California's Dungeness Crab Landings and Sales Down Sharply After Lengthy Delay
California's commercial Dungeness crab landings and sales are down sharply because of the extended delay to this past fishing season for high levels of domoic acid. Gross sales for the season for the crab fleet topped $33 million, about 45 percent of the 5-year average, according to state Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, chairman of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture. Bodega Bay, of the nine key commercial ports for Dungeness landings, reported a 37 percent drop in the haul to 1.8 million pounds, according to early calculations. “Something is better than nothing, but we are not out of the woods,” said McGuire, who will convene a special hearing Wednesday in Sacramento to review the season, the push for federal relief and the outlook for next season. California's Dungeness fishery was supposed to open last November but was ultimately delayed until February because of high levels of domoic acid in the crabs.
A federal appeals court in San Francisco upheld a previous ruling that supported the 2011 implementation of the federal catch share management scheme for Pacific Whiting. “We cannot substitute our judgment for the agency’s,” said Judge Sandra Ikuta said in the 3-0 ruling. A Washington state vessel owner and processors challenged the catch share implementation in court, arguing that the selection of past years was arbitrary and violated a law requiring federal officials to take into account “present participation in the fishery” and “dependence on the fishery” when setting limits.
In other news, Norway’s seafood export values were up 15 percent in July and are up 24 percent for the year compared to 2015 figures. Higher salmon prices have helped boost Norwegian returns. Norway’s earnings are up 25 percent from its salmon sales, with per kilogram prices up 50 percent this year. ”July proved to be a good summer month for Norwegian seafood exports. Exports of salmon and trout totalled NOK 5.1 billion ($600 million), an increase of 28 percent from July last year. The higher salmon prices were the result of strong demand coupled with lower volumes," said the Norwegian Seafood Council’s Jan Ståle Lauritzen
Meanwhile, Canada's Transportation Safety Board said a fatal fishing accident that left three people dead off Newfoundland says the crew was using a boat that was not intended for crab fishing. The vessel was reported overdue from a fishing trip in Placentia Bay on June 16, 2015, and the bodies of the three crew members were found the next day. A report concluded that modifications to the vessels combined with the weight of the crew members, bait, ice, and the catch onboard would have significantly reduced the distance between the water and the deck, making it more susceptible to taking on water.
Finally, domestic shrimp processor Paul Piazza & Son hired industry veteran John W. Appelbaum to the company’s sourcing and sales team. Prior to joining Paul Piazza, Appelbaum previously worked for Illinois-based Worldwide Shrimp Company. “John is a tremendous addition and we are pleased to have him as part of our team. His expertise further strengthens our position as an industry leader in the sourcing and processing of Wild Caught Domestic Shrimp for Foodservice and Retail customers across the United States,” said Kristen Baumer, President of Paul Piazza & Son.
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