Fri. May 29 2020

The Winding Glass: The Changing Face of Seafood Distribution


Ocean Beauty and Icicle Seafoods Announce Merger Today, New Company Called OBI Seafoods


Alaska’s COVID-19 Cases Jump by 13 in One Day on Eve of Bristol Bay, PWS Alaska’s COVID-19 Cases Jum


NOAA Taking Emergency Action to Reduce Economic Harm to Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery  


Fishery Council Leaders Discuss COVID-19; NMFS Touts ‘New Normal’ for US Seafood at CCC Meeting


North Carolina Fisheries Reform Group Set to Take Legal Action Against Commercial Fishing Leaders  


Study: Lobstermen and Right Whales Could Benefit from Less Fishing  


Canada’s Northern Shrimp Harvesters Participating in Pilot Project to Reduce ‘Ghost Fishing’  


NFI’s Dish on Fish Blog a Finalist for PR Daily’s 2020 Digital PR & Social Media Awards


Ocean Choice International Expanding European Sales Operations


FDA Extends Voluntary Qualified Importer Program Application


Captain D’s 28th Restaurant in South Carolina Opens


Northern Ireland Aquaculture Sector Receives £360,000 in Support  


Ethos Seafood Transitions Packaging to Recyclable Film


SeafoodNews.com Summary Friday, May 29


Thu. May 28 2020

Worker at Thai Union’s European Seafood Investment Portugal Plant Tests Positive for COVID-19


Judge Dismisses Civil Case Against Former Bumble Bee CEO


DFO Announces Additional Season-Long Grid Closure in Gulf of St. Lawrence


Sea Shepherd Files Lawsuit After NFMS Rejects Petition to Ban Seafood Imports from New Zealand


Republican Lawmakers Say Further Restrictions on H-2B Program Could Harm U.S. Businesses


Coronavirus Continues to Impact the Unemployment Rate but Initial Claims Decrease


Shrimp Landings Data from NC, Florida Show Record Landings, Confirm Industry Resilience  


Russian Crab Industry May Face with Significant Increase of Illegal Catch this Year  


Thai Union Appoints Former COSFF Executive Bryan Rosenberg as CEO of North American Business


Northern Wind, Legit Fish Partner for Traceability, Validation Solution for Scallops  


Open Blue Cobia Now Available at Retail and Certified by the American Heart Association


GAPP Partners with Urner Barry to Track International Surimi Supply  


SeafoodNews.com Summary Thursday, May 28


Wed. May 27 2020

Copper River Sockeye Landings Pick Up With 34,000 Caught Monday


Four New COVID-19 Cases in Alaska, Two are Seafood Workers


San Francisco Fishermen Launch Recovery Fund After Pier Fire Devastates Industry


Port of Coos Bay Offers Free COVID-19 Testing to Local Seafood Industry Workers


Sentencing Hearing for Former Bumble Bee CEO 'Feasible' to Proceed In Person


DFO Expands Grid Closures in Gulf of St. Lawrence Due to North Atlantic Right Whales


LATAM Airlines Files for Bankruptcy After Increasing Cargo Flights Last Month  


JAPAN: April Supermarket Seafood Sales Up More Than 10%


Canadian Citizen Arrested After Stealing Fishing Vessel, Attempting to Enter U.S.


Grieg Seafood Dissolves Ocean Quality, Looking to Establish Fully-Owned Sales Division


Survey Looks at Salmon Farms in Japan  


Georgia Oyster Harvesting Season Closing June 1  


UMaine Researchers Dig Into Alaska Ice Cores to Learn About Pacific Ocean Drivers of Arctic Warming


SeafoodNews.com Summary Wednesday, May 27


Tue. May 26 2020

Another COVID-19 First: Five Key Surveys Canceled in Alaska, Sablefish Survey Still Planned


Seafood Worker is First in Valdez to Test Positive for COVID-19, Brings Industry Total to Eight


Massive Fire Hits San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf, City’s Seafood Industry Takes Another Blow


Russian Leading Fish Producer RRPK Accelerates Domestic and Foreign Expansion  


Gulf of Mexico Shrimpers Harvest Another 2 Million Pounds in April  


Alaska Fishermen Give Guidance on Virus Relief Funds


JAPAN: Marine Products Demand Down; Industry Organizations Demand Support


ASMI Japan Campaign: "Eat Alaskan Seafood and Boost your Immunity!"  


