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A Big Boost in the Catch Limit for Alaskan Salmon

More Pacific halibut will be in the market this year. It is because of the harvest increase for Alaskan Salmon in the West Coast, Alaska, and British Columbia. The limit in the Coast of 31.4 million pounds. It means that there is a 5.1% increase. For the first time in more than one decade, there will be no fishing region that will face a decline. It applies in their allowable catch.

The International Pacific Halibut Commission released this heartening news last Friday. They are the overseer of the stocks since 1923.

The Catch

There are summer surveys in more than 1,200 stations from the Aleutians to Oregon. They determine the halibut catch limits. Last 2016, the results state that the stocks remained stable in the past three years. Yet, the fish remained small for their age.

Alaska usually gets the lion share of the halibut catch in the Pacific. They took 22.62 million pounds this year. It adds up to another million pounds for the long liners. They hold the fish’s quota shares.

The potential delay to March 11 in the start of fishing somewhat dampened the good news. It was due to the new president’s bureaucratic freeze.

Last January 20, Donald Trump gave a memo to all federal agencies and departments. He wants to freeze spending and new regulations. It will unfreeze once his administration finishes to review them all. The notice includes all the rules. They are for the management of the Federal Pacific fishery.

They also stalled the use of pots that can catch the black cod or sablefish in the Gulf of Alaska. They agreed to the gear starting this year. They want to prevent the sperm whales from snatching the fish from the hooks

The National Marine Fisheries Service is now working. They want to determine the impact of the executive order in the Alaska region. They are going to check their rule-making actions.

Alaska has halibut catch limits this 2017. The Halibut Coalition provided this.

  • Bering Sea: 1.70 million pounds. A 2.4% increase.
  • Southeast Alaska: 5.25 million pounds. A 6.1% increase.
  • Aleutians: Flat at 1.39 million pounds. No increase.
  • Western Gulf: 3.14 million pounds. A 15.9% increase.
  • Central Gulf of Alaska: 10 million pounds. A 4.2% increase

There was a reversal from last year. The limit went down to 5%.

Salmon squeeze

The rising tide can lift all the boats. There is a global shortage of farmed salmon this led to an increase in fish prices across the board.

People now look at several year to constrain or cut the supply growth for farmed salmon. It is important because the production of farmed salmon increased by around 5% every year. This happened for the past 20 years.

A shortfall in farmed salmon came from a double whammy. Millions of fish died in Chile because of an ongoing virus that the toxic algae in warming oceans caused. The sea lice are also ravaging Norway’s fish farms. It increased in intensity and frequency. The biggest farmed salmon producer in the world is Norway. They produce 33% of the global production. It is above the 31% from Chile. Norway’s exports fell by 5% in the past year.

The most expensive problem in the farmed Atlantic salmon industry is the sea lice. It costs around $550 million in lost output every year. Fish farmers are now criticizing the use of a lot of pesticides and antibiotics. These are for the control the disease outbreaks. They also criticize the parasites that they keep in small salmon net pens.

There is a shortfall in farmed salmon production. It pushed the price of farmed salmon to record highs. For two times in the previous year, the spot prices of the Norwegian fish for export reached at $21 per pound. It was from the Nasdaq Salmon Index.

Wild salmon now has limits in their supply that continued to strengthen the prices. According to Tradex Foods, the 4 to 6-pound sockeye salmon now holds steady at a $3.60-$3.75 per pound range.

The salmon fillets may be abundant. Yet, wild sockeyes continue to increase their prices. They are now at $6.75 to $7 per pound at the retail counters. The lack of chum and pink salmon in the market influenced this according to Tradex.

They also said that they expect the price to go up for wild salmon this 2017.

Fishing Facts

There is the latest famous Fishing Facts of the United Fishermen of Alaska. It highlighted the economic importance of the seafood industry. It is a must to every fishing region or town in Alaska and the West Coast states. The nation’s largest commercial fishing trade organization is the UFA. They represent 33 diverse groups that range from small skiff operators to crab boats.


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