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Jun 22 - News Summary Thursday June 22, 2017

Jun 22 - Norway Sees Rise in Export Values in May

Jun 21 - News Summary Wednesday June 21, 2017

Jun 21 - Just Shrimp Adds Healthy Alternatives to Attract Younger Diners

Jun 20 - News Summary Tuesday June 20, 2017

Jun 20 - Bocaccio, Darkblotch Rockfish Assessment Updates Show Stocks Rebuilt

Jun 19 - News Summary Monday June 19, 2017

Jun 19 - MSC Could be Kiss of Death for West Coast Groundfish

Jun 16 - News Summary Friday June 16, 2017

Jun 15 - News Summary Thursday June 15, 2017

Jun 15 - NOAA Fisheries Appoints Dr. Cisco Werner as the New Director of Scientific Programs

Jun 15 - Changes to Halibut Fishery in the Bering Sea Being Considered by North Pacific Council

Jun 14 - News Summary Wednesday June 14, 2017

Jun 14 - Slade Gorton Tilapia Recall Expands to Giant Eagle

Jun 13 - News Summary Tuesday June 13, 2017

Jun 13 - ICES Recommends 20% Cut to 2018 Barents Sea Cod Quotas Citing Weak Recruitment

Jun 12 - News Summary Monday June 12, 2017

Jun 12 - West Coast Senators Cosponsor Young Fishermen’s Development Act

Jun 12 - Slade Gorton Voluntarily Recalls Tilapia Products for Undeclared Milk

Jun 12 - What a State Budget-Triggered Shutdown Will Mean for Alaska's Fisheries

Jun 9 - News Summary Friday June 9, 2017

Jun 9 - Canada's St. Anns Bank, New Marine Reserve, Open to Non-Trawl Fishing, Including Crab and Lobster

Jun 8 - News Summary Thursday June 8, 2017

Jun 7 - News Summary Wednesday June 7, 2017

Jun 6 - News Summary Tuesday June 6, 2017

Jun 6 - Fisheries Scientists Launch Independent Effort to Expand Sustainable Practices to Africa, Asia

Jun 5 - News Summary Monday June 5, 2017

Jun 2 - News Summary Friday June 2, 2017

Jun 1 - News Summary Thursday June 1, 2017

Jun 1 - Northern SEAlaska Sablefish Quota Up 10.7% From Last Year

May 31 - News Summary Wednesday May 31, 2017

May 31 - Red Lobster Promoting Wild Caught Red Shrimp on Summerfest Menu

May 30 - News Summary Tuesday May 30, 2017

May 30 - Pacific Halibut Catch On Track at Nearly 8 Million Pounds To Date

May 26 - News Summary Friday May 26, 2017

May 26 - VIDEO: Ecuador’s Shrimp Production and Sales to Asia Reach Records; Alaska’s Salmon is Underway

May 25 - News Summary Thursday May 25, 2017

May 25 - Sea to Table Expands Seafood Delivery Service Directly to Consumers

May 25 - DHL Now Shipping Live Crabs and Seafood from Northern Norway to South Korea and US Markets

May 24 - News Summary Wednesday May 24, 2017

May 24 - DFO Opens Newfoundland's 3Ps Inshore Cod Fishery But Issues No Decision for Offshore Harvesters

May 23 - News Summary Tuesday May 23, 2017

May 23 - Long John's Featuring Buttermilk Breaded Alaskan Cod on Menu for the Summer

May 23 - Canada's Redfish Fishery Earns MSC Certification

May 22 - News Summary Monday May 22, 2017

May 22 - F/V America's Finest, Largest Catcher Processor Built in US in 30 Years, May Need Jones Act Waiver

May 19 - News Summary Friday May 19, 2017

May 19 - VIDEO: Canada’s Snow Crab Market Stabilizes as the Era of High Chinese Shrimp Output Fades

May 18 - News Summary Thursday September 18, 2017

May 18 - Ecology Action Centre Says Suspension of Offshore MSC Certificate 3Ps Cod Confirms Objections

May 18 - NE Fisheries Scientists Expect Drastic Changes as Gulf of Maine and Georges warm 7 to 9 degrees

May 18 - Facing Headwinds on European Standards, Russia's White Fish Producers Turn to Brazil

May 17 - News Summary Wednesday May 17, 2017

May 17 - Spike in Mortalities Prompts Voluntary Suspension of MSC Certification for NL's 3Ps Cod Stock

May 17 - Salmon Season Threatened by Budget Impasse

May 16 - News Summary Tuesday May 16, 2017

May 15 - News Summary Monday May 15, 2017

May 15 - Trident Voluntarily Recalls Frozen Alaskan Cod Retail Products for Containing Plastic

May 15 - Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods Backs FIP for Blue Swimming Crab Fisheries in Sri Lanka

May 15 - Letter: John Pappalardo asks Rafael be Permanently Banned from Fishing, Redistribution of Quota

May 12 - News Summary Friday May 12, 2017

May 12 - Canadian Food, Seafood Sales on JD Platform in China Increase 400%, CA Gov Pledges More Support

May 11 - News Summary Thursday May 11, 2017

May 10 - News Summary Wednesday May 10, 2017

May 9 - News Summary Tuesday May 9, 2017

May 9 - Alaska Fishing Icon Jim Beaton Remembered Fondly

May 9 - B.C. Geoducks Prized on World Stage

May 8 - News Summary Monday May 8, 2017

May 8 - Other New England Groundfish Sectors Demand Equitable Distribution of Rafael Permits

May 5 - News Summary Friday May 5, 2017

May 5 - JBS-Backed Swift Retailers in Brazil to Sell MSC and ASC Certified Seafood

May 4 - News Summary Thursday May 4, 2017

May 4 - New Zealand Scientists Successfully Breed Blue Cod for First Time

May 3 - Crab quota share prices increase, crews face quota loss

May 3 - Chris Brown, Head of Seafood Harvesters: Lack of Transparency in Recreational Fisheries Poses Threat

