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Mar 28 - News Summary Tuesday March 28, 2017

Mar 28 - Groundfish Enterprise Allocation Council Wants Newfoundland to Temper Expectations of Cod Rebound

Mar 28 - Lakes Farm Raised Catfish Issues Recall Notice to USDA for Fish that Contain Antibiotics

Mar 27 - News Summary Wednesday March 27, 2017

Mar 27 - WWF-Canada Supports Parliament's Standing Committee Recommendations on Capelin Stock Assessments

Mar 24 - News Summary Friday March 24, 2017

Mar 24 - EU Funding Same DNA Technology That Identified Horsemeat to Properly Label Imported Snapper

Mar 23 - News Summary Thursday March 23, 2017

Mar 23 - Thai Union Expands Work Against Human Trafficking in Supply Chain to Include Global Retailers

Mar 22 - News Summary Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mar 21 - News Summary Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mar 21 - Mariner Seafood Prepared for Retail Distribution of GO WILD Brand That Extends Fresh Shelf Life

Mar 21 - Boston Show Upbeat Again this Year as Footprint Expands

Mar 20 - News Summary Monday, March 20, 2017

Mar 17 - News Summary Friday, March 17, 2017

Mar 17 - Lerøy Seafood Group Objects to Norwegian Restructuring That Will Cost it 20% of Its Cod Quota

Mar 17 - Japanese Fish Sellers Adapt to Changing Market with More Prepared Items, Different Species of Fish

Mar 17 - Commentator Gives up In Confusion Over Sustainable Fish Guides; Just a Personal Choice, She Says

Mar 16 - News Summary Thursday March 16, 2017

Mar 16 - Crabmeat Importer Blue Star Implments Cloud-Based Supply Chain Tracking for Indonesian Blue Crab

Mar 16 - Seal Predation Seen Impacting Snow Crab Stocks in Newfoundland

Mar 16 - Plea Hearing for Carlos Rafael Delayed to March 30, 2017

Mar 15 - News Summary Wednesday March 15, 2017

Mar 15 - First In-Season Cod Closure Announced for Some Southeast AK Waters

Mar 14 - News Summary Tuesday March 14, 2017

Mar 13 - News Summary Monday March 13, 2017

Mar 10 - News Summary Friday March 10, 2017

Mar 9 - News Summary Thursday March 9, 2017

Mar 8 - News Summary Wednesday March 8, 2017

Mar 7 - News Summary Tuesday March 7, 2017

Mar 6 - News Summary Monday March 6, 2017

Mar 6 - Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Trains 15,000 Shrimp and Tilapia Farmers Asia, South Pacific

Mar 6 - Mariner Seafood to Debut GO WILD Brand of Vacum Packed Line of Wild Caught Seafood at Boston

Mar 3 - News Summary Friday March 3, 2017

Mar 2 - News Summary Thursday March 2, 2017

Mar 2 - John Sevier Named New President of International Seafoods - Alaska

Mar 2 - West Coast Trawlers Receive Permits to Target Rebuilt Rockfish Stocks

Mar 1 - News Summary Wednesday March 1, 2017

Mar 1 - Long John Silver's Ready to Sell 30 Million Pieces of Fish for Lent

Feb 28 - News Summary Tuesday February 28, 2017

Feb 27 - News Summary Monday February 27, 2017

Feb 27 - Skyrocketing Pangasius (Basa) Prices in Vietnam May Mean an Increase in Chinese Tilapia Prices

Feb 27 - Mariner Seafood Becomes Funding Partner for GSSI; Backs Global Benchmark Tool

Feb 24 - News Summary Friday February 24, 2017

Feb 24 - VIDEO: Red Chamber Argentina Agrees to Shrimp Vessel Observers; Iceland’s Fishermen Get Back to Work

Feb 24 - MSC Streamlines Assessment in Pilot Program for Echebastar Indian Ocean Skipjack Tuna

Feb 23 - News Summary Thursday February 23, 2017

Feb 23 - Adak's Seafood Plant Not Processing Bering Sea Cod Because of Damage, Not Over Deliveries Lawsuit

Feb 22 - News Summary Wednesday February 22, 2017

Feb 22 - Hello Fresh's Meal Kit Delivery Service Commits to Monterey Bay's Seafood Watch Program

Feb 22 - State-Waters Cod Season Opens to Pot Gear as Federal Pot Gear Season Closes in Gulf of Alaska

Feb 22 - EDF Says Smart Reforms are Key to Global Fish Recovery, Even with Climate Change

Feb 21 - News Summary Tuesday February 21, 2017

Feb 21 - Texas' Perciformes Group Sends First Harvest of Farmed Sablefish To Washington DC Market

Feb 20 - News Summary Monday February 20, 2017

Feb 20 - Iceland's Commercial Fishermen Resume Fishing as Labor Deal Gets Narrow Approval

Feb 20 - Effective Management Can Navigate Climate Impacts on the Fisheries

Feb 17 - News Summary Friday February 17, 2017

Feb 17 - Sharp Increase in Iceland's Capelin Quota Could End Fishermen's Strike

Feb 16 - News Summary Thursday February 16, 2017

Feb 15 - News Summary Wednesday February 15, 2017

Feb 15 - HB Grandi Says Japan's Roe Market Could Benefit as Iceland Raises Capelin Quota to 299,000 MT

Feb 14 - News Summary Tuesday February 14, 2017

Feb 13 - News Summary Monday February 13, 2017

Feb 13 - Icelandic Strike Drives Fresh Norwegian Cod Prices in UK up 40%; Threatening Supermarket Profits

Feb 13 - Task Force Eyes $1 billion Alaska Maraculture Industry

Feb 10 - News Summary Friday February 10, 2017

Feb 9 - News Summary Thursday February 9, 2017

Feb 9 - For Those About to Cook, We Salute You; How Chefs Became Rock Stars

Feb 8 - News Summary Wednesday February 8, 2017

Feb 7 - News Summary Tuesday February 7, 2017

Feb 6 - News Summary Monday February 6, 2017

Feb 6 - Ken Coons, Seafood Industry Advocate and Long Time Associate Editor of Seafood News, Passes Away

