“The Line”, summary of West Coast fisheries news, December 2014 version available online

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Download The Line, Volume 3, No. 4, December 2014, a publication of the Pacific Fishery Management Council. The Line is a summary of West Coast fisheries news, for fishermen, published four or five times per year. This issue reports on decisions made at the November 2014 Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting.

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

Please direct your comments and thoughts regarding The Line or other public relations matters to Jennifer.Gilden@noaa.gov, Information and Communications Specialist at 503-820-2418, or toll free 1-866-806-7204, ext. 418.

Federal Register Documents published December 17, 2014

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Documents published on December 17, 2014 in the Federal Register that can be found on our Federal Register Notices webpage:

  • Fisheries off West Coast States; Final Rule; Regulatory Amendment to Pacific Coast Groundfish Fisheries Trawl Rationalization Program for the Start of 2015
  • Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; West Coast Region Vessel Identification Requirements
  • Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; West Coast Region, Gear Identification Requirements

Coastal Pelagic Species Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) document available

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

The Status of the Pacific Coast Coastal Pelagic Species Fishery; Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE), dated December 2014 is now available on the Council’s website. Please visit the CPS SAFE document webpage to download the document.

Council-adopted changes to the 2015 Pacific Halibut CSP for Area 2A

Monday, December 15th, 2014

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) adopted changes to the 2015 Pacific Halibut Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) for Area 2A and annual fishery regulations at the November 2014 Council meeting in Costa Mesa, California.  The Council recommendations for the 2015 CSP and regulations are described below.

Non-Indian Allocations

The Council recommended changes to the non-Indian allocations for the 2015 Pacific Halibut CSP for Area 2A in response to new information indicating a higher abundance of Pacific halibut and greater fishery participation in northern California than when the CSP was originally adopted. The recommended allocations are as follows: Washington sport (35.6 percent), Oregon sport (29.7 percent), California sport (4 percent), and non-Indian commercial fisheries (30.7 percent).

Columbia River Subarea Allocations

The Council recommended changes to the Oregon contribution to the Columbia River subarea allocation such that the Oregon contribution would be equal to 2.3 percent of the Oregon sport quota. The nearshore area allocation is recommended to be 500 pounds of the total Columbia River subarea allocation. The Columbia River subarea allocation less the nearshore area allocation (500 pounds) should be managed to one season by removing the early (80 percent) and late (20 percent) season subarea allocations. The start date for the Columbia River subarea and the nearshore area remains as specified in the 2014 CSP.

Central Oregon Coast Subarea Allocation

The Council recommended increasing the spring all-depth allocation to 63 percent of the Central Oregon Coast subarea allocation.

Southern Oregon Subarea Allocation

The Council recommended increasing the Southern Oregon subarea allocation to 4 percent of the Oregon Sport allocation, less the Oregon contribution to the Columbia River subarea.

Groundfish Retention in the Columbia River and Oregon Central Coast Subareas

The Council also recommended revising the groundfish retention allowances during the all-depth Pacific halibut fisheries in the Columbia River and Oregon Central Coast subareas. During the all-depth days, all flatfish species, in addition to Pacific cod and sablefish, may be retained when Pacific halibut are onboard.

California Subarea Allocation and Management

Starting in 2015, the California subarea is allocated 4 percent of the non-Indian allocation. The Council adopted the inseason monitoring and management strategy described by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW, see Agenda Item G.1.b, Supplemental CDFW Report 2, November 2014).  Specifically, the structuring objective for this subarea is to provide recreational fishing opportunity seven days per week, from May 1 until the date determined inseason when the quota is projected to be taken, or until October 31, whichever is earlier. Additional closed periods during this season, such as closed weeks or months and including a later opening date, may be established preseason by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) based on the subarea quota and projected catch. Based on the subarea quota, and considering stakeholder input, CDFW will provide recommendations to NMFS each year as soon as possible following the determination of the Area 2A total allowable catch on the opening date and other closure dates, such as closed weeks or months that would apply during the fishing season that year.  Closure of the fishery or other inseason adjustments will be made by NMFS via an update to the recreational halibut hotline.

Recommended Clarifications

The Council also adopted the NMFS-recommended clarifications (Agenda Item G.1.b, NMFS Report 3, November 2014), which include amending the language for the directed commercial fishery to allow earlier transfer of unused quota to the salmon troll fishery and updating all references to reflect the establishment of the West Coast Region.

The Council understands that NMFS requested the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) add CDFW to the definition of “authorized officer” in the IPHC regulations. This change was recommended by the Council to allow CDFW staff to enforce Pacific halibut regulations.

Agenda available for the SSC’s Ecosystem Subcommittee Joint Meeting, December 15-16, 2014

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

The Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Council) Scientific and Statistical Committee Ecosystem Subcommittee (Subcommittee) will hold a meeting on Monday and Tuesday, December 15-16, 2014.

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NMFS publishes final rule on chafing gear

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

On December 2, 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published in the Federal Register the final rule that modifies the existing chafing gear regulations for midwater trawl gear. This rule is effective January 1, 2015.

For further information, please contact Ms. Becky Renko, NMFS West Coast Region, 206-526-6110; (fax) 206-526-6736; Becky.Renko@noaa.gov.

Comment period open for the DEIS that evaluates the 2015-2016 harvest specifications and management measures and Amendment 24 to the groundfish FMP

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

The comment period is now open for the draft Environmental Impact statement (DEIS) that evaluates the 2015-2016 harvest specifications and management measures and Amendment 24 to the groundfish fishery management plan (FMP). Amendment 24 includes default harvest control rules that would be used in future biennia, unless modified by the Council, to establish harvest specifications. Amendment 24 also designates some FMP species as ecosystem component species. For more information, please go to the draft Groundfish Amendment 24/DEIS webpage.

November 2014 Council Decision Summary Document Online

Monday, November 24th, 2014

The Pacific Fishery Management Council met November 14-19, 2014 in Costa Mesa, California. The November 2014 Council Meeting Decision Summary Document summarizes the decisions made during that meeting.

NMFS seeks comments on Control Date for Large-Mesh Drift Gillnet Limited Entry Program

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

On October 28, 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register: “Control Date for Large-Mesh Drift Gillnet Limited Entry Program”. This advance notice of proposed rulemaking announces a control date of June 23, 2014, that may be used as a reference for allocation decisions when considering potential future management actions to limit the number of participants in the large-mesh drift gillnet fishery that targets swordfish and thresher sharks.

To view the proposed rule and for instructions on how to comment, please see the October 28, 2014 Federal Register notice. Comments must be submitted in writing by November 28, 2014. If you have further questions, please contact: Mr. Mark Helvey, NMFS: (562) 980-4040, or mark.helvey@noaa.gov.

November 2014 Briefing Book Available Online

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

The Briefing Book for the November 2014 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.