registration for the symposium continues online at only through Friday, Jan. 22.

Contact Kayla Wagenfehr at with any questions regarding registration.

New Map Shows Dozens of Mine Pollution Threats to British Columbia Fish Habitat

A new map released in Vancouver, British Columbia by the BC Mining Law Reform Network and SkeenaWild Conservation Trust identifies over 100 known and potentially contaminated mine waste sites that threaten to pollute fish habitat and communities across the province.

The map shows 173 coal and metal mines across British Columbia, including all major mines, plus historic mines where significant amounts of ore was extracted.

Representatives of both entities said they plan to be involved in the BC Mining Roundup Virtual Conference this week, especially on Thursday, Jan. 21, for the environmental and social governance’s best practices panel ( The event is hosted by the Association for Mineral Exploration ( which identifies as an industry organization advocating for responsible mineral exploration.

Among the mines identified is the Tulsequah Chief, which has been leaking acid mine drainage into the Taku watershed near the Alaska border for over 60 years, even though it has been closed for several decades. The watershed is part of the transboundary river system flowing into the salmon rich waters of Southeast Alaska. The British Columbia remediation plan for the Tulsequah Chief, released in 2020 includes three options for controlling and addressing the water contamination issues. The estimated cost of the long-term remediation plan is close to $60 million, with annual costs of over $1 million, but according to the report the provincial government has only to date collected just over a $1 million reclamation bond for the Tulsequah Chief.

Another major example of ongoing mine water pollution in the report is the Mount Polley Mine, whose tailings pond collapsed on Aug. 4, 2014, spilling 24 million cubic meters of solid and liquid mine wastes into Hazeline Creek and Quesnel Lake, a source of drinking water and major spawning ground for sockeye salmon. Mine company officials said the mine wastes pose no threats, but according to the report the resuspension of spill related materials is occurring and causing prolonged exposure of aquatic ecosystems to contaminants. The report also says bacteria found around the tailings waste could be affecting fish.

Another noted example of ongoing mine water pollution is Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley Mine.

Scene of a disaster on Aug. 4, 2014, when a tailings pond collapsed, spilled 24 million cubic meters of solid and liquid mine wastes, contaminating major drinking water sources and spawning grounds for sockeye salmon. According to the report, mine owners are still permitted to release large amount of liquid mine wastes into these waters.

NOAA Report Cites Economic Impact of Global Pandemic on Seafood Industry

A new NOAA Fisheries analysis of the economic impact of the global pandemic says that protective measures instituted as the novel coronavirus spread across the world had an almost immediate impact on seafood sector sales.

After a 3 percent increase in commercial fish landings revenue in January and February, revenues declined each month from a 19 percent decrease in March to a 45 percent decrease by July. That translates to a 29 percent decrease across those seven months, as compared to five-year averages and adjusted for inflation, the report said.

Restaurant closures social distancing requirements and other safety measures also contributed to losses in other areas of the seafood economy, so by the end of the second quarter of 2020, 78 percent of aquaculture, aquaponics and allied businesses reported pandemic impacts with 74 percent seeing lost sales.

Protective measures that closed restaurants also impacted charter fishing operations, which saw phased re-openings in some parts of the country, but in Alaska and Hawaii, which rely heavily on out of state tourism, depressed sales continued.

NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Chris Oliver said that in coming months and years scientists and economists will try to get a more complete picture of the pandemic’s impact on U.S. seafood and the Blue Economy. Meanwhile, Oliver said, NOAA hopes the initial analysis will provide a foundation for industry researchers and planners to plan for the future.

The NOAA study found that international markets were negatively impacted by pandemic related disruptions in harvesting, processing and shipping, with U.S. seafood exports down 18 percent in value from January through June, compared to the past five years. Fresh product exports saw steeper declines when compared to frozen product exports, and the value of seafood imports into the U.S. declined 4 percent in value for the same period. These declines were offset by domestic consumer demand for tuna imports both canned and in pouches, which rose 25 percent for this six-month period, peaking at 49 percent in June.

In May NOAA Fisheries allocated $300 million in fisheries aid to states, territories and tribes under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. In September another $530 million came to the Seafood Trade Relief Program to support fishermen and industries hard hit by retaliatory tariffs from foreign governments.