Feb 3 - News Summary Friday February 3, 2017

Feb 2 - News Summary Thursday February 2, 2017

Feb 1 - News Summary Wednesday February 1, 2017

Feb 1 - Alaska Marine Conservation Council Wants to Reconnect Anchorage Residents to Locally Sourced Seafood

Jan 31 - News Summary Tuesday January 31, 2017

Jan 30 - News Summary Monday January 30, 2017

Jan 30 - US Fisheries at Grave Risk if Government Stifles Science Data (Editorial)

Jan 27 - News Summary Friday January 27, 2017

Jan 27 - NPFMC Director Chris Oliver Receives Massive Industry-Wide Support to be NOAA's Next Fisheries Admin

Jan 26 - News Summary Thursday January 26, 2017

Jan 26 - Chinese Ecommerce Company Sends Michelin Chef to Lucky Customers Home with New Year Order

Jan 26 - SMAST Researchers, Gulf of Maine Fishermen Hope Video Survey System Will Produce Better Cod Surveys

Jan 25 - News Summary Wednesday January 25, 2017

Jan 24 - News Summary Tuesday January 24, 2017

Jan 24 - Another Round of Negotiations to End Iceland's Fishermen Strike Breaks Down

Jan 24 - Symphony of Seafood Showcases New Alaska Seafood Products

Jan 23 - News Summary Monday January 23, 2017

Jan 20 - News Summary Friday, January 20, 2017

Jan 20 - New England Plaice (Dab)s Gain Sustainability Nod from GMRI

Jan 19 - News Summary Thursday, January 19, 2017

Jan 19 - FDA Says 90% of Fish Species are "Best Choice" for Pregnant Women in Confusing Final Guidance

Jan 18 - News Summary Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Jan 17 - News Summary Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Jan 17 - Alaska Sablefish Is Re-Certified Under RFM for Sustainability

Jan 16 - News Summary Monday January 16, 2017

Jan 13 - News Summary Friday January 13, 2017

Jan 12 - News Summary Thursday January 12, 2017

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Pollock roe Auctions Return High Prices, in Boost to Alaska Companies

The American pollock industry got a welcome whiff of stronger markets as the annual first A season pollock roe auction concluded in Seattle writes John Sackton. Trading and demand was strong, and prices were generally higher than last year. Given the additional volume, the auction has been a welcome boost at a time when pollock prices for blocks are very low.

Canada's Northern cod stocks continue to rebound in Newfoundland, but the industry is still deep in the critical zone, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). But despite DFO’s warning that fishing should be kept to “the lowest possible levels,” a representative of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (FFAW) says it’s time for a significant increase in quota. The Groundfish Enterprise Allocation Council (GEAC) says that Newfoundland needs to wait before getting commercial cod activity underway. “While the industry is naturally excited about the prospects of an increased harvest, we need to resist the temptation to increase catch prematurely – a view shared by the Standing Committee of Fisheries. We must act responsibly; the world fisheries community is watching, and we must get it right this time," said Dr. Kris Vascotto the Executive Director of the GEAC.

In other news, dozens of angry fishermen in Mexico burned a boat as part of a threat to force out a ship operated by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in Mexico's Gulf of California. The fishermen are upset with a misguided campaign by a group of conservationists that called for US consumers to boycott Mexican shrimp in order to save the endangered vaquita porpoise. "Just as they are judging us fishermen, we will judge all the environmentalists," said Sunshine Rodriguez, a leader of the local fishing cooperative in San Felipe, Baja California. "We aren't going to just sit around."

Two subsidiaries of Pacific Andes have filed for their own Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections in a New York court this week. These filings follow a court decision in the British Virgin Islands this past February that allowed creditor banks to liquidate one of Pacific's other subsidiaries. Nouvelle Foods International Limited and Golden Target Pacific Limited said they “believe that it is in the best interests of its shareholders to file for protection under Chapter 11 to ensure the continuation of a transparent and comprehensive restructuring process.”

Finally, India's major port city Visakhapatnam in the state of Andhra Pradesh will get a a state of the art seafood processing and cold storage facility. The units will be modeled after operations in Japan and China. They will be outfitted to produce and store seafood exports for major markets including Europe, South America and Central America.

Full Story »

Lakes Farm Raised Catfish Issues Recall Notice to USDA for Fish that Contain Antibiotics

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] March 28, 2017

Lakes Farm Raised Catfish Inc., a Dundee, Miss. establishment, issued a recall for approximately 1,695 pounds of domestic catfish products that may be adulterated with residues, specifically Malachite Green and Leucomalachite Green, according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). 

The products were produced on March 14 through 17, 2017. The following products are subject to recall...

Full Story »

WWF-Canada Supports Parliament's Standing Committee Recommendations on Capelin Stock Assessments

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] - March 27, 2017

The Canadian Parliament's Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans released a report on rebuilding the country's cod stocks recently, noting the importance of capelin as the major foodsource for cod. 

Their series of recommendations included (Recommendations 4 and 5) an immediate stock assessment for capelin, including a full stock assessment in NAFO divisions 2J3KL...

Full Story »

EU Funding Same DNA Technology That Identified Horsemeat to Properly Label Imported Snapper

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] March 24, 2017

The EU is funding a project that is using DNA samples to identify snapper species that are imported to the market in an effort to reduce mislabeling. This is the same technology used a few years ago that identified horse meat in the EU supply chain. 

The SNAPTRACE project is being created at the University of Salford in the UK and is lead by Dr Donna Cawthorn.

The project is collecting DNA samples of snappers from around the world and analyzing them against EU customs data... 

Full Story »

Thai Union Expands Work Against Human Trafficking in Supply Chain to Include Global Retailers

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] March 23, 2017

Thai Union Group and Issara Institute are now Regional Partners in an effort to improve working conditions in Thai Union's supply chain. 

