Tue. May 31 2016

Great Pacific Seafoods Files for Bankruptcy


LA Shrimpers Say Mazzetta Wrong about Sustainability, Failed to Note Cooperation with NOAA   (1)


House Leadership Asked Not to Take Up Senate-Approved Resolution to Kill USDA Catfish Inspections


Indian Ocean Tuna Commission Adopts Measures to Stop Overfishing of Yellowfin Tuna  


Peter Redmond Departs as Vice President for Global Aquaculture Alliance


Competing Proteins: Red Meat Markets Slide Last Week, Poultry Index Unchanged


Seafood.com News Summary Monday May 31, 2016


Fri. May 27 2016

South Pacific Tuna Corp's Hines Takes Issue with ISSF Move to Freeze New Vessel Construction  


IOTC Adopts Management Measures for Skipjack Tuna  


Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Launches Grading Tool for Fishery Improvement Projects


Foxwoods Launches Resort-wide Summer Lobster Menu  


Seafood.com News Summary Friday May 27, 2016


Thu. May 26 2016

Senate Fast Tracks Resolution to House that Will Kill USDA Catfish Inspection Program


New Zealand's Hoki Quota Holders Ask for Expedited MSC Audit to Prove Fishery is Well Managed


Letters: TEDs Just the Tip of the Iceberg for Louisiana's Skimmer Boats   (1)


2016 Togiak Herring Season Early and Underfunded  


Bristol Seafood Hires Food Industry Veteran Jimmy Davolio as VP of Sales


Aramark to Feature MSC-Certified Seafood at 15 Canadian College Campuses


Seafood.com News Summary Thursday May 26, 2016


Wed. May 25 2016

Gulf Shrimp Landings Trend Higher in April But Market Unchanged as Louisiana Season Starts  


Vinh Hoan Promotes Ngo Vi Tam Nguyen to CEO


Preferred Freezer Sponsoring Two Cars in this Weekend's Indy 500


Handy's Crisfield, MD Seafood Processing Plant Gets "A" Grade from BRC


Seafood.com News Summary Wednesday May 25, 2016


Tue. May 24 2016

Seafood.com News Summary Tuesday May 24, 2016


Rich Products Joins NFI's Crab Council


Quirch Foods, Chefs Trading and Mexico's PESMAR Join Mexican Grouper FIP


Trident's Akutan Pollock Processing Plant to be Featured on Science Channel this Week


Univ. of Washington Wants to Test Lingcod Fishing in Closed Pacific Waters to Help Rockfish Stocks


Murkowski Mandates Labels on GE Salmon, Supports AK Fisheries in Appropriations Bill Before Senate   (1) 


Multiexport Foods Gets Chilean Salmon Farming Operation Four-Star BAP Certified


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Great Pacific Seafoods Files for Bankruptcy

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh - May 31, 2016

Seattle’s Great Pacific Seafoods officially filed for bankruptcy this past Sunday after reports on Friday confirmed the operator had shuttered all of its operations in Alaska.

Basically, Great Pacific’s secured and unsecured creditor claims are approximately equal to its total assets.  According to the company’s bankruptcy filing,  its revenues fell from $26.5 million in 2014 to $21.2 million last year.  The company reported assets of $12.4 million and liabilities...

Full Story »

LA Shrimpers Say Mazzetta Wrong about Sustainability, Failed to Note Cooperation with NOAA

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  [Letters]  May 31, 2016

The following letter was sent by Acy J Cooper Jr. from Louisiana:

I am writing in response to the letter to your website from Tom Mazetta, “TEDs Just the Tip of the Iceberg for Louisiana's Skimmer Boats” SeafoodNews, May 26, 2016.

His statements are so far from the truth. 

I read a previous article, “News Alert: Tom Mazetta: Shame on SSA” March 6th, 2013” ,so his new article does not surprise me. 

Of course a person that imports foreign seafood into our great country America would make a statement saying “Eliminating skimmer boats would be a big step forward in that direction”. I would ask, which direction: The failure of yet another American Industry to imports?..

