“Turning the Tide” is written in a fashion as to suggest that movement is not a positive thing, even when that movement is within the State of Alaska” - Bob Alverson
Progress is being made with the Council as they are now looking at pelagic and non-pelagic trawl separately - but corrective action regarding the tendering observer exemption and the expansion and refinement of a robust observer program for the partial coverage fleets is essential to the sustainability of the fishery...
Please see the copy below of a recent letter to Council calling for action!
June 20, 2018
Mr. Dan Hull, Chairman
North Pacific Fishery Management Council
605 W. 4th Ave., Ste 306
Anchorage, AK 99501-2252
RE: Future Partial Observer Coverage Changes
Dear Chairman Hull:
We want to thank the Council for the opportunity provided Fishing Vessel Owner’s Association to comment in Kodiak on the partial- coverage observer program under Agenda Item C-1. The Council action to “include an evaluation of observer effects at finer resolution than gear-level strata, so that observer effects in pelagic and non-pelagic trawl can be investigated,” is an appreciated step forward. This resolution should help focus future observer coverage and a better use of limited funds. However, we want to express our disappointment with the Council not following through with the proposed Council correction to the “tendering exemption” and not asking the staff to look at cost associated with getting coverage levels increased to the 30% for the partial- coverage fleets.
The abuse of the tendering observer exemption, as described on page 105 of the May 2017 Annual Observer Report, describes the outright subversion of the observer program by certain shore-based entities in their efforts to avoid the needed counting of salmon bycatch. We believe vessel operation incentives to avoid coverage are still present for vessels tendering Pacific cod. We would also inform the Council that the fact the shore-based processors only receive a warning for their manipulation of bycatch accounting has not gone unnoticed by the harvesters.
The Council’s failure to look seriously at longer-term solutions for increasing observer coverage was disappointing. We believe the following action would provide beneficial information to the Council relative to costs in expanding coverage to partial-coverage vessels. We continue to support a Council discussion paper that would examine a separate program with a “pay as you go” system for pelagic and non-pelagic trawlers while keeping fixed gear operations within the current ADP observer program. We believe random selection can be a design of both formats. One form of the analysis would be the fee necessary to get fixed gear up to 30% of catch or trips and the cost of the trawl fleet to obtain similar coverage of their tows and/or catch.
In summary, we want to thank the Council for taking a positive step in looking at pelagic and non-pelagic trawl separately. We request that the Council complete its own proposed correction action to the tendering observer exemption, which, as yet, has not been tasked to staff for completion. Lastly, we request the Council examine our request for expanding and developing a more robust observer program for the partial coverage fleets.
Federal data say the United States imported more seafood in 2017 than at any point in its history, and the nation's trade deficit in the sector is growing. Some of the seafood items that American consumers are especially fond of, including salmon, tuna and shrimp, are heavily dependent on foreign imports to make it to U.S. markets and restaurants.
This article is from the Fishermen's News, July 2018 and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Deep Sea Fishermen's Union
By Chris Philips, Managing Editor - Fishermen's News
THIS SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN THE SENTIMENT FOR years among those elected to represent you in the City of Seattle and the State of Washington. Finally, someone has come right out and said it.
Seattle City Councilman Mike O’Brien and his wife were kicked out of a gala reception for the arts in early May. The private reception was hosted by a local business with ties to commercial fishing, and Councilman O’Brien’s presence, in shirtsleeves and suspenders among the tuxedoes and cocktail dressed, was not welcome. The organizers made it clear that his political positions are in direct contradiction to continued success of Seattle’s commercial fishing industry. Having been asked twice to leave, O’Brien was escorted off the premises, spilling his beer along the way. One her way out the door, O’Brien’s wife, Julie, allegedly turned around and shouted to the hundreds of well-heeled guests, [Expletive} the fishermen!’
This incident came as no surprise to those in the local fishing and maritime industries. Seattle’s recent institutional antagonism toward the fishing industry is well known. As early as 2004, Mayor Greg Nickels famous for welcoming transients to camp on private property, told the press that the fishing industry in Ballard and Fremont was dirty, and he would rather they moved to Kent, a landlocked city south of Seatac airport.
His successors, Mayors McGinn and Murray, have also been hostile to the businesses in Ballard and Magnolia that rely on the city for transportation infrastructure.
