Alaska Confronts COVID: State May Close Salmon Season Just as Energy Projects Lose Funding

Alaska Confronts COVID: State May Close Salmon Season Just as Energy Projects Lose Funding

Alaska’s Bristol Bay is home to the world’s most valuable wild salmon fisheries (and also an infamous mining project – the Pebble Mine) but salmon towns in the region lost 30% of their population to the 1918 Spanish Flu and locals fear it will happen again due to lack of medical capacity to handle the virus, unless the Governor, Republican Mike Dunleavy, shuts down fishing for this summer.

Why This Matters:  Alaska could be hit hard by a double whammy of no fishing this year and the loss of new oil and gas jobs in the future.

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Fishers Caught In Coronavirus Storm, Some Change Business Model While Others Sit It Out

Fishers Caught In Coronavirus Storm, Some Change Business Model While Others Sit It Out

With many fishermen all around the U.S. forced to stop fishing due to restaurant closures and lack of tourism caused by the coronavirus, many are changing their businesses to sell directly to supermarkets and other retailers for home consumption. 

Why This Matters:  Like family farms, in the U.S., family-owned and small fishing businesses almost all struggle to stay in business due to stiff competition from cheap imports, and that was before COVID -19 struck.

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US Fishermen Exempt from Monitoring Requirements During Pandemic

US Fishermen Exempt from Monitoring Requirements During Pandemic

NOAA Fisheries granted U.S. fishers an emergency waiver of the requirement for observers onboard their fishing vessels for the next 6 months — effectively eliminating monitoring and enforcement of the fishing industry. 

Why This Matters:  NOAA’s waiver provides only a minimal justification — indeed, concerns over the health and safety of fishers would have them stay home rather than risk infecting an entire crew at sea potentially hundreds or even thousands of miles from shore.

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Climate Change and Brexit Upsetting EU Fishers and Markets

Climate Change and Brexit Upsetting EU Fishers and Markets

The United Kingdom is threatening to close its waters to fishers from other countries in Europe once it leaves the European Union next week, and if it does, the impact would be immediate and severe on fishing communities in neighboring nations that are now seeing their local fish stocks decline due to climate change.

Why This Matters:  One of the key issues in the Brexit negotiations that will begin after the U.K. formally leaves the EU on Friday is bound to be fisheries – right now all EU nations have free access to the U.K.’s lucrative fishing grounds.

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Making Progress On Tough Ocean Problems Through Technology

Making Progress On Tough Ocean Problems Through Technology

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) held a workshop this week with the goal of advancing the use of new technologies such as electronic monitoring and electronic reporting in order to better and more safely monitor and manage U.S. fisheries — which will significantly help to manage fisheries in the face of climate change. Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of Senators passed out of committee several pro-conservation bills.

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Interview of the Week: Lori Steele, West Coast Seafood Processors Association (WCSPA)

Interview of the Week: Lori Steele, West Coast Seafood Processors Association (WCSPA)

Lori Steele is the Executive Director of the West Coast Seafood Processors Association, the first seafood industry group in the United States to endorse and implement the United States Fisheries Industry Principles for Responsible Fisheries. ODP:  Your organization represents seafood processors. What do processors do? LS:  Seafood processors are companies that convert whole fish or […]

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