business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  The Washington Post reports that "Alaska will cancel the upcoming winter snow crab season in the Bering Sea for the first time, and bar fishers from catching king crabs in the Bristol Bay for a second consecutive year, because of a sharp decline in their estimated population.

"This week’s announcements by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game deal a severe blow to fishers who make a living off the crabs. They also bring back to the forefront questions about the role of climate change in the rapid decline of the snow crab population: The number of juvenile snow crabs was at record highs just a few years ago, before some 90 percent of snow crabs mysteriously disappeared ahead of last season.

"Alaskan officials said they had consulted carefully with stakeholders before canceling the season. They said they were aware of the impact of the closures on “harvesters, industry and communities” but that they had to balance economic needs with conservation."

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"The Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc.’s MA security tokens restrict debit-card routing competition on online payments, according to people familiar with the matter. 

"The FTC for the past few years has already been probing whether Visa and Mastercard block merchants from routing payments over other debit-card networks. The networks acknowledged an FTC probe in regulatory filings in recent years. 

"In recent months, the FTC expanded its focus to routing challenges that stem from the networks’ security tokens, the people familiar with the matter said. It couldn’t be determined if the investigation is a new probe or part of the previous one. 

"Visa and Mastercard are by far the two biggest card networks in the U.S., building and maintaining the plumbing that allows Americans to use credit and debit cards at stores and online. Their lion’s share of that market has drawn increasing scrutiny from regulators and fueled tension with merchants, which pay fees set by the networks when a customer pays via card."

•  From Loyalty360:

"Delta Air Lines recently announced a strategic partnership with Starbucks that will offer members of Delta SkyMiles and Starbucks Rewards the ability to unlock more ways to earn rewards. Customers enrolled in both Delta SkyMiles and Starbucks Rewards loyalty programs can link their accounts to begin receiving the new rewards offers.

"Members will earn one mile per $1 spent on eligible purchases at Starbucks, and on days when enrolled members have a scheduled flight with Delta, they will earn double Stars on eligible purchases at participating Starbucks stores. This new benefit is open to currently enrolled members as well as new members of the companies’ loyalty programs."

•  FMI-The Food Industry Association said yesterday that it "is encouraging all Americans to assist in increasing coin circulation this October during 'Get Coin Moving' Month to support their fellow citizens and businesses that rely on coins for everyday cash transactions."

“The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated shifts in consumer habits about how they purchase goods and services, with increases in online shopping and credit or debit card use impacting the circulation of legal tender like coins," said FMI president-CEO Leslie G. Sarasin.  "These shifts have resulted in large quantities of coins sitting idle in the 128 million households across America instead of flowing through commerce. Unfortunately, this means that businesses like grocery stores have a harder time making change for cash transactions, and consumers who rely on cash have difficulty securing the coins they need for everyday food and goods purchases at our stores.

“We cannot mint ourselves out of this situation. It is critical that Americans do our part to get coin moving by returning coins back into circulation. We call on all Americans to spend or donate their idle coins, deposit coins at financial institutions, or redeem them at coin kiosks.”

I guess Leslie wouldn't be very happy with the urn full of coins sitting on my desk…