May 1 - News Summary May 1, 2017

May 1 - Scottish Seafood firms Unite in Wave of Anger over 'unfair' Rise in Business Tax Rates

Apr 28 - News Summary April 28, 2017

Apr 28 - West African Pelagic Fisheries Start Fishery Improvement Project

Apr 27 - News Summary Thursday April 27, 2017

Apr 27 - Iceland's Samherji Boosts Stake in Major Norwegian Fish Producer Nergård

Apr 27 - NGOs Vow to Fight Trump Administration's Executive Order that WIll Review MPA Designations

Apr 26 - News Summary Wednesday April 26, 2017

Apr 25 - Nippon Suisan and its Gortons and Unisea Subsidiaries Partner with GSSI, Along with More Retailers

Apr 25 - News Summary Tuesday April 25, 2017

Apr 24 - News Summary Monday April 24, 2017

Apr 24 - Newfoundland's Fisheries Minister Supports $14 Million Federal Commitment to Study Cod Stocks

Apr 24 - Cautious Optimism About Recovery of Canada's Northern Cod Stocks Noted During Meeting in Brussels

Apr 21 - News Summary Friday April 21, 2017

Apr 21 - Icelandic Group Puts Major UK Seafood Distributor Seachill Up For Sale

Apr 20 - News Summary Thursday April 20, 2017

Apr 20 - Feds Close Flatfish, Rockfish, Sablefish Trawling in Gulf of Alaska 2 Weeks Earlier Than Last Year

Apr 20 - Scientists Spawn Pacific Sardines In Captivity; Results Could Inform Potential for Good Fishing

Apr 19 - News Summary Wednesday April 19, 2017

Apr 19 - Russia Squeezed by High Salmon Prices as Chilean Companies Cut Back Shipments

Apr 18 - News Summary Tuesday April 18, 2017

Apr 17 - News Summary Monday April 17, 2017

Apr 17 - High Liner Recalls Captain's Crew Fish Strips for Undeclared Allergen

Apr 13 - News Summary Thursday, April 13, 2017

Apr 12 - News Summary Wednesday April 12, 2017

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News Summary June 22, 2017

Today's Main Story: Copper River Seafoods Posts $1.35/lb as Bristol Bay's Catch Goes to 300,000

We open today’s news with a focus on Bristol Bay’s total sockeye catch this season is now over 300,000 through Tuesday. The Egegik fleet landed 95,000 sockeye, bringing the season total there to 278,000. The Naknek-Kvichak catch is 12,000 on the season, Ugashik is 7000, the catch at Igushik is still confidential, and Togiak has put about 1000 sockeye on the books. An email to KDLG Tuesday confirmed that Copper River Seafoods has posted a price of $1.35 per pound for best quality sockeye. Copper River COO Mark Hansen says they will continue to post a price each week for their fleet, the same as they did last year.

Full Story »

Norway Sees Rise in Export Values in May

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Seafood News] - June 22, 2017

Overall Norweigian exports of seafood rose in value in May -- and exports of many species also rose in volume.

Norway exported 163,000 metric tons of seafood with a value of $1 billion (NOK 7.6 billion) in May - the volume was at the same level as May 2016. However, the export value increased by $105 million (NOK 888 million) or 13 percent.

So far this year, Norway has exported 1.1 million tons of seafood worth $4.6 billion (NOK 39 billion). Export volumes have increased by ...

Full Story »

Just Shrimp Adds Healthy Alternatives to Attract Younger Diners

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Seafood News] - June 21, 2017

Just Shrimp is a new concept with just three units in Illinois.  But they are making a splash.   Their original location in Tinley Park recently added a few more non-fried items to their menu: Grilled shrimp skewers and fresh grilled salmon. 

Recently, Just Shrimp started smoking salmon in-house, and added two sandwiches their customers seem to enjoy. The smoked salmon fillet sandwich is servedcold, on a buttered and toasted soft bun  ...

Full Story »

Bocaccio, Darkblotch Rockfish Assessment Updates Show Stocks Rebuilt

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Seafood News] by Susan Chambers - June 20, 2017

Two important West Coast groundfish stocks that were formerly listed as overfished have now been rebuilt.

Bocaccio and darkblotched rockfish, which are managed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council, were under strict rebuilding plans that have constrained West Coast fisheries for more than a decade. Bocaccio was declared overfished in 1999, and darkblotched rockfish in 2000; both were rebuilt well before their original target dates.

The Scientific and Statistical Committee report at the June Council meeting said bocaccio's increase above the overfishing level is due in large part to strong recruitment ...

Full Story »

MSC Could be Kiss of Death for West Coast Groundfish

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [News Analysis] by John Sackton and Susan Chambers June 19, 2017

The new Marine Stewardship Council 20th anniversary global impacts report is an impressive statement of MSC accomplishments.

But the report contains a fatal flaw; highlighted by the way the MSC holds up the West Coast groundfish fishery as a mighty example of success.

The rot at the heart of the MSC system is that they have no concern for maximum sustainable yield, the key driver of fisheries sustainability and economic ...

Full Story »

Changes to Halibut Fishery in the Bering Sea Being Considered by North Pacific Council

The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council moved forward on a regulatory amendment to allow Western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) groups to lease halibut IFQ during times of low abundance. The issue has been before the council since December 2015; last week the 11-member panel selected a preferred alternative for further analysis. The action taken by the Council to allow CDQ groups to lease IFQ is seen as a stop-gap measure only in times of severely low abundance and until the Council completes their work on shifting the management of halibut bycatch from a set Prohibited Species Catch (PSC) to an Abundance Based Management (ABM) scheme.

The trū Shrimp Company will build a $50-million shrimp production facility near Luverne Bay Harbor, in Minnesota. trū Shrimp Company raises shrimp in above ground closed containment facilities and is an affiliate of Ralco, a family owned multinational feed company. “What is happening in Minnesota has not been done anywhere in the world. We are creating an industry that will supply the world with safe, clean and abundant shrimp. There are 1.6 billion pounds of shrimp consumed annually in the U.S. and 80 percent of it is imported largely from Southeast Asia,” said Michael Ziebell, President, and CEO of the trū Shrimp Company.

