Salmon Preseason Report III, Council Adopted Management Measures and EA Part 3 for 2016 Ocean Salmon Fishery Regulations available online

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

Notice of Availability

The following document: Preseason Report III Council Adopted Management Measures and Environmental Assessment Part 3 for 2016 Ocean Salmon Fishery Regulations; Regulation Identifier Number 0648-BF56, published April 2016, is available on the Council’s Preseason Report III (2016) webpage.

For further information regarding the salmon management documents, or the salmon management preseason process, please contact Mr. Mike Burner at 503-820-2414 or toll free 1-866-806-7204, ext. 414.

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April 2016 Council Decisions Summary Document Online

Monday, April 18th, 2016

The Pacific Fishery Management Council met April 9-14, 2016 in Vancouver, Washington. The April 2016 Council Meeting Decisions Summary Document contains the highlights of significant decisions made at that meeting. Results of agenda items that do not reach a level of highlight significance are typically not described in the Decisions Summary Document.

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The Council has reopened solicitation for nominations to the vacant Groundfish Advisory Subpanel Washington Private Sport Seat

Monday, April 18th, 2016

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) is requesting nominations of qualified candidates to fill the vacant Washington Private Recreational seat on its Groundfish Advisory Subpanel (GAP) for the 2016-2018 advisory body term. The position is for the remainder of a three-year term ending December 31, 2018. Appointments will be made at the June 23-28, 2016 Council meeting in Tacoma, Washington. To ensure consideration, nominations should be received at the Council office no later than Thursday, May 26, 2016.

Please visit the Council’s “Current Advisory Body Vacancies” webpage for further information, including instructions on how to submit nominations.

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DRAFT Council-Adopted Salmon Management Measures for May 2016-April 30, 2017 Ocean Salmon Fisheries (Tables); Including Press Release

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

DRAFT Council-Adopted Salmon Management Measures for May 2016-April 30, 2017 Ocean Salmon Fisheries (Tables) Including Press Release.

The following DRAFT salmon management measures tables were adopted by the Council at their April 2016 meeting and will be published in Preseason Report III (tentatively scheduled for April 22). Please keep in mind the tables are DRAFT until implemented as Federal Regulations.

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Council Announces 2016 Salmon Seasons

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

WEST COAST SALMON SEASON DATES SET

VANCOUVER, Wa. – The Pacific Fishery Management Council today adopted ocean salmon seasons that provide recreational and commercial opportunities coastwide. The adopted salmon fisheries off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington achieve conservation goals for a multitude of individual salmon stocks and provide for freshwater fisheries.

The recommendation will be forwarded to the National Marine Fisheries Service for approval by May 1, 2016.

“It has been difficult for the Council, its advisors, fishery stakeholders and the public to balance fishing opportunities on harvestable Sacramento and Columbia River fall Chinook stocks with the severe conservation needs we are facing with many coho stocks and Sacramento River winter Chinook,” said Acting Council Executive Director Chuck Tracy. “But the Council has recommended commercial and recreational ocean salmon seasons in Washington, Oregon, and California this year that provide important protections for stocks of concern.”

“We have made the tough decisions and implemented fishery restrictions to give salmon stocks their best chance of rebounding from the effects of the drought and El Niño,” said Council Vice-Chair Herb Pollard.

Washington and Northern Oregon (North of Cape Falcon)

Fisheries north of Cape Falcon (near Nehalem in northern Oregon) depend largely on Columbia River Chinook and coho stocks. Columbia River fall Chinook returns are expected to return at high levels, and Columbia River coho are expected to return at reduced but moderate levels in 2016. However, coastal Washington and Puget Sound coho abundance is dramatically reduced from recent years, and some wild coho stocks are expected to return at very low levels. In response, the Council has been challenged with shaping fisheries to provide access to relatively abundant Chinook stocks while protecting natural coho populations.

North of Cape Falcon, there is an overall non-Indian total allowable catch of 70,000 Chinook coastwide (compared to 131,000 last year) and 18,900 marked hatchery coho in the area off the Columbia River (compared to 170,000 last year).

Recreational Fisheries

The recreational fishery north of Cape Falcon does not include a mark-selective Chinook season this year, but opens to all salmon on July 1 and ends in late August or when Chinook or coho quotas are reached. Recreational fisheries in all port areas will have access to 35,000 Chinook (compared to over 50,000 Chinook last year), but coho retention is only allowed in ocean areas off the Columbia River with a modest quota of 18,900 (compared to 150,800 last year). For details, please see the season descriptions on the Council website at www.pcouncil.org.

