NMFS Requests Input on Salmon Bycatch in Pacific Coast Groundfish Fisheries

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

NMFS held a public webinar on July 29, 2015 and posed five questions regarding salmon bycatch in groundfish fisheries to the webinar participants .

Written comments will also be accepted via email. NMFS will be preparing a work session report to the Council for their meeting on September 9-16 in Sacramento, California. Therefore, any written comments to be considered in the report must be emailed to: GroundfishBO2015.wcr@noaa.gov, no later than noon, Pacific Daylight Time, August 7, 2015.

This information posted as a courtesy to NOAA WCR.

 

Updated July 21, 2015: NMFS Salmon Fishery Regulations Booklet Available Online

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

NMFS has revised their “online” salmon fishery regulations booklet. This booklet provides fishermen with a quick reference guide to the Federal regulations governing commercial and recreational salmon fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (3-200 nautical miles off shore) off Washington, Oregon, and California. The booklet is available:

Please note fishermen are advised to stay informed of inseason changes to the regulations and to consult Federal and/or State fishery management agencies for current information for the areas in which they are or will be fishing. State regulations, which may differ from Federal regulations, are in effect in State territorial waters (0-3 nautical miles off shore).

Actual notice of inseason changes to the Federal regulations will be provided as follows:

  • Ocean salmon hotline at (800) 662-9825 or (206) 526-6667. Recorded messages summarize inseason changes to date
  • U.S. Coast Guard Notice to Mariners broadcasts. Announcements on Channel 16 VHF-FM and 2182 kHz designate the channel or frequency over which the Notice to Mariners will be immediately broadcast
  • Inseason changes to the Federal regulations are also published in the Federal Register
  • Announcements will be emailed to “Salmonlist” subscribers. Visit the “Signup for the Salmon Fishery Management Listserve” webpage to be added to that email list.

New VMS Requirements

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Changes have been made within the U.S. Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) Program that will affect many vessel owners. NMFS notified vessel owners by certified mail of these changes. SkyMate, Inc. did not submit a complete application for renewal of their bundled VMS products, and CLS America did not submit for renewal of their Thorium TST EMTU (type-approvals for the Thorium TST A2.0 and the Thorium LEO A2.0 are unaffected). As a result, these units will no longer be type-approved for compliance with vessel monitoring system (VMS) requirements in United States federal fisheries.

Affected vessel owners will be required to replace their VMS unit with another type approved VMS unit. To continue fishing in U.S. federal fisheries that require use of VMS, affected vessel owners must replace their affected units with a currently type-approved unit by September 30, 2015. The new type-approved VMS unit must be installed, operational, and registered with OLE by that time. Download the list of Current Type-approved VMS Units.

Reimbursement to replace the units will be allowed under the NOAA’s National VMS Reimbursement Program. For more info go to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission Reimbursement Program website at:  http://www.psmfc.org/program/vessel-monitoring-system-reimbursement-program-vms?pid=17

A quick summary of what to do can be found by downloading the following memorandum from PSMFC:    “September 30, 2015 CLS AMERICA TST and SKYMATE VMS Unit Replacement”.

NMFS announces public work session (webinar) for stakeholders to provide input relative to managing the impacts to salmon from the groundfish fisheries

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces a public work session for interested stakeholders to provide input relative to managing the impacts to salmon from the groundfish fisheries. The work session will be held as a Webinar on Wednesday July 29, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, or until business for the day has been completed.

How to Participate:

To join the Webinar visit this internet link: www.gotomeeting.com/online/webinar/join-webinar and enter the Webinar ID: 110-773-275. Your name and email address are required. To join the audio, participants can use their computer’s microphone and speakers (VoIP) or use their telephone: Toll: +1 (415) 655-0059; Attendee Access Code: 227-478-994. The Audio Pin will be shown after joining the webinar.