In other news, Gulf red snapper fishing in federal waters will be extended to September according to a deal that was struck between federal fishing authorities and state officials. The Department of Commerce will re-open the 2017 recreational season for 39 weekend days and holidays in federal waters for the remainder of the summer. The Gulf States agreed to alter their fishing season to just the weekends in state waters. This is the first time in a decade that the feds and the states have agreed to align the private angler red snapper fishing seasons.

In some related news, we run a few reaction pieces from the red snapper decision. A notice from the Department of Commerce acknowledges the extension to the season in federal waters will slow the recovery of the Gulf red snapper stock. Meanwhile, a couple of industry groups that oppose the deal want to know how the feds will attempt to curb overfishing by the recreational sector given the longer fishing season.

Finally, Blue North Fisheries' $40 million, 191-foot fishing vessel Blue North features technology that aims to reduce the stress placed on Pacific cod caught in Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea. The ship is designed to catch Pacific cod using bottom longlines. The catch method has earned a green "best choice" rating from Seafood Watch. It also utilizes a stunning table to render fish unconscious before processing. The shipbuilders were inspired by well-known livestock animal scientist Temple Grandin in constructing the Blue North to catch cod using humane methods.

Full Story »

Changes to Halibut Fishery in the Bering Sea Being Considered by North Pacific Council

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] by Peggy Parker - June 15, 2017

At their June meeting last week, the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council moved forward on a regulatory amendment to allow Western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) groups to lease halibut IFQ during times of low abundance. 

The issue has been before the council since December 2015; last week the 11-member panel selected a preferred alternative for further analysis.  

Low relative abundance has been an issue...

Full Story »

Slade Gorton Tilapia Recall Expands to Giant Eagle

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] June 14, 2017

A recall for breaded tilapia products issued by Slade Gorton because of undeclared milk in the product has expanded to include tilapia products distributed to Giant Eagle supermarkets.

The grocer announced a voluntary recall of its Market District Toasted Crumb Tilapia and Giant Eagle Toasted Crumb Tilapia. The products are sold fresh from the seafood department of its supermarkets.

These items are part of national, voluntary recall issued by Slade Gorton. 

Full Story »

ICES Recommends 20% Cut to 2018 Barents Sea Cod Quotas Citing Weak Recruitment

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh - June 13, 2017

The International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) has recommended that the Joint Russian-Norwegian Fisheries Commission cut the 2018 Barents Sea cod quota 20 percent from last year citing poor recruitment in the fishery.

The Council’s recommendation would set the total cod quota at 712,000 metric tons. This represents a 183,000 metric ton reduction from last year’s quota...

Full Story »

West Coast Senators Cosponsor Young Fishermen’s Development Act

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] June 12, 2017

Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ed Markey (D-MA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) all signed on to cosponsor the Young Fishermen’s Development Act,  a bill that wants to launch the first coordinated, nationwide effort to train, educate and assist the next generation of commercial fishermen.

The Young Fishermen’s bill was first proposed in April by U.S. Reps. Don Young (R-AK) and Seth Moulton (D-MA). If approved the bill grants of up to $200,000 (totaling $2 million annually) through NOAA’s Sea Grant Program in order to recruit younger people into commercial fishing sectors across the US...

Full Story »

What a State Budget-Triggered Shutdown Will Mean for Alaska's Fisheries

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Fish Factor] by Laine Welch - June 12, 2017

Want a fishing license to crew on a salmon boat this summer? Got friends or family visiting who want to wet a line for a prized Alaska catch? Don't count on it.

If the Alaska Legislature continues to defy its constitutional obligation to pass a budget, those opportunities will be lost because there won't be any state workers to issue fishing licenses. Layoff notices went out June 1 to thousands of state employees who will be off the job at the July 1 start of the fiscal year...

Full Story »

Canada's St. Anns Bank, New Marine Reserve, Open to Non-Trawl Fishing, Including Crab and Lobster

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton June 9, 2017

On World Oceans Day yesterday, Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc announced  that St. Anns Bank, east of Cape Breton, is officially Canada's latest marine protected area.

St. Anns Bank Marine Protected Area is 4,364 square kilometres in size and is located off the eastern coast of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The area is important for conservation, containing leatherback sea turtles, deep-sea corals, sponges and sea pens, and recovering populations of Atlantic cod and Atlantic wolffish. Over 100 species have been identified in this area and it comprises an important migratory corridor for wildlife travelling to and from the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Through regulations published in Canada Gazette, the entire area will be off-limits to oil and gas exploration activities and bottom trawling. Three fishing zones, covering approximately one quarter of the marine protected area have been established for lower impact fisheries, predominately for snow crab, lobster, halibut, and whelk.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada first announced St. Anns Bank as an “Area of Interest” for a marine protected area in 2011...

Full Story »

Ignite Files Chapter 11 and Announces Sale of Joe's Crab Shack to KRG Acquisitions

Ignite Restaurant Group has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a Texas court and said it will sell off its Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tab restaurant brands to KRG Acquisitions. Ignite Restaurant Group has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a Texas court and said it will sell off its Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tab restaurant brands to KRG Acquisitions. ”Today's sale agreement represents the culmination of a long and thorough process, and is an important step in positioning Joe's and Brick House for future growth and success," said Ignite Chief Executive Jonathan Tibus

McDonald's stores in Atlantic Canada will not carry the McLobster sandwich this summer because of high priced lobster meat. Some stores that tried to menu the item this year were selling it for $11.99, which was two dollars more than last year. "The increased price of lobster per pound means that we are currently unable to offer this menu item at a reasonable price for our guests," said Adam Grachnik of McDonald's.

In other news Russia's Vyborg Shipyard and a group of companies members, along with Arkhangelsk Trawl Fleet, of the Non-profit Partnership North-West Fishery Consortium, signed contracts for construction of six crab-fishing vessels. The vessels are intended for catching king, snow crab and other crab species and will have Ice3 class.

