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News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: www.undercurrentnews.com

Chris Oliver, the executive director of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC), appears to have the inside track to become the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, the head of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Oliver has had widespread support from a range of seafood industry groups around the country, based on his long history as a successful leader of the NPFMC. The latest talk within the industry is that Oliver is indeed the pick that the Commerce Department has submitted to the White House. The recommendation still has to get White House approval, and also a congressional approval of the nomination is needed. But all indications are that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is picking Oliver. Oliver has had strong support from Northwest and Alaska congressional delegation and industry and also has a lot of support in the Gulf region. The Gulf Seafood Institute, the Louisiana Restaurant Association, and the Charter Fisherman's Association all have written letters of support.


News Article | May 22, 2017
Site: motherboard.vice.com

This past 4/20, while marijuana merrymakers gathered on the UC Santa Cruz campus to celebrate, just a few miles away on the shores of Monterey Bay, whale watchers boarded boats to see killer whales. One of them was California-based wildlife photographer Jodi Frediani, who counted more than 30 of the iconic black-and-white cetaceans. That day, she witnessed them begin what many experts consider to be an unprecedented gray-whale killing spree. Over the course of the next two weeks, Frediani and other observers watched more than 30 killer whales (led by a pod of nine) attack eight gray whale calves, killing six. The massacre was so unusual it made the local news. Many who heard about or saw the event expressed their shock and sadness that the killer whales nabbed so many young gray whales. To Frediani, the killings of the gray whales, which in the eastern Pacific were once an endangered species—while disturbing to watch—are examples of nature taking its course. Like all animals, killer whales need to eat, Frediani told me, and it just so happens they have a taste for other whales' blubber. The natural deaths of gray whales and other large whale species, as a result of predation or old age (as opposed to human-caused deaths such as fishing gear entanglements or boat collisions), is beneficial for not just the killer whales that consume their flesh, but the entire ocean ecosystem. "There are likely hundreds of species that use whale carcasses," said Joe Roman, a conservation biologist and researcher at the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont and a Hrdy Visiting Fellow at Harvard University. Roman, who has studied the ways that whales affect marine ecosystems, told me that the living animals transport nutrients through oceans vertically and horizontally. Whales dive deep to feed and then rise back to the surface to take in air and excrete nutrient-rich feces. This process, called "the whale pump," helps fertilize the marine ecosystem from above. Whales also help spread nutrients as they migrate, excreting feces containing the nutrients from krill, small fish, crustaceans and other types of tiny plankton they've consumed in high-latitude feeding areas, to low-latitude breeding areas where fewer nutrients circulate. "Whales are not just passengers in the oceans, dependent on bottom-up forces such as phytoplankton blooms," said Roman. "They can also help drive marine ecosystems by redistributing nutrients, such as iron, phosphorous, and nitrogen, providing food for predators such as killer whales, and habitat for deep sea species." Whales nourish the sea when they die. Sometimes they wash ashore, where seabirds and scavenger animals consume them. When a whale goes down in the middle of the ocean, it sinks to the bottom in what's called a "whale fall." Scavenger species such as seabirds and great white sharks will nibble away at the flesh when the whale is freshly deceased and floating at the ocean's surface. As more advanced stages of decomposition set in, the body sinks to the ocean floor, where specialist species such as the carpet worm and various types of bone-eating worms further break down the whale's body. A whale fall sequesters a large amount of carbon in the deep sea. "That whale falls harbor unique communities, enhancing species diversity and evolutionary novelty in the deep sea," said Craig Smith, professor of oceanography at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He told me that dead whales, which emit large amounts of sulfur as they decompose, may have created a habitat to which some marine species learned to adapt to survive in the highly sulfuric conditions of deep-sea vents and cold seeps. Experts stress that there is a big difference between human-caused whale deaths and natural ones. Since January 2016, there has been an enormous, and to-date unexplainable, die-off of humpback whales, two times the historical average, off the Atlantic coast. The groups tasked with overseeing these incidents, the Greater Atlantic Regional Marine Mammal Stranding Network and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service, haven't been able to determine the cause. But they suspect the 43 humpback whales they've found dead could have succumbed to disease, biotoxin poisoning, or due to human activities. Whaling caused an enormous depletion in populations worldwide. While it's less prevalent today, we now kill large numbers by hitting them with our boats, poisoning them, performing military sonar exercises, blasting undersea air-guns, and entangling them in fishing gear. Experts say more unnatural whale deaths could change the ocean ecosystem—in fact, they probably already have. Read More: A New Sperm Whale 'Culture' Was Just Identified in the Caribbean "It is quite possible that the first marine species extinctions caused by humans were species dependent on whale falls in the North Atlantic, where large whales were depleted in the early 1800," Smith said. Because humans have taken over so much of the seas, whale mortality events like the killer whale killing spree in Monterey Bay are rare instances where human activities are not to blame for the mass deaths of large whales. Subscribe to Science Solved It, Motherboard's new show about the greatest mysteries that were solved by science.