This is an expansion of Thai Union's agreement with Issara Institute. Thai Union said it will work with global brands and retailers such as Marks and Spencer, Mars, Nestle, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, and Walmart in a collaborative approach to address human trafficking in global supply chains.     

“Thai Union considers our work with Issara Institute an imperative to effectively combating the difficult issues migrants often face,” said Darian McBain Ph.D., Thai Union’s global director for sustainable development.

Full Story »

News Summary March 21, 2017

Today's Main Story: ADF&G Forecasts Alaska's Salmon Catch to Top 200 Million Fish this Summer

Alaska salmon fishermen could haul in a harvest nearly double last year's catch due to a projected uptick in the number of pinks. An Alaska Department of Fish and Game report on 2017 salmon run forecasts and harvest projections pegs the catch at 204 million fish. That compares to just over 112 million salmon taken by fishermen in 2016. The catch last season included 53 million sockeye salmon — the fifth-largest harvest since 1970 — but only 39 million pinks, the smallest since 1977. This year's forecast calls for an average catch of sockeye salmon at 41 million, 12 million fewer than last year. For those hard-to-predict pinks, the harvest projection of nearly 142 million is nearly 103 million more than last summer.

The Boston Seafood Show, now called Seafood Expo North America, has an upbeat feel this year. The Show owner, Diversified, says it is the biggest show ever in terms of booth space. In the past, the organizers had co-located the show with a regional New England Foodservice Show. This year that is not happening and the entire hall is seafood only. Despite high prices on a number of items, the overall feeling here is one of optimism.

In other news, food safety authorities have seized shrimps injected with gelatin from a wet market in southern China. Gelatin was found in three batches of frozen shrimps in a wet market in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, in recent days, according to Guangdong Satellite TV. The shrimps’ bodies and head were glued together by edible gelatin, which is often used to make jellies and other desserts. Experts were quoted in the report as saying the suppliers injected the gelatin to make the shrimps appear healthier or to cover up rotten meat.

The Sitka Sound herring sac roe fishery opened March 19 for a three-hour-and-twenty-minute first opener, after being on a two-hour notice since March 17. Preliminary hails from processors put the total harvest at 3,500 mt of a total GHL of 14,649 mt. The opening was based on three samples taken from the area with the following results: Mountain Point, 11.3% mature roe, 1.1% immature roe, 128 gram a

Full Story »

Boston Show Upbeat Again this Year as Footprint Expands

SEAFOODNEWS.COM     by John Sackton March 21, 2017

The Boston Seafood Show, now called Seafood Expo North America, has an upbeat feel this year.  The Show owner Diversified says it is the biggest show ever in terms of booth space.  In the past the organizers had co-located the show with a regional New England Foodservice Show.  This year that is not happening and the entire hall is seafood only.

Despite high prices on a number of items, the overall feeling here is one of optimism.  Few people have any significant inventories on high priced product, and it is only a couple of items.. such as small coldwater shrimp and some smaller sizes of lobster tails that seem in ample supply.

On the other hand, many buyers are expecting lower...

Full Story »

News Summary March 17, 2017 

Today's Main Story: NGO’s Stumble at Start of Boston Seafood Show with Call for Mexican Shrimp Boycott

Today's news opens reporting that a group of 45 conservation organizations, led by the Natural Resources Defense Council, will target seafood distributors and retailers at the Boston Seafood Show to urge them to boycott Mexican shrimp. Trader Joe's will also be a focal point for this campaign. The hastily arranged campaign, to save the Vaquita Porpoise, ignores all the efforts that are ...

Full Story »

Japanese Fish Sellers Adapt to Changing Market with More Prepared Items, Different Species of Fish

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Japan Reports]  March 17, 2017

Japanese fish retailers are trying to change to respond to changing consumer trends and they are trying to decrease in long term decline in fish consumption. They are no longer dependent solely on the conventional tactics of selling fresh fish.

Retailers are trying boost sales through new approaches. Instead of only displaying fish slices (fillets) or sashimi on the shelves, they are marketing slice products seasoned with various flavors...

Full Story »

NMFS's Budget Spared in Trump Administration's Proposal to Slash Commerce Department Funding 16%

The Trump Administration's proposal to cut the Department of Commerce's budget by 16 percent does not specify the extent of cuts to NOAA's satellite programs but it appears to include only minor reductions to NMFS. It has been reported that the budget proposal would eliminate $250 million in coastal research programs including $73 million for Sea Grant programs.

One of the issues flagged in the dismal assessment of Newfoundland snow crab stocks this year was increased predation on snow crabs. One source of the increased predation is thought to be cod, which are eating more snow crab as capelin, their primary food, has not recovered sufficiently to support current cod populations. Another source of predation is seals. Recently Baie Verde native Danny Dicks harvested a bearded seal that had 181 female and 2 male snow crab in its stomach. The seal weighed between 200 and 300 pounds.

In other news, a Minnesota state lawmaker proposed a bill to provide short-term tax incentives for entrepreneurs who want to jump into the shrimp farming business in the state. The bill proposed by Rep. Chris Swedzinski was positively received by the state's House Agriculture Policy Committee. “We’re looking to build a whole new industry of agriculture in Minnesota, one that uses local commodities and creates very good jobs,” Rep. Swedzinski said.

Meanwhile, about 27 million adult salmon returned to Alaska’s 28 hatcheries last summer dotted throughout Prince William Sound, Southeast and Kodiak. That was less than half of the forecast and the lowest return since 1992. From that, the hatchery catch plummeted to 24 million salmon, or just 22 percent of the statewide harvest, again the lowest since 1992. The dockside value of the hatchery fish at $85 million was the lowest since 2005.

