AFDF Takes on Role as MSC Client for Alaska Salmon

Feb. 19, 2010 (Seattle, WA)—The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has been informed by the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation (AFDF) that the AFDF board voted today in favor of AFDF serving as the client for the purpose of maintaining MSC certification for the entire Alaska salmon fishery.  AFDF will immediately begin work with an independent certifier to conduct the required annual audit for the fishery.  Successful completion of the audit will ensure an unbroken supply of MSC-certified Alaska salmon. 


MSC had previously been in discussions with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI), which had made a provisional commitment to become the client.  At their December 3 board meeting, however, new issues extending beyond the established MSC program structure were introduced by ASMI regarding client cost sharing.  ASMI indicated the issues could have an impact on their state funding relationship, and the board voted to further postpone decision on whether to become the client for MSC certification of Alaska salmon. 


AFDF was able to move forward with a commitment to become the client, which removes further delays and uncertainty about management of the certificate.  MSC appreciates the commitment of ASMI, United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) and the other Alaska fishing industry representatives in addition to AFDF who have worked to ensure an ongoing MSC certificate for Alaska salmon.  MSC will continue to work in cooperation with the state’s fishery managers, processors and fishermen to help highlight and add market benefit to this important and sustainable fishery. 


AFDF takes over the role of client for MSC certification of Alaska salmon from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), which served as the client since Alaska salmon was first certified to the MSC standard in 2000.  ADFG was in the unusual role of a government fishery management body serving as an MSC certificate holder, and indicated that it wanted to transition that role to another entity. 


MSC is an international nonprofit organization that operates a widely recognized sustainability and eco-labeling program for wild-capture fisheries.  Under the program, fisheries voluntarily seek an independent, third-party assessment by an accredited certifier who leads an objective, scientific evaluation of the fishery to determine if it meets the MSC standard for sustainable, well-managed fisheries.  If certified, fisheries may use the MSC ecolabel in marketing and promoting their products provided they continue to meet the standard.  MSC fishery certifications are valid for five years, subject to annual audits. 


The Alaska salmon fishery was recertified in November of 2007.  If the fishery successfully completes the current and subsequent annual audits as planned, the existing MSC certificate will be valid until November of 2012.  To continue certification beyond 2012, the fishery will have to pass a recertification assessment and obtain a third five-year certificate. There has been no break in the status of the current certificate in this client transition, and all Alaska salmon caught since the original certification in 2000 has been eligible to carry the MSC ecolabel. 


AFDF will maintain the scope of the current certificate so that it will continue to cover all Alaska salmon fisheries and species.  They will take responsibility for conducting yearly audits and meeting the requirements of the MSC program, and will keep use of the certificate available to all Alaska salmon harvesters.  AFDF, which currently serves as the client for the MSC-certified Alaska Pacific cod fishery, has indicated they will be establishing a similar cost share mechanism for use of the MSC certificate by members of the Alaska salmon industry.  AFDF will prorate across participants joining the client group the costs associated with maintaining the Alaska salmon fishery certificate.  


“The MSC very much welcomes AFDF’s decision to become the client for the Alaska salmon fishery,” said MSC Chief Executive Rupert Howes. “Markets globally will welcome this announcement and MSC looks forward to working with AFDF, ASMI, ADFG and other partners involved in the Alaskan salmon fishery. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank ADFG for their leadership in engaging with the MSC program in our early years. A bold move that led to Alaskan salmon being amongst the first few fisheries in the world to achieve MSC certification.” 


Will Martin, Chair of the MSC Board of Trustees, said “We’re grateful to both ASMI and AFDF for the support and consideration they have given to the client role, and are pleased that AFDF has agreed to accept and maintain this certificate. Alaska salmon is an iconic brand, nationally and internationally, and the industry and the fishery managers are some of the most committed and involved in the MSC program. The decision by AFDF is important for many in the industry, and recognizes the benefits that are at the heart of our approach of using the market to promote and reward responsible fishing practices.” 