News Article | May 16, 2017
Site: www.undercurrentnews.com

Every week, we review the exclusive articles from the previous week on Undercurrent News. This is what we pride ourselves on: working hard to bring exclusive and quality content. You can email the article author by clicking on the name attached to each story. We are always open to tips and thoughts. Despite Oregon regulators’ refusal to guarantee it immunity from antitrust litigation, Pacific Seafood Group agrees to purchase Trident Seafoods’ Newport-based plant Oregon regulators won’t promise not to sue Pacific Seafood Group to block a takeover of a Trident surimi plant, but remain open to the deal if the company meets certain conditions Firm achieved an ebit/kg of £1.67, its highest ever, as high market and contract prices boosted revenue; biological improvements remain a focus Ecuadorian shrimp exporter Songa, one of the largest in the country, is poised to expand its processing capacity by 100% Large quantities of U10s and 20/30s have prompted prices for the larger size grades to drop rapidly since fishing started in March Scottish farmed salmon spot prices are set to leap, as public holidays in Norway slightly limit the amount of harvesting Amid record high prices and limited stocks trade for processed product has virtually frozen, according to buyers and sellers at the Seafood Expo Global in Brussels Austral and Pelagia both saw 2017 off to a strong start, buoyed in part by much larger quotas for its fished species; Birkeland and Foodcorp Chile though saw performance dip Profit margin decreased but net profits were still up at the Philippines’ largest exporter of OEM tuna products Shetland operations made a loss, for the same reasons as other regions did poorly; intentionally low harvests drove costs up Chilean firm Blumar expects to increase production in 2018, expand in region XII Rubicon Resources’ part-owners, Wales Group and PTN, gain a 7% stake in the Canadian firm The ‘Consumer Products’ division of the salmon farmer continues to turn a strong profit, though it noted high prices have necessitated attempts to grow sales Impacts from taking over Sperre and AD Offshore have given boost to earnings year-on-year; order growth is also up across several regions High prices for whitefish and salmon meant strong margins, though the levels of harvesting in Q1 meant Q2 will be down year-on-year Reduction of operational costs and the rise in salmon prices globally boosted Australis Seafoods’ ebitda in the first three months of 2017 Calvo Group is to audit its tuna suppliers, while it plans to organically increase its European sales by 40% in coming years Trident Seafoods names Pacific Seafood Group as ‘preferred buyer’, but Pacific says the deal won’t go through without the Oregon Department of Justice’s blessing Sales volume drop and calendar-related changes result in lower earnings for acquisitive Canadian seafood firm As the sockeye salmon season nears its start, many in the industry are expecting prices to be firm once the first fresh product hits the market Chris Oliver appears to have the inside track to become the head of the National Marine Fisheries Service Status of the Stocks report shows six US fisheries joined the list of stocks with unsustainably high fishing levels last year, while four left North American firm has acquired 100% of the shares in US shrimp importer, for anticipated $107m SalMar Group reported its highest recorded quarterly profit for salmon as the firm cashed in on high market prices But production costs increased in all regions except Scotland, and the shift in forward prices cost it on contracts In one of his first public appearances since he left the presidency, Obama spoke at TuttoFood to highlight climate change’s impact on food production, and also food sector’s role in driving emissions Danish trading house Kangamiut Holding saw revenue pass DKK 2 billion, in what it described as a satisfying year Bidvest Namibia’s fishing division is looking at new markets and partnerships as a way to mitigate its struggles, but warns the catch outlooks are bleak Supply of MSC tuna should pass 100,000t in 2017, according to Pacifical, while supplies of pole-and-line caught tuna are falling Zhangzidao’s net profit is CNY 4 million in the first quarter of 2017, which skyrockets by 143.33% from the same period last year Class action civil lawsuit against ‘big three’ expands with new complaint filed late Monday night following Bumble Bee’s guilty plea in the criminal case Undercurrent News is attending the Surimi Forum, an event for the US surimi industry to relay insights on trends and challenges, in Astoria, Oregon on May 9 Dalian Tianbao Green Foods vice president Eva Ye said there is no need to worry about the company’s largest shareholder and CEO deciding to sell a large chunk of his shares Undercurrent News is reporting live from Tutto Seafood, in Milan, Italy Firm has opened one new facility in Newfoundland and Labrador, and expects a second soon; and has established a new pelagics JV with Iceland’s Isfelag The founder of the Iceland Ocean Cluster believes the US pollock industry can follow in his country’s footsteps, and develop ways to use every last part of the fish Private equity-owned shrimp processor is eyeing M&A, but is first focusing on building new plant and NPD US fishmeal and fish oil producer Omega Protein faces a potential labor shortfall ahead of the 2017 fishing season as government limits on visas for foreign workers take hold Company is looking to differentiate the range from competitors selling similar products, such as Marine Harvest, by its ownership of the farmed and wild seafood in packaging US antidumping order removal on Brazilian shrimp may open up opportunity, but it won’t necessarily create an immediate resurgence of shrimp exports to the US Camanchaca’s US division has renewed a partnership with fellow Chilean salmon producer Salmones Austral; latter will also produce retail items under former’s brand High raw material prices meant gross profits were down year-on-year, but a number of other factors brought its bottom line up 19% Premier Food and Fishing saw revenue and profits rise in its first submission since listing on the Johannesburg stock exchange; eyes acquisition of other fishing firms Rabobank’s new report indicates that aquaculture growth will drive up fishmeal prices in the long-term, but soft prices might challenge alternative protein producers in short-term Sources said New Hope Group has ‘intentions with everything and that certainly includes seafood’ Shrimp processing group Shore is working on a ‘clean’ North Sea shrimp product, using high pressure processing, so no preservatives need to be used