Finally, we publish a video by the National Fisheries Institute that features an interview with attorney Katherine Alveraz, who is the general counsel for Alfa Gamma Seafood Group in Miami and Derek Figueroa, COO of Seattle Fish Company in Denver who discuss the potential impact of the Trump Administration's proposed border tax on the seafood market in the US. The border adjustment tax would tax imports and exempt exports as part of a plan to encourage companies to locate or keep jobs and production in the U.S. Alvarez and Figueroa emphasize that a majority of the wild caught and farmed seafood Americans eat—at least 85 percent—is imported. This means the tax could increase the cost of seafood for consumers in the US market. This could result in a decline in seafood sales and actually in job losses, not job creation, across the country.

Full Story »

Seal Predation Seen Impacting Snow Crab Stocks in Newfoundland

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  by John Sackton  March 16, 2017

One of the issues flagged in the dismal assessment of Newfoundland snow crab stocks this year was increased predation on snow crabs.

One source of the increased predation is thought to be cod, which are eating more snow crab as capelin, their primary food, has not recovered sufficiently to support current cod populations.

Another source of predation is seals.  Recently Baie Verde native Danny Dicks harvested a bearded seal that had 181 female and 2 male snow crab in its stomach.  The seal weighed between 200 and 300 pounds...

Full Story »

Russia Plans to Seize Fishing Quotas from Producers Who Build Trawlers With Foreign Capital

Russia's federal fisheries agency plans to start more active seizures of fishing quotas from harvesters who rely on foreign capital to build vessels. The seizures are part of a plan is to encourage fishermen to build fishing trawlers at local shipyards, according to a spokesman at Rosrybolovstvo. Initially, the goal will be to distribute about 20% of the total volume of fishing quotas to local producers that use domestic shipyards. Ultimately, Russia wants as much as 35 percent of quotas distributed to producers that use domestic shipbuilders. In more Russian fishery news, Japan's Hokkaido Federation of Fishermen say Russia's catch of pollock with roe from the Sea of Okhotsk is down about 7 percent during the A season. The federation says that the pace of production slowed from last year around late February, and showed no signs of recovery in the first week of March.

Reports in China suggest customs officials are cracking down on illegal shrimp and lobster shipments imported through Vietnam. Reports suggest buyers in China are pushing for illegal seafood smuggling to avoid high tariffs. It is beleived that the illegal trade will continue for a couple more years until a free trade agreement between China and Australia goes into effect in 2019. That agreement will eliminate rates on Australian seafood shipped to the Chinese market over the course of four years.

In other news, Maine seafood distributor Bristol Seafood has earned Fair Trade Certification for its line of North Atlantic Sea Scallops. This is the first domestically harvested seafood item in the US market to earn recognition from the Fair Trade program. “We are very proud to be the first to introduce Fair Trade Certified seafood harvested in the United States,” said Peter Handy, Presi­dent and CEO of Bristol Seafood. “All of our products are based on integrity and sustainable practices, and Fair Trade certification gives our customers third-party valida­tion that we operate in a socially responsible manner as well.”

Meanwhile, commercial salmon fishermen in Oregon and California are once again looking at no significant summer season this year -- a repeat of similar conditions in the late 2000s. The Pacific Fishery Management Council this week announced sport and commercial salmon fishing seasons that would go out for public review between now and its April 6-11 meeting. The Council will choose the final fishing seasons in April for submittal to the National Marine Fisheries Service's approval and implementation by May 1.

Finally, a new bill is being proposed by Alaska lawmakers that would require captains collect an as yet undefined amount of each crew’s wages and remit it to the state Department of Revenue. The United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) opposes the proposal. “We don’t want to be tax collectors, we just want to be able to send a 1099 to the state and then they collect from the crews. We have no idea what their taxes are and I think they are going to make more work for themselves," said UFA's president Jerry McCune.

Full Story »

Camanchaca Enters Shrimp Market in Joint Venture with Krustagroup to Sell Argentine Shrimp Products

The aquaculture and fishing company Camanchaca has signed a joint venture with the Spanish company Krustagroup, which is the processing and marketing arm of the Amasua Group. The group owns a fleet of fishing vessels in Argentina that are mainly engaged in catching Argentine red shrimp. The deal will have Camanchaca debut three products next week during Seafood Expo North America in Boston under its Pier 33 brand. Among the products will be an Argentine red shrimp product. Demand for Argentina's wild caught red shrimp in the US market has been especially high in the last year both in the retail and foodservice sectors.

Vietnam's pangasius industry is under attack in the EU since Carrefour’s ban on sales in Belgium in late January has since gained quick NGO support. A wave of negative media attention directed at the farmed pangasius industry following the ban has hurt sales across the EU market, despite the fact that pangasius is farmed both to ASC and BAP standards. This media frenzy has caused immediate changes in consumer habits which have already been felt by exporters. However, traders, industry groups, members of the scientific community and even retailers have come to the defense of Vietnamese pangasius.

In other news, Peggy Parker writes of Urchinomics, a company founded by Brian Tsuyoshi Takeda. Takeda's company uses a revolutionary process to farm sea urchins from the barrens, which feeds them a kelp-based food product that triggers production of uni (roe) in weeks rather than months. The company was founded since sea urchin populations have rebounded by clearcutting kelp forests, which means they stop producing roe that sells for $200 per pound. The process is in trial stages in Quebec and the Canadian Maritimes, British Columbia, Australia, and Japan.

Meanwhile, the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) said the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) seafood certification standards align with all of the Essential Components of the GSSI’s Global Benchmark Tool. This makes the MSC the third seafood certification standard to be successfully benchmarked by the GSSI. This process reaffirms our commitment to maintain world-leading science-based standards which are widely applicable and help to drive real change on the water. Anyone committing to purchase MSC certified seafood can be confident that it reflects global best practice in fisheries management,” said Dr David Agnew, Director of Science and Standards at the MSC.