Patron Saint of Salmon  


SeafoodNews.com Summary Tuesday, May 26


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The Winding Glass: The Changing Face of Seafood Distribution

Like so many other businesses, the core business of major U.S. seafood distributors has been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We all know how restaurants, hotels and casinos, and amusement parks shut down. And foodservice seafood sales have fallen anywhere from 30% to 98%, depending on the type of venue and offering.

I have been wrestling with what this might mean for our industry. The only certainty I have is that we won’t go back to the way things were before.

The restaurant industry is taking too big a hit...

Full Story »

Ocean Beauty and Icicle Seafoods Announce Merger Today, New Company Called OBI Seafoods

This morning Ocean Beauty Seafoods and Icicle Seafoods announced the merger of their salmon and Gulf of Alaska groundfish operations to form a new company called OBI Seafoods. The announcement has been expected for months and changes the dynamic in Alaska significantly for salmon, as well as halibut, sablefish, and Western Gulf of Alaska groundfish. 

The merger puts ten processing plants throughout Alaska under OBI Seafoods’ ownership, just one less than Trident’s 11 locations and double that of Silver Bay Seafoods. Until today, Trident and Silver Bay...

Full Story »

NOAA Taking Emergency Action to Reduce Economic Harm to Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery 

NOAA Fisheries announced on Friday a temporary rule that will extend portions of the fishing year 2019 carryover provisions in the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan into the fishing year 2020. According to the government agency this is an emergency action that is necessary to provide the scallop fleet the opportunity to land allocations that may have gone unharvested. The hope is that this temporary rule will reduce economic harm to the scallop fishery caused by COVID-19...

Full Story »

Alaska’s COVID-19 Cases Jump by 13 in One Day on Eve of Bristol Bay, PWS Opener

A startling increase of 13 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Alaska residents by the state’s health department yesterday, in the largest daily jump since 15 were reported on April 12.

The spike came a week after Govenor Dunleavy, with advice from the medical team in his administration, rolled out Phase 3 and 4 of the state’s iterative strategy to open the economy. Given the low numbers and slow spread of the virus, Alaska began rolling out slow openings of certain activities...

Full Story »

Fishery Council Leaders Discuss COVID-19; NMFS Touts ‘New Normal’ for US Seafood at CCC Meeting

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council hosted leaders from the eight regional fishery management councils this week by video conference.

The first of the Council Coordination Committee's biannual meetings spanned time zones from New England to American Samoa as the members and NMFS representatives discussed issues relevant to all of the Councils.

On Wednesday, the Councils discussed COVID-19 impacts on U.S. fisheries and federal efforts to address them. Those measures included President Trump’s recent executive orders, Promoting American Seafood ...

Full Story »

North Carolina Fisheries Reform Group Set to Take Legal Action Against Commercial Fishing Leaders

The North Carolina Fisheries Reform Group (NCCFRG) filed a 60-day Notice of Claim under the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) targeting the state of North Carolina and members of the commercial shrimp industry.

“We have tried every remedy possible to start reform talks with both the Executive and Legislative Branches of North Carolina, and we were outright dismissed or completely ignored. They had their chance to discuss the issues,” said Joe Albea, a spokesperson for the NCCFRG...

Full Story »

Canada’s Northern Shrimp Harvesters Participating in Pilot Project to Reduce ‘Ghost Fishing’

Northern shrimp harvesters are doing their part to reduce ghost gear. The Canadian Association of Prawn Producers announced this week that their members will be participating in a pilot project that will help clean up the ocean of lost or abandoned fishing gear.

“Canada has made international commitments to reduce ghost fishing gear and harvesters want to help meet those commitments. We commend DFO for recognizing the opportunity in our proposal and approving this pilot project,” stated Mark Quinlan, President of Newfound Resources...

