North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) Advisory Panel (AP): Lori Swanson, Groundfish Forum Executive Director continued to represent the Amendment 80 catcher processor sector as an AP member of the Council. The AP consists of 21 members all of which serve 3-year staggered terms and represent major segments of the fishing industry.
2013 Bering Sea Fisheries Conference: On April 18, 2013, the 3rd annual Bering Sea Fisheries Conference was held in Seattle and Lori Swanson participated as a panelist in a moderated discussion of “Where We are Today: The Industry’s Position – Overview of the Bering Sea and Distant Water Fleets: Economic Opportunities, Legislative and Regulatory Challenges”. The Conference provided a unique forum for the fishing industry to come together with legislative, regulatory and policymaking agencies that govern West Coast fisheries. It was also an opportunity to learn about financing, certification and marketing as they pertain to seafood products for domestic consumption and export.
University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Bristol Bay Campus Fisheries of Southwest Alaska course: John Gauvin, Fisheries Science Project Director for the Alaska Seafood Cooperative/Groundfish Forum taught 2 sessions of Tim Sands (Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist) Dillingham class via Webex. The course was an overview of the Western Alaska commercial fisheries and was an opportunity for John to provide students, many who were small scale fishermen, information about Amendment 80 cooperatives, flatfish fisheries in the Bering Sea, modified sweep fishing gear, and the yellowfin sole fishery in Togiak.
Managing Our Nations Fisheries 2013 Conference in Washington DC: The Managing Our Nation’s Fisheries 3 Conference featured 70 posters spanning three conference themes: Improving Fishery Management Essentials, Advancing Ecosystem-based Decision Making, and Providing for Fishing Community Sustainability. John Gauvin presented a poster, “Avoiding No-Win Management Scenarios Through Development of Bycatch Reduction Devices in Alaska”, with John Gruver of United Catcher Boats Association. The posters were displayed for two days, allowing for several opportunities for poster viewing and discussion with presenters. Lori Swanson also attended as part of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.
St. John’s Newfoundland flume tank study: In November of 2013 Lori Swanson and John Gauvin along with others made a trip to St. John’s Newfoundland for flume tank studies to model footropes for a North Pacific Research Board study on reducing crab mortality. It included foot rope designs for pollock trawls in the Bering Sea and halibut excluder for the pollock fishery.
Gulf of Alaska (GOA) workgroup: Groundfish Forum was one of 5 fishing associations involved in an industry workgroup to discuss options relating to GOA rationalization in general and to develop a consensus position specific to Central GOA catch shares for GOA rationalization.
Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit (AYFS): Groundfish Forum was a sponsor for the December 2013 Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit, created by the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, designed to provide information and opportunities for fishermen under 40 and/or in the business for less than five years.
United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA): Groundfish Forum continued as a member organization of UFA whose mission it is to promote and protect the common interest of Alaska’s commercial fishing industry as a vital component of Alaska’s social and economic well-being.
Marine Conservation Alliance (MCA): Groundfish Forum continued as a member of MCA which worked on a variety of issues affecting the Alaska fishing industry including designation of new National Marine Sanctuaries, National Standard 1, Bering Sea canyons, Pribilof Islands blue crab and skate egg concentration areas.
Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) Certification: On December 5, 2013 a positive Certification determination was awarded for the fishery management of the U.S. Alaska Flatfish commercial fisheries, (soles and flounders) against the FAO-based Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) Certification Program.
North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) cooperative research to develop new footrope designs to reduce mortality of Tanner and snow crab incidental to the Bering Sea (BS) bottom trawl fishery: The NPRB promotes research to improve the sustainability of all of the fisheries of the North Pacific. Following Groundfish Forum and Alaska Seafood Cooperative’s work with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on modified sweeps where we learned that in addition to reducing effects on seafloor habitat, modified sweeps greatly reduce impacts on crab that encounter the sweeps, we collaborated in the NPRB study to look at the issue of unobserved crab mortality from different footropes where the focus was on what components of footropes lower injury/mortality rates and whether there were new designs that would still catch target fish. The results showed that widely spaced bobbins reduce effects on crab but there are still challenges in terms of making the gear work in the regular fishery.