Meanwhile, Indian seafood shipments reached a record high value of $5.78 billion, more $1.0 billion more than last year. India's seafood export volume was up 2 million metric ton compared to last year. The increase was primarily driven by shrimp exports to the US and other global markets. India is by far the largest shrimp supplier to the US in 2017. Monthly US shrimp imports were 80 percent in April and are up 40 percent for the year in 2017.

Finally, Orca Bay Seafoods sent out a brief notice reminding the industry that it is in the process of relocating its distribution center from Bellevue to Burien in Washington. “All orders scheduled to ship 6/12/17 & 6/13/17 will be shipped out of our current distribution center in Bellevue, WA. Beginning 6/14/17, we will be shipping out of Burien, WA,” Orca Bay said.

Full Story »

Fisheries Scientists Launch Independent Effort to Expand Sustainable Practices to Africa, Asia

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  by John Sackton (with material from Saving
Seafood)  June 6, 2017

In Seattle on Saturday, in the weekend leading up to the NGO Seafood Summit, some of the most renowned global fisheries scientists came together to form an independent advisory organization called I-FIN.  I-FIN is the acronym for the International Fisheries Information Network.

To understand the significance of this group, it is helpful to think about the trajectory of overfishing and response.

In the early 2000’s, a number of fisheries scientists, including Daniel Pauly...


Full Story »

Indian Shrimp Imports to US Continue Blistering Pace Ahead of Peak Production Period

Shrimp imports from India are reaching the US at a blistering pace this year with the volume much higher than is typical for this time of the year. The latest data showed monthly shipments up 80 percent in April and 43 percent for the year compared to 2016. This is a lot of Indian shrimp to reach the US market given the time of the year since April is not a traditional harvesting period for Indian producers. But this is not unprecedented. In April 2015 Indian imports were again 80 percent higher.Total US shrimp imports now stand at around 394 million pounds, a 3 percent rise compared to last year. This represents about a 10 million pound increase from 2016 levels. This is record territory.

Marine Harvest was given approval from the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries to develop its “egg” concept to farm salmon in an attempt to minimize mortalities from sea lice. The concept allows Marie Harvest to farm salmon at depths where sea lice cannot survive. Sea lice has been an ongoing issue for Scottish and Norwegian salmon producers for several months now.

In other news, Vietnam reports that the USDA has asked the FDA to continue its inspection of pangasius imports. It appears this is the result of proposed budget cuts to the USDA from the Trump Administrations' budget proposal. Truong Dinh Hoe, general secretary of Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, said the association has received the information. “We are contacting the parties concerned to see what is really going on,” he said.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) officially found New Jersey to be out of compliance with federal regulations over a compromise the state made to keep the recreational fluke (summer flounder) season open this year. New Jersey's Marine Fisheries Council set a shorter fishing season at 104 days from May 25 to Sept. 5 so that an 18-inch minimum on the fish catch could be retained. The ASMFC called for a a 19-inch minimum on fishes caught, with a three-fish limit per trip over a 128-day season.

Finally, 19,000 Alaskan state employees were notified that they will be laid off on July 1 if the state cannot agree on a budget by June 30. It’s the third straight year that Alaska's state employees have been faced with the prospect of temporarily losing their jobs. The state was able to hash out a budget deal and avoid layoffs in each of the last two years.

Full Story »

Northern SE Alaska Sablefish Quota Up 10.7% From Last Year

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker - June 1, 2017

The forecast for the inside subdistrict of the northern Southeast Alaska sablefish fishery will be nearly 11 percent higher than last year, Fish and Game announced yesterday.

The annual harvest objective (AHO) is 720,250 round pounds for 2017. With 78 valid permits, the individual equal quota share (EQS) is 9,234 round pounds, compared to the 2016 EQS of 8,343 round pounds...

Full Story »

News Summary June 21, 2017

Today's Main Story: US Eases Rules For Indian Seafood Export

Today's opening story reports that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a list of 140-odd Indian seafood exporting entities to be excluded from that country's restrictive 'Detention Without Physical Examination (DWPE)' ambit. US import in 2016-17 was 1,88,617 tonnes of Indian seafood, amounting to $5.8 billion or nearly Rs 38,000 crore, about 22.7 percent more in quantity over the previous year and 30 percent in dollars.

In other news, the market for US origin sea scallops has fallen considerably since the start of the New Year; the result of some demand destruction and expectations for increased landings. Scallops have been trading at-or-close to record levels for four years, climbing almost continuously since the start of 2013. This long-term price action has resulted in a diminished call for scallops.

Experts argue that Oslo is standing its ground over shellfish in fear o

Full Story »

Peeled Shrimp Margins Squeezed

Since about the middle of 2015, despite a few peaks, margins on peeled shrimp have been on a steady decline according to an analysis from Urner Barry. Margins bottomed out in the 4th quarter of 2016 and have rebounded since that time. But they remain at the bottom of the range since 2008. After the high prices due to EMS in 2014, peeled shrimp have generally traded in a very narrow range over the last 3 years.

Bocaccio and darkblotched rockfish, which are managed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council, have now been rebuilt before original target dates. The Scientific and Statistical Committee report at the June Council meeting said bocaccio's increase above the overfishing level is due in large part to strong recruitment events in 1999, 2010 and 2013. Its estimated lifespan is 50 years.“The rebuilding strategies used to achieve this conservation success, coupled with favorable environmental conditions for groundfish productivity, have paid huge dividends in rebuilding our overfished groundfish stocks and resurrecting West Coast groundfish fisheries,” Council Chairman Herb Pollard

In other news, Thai producers plan to increase their shrimp output in the second half of this year, after output from farms dropped in the first two quarters of 2017 compared to last year. The expectation is for shrimp production to grow 5 percent overall this year. Thai shrimp prices, which are on the rise again, are expected to either remain stable or grow 5 percent in 2017 compared to last year said Preerasak Boonmechote, Thai Union Group’s shrimp unit managing director.