Oliver said his agency’s goal is to help those in the seafood supply chain rebound in 2021.

Major Shipping Entity Urges Vaccine Priority
for Seafarers

A major international trade association is calling for governments to give priority for vaccinations against the novel coronavirus pandemic to seafarers and frontline maritime shore workers, to protect the vital global supply chain.

The International Chamber of Shipping, based in London, said in a statement issued on Tuesday, Jan. 19, that seafarers need to be designated as key workers to avoid a repeat of the crew change crisis that occurred in 2020 when the novel coronavirus spread worldwide. Healthy, vaccinated seafarers are critical to keeping nations supplied with vital goods, which will increasingly in 2021 include medical supplies, including personal protective equipment, ICS said.

Pandemic related restrictions have already forced hundreds of thousands of workers to overrun their contracts raising concerns over ship safety, crew fatigue and access to healthcare, ICS said.

Seafarers are currently severely impacted by crew change crisis, with some now approaching two years stuck at sea. Under new restrictions imposed by various governments these numbers of impacted crew will rapidly increase rather than reduce, they said.

With the spread of new variants of COVID-19 some governments are putting crew change bans on a number of countries. This is part of a wider global retrenchment around ease of travel, which the shipping industry fears could result in hundreds of thousands of seafarers becoming the collateral damage of government inaction, they said.

The average ship has a mix of at least three nationalities on board and sometimes as many as 30. Priority access to vaccines for all seafarers and clear “vaccine passport” protocols in line with World Health Organization recommendations, is vital to the maintenance of global trade, they said.

The ICS is the principal international trade association for merchant shipowners and operators, representing all sectors and trades and over 80 percent of the world merchant fleet.

Navy Holds Virtual Public Meetings Regarding Future Military Training in Alaska Waters

U.S. Navy officials are holding virtual public meetings in Alaska to inform the public and also to respond to questions regarding their proposed action to continue periodic military training activities in the Gulf of Alaska, events of major concern to commercial fish harvesters.

The first session was held on Tuesday, Jan. 19 and another is set for Feb. 3.

Navy officials said the proposed training activities are similar to those that have occurred in the study area for decades. Their plan is to continue to implement mitigation measures to avoid or reduce potential impacts on marine species and the environment, they said in a public announcement.

The Navy has prepared a draft supplement to their 2011 Gulf of Alaska Navy Training Activities Final EIS/OEIS ( and 2016 Gulf of Alaska Navy Training Activities Final Supplemental EIS/OEIS (

The 2020 Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS ( is available for public review and comment.

Information about the upcoming Zoom meeting is online at

Information on how to submit questions in advance and also during the virtual meeting is included at its website.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Two Alaska Cdqs, 30 Alaska Communities Acquire New Opilio, King Crab Quotas

Two community development quota entities in Alaska, along with 30 western Alaska communities, have purchased opilio and king crab quota valued at $35 million from Seattle-based Mariner Companies.

The buy-out was announced by Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp. in Dillingham and the Coastal Villages Region Fund, in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. They are two of six CDQs established by the state of Alaska to boost the economies of 65 villages through the allocation of annual federal groundfish and shellfish quotas.

The deal will allow participating communities to more directly boost their revenues to develop more programs and benefits for residents, and additional revenue for the CDQ groups.

BBEDC has been a long-time partner in the Mariner Companies, whose majority owners are Kevin Kaldestad and Gordon Kristianson. Kaldestad said his company is happy to be passing the future of their company to local communities, their long-time partner BBEDC and CVRF. “We know they will all be excellent stewards of this resource and hope that the enterprise we’ve built will serve their residents for many years to come, he said.

BBEDC and CVRF provided and facilitated structural support for the communities to purchase crab quota and will support the harvest via their fishing operations.

BBEDC is acquiring 100 percent ownership of four crab vessels: the Aleutian Mariner, Bristol Mariner, Nordic Mariner and Pacific Mariner. CVRF is purchasing the crab vessels Arctic Mariner, Cascade Mariner and Western Mariner.