Full Story »

House Leadership Asked Not to Take Up Senate-Approved Resolution to Kill USDA Catfish Inspections

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] May 31, 2016

A contingent of Congressional representatives sent a letter to the U.S. House Representatives last week asking the chamber to not take up a Senate-approved resolution that would effectively kill the USDA’s catfish inspection program.

The letter addressed to House Majority Leader Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi petitioned the lower Congressional chamber to not take up Senate Joint Resolution 28, which disapproves catfish inspections by the USDA...

Full Story »

Indian Ocean Tuna Commission Adopts Measures to Stop Overfishing of Yellowfin Tuna

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews]  By Peggy Parker - May 31, 2016

“This year’s annual session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) concludes with agreements on some landmark measures for the region’s skipjack and yellowfin tuna stocks that will safeguard the futures of many coastal communities.”

So begins a press release from the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF), a London-based NGO that supports a “one-by-one caught tuna” concept with the aim of strengthening coastal communities, improving sustainability, and providing meals.
 
Following the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission’s decision to adopt a harvest control rule to ensure the long-term health of the region’s skipjack fishery last week, crucial measures designed to rebuild yellowfin stocks were also taken.

“On the most pressing issue facing the IOTC – the need to end overfishing of yellowfin tuna – delegates worked through to the final moments of the meeting on Friday 27 May to agree on measures to reduce fishing effort and catches...

Full Story »

South Pacific Tuna Corp's Hines Takes Issue with ISSF Move to Freeze New Vessel Construction

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] By Peggy Parker - May 27, 2016

In a press release this week, Doug Hines, executive director of South Pacific Tuna Corporation and US partner in the Global Companies, called a recent action by the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) “truly confusing considering their 2012 announcement created a rush to building new vessels, which created over capacity of producing tonnage contributing to increase in catch, reduced values, and further pressure on regional stocks.”

Hines attended Tuna 2016, a conference on tuna management held in Bangkok earlier this week. He went to understand “the intent behind the recent announcement of the leading processors and marketing groups that founded and oversee the ISSF to reverse their capacity conservation measure as well as associated measure regarding investment of 2012, which called for the global freeze to new vessel tuna capacity.”

The exception was part of a recent Memorandum of Understanding with the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) that allows fishing capacity in...

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Peter Redmond Departs as Vice President for Global Aquaculture Alliance

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] May 31, 2016

The Global Aquaculture Alliance's Vice President of Market Development Peter Redmond will depart from his post after eight years with the organization. 

Redmond helped grow the GAA's Best Aquaculture Practices certification standard since joining the group.  The number of BAP-certified processing plants, farms, hatcheries and feed mills jumped from 141 at the end of December 2008 to 1,165 at the end of March 2016...

“Peter’s ability to understand the needs of the marketplace and communicate that to the production end of the business was paramount to the success of BAP. He was the linchpin connecting the marketplace to the production end of the business,” said GAA Executive Director Wally Stevens. “We wish him well in his next endeavor.”

Full Story »
Competing Proteins: Red Meat Markets Slide Last Week, Poultry Index Unchanged
 
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Urner Barry Newswires] Jamie Chadwick - May 31, 2016
 
This recap of red meat, poultry and egg market action serves to provide our valued seafood subscribers with a simple snapshot of current conditions throughout competing proteins.
 
In the beef complex, the spot market saw a typical seasonal market tone develop with a mix of both stronger and weaker values. Volumes of trade improved from the week prior as buyers were in the market for additional procurement in anticipation of fairly strong retail business over the holiday weekend. The Choice cutout, which represents a composite value of the carcass based...

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New Zealand's Hoki Quota Holders Ask for Expedited MSC Audit to Prove Fishery is Well Managed

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] by Michael Ramsingh - May 26, 2016

New Zealand’s hoki quota holders have asked the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to expedite a planned audit of the fishery ahead of schedule in response to a report that said New Zealand’s commercial fish catch is underreported.

The hoki fishery was scheduled for its next annual surveillance against MSC standards this November. However, as evidence of their commitment to demonstrating their ongoing compliance with the MSC’s requirements, the hoki quota owners...