Meanwhile, lobster industry representatives in Massachusetts are urging legislators to support a proposal to expand in-state processing of lobsters and lobster parts. The proposal, contained in an amendment in the state Senate’s recently passed budget, would allow licensed Bay State wholesalers to process unfrozen raw lobsters, as well as allowing the sale of previously frozen raw in-shell tails and the importation of unfrozen shell-on lobster parts and tails. "Right now, we depend on Canada for so much of our processing facilities,” said Beth Casoni, executive director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, which supports the proposal. “This would allow us to do that processing here in Massachusetts, helping us to create jobs here and create markets for our lobster products.”

With what looks like a "sustained push" of reds up the Nushagak and Wood Rivers, coupled with stronger winds in the forecast, the ADF&G is likely to make an announcement to ready the fleet for possible fishing time. "There was a big uptick in passage yesterday: 59,000 raw count and still pushing this morning," said west side area manager Tim Sands early Monday.

Finally, today is my last day as production editor for Urner Barry and My career in the seafood industry will continue as I have taken a position in Boston. It’s been a privilege learning and writing about this industry and I’m extremely grateful to Urner Barry and Seafood News for the opportunity they have offered me over the last six years to serve you, our readers.

Full Story »

MSC Could be Kiss of Death for West Coast Groundfish

A news analysis by John Sackton and Susan Chambers explains how the Marine Stewardship Council is rushing to praise the recovery of the West Coast Groundfish fishery even though fishermen are unable to land more than 19 percent of its allowable harvest. The key issue is not the sustainability of West Coast stocks since a strong recovery program is in place. Rather, it's that West Coast harvesters are hampered by a management system that fails to allow for a sustainable harvest. "That is why we feel the MSC’s embrace of the West Coast fishery is potentially a kiss of death, as they become an impediment to the desperate reforms needed to keep a healthy and sustainable fishery economically viable," writes John Sackton.

China's shrimp prices are in decline because of as a flood of weak and sick shrimp to hit local markets in recent weeks. Weaker market behavior was also attributed to a decline in demand in major cities likes Beijing and Shanghai because of good supplies of local shrimp.

In other news, Russia's federal fisheries agency Rosrybolovstvo made a record $319 million from the sale of crab quotas during a recent auction. The biggest fight was for opilio snow crab quotas. Leading Russian fish producers and well-known oligarchs were locked in the most serious bidding wars for the quotas. This included companies like TURNIF, which is part of the Russian fishing company.

Meanwhile, the research vessel Pandalus, assigned to the Port Moller test fishery in June and July, encountered a mechanical problem last night and is undergoing repairs in Port Moller today. No test fishing will be done today, but program managers expect the vessel to be back tomorrow. Missing one day of data is not as critical now as it would be, say, a week from now.

Finally, Alaska's Governor Bill Walker brought the state's legislators back for a second special session so the lawmakers can hash out a state budget and prevent a government shutdown on July 1. The Republican-led state Senate gaveled out Friday morning, rejecting a last-ditch operating budget offer from the largely Democratic House majority, which had adjourned Thursday evening. Four minutes after the Senate's adjournment, Walker signed his proclamation convening the next special session.

Full Story »

Farmed Salmon Prices Enter Summer Season Decline

Farmed salmon prices have been in decline since Memorial Day weekend with traders reporting quiet demand in the market with inventories well supplied. This is a typical time of the year to see farmed salmon prices come down. Salmon starts to compete with other, more grill friendly protein options at the retail level. Buyers also begin to source wild-caught salmon from Alaska as those supplies come become readily available. The seasonal decline is not as pronounced in 2017 as it’s been in past years and these prices are still at record levels.

Amazon announced a deal to buy Whole Foods Market for about $13.7 billion. The grocer will continue to operate stores under the Whole Foods Market brand, the companies said. John Mackey will continue as chief executive of Whole Foods, and the company's headquarters will remain in Austin, Texas. Amazon and Whole Foods expect to close the deal during the second half of 2017.

The first interpretive report issued from the Port Moeller Test fishery, released yesterday, suggests that the forecast 41 million sockeye run for the Bay is on track. It is too early at this stage to release stock composition or run size estimates, but early indications are that the current surge of fish is destined for Egegik, the river system with the highest volume forecast for this year. The report shows that the 2017 run timing is earlier than years when the run has been late, and is later than years when the run has been early. This suggests a run timing right around the long term average.

In other news the Alaska House passed a modified operating budget that tilts toward House priorities along with an expanded Permanent Fund dividend on Thursday evening. This budget now goes to the Senate for approval. If the Senate turns down the spending plan, lawmakers would have to open a second special session to pass an operating budget and avert a government shutdown July 1.

Finally, Indian seafood exports are expected to grow 20 percent this year from higher shrimp sales to the US market. "With exports to US setting new records and the markets' rising appetite, the industry is confident of a strong growth for the Indian shrimps. By our current estimates, it would be a surprise if Indian exports don't bring in growth in excess of 20 per cent y-o-y (year on year)," said Rahul Kulkarni, director, WestCoast Group, a leading seafood exporter from India.

Have a great weekend. 

Full Story »

NOAA Fisheries Appoints Dr. Cisco Werner as the New Director of Scientific Programs and Chief Science Advisor

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [] - June 15, 2017

On Monday, NOAA announced the appointment of Cisco Werner, Ph.D. as the new Director of Scientific Programs and Chief Science Advisor. As Director, Werner will continue the work of planning, developing, and managing a multidisciplinary scientific enterprise of basic and applied research on the living marine resources.  The appointment was effective immediately...