Finally, Marine Harvest is experimenting with farming salmon using an advanced marine egg co

Full Story »

High Global Demand for Argentine Red Shrimp Pinched Supplies, Raised Prices in 2016

High demand for Argentine red shrimp in global markets last year pinched available inventories for buyers compared to the previous year and raised the cost to replace product in the US market in 2016. Traders say global interest from the US, EU, Japan and Chinese markets for Argentina’s red shrimp last year wiped out carryover inventories from the previous year. Usually, these frozen inventories are able to fill orders between fishing seasons. Another wrinkle in production was delayed production from the inshore fishing season, which usually starts in October and runs through March. But indications are that Argentina’s inshore fishing in January and February in 2017 was a bit better compared to last year. So while there is ample evidence that 2016 was a banner year for Argentine red shrimp demand and sales in global markets; close attention will be paid to production levels going forward to see if the pace set last year can be repeated in 2017.

The EU is investigating if shrimp from India is being transshipped through Vietnam to avoid high duty rates. German Customs officials are leading the investigation after a surge of unprocessed shrimp to Vietnam from India was reported. If Vietnam is found to use India-sourced shrimp for processing and export to the EU, the bloc will raise import tariff for Vietnamese shrimp. Currently, EU duties on Vietnamese shrimp are far lower compared to duties on Indian shipments to the EU market.

In other news, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is refocusing its efforts to detect listeria at seafood processing, importing and distribution facilities in the US and is using Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) technology to do so. The FDA issued a seafood warning letter to a smoked salmon producer at the end of the February that used the technology to detect listeria at its facility. “WGS is going to be an important tool moving forward in FDAs efforts to isolate and study pathogenic bacteria and consequent outbreaks. WGS refines the process of tying facilities to contaminated products and outbreaks. The FDA has refocused its attention on RTE processors, as listeria has continued to pose a serious public safety concern," said seafood facility auditor Scott Zimmerman, who is also the founder and CEO of Safe Quality Seafood Associates in Miami.

Meanwhile, Clearwater Seafoods says its clam production is 50 percent since it invested $135 million to build two new clam trawlers. The company’s inventories of clams, which account for about 15 percent of Clearwater's total revenues, grew by about $23.9 million last year, far in excess of the company’s usual level of $15 million worth of this product in inventory. “The Belle Carnell has excellent results on our fishing grounds and resulted in a 50-per-cent increase in our total clams,” Ian Smith, Clearwater Seafoods’ CEO.

Finally, SeaWatch International and some affiliates, filed a lawsuit to end laws that restrict non-New York fishing boats, and those more than 70 feet long, from New York's surf clam fishery. The suit also seeks to nullify the expiration of a 2012 law that allowed surf-clam interests to harvest the quota of more than one permit on a single boat.

Have a great weekend.

Full Story »

Mahi Coming Off Menus With 2016/17 Season a Bust, US Inventories Limited and Market at Record Highs

Mahi is starting to come off of restaurant menus in the US this year since the 2016/17 fishing season in Central and South America was a bust, which has limited inventories in the US market, pushed frozen wholesale markets to record levels and sent fresh prices to abnormally high prices for this time of the year. Fresh and frozen mahi supplies are down from a combination of water temperature-induced production problems from major Central and South American suppliers and a hike in FDA inspections and rejections of mahi in 2016. Frozen mahi prices are now at record highs, while fresh prices are trending well above averages for this time of the year.

Major Chinese scallop producer and exporter Zhangzidao posted improved revenues in 2016. The company took several steps to turn around its business last year including improving its scallop production and sales to domestic markets. The company also to streamlined the management of its operations and slimmed down its business goals to focus more on production rather than distribution logistics.

Meanwhile, Clearwater Seafoods' sales grew 21 percent in 2016 compared to the previous year. Clearwater said its sales and earnings were positively impacted by strong prices for scallops and higher sales volumes for clams, lobster, langoustine, whelks and crab. However, Clearwater said this growth was mostly from its acquisition of Macduff Shellfish's operations in late 2015. Otherwise, the company's sales fell short of its target. "Excluding Macduff, Clearwater's core business financial performance was below expectations as the company felt the combined effects of shortages of supply in northern shrimp and sea scallops," said Ian Smith, Chief Executive Officer.

In other news, Japan's inventory of salted kazunoko (herring roe) carried over from 2016 is up 10 percent from a year before according to the Fisheries Agency's cold-store seafood distribution statistics. The agency said this was the highest increase rate on record.

Finally, the New England Fishery Management Council’s scallop committee will meet to discuss how catch reports might be compiled more quickly and how to collect better scientific data to estimate the number of scallops in the northern gulf. The committee first will work to identify issues that need to be addressed before the council considers making changes to fishing restrictions for each class of vessel. Some of Maine's small boat scallopers say current regulations favor unlimited quotas for the big boat sector and that they are getting squeezed out of the fishery.

Full Story »

Groundfish Enterprise Allocation Council Wants Newfoundland to Temper Expectations of Cod Rebound

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] March 28, 2017

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans released its technical briefing on the status of Canada’s iconic Northern Cod Stock.  Within the last decade, this stock complex has begun to recover from the brink of commercial extinction.  Although it continues to rebuild, there are clear signs that the recovery is not as robust as was projected only a year ago the Groundfish Enterprise Allocation Council (GEAC) said in a press release this week...

Full Story »

Some Newfoundland Snow Crab Plants Attempting to Settle with Japanese at $6.95 FOB St. John’s

Major Newfoundland snow crab packer Quinlan Bros. announced their first contract with Japanese buyers. The company has agreed with Maruha Nichiro on a first order for 1000 tons, packed to Japanese specifications, at a price of $6.95 FOB St. John’s. The Quinlan Bros. now have a state-of-the-art plant since rebuilding the Newfoundland facility after a fire razed the plant just before the start to the snow crab season last year. The destruction of the plant created a chaotic situation in the snow crab market last year as Japanese buyers had to scramble to fill orders that they thought were solid. There are several other major plants in Newfoundland that have agreed to sell at this same price, but as of press time, no additional contracts have been publicly announced. There certainly is a strong desire for more orderly Japanese purchasing this year, on the part of both crab producers and their major Japanese partners writes John Sackton.

