SEAFOOD NEWS: Under a budgetary thundercloud, Gov. Bill Walker is trying to squeeze funding from any source. A commercial fisheries tax bump, part of nine such bills in the Legislature, has slowed to a crawl in committee as fishermen decry it.
SEAFOOD NEWS: Earlier this week, Senator Mike Dunleavy (R-Wasilla) introduced SB198, a bill that would impose a royalty tax on seafood caught commercially in the state.
The tax would be 12.5 percent on “the value of fish caught in state waters that the person removes from the state or transfers to a buyer in the state under the authority conferred by the limited entry permit or interim-use permit.”
Coming up this week, Norton Sound's crab fishery opened Monday after a delay due to sea ice, the Department of Fish and Game will take over many of the services that once belonged to the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission, and Kodiak government is split over a contract with its fisheries analyst.
Governor Bill Walker announced five nominations to the state board of Fish and Game on Tuesday. On the list again this year for a Fish Board seat is Robert Ruffner of Kenai, who would replace Fritz Johnson, a commercial fisherman from Dillingham. If confirmed, it will be the first time the Fish Board would not have a member from Bristol Bay.
Genetically engineered salmon, approved by federal regulators just months ago, are off the table for now in interstate commerce.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Jan. 29 banned the import and sale of genetically engineered salmon or product composed in whole or part of such product into domestic markets until the agency publishes final labeling guidelines, a very lengthy process.
Any final action by the federal government blocking large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay region will likely have to wait until the next presidential administration, a top Environmental Protection Agency official said Monday.
Russian fishing companies would no longer be able to market their pollock catch as “Alaska Pollock” under a provision included in a congressional spending bill expected to gain approval later this week.
Pollock is the biggest volume fishery in the U.S., and huge schools can be found in U.S. waters off Alaska and also in Russian waters. Most of the pollock fleet is based in Washington state.
A bill poised to pass the U.S. Congress would require the FDA to produce labeling guidelines before it allows the sale of genetically engineered salmon. That’s one policy rider Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she fought for that’s included in the package of year-end spending and tax bills.
Halibut dominated the federal fisheries process in 2015, with each sector fighting over reduced allocations.
Directed halibut fishermen in the North Pacific have watched their quotas drop while the trawl industry prosecuting Bering Sea groundfish has had a relatively static bycatch limit for 20 years. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council governs bycatch while the International Pacific Halibut Commission governs directed removals, and the two have not coordinated on the decline in harvestable halibut biomass.
Gov. Bill Walker and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark signed a Memorandum of Understanding Wednesday morning committing to cooperation on transboundary issues, particularly related to concerns in Southeast over mines on the Canadian side of the border.
By Congressman Don Young, Sen. Dan Sullivan, Sen. Lisa Murkowski
Alaska is our nation’s seafood powerhouse. With nine of our country’s top twenty fishing ports by volume, we understand the vital role our seafood industry has played in our communities in the past, how important it is now, and how central the industry will be in the future. Protecting and enhancing Alaska’s fisheries is one of the top priorities of our delegation.
The Kodiak Fisheries Workgroup sent a letter of community input to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council before the council’s meeting in early October. The letter focused on the gulf trawl bycatch management issue.
Fisheries analyst for the Kodiak City and Kodiak Island Borough, Heather McCarty, says it encouraged the council to continue analysis on some points that the Kodiak community thinks important, and it furthermore provided a community perspective.
NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment on a proposed rule that would reduce bycatch limits for Pacific halibut in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) groundfish fisheries.
Bycatch is also known as “prohibited species catch,” or PSC. The proposed fishery management plan amendment, "Amendment 111," would reduce PSC limits for halibut in specific amounts in four groundfish sectors:
- Amendment 80 sector (non-pollock trawl catcher/processors) by 25% to 1,745 mt;
- BSAI trawl limited access sector (all non-Amendment 80 trawl fishery participants) by 15% to 745 mt;
Alexa Tonkovich, who as international director for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute oversaw an $8 million overseas marketing budget, has been named as the agency's new executive director.
The appointment of Tonkovich, who has been instrumental in developing new export markets for Alaska seafood, was announced by ASMI board chairman Barry Collier, who is the president and chief executive officer of Peter Pan Seafoods, during ASMI's All Hands meeting in Anchorage Oct. 21-23.