 

 

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Letters: TEDs Just the Tip of the Iceberg for Louisiana's Skimmer Boats

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Letters] by Tom Mazzetta - May 26, 2016

On May 24, 2016, the Louisiana newspaper, The Advocate, ran an article entitled “Oceana Report Calls on More [Louisiana] Trawls to be Equipped with TEDs, and for Smaller Spacing Between Bars to Reduce Bycatch” (read article on Seafood News here).  While I don’t often align myself with Oceana’s positions on fisheries management, they certainly got it right this time...

 

 

Full Story »

Foxwoods Launches Resort-wide Summer Lobster Menu 

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] May 27, 2016

Foxwoods Resort Casino announced the return of its Lobster Lover’s Dream summer menu options.

Between June 1 to September 5, guests at Foxwood's resorts will be able to choose from a variety of lobster options throughout the resort. 

The promotion will see all of the resort's restaurants will serve lobster dishes made from live lobsters, tails, claws and lobster meat...

 

Full Story »

Aramark to Feature MSC-Certified Seafood at 15 Canadian College Campuses

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] May 26, 2016

Aramark has earned MSC Chain of Custody certification and will now feature wild-caught seafood certified by the MSC at universities and colleges in Canada

This is an expansion from Aramark's first college Dalhousie University to carry MSC-certified seafood back in 2014. 

“We are proud to be partnering with the Marine Stewardship Council to identify MSC certified species on our menus through the use of the blue ecolabel,”

Full Story »

Vinh Hoan Promotes Ngo Vi Tam Nguyen to CEO

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] May 25, 2016

Ngo Vi Tam Nguyen has been promoted to CEO of Vietnam’s major pangasius producer and exporter Vinh Hoan as part of the company’s succession plan.

Nguyen takes over for Vinh Hoan’s founder Truong Thi Le Khanh who will remain with the company as Chairwoman of the Board.

Nguyen has worked for Vinh Hoan for the past 13 years and was most recently promoted to Director of Sales and Marketing for the operation in 2014...

 

 

Full Story »

Handy's Crisfield, MD Seafood Processing Plant Gets "A" Grade from BRC

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] May 25, 2016

The British Retail Consortium gave Handy International's seafood processing plant in Crisfield, MD an "A" Grade, the highest achievable rating from the group.  

Handy's Crisfield operation is its third value-added seafood processing plant to earn an "A" grade from the BRC. The consortium has certified over 18,000 suppliers in over 100 countries around the globe. It was also the first Food Safety Standard to be benchmarked by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)...

Full Story »

Today's Main Story: Great Pacific Seafoods' Alaska Plants Closed  

Major Alaskan salmon processor Great Pacific Seafoods will not operate this summer and has shut down all of its operations in Alaska. The Seattle-based seafood processor operated plants in Anchorage, Kenai and Whittier and had previously run buying operations in Kotzebue and Homer. It appears Great Pacific Seafoods could not obtain the capital necessary to start up this season because of last year's low salmon prices. 

Provincial officials in P.E.I oppose a federal decision to progressively increase the lobster carapace size in LFA 25. Some say the change in the carapace size will have a direct impact on PEI fishermen who supply canner-sized lobsters and the processing plants that have invested money to develop and service that market.  

In other news, NOAA will investigate how its researchers lost a $450,000 underwater camera during a survey expedition of the Atlantic scallop stock. The camera was lost this week when its tow cable got snagged on some known wreckage near Delaware Bay. Officials want to determine why the research vessel was conducting surveys so close to the area. The lost camera will delay the scallop stock survey, which provides critical information to set commercial quotas.

Meanwhile, the South Pacific Tuna Corporation and its US partner the Global Companies question the ISSF's decision to freeze construction of new tuna vessels. Hines said the decision, which was announced this week during the Tuna 2016 conference in Bangkok, is a complete reversal of the ISSF's position in 2012 that at the time called to increase the industry's capacity. 

Finally, in some other tuna news, the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) adopted new harvest control methods to manage the Indian Ocean's skipjack tuna fishery.  The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and IOTC member states commended the Commission for setting the guidelines.  "We congratulate the IOTC and all involved in delivering this agreement, a critical breakthrough for sustainable management of Indian Ocean tuna fisheries,” said Rupert Howes, CEO of the MCS. 