Record high prices for many popular seafood items in the US market are likely to support more shrimp consumption in 2017 given the item's relatively stable price and a strong supply outlook.A look at Urner Barry quotations show high market prices for salmon, snow crab, king crab and mahi-mahi. Compared to these other seafood species, the shrimp market represents a value and could be used as a replacement item on restaurant menus and among retailers.

In other news, the normalization of trade relations between China and Norway has salmon producers in Norway looking to expand sales to the Chinese market. The industry is looking for new markets and new ways to boost margins. One such example is Marine Harvest cooperation with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China’s biggest e-commerce company, to sell salmon online. “China is too big to ignore,” Hogne I. Tyssoy, portfolio manager of the Holberg Triton fund, said “Now when it’s opening again, Norwegian seafood has an exciting future in China.”

Meanwhile, Indian shrimp exports are likely to benefit from lower duty rates the US Department of Commerce preliminarily announced in March. The 1.07 percent country-wide rate would result in some refunds for several exporters if finalized. "Because of the duty being lowered, a lot of major exporters will stand to get duty refunds which will be a big boost for the exports," said Rajen Padhy, director general of Utkal Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a seafood consultant.

Finally, Red Lobster continues to expand to international markets. It has built 21 restaurants internationally since its spun off from Darden Restaurants in 2014. The company has expanded to Mexico, Ecuador and Saudi Arabia among other markets. Red Lobster hasn't built a new restaurant in the US over two years and doesn't have any immediate plans for new American locations.

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Torrential Rain, Massive Flooding Deals Blow to Peruvian Scallop Production

Weeks of torrential rains and flooding in Peru are impacting scallop production in the Northern part of the country. Expectations are for Peruvian scallops supplies to be limited at least short term.According to European seafood analysts at Seafood Intelligence Portal (SIP), the flooding is hurting Peruvian scallop production. Van Herwijnen said many scallops farms in Sechura Bay are closed indefinitely, particularly those that use bottom farming systems. He said operators that use hanging rope systems have relocated production farther out to sea. The expectation is for Peruvian supplies to be tight. Meanwhile, long term damage to Peru’s production and exports remains murky.

In Newfoundland, the return of cod may be signaling a shift in the food cycle that could hurt coldwater shrimp stocks. For the last decade the northern cod stock has been increasing at a rate of about 30 per cent per year. Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s 2016 stock assessment estimated its total biomass at around 300,000 metric tons. Biologists say a shift is occurring back to the traditional order of a capelin-cod dominated food chain.

In other news, booming squid catches and high prices have some squid fishermen in Point Judith concerned. At issue is how the port's economy has become heavily reliant on the squid fishery. Fishermen live in a constant worry about losing their fishing grounds; they worry over changing policy and the uncertainty of finances from one year to the next. A vessel used to be able to jump from one fishery to the next, from cod to fluke to squid to herring. That no longer occurs. This is a similar problem Maine is experiencing with fishermen almost solsolelypendant on lobster.

Meanwhile, Alaska's Board of Fisheries is meeting in Anchorage this week and commissioners are looking into the possibility of opening the fishery even in low abundance years.The Bering Sea Bairdi (or Tanner) crab fishery stayed closed this year, for the first time in four years. State biologists decided there were too few crab to safely harvest. But fishermen are questioning that decision. They say there were plentiful Bairdi when they were fishing for other species.

Finally, in this week's Seafood News Roundup show we recap some of the major stories that we reported from this week's Seafood Expo North America in Boston. It was a busy and upbeat show with lots of traffic at Urner Barry's booth and around the show floor. We appreciate those in the industry who took time out of their schedules to meet with us.

Have a great weekend and get some rest.

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Oregon Pink Shrimp Price Negotiations Canceled This Week

State-supervised price negotiations between shrimp fishermen and processors have been canceled this week and are likely postponed due to a lack of fishermen available. It would have been the first time in seven years that shrimpers and processors would have met to negotiate and settle on an ex-vessel price. Oregon Trawl Commission Director Brad Pettinger said fishermen's associations didn't have enough members to participate. Pettinger said that a little more advance notice of the negotiations cancellation could have helped fishermen's associations to recruit more members to participate in the price talks. Industry participants on both sides indicated they want to start the season on April 1.

The Northern Gulf of Maine area is now closed to scallop fishing, two months ahead of last season. Jennifer Goebel, a spokeswoman for NOAA’s Great Atlantic Region Fisheries Office in Gloucester, said Wednesday that the area is being closed down because vessels permitted specifically to drag for scallops in that area have reached their cumulative annual limit. The season in the northern Gulf of Maine opens each year on March 1.

In other news, a widespread outbreak of norovirus in British Columbia has forced the closure of seven coastal oyster farms in the province. The outbreak has sickened hundreds of consumers in B.C., Alberta, and Ontario. The cause of the norovirus has yet to be determined and government officials and scientists are examining a range of possibilities, including a sewage leak or perhaps an unusually cold winter that also meant less sunlight, which affected the oysters' ability to filter toxins.

Meanwhile, rising sea temperatures in the Bay of Fundy are blamed for an increasing number of sea lice outbreaks according to the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association. In late July 2016, sea lice killed 252,000 Atlantic salmon at two Gray's Aqua group farms in Passamaquoddy Bay. Another 284,000 fish were pre-emptively killed to contain the sea lice outbreak.

Finally, Alaska's herring sac roe seine fleet in Sitka has landed about half the fishery's quota during second opener of the season this past Tuesday. ""Fishery participants should expect another fishery on Friday, March 24, depending on results of roe sampling, vessel and aerial surveys," and ADF&G herring biologists said.

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News Summary March 22, 2017

Today's Main Story: Sakhalin Officials Arrested for Allowing IUU Russian Crab to Flow to China

Headlining the news today is a focus on how the Russian Sakhalin Island continues to be a battlefield between local officials and the Russian crab mafia, which is trying to restore its positions that have been significantly affected by the recently tightened fight with crab poaching in Russia. Alexander Khoroshavin, the former governor of the Sakhalin Island was arrested and the investigation of his case continues. Additionally, Alexander Taratenko, head of Rosrybolovstvo of Sakhalin, together with Mikhail Kuzmenko, the Minister of Agriculture of Sakhalin (and a person, who oversees the development of regional fish industry, and in particular its crab segment) were arrested on the suspicions of power abuse.