System Requirements for participation: for PC-based attendees the system requires Windows® 7, Vista, or XP; for Mac®-based attendees the system requires Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer; for Mobile attendees the system requires iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet.

Background Documents:

The Webinar will be based on documents that are available online in the Council’s June 2015 briefing book under agenda item D.3. The relevant briefing book materials include:

The Council’s June 2015 briefing book is available on line at www.pcouncil.org/resources/archives/briefing-books/june-2015-briefing-book/#gfJun2015.

Additional Information:

Written comments will also be accepted via email. NMFS will be preparing a work session report to the Council for their meeting on September 9-16 in Sacramento, California. Therefore, any written comments to be considered in the report must be emailed to: GroundfishBO2015.wcr@noaa.gov, no later than noon, Pacific Daylight Time, August 7, 2015.

If you have further questions regarding the webinar, and/or the workshop content, please contact: NMFS, West Coast Region, Ms. Becky Renko at (206) 526-6110; or download the NMFS-SEA-15-17 Public Notice.

This information posted as a courtesy to NOAA WCR.

“The Line” July 2015

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

The Line, Volume 4, No. 2, July 2015 is now available on the Council’s website. The Line is a summary of West Coast fisheries news published four or five times per year. This issue reports on decisions made at the June 2015 Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting.

You may view past issues of the “The Line” and the Council’s newsletters by visiting the Council’s Newsletter Archives webpage.

If you have comments, questions, or suggestions regarding The Line, July 2015, please direct them to: Ms. Jennifer Gilden, Information and Communications Specialist at (503) 820-2280 ext. 418 or toll free: 1-866-806-7204.

Summer 2015 Newsletter Available Online

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

The Summer 2015 issue of Pacific Council News is now available on the Council’s website. You may view past issues of the Council’s newsletter by visiting the Council’s Newsletter Archives webpage.

If you have comments, questions, or suggestions regarding Pacific Council News, Summer 2015, please direct them to: Ms. Jennifer Gilden, Information and Communications Specialist at (503) 820-2280 ext. 418 or toll free: 1-866-806-7204.

Public Comment Deadlines for the September 2015 Briefing Book

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Public Comment Deadline – September 2015 Advance Briefing Book

Public comment materials received BY 11:59 pm, Friday, August 14, 2015, will be mailed to Council members and appropriate advisory bodies prior to the September meeting. This is known as the “Advance Briefing Book Deadline.”

Supplemental Public Comment Deadline

Public comment materials received at the Council office after August 14, 2015, but BY 11:59 pm, Wednesday, September 2 will be included in the supplemental materials distributed to the Council on the first day of the September meeting. This is known as the “Supplemental Public Comment Deadline.”

See the Council’s Briefing Book Public Comment Deadlines webpage for complete details on how to submit comments.

June 2015 Council Decision Summary Document Online

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

The Pacific Fishery Management Council met June 12-16, 2015 in Spokane, Washington. The June 2015 Council Meeting Decision Summary Document highlights the significant decisions made during that meeting.

Groundfish Inseason Actions from June 2015 Meeting

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

At their June 2015 meeting, the Council considered the latest data on groundfish catches and recommended the following:

  • Sablefish north of 36° N latitude:
    • Increase the limited entry fixed gear trip limit to 1,125 lbs/week and 3,375 lbs/2 months for periods 4 through 6, beginning as quickly as possible in period 4.
    • Increase the open access fixed gear trip limit to 350 lbs/day, 1,600 lbs/week, and 3,200 lbs/2 months for periods 4 through 6, beginning as quickly as possible in period 4.
  • Minor Shelf Rockfish complex, shortbelly, widow, and chilipepper between 40°10′ and 34°27′ N latitude: Increase the open access fixed gear trip limit to 500 pounds/2 months for period 4 through 6.
  • Blackgill rockfish south of 40°10′ N latitude:
    • Increase the limited entry fixed gear sub-limit to 1,600 pounds/2 months for periods 4 through 6, beginning as quickly as possible in period 4.
    • Increase the open access gear sub-limit to 550 pounds/2 months for periods 4 through 6, beginning as quickly as possible in period 4.
  • California scorpionfish: Increase the limited entry and open access trip limit to 1,500 lbs/2 months for periods 4 through 6, beginning as quickly as possible in period 4.
  • Black rockfish: Decrease the limited entry and open access trip limit between 40°10′ and 42° N latitude to 6,000 lbs/2 months beginning at the start of the next bi-monthly period (either July 1 or September 1).
  • Big skate: Adopt a 50 percent discard mortality rate for big skate caught with trawl gear (SSC recommendation). Increase big skate trip limits for the shorebased IFQ program to 35,000 lbs/2 months for periods 4 through 6, beginning as quickly as possible in period 4.