Commercial Fisheries

Tribal and non-Indian ocean commercial fisheries are designed to provide harvest opportunity on strong Chinook returns primarily destined for the Columbia River while avoiding coho stocks of concern. Coho retention is prohibited in all commercial fisheries north of Cape Falcon this year.

Non-Indian ocean commercial fisheries north of Cape Falcon include traditional, but reduced, Chinook seasons in the spring (May-June) and summer (July-August), and any coho caught in the commercial fishery must be released. The Chinook quota of 19,100 in the spring is approximately half of the 2015 quota, while the summer season Chinook quota is similar to last year at 23,400 Chinook.

Tribal ocean Chinook fisheries north of Cape Falcon are reduced from 2015 levels with a quota of 40,000 fish (compared to 60,000 last year).

California and Oregon South of Cape Falcon, Oregon

An expected abundance of roughly 300,000 Sacramento River fall Chinook (compared to 650,000 last year), combined with modest coho expectations for the Columbia River, will support recreational and commercial opportunities for ocean salmon fisheries off Oregon and much of California. The 2015 Columbia River coho abundance forecast in 2016 is over 500,000 fish (compared to over 800,000 last year) and will allow for recreational coho opportunities this summer.

The Klamath River fall Chinook abundance forecast for 2016 is substantially lower than recent years and the primary reason for fishery constraints in Oregon and California. Long running drought conditions, coupled with suboptimal ocean conditions, have raised serious concerns for Sacramento River winter Chinook salmon, which are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act and have experienced very low survival as juveniles in 2014 and 2015. Fisheries south of Point Arena, California, particularly recreational fisheries in the greater Monterey Bay region, will continue to experience late-season reductions to minimize interactions with winter Chinook.

Recreational Fisheries

Recreational fisheries in California and southern Oregon are primarily focused on Chinook salmon and include openings in May, June, July, August, and the Labor Day weekend, in the Brookings/ Crescent City/Eureka area. Fisheries further south all opened on April 2 and will continue through November 13 in the Fort Bragg area, through October 31 in the San Francisco area, through July 15 from Pigeon Point to Point Sur, and through May 31 south of Point Sur.

Recreational fisheries off the central Oregon coast will allow Chinook retention from March 15 through October 31. Coho fisheries consist of a 26,000 mark-selective coho quota fishery in mid-summer from Cape Falcon to the Oregon/California border (compared to 55,000 last year) and a 7,500 non-mark selective coho quota fishery in September, open from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain (compared to 12,500 last year).

Commercial Fisheries

Commercial fisheries from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain, Oregon opened on April 8 and will run through October 31 with intermittent closures to reduce impacts on Klamath fall Chinook. Fisheries in the Humbug Mountain-to-California-border area will be open April 8 through May, with Chinook quota fisheries in June (720) and July (200). Fisheries from the California border to Humboldt South Jetty will open on September 9 with a 1,000 Chinook quota (compared to 3,000 last year).

Between Horse Mountain and Point Arena (in the Fort Bragg area), commercial Chinook salmon fisheries will be open June 13 to 30, August 3 to 27, and September 1 to 30.

In the area from Point Arena to Pigeon Point (San Francisco), the season will be open May 6 to 31, June 13 to 30, August 3 to 28, and during the month of September. From Pigeon Point to the Mexico border (Monterey), the Chinook season will be open in May and June. There will also be a season from Point Reyes to Point San Pedro, open October 3 to 7 and 10 to 14.

Management Process

The Council developed the management measures after several weeks spent reviewing three season alternatives. The review process included input by Federal and state fishery scientists and fishing industry members; public testimony, and three public hearings in coastal communities. The Council received additional scientific information and took public testimony before taking final action. The decision will be forwarded to the National Marine Fisheries Service for approval and implementation.

In addition, the coastal states will decide on compatible freshwater fishery regulations at their respective Commission hearings.

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 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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Sam Rauch, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs of NOAA Fisheries, Visits Council on Anniversary of MSA

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

Sam Rauch, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs of NOAA Fisheries, visited the Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting today to observe the 40th anniversary of Federal fisheries management under the Magnuson-Stevens Act and to discuss ongoing programs of National Marine Fisheries Service. The Magnuson-Stevens Act, or MSA, is the foundation of fisheries management in the United States, and was enacted on April 13, 1976. The MSA created eight Regional Fishery Management Councils that support transparent regional management of the nation’s fisheries.