In other news, catches of Alaska halibut are starting to pick up after wild weather got the fishery off to a slow start after the March 11 opener. Less than half a million pounds have been landed through Tuesday by 82 deliveries, with Sitka leading all ports, followed by Seward and Kodiak. Just seven boats had delivered about 36-thousand pounds of halibut at Kodiak through Tuesday; 52-thousand pounds crossed the docks at Seward from eight landings, and nearly 65-thousand pounds at Sitka from 15 boats. Landings at other Alaska ports weren’t available because they were too few yet to record. The prized fish are getting big prices, up 30 cents a pound compared to the start of the season last year.

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Mariner Seafood Prepared for Retail Distribution of GO WILD Brand That Extends Fresh Shelf Life

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] March 21, 2017

Mariner Seafood launched a line of wild caught seafood items at the Seafood Expo North America in Boston that uses a patented technology that gives retailers an option to feature the items in fresh seafood cases.

The GO WILD seafood brand uses patented, breathable film that allows oxygen to flow through the products. This super chill pack technology extends the shelf life of the portioned out seafood products...

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News Summary March 20, 2017 

Today's Main Story: Mike Tourkistas Steps Down from CEO Role as East Coast Seafoods Hires New CEO

Leading the headlines today is word that Michael Tourkistas, who together with his wife Heidi built East Coast Seafoods from a two person operation into the largest distributor of live and frozen North American Lobster, is realizing a transition plan that allows him to step back somewhat from the company, but propels the $400 million operation on a robust growth path.

In other news, a new trade deal looming between Canada and the European Union is setting off alarm bells in the Maine lobster industry. The deal between Canada and the EU – the largest seafood consumer market in the world – would eliminate tariffs on Canadian lobster exports into Europe and give the Maritimes a competitive advantage over their American counterparts, who would be stuck selling lobsters with tariffs ranging from 8 percent for a live lobster to 20 percent on processed or cooked lobster.

Meanwhile, the expanding market for lobsters in China is continuing to grow, with the country setting a new record for the value of its imports of the crustaceans from the United States. Last year, China imported more than $108 million in lobsters from America, surpassing the previous high of about $90.2 million in 2014. Chinese importers took in more than 14 million pounds of U.S. lobsters last year, which was also a record. The 

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Lerøy Seafood Group Objects to Norwegian Restructuring That Will Cost it 20% of Its Cod Quota

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] - March 17, 2017

The Leroy Group has filed public objections over a Norwegian government plan that they say will mean a loss of 20% of their cod quota.  

"The Government announced today a proposal that would imply in part significant changes to the regulatory framework for the fishing industry. Should they adopt the proposed changes, this will have an impact on operations for Lerøy Seafood Group ASA's (Lerøy) subsidiaries, Havfisk AS and Norway Seafoods Group AS. The proposal is the result of a consultation process in which Lerøy also provided input. To date, the Lerøy Group has not had the ...

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Commentator Gives up In Confusion Over Sustainable Fish Guides; Just a Personal Choice, She Says

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [NPR] by Natalie Jacewicz - March 16, 2017

 This month, I ventured to ask the man behind the counter at a Whole Foods Market what kind of shrimp he was selling. "I don't know," he replied. "I think they're just normal shrimp." I glanced at the sustainable seafood guide on my phone. There were 80 entries for shrimp, none of them listed "normal."

What about the cod?Was it Atlantic or Pacific? Atlantic. How was it caught?...


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Crabmeat Importer Blue Star Implements Cloud-Based Supply Chain Tracking for Indonesian Blue Crab

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] March 16, 2017

Miami-based crabmeat producer and importer Blue Star Foods has launched a cloud based fisheries data collection platform for the blue swimming crab it sources from Indonesia.

The mobile based data collection system integrates three components to provide a completely traceable supply chain Blue Star said in a press release. The company announced the platform with its partner Wilderness Markets, a conservation finance & impact investment firm. 

The platform's geospatial boat tracking system provides “on the water” data for fishing duration, location and timing...

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Plea Hearing for Carlos Rafael Delayed to March 30, 2017

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] - March 16, 2017

NEW BEDFORD — The ongoing legal saga of Carlos Rafael has been extended again with a new court date. Yesterday, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts said Rafael's plea statement has been postponed to March 30 at 2:30 p.m. in Boston's U.S. District Court.

Rafael is expected to plead guilty to charges related to evading fishing quotas and smuggling profits to Portugal. He was originally scheduled...

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First In-Season Cod Closure Announced for Some Southeast AK Waters

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] - March 15, 2017

SITKA - The first in-season closure of selected areas of Southeast Alaska for the Pacific cod directed fishery was announced yesterday by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G).

The closure was effective yesterday at 11:59 p.m. in all waters of Cross Sound, Icy Strait, Port Frederick, Lynn Canal, Berners Bay, an area of northern Chatham Strait, and in parts of Gastineau Channel and Stephens Passage. Specific boundary locations for the closure are available...

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As Season Wraps, Bering Sea Crabbers Focus on New Rules, Harvest Policy

As the Bering Sea crab fleet pulls the last of their snow crab pots, attention is quickly pivoting to the Board of Fish meeting being held next week. The season will likely wrap up with landings very close to the season's allocated quota. The supplemental March 20-24 Board of Fish meeting is drawing the interest of all crabbers, as the seven-member board will deal with king and tanner crab issues from Prince William Sound west to Kodiak, the Aleutians, and the Bering Sea. Submitting seven proposals for Bering Sea bairdi, the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers (ABSC) is focused on crab bycatch, gear efficiencies, and fishing dates. “But even more important, and what’s not on the agenda,” says Tyson Fick, executive director of ABSC, “are the ongoing conversations with Fish and Game about the stock harvest strategy for bairdi.”