The state itself has been working to force local, non-tribal fishermen out since at least the 2012 election of Governor Jay Inslee, who has been an outspoken proponent of reserving the state’s seafood resources for the sport fishermen. The Governor’s latest salvo in his efforts to rid the state of commercials fishermen in his “blue” economy initiative, in which he promotes the distant-water fleets that fish outside of state waters to the detriment of local fishermen, which he promoted at another gala event, this one attended by bureaucrats and captains of industry but no local fishermen.
The “Maritime Innovation Advisory Council” includes a panel or representatives form several state agencies but carefully avoids including any non-tribal commercial fishermen on the panel. Governor Inslee argues that tribal fisheries can supply all the necessary commercials fish to the state’s consumers. Of the three co-chairs leading the group, one is State Representative Gael Tarleton, who represents the state’s 36t legislative district, which includes Ballard and Fishermen’s Terminal, who recently urged the state to prioritize increased recreational fishing over commercial fishing in State waters.
A study in 2015 found that those involved in the commercial fishing industry in Seattle earned an average of $70,000 – enough to support a family and pay taxes in a city and state that are working hard to chase them away. Julie O’Brien simply shouted publicly what her husband, the Governor and many state lawmakers have been untroubledly been saying privately for years.
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] by John Sackton – June 15, 2018
China wasted no time retaliating against President Trump’s trade war. The US seafood industry has been hit hard.
China will impose 25% punitive tariffs on a range of US seafood exports worth nearly $1 billion in 2017.
The tariffs will go into effect on July 6th. They are calculated as 25% additional tax on the imported cost of the product, including any previous tariffs.
So if a dungeness crab product was taxed at 12%, the 25% will be on the total cost, ie import cost plus previous tariff.
Virtually no important US seafood product was left off the list.
The tariffs will hit pink salmon, chum salmon, frozen cod, frozen pollock, all flatfish, sockeye salmon, atka mackerel, herring, sablefish, geoduck etc. etc. A full list of the top 25 species hit by the tariffs is at the end of this story.
In 2017, the seafood exports subject to this tariff were worth $987 million.
Using 2017 figures, the value to Alaska of the products hit by the punitive tariff is more than $750 million.
For the West Coast, Dungeness crab , Hake, Geoduck, coldwater shrimp are all hit.
In Maine, live and frozen lobster are hit as well. This will have an immediate impact on the live lobster market, shifting even more Canadian product to China, and leaving the US at a disadvantage in both the Chinese and European export markets, where Canada already has duty free access.
The ramifications are very serious for Alaska as well. All the Alaska products that go to China for reprocessing, such as pollock, cod, and pink salmon, will be subject to the 25% tariff.
The cost of these tariffs will hit the seafood industry, because ultimately there is little choice but to continue to send these products to China. China has become the de facto export destination for virtually all seafood reprocessing done overseas.
When the US imposed tariffs on Chinese solar panels, the Chinee government stepped in to eat the increased cost. As a result, the Chinese companies selling solar panels are still selling them in the US.
There is little chance of our industry getting the same support. So through absolutely no fault of our own, most companies will see a big hit to their bottom line, because they will have to agree to lower prices in order to maintain marketability in the face of this 25% increase in costs.
Is there a silver lining? The only positive response I can see from this is the potential to process more fish in Alaska. However, most plants there are near capacity, labor issues abound, and many plants in both salmon and groundfish have reconfigured themselves to freeze and export products, not to fillet and do final packaging.
For the lobster industry, I see no positives whatsoever. Lobster prices have already been coming down, and taking away a major US export market will mean the US domestic lobsters are far more restricted than Canadian lobsters.
China is also the main market for specialty seafoods like sablefish and geoduck. Again, these items will face an immediate 25% tax – pushing up their cost in China.
All in all, this represents the worst outcome feared by the industry. The Chinese are deliberately targeting smaller industries that have little ability to fight back, much as other countries hit by US tariffs are targeting specialty items like bourbon or motorcycles.
In the overall picture, soybeans are the big shoe here. China is the primary market for this crop, one of the largest produced by American Farmers. It was also on the list of tariffs announced today, along with pork.
Go to SEAFOODNEWS.com to read the rest of BREAKING NEWS: China Slams Alaska and US Seafood Industry with 25% Tariff on $1 Billion in Exports
From Walter McQuillen
I was lucky enough to be in Kodiak delivering a black cod trip when the NPFMC was meeting. I had time to make the IFQ committee outreach meet. The meeting was held so smaller rural communities in Alaska could view their opinions on the problems of halibut IFQ. What I walked away from the meeting was young salmon fishermen are trying to supplement there salmon income with halibut fishing. But with the price of quota it didn't seem to be worth it to them financially.