According to Norm Van Vactor, CEO of BBEDC, the deal offers a great opportunity to collaborate with CVRF in a unique way that benefits all the communities they serve.

“After 30 years, this is a prime example of how to successfully evolve the CDQ program, providing significant economic growth opportunities for rural Alaska communities,” he said.

Eric Deakin, CEO of CVRF, noted that with rural Alaska continuing to face high poverty rates, there is a growing need for services in both the YK Delta and Bristol Bay regions which this deal will help address. “We welcome a new generation of Alaskan owners and operators fishing the Bering sea and improving livelihoods here,” he said.

Alaska Governor Appeals USACE Decision on Pebble

Alaska Gov Mike Dunleavy says the state will appeal a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision to deny a Clean Water Act permit critical to the Canadian firm proposing to build a massive copper, gold and molybdenum mine at the headwaters to Bristol Bay.

Dunleavy contends that the USACE decision is flawed and creates a dangerous precedent. He said that the state has to prevent federal agencies “from using the regulatory process to effectively prevent the state from fulfilling a constitutional mandate to develop its natural resources.”

According to Corri Feige, the state’s commissioner of natural resources, the state constitution directs the state to develop its resources in the public interest and when a federal agency tries to deprive the state of that right, it must be challenged.

The governor’s announcement drew a quick response from mine opponents, who contend that Pebble mine poses a serious threat to the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery, where millions of wild red salmon from five major river systems return every year, resulting in a catch of millions of fish in a multi-million-dollar fishery.

The Army Corps found in its decision that Pebble’s mitigation plan failed to overcome the significant potential impacts of the mine and that the mine was not in the public interest. The public interest review included an assessment of factors including environmental, economic and social impacts associated with destruction of the headwaters of the Koktuli watershed, as well as mine operations that would produce huge amounts of toxic waste that would have to be managed in perpetuity.

“The Army Corps made the only defensible decision it could when denying the permit for the proposed Pebble mine,” said Katie Strong, senior staff attorney with Trustees for Alaska, a public interest law firm in Anchorage “The state of Alaska's decision to administratively appeal that decision blatantly disregards the science and puts the pocketbook of a Canadian mining company above those of its own citizens. The Corps should deny the appeal immediately.”

“In announcing the state will appeal, the governor has chose to ignore scientific fat and the large majority of Alaskans,” said Tim Bristol, executive director of SalmonState, a nonprofit that works to project salmon habitat and the people who depend on the salmon. The only way to stop this toxic project for good is with an EPA veto.”

“Bristol Bay residents and Alaskans have been clear that we will not trade one of the world’s last robust salmon fisheries for a gold mine and the Army Corps decision affirmed that this toxic project is too risky for our home and does not serve the public interest,” said Lindsay Layland, deputy director of United Tribes of Bristol Bay, in Dillingham. Layland said it is outrageous that the Dunleavy administration would go against the will of Alaskans to benefit a foreign mining company that has no value to the state.

Pacific Maritime Magazine and Fishermen’s News
to Resume Print Editions

Fishermen’s News and Pacific Maritime Magazine will resume publication this spring following the purchase of the publications by San Diego-based Training Resources Limited Inc. (TRLMI).

“We are in the business of providing mariners with knowledge through education,” said Dave Abrams, chief executive officer of TRLMI. “Fishermen’s News and Pacific Maritime Magazine have been providing knowledge through current industry news for decades, so they are a natural extension of our existing business,” he said. “The titles give us the ability to provide mariners and commercial fishermen with advocacy and news about the industries we train them for.”

Peter Philips, president of Philips Publishing Group, said that he and his brother Chris are delighted that TRLMI will continue publishing the two magazines, which have been widely circulated and highly regarded industry titles on the Pacific Coast. “I can’t think of a better successor to Philips Publishing than a business involved in the education of mariners,” he said.

TRLMI is the largest privately held provider of maritime training in the Western U.S. The company’s main campus in San Diego is an 18,000 square foot facility with 14 classrooms, bridge and engine room simulators and many “hands on” training aids. The company also offers a new program for recreational mariners through “BoaterU.”

TRLMI has over 80 U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy approved courses providing certification in deck engineering, weapons and safety requirements.