Petrale Sole and Canary Rockfish, Important West Coast Groundfish Stocks, Rebuilt to Sustainable Level

Monday, June 15th, 2015

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON – Two important West Coast groundfish stocks—Canary rockfish and petrale sole—that were formerly overfished have now been rebuilt ahead of schedule, the Pacific Fishery Management Council announced today. The stocks have been the subject of strict rebuilding plans that severely constrained West Coast fisheries for more than a decade. Managing groundfish fisheries in the last 15 years, under the canary rockfish rebuilding plan in particular, has been an immense challenge for the Council and the National Marine Fisheries Service and has caused significant disruption of fisheries. “This is a huge achievement and reflects many hard decisions made by the Council and its advisors, as well as difficult sacrifices by the fishermen and communities that depend on groundfish,” said Council Chair Dorothy Lowman. “While five groundfish stocks are still rebuilding, the Council looks forward to new fishing opportunities based on the fact that these two stocks have completely recovered.”

Canary rockfish, prized by both recreational and commercial fishermen, were declared overfished in 2000 and a rebuilding plan was put in place in 2001, affecting groundfish fisheries off all three west coast states. Because canary rockfish coexist with so many healthy groundfish stocks, they have been known as a “bottleneck species” limiting many fisheries. Further, canary rockfish are a long-lived, slow-growing species, making them difficult to rebuild. Under the plan, catch quotas were dramatically reduced and large area closures put in place, and the stock was expected to rebuild by 2057.  However, the new 2015 canary rockfish assessment adopted today by the Council shows the coastwide canary stock has already been rebuilt, thanks to the strict protections and good ocean conditions.

Former Council Chair Dan Wolford stated, “This a big deal. We now have six times more canary rockfish than when we scaled back so many fisheries. This shows the Pacific Council’s conservation policies work.” Petrale sole, an important species for commercial fisheries, were declared overfished in 2010 after an assessment showed that the stock had fallen below the overfished threshold. Beginning in 2011, a rebuilding plan was put in place to rebuild the stock by 2016. The petrale sole harvest limit was cut by half, and fisheries in which petrale sole could be caught incidentally were also reduced and area closures were implemented. A stock assessment conducted this year shows that the rebuilding plan was successful and the stock has increased over the target level.

“Petrale sole is known as our Cadillac flatfish,” said Ralph Brown, a long-time commercial fisherman from Bookings, Oregon. “Restaurants will love that these fish are now back so strongly.”

Process

The petrale sole and Canary rockfish assessments were developed by scientists at National Marine Fisheries Service and the University of Washington (in the case of petrale) and were reviewed by the Council’s scientific advisory bodies. The recommendation to declare these stocks rebuilt will be forwarded to the National Marine Fisheries Service for approval. New harvest specifications and regulations informed by these assessments are expected to be put in place beginning in 2017.

Council Role

The Pacific Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional fishery management councils established by the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 for the purpose of managing fisheries 3-200 nautical miles offshore of the United States of America coastline. The Pacific Council recommends management measures for fisheries off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington.

 

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Stock assessments and other technical information can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/oyuk4ey