Full Story »

Trade Court Remands More Vietnamese Shrimp Duty Rates Over Forced Labor

The United States Court of International Trade issued a slip opinion that remanded shrimp duty rates calculated for Vietnamese exporters from its eighth period of review back to the United States Department of Commerce. The rates covered shipments made from February 1, 2012 through January 31, 2013. Domestic shrimpers raised the issue of forced labor in Bangladesh's supply chain as a reason why Commerce must provide more information about its calculations and if Bangladesh should have been used as a surrogate economy when the eight review rates were calculated. In March, the domestic shrimp industry successfully petitioned the Court to remand shrimp duty rates for Vietnamese exporters from its ninth review back to Commerce also because of the use of Bangladesh and its labor problems.

Ocean Choice International is overhauling its shrimp trawler the Katsheshuk II so it can start fishing for groundfish. OCI committed to the $8 million renovations since Newfoundland's coldwater shrimp quotas were cut sharply for the upcoming season. "Our purpose now is to focus on red fish and some other species, but yes, definitely, when we built this vessel we expected cod to increase in the future," said Blaine Sullivan, COO at OCI.

In other news, Southwind Foods has reached an agreement to acquire Galaxy Foods and Equator Seafood. The two companies will merge into Southwind’s operations, which are based in Carson, California. Southwind distributes seafood products under the Great American Seafood brand among others. "We think this merger will result in additional distribution channels for us as well as an opportunity to collaborate with the excellent management teams at Galaxy and Equator about exciting new ideas for our companies,” said Buddy Galletti, CEO of Southwind Foods, LLC.

Meanwhile, the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association (APICDA) announced that Grant Mirick has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Luke Fanning has accepted the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO). "We are very happy to have such a strong and solid leadership team in place. Grant has played a vital role in strengthening our processing operations in Alaska and Kent, Washington. Luke brings a solid background in banking and finance," said Larry Cotter, APICDA CEO.

Finally, a developer aligned with the New Boston Food Market cooperative has won the bidding for a 3.4-acre site at the the city's marine industrial park, now known as the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park, in South Boston. “This was a unique opportunity ... we had to pursue in order to control our own destiny," said Michael Vaughan, a representative for the wholesalers. “This is an important first step. We're grateful the city chose us. By providing new facilities, these businesses will be able to grow."

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AquaBounty to Produce GM Salmon in Indiana with $14 Million Purchase of Bell Fish Company's Assets

AquaBounty Technologies will soon be able to produce its genetically modified AquAdvantage salmon in the United States as the firm has struck a $14 million deal to buy some of the assets of Bell Fish Company in Albany Indiana. AquaBounty said the facility's first harvest could come as soon as the third quarter of 2019. Once fully operational, the facility will have an expected annual capacity of 1,200 metric tons. "This acquisition marks an important milestone and provides the Company with its first commercial-scale facility in the United States for growing eco-friendly AquAdvantage Salmon. This site will enable production of healthy Atlantic salmon, which will not require vaccines or antibiotics, in a sustainable and responsible manner close to domestic consumers,” said Ronald Stotish, Chief Executive Officer of AquaBounty.

The International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) has recommended that the Joint Russian-Norwegian Fisheries Commission cut the 2018 Barents Sea cod quota 20 percent from last year citing poor recruitment in the fishery. The Council’s recommendation would set the total cod quota at 712,000 metric tons. This represents a 183,000 metric ton reduction from last year’s quota. The Commission will take up ICES advice when it makes its quota determination this fall.

In other news, a price war is breaking out over ecommerce lobster sales in the Chinese Province of Ningbo. Online retailers are offering live North American lobsters at deeply discounted prices in order to compete for sales and market share in both the online retail space and from traditional grocers.

Meanwhile, citing 20 years of success with groups such as Conservation International, the MSC, and others, the Walton Family Foundation (WFF) outlined its $37 million, five-year strategy for building sustainable seafood markets. The initiative is part of the foundation’s ocean strategy that takes a systems approach—working on both the supply and demand side—to promote sustainability in five core countries: Indonesia, Peru, Chile, Mexico and the United States. "The Walton Family Foundation has probably had more impact on the seafood sustainability movement than some of the more well-known consumer facing advocates," writes John Sackton in an analysis of the plan. "They have leveraged a market-based strategy in which they paid NGO's to lobby and convince the retail supply chain to adopt seafood sustainability standards."

Finally, the value of Vietnam's seafood exports to global markets is up this year but the increase is not because of more sales to the US market. So far Vietnam's seafood exports are up 7.5 percent worldwide but sales to the US market are down nearly 13 percent. The US is traditionally the top market for Vietnam's seafood exports like pangasius and shrimp. However, higher duty rates and the implementation of the catfish inspection program under the USDA have forced Vietnam's exporters to seek other markets like China.

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What a State Budget-Triggered Shutdown Will Mean for Alaska's Fisheries

If Alaskan lawmakers cannot agree on a budget by June 30 the state will be forced to layoff state workers on July 1, which will have widespread ramifications on state fishery management. The biggest punch would be felt by salmon fisheries — and the harm could extend well beyond this year. Field staff at remote weirs, towers and salmon sonar counting projects from Southeast to Kotzebue will be pulled, said Scott Kelley, a division director with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten said that the department is working with the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Law to analyze the impacts of a shutdown on the commercial, subsistence, personal use and sport fisheries, as well as hunting seasons.

The range of full-cycle fish aquaculture that does not depend on harvests of wild fisheries is expanding in Japan and is being led by major fisheries companies Nippon Suisan (Nissui) and Maruha Nichiro. Nissui is working on bringing a fully-farm raised octopus product to the market by 2020. Maruha, meanwhile is close to perfecting farmed raised kampachi.

In other news, a revision to the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, finalized last week, will give the US Customs Department more authority to ban imported seafood that is produced with forced labor. The change to the Enforcement removes the "consumptive demand" clause from the regulation. Under this clause, US importers were able to import merchandise into the US that was produced with forced labor if domestic production could not satisfy demand for the product.

Meanwhile, Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and California Sens. Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein called for a federal salmon fishery disaster declaration for both states to support economic recovery for coastal communities, in a letter Friday to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “Salmon are a vital part of our region’s history, economy and culture,” the senators wrote in the letter. “This disaster declaration will provide a much needed safety net to keep fishermen in business, communities afloat, and the industry open for business until salmon stocks are restored.”