We will be closed on Monday, May 30 in observation of the Memorial Day holiday in the U.S. We will return to our normal publishing schedule on Tuesday, May 31. On behalf of John, Peggy, Linda, Susan and the rest of our staff, we wish all of our readers and their families a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.

Full Story »

Today's Main Story: Atlantic Scallop Surveys Delayed After NOAA Loses $450,000 Underwater HabCam  

Atlantic scallop survey data could be limited after NOAA lost its underwater habitat camera during a survey expedition in Delaware Bay. Scientists aboard the research vessel Sharp lost the $450,000 camera after its tow cable was ensnared on a sunken ship in the Bay. It's expected to take about a week for NOAA to retrieve the camera. In the meantime, researchers said they will complete the scallop assessment using dredge surveys. Industry stakeholders said the accident was preventable. “It’s an accident that shouldn’t have happened — the wreck is well-known and its location is well known, so the captain shouldn’t have been towing in that area,” said Drew Minkiewicz an attorney for the Fisheries Survival Fund. “It’s going to take them over a week, of the very limited time on the research vessel Sharp, to get back on the survey. …We’re going to lose data.”

Provincial Fisheries Minister Steve Crocker said proposed quota cuts to Newfoundland's shrimp industry will hurt the inshore industry more than the offshore sector because of how the Last-In, First-Out (LIFO) policy is structured. "If LIFO is applied this year, the inshore harvesters are going to have approximately 10,000 tonnes to harvest. Last year they harvested I think it was 32 or 34,000 tonnes," said Crocker in a presentation to federal officials. Crocker also argued that the policy could cause the number of shrimp processing plants to drop from ten to two.  

In other news, McDonald’s, Tesco, Birds Eye, Young’s Seafood, and Fiskebat, which represent the Norwegian oceangoing fishing fleet, will not source cod from Arctic waters. The industry agreed to work with the Norwegian government to define and protect areas that may be vulnerable to trawling. “From the 2016 season the catching sector will not expand their cod fishing activities with trawl gear into those areas where regular fishing has not taken place before," the agreement states. 

Meanwhile, domestic seafood processors in Maryland and Virginia say they are short on labor because of five and six-week delays in getting workers from the Department of Labor's H-2B visa program. The Department is backed up from a flood of applicants and because of technical glitches with the agency's e-filing system. 

Finally, the hike to Alaska's state fish taxes is part of Gov. Bill Walkers's proposed omnibus tax bill that will once again go up for consideration during fourth special session of the state Legislature. Most fisheries landing taxes would be raised 1 percent, as in the regular session legislation; the major exception being a tax decrease from 4 percent to 1 percent on developing commercial fisheries. Alaska's state government could shut down in six weeks if the bill is not passed. 

Full Story »

Rich Products Joins NFI's Crab Council

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] May 24, 2016

Major retail seafood distributor Rich Products Corporation is the latest member to the National Fisheries Institute’s Crab Council. 

Rich is most know for selling its iconic SeaPak Shrimp & Seafood Co. consumer brand in retail cases. The company has also provided premiere frozen specialty seafood products for more than 60 years.

Aside from its frozen retail shrimp brand, SeaPak’s product list also includes Maryland Style Crab Cakes...

Full Story »

Trident's Akutan Pollock Processing Plant to be Featured on Science Channel this Week

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] May 24, 2016

Trident Seafoods' seafood processing facility in Akutan will be featured on television this week during an episode of the Science Channel's "Alaska Mega Machines" program. 

The episode will premiere this Wednesday, May 25 at 10 pm EST (7 PST). For Comcast customers in Seattle, the Science Channel is #272. Other viewers are asked to check their local listings. 

Alaska's pollock industry will... 

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Murkowski Mandates Labels on GE Salmon, Supports AK Fisheries in Appropriations Bill Before Senate

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] By Peggy Parker - May 24, 2016

Last Friday, the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations bill, sending it to the full Senate for consideration.

The bill contains provisions written by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski that will protect American consumers and support Alaska’s vital fishing industry....