More information is online at

Sitka Sound Herring GHL is Unusually Large, Likely Will Exceed Harvest

Fisheries managers in Alaska have set the guideline harvest level for the 2021 Sitka Sound sac roe herring at 33,304 tons of mature herring, but say based on input from processors the commercial harvest is not expected to exceed 20,000 tons. The size of this year’s forecast of mature herring biomass is 210,453 tons of mature herring.

It is the second largest for Sitka Sound herring and is 16 percent smaller than the 2020 mature biomass estimate of 250,468 tons.

Because there was no commercial harvest in 2019 or 2020, the forecast used an average of the spring commercial purse seine weights at age from the 2017 and 2018 fisheries harvest: age-3, 79 grams; age-4, 92 grams; age-5, 109 grams; age-6, 126 grams; age-7, 144 grams; and age-8+, 165 grams. The forecasted average weight across all age classes is 112 grams.

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game the size of the forecasted age-5 herring cohort is unusually large. Still it is more uncertain than other year classes due in part to the magnitude of estimated abundance and the impact of uncertainty is estimated maturity and survival. Because the department has observed the 2016-year class of herring as age-3 fish in 2019 and as age-4 fish in 2020, the overall uncertainty with the 2021 forecast is less than that of the 2020 forecast. This same extremely large year class has been observed in other herring populations throughout the Gulf of Alaska in 2019 and 2020.

Alaska Boards of Fisheries and Game Take Up COVID Related Issues

Alaska’s Boards of Fisheries and Game are holding a series of meetings in January to discuss COVID-19 related issues and options for scheduling regulatory board meetings for the rest of their 2020-2021 meeting cycle.

Both boards acted earlier in the current meeting cycle to postpone regulatory meetings with the intent of reevaluating health issues. A special committee meeting of the two boards is set for Jan. 19, with a comment deadline of Jan. 15. The session is informational only, with no action to be taken. A second special meeting of the Alaska Board of Fisheries is set for Jan. 25, with a comment deadline of Jan. 20.

Public comments by the announced deadlines are encouraged to help the boards in their discussions and decision making. All meetings are to be held via Zoom and open to the public for viewing or listening via the Internet. Meeting materials, the audio stream link and comment submission process for the fisheries meetings are available at; For more information about these meetings contact Kristy Tibbles at 907-465-6098 or email her at or Glenn Haight at 907-465-6095 or

Other upcoming virtual commercial fisheries meetings of interest include the 97th session of the International Pacific Halibut Commission’s 97th session, Jan. 25 and Jan. 26-29, and the February web conference of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, Feb. 5 and Feb. 8-12.

The IPHC last week had intended to have a special session to look at potential modifications to existing management plans, but due to various connectivity issues has deferred that item to be discussed by the IPHC on the morning of Jan. 26. The IPHC recognized the work of its Management Strategy Advisory Board to that issue and said it would provide further direction during its 97th session. Meeting documents for the annual meeting of the IPHC are online at

A guide to the February meeting of the NPFMC is online at, including the agendas for the council, its Advisory Panel and Scientific and Statistical Committee, and options for providing testimony for each online,

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

GAPP Promotes Super Bowl Sunday Surimi Treats
on the Food Network

Food Network star Nancy Fuller has teamed up with surimi seafood brand Louis Kemp Crab Delights to create surimi recipes for football fans nationwide to chow down on Feb. 3, during Super Bowl 2021, at Tampa Bay, Florida. The recipes will be advertised on beginning on January 13th.

Chef Fuller said she will share her favorite game day recipes for Crab Cake Bites and Buffalo Crab Dip, made with Louis Kemp Crab Delights, which are made from wild Alaska Pollock. “These quick and easy crave-able recipes are sure to not make you crabby, even if your favorite team loses,” quipped Fuller.

The presentation is the latest effort of the Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers to promote the versatile whitefish, this time as a trendy, sustainable snack for sports fans.

GAPP’s North American Partnership Program is also aligning with the launch of Louis Kemp’s new “buy online” feature on their website.

Louis Kemp Crab Delights are sold nationally at retailers ranging from Walmart, Kroger and Albertsons and Safeway to Target and Meijer stores.