All and all it was a very respectful meeting with people trying not to point fingers, and just expressing their thoughts that without outside financial help getting into the fishery wasn't an option right now.
F/V Exito crewmen Lee Fleury prepares to throw the grappling hook at a crab pot buoy off in the distance while Lyndon Yockey, rear, runs the hydraulics to manuever heavy crab pots to be stacked onboard.
By Joel Connelly, Seattle PI Published Friday, June 1, 2018
Pacific Northwest fishermen, shipbuilders, suppliers and restaurants must be heard as the Army Corps of Engineers puts together an environmental impact statement on a big proposed mine in Alaska, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., has told the Corps.
The Pebble Mine would be built between two of Bristol Bay's major salmon spawning streams, which are part of the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery. An estimated 51 million salmon are expected to return this year.
The Corps has scheduled nine pubic scoping meetings, all of them in Alaska. Opposition has been intense not only in the 49th State -- the Bristol Bay Native Corp. is a major critic -- but among Washington boat operators and fish processors.
"There are no public meetings scheduled in Washington State," Cantwell said in a letter to the Corps. "This expedited process is grossly inefficient, and does not allow my constituents the opportunity to participate in the permitting process in person."
The proposed mine appears on its last legs during the Obama administration.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in an exhaustive study, laid out how miles of spawning habitat that would be ruined, catastrophic consequences of any breach in the proposed tailing dam, and disruption of a pristine, vastly productive corner of Alaska.
As well, major mining conglomerates withdrew from the project. Major jewelers, from Ben Bridge in Seattle to Tiffany in New York, pledged not to use metals from the mine.
The developers of the proposed mine sued the EPA, which had moved to block the mine under the Clean Water Act.
The Trump administration "settled" the suit by letting the permitting process go ahead. Cantwell is worried at who is being shut out.
"Pacific Northwest fishermen, shipbuilders, suppliers, sportsmen and restaurants have built an economy around this one of a kind sustainable fishery," she told the Corps.
"The commercial sockeye fishery is valued at $1.5 billion in annual economic output, including $500 million in direct income. Bristol Bay supports 12,000 commercial fisheries jobs and another 10,000 salmon-related industry jobs across the United States, including thousands of jobs in Washington state."
The Corps has yet to respond to the letter.
(SeattlePI.com writer Joel Connelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
By BECKY BOHRER
The Associated Press
Originally published Seattle Times May 25, 2018
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A Canadian company that was courted as a potential partner in a proposed copper-and-gold mine near one of the world’s largest salmon fisheries in Alaska has backed away from the project. Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., which is seeking to develop the Pebble Mine project in southwest Alaska, said Friday that it was unable to finalize an agreement with First Quantum Minerals Ltd., the potential investor.
It was not immediately clear what happened or what this means for the project, which has a permit application pending with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Tom Collier is CEO of the Pebble Limited Partnership, which is owned by Northern Dynasty. In a statement, he said Friday was “business as usual” for him, and that developers are “continuing to press forward.” He said he believes Pebble will secure the funding necessary to continue the permitting process. A spokesman for First Quantum Minerals did not respond to a request for comment. The company posted on its website a release from Northern Dynasty that lacks specifics.
When the two companies announced talks in December, Philip Pascall, chairman and CEO of First Quantum Minerals, said in a release that the Pebble project is widely seen as “one of the outstanding unmined copper projects in the world.” He said his company was “very aware of the environmental and social sensitivity of this project.” Critics of the project, which is located in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region, hailed news of the fizzled deal. Bristol Bay produces about half of the world’s sockeye salmon.
Joel Reynolds, Western director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement that First Quantum Minerals did the right thing. “We hope First Quantum’s decision closes the door, once and for all, on this ill-conceived and uniquely reckless scheme,” Reynolds said. Northern Dynasty had been looking for a new partner since Anglo American PLC announced it was pulling out in 2013.
The Pebble Limited Partnership last year settled a long-running lawsuit with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that cleared the way for the company to seek permits for the mine project. But the EPA has left open the possibility for future restrictions on development.Collier earlier this year said the company will demonstrate that it can “successfully operate a mine without compromising the fish and water resources around the project.”