B.C. Legislature’s Sustainable Aquaculture Committee Releases Report and Recommendations

The committee was split on their recommendations with the 5 new Democrats supporting the recommendations and the 4 Liberal members opposed.  The report recommends that the Northern Coast of BC reinstate the moratorium against any new fish farm permits keeping this area farm free and that within five years all salmon farms be converted to closed containment net pen systems.  Some state that the technology is not developed and test have proved unsuccessful in raising fish in closed containment systems.  One news article on this report stated that the BC Fish farming industry is a $453 billion dollar industry. 

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Swiftsure Foods of Washington and Sitka being Investigated

Swiftsure Foods of Washington with a plant in Sitka (Baranof Seafoods) is being investigated for mislabeling coho salmon as king salmon.  A search warrant was served at both facilities but no charges have been filed as they continue the investigation.

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Exxon Told to Pay Settlement

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reconsider the Exxon Valdez case and told Exxon to pay the 2.5 Billion dollars punitive damages to the fishermen.  Exxon has already stated that they will take the case to the US Supreme Court. 

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HB 186 Charter Boat Data Sharing Legislation Passes Senate

The full Senate passed HB 186 the evening of May 15th unanimously.  The bill is now awaiting transmittal to the Governor.

This legislation allowed ADFG to share charter logbook data with NMFS/NOAA enforcement.  The legislation was supported by the charter industry and commerical longline industry equally.

SEAFA would like to thank the legislature for supporting and passing this legislation that both sectors agreed was important this session with an immediate effective date.  This will make all management measures being looked at by The North Pacific Fishery Management Council in June for 2C and October for 3A viable without the development of a second federal reporting system and make the application for moratorium permits a smoother process.

We would like to extend special thanks to Representative Harris who introduced the legislation at our request and the Representatives and Senators that co-sponsored the legislation.  These include REPRESENTATIVE(S) Thomas, Kelly, Seaton, Johnson, Wilson, Kerttula, Roses and SENATOR(s) Elton, Stedman, Wilken, Therriault, Kookesh, Thomas, Wagoner, Cowdery, Huggins, Stevens

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Are the Fisheries Used for Fish Meal Sustainable?

There are two fisheries undergoing MSC certification that are mainly used as ingredients in fish meal and fish oil. The use of forage fish in fish meal for feed for the farmed fish industry has been one of the factors that have prevented fish farms being certified under programs such as MSC. 

The Mexican Sardine fishery is currently undergoing the certification process and the Scottish western mackerel and North Sea herring fisheries are starting to seek the MSC certification process through the industry group  Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group.

Camiel Derichs, MSC’s North   European fisheries manager, told IntraFish.  “It’s a first step in the direction of having sustainable fish feed  or at least independently verified sustainable marine ingredients in  those feeds,”

The Intrafish article went on to say that “With fish feed accounting for as much as two-thirds of aquaculture 
producers’ costs, sustainable fish feed is not expected to come  cheap, especially in the early stages when volumes are low.

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ADFG Commissioner Denby Lloyd and Board of Fish Appointee’s Confirmed

The Legislature met in joint session today May 14th to confirm Governor Palin’s Commissioners and Attorney General along with many of the appointements she had made such as Board of Fish members. All commissioners and appointees were unanimously confirmed. The Board of Fish appointments were Larry Edfelt, Vince Webster and Howard Delo.

The Governor’s press Release stated:

Governor Palin Thanks Lawmakers for Confirming Commissioners

All of Governor’s Appointments Confirmed

May 14, 2007, Juneau, Alaska – Governor Sarah Palin today thanked the Alaska House and Senate for unanimously confirming her choices for attorney general and heads of agencies.

Not since 1987, has a governor enjoyed unanimous support of appointed commissioners.

“I am very proud of this group of Alaskans,” Palin said. “We have been working together as a team throughout this legislative session. I am so pleased to know that lawmakers approved our choices and that they are giving me the opportunity to continue working with these talented people to move the State forward.”

In addition to confirming the Governor’s Cabinet, legislators approved all 56 of the Governor’s appointments to various boards and commissions throughout the state.

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King Fisheries, Stikine, Copper River & spring Hatchery Troll fisheries Update.

The first gilnet king fishery on the Stikine was very slow.  45 boats participated in the fishery for a total estimated catch of 225 kings.  The pre-season abundance allowed for a total Stikine catch of 6100 (sport, troll & gillnet combined) Kings.  The fishery will be opened May 14th at 8:00 am to May 15th at 8:00 am.

The Copper River gillnet fishery will open on May 14th.  The length of the opening will be announced on May 12th.

The spring hatchery troll fishery opened on May 1st.  Only 4 districts had enough effort to provide harvest data.

Sumner Strait     6 vessels     57 kings

Tebenkof Bay    13 vessels    294 kings

Chatham Strait   6 vessels     62 kings

Sitka Sound       28 vessels   337 kings

Total all areas:  62 boats   866 kings

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HB 186 Passes Senate Resources Today May 9th

HB 186 the legislation that allows data sharing between ADFG and NMFS/NOAA enforcement officers of charter halibut data passed and senate resources committee today.  This leaves only the Senate floor vote to occur before the end of session on May 16th.  The legislature is now operating under the 24 hour rule.

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Governor Palin Names Fisheries Policy Advisor

Governor Palin issued the following press release today:

May 9, 2007, Juneau, Alaska – Governor Sarah Palin today welcomed Cora Crome to the position of Fisheries Policy Advisor to the Governor. Crome most recently worked for United Fishermen of Alaska. She also served as Executive Director of the Petersburg Vessel Owners Association. Crome will be an advisor and coordinator on Alaska fisheries policy between the Governor’s office and other state agencies, especially the Department of Fish and Game. Crome will also work with the fisheries sub-cabinet, which will include the commissioners from the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Fish and Game and representatives from Governor Palin’s Washington, D.C. office. “Cora’s extensive background at both the state and regional levels will allow her to hit the ground running,” said Governor Sarah Palin. “Cora is well respected in the fishing community and will work to ensure a strong fishing industry in Alaska. I am pleased that she is joining the team.” Crome received a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Pacific Lutheran University. She was instrumental in negotiating compromise between four gear groups and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for establishing herring fisheries on underutilized stocks in Southeast Alaska. Crome also drafted and negotiated passage of a medical transfer amendment to the individual fishing quota program from halibut and sablefish. “I’m excited about the opportunity to serve as the fisheries coordinator in the Governor’s office,” said Crome. “Alaska’s fisheries industry is incredibly diverse and I look forward to working with fishermen across the state to find ways to address their concerns.” Crome began her duties today, May 9, 2007.

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Contaminated Fishmeal fed to Farmed Fish

The industrial chemical melamine recently found in pet food supplies (that was recalled and caused several deaths in pets) has been found in fishmeal fed to farmed fish.  It is not clear if any fish fed the fishmeal has made it into the marketplace.  It it thought the levels will be too low to impact human health but officials are in the process of contacting all companies that are believed to have purchased the contaminated fishmeal.

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