Full Story »

IOTC Adopts Management Measures for Skipjack Tuna

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] By Michael Ramsingh - May 27, 2016

The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) adopted management measures for the Indian Ocean’s skipjack tuna fishery during its annual meeting this week in La Reunion, Guatemala.



According to the agreement a stock assessment of the fishery will be conducted every three years starting in 2017. 

Annual skipjack catch limits will be governed by a harvest control rule that uses 40% of the unfished spawning stock biomass as a threshold refrence point for reducing removals. If the estimate of current spawning stock biomass is above this level, catch limits may increase. Below this level, they must decrease.

To provide more stability, the rule also includes a cap on how much the catch limit can change annually. Either direction, the most the catch limit can change is 30% of the previous recommended catch limit.

The maximum recommended catch limit is 900,000t, to avoid adverse effects of potentially inaccurate stock assessments...

Full Story »

Senate Fast Tracks Resolution to House that Will Kill USDA Catfish Inspection Program

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh - May 26, 2016

Yesterday the U.S. Senate voted in favor of repealing the USDA’s Catfish Inspection program in a maneuver that brings the highly criticized program just two procedures away from nullification from the Farm Bill.

Joint  Resolution 28 (S.J. Res 28) cleared the Senate in a 55-43 vote. The resolution provides  “congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Secretary of Agriculture relating to inspection of fish of the order Siluriformes."

In other words, the resolution strikes the USDA’s Catfish Inspection program from the Farm Bill...

Full Story »

Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Launches Grading Tool for Fishery Improvement Projects

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] May 27, 2016

The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership launched a first-of-its-kind evaluation tool and grading system for fishery improvement projects (FIPs) that will allow the seafood industry and other stakeholders to assess the effectiveness of these initiatives.

The tool defines six “stages” of achievement for each FIP. Each stage has a number of criteria, ranging from requiring fishery evaluations or assessments from third parties to demonstrating publicly that a FIP is working to achieving sustainability certification from a third party such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)...

Full Story »

2016 Togiak Herring Season Early and Underfunded

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] By Peggy Parker - May 26, 2016

The 2016 Togiak herring season started early and ended early with an aggregate 11 percent exploitation, or harvest rate, rather than the usual maximum of 20 percent.

About 75 percent of the purse seine catch limit was taken before it became clear that the catch was showing more younger fish, something the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's management plan tries to avoid to protect younger year classes.

“The department decided to shut the fishery down before the quota was harvested because of concerns of decreasing fish size. Based on processor production data, the department decided on April 29 that the proportion of age 6 and younger fish was exceeding 30% of the harvest and that fishing should stop,” the ADF&G final season report explained.

Budget cuts prevented routine sampling being done as the herring are delivered. So there was no age, length, weight, or sex data collected from this year’s harvest.

The pre-season surveys had been eliminated by budget cuts, but the processors provided enough funds for...

Full Story »

Bristol Seafood Hires Food Industry Veteran Jimmy Davolio as VP of Sales

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] May 26, 2016

Bristol Seafood has hired Jimmy Davolio has as Vice President of Sales to manage and develop the company's portfolio of regional and national accounts.    

Davolio has significant experience within the food industry having held similar roles at Celebration Foods and Wise Foods. He replaces Darrell Pardy, Co-Founder and former President & CEO who will step down from his role as SVP of Sales.

“I am excited to become a member of the Bristol team," said Davolio...

Full Story »

Gulf Shrimp Landings Trend Higher in April But Market Unchanged as Louisiana Season Starts

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh - May 25, 2016

Gulf shrimp landings in April were up over last year’s figures, which helped push year-to-date landings over 2015 volumes.

The Gulf fleet landed about 2.8 million pounds of shrimp for the month, 59 percent over the same month last year.

Landings through the first quarter this year are up over 13 million pounds, 37 percent higher from this time last year and 19 percent over the five-year-average...

Full Story »

Preferred Freezer Sponsoring Two Cars in this Weekend's Indy 500

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] May 25, 2016

Preferred Freezer Services will field two racecars at the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

JR Hildebrand and Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) will once again drive the number 28 Chevrolet with Preferred's iconic polar bear logo.  

