Alaska Journal | FISH FACTOR: Technology Provides Solution to “Ghost Fishing” Gear
Lost fishing gear – be it nets, lines, or pots – continues âghost fishingâ forever, causing slow deaths to countless sea creatures and financial losses to fishermen.
Now, new âsmart buoysâ can track and monitor all types of deployed gear and report their location directly to a cell phone or website.
Blue Ocean Gear of California created and built the buoys that can also track temperatures, depth, ocean movements, even how much has been captured.
The small three-pound buoys are only seven inches in diameter, require no special training to use, and are strong enough to withstand the harshest ocean conditions.
âAll the information is collected in a database,â said company founder and CEO Kortney Opshaug. âWe have both a mobile app that you can access from your phone or a web interface that lets you see more data, graphs and things like that. Most of the buoys have satellite transmission, but some also have radio transmission and we are working more and more with that. They are slightly more profitable and we can create networks on the water that communicate with each other.
Opshaug and his team of engineers and product developers in Silicon Valley were primarily motivated by the impacts of lost gear on the marine environment and the costs to fishermen.
“As we explored space, it became very clear that lost fishing gear was one of the most devastating problems that has both environmental and financial impacts on the industry,” said she declared.
âThere are around 640,000 tonnes of gear lost every year and he continues to fish. It becomes devastating for marine ecosystems, but it is also unlimited competition for the fishermen of their own equipment that they have lost. In addition, they have to pay to replace this equipment. We have therefore developed our smart buoys to be able to follow the material on the water. We thought if you could follow him you wouldn’t risk losing him.
Business Manager Peter Macy added, âThere may be a crab trap on the ocean floor and a buoy on the surface, but when the tides and currents are strong, the buoy can be pulled underwater. Fishermen cannot find it and they waste a lot of time and fuel. But our device follows the equipment from the surface.
The smart buoys, which first hit the water in 2015, were tested by two vessels during the 2020-21 golden king crab season in the Aleutian Islands to help fine-tune the software and communication parameters.
The automated system identified several pieces of stray equipment, including a line that had broken. It enabled the recovery in real time of nearly 100 pounds of floats and lines that would otherwise have been lost.
“Real-time alerts make the difference between an 8-day trip and a 14-day trip,” said one of the skippers in a case study testimony on the Blue Ocean Gear website, adding that ” the time saved per equipment chain was about seven hours. “
âThe main objective is to help fishermen fish more and in a more sustainable way,â said Macy.
Smart buoys are also used in the Alaskan halibut fishery, and a first order came from a southeastern kelp farm, Macy said, crediting Alaska Ocean Cluster Helpers.
Buoys are also used on the east coast, in Canada, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. Learn more at www.blueoceangear.com
Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon on Ice
Bristol Bay sockeye take to the ice at Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena in partnership with the newest National Hockey League team, the Seattle Kraken.
Bristol Bay Native Corp., which represents 31 tribes comprising 10,000 members, will also operate a Bristol Bay Wild Market in conjunction with fishermen funded and operated by the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association and Bristol Wild Seafood Co.
BBNC purchased Blue North Fisheries and Clipper Seafoods in 2019, making this new venture the largest Pacific cod longline fishing operation in the United States.
The three organizations have come together to bring “exceptional Alaskan wild seafood and the people and rich cultural heritage of Bristol Bay to millions of arena visitors each year,” the groups said in a Press release.
At every game and event held at the arena, an Alaskan seafood menu will include panko cod and wild Alaskan sockeye tacos, fish n ‘chips, sockeye fillet, baguette and chowders.
Bristol Bay will also be splashed on hundreds of TV screens inside the arena, LED side rings, main dashboards and more.
This marketing initiative follows the lead of Oregon-based Pacific Seafood, the first seafood supplier to enter into a sporting partnership last fall with a multi-year deal with the men’s Pac-12 basketball and football teams. which includes a dozen universities on the west coast. He added Pac-12 women’s basketball earlier this year.
Back on the rink, the Kraken team and coaching staff will also be hosting annual hockey camps in Alaska for kids who wouldn’t normally be exposed to the game.
Sales of canned salmon continue to rise as COVID-19-conscious consumers continue to switch to healthier, easier-to-use, non-perishable foods.
Seafood Source highlights a new report from the Fact.MR market tracker which predicts that the global canned salmon market will reach $ 4.5 billion this year and that sales will continue to grow through 2031.
More and more global consumers are also worrying more about where their seafood comes from, according to the report, and wild Pacific salmon is the top choice, accounting for the largest market share of nearly 82% this year.
Market experts predict that overall, canned wild salmon will generate 67 percent of the total world market share and nearly 62 percent of total sales in North America over the next decade.
That’s good news for Alaska, which supplies more than 95 percent of the country’s wild salmon.
Unsurprisingly, boneless / skinless fish is the preferred canned item and these sales are expected to increase at an annual rate of nearly 7 percent through 2031.
Canned roses are expected to be the most demanded with a 34.5% market share this year. Market watchers are also forecasting an increase in sales of roses in world markets to more than 7% per year.
Canned sockeye salmon is the second best-selling seller, especially in exports to Europe.
Canned buddies are also increasingly popular “because of their lighter oil content,” with annual sales growth expected to reach 6.2% over the forecast period, according to the report. Coho salmon are also expected to “witness lucrative growth with increasing demand across the world” estimated at 5.5% per year.
Reports from Alaskan processors show more than 81 million pounds of Alaskan salmon were canned in 2020, valued at nearly $ 687 million on their sell records.
Of that amount, nearly Â£ 60 million were roses valued at $ 205 million; canned sockeye salmon topped 21 million pounds, valued at over $ 480 million at the first big.
Canning salmon began in Alaska in the 1870s and by the turn of the 20th century it was the state’s largest industry, generating 80 percent of territorial tax revenues. Its position in the Alaskan economy at the time is what oil occupies today.
OBI Seafoods has been the largest producer of canned salmon in Alaska for over 100 years. John Daly, director of canned food sales in the United States, believes canned packaging has the power to remain one of the state’s best-known products.
âSince I’ve been in the industry I’ve heard from everyone that canned salmon is dying,â Daly said. “And here we are with record numbers.”
Laine Welch lives in Kodiak. Visit www.alaskafishradio.com or contact [emailÂ protected] for information.