Federal regulators on Thursday approved a genetically engineered salmon as fit for consumption, making it the first genetically altered animal to be cleared for American supermarkets and dinner tables.
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The approval by the Food and Drug Administration caps a long struggle for AquaBounty Technologies, a small company that first approached the F.D.A. about approval in the 1990s. The agency made its initial determination that the fish would be safe to eat and for the environment more than five years ago.
Next year promises to be a big year for sockeye harvests. Both Bristol Bay and Upper Cook Inlet are forecast to have sizable sockeye returns in the midst of global and domestic market hostile to U.S. higher sockeye prices detailed in a new economic report.
With the holiday season coming into full swing in December, retail suppliers of wild Alaska seafood both online and in local shops say sales are on par with a year ago and they are upbeat about a good season.
A new study says levels of toxins responsible for paralytic shellfish poisoning are well above the Food and Drug Administration’s limit in the Haines area. One researcher says further testing of commercial crab and shrimp from the area could kill the region’s fisheries.
SeaShare, the Seattle-based non-profit dedicated to distribution of high quality seafood to food banks nationwide, has received a donation of 450,000 portions of oven ready pollock and hake from the At-Sea Processors Association.
SeaShare’s Mary Harmon said Aug. 25 that the APA rallied once again to generate its annual donation of the lightly breaded four-ounce portions.
Deliveries of wild Alaska salmon to processors reached nearly 236 million fish as of Aug. 25, exceeding the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s forecast by more than 15 million fish, and the pink salmon forecast alone by upwards of 26 million fish.
The humpy harvest alone stood at 166.6 million fish. Processors had also received some 503,000 kings, 13.7 million chums, 2.4 million silvers and 52.6 million reds.
In the first five months of 2015, fishery and aquaculture product exports from Chile reached a value of USD 2,192 million, 24 per cent less than in the same period of 2014, when USD 2697.6 million was obtained.
During a Monday call with reporters, Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan says a Trade Customs Bill could help get more Alaska seafood into foreign markets.
“We’re working on, in that bill, that would dramatically increase market opportunities for our seafood. You know, Alaska is the super power of seafood, we harvest more seafood than the rest of the country combined, and that would go after the highly subsidized fishing fleets of foreign nations. And we’re encouraging the administration, in these trade agreements, to go after unfair subsidies for other fishing fleets.”
A robust forecast, followed by what first appeared to be a season gone bust in Bristol Bay, culminated with a run of wild sockeyes exceeding 50 million reds, and the price to fishermen sank.
"Everybody's concerned with the price," said Dave Harsila, president of the Alaska Independent Fishermen's Marketing Association, and a veteran Bristol Bay harvester. "I don't think anybody expected it to be that low, but that's what it is.
Two seafood industry trade associations have come to an agreement to transfer, effective for the 2016 season and beyond, ownership of the Marine Stewardship Council sustainability certificate for Alaska salmon.
The transfer announced July 21 by the Pacific Seafood Processors Association and the Alaska Salmon Processors Association is to be completed by Oct. 1.
The agreement will have no impact on sales for 2015.
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has launched a new global fund for supporting critical fishery science research and projects aimed at strengthening knowledge and global capacity to assist small scale and developing world fisheries in their journey to achieving MSC certification.
In 2013, 38 percent of the salmon coming out of the bay was put into cans. But they aren’t flying off the shelves. LA Marketer Craig Caryl is working with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute to change that.
“I think that canned salmon needs to be positioned with blueberries, literally, as a superfood," Caryl said.
He’s not the only one who wants to see a resurgence in canned salmon.
Alaska's first shellfish hatcheries could be its last, given the impact of growing ocean acidification, according to a new report published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.
The research -- by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the University of Alaska and a shellfish hatchery -- found that in 25 years, Alaska’s coastal waters may not be able to support shellfish hatcheries unless costly new systems are put in place.
The chinook salmon situation is looking more hopeful in the early part of the 2015 season relative to recent years, though not yet in the places where better runs are most needed.
Early king salmon seem to be making a comeback from abysmal showings in the last two years. Key rivers in Southcentral Alaska are seeing returns to normalcy and in some cases returns to states unseen for the last 10 years. Even the hard luck Yukon River is experience stronger showings than the past couple years, although still far less than historic averages.