Full Story »

Ocean Choice International Expanding European Sales Operations

Ocean Choice International is expanding their European sales operations. The company announced that they are seeking a new General Manager in the Netherlands to oversee their sales efforts in Europe.

“The European market is a very important part of our business and has been for a long time. Over the last several years, we have seen an increase in demand for our wild-caught seafood in Europe,” says Martin Sullivan, CEO, Ocean Choice International. “To support this growing demand and to better serve our European customers, we are expanding our...

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Captain D’s 28th Restaurant in South Carolina Opens

The opening of Captain D’s newest location in Lancaster, South Carolina marked the 28th restaurant in the state. Captain D’s opened a new location in Texas a week ago.

“We’re excited to ramp our development back up with two back-to-back openings in Texas and South Carolina, only a week apart from each other,” adds Brad Reed, chief development officer of Captain D’s. “Our ongoing growth is only made possible by the relationships we’ve forged with our distinguished multi-unit franchisees, who not only possess extensive foodservice industry knowledge but are also very passionate about our brand..."

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Ethos Seafood Transitions Packaging to Recyclable Film

Ethos Seafood Group (ESG) announced it will transition its seafood packaging into #1 PET recyclable material. This packaging comes on the heels of a two-year development effort between ESG and MULTIVAC.

The partnership focused on the elimination of single-use plastics and establishing the pre-packaged format as the preferred way for consumers to purchase seafood.

“Alongside our partners at MULTIVAC, we identified the pressing need to transition vacuum skin-pack films into a recyclable format,” Ivan Clements, Co-President at ESG said...

Full Story »

Judge Dismisses Civil Case Against Former Bumble Bee CEO

A Kansas-based wholesale distributors’ claims against Christopher Lischewski, the former CEO of Bumble Bee Foods were thrown out by U.S. District Court Judge Janis Sammartino.

Claims brought by Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. (AWG) stating that Lischewski helped Bumble Bee, Chicken of the Sea and StarKist fix prices of canned tuna.

“In sum, AWG has failed to allege Mr. Lischewski’s ‘conduct connects him’ to Kansas ‘in a meaningful way’,” the court order read. “The Court therefore finds, based on the allegations of the SAC, Mr. Lischewski...

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Sea Shepherd Files Lawsuit After NFMS Rejects Petition to Ban Seafood Imports from New Zealand

It’s been almost a year since the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) rejected Sea Shepherd’s petition to ban seafood imports from New Zealand. Now the conservation organization is taking action. Sea Shepherd Legal and its co-counsel, Earthwise Law Center, have filed a lawsuit against a number of U.S. Agencies.

In February 2019 Sea Shepherd “formally demanded” that the Trump Administration ban all imports from New Zealand fisheries that are driving the Māui dolphin to extinction...

Full Story »

Republican Lawmakers Say Further Restrictions on H-2B Program Could Harm U.S. Businesses

In a recent letter to President Trump, nearly 40 Republican members of Congress urged the president, to “refrain from imposing any further restriction on the H-2B nonimmigrant seasonal guest worker program as part of any forthcoming executive action relating to immigration and/or economic recovery.” 

The letter is in response to Trump's April 22 Proclamation asking members of his cabinet to recommend measures that would “stimulate the United States economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring, and employment of United States workers...

Full Story »

Russian Crab Industry May Face with Significant Increase of Illegal Catch this Year

The Russian crab industry may face a significant increase in the volume of illegal catch and the reduction of the domestic crab stock in years to come due to the current unfavorable situation in the global market, as well as the reduction of exports of leading Russian crab producers since the beginning of the pandemic.  

As Alexander Saveliev, head of the Russian Information Agency of Fishing, said in an interview with the Russian Kommersant business paper, the current situation in the global crab market remains unfavorable for...

Full Story »

Northern Wind, Legit Fish Partner for Traceability, Validation Solution for Scallops

New Bedford-based seafood company Northern Wind announced its partnership with technology firm Legit Fish. Together, the two companies will provide the first commercial-scale traceability and validation solution for the North American scallop industry.