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Dr. Lubchenco Announces Eric Schwaab as the NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries

Feb. 10, 2010

From: Dr Lubchenco

It gives me great pleasure to announce Eric Schwaab as the new assistant administrator for fisheries, starting Feb. 16.  We are excited to have someone with Eric’s experience and proven leadership to bring a fresh perspective to the management of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service.  Eric will lead NOAA’s efforts to rebuild our fisheries and the jobs and livelihoods that depend on them.  His immediate priorities include improving outreach and realationships with recreational and commercial fishermen, better aligning federal and regional fisheries priorities, restoring confidence in fisheries law enforcement, and promoting management approaches that will achieve both sustainable fisheries and vibrant coastal communities.

Eric brings more than 25 years of experience in local, state and federal natural resource mangement.  He has spent the majority of his career at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, where he began as a natural resources police law enforcement officer in 1983.  He eventually served as director of the Maryland Forest Service; director of the Maryland Forest, Wildlife and Heritage Service; and director of the Maryland Fisheries Service.  In 2003, Eric left the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to serve as resource director for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies until 2007.  He then returned to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as the deputy secretary. Eric has also served as a member of the U.S. Department of Commerce Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee.

Eric is a creative and proven manager, consensus builder and leader.  He has developed and implemented solutions to address challenges in regional habitat restoration, including Chesapeake Bay restoration issues, fish and wildlife conservation, public lands management, natural resources law enforcement, public agency administration, strategic planning and leadership development.

I am excited to welcome Eric to the NOAA family.  He will work with NOAA leadership, the fisheries service, his fellow assistant administrators and our many constituents to further our efforts to protect and manage the nation’s fisheries, our other trust resources including marine mammals and sea turtles, and the ecosystems upon which they depend.  Welcome Eric!

I would laso like to take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to Dr. Jim Balsiger, the acting assistant administrator, for his superb and sustained leadership.  Jim has led the fisheries service for over two years in this capacity, far from his home in Alaska, and done so with distinction. He was especially instrumental in engaging the fishery management councils in the process of developing the draft catch shares policy.  Dr Balsiger will soon return to his position as NOAA fisheries regional adminstrator for Alaska, but before doing so will assist Eric with his transition into the fisheires service and NOAA.  I’d also like to thank the entire team at NOAA Fisheries who have done an excellent job during this period.

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IPHC Announcement is Online

The official Press Release from IPHC is now available on line at:

The press release includes actions on all regulatory proposals and other actions taken. Note the comments under other actions regarding the charter fleet.

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Halibut Catch Limits

The IPHC this morning Jan 29th announced the 2010 catch limits. They are:
Area 2A            .810 Mlbs
Area 2B           .7.50 Mlbs
Area 2C           .4.40 Mlbs
Area 3A          19.99 Mlbs
Area 3B            9.90 Mlbs
Area 4A            2.33 Mlbs
Area 4B            2.16 Mlbs
Area 4CDE       3.25 Mlbs
Areas 2A and 2B include recreational catch limits
The charter sectors GHL were used for the charter removals before determining the commercial catch limit in Areas 2C and 3A.  The 2C GHL is 788,000 lbs and the 3A GHL is 3.65Mlbs.
The season dates will be March 6 to November 15, 2010
Areas 3A-4E are all at staff catch limit recommendations.  Additional poundage was provided to Area 2 with 5 Commissioners supporting the motion and 1 opposed.  The opposition was that the overall total catch limits exceed the staff recommendations overall coastwide total.  The reason for the support for additional poundage in Area 2 was the acknowledgement that bycatch issues for other areas were having more of an effect in this area than previously thought.

More information provided later.

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King and Tanner Task Force Meeting

The King and Tanner task force is meeting January 26th & 27th.  Fishermen in Juneau may go to the Douglas ADFG King conference room and list to the meeting.  The meeting starts at 7:00 pm on the evening of the 26th and 8:30 am on the 27th.