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.undercurrentnews.com

The US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is scouting for a new head, and it has three officials in the running to lead it: a former Louisiana official, an Alaskan fishery manager and a Sea Grant program director. NMFS, housed under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, oversees fishing regulations, endangered species listings and fisheries research. It is headed by an assistant administrator for fisheries, a position that commerce secretary Wilbur Ross can fill without Senate confirmation. The three contenders are Robert Barham, who served as wildlife and fisheries secretary under former Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal; Chris Oliver, longtime executive director of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council; and LaDon Swann, who directs the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium -- one of the 33 Sea Grant programs that President Trump has proposed eliminating. For the complete article, click here.


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: www.sej.org

"An environmental group is suing the Trump administration, demanding it protect a species of shark. Oceana argues that a rule issued last month by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) does not go far enough to protect dusky sharks from overfishing. The lawsuit was filed against the Department of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the NMFS." Tim Devaney reports for The Hill May 4, 2017.


News Article | April 20, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

Dow Chemical is pushing the Trump administration to scrap the findings of federal scientists who point to a family of widely used pesticides as harmful to about 1,800 critically threatened or endangered species. Lawyers representing Dow, whose CEO also heads a White House manufacturing working group, and two other makers of organophosphates sent letters last week to the heads of three Cabinet agencies. The companies asked them "to set aside" the results of government studies the companies contend are fundamentally flawed. The letters, dated April 13, were obtained by The Associated Press. Dow Chemical chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris is a close adviser to President Donald Trump. The company wrote a $1 million check to help underwrite Trump's inaugural festivities. Over the last four years, government scientists have compiled an official record running more than 10,000 pages showing the three pesticides under review — chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion — pose a risk to nearly every endangered species they studied. Regulators at the three federal agencies, which share responsibilities for enforcing the Endangered Species Act, are close to issuing findings expected to result in new limits on how and where the highly toxic pesticides can be used. The industry's request comes after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced last month he was reversing an Obama-era effort to bar the use of Dow's chlorpyrifos pesticide on food after recent peer-reviewed studies found that even tiny levels of exposure could hinder the development of children's brains. In his prior job as Oklahoma's attorney general, Pruitt often aligned himself in legal disputes with the interests of executives and corporations who supported his state campaigns. He filed more than one dozen lawsuits seeking to overturn some of the same regulations he is now charged with enforcing. Pruitt declined to answer questions from reporters Wednesday as he toured a polluted Superfund site in Indiana. A spokesman for the agency later told AP that Pruitt won't "prejudge" any potential rule-making decisions as "we are trying to restore regulatory sanity to EPA's work." "We have had no meetings with Dow on this topic and we are reviewing petitions as they come in, giving careful consideration to sound science and good policymaking," said J.P. Freire, EPA's associate administrator for public affairs. "The administrator is committed to listening to stakeholders affected by EPA's regulations, while also reviewing past decisions." The office of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Natural Marine Fisheries Service, did not respond to emailed questions. A spokeswoman for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who oversees the Fish and Wildlife Service, referred questions back to EPA. As with the recent human studies of chlorpyrifos, Dow hired its own scientists to produce a lengthy rebuttal to the government studies showing the risks posed to endangered species by organophosphates. The