Boston-based Legit Fish’s system will provide Northern Wind the ability to trace the origin, landing date, harvest area and sustainability profiles of the scallops it sells to customers.

Northern Wind explained this partnership as a “revolutionary step” for the North Atlantic Scallop industry...

Full Story »

GAPP Partners with Urner Barry to Track International Surimi Supply

The Wild Alaska Pollock industry will soon be able to have a comprehensive picture of the international wholesale surimi trade—both supply and demand—thanks to new quarterly tracker, the Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP) announced today. After a months-long search that began with a formal request for proposals (RFP), GAPP selected renowned data and insights firm Urner Barry to build the tracker on behalf of the industry.

“It is extremely important for all GAPP members to better understand the wholesale surimi trade and have a...

Full Story »

Four New COVID-19 Cases in Alaska, Two are Seafood Workers

As of yesterday at 10:45 a.m. Alaska time, four new positive COVID-19 cases were confirmed, three in Anchorage and one in Sitka. This is Sitka’s second positive case. Two of the four new cases are non-residents in Anchorage for the commercial fishing season.

Alaska has a cumulative total of 428 positive cases of COVID-19, 411 resident Alaskans and 17 nonresident. Of those 17, twelve are connected to the seafood industry. 

Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services reports 362 people have recovered, 12 are currently ...

Full Story »

San Francisco Fishermen Launch Recovery Fund After Pier Fire Devastates Industry

The San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Association launched a fundraising campaign for fishermen impacted by the four-alarm fire that destroyed a warehouse full of fishing equipment on San Francisco Fishermen's Wharf.

The blaze led to the collapse of Shed C on Pier 45, which was piled high with two-thirds of the community's fishing gear including crab traps, salmon tanks, hydraulic blocks, herring nets and more according to the Association.

The Association organized a GoFundMe page to help the industry recover...

Full Story »

Study: Lobstermen and Right Whales Could Benefit from Less Fishing

According to a new study from researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) New England’s lobstermen could turn more profit by using less gear and working with a shorter season.

Findings also support a path to transition from pot fishing, using vertical lines that have been linked to North Atlantic right whale entanglements. The study was published in the journal Marine Policy.

"The story the data tells is optimistic," said lead author Hannah Myers, a graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a guest student at WHOI...

Full Story »

NFI’s Dish on Fish Blog a Finalist for PR Daily’s 2020 Digital PR & Social Media Awards

The National Fisheries Institute’s Dish on Fish blog is a finalist for PR Daily’s 2020 Digital PR & Social Media Awards.

PR Daily’s annual award looks to highlight those who are changing the digital landscape. The Dish on Fish Blog, a seafood education initiative that is promoted in partnership with Butin Integrated Communications, is one of two finalists in the blog category. 

Dish on Fish has received awards in the past, including the 2019 PRSA Bronze Anvil Award...

Full Story »

FDA Extends Voluntary Qualified Importer Program Application

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the application portal for its Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP) will remain open until July 31, 2020.

The extension was made due to travel restrictions and advisories related to the COVID-19 pandemic has “hindered the ability of accredited Certification Bodies (CBs) to conduct onsite regulatory audits and issue certifications to foreign entities, which are required as part of the VQIP application,” the FDA explained.

VQIP is a “voluntary fee-based program established by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)..."

Full Story »

Northern Ireland Aquaculture Sector Receives £360,000 in Support 

Fisheries Minister of Northern Ireland Edwin Poots announced a £360,000 support package for the country’s aquaculture sector after the impact COVID-19 has had on the industry.

The funding aims to support aquaculture business including oyster and trout producers who have witnessed a significant drop in sales thanks to COVID-19, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs explained.

Northern Ireland’s aquaculture is small but valuable the Department said, employing 131 people and supporting rural communities in the nation...

