The Bering Sea red king crab fleet finished catching 10 million pounds of quota last week — and they’re facing some lackluster prices as the crab goes to market. It could be due to higher catch limits in Alaska and Russia.Download AudioThere’s also the problem of pirates. Illegal crab harvesting is declining, but industry groups say it’s still their biggest concern.Crab economics can be a tricky business. Take it from Jake Jacobsen, who heads up the state’s biggest crab harvesting collective, the Inter-Cooperative Exchange.“Supply is really the thing that drives the market, and the Japanese exchange rate is pretty close up there too,” he says. “And then, of course, the quality of the crab and other issues all factor in.”Dockside prices for Alaskan red king crab were down as much as a dollar this season, to around $6.10, according to the state Department of Fish & Game.There are plenty of reasons why that could be: like the higher quotas in Alaska and Russia, and currency values giving big Japanese importers a better deal in Russian rubles than in dollars.And Jacobsen says Alaska’s fleet had another problem this year: unexpected barnacles on some of their catch.“Those crab don’t typically receive the same price as a clean-shell crab,” he says. “So there’s a little bit of a discount there.”But it’s all secondary to what he says is still the biggest problem for Alaska: illegal fishing and overharvesting by pirate boats in Russia.Years ago, Russian pirates caught and delivered more than four times as much king and snow crab as the country’s legal harvest limit. Since then, that number’s declined to its lowest point in a decade, says Heather Brandon of the World Wildlife Fund.“But even in the last year that we have data for, which is 2013, there was still about a 69 percent harvest over the legal catch,” she says. “So we can see from trade data that there’s still a huge amount of illegal crab entering the market from Russia.”Brandon co-authored a recent WWF report on illegal crab fishing. It calls for countries that import and export crab to work on stamping out pirate fishing — like by asking for more documentation as the crab makes its way from dock to market. One agreement between Russia and Japan will do just that starting in December.Japan takes most of Russia’s exports, due to proximity — but plenty of Alaska’s catch winds up there too. That leaves American consumers buying crab that’s estimated to be 40 percent illegal. Jake Jacobsen, with the harvester co-op, says it’s tough to verify where the product comes from:“The boats that supposedly made the landings are fictitious. They’re signed with names of captains that don’t exist,” he says. “All the documents look legal because they’ve been professionally forged.”That’s why groups like his are pushing for stricter labeling and tracking requirements. And as always, they want customers to buy domestic. They say Alaska’s fishery is better regulated, better documented and more sustainable than any other.Of course, that makes it more expensive than illegal crab, too. Mark Gleason is the president of the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, which estimates Alaska has lost $600 million to pirate crabbing since 2000.“The people that I represent — they’re capitalists. We thrive on competition. We’re very proud of the product that we produce, and we will put that product up against anyone’s,” Gleason says. “But it’s gotta be a level playing field in terms of the competition. We all need to be playing by the same rules. We all need the same opportunity to bring our product to market. And we welcome the competition with the legal production — it’s just the pirates that have a leg up.”Still, Gleason thinks it’s possible to stop illegal crab fishing. He points to signs of progress — more international cooperation and regulatory support from lawmakers, who groups like his have been lobbying. And there’s last year’s lower illegal harvest, too.But what about this year? It’s kind of a wild card, since there’s also more legal crab on the market than in the past. Heather Brandon, with the WWF, says she isn’t sure if higher legal quotas will make for less pirate fishing. And she won’t get to find out for about a year.“I’m really looking forward to looking at the 2014 data to understand that,” she says. “There are a lot of factors in play.”That means it’s not clear if pirate fishing is to blame for this year’s lower red king crab prices in Alaska. Still, fishermen say they have to control what they can. The fleet can’t alter the laws of supply and demand. But they’ll still lobby to rid that supply of crab that shouldn’t be there.
Ad-Free Viewing changes on Twitch by Martin Brinkmann on August 21, 2018 in Internet – 1 commentAmazon’s game streaming service Twitch announced changes to the ad-free viewing benefit on the site for Twitch Prime customers.Amazon Prime customers or Amazon Prime Video customers can link the account to a Twitch account to get Twitch Prime benefits. These benefits include access to free games and in-game content, channel subscriptions, more chat options, and longer broadcast storage.Benefits included ad-free viewing on Twitch as well but that is going to change according to a new blog post on the official site.The company plans to end universal ad-free viewing on Twitch for new Amazon Prime customers on September 14. The ad-free viewing perk ends for existing Twitch Prime customers on October 15, 2018 or until the next renewal data.Ad-free viewing is not going away completely though. Twitch Prime subscribers may use their subscription token on a channel that offers ad-free viewing to subscribers. The only other option to get an ad-free experience on Twitch is to subscribe to the new Twitch Turbo subscription plan.Twitch Turbo is available for $8.99 per month. Subscribers get similar benefits as Twitch Prime customers get plus ad-free viewing and priority customer support.Twitch PrimeTwitch TurboAd-free viewingNOYESExpanded Emoticon SetYESYESCustom Chat Username ColorsYESYESExclusive badgeYESYESExtended Broadcast Storage60 days60 daysGame ContentYESNOPriority customer supportNOYESPrice$119 with Amazon Prime$8.99Twitch Turbo appears to be a separate offer which means that you don’t need to be a Twitch Prime subscriber to sign-up for Twitch Turbo. Some benefits are identical or nearly identical, some are exclusive. If you are interested in free game content you need to be a Twitch Prime subscriber. If you want to access an ad-free Twitch or want priority customer support, Twitch Turbo is the option that you may want to consider.Twitch revealed why it made the decision to make the change:Advertising is an important source of support for the creators who make Twitch possible. This change will strengthen and expand that advertising opportunity for creators so they can get more support from their viewers for doing what they love.In other words: the number of Twitch Prime subscribers affected the revenue of content creators and Twitch so that the company needed to do something about it.Closing WordsIt remains to be seen how successful Twitch Turbo will become and how enabling ads for all but Twitch Turbo subscribers will impact user retention and numbers.Now You: Do you use Twitch?SummaryArticle NameAd-Free Viewing changes on TwitchDescriptionAmazon’s game streaming service Twitch announced changes to the ad-free viewing benefit on the site for Twitch Prime customers.Author Martin BrinkmannPublisher Ghacks Technology NewsLogo Advertisement