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#01-29-2013 - ComFish News Roundup

My Turn: A new way forward in the Gulf
Reduce bycatch but protect Alaska's communities
Posted: January 29, 2013 - 12:00am
Alaska has some of the world’s most abundant and prosperous fisheries and a reputation for science-based management. Fisheries are the life-blood of coastal Alaska and a major driver of the state’s economy. So when it comes to managing our fisheries, it’s critical we get it right. Today’s challenges in sustaining our fisheries and communities touch all Alaskans. We all share concerns about diminishing returns of....

Feeding Habits May Explain Mysterious Fur Seal Decline
By Lauren Rosenthal
Monday, January 28 2013
The National Marine Mammal Laboratory travels to the Pribilofs every two years to count new Northern fur seal pups. Since 1998, the overall production of pups has dropped by 45 percent. But according to the latest count, just out this month, the Pribilof fur seals bucked the downward trend for the first time in 15 years. Rod Towell, a statistician from the mammal lab, says pup production increased a tiny amount in 2012 -- just 0.5 percent.....

Fish Factor
January 28, 2013
SitNews - Halibut catches weren’t slashed as badly as people feared, although they still continue on a downward trend – and the outlook is grim. A coast wide catch of 31 million pounds was approved on Friday by the International Pacific Halibut Commission, a decline of 7.5 percent from last year, and far better than the 30% cut that was widely anticipated.  Alaska’s share of the Pacific catch is 23 million pounds, down 2.5 million pounds across the board......

NOAA, BOEM plan supplemental Arctic oil, gas draft EIS
By Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management are preparing a supplemental draft environmental impact statement (EIS) analyzing how a broader range of potential Arctic offshore oil and gas activities could affect marine mammals, other resources, and Alaska Native communities, the two agencies jointly announced on Jan. 25. They said a supplemental draft EIS is necessary because the agencies have determined that broader oil and gas activity than what’s in the original draft EIS needs to be considered, NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service said...

Environmentalists push against Shell’s Arctic drilling plan
By Peter Granitz, APRN - Washington DC
Posted on January 28, 2013 at 6:37 am
Environmentalists from Alaska are hoping to persuade Congressional staffers Shell Oil should not continue its drilling operation in the Arctic this summer. The groups held a Congressional briefing on Friday. Congressional briefings are free of the formalities and TV cameras of Congressional hearings. And they lack the members of Congress themselves. And many in this town think that’s a good....

Updated: 12:35 AM
Crippling 'reality' arrives for New England fishermen
The groundfishing industry gets no U.S. disaster relief as it awaits a 'devastating' reduction in catch limits.
By Kevin Miller
Washington Bureau Chief
WASHINGTON – The few fishermen who still ply New England's waters for cod, haddock and other groundfish are bracing for a double dose of bad news this week. The first arrived Monday when, as anticipated, the U.S. Senate approved a $60 billion Hurricane Sandy disaster relief bill that contained no federal aid for the northeastern groundfishery or several other fisheries that face "economic disasters." The second wave could arrive Wednesday or Thursday if federal regulators, as expected, slash already reduced catch limits by another...

Saving the Ocean, One McBite at a Time?
—By Tom Philpott| Mon Jan. 28, 2013 10:27 AM PST
Last week, the Twitternets were abuzz with news that McDonald's is going to (as @HuffPostFood put it) "serve all sustainable seafood" at its 14,000 US stores. Actually, as Associated Press reports, the fast-food giant has been sourcing exclusively from fisheries certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) since 2007. What it announced this week was that the packaging on its Filet O'....

Safeway launches in-store seafood ranking system to guide shoppers
Tuesday, January 29, 2013, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
Canada Safeway has introduced a new in-store consumer information programme across western Canada to help shoppers easily identify which fresh and frozen seafood items are the most environmentally sustainable.  Through the SeaChoice ranking scheme, Safeway shows customers which seafood items are ranked as “Green” (first/best choice products) and “Yellow” (second choice with some concerns). It is found at Safeway seafood counters and includes product labels, point-of-sale signage, wallet guides and informative brochures. To make the most of the programme, hundreds of Safeway employees have....

Nuclear testing in Mississippi: a little known history
Posted on January 28, 2013...