Finally, fishermen in Mississippi say shrimp harvests are plentiful and bigger compared to last year's initial landings. The season opened on June 7. “Last year, we were looking at 80-100's. Right now, we're looking at 40-50's. Big difference,” said dock manager, Chris Lyons. Gulf inventories heading into the season were tight on many mid-sized shrimp counts.

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Slade Gorton Voluntarily Recalls Tilapia Products for Undeclared Milk

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] June 12, 2017

Slade Gorton issued a voluntary recall for tilapia products because they may contain undeclared milk. 

The product was produced between January 31, 2017 and June 6, 2017. It was distributed to Supervalu, Harris Teeter, Cantanese Classic Seafoods, The Fish Guys, Euro USA, Bfresh, Porky Products, and Superior Fish Company in seven states including Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Massachusetts, New York, Minnesota. These products are typically sold fresh can be found in the full service or self-service seafood case...

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Lobster Promos Continue Hot and Heavy in New England This Summer Despite McDondald's Canada Pullback

Yesterday we reported that McDonald's Canada has suspended its summer McLobster promotion, citing the high price of meat. But that does not seem to have deterred foodservice in New England. McDonald's is rolling out its McLobster in New England again this year, with a price of 7.99 for the basic roll, and $10.99 for the combo. Panera bread also is featuring its summer lobster roll, priced a bit high at $17.99, but still on the menu. Meanwhile, Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut has begun a Lobster Madness promotion with the slogan "Get Your Tails in Here", which will run through September 4th. With foodservice continuing lobster promotions and usage, suppliers will be more confident about building inventory for programs this fall.

The DFO announced that the snow crab season in area 3K, off the northeast coast of Newfoundland, will be extended to July 15th, due to heavy pack ice which has been impacting vessels attempting to leave port. The two-week extension increases the likelihood that the quota in 3K will be caught. However, the Coast Guard warns that pack ice could stall in some areas, including traditional near-shore fishing grounds.

In other news, Peggy Parker writes of a moving tribute that was held for Chris Oliver, the outgoing executive director of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council who is soon to be the head of the National Marine Fisheries Service. Members of the Council's Advisory Panel, the Scientific and Statistical Committee, other agencies involved in Alaska's fishing industry, and stakeholders all quietly gathered in the main meeting room to wish him well. Among the remarks was a commendation presented to Oliver by the Coast Guard. "Mr. Oliver's vigilance, leadership, and professionalism have been fundamental to the stewardship of Alaska's fishery resources. His many contributions and dedication to public service are most heartily commended and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard," said Coast Guard Captain Stephen While in presenting Oliver with the Meritorious Public Service Award.

Meanwhile, salmon-supporting groups have been holding meetings about a double-barreled proposal to significantly strengthen legal protections for Alaskan rivers that contain salmon. One of the key provisions of both a House Bill and a proposed ballot initiative is a clause that calls for all rivers and streams to be considered salmon-bearing unless proven otherwise. The proposal has major implications for the state’s construction and mining industries.

Finally, some of Alaska's seafood processors say they are depending on more US workers from the Lower 48 to fill jobs because of a lack of available foreign workers this season. The shortage of foreign seasonal workers is due to a change in a returning worker exemption. Processors also said the 66,000 employee cap on allowable foreign workers was reached much earlier this year compared to 2016. 

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Alaska Peninsula Fisheries Could Harvest More than 20 million Salmon if Averages Hold

The commercial salmon catch from the fisheries along the Alaskan Peninsula could exceed 20 million fish this season. ADF&G is projecting the sockeye harvest from the Southern Alaska Peninsula to total 2.26 million fish, which is based on the recent five-year average. The pink run from the region is projected to be 15.6 million fish. Statewide, the salmon harvest this year is expected to top 204 million. That includes 80,000 Chinook and 40.8 million sockeye, majorities of which will come from Bristol Bay.

Unusually heavy Arctic pack ice has trapped multiple vessels, stymied the fishing season and triggered a high-stakes rescue operation from a sinking ship off Newfoundland. Five fishermen were rescued Wednesday from the Avalon Princess fishing boat, which started to take on water after getting stuck in thick sea ice near La Scie. The ice pack is especially odd this year because of a cold spring and from winds that pushed ice inland rather than out to sea.

In other news Copper River king salmon return is coming in better than forecast. Predicted to be the weakest on record, at about 29,000 kings, ADF&G Upper Copper River management biologist Mark Somerville says the forecast is being questioned –given recent week’s king harvest by commercial fishers on the river’s delta. “Even under a restricted area and time the commercial fishery has caught over eight thousand king salmon, which is unexpected and indicates that the return may be higher than we anticipated,” Somerville said.

Meanwhile, in a related story, Peggy Parker writes how Copper River salmon management could benefit from the use of sonar technology to identify escapement. Alaska state biologists are testing adaptive resolution imaging sonar technology, known as ARIS. Biologists are optimistic that the tool will help identify Chinook escapement at that part of the river with more certainty. "This year at Miles Lake, we're conducting a pilot project using a new hi-def sonar that can distinguish large king salmon, at least 650 mm, from sockeye," said Stormy Haught, area research biologist for the Copper River. 

Finally, the Gulf States are trying to negotiate more fishing days for red snapper in federal waters with federal fishery regulators at NOAA but may have to agree to a shorter season in state waters. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is holding a special meeting this week to discuss the compromise of extending red snapper fishing in federal waters. The other Gulf States are having similar discussions. NOAA set the federal red snapper fishing season to three days from June 1 – June 4.

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Fisheries Scientists Launch Independent Effort to Expand Sustainable Practices to Africa, Asia

In the weekend leading up to the SeaWeb Seafood Summit, some of the most renowned global fisheries scientists came together to form an independent advisory organization called I-FIN. I-FIN is the acronym for the International Fisheries Information Network. The organization is the result of year-long working group of a team of scientists led by well known fisheries expert Professor Ray Hilborn. I-FIN hopes to be a global resource on where fisheries are being managed successfully, why they’re successful, and how those successes can be adopted elsewhere. "We’ve got a team of people who can provide the most authoritative, scientific advice on what’s happening in global fisheries, and what has been shown to work to improve the performance of fisheries,” said Dr. Hilborn, who is a professor of marine science at the University of Washington.