GAPP is dedicated to marketing of once-frozen Pollock products, harvested and processed in Alaska, to whitefish markets worldwide with a focus on Europe, North America and Japan.

New Peter Pan Emerges as US Owned, Vertically Integrated Seafood Company

Peter Pan Seafoods has a new lease on life, emerging with a new name and new owners effective Jan. 1 as New Peter Pan. The sale was finalized on Dec. 31.

The vertically integrated seafood company with deep Alaska roots is now the property of an ownership group comprised of Rodger May of Northwest Fish, the Na’-Nuk Investment Fund LP, managed by McKinley Capital Management LLC, and the RRG Global Partners Fund, managed by RRG Capital Management LLC.

“My partners and I want to show the world that Alaska offers world-class sustainable seafood investment opportunities that result in benefits to the state of Alaska, our fishing families and coastal communities,” said Rob Gillam, chief executive officer and chief investment officer of McKinley Capital, in Anchorage. “Grounded in Alaska, acting globally,” he said. “That’s one of our core values.”

Gillam said that despite the struggles of 2020 that consumer demand for wild, natural and sustainable Alaska seafood remains high. “As markets begin to reopen and rebound, New Peter Pan is positioned to harness the brand strength of Alaska seafood as we transform the company and begin to create a new legacy,” he said. May, the founder of Northwest Fish, one of the fastest growing seafood companies in North America, will join New Peter Pan as president and chief growth officer. May said he sees the combining of Northwest Fish and Peter Pan assets as a means to provide more markets for the combined companies’ products and greater opportunity throughout the entire supply chain.

Ari Swiller, co-founder of RRG Capital Management, said the new owners are passionate about supporting local fishing communities and providing healthy, sustainable seafood to the world while preserving ocean ecosystems. “We believe that sustainably managed, vertically integrated seafood companies are attractive investments and create environmental and social benefits,” he said. “By focusing New Peter Pan on its customer and fleet services, we’re confident we can create tremendous value for our customers and our stakeholders.”

New Peter Pan will continue to operate facilities in Dillingham, King Cove Port Moller and Valdez, with a commitment to continuing operations with little disruption, the new owners said.

The core of its mission, they said, is a devotion to customers and stakeholders, and a desire to be a global supplier of top quality, responsibly sourced seafood.

Young Fishermen’s Development Act is Now Law

The Young Fishermen’s Development Act, approved by Congress in late December, was signed into law on Tuesday, Jan. 5, and hailed for giving new support to young fishermen facing lack of support as they try to gain a foothold in the seafood industry.

“Our legislation is about supporting the livelihoods of fishing communities across the nation by making the next generation aware of the opportunities available in the commercial fishing industry,” said Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska.

Other backers of the legislation, including Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both R-Alaska, and Sen. Edward Markley, D-Mass, also hailed legislation, which will support regional training opportunities and apprenticeship programs.

Marissa Wilson, executive director of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, noted that until now federal programs for young American harvesters have been limited to those who farm and ranch. With fewer young people are choosing to harvest food for a living, investment is needed for young food producers nationwide, she said.

A robust study on the “graying of the fleet” showed that the issue in Alaskan communities is not a lack of interest in the lifestyle, but the amount of resources and knowledge it takes to run a profitable fishing business in the 21st century is formidable, she said. “Investing in opportunities for young fishermen to hone their skills will benefit our local food systems, communities and oceans,” she said. “The grassroots nature of the implementation of this program ensures this.”

Young fishermen seeking entry into the industry in recent years have had to meet new challenges and higher barriers to entry. In some regions commercial fisheries have seen an increase by 10 years or more in the average participant’s age over the previous generation of fishermen, and rural communities have lost 30 percent of local permit holders. Some studies have also suggested that this “graying of the fleet” has led to an increase in financial capital and risk needed to enter into the industry. This legislation, modeled after the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, creates the first federal program dedicated to training, educating and assisting the next generation of commercial fishermen.

