News & Updates
August 1, 2019
From Steve Bittenbender, SeafoodSource.com News
Lieutenant governors in the United States have put their weight behind a resolution sponsored by Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser (R-Louisiana) calling for additional inspections of imported seafood.
The resolution was approved at the National Lieutenant Governors Association annual meeting, which took place last week in Wilmington, Delaware. It calls on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to “take immediate measures” to inspect foreign seafood, both at the point of harvest and when it enters the country. Nungesser’s resolution was supported by Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz (D–Connecticut), Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long (D–Delaware), Lt. Governor Kate Marshall (D–Nevada) and Lt. Governor Kevin Meyer (R–Alaska). The resolution calls on the creation of an inspection fee in the range of USD 0.05 (EUR 0.04) to USD 0.10 (EUR 0.09) per pound. Seafood caught by American fishermen and sent overseas for processing would be exempt from the inspection process. “The fees collected on imported seafood can be used to fund the hiring of additional inspectors to ensure the safety of imported seafood consumed by Americans,” the resolution stated.
On 1 January, 2018, the federal government implement the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP), which requires importers of key species to track seafood from the time it was harvested to the time it reached an American port. Nearly a year later, SIMP was expanded to include shrimp imports. SIMP’s main function is to combat seafood that’s illegally caught, unreported, or mislabeled. However, elected leaders have still raised concerns about the number of inspections performed on imports. Earlier this year, Congress approved giving the FDA an additional USD 3.1 million (EUR 2.8 million) to conduct more seafood inspections. According to a Government Accountability Office report, more than a million seafood entry lines were received at U.S. ports in 2015. Of that, FDA inspectors examined 22,253. Of those, inspectors took samples from less than 4,000 entry lines and just 1,065 were tested for drugs.
After Congress passed the additional funding, the FDA announced it would develop a new strategy to ensure foreign seafood meets the same standards that American seafood products must meet. Inspections on imported seafood will continue to be a focus for the NLGA, as Nungesser was named the group’s incoming chair at the annual meeting.
"This is quite an honor for Louisiana and I look forward to tackling issues such as the need for more inspection on imported seafood, childhood obesity and expanded access to export markets for agriculture," Nungesser said in a tweet.
July 10, 2019
Response Paper Published by Authors of Paper Arguing Against Shark Fin Ban
Dr. Hueter and Dr. Shiffman published a new paper, titled," Rebuttal to 'Repsonse to 'A United States shark fin ban would undermine sustainable shark fisheries' I.F Porcher et al., Marine Policy 104 (2019) 85-89.'" In it, Hueter and Shiffman offer a refutation of the central claim that Shark fisheries are not sustainable. "The response's premise that non-artisanal shark fisheries cannot be sustainable is false. Pending legislation in the USA Congress to prohibit imports of shark products from nations practicing unsustainable shark fishing provides a more reasonable and effective path forward for domestic and global shark conservation."
US California Rep. Huffman Announces Healthy Oceans & Fisheries Listening Tour in
Advance of Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Bill
From US Congressman Jared Huffman's Offices: As Chair of the Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee, Representative Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) today announced that he will hold a series of roundtable discussions throughout the United States to engage diverse perspectives, interests, and needs of individuals who have a stake in management of our ocean and fisheries resources.
This listening tour, which kicks off this Fall, is a part of Huffman’s broader work as Chair of the Water, Oceans, and Wildlife subcommittee to foster a more transparent, deliberative, and science-based process for developing natural resources legislation than the backroom deals and partisan power plays that have frustrated good policymaking in recent years. The input Huffman receives from this listening tour, and from other stakeholder outreach that is already underway, will inform his introduction of a Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization bill next Spring. Through this comprehensive and inclusive approach, Huffman hopes to restore the historically bipartisan character of marine fisheries policies including prior successful Magnuson-Stevens reauthorizations.
An article in the New York Times discusses the growth of plant-based and lab-cultured alternatives to fish, as well as beef, pork, and chicken. Major companies like Cargill and Tyson Foods are currently involved with Impossible Foods, and researching other plant-based meat alternatives, and the rise of "Fishless Fish" may be the next trend, but some are not sure consumers will be willing to try the genetically-modified organisms.
June 17, 2019
NOAA Releases Hurricane Irma Relief Funds
The FWC has received notification from NOAA Fisheries that our Hurricane Irma Fisheries Disaster grant has been approved beginning July 1, 2019. While there are several projects in this grant, payment to fishermen and wholesale dealers impacted by Hurricane Irma is a priority.