“The strength of the MSA is that it created the Council system, which has worked extraordinarily well in terms of making sure that decisions are transparent, are science-based and have stakeholder input,” said Rauch. “It allows us to make deliberative decisions together, as opposed to in a black box. It is what has built the success that we have enjoyed. In the last few years we have consistently had either record or near-record landings, nationally. At the same time, we have also made significant strides in reducing the number of stocks that are on the overfished list, and that are subject to overfishing. Those continue to be at either all-time lows or near all-time lows. [The status of fish stocks] is something the Councils should be proud of, because this is where the hard work happens to make all that possible. The regional Councils are the bodies that make all the tough decisions.”

Rauch went on to discuss NOAA’s draft National Bycatch Reduction Strategy. The proposal continues the nation’s momentum on reducing bycatch—when fishermen catch fish they don’t want, can’t keep, or aren’t allowed to keep. Bycatch can also occur when fishing gear harms or kills marine mammals, seabirds, corals, sponges, sea turtles, or protected fish. NOAA Fisheries is accepting public comment on the draft strategy through June 3.[1]

Rauch also discussed the President’s task force on illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing. A new NOAA program beginning this fall will track the origin of certain at-risk stocks imported into the United States, leading to a safer and higher quality seafood product for consumers.

Recently, a peer-reviewed study determined that the U.S. fisheries management system meets U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization standards for sustainable fishing. “U.S. fisheries are the best managed in the world,” said Rauch.

[1] http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/fisheries_eco/bycatch/strategy.html

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NOAA Head Dr. Kathryn Sullivan Visits Pacific Council (Press Release)

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), visited the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) meeting in Vancouver, Washington on April 9, 2016 and addressed the Council.  Please read the full PFMC press release.

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PRELIMINARY DRAFT APRIL 2016 COUNCIL MEETING MOTIONS IN WRITING

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

Cautionary Note — These preliminary motions do not represent the final official administrative record. The motions and amendments contained in this blog are as projected on the screen at the Council meeting at the time of the Council vote and often use expedited language and references without the benefit of any final editing or proofing. They may use short-hand language or abbreviations that may not be clear without the context of verbal comments and clarifications made during their development at the meeting, or may contain inadvertent transposition errors. They have not been approved by the Council to represent the final official record of Council action. The final official record will be posted on the Council website after the Council approves the full meeting record at a future Council meeting.

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April 2016 Council Meeting Internet Live Stream

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

The April 2016 Council meeting will be live‐streamed on the internet during the following hours:

  • Saturday, April 9, 2016:  8:00 AM Pacific Time, ending at approximately 3:00 PM PT  (at approximately 3:00 PM PT, there will be a Closed Executive Session)
  • Sunday, April 10, 2016 through Thursday, April 14, 2016:  8:00 AM Pacific Time, ending daily at approximately 6:00 PM PT or when business for the day is complete

Only the audio portion and presentations displayed on the screen at the Council meeting will be broadcast. The audio portion is listen‐only; you will be unable to speak to the Council via the broadcast.

For agenda item topics, please see the April 2016 agenda.

Join the meeting in “listen-only” mode

Join the meeting in “listen-only” mode by visiting this link:

  1. http://www.gotomeeting.com/online/webinar/join-webinar
  2. Enter the Webinar ID – The April 9-14, 2016 Webinar ID is: 105-442-547
  3. Please enter your email address (required)

Participants can use their computer’s speakers (VoIP) or telephone. (See the PFMC GoToMeeting Audio Diagram for best practices).  Since this is a “listen only” broadcast, you may use your computer speakers or headset to listen.

If you do not have a headset or computer speakers, you may use your telephone for the audio portion of the meeting by dialing this TOLL number 1-646-307-1720; phone audio access code 391-457-815 (not a toll-free number); then enter the audio pin shown after joining the webinar. The webinar is broadcast in “listen only” mode.

Technical Information

System Requirements

  • PC-based attendees: Required: Windows® 7, Vista, or XP
  • Mac®-based attendees: Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer
  • Mobile attendees: Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet (See the GoToMeeting Webinar Apps)

You may send an email to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt for technical assistance.

MP3 Audio Files

Approximately four business days after the meeting has ended, you may visit the “Past Meetings” webpage where you will find links to the MP3 and WAV files.

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April 2016 Briefing Book Available Online

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

The Briefing Book for the April 2016 Council meeting has been posted to the Council’s website on the “April 2016 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.

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