April 2015 Briefing Book Available Online

Monday, March 30th, 2015

The Briefing Book for the April 2015 Council meeting has been posted to the Council’s website on the “Briefing Book” webpage. The Briefing Book contains “situation summaries” (brief summaries that provide background for each agenda item), reports and materials for each agenda item, and written public comment. Advisory body and committee agendas and memos are also available.

Widow Rockfish QS Reallocation Analysis Available

Friday, March 27th, 2015

The Council is considering the reallocation of the widow rockfish quota shares (QS) issued as part of the individual fishing quota system implemented under the Amendment 20 trawl rationalization program. This consideration also has implications for the deadline by which all of those who control QS must divest themselves down to the QS control limits (November 30, 2015). Analysis has been produced and is available; download the document Trawl Rationalization Trailing Actions: Widow Rockfish Reallocation, Divestiture Deferment and Forfeiture Methodology, Magnuson Stevens Act Analysis and Draft Environmental Assessment.  The alternatives and a summary of impacts are provided in Chapter 2 and the main allocational results in Section 4.3.

The Council is scheduled to take final action on this issue at its April 10-16 meeting in Santa Rosa California. Comment will be accepted during the April Council meeting. Written comments received at the Council office by 11:59 PM, Thursday, April 2, 2015 will be copied and distributed to all Council members.

Salmon Preseason Report II, Including Public Hearing Schedule Available on Council’s Website

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

The document Preseason Report II: Proposed Alternatives and Environmental Assessment Part 2 for 2015 Ocean Salmon Fishery Regulations; Regulation Identifier Number 0648-XD843 has been posted to the Council’s website. Please visit the 2015 Preseason Report II webpage to view and download the document.

The Council solicits public comments on the proposed management Alternatives in preparation for adopting final management recommendations at its April meeting. Oral and written comments on the proposed management Alternatives may be presented at public hearings (see “Salmon Public Hearings” for locations and dates). Additional comment will be accepted during the April Council meeting. Written comments received at the Council office by 11:59 PM, Thursday, April 2, 2015 will be copied and distributed to all Council members.

Reminder! Public Hearings on Salmon Management Alternatives to be Held

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Public hearings will be held to receive comments on the proposed ocean salmon fishery management alternatives adopted by the Council March 30-31, 2015. All public hearings begin at 7 p.m. on the dates and at the locations specified below:

Monday, March 30, 2015
Chateau Westport
Beach Room
710 W Hancock
Westport, WA 98595
360-268-9101
Driving Directions

Monday, March 30, 2015
Red Lion Hotel
South Umpqua Room
1313 N Bayshore Drive
Coos Bay, OR 97420
541-267-4141
Driving Directions

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Motel 6
Convention Room
400 S. Main St.
Fort Bragg, CA 95437
707-964-4761
Driving Directions

This meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt at 503-820-2425 at least five days prior to the meeting date.

For further information about the public hearings, please contact Mr. Mike Burner at 503-820-2414; toll-free 1-866-806-7204.

Final recommendations from the Presidential Task Force on IUU fishing and seafood fraud

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

On March 15, 2015, the Presidential Task Force on Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud, released its Action Plan. Please see NOAA Fisheries IUU webpage to read the press release and download the complete Action Plan.

For questions, please contact Laurel Bryant, NOAA Fisheries (Laurel.Bryant@noaa.gov).

March 2015 Council Decision Summary Document Online

Monday, March 16th, 2015

The Pacific Fishery Management Council met March 8-12, 2015 in Vancouver, Washington, USA. The March 2015 Council Meeting Decision Summary Document summarizes the decisions made during that meeting.

April 2015 Public Comment Deadline

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Public Comment Deadline – April 2015 Advance Briefing Book

Public comment materials received BY 11:59 pm, Friday, March 20, 2015, will be mailed to Council members and appropriate advisory bodies prior to the March meeting. This is known as the “Advance Briefing Book Deadline.”

Supplemental Public Comment Deadline

Public comments or materials received at the Council office after March 20, 2015, but BY 11:59 pm, Thursday, April 2 will be included in the supplemental materials distributed to the Council on the first day of the March 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.

Council Chooses Options for 2015 Salmon Season

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Vancouver, Washington – The Pacific Fishery Management Council today adopted three public review options for the 2015 salmon season off the West Coast of the United States. The Council will select a final option at their next meeting in Rohnert Park, California on April 10‐16. Detailed information about season starting dates, areas open, and catch limits for all three options are available on the Council’s website.

In general, the news is good, with strong stocks up and down the coast.

Northern Oregon and Washington (north of Cape Falcon)

Sport season options

Ocean sport fishery options north of Cape Falcon in Oregon and off the Washington coast have mark‐selective coho quotas ranging from 117,600 to 159,200 that start in late June and run into September (last year, the quota was 184,300 coho). For Chinook salmon, quotas range from 52,000 Chinook to 58,000 Chinook (last year, the quota was 59,100 Chinook). Chinook quotas are limited due to in order to protect lower Columbia River tule fall Chinook, which are listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Commercial and tribal season options

Non‐Indian ocean commercial fishery options north of Cape Falcon include traditional Chinook seasons between May and September. Chinook quotas for all areas and times range from 53,500‐67,000, similar to 2014. The marked coho quotas range from 22,400 to 25,600 (moderately lower than last year’s quota of 35,200).