EPA's recent biological evaluation of chlorpyrifos found the pesticide is "likely to adversely affect" 1,778 of the 1,835 animals and plants accessed as part of its study, including critically endangered or threatened species of frogs, fish, birds and mammals. Similar results were shown for malathion and diazinon. In a statement, the Dow subsidiary that sells chlorpyrifos said its lawyers asked for the EPA's biological assessment to be withdrawn because its "scientific basis was not reliable." "Dow AgroSciences is committed to the production and marketing of products that will help American farmers feed the world, and do so with full respect for human health and the environment, including endangered and threatened species," the statement said. "These letters, and the detailed scientific analyses that support them, demonstrate that commitment." FMC Corp., which sells malathion, said the withdrawal of the EPA studies will allow the necessary time for the "best available" scientific data to be compiled. "Malathion is a critical tool in protecting agriculture from damaging pests," the company said. Diazinon maker Makhteshim Agan of North America Inc., which does business under the name Adama, did not respond to emails seeking comment. Environmental advocates were not surprised the companies might seek to forestall new regulations that might hurt their profits, but said Wednesday that criticism of the government's scientists was unfounded. The methods used to conduct EPA's biological evaluations were developed by the National Academy of Sciences. Brett Hartl, government affairs director for the Center for Biological Diversity, said Dow's experts were trying to hold EPA scientists to an unrealistic standard of data collection that could only be achieved under "perfect laboratory conditions." "You can't just take an endangered fish out of the wild, take it to the lab and then expose it to enough pesticides until it dies to get that sort of data," Hartl said. "It's wrong morally, and it's illegal." Originally derived from a nerve gas developed by Nazi Germany, chlorpyrifos has been sprayed on citrus fruits, apples, cherries and other crops for decades. It is among the most widely used agricultural pesticides in the United States, with Dow selling about 5 million pounds domestically each year. As a result, traces of the chemical are commonly found in sources of drinking water. A 2012 study at the University of California at Berkeley found that 87 percent of umbilical-cord blood samples tested from newborn babies contained detectable levels of chlorpyrifos. In 2005, the Bush administration ordered an end to residential use of diazinon to kill yard pests such as ants and grub worms after determining that it poses a human health risk, particularly to children. However it is still approved for use by farmers, who spray it on fruits and vegetables. Malathion is widely sprayed to control mosquitoes and fruit flies. It is also an active ingredient in some shampoos prescribed to children for treating lice. A coalition of environmental groups has fought in court for years to spur EPA to more closely examine the risk posed to humans and endangered species by pesticides, especially organophosphates. "Endangered species are the canary in the coal mine," Hartl said. Since many of the threatened species are aquatic, he said they are often the first to show the effects of long-term chemical contamination in rivers and lakes used as sources of drinking water by humans. Dow, which spent more than $13.6 million on lobbying in 2016, has long wielded substantial political power in the nation's capital. There is no indication the chemical giant's influence has waned. When Trump signed an executive order in February mandating the creation of task forces at federal agencies to roll back government regulations, Dow's chief executive was at Trump's side. "Andrew, I would like to thank you for initially getting the group together and for the fantastic job you've done," Trump said as he signed the order during an Oval Office ceremony. The president then handed his pen to Liveris to keep as a souvenir. Rachelle Schikorra, the director of public affairs for Dow Chemical, said any suggestion that the company's $1 million donation to Trump's inaugural committee was intended to help influence regulatory decisions made by the new administration is "completely off the mark." "Dow actively participates in policymaking and political processes, including political contributions to candidates, parties and causes, in compliance with all applicable federal and state laws," Schikorra said. "Dow maintains and is committed to the highest standard of ethical conduct in all such activity."