Modernizing of O’Hara Corp.’s Factory Trawler Alaska Spirit is a Work in Progress

O’Hara Corporation’s 210-foot factory trawler Alaska Spirit is slated for upgrades in 2021 for the galley and mess area, the latest stage of a complete vessel overhaul to improve habitability, efficiency and optimize vessel performance.

For the multi-year project that began in 2017, O’Hara selected Elliot Bay Design Group, which has already completed some major renovations during the vessel’s normal down time, EBDG officials said. That way no fishing seasons for Atka mackerel, Pacific Ocean perch, yellowfin sole, rock sole, Pollock, Pacific cod and more have been missed as renovation continues.

Upgrades to date have included new generator and hydraulic engines, a new factory, conversion of underutilized aft tanks to stores, replacement of pilot house port lights with windows, habitability upgrades and a complete rethinking of the trawl deck. EBDG provided engineering support for much of this work, and the U.S. Coast Guard has provided oversight in accordance with the Alternate Compliance and Safety Agreement. For habitability, O’Hara has refurbished crew quarters, including upgrades to staterooms, laundry, showering and toilet spaces. Accommodation improvements will continue in 2021.

Renovation to date also includes the addition of silencers to exhaust lines of all diesel engines, substantially reducing onboard noise pollution.

O’Hara has also replaced burtoning gear with a knuckle boom crane. New trawl winches are being installed this year and an equipment room is being constructed around the crane pedestal. Next year the existing trawl machine located at the forward end of the trawl deck will be replaced with a pair of net reels and a new Gilson gantry. The base of the gantry and reel foundations are being incorporated into an enlarged changing room for the deck crew. EBDG spokespersons said that to date they have scanned nearly the entire vessel, offering effective visual aids for the owner’s planning and modeling.

The Alaska Spirit was built by Halter Marine Services in 1974 as an offshore supply vessel for the Gulf of Mexico. In 1989, she was converted at Murakami Shipyard in Japan to a head and gut fishing trawler for use in territorial U.S. waters of the Bering Sea, and there her work continues.

Seattle’s Hockema Group Posts Name, Management Changes for 2021

A naval architecture, marine and electrical engineering firm with offices in Seattle and Bend, Oregon has announced name and management changes now in place.

Hockema Whalen Myers Associates Inc., now the Hockema Group, announced this week that after 42 years in the marine industry and 23 years of managing the firm he founded in 1997 that Hal Hockema is stepping down from daily management to serve as chairman of the company. His emphasis will be on design quality assurance and to serve as an advisor to the Hockema Group management team, the announcement said.

John Myers is the new president and managing principal, with Michael Minnig as vice president and senior principal, and Craig Pomeroy as principal naval architect. Julie Hockema has also stepped back to a 20 hour a week commitment and will continue as business manager and bookkeeper. Shannon Potter, who has 20 years of contract management experience, has joined the firm as administrative manager. Michael Whalen, who retired in 2020, will also stay with Hockema Group as senior principal.

Hockema Group offers a variety of engineering and consulting services in addition to its traditional naval architecture and marine engineering disciplines. The firm provides services for tugs, barges, commercial fishing vessels, dredgers, cargo vessels, workboats, passenger vessels and government/military service vessels.

Charting a New Course

By Dave Abrams, Publisher

We made it! A new year – good riddance 2020! I know the storm is not over yet, but with the promise of the new vaccines, I think we can see the dark clouds lifting on the horizon. I recognize that I am the eternal optimist, but I have a good feeling 2021 is going to end up as a much improved version of its older brother.

I have a number of New Year rituals. Of course there is the standard post-holiday diet, cleaning off all the paper that had accumulated on my desk all year, and taking some time to reflect on what we accomplished. Then it’s on to the new plans. As the saying goes “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there”. Or for us mariners, that would be “any course will take you there”. No prudent mariner would leave port without a plan of where they were going and the route they were taking to get there. Each year is a new voyage for me – or three actually – one for my personal life, family life and business life. I set my goals for each of these three areas, and then chart my course on how to achieve those goals. I don’t always complete every voyage (especially when a global pandemic gets tossed in the way), but I always make progress, and get a chance to try again next year!

Whatever your new year rituals are, I wish all of you safe journeys and best wishes for a successful 2021!

You can reach Dave Abrams at

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