2010 KTTF Agenda

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2010 Gillnet Sac Roe Herring Quota

The Seymour Canal  gillnet herring GHL for 2010 is 657 tons.  There will be no fishery at KahShakes or West Behm Canal. Hobart Bay winter bait fishery has a quota of 345 tons and any portion not taken in the winter fishery is allocated to the gillnet sac roe fishery.   For more information about the biomass and year classes see the ADFG news release:

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DOT Proposed Regulation Changes

The Department of Transportation has published proposed regulation changes for commercial vehicle safety regulations.  The proposed regulation is available HERE.  Among other things, these regulations specify that commercial fishermen are not subject to commercial vehicle safety regulations when engaged in intrastate commerce as long as their vehicle and load does not exceed 26,000 lbs.
These proposed regulation changes are in response to the feedback the administration heard this summer from fishermen about these regulations. Please note that the deadline for comments is 5:00pm on March 5, 2010.
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Energy Use in Fisheries Symposium Planned

November 14-17, 2010 in Seattle there will be an upcoming symposium titled “Energy Use in Fisheries:  Improving Efficiency and Technological Innovations from a Global Perspective”

This symposium will address both the direct and indirect effects of global energy costs on the seafood harvesting, processing and marketing sectors.  The desired outcomes will include a set of alternative strategies to reduce the carbon footprint of commercial and recreational fishing fleets, the associated financial gain to these industry participants, examples of the government’s role in reducing its imprint, and a set of metrics to measure the level of energy reduction or improved environmental efficacy of different fuel types used by fishing fleets. 

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Halibut & Sablefish Quota Share Holder Survey

We received the following information about a survey that is being conducted of Halibut and Sablefish quota share holders. 

The Alaska IFQ halibut and sablefish fisheries are an important fisheries management program not just for Alaska, but the entire world. Lessons from this fishery have shaped and will continue to shape the design of quota programs around the globe.

We greatly appreciate your assistance in answering this short survey on crew makeup in the current halibut and sablefish fisheries. Comparatively little data are available regarding crew and their connection to regional economies. With your help this survey will fill in some of those missing pieces. Results from this survey allow us to measure the economic impact of the quota share holders and crew on different communities throughout the North Pacific.

The survey is funded by the Alaska Sea Grant Rapid Response Program, and led by Glenn Haight, Fisheries Development Specialist with Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program. The survey was designed and will be analyzed by Alexander Kotlarov, a PhD student with the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, working under the guidance of Dr. Keith Criddle.

The survey includes 14 short questions that you will probably be able to answer from memory. We understand that your crew levels may fluctuate with fishing season and year; we are looking for answers that best reflect conditions during the 2009 fishing year.

The survey has been sent to a stratified random sample of halibut and sablefish quota share (QS) holders. You are one of only a few persons that will be surveyed as a QS holder in an area with a particular size vessel, thus your response is important to ensure that our survey results are representative of each component of the fleet.

All responses will be treated confidentially. All confidential data will be destroyed upon completion of the survey. Only aggregate responses organized by IFQ category, vessel size, and size of QS holdings will be reported. Aggregate responses will not be published for any grouping if there are fewer than 3 responses.

Upon completing the survey, if you enter contact information, you will be entered in a prize drawing.

You may complete the survey on paper or online, but you will only be awarded one entry into the drawing whether you enter by mail, online, or both.

With sufficient response, the survey will be complete by March 31, 2010. Prize drawings will occur on March 31, 2010.

Online Survey

Printable Survey[pdf:341kb]

Prize Drawing Information

Thank you for taking the time to assist in this important survey. All survey respondents have the option to provide their names for a prize drawing to take place on March 31, 2010.

Each name will be entered only once. Only one prize per person.

The Grand Prize Winner will select $100 worth of fishing gear of his/her choice.

Other prizes include –
· Petro Star clothing and gear.
· Xtra Tuff boats from Harri’s Commercial Fishing & Plumbing Supply in Juneau Alaska
· Your choice of select Alaska Sea Grant fisheries publications.
· Alaskan Brewing Company hat

Good luck!!

For More Information

Glenn Haight, Fisheries Business Specialist

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Gillnet Task Force Meeting Notes

The document below is a copy of the gillnet task force meeting notes that go with the gillnet presentations that were posted in December.

2009 Gillnet Task Force Meeting Notes

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