News Article | April 20, 2017
Site: www.biosciencetechnology.com

Dow Chemical is pushing a Trump administration open to scrapping regulations to ignore the findings of federal scientists who point to a family of widely used pesticides as harmful to about 1,800 critically threatened or endangered species. Lawyers representing Dow, whose CEO is a close adviser to Trump, and two other manufacturers of organophosphates sent letters last week to the heads of three of Trump's Cabinet agencies. The companies asked them "to set aside" the results of government studies the companies contend are fundamentally flawed. Dow Chemical wrote a $1 million check to help underwrite Trump's inaugural festivities, and its chairman and CEO, Andrew Liveris, heads a White House manufacturing working group. The industry's request comes after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced last month he was reversing an Obama-era effort to bar the use of Dow's chlorpyrifos pesticide on food after recent peer-reviewed studies found that even tiny levels of exposure could hinder the development of children's brains. In his prior job as Oklahoma's attorney general, Pruitt often aligned himself in legal disputes with the interests of executives and corporations who supported his state campaigns. He filed more than a dozen lawsuits seeking to overturn some of the same regulations he is now charged with enforcing. Pruitt declined to answer questions from reporters Wednesday as he toured a polluted Superfund site in Indiana. A spokesman for the agency later told AP that Pruitt won't "prejudge" any potential rule-making decisions as "we are trying to restore regulatory sanity to EPA's work." The letters to Cabinet heads, dated April 13, were obtained by The Associated Press. As with the recent human studies of chlorpyrifos, Dow hired its own scientists to produce a lengthy rebuttal to the government studies. Over the past four years, government scientists have compiled an official record running more than 10,000 pages indicating the three pesticides under review - chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion - pose a risk to nearly every endangered species they studied. Regulators at the three federal agencies, which share responsibilities for enforcing the Endangered Species Act, are close to issuing findings expected to result in new limits on how and where the highly toxic pesticides can be used. "We have had no meetings with Dow on this topic and we are reviewing petitions as they come in, giving careful consideration to sound science and good policymaking," said J.P. Freire, EPA's associate administrator for public affairs. "The administrator is committed to listening to stakeholders affected by EPA's regulations, while also reviewing past decisions." The office of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Natural Marine Fisheries Service, did not respond to emailed questions. A spokeswoman for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who oversees the Fish and Wildlife Service, referred questions back to EPA. The EPA's recent biological evaluation of chlorpyrifos found the pesticide is "likely to adversely affect" 1,778 of the 1,835 animals and plants accessed as part of its study, including critically endangered or threatened species of frogs, fish, birds and mammals. Similar results were shown for malathion and diazinon. In a statement, the Dow subsidiary that sells chlorpyrifos said its lawyers asked for the EPA's biological assessment to be withdrawn because its "scientific basis was not reliable." "Dow AgroSciences is committed to the production and marketing of products that will help American farmers feed the world, and do so with full respect for human health and the environment, including endangered and threatened species," the statement said. "These letters, and the detailed scientific analyses that support them, demonstrate that commitment." FMC Corp., which sells malathion, said the withdrawal of the EPA studies would allow the necessary time for the "best available" scientific data to be compiled. "Malathion is a critical tool in protecting agriculture from damaging pests," the company said. Diazinon maker Makhteshim Agan of North America Inc., which does business under the name Adama, did not respond to emails seeking comment. Environmental advocates said Wednesday that criticism of the government's scientists was unfounded. The methods used to conduct EPA's biological evaluations were developed by the National Academy of Sciences. Brett Hartl, government affairs director for the Center for Biological Diversity, said Dow's experts were trying to hold EPA scientists to an unrealistic standard of data collection that could only be achieved under "perfect laboratory conditions." "You can't just take an endangered fish out of the wild, take it to the lab and then expose it to enough pesticides until it dies to get that sort of data," Hartl said. "It's wrong morally, and it's illegal." Organophosphorus gas was originally developed as a chemical weapon by Nazi Germany. Dow has been selling Chlorpyrifos for spraying on citrus fruits, apples, cherries and other crops since the 1960s. It is among the most widely used agricultural pesticides in the United States, with Dow selling about 5 million pounds domestically each year. As a result, traces of the chemical are commonly found in sources of drinking water. A 2012 study at the University of California at Berkeley found that 87 percent of umbilical-cord blood samples tested from newborn babies contained detectable levels of chlorpyrifos. In 2005, the Bush administration ordered an end to residential use of diazinon to kill yard pests such as ants and grub worms after determining that it poses a human health risk, particularly to children. However it is still approved for use by farmers, who spray it on fruits and vegetables. Malathion is widely sprayed to control mosquitoes and fruit flies. It is also an active ingredient in some shampoos prescribed to children for treating lice. A coalition of environmental groups has fought in court for years to spur EPA to more closely examine the risk posed to humans and endangered species by pesticides, especially organophosphates. "Endangered species are the canary in the coal mine," Hartl said. Since many of the threatened species are aquatic, he said they are often the first to show the effects of long-term chemical contamination in rivers and lakes used as sources of drinking water by humans. Dow, which spent more than $13.6 million on lobbying in 2016, has long wielded substantial political power in the nation's capital. There is no indication the chemical giant's influence has waned. When Trump signed an executive order in February mandating the creation of task forces at federal agencies to roll back government regulations, Dow's chief executive was at Trump's side. "Andrew, I would like to thank you for initially getting the group together and for the fantastic job you've done," Trump said as he signed the order during an Oval Office ceremony. The president then handed his pen to Liveris to keep as a souvenir. Rachelle Schikorra, the director of public affairs for Dow Chemical, said any suggestion that the company's $1 million donation to Trump's inaugural committee was intended to help influence regulatory decisions is "completely off the mark." "Dow actively participates in policymaking and political processes, including political contributions to candidates, parties and causes, in compliance with all applicable federal and state laws," Schikorra said. "Dow maintains and is committed to the highest standard of ethical conduct in all such activity."


