As Season Wraps, Bering Sea Crabbers Focus on New Rules, Harvest Policy
As the Bering Sea crab fleet pulls the last of their snow crab pots, attention is quickly pivoting to the Board of Fish meeting being held next week. The season will likely wrap up with landings very close to the season's allocated quota. The supplemental March 20-24 Board of Fish meeting is drawing the interest of all crabbers, as the seven-member board will deal with king and tanner crab issues from Prince William Sound west to Kodiak, the Aleutians, and the Bering Sea. Submitting seven proposals for Bering Sea bairdi, the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers (ABSC) is focused on crab bycatch, gear efficiencies, and fishing dates. “But even more important, and what’s not on the agenda,” says Tyson Fick, executive director of ABSC, “are the ongoing conversations with Fish and Game about the stock harvest strategy for bairdi.”
Canada announced a $325 million budget for the Atlantic Fisheries Fund. The fund was announced last summer but federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc only made the budget public Friday. Representatives from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I., were on hand at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport to offer their support to the initiative, despite the fact no province has yet formally signed onto the agreement to make the money available to their province. "I am confident that this new $325-million federal investment will solidify the importance of seafood and fish to the economy of Atlantic Canada," LeBlanc said.
In other news, major Seattle-based crab and seafood distributor Keyport LLC is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month just one year after the company posted record sales. The company was founded by industry veteran Darryl K. Pedersen, with day-to-day operations handled by his sons Mark and Kurt. Last year, the company posted record sales. Keyport said it will release several new products this year to continue its growth. "“Kurt and I are excited to see the growth we are experiencing due to our continued development of fisheries, innovative products, unique partnerships and we’re particularly optimistic with our new product line up in 2017," said Mark Pedersen, President & CEO at Keyport.
Meanwhile, a three-month project that promoted Bristol Bay sockeye salmon in Boulder, Colorado boosted sales and is already expanding. The $700,000 Wild Taste, Amazing Place campaign was spawned by the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, and funded by 1,800 driftnet fishermen who pay a one percent tax on the value of their catches. "We worked with retail staff help and educated them about Bristol Bay and the run, about the unique habitat and the sheer size and that each one of our fishermen is a small independent business," said Becky Martello director of the Bristol Bay Association.
Finally, Anova Food, which is a subsidiary of Bumble Bee Foods, has earned SA8000 social certification for its tuna processing and distribution facility in Vietnam, which confirms that the company's labor practices meet acceptable human rights standards. The scheme is based on the principles of international human rights norms Anova said.
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