“I'm really glad we were able to put everything together at ECR to continue our program with Preferred Freezer,” Hildebrand said to Indycar.com...

Full Story »

Today's Main Story: Copper River Catch Approaches 200,000 Salmon, Prince William Sound Opened Yesterday  

The ADF&G reported Copper River landings at 186,600 sockeyes and 6,800 chinook. Those totals are ten percent and about 17 percent of the preseason forecast for sockeye and chinook. The average weights of the fish were 4.9 pounds for reds, 16.1 pounds for kings and 6.5 pounds for chums. Yesterday the Copper River district began a 36-hour opener at 7 a.m. Escapements for both sockeye and chinook are above pre-season forecasts.

Seattle’s Great Pacific Seafoods officially filed for bankruptcy this past Sunday after reports on Friday confirmed the operator had shuttered all of its operations in Alaska. Great Pacific’s secured and unsecured creditor claims are approximately equal to its total assets. Additionally, the company's sales and revenues declined between 2014 and 2015. This hurt the company's ability to get the working capital it needed to start processing for the season.   

Vietnam's top shrimp producer and exporter Minh Phu has a plan to reach $1 billion in sales to overseas markets in the next five years despite production issues plaguing the region's key producing regions. The company has a plan to reduce its use of antibiotics and implement low-density farming and crop rotation strategies to maximize its output. Vietnamese producers are currently battling extreme drought and salinity issues in the Mekong Delta. Meanwhile, exporters are reporting a crackdown on shipments to major markets because of illegal antibiotic residues.

We run a letter from Acy J. Cooper Jr. President of the Lousiana Shrimp Association. Cooper is critical of a letter we published last week by Tom Mazzetta that supported stiffer bycatch regulations on Louisiana's shrimp skimmers. Cooper said Mazzetta failed to point out the domestic industry's cooperation with NOAA to reduce bycatch and improve responsible fishery management practices.

Finally, a delegation of Congressional lawmakers sent a letter to the House Leadership asking that the chamber not take up a Senate-approved Resolution to kill the USDA's catfish inspection program. “We believe that the Senate’s action to nullify the catfish inspection program shortly after the program has been implemented is irresponsible and disregards overwhelming evidence proving that imported catfish represents a significant food safety threat to U.S. consumers,” the letter said.

Full Story »

Today's Main Story: Senate Fast Tracks Resolution to House that Will Kill USDA Catfish Inspection Program  

Yesterday the U.S. Senate voted in favor of repealing the USDA’s Catfish Inspection program in a maneuver that brings the highly criticized program just two procedures away from nullification from the Farm Bill. Joint  Resolution 28 (S.J. Res 28) cleared the Senate in a 55-43 vote.  The resolution strikes the USDA’s Catfish Inspection program from the Farm Bill. The provision just needs to clear a House vote and a signature from the White House to be cleared into law. “We’re pleased to see the Senate take such decisive and bipartisan action in order to get rid of a duplicative regulation that has already cost untold millions in tax dollars. We look forward to the House following up with its own vote and the President once and for all closing this chapter on Washington waste with his signature,” said the National Fisheries Institute’s President John Connelly.

New Zealand’s hoki quota holders have asked the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to expedite a planned audit of the fishery in response to a report that said New Zealand’s commercial fish catch is underreported.“We remain confident the hoki fisheries are well managed, monitored and sustainable. The fisheries undergo MSC audits each year as a means to independently verify their performance, but to address the allegations we will undertake an expedited audit as soon as possible,” said George Clement of Deepwater Group, which represents the MSC certified hoki fisheries.  

In other news, Alaska's budget battle is threatening 750 full-time and seasonal jobs with the ADF&G's commercial fisehries division. If a budget cannot be approved by June 1 all state workers will be on notice for layoffs starting July 1.

We run a Letter to the Editor from Tom Mazzetta, founder and CEO of the Mazzetta Company, supporting Oceana's recent call to require the Gulf of Mexico's shrimp skimmers to equip turtle excluder devices. In addition to TED requirments, Mazzetta also wants to see stiffer catch regulations and enforcement placed on the Gulf's skimmer sector.