News Article | February 22, 2017
Site: www.marketwired.com

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwired - February 22, 2017) - Omega Protein ( : OME) has become the newest industry partner at the Science Center for Marine Fisheries (SCeMFiS). SCeMFiS is a partnership between the fishing industry, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) and the University of Southern Mississippi, and is part of the National Science Foundation's Industry/University Cooperative Research Center program. SCeMFiS connects the industry with the most up-to-date scientific and academic resources. In joining SCeMFiS, Omega Protein partners with an organization that shares its commitment to sustainable fishery management. It includes private and publicly traded companies, trade organizations, non-profits and government agencies. Some of the non-industry members include the National Marine Fisheries Service -- Northeast Fisheries Science Center, SeaWatch International and the National Fisheries Institute. "I want to extend our sincere appreciation to Omega Protein as they become a collaborating member of SCeMFiS. The future of our fishing communities depends upon sustainable fisheries, and we believe it is part of responsible fishing today to be making these investments in research," said Jeff Kaelin, who sits on SCeMFiS's Industry Advisory Board (IAB) of Officers and is head of Government Relations for Lund's Fisheries. "We are pleased Omega Protein will be joining us in this important work." SCeMFiS is responsible for several projects that have led to major breakthroughs in fisheries science, such as a 2015 report on improving the accuracy of marine mammal stock assessments, as well as measuring the impact marine mammal regulations have on East Coast and Gulf fisheries. "Since SCeMFiS' inception, Omega Protein has had respect for the organization and has continued to be impressed by the quality of the research being conducted," said Omega Protein Director of Public Affairs Ben Landry. "The objective of SCeMFiS is to develop research proposals to address scientific uncertainty in order to develop best management practices. We felt that there was no better group with which to partner than SCeMFiS, and we are excited to join." SCeMFiS currently has 17 projects underway covering a broad spectrum of fisheries issues. Several of these projects are especially relevant to the work of Omega Protein. One project in particular is a winter survey of menhaden in the Mid-Atlantic, which aims to "address data deficiencies and better inform the menhaden assessment," according to Mr. Kaelin. New SCeMFiS members are required to be affiliated with an academic institution, and Omega Protein has chosen to partner with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Roger Mann, a Professor of Marine Science at VIMS and the Virginia Site Director at SCeMFiS, has signed the agreement. According to Dr. Mann, there are many ways industry members benefit from partnering with SCeMFiS. "Members gain access to an international group of experts who can focus on technical problems that are challenging your sector of the fishing industry," said Dr. Mann. He also noted that SCeMFiS follows the research standards of the National Science Foundation, the "gold standard" in US scientific research. "This places the results of any IAB funded effort beyond reproach as these results are used to advance the goals of sustainable harvest." Omega Protein is the 11th industry partner to join the SCeMFiS team. Other partners include Atlantic Capes Fisheries, Bumblebee Foods/Snow's, Garden State Seafood Association, LaMonica Fine Foods, Lund's Fisheries Incorporated, and Surfside Seafood Products. Access to this premier scientific resource will ensure that Omega Protein remains at the forefront of the latest developments in fisheries science management. As a new industry partner at SCeMFiS, Omega Protein can continue to expand upon its current commitment to sustainable and responsible fishing. Omega Protein Corporation ( : OME) is a century old nutritional product company that develops, produces and delivers healthy products throughout the world to improve the nutritional integrity of foods, dietary supplements and animal feeds. Omega Protein's mission is to help people lead healthier lives with better nutrition through sustainably sourced ingredients such as highly-refined specialty oils, specialty proteins products and nutraceuticals. The Company operates seven manufacturing facilities located in the United States, Canada and Europe. The Company also uses over 30 vessels to harvest menhaden, a fish abundantly found off of the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Its website is www.omegaprotein.com.