Full Story »

Worker at Thai Union’s European Seafood Investment Portugal Plant Tests Positive for COVID-19

Thai Union is taking precautionary measures and sent home about 200 workers from their European Seafood Investment Portugal Plant after one employee tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a statement from the company, a worker reported feeling unwell on May 20 and was immediately sent home after reporting to the on-site infirmary. After continuing to feel unwell for the next few days, the worker was tested for COVID-19 on May 23. The test came back positive on May 25...

Full Story »

DFO Announces Additional Season-Long Grid Closure in Gulf of St. Lawrence

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) announced on Wednesday that they will be issuing a season-long closure for an additional grid in the Gulf of St. Lawrence following a repeated sighting of a North Atlantic right whale in the area. 

Grid GY42 will now be closed until November 15, 2020. It is the 14th grid to be closed for the season. Other season-long grid closures include: GV44,GW42, GW43, GW44, GW45, GW46, GX43, GX44, GX45, GX46, GY43, GY44, GY45...

Full Story »

Coronavirus Continues to Impact the Unemployment Rate but Initial Claims Decrease 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the figure for initial unemployment claims was 2,123,000 for the week ending May 23. This week's number is a decrease of 323,000 from the previous week's revised level. The updated 4-week moving average was 2,608,000, a decline of 436,000 from the prior week's revised average.

For the week ending May 16, the adjusted insured unemployment rate reached 14.5%, a decrease of 2.6 percentage points from the previous week's rate. Also, the rate for the week prior was revised down by 0.1 to 17.1%. The 4-week moving average was 22,722,250, an increase of 760,250 from the previous week's revised level.

The number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled...

Full Story »

Shrimp Landings Data from NC, Florida Show Record Landings, Confirm Industry Resilience

North Carolina shrimpers had record landings in January and February, according to recent information from the Southern Shrimp Alliance.

The Alliance worked with state and federal agencies to obtain monthly information about shrimp landings on the Atlantic Coast and to develop methods for reporting the data routinely.

NC shrimpers landed 1.73 million pounds of shrimp in January this year, a 1,713 percent above the 16-year historical average for January. February's record was similar, with a 1,652 percent increase over the historical average, ...

Full Story »

Thai Union Appoints Former COSFF Executive Bryan Rosenberg as CEO of North American Business

Thai Union Group announced the appointment of Bryan Rosenberg as the new President and CEO of Thai Union North America (TUNA). Rosenberg will head two of the company’s key North American operating companies, Chicken of the Sea International (COSI) and Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods (COSFF), after the resignation of COSI President & CEO Valentin Ramirez, effective June 5.

Thai Union explained that Chicken of the Sea was the first international acquisition the company made. It noted TUNA’s reputation as a strong foundation and cornerstone...

Full Story »

Open Blue Cobia Now Available at Retail and Certified by the American Heart Association

American’s are cooking seafood at home more than ever before because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, they can stay heart healthy at home with Open Blue Cobia. For the first time Open Blue Cobia is available to the individual household consumer with convenient, deep frozen, individually vacuum-packed portions. And, as an added bonus, the new retail line features the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check mark.

The Heart-Check mark gives consumers peace of mind knowing that the products they are...

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Copper River Sockeye Landings Pick Up With 34,000 Caught Monday

The Copper River’s lackluster start for sockeye salmon got a boost in the third opener with 33,752 sockeye landed, 1,467 Chinook, and 779 chum salmon for a cumulative total of 45,537 salmon.

Escapement -- the salmon that makes it upriver to spawn -- is also growing, but still behind what had been projected pre-season. A total of just over 20,000 salmon was counted going past the sonar counter as of late monday, May 25, 2020. Biologists projected by that time some 55,000 salmon should have been past the counter. With colder...

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Port of Coos Bay Offers Free COVID-19 Testing to Local Seafood Industry Workers

In coordination with the county health department, the Port of Coos Bay is offering free COVID-19 testing to the local seafood industry.

"We don’t want COVID-19 to interrupt the fishing industry," the press release and notice on the Port's Facebook page said.

The free testing event will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, Wednesday, May 27, and tomorrow, Thursday, May 28, to anyone working in the fishing and fish processing industry, according to a press release from...

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