Tribal ocean fisheries north of Cape Falcon

Alternative Chinook and coho quotas for tribal ocean fisheries are similar or slightly below 2014 levels. Chinook quotas range from 40,000‐66,250 and coho quotas range from 30,000 to 50,000.

Total Returns North of Cape Falcon

North of Cape Falcon, Columbia River coho returns were large, as forecast, at 966,000. Columbia River Chinook returns were also large, with some runs at record levels. The 2014 Columbia River tule Chinook forecasts are similar to 2014 at 94,900, and combined fall Chinook returns are again expected to be strong. The hatchery coho forecasts for the Columbia River are moderately less than 2014, but still expected to be strong and over 700,000 fish. In addition, the forecast for Oregon coastal natural (OCN) coho is 206,600.

California and southern Oregon (south of Cape Falcon)
Sport season options

California ocean sport fishing options generally provide continuous fishing opportunity from April to October or November. However, one alternative for 2015 takes a precautionary approach due to concerns for future Chinook abundance, particularly Sacramento River winter Chinook.

Oregon ocean recreational options include mark‐selective coho fishing seasons starting in June or July and running into September. Quotas range from 40,000 to 60,000 coho.

In addition, non‐mark‐selective fisheries are proposed in September with quotas ranging from 8,000 to 15,000 coho.

Options for Oregon ocean Chinook fishing in the Brookings area run May through September. For the Tillamook, Newport, and Coos Bay areas, season options range from March to October.

Commercial season options
From the north, commercial Chinook salmon season options in the Tillamook, Newport, and Coos Bay area range from April through October.

Oregon season options in the Brookings area range from May to September with quotas generally improved due to slightly improved abundance of Klamath River fall Chinook in 2015. Commercial ocean salmon fishing seasons off California range from May through September, although all options include a closure between Humboldt South Jetty and Horse Mtn. Opportunity for commercial fisheries in the Fort Bragg and Crescent City areas are also improved from 2014, again largely due to improved expectations for Klamath fall Chinook.

Total Returns in California and Southern Oregon
Central Valley fall Chinook are forecast at over 652,000, providing salmon fishing opportunity while allowing estimated spawning escapements over 300,000. The minimum conservation goal is 122,000 – 180,000 spawning adult salmon. Also in California, the ocean abundance forecast for Klamath River Fall Chinook is nearly 423,000, providing reasonable sport and commercial harvest while meeting the minimum natural spawning goal of 40,700, and the 2015 management objective of an ocean harvest rate of no more than 16 percent.

Management Process
Public hearings to receive input on the options are scheduled for March 30 in Westport, Washington and Coos Bay, Oregon; and for March 31 in Fort Bragg, California. The Council will consult with scientists, hear public comment, and revise preliminary decisions until it chooses a final option at its meeting April 10‐16 in Rohnert Park, California.

At its April meeting in Rohnert Park, the Council will narrow these options to a single season recommendation to be forwarded to National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for their final approval before May 1.

All Council meetings are open to the public.

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 miles offshore of the U.S. coastline. The Pacific Council recommends management measures for fisheries off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington.

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On the Web

2015 Salmon management alternatives for public review now available (tables)

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

These alternative management measures are also available in Preseason Report II.

The following tables detail the 2015 salmon management alternatives for public review:

March 2015 Halibut Decisions

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Salmon Troll

At their March 2015 meeting, the Council confirmed the existing halibut landing ratios for the commercial salmon troll fisheries from April 1-30, 2015 of no more than one halibut per each four Chinook, except one halibut may be possessed or landed without meeting the ratio requirement and no more than 12 halibut may be landed per trip.   The Council also adopted three options for public review for halibut landing ratios in the salmon troll fisheries from May 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015 and April 1-30, 2016. Final action is scheduled at the April Council meeting in Rohnert Park, California.

Status Quo (Pre-May 1 limit): May 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015 and April 1-30, 2016, license holders may land or possess no more than one Pacific halibut per each four Chinook, except one Pacific halibut may be landed without meeting the ratio requirement, and no more than 12 halibut landed per trip.

Option 2: May 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015 and April 1-30, 2016, license holders may land or possess no more than one Pacific halibut per each five Chinook, except one Pacific halibut may be landed without meeting the ratio requirement, and no more than 10 halibut landed per trip.

Option 3: May 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015 and April 1-30, 2016, license holders may land or possess no more than one Pacific halibut per each five Chinook, except one Pacific halibut may be landed without meeting the ratio requirement, and no more than 8 halibut landed per trip.

Primary Fixed Gear Sablefish Fishery North of Point Chehalis, Washington

The Council confirmed the existing halibut landing restrictions for the primary fixed gear sablefish fishery north of Pt. Chehalis, Washington from April 1, 2015 to October 31, 2015.  The limits are 75 pounds dressed weight of halibut for every 1,000 pounds dressed weight of sablefish landed and up to two additional halibut in excess of ratio per landing.