News Article | February 25, 2017
Site: hosted2.ap.org

Thorny skate will not be added to endangered species list (AP) — The thorny skate's population may have declined, but not by enough to justify listing it under the Endangered Species Act, the federal government has ruled. Environmental groups had argued that the bottom-dwelling fish's population loss in the northwest Atlantic Ocean was considerable enough to afford it protections set aside for endangered animals. But the National Marine Fisheries Service disagrees. Documents published in the Federal Register on Friday state that the fisheries service has concluded the thorny skate is "not currently in danger of extinction" in all or a significant piece of its range. The service said the fish is also not likely to become in danger of extinction soon. The agency agreed with the petitioners that surveys of the skate have declined over time. Recent catch surveys show less than 5 percent of the peak they reached in the 1970s, the report stated. However, the skates "remain numerous throughout the greater portion of their range, numbering in the hundreds of millions," the report stated. The thorny skate ranges from Greenland to South Carolina. Animal Welfare Institute and Defenders of Wildlife called on the federal government to offer the fish Endangered Species Act listing, which could've led to habitat protection or new fishing restrictions. The skates live in the Gulf of Maine, a key commercial fishing area, and the call to protect them generated some resistance from fishing groups. Tara Zuardo, an attorney for Animal Welfare Institute, said Saturday that the group is disappointed by the government's ruling, and disagrees that the skate is not being subjected to overfishing. "Climate change and other factors continue to impact this species," Zuardo said. Fishermen have been prohibited from harvesting the thorny skate commercially since 2003. The fish are sometimes taken as bycatch in other fisheries, including by vessels that seek cod and some that seek other skates. Skates have commercial value as bait as well as food, with the meat frequently appearing as "skate wing" on menus. It tends to be a little less expensive to consumers than other kinds of fish.


News Article | February 25, 2017
Site: hosted2.ap.org

Thorny skate will not be added to endangered species list (AP) — The federal government says the thorny skate will not be listed under the Endangered Species Act. Environmental groups argued that the thorny skate's decline in the northwest Atlantic Ocean was considerable enough to afford it protections set aside for endangered animals. But the National Marine Fisheries Service says it disagrees. Documents published in the Federal Register on Friday say the fisheries service concludes the thorny skate is "not currently in danger of extinction" in all or a significant piece of its range. The service says the fish is also not likely to become in danger of extinction soon. The thorny skate ranges from Greenland to South Carolina. Fishermen have been prohibited from harvesting it commercially since 2003. They're sometimes taken as bycatch in other fisheries, including the cod fishery.

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