Several projects in the Hurricane Irma Fisheries Disaster Relief Program were established to provide funding to commercial fishermen and wholesale dealers who were negatively affected by Hurricane Irma in September 2017. This Disaster Relief Program will include separate components to specifically compensate lobster trap certificate holders, SPL holders, wholesale dealers who were in coastal counties from Dixie to Monroe on the Gulf coast and from Monroe to Nassau counties on the Atlantic coast.
The following is the first step for disaster relief.
To be eligible to receive a payment under this program, you must be a registered vendor in the State of Florida purchasing system and you must have an active W-9 on file.
You need to register by July 10, 2019.
Step 1. Complete a registration and upload an active W-9 at: https://flvendor.myfloridacfo.com/. Note: It usually takes 3-5 days for system processing.
Step 2. Login to CLS Online to verify and update your address, phone number and e-mail. We need the most up to date contact information to process payments.
Starting the beginning of July, you will start receiving additional letters and emails to explain each program area and how payments will be calculated. To ensure that assistance will be provided, and a payment can be made, make sure to COMPLETE the steps above.
Available government funds are limited. The Fisheries Disaster Relief Program may not be able to cover fishermen fully for their losses.
If you have further questions regarding your reimbursement, you may contact Dan Ellinor at Daniel.Ellinor@MyFWC.com or Alan Peirce at Alan.Peirce@MyFwc.com, or the Division of Marine Fisheries Management at (850) 487-0554.
June 14, 2019
SAFMC Requests Emergency Action for Commercial Mackerel Fishery
From SAFMC News Release:
Nearly 40 fishermen and others interested in federal fishery management issues spoke during a public hearing held this week as part of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s week-long meeting in Stuart, Florida. The majority of comments focused on the need for an increase in the commercial king mackerel fishery off the southeastern coast of Florida during the second season that extends into the winter months (October 1st through the end of February). Since the 2015-16 season, the commercial fishery in the Southern Zone (Flagler/Volusia county line south) has harvested under 60% of their annual catch limit. The value of the unharvested quota is estimated $3,885,647 per season over the past four fishing seasons.
Fishermen explained that the current limit of 50 fish per trip often marginalizes profit and keeps fishermen from carrying crew, preventing a new generation of fishermen from getting involved in the fishery and presenting safety at sea issues. Fishermen also spoke about the recent negative economic impacts of severe weather and environmental factors such as poor water quality.
After considering public comment and recommendations from its Mackerel Cobia Advisory Panel, the Council approved a motion to request NOAA Fisheries use emergency action to increase the second season commercial king mackerel trip limit from 50 fish to 75 fish in the Southern Zone. The Council made the request with the intention of having the increase in place by the beginning of the October 1, 2019 opening. The Atlantic king mackerel stock is not overfished or undergoing overfishing, and it is not anticipated that the commercial quota will be exceeded with the increased trip limit.
“We sincerely appreciate the Council’s support in recognizing the importance of increasing the commercial king mackerel trip limit here in South Florida,” said Ira Laks, Chairman of the Council’s Mackerel Cobia Advisory Panel and a dual-permitted commercial/charter captain from Jupiter, Florida. “The Council considered input from its advisory panel as well as a number of mackerel fishermen who attended Wednesday night’s public hearing,” explained Laks. “I want to also thank all of the fishermen who took the time and effort to attend the hearing. It made a difference.”
April 12, 2019
South Atlantic Council Seeks Application for Multiple Positions
The South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council is seeking applications four several opening on their advisory panels and workgroup. The available seats are for the Habitat Advisory Panel and the Systems Management Workgroup. The applications are due May 10th, 2019. The following positions are open and accepting applications:
For the Habitat Advisory Panel
For the Systems Management Workgroup
For more information, Click Here to go to the SAFMC's Advisory Panel homepage.
They are also seeking scientists interested in joining the Scientific and Statistical Committee(SSC). Any interested scientists should send applications by April 29th, 2019. Contact Mike Errigo at the SAFMC firstname.lastname@example.org or (843) 302-8441. Click Here for more information on the SSC Committee.
April 10, 2019
Video: SFA Member Laurilee Thompson Involved in Local Conservation Efforts
Good video featuring SFA member Laurilee Thompson, of Dixie Crossroads. SFA members are always concerned about conservation.
March 4, 2019
Dept. of Commerce release Red Snapper Season Dates and Memo
The Dept. of Commerce has release the new dates for both commercial and recreational red snapper for the 2019 season. The commercial red snapper season opens at 12:01 a.m., local time, July 8, 2019. The 2019 recreational red snapper season opens at 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 12, 2019, and closes at 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 15, 2019; then reopens at 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 19, 2019, and closes at 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 21, 2019, unless changed by subsequent notification in the Federal Register.
For more info, Click Here for DOC memo.