Finally, Togiak's herring season opened and closed earlier this season. The fishery's final harvest of 15,171 tons was just slightly below the 2004−2013 average purse seine harvest. The harvest was 75 percent of the 20,148 ton harvest guideline. “The department decided to shut the fishery down before the quota was harvested because of concerns of decreasing fish size," the ADF&G said in its final report. 

Full Story »

Today's Main Story: Murkowski Mandates Labels on GE Salmon, Supports AK Fisheries in Appropriations Bill Before Senate  

A labeling mandate for genetically modified salmon is part of a Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations bill before the U.S. Senate. The provision was written by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski who vowed earlier this year to require federal labeling laws for genetically engineered salmon after the FDA approved the sale of AquaBounty's fish last fall.  “Alaska is known around the world for our sustainably-caught, wild, delicious seafood. Requiring labeling of genetically engineered salmon helps us to maintain Alaska’s gold-standard reputation for years to come, and protects consumers,” Murkowski said. The bill goes to the Senate for full consideration and includes recommendations for nutritional advice on seafood, assistance for Alaska’s farmers, and support for critical food assistance programs in addition to the labeling mandate. 

New Bedford's Whaling City Seafood Display Auction may periodically close in June since many of New England's groundfish boats expect to remain tied up for the month given another round of cod quota cuts to the region. Richard Canastra, co-owner of the Auction expects days where no auctions will take place, at least until July. This summer, New England's groundfish fleet will operate under a 62 percent cod quota cut to the Georges Bank fishery. 

In other news, it appears the world's octopus, squid and cuttlefish stocks are actually increasing because of warming ocean conditions. A study from the University of Adelaide in Australia determined that higher water temperatures may have allowed cephalopods to grow more quickly to larger sizes while also allowing them to live longer. Populations may also be on the rise due a decline in natural predators.

Meanwhile, scientists at the University of Washington want to test out fishing for lingcod in closed Pacific waters in an attempt to increase rockfish stocks. A study published this month found that selectively fishing for lingcod in protected areas actually avoided hampering the recovery of other fish, including rockfish species listed as overfished. “If we can use our specific knowledge of the ecosystem, we might be able to manage these conservation areas a bit more creatively — and hopefully benefit both the fishing and fish communities,” said lead author Kiva Oken.

Finally, the Science Channel will profile the Alaskan pollock industry and specifically Trident Seafoods, in an upcoming episode of "Alaskan Mega Machines." The television show will feature Trident's pollock processing plant in Akutan where it produces IQF Fillets, frozen Fillet Blocks and Surimi. "We were honored to showcase the operation and the people that keep this facility processing millions of pounds of seafood day-in and day-out," said John Salle, Trident's Senior Vice President of Marketing and Innovation. The episode will premiere this Wednesday, May 25 at 10 pm EST (7 PST).

Full Story »

Quirch Foods, Chefs Trading and Mexico's PESMAR Join Mexican Grouper FIP

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] May 24, 2016

Quirch Foods, Chefs Trading and Mexican seafood distributor Pescados y Mariscos del Caribe S.A (PESMAR) have agreed to join a Mexican grouper fishery improvement project (FIP) with Sea Delight, Handy International and the Center for Development and Sustainable Fisheries (CeDePesca).

The companies joined the grouper FIP after a roundtable discussion that was organized by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) during the last Boston Seafood Show. The meeting reviewed the FIP's plans...

 

 

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Univ. of Washington Wants to Test Lingcod Fishing in Closed Pacific Waters to Help Rockfish Stocks

SEAFOOD.COM [SeafoodNews] By Susan Chambers - May 24, 2016

Along the West Coast, lingcod fish are top predators — voracious eaters that frequently dine on species with lesser abundance, like yelloweye rockfish. But a new study may prove that innovative fishing gear could target lingcod without harming overfished rockfish species or species like Pacific halibut.

Lingcod at one time were considered overfished along with some rockfish species such as yelloweye and canary. Fishery managers established the Rockfish Conservation Area...

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