The 2017 Seafood Champion Awards were also announced this week in Seattle during the Seafood Summit. The annual awards recognize individuals and organizations for excellence in promoting ocean health and responsible practices with honors in four categories: leadership, innovation, vision and advocacy. The Seafood Champion Award for leadership went to Susi Pudjiastuti, Indonesia’s Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. FISH-i Africa won the award for innovation. Monterey Bay Aquarium Executive Chef Matthew Beaudin won the award for vision and the advocacy award was given to International Pole & Line Foundation and Ned Bell, the Ocean Wise executive chef at the Vancouver Aquarium and founder of Chefs for Oceans.

In other news, fifty major seafood companies, five governments and nineteen NGOs committed to the Tuna 2020 Traceability Declaration in New York this week. The agreement assures that the participating companies will create fully traceable supply chains all the way back to the vessels. The pledge also guarantees that slavery and labor violations will be eliminated from the tuna industry and that the fisheries will be managed using science-based plans. Finally, the companies agree to a government partnership in order to achieve the goals.

Meanwhile, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program now recognizes BAP-certified shrimp, tilapia, pangasius and mussels as a Good Alternative for consumers according to the Monterey Bay’s latest benchmark report. Two-, three- and four-star BAP tilapia, two-, three- and four-star BAP pangasius; three- and four-star BAP shrimp; and mussels from a BAP-certified farm are included on the list of products from third-party certification programs that it recommends to consumers, each equivalent to a yellow Good Alternative rating.

Finally, a budget compromise proposed by Alaska Governor Bill Walker was rejected by the coalition majority that runs the state House. Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon said the governor is on the wrong track with a proposal that would slash the state deficit from about $2.7 billion per year to about $300 million per year. He said the House Majority will continue to support a strategy that eliminates the entire deficit within three years. The state has until June 30 to come up with a budget or face a shutdown starting on July 3.

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Thai Union enters China consumer market with 'King Oscar' Brand Lobsters from North America

Thai Union and Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods are now selling lobsters directly to the Chinese market under the King Oscar brand. The distribution channel uses both brick and mortar stores and online retail. The lobsters are available at G-Super supermarket chain and directly through an online store operated by Thai Union. Thai Union plans to grow distribution to more supermarkets and e-commerce platforms.

The Department of Justice has charged Stephen Hodge+a former executive with Chicken of the Sea+ with conspiring to fix the price of canned seafood from 2011 to 2013. Hodge was charged on May 30 through a "criminal information," a type of charging document prosecutors tend to use in connection with people who are negotiating plea deals.StarKist said in a statement that Hodge had worked for the company but left in December 2013. "StarKist has cooperated and is continuing to fully cooperate with the investigation," StarKist said.

In other news, the most current DFO quota reports, covering to near the end of May, show that Gulf snow crab landings in New Brunswick and Quebec are outpacing Newfoundland. In the Gulf, out of a 39,000 ton quota, about 65 percent has been landed, and it looks likely the quota will be caught by the end of the season at the end of June writes John Sackton. In Newfoundland, for all NAFO divisions which include also the fishing areas outside of 200 miles, the total quota is 35,000 tons of which 38% has been taken as of May 31st.

Meanwhile, Indian seafood imports now account for over 25% of Vietnam's imported market according to a Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development report. This makes India far and away Vietnam's top seafood supplier. In the last two years, India has become a key shrimp supplier to the Vietnamese market.

Finally, filth is still the top reason for the FDA’s seafood refusals in 2017 but the administration is refusing far less seafood this year compared to 2016 levels. In May, the FDA’s seafood refusals were down 40 percent compared to the same time last year. It appears the FDA is detecting less filth in these species compared to a year ago with refusals for filth down 52 percent from a year ago.

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“Cautious Optimism” Ahead of Bristol Bay’s Projected 41.5 million Sockeye Run in 2017

The ADF&G is predicting a closer-to-normal return for the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon fishery. ADF&G’s 2017 commercial salmon fishery outlook estimates a total of more than 41 million sockeye in the bay. Managers are hoping to see about 12.5 million escape up area rivers to spawn, leaving just over 29 million for the commercial harvest if the forecast is accurate.The Bristol Bay run will likely continue to supply the lion’s share of wild caught Alaskan sockeye salmon to the market, as the forecast is down statewide.

Ice and bad weather has severely hampered snow crab fishing in Newfoundland this season. Just 43 percent of the region's crab quota has been landed and there is now some fear that unless the situation breaks and catches improve, the reduced Newfoundland quota for 2017 may not be caught. The cold weather and slow landings have stabilized prices.

In other news, Pacific Seafood’s surimi plant in Newport opened its doors today. Tony Del Ponte, speaking for Pacific, said they took their first delivery of whiting this morning from the F/V Northern Ram. The plant's operation is crucial to the inshore whiting fishery, which otherwise would not have had sufficient buyers. 

Meanwhile, the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance said the three-day recreational red snapper season in federal waters off Mississippi and Louisiana is the result of ineffective management at the state level. The federal season for private recreational anglers, in both Mississippi and Louisiana, got underway today and will run until June 4. "The federal season has been shortened to just three days to offset state mismanagement. This is an unacceptable outcome that has understandably upset recreational fishermen and is a serious concern for all whose livelihoods depend on a strong, sustainable red snapper fishery in the Gulf," the Shareholders said. 

Finally, Chilean Customs workers reported some progress in meetings with federal officials today to end a country-wide strike now in its ninth day. But salmon traders say the extended strike is delaying some shipments out of Santiago by about a day. Customs workers walked off the job last week claiming the government has not fulfilled terms of a labor deal that was negotiated last November. 

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