Canada announced a $325 million budget for the Atlantic Fisheries Fund. The fund was announced last summer but federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc only made the budget public Friday. Representatives from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I., were on hand at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport to offer their support to the initiative, despite the fact no province has yet formally signed onto the agreement to make the money available to their province. "I am confident that this new $325-million federal investment will solidify the importance of seafood and fish to the economy of Atlantic Canada," LeBlanc said.

In other news, major Seattle-based crab and seafood distributor Keyport LLC is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month just one year after the company posted record sales. The company was founded by industry veteran Darryl K. Pedersen, with day-to-day operations handled by his sons Mark and Kurt. Last year, the company posted record sales. Keyport said it will release several new products this year to continue its growth. "“Kurt and I are excited to see the growth we are experiencing due to our continued development of fisheries, innovative products, unique partnerships and we’re particularly optimistic with our new product line up in 2017," said Mark Pedersen, President & CEO at Keyport.

Meanwhile, a three-month project that promoted Bristol Bay sockeye salmon in Boulder, Colorado boosted sales and is already expanding. The $700,000 Wild Taste, Amazing Place campaign was spawned by the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, and funded by 1,800 driftnet fishermen who pay a one percent tax on the value of their catches. "We worked with retail staff help and educated them about Bristol Bay and the run, about the unique habitat and the sheer size and that each one of our fishermen is a small independent business," said Becky Martello director of the Bristol Bay Association.

Finally, Anova Food, which is a subsidiary of Bumble Bee Foods, has earned SA8000 social certification for its tuna processing and distribution facility in Vietnam, which confirms that the company's labor practices meet acceptable human rights standards. The scheme is based on the principles of international human rights norms Anova said.

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Carlos Rafael to Plead Guilty to Federal Charges of Fishery Fraud and Cash Smuggling

Carlos Rafael will plead guilty to federal charges of evading fishing quotas and smuggling profits to Portugal as part of a settlement he reached with the government, the U.S. Attorney's office in Massachusetts said Wednesday. Rafael faced one count of conspiracy, 25 counts of lying to federal fishing regulators and one count of bulk cash smuggling. The U.S. Attorney's office provided no further details regarding the plea deal. Rafael is well known in New England as the owner of the largest commercial fishing business in the region, which includes 40 commercial vessels. 

The Natural Resources Defense Council, Oceana and the Center for Biological Diversity have backed the US government in a lawsuit filed by the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) against the Obama Administration's Seafood Traceability Rule. The groups argue that the rule is vital to help curb illegal and unreported fishing and that it should be upheld even if the Trump administration wants to scrap it. The NFI's lawsuit says there are enough regulations are on the books to ensure that the US seafood supply is safe. “We are specifically suing the government because it improperly and illegally crafted a costly and duplicative rule. In inserting themselves in this lawsuit, it would appear that these outside groups are suggesting they were somehow involved in crafting that rule, a dynamic that raises a whole different set of questions,” said Gavin Gibbons, vice president of communications for the NFI.

In other news, the ADF&G recently completed a multi-year study taking genetic samples from sockeye harvested in the Kodiak Management Area seine fishery. The three-year study found that a significant percentage of the sockeye harvested in that fishery were of Cook Inlet origin in two years. The data, first presented at the Kodiak Board of Fisheries meeting in January, is the first time a mixed-stock analysis was conducted on Kodiak sockeye fisheries and was originally requested by the board as part of a longtime project to study stock composition in the Kodiak Management Area to further develop the management plans.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has offered to compromise with the Washington commission over their differences regarding the Columbia River salmon reforms. The compromise is a response to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's order to renege on the Oregon Commission's decision to allow some commercial gillnet fishing on the river.

Finally, the directors of the marine resources divisions of the five Gulf states visited with senators, representatives and congressional staffers in Washington D.C. this week to discuss a variety of issues that affect fisheries, especially the red snapper fishery. “The meetings in Washington were to discuss the issues that are facing us with the Gulf fisheries. Primarily, that deals with red snapper and federal fisheries management. Rep. Bradley Byrne has reintroduced legislation that would take away some of the strict quotas. That would give us some flexibility, which is what we need to get away from these short seasons and find some other management strategies," said Chris Blankenship, director of the Alabama Marine Resources Division.

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Chicken of the Frozen Foods Enters Scallop Business in Marketing Deal with Northern Wind

Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods (COSFF) will enter the scallop business after the major distributor announced a marketing agreement with Massachusetts-based Northern Wind. According to the agreement the companies will work together to provide customers with high quality, responsibly sourced frozen scallops. “We are excited about the opportunity to combine Northern Wind’s expertise and sustainability footprint with our distribution network. The two companies are well positioned to further develop this important category,” said Bryan Rosenberg, CEO of Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods.

The first round of monthly shrimp imports figures of 2017 showed continued strength in shipments from India and Indonesia. As of January, total US shrimp imports were up 2.2 percent compared to last January. Indian shrimp imports continue to fuel the US market and were higher from historical monthly averages. Indonesian production, meanwhile, is generally stronger this time of the year compared to other major US suppliers and shipments were up 12 percent. Imports from many key US suppliers were down in January.

Meanwhile, Alaskan red king crab from Bristol Bay has fetched the highest price ever for fishermen according to reports. Meanwhile, Bering Sea snow crab prices are also at unprecedented levels.

In other news, the Russian Fishery Company, one of Russia’s largest fish producers, is considering acquiring the assets to major Russian pollock producer Dalmore in a deal valued at $150 million. Negotiations between the sides are currently underway. If finalized, the deal will allow Russian Fishery Company to increase its pollock catch by more than 20 percent.

Finally, India's shrimp feed and shrimp producer Avanti has entered into a joint venture with Thai Union. Avanti's Chairman and Managing Director, Alluri Indra Kumar has plans to increase the company's revenue share of shrimp exports to about 40 percent of the business by 2020. Currently, the revenue breakdown between Avanti's shrimp export and shrimp feed is 15 percent and 85 percent respectively.

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