Updated! NMFS Salmon Fishery Regulations Booklet Available Online

Thursday, May 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.

Reminder! Groundfish Endangered Species Workgroup to Hold Meeting

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

The Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Groundfish Endangered Species Workgroup will hold a meeting on May 19-21, 2015, which is open to the public. This is also being broadcast via webinar.

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New! Spring 2015 Newsletter Available Online

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

The Spring 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, Spring 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.

Salmon Preseason Report III, Council Adopted Management Measures and EA Part 3 for 2015 Ocean Salmon Fishery Regulations available online

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Notice of Availability

The following document: Preseason Report III Council Adopted Management Measures and Environmental Assessment Part 3 for 2015 Ocean Salmon Fishery Regulations; Regulation Identifier Number 0648-XD843, published April 2015, is available on the Council’s Preseason Report III (2015) webpage.

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

April 2015 Council Decision Summary Document Online

Monday, April 20th, 2015

The Pacific Fishery Management Council met April 11-16, 2015 in Rohnert Park, California. The April 2015 Council Meeting Decision Summary Document summarizes the decisions made during that meeting.

PRELIMINARY DRAFT APRIL 2015 COUNCIL MEETING MOTIONS IN WRITING

Monday, April 20th, 2015

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.

Council Urges NMFS to Close This Year’s Sardine Fishery

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Yesterday the Pacific Fishery Management Council urged the National Marine Fisheries Service to close the Pacific sardine fishing season as quickly as possible, citing concerns about a declining biomass and the potential for the remainder of this year’s quota to be caught rapidly. This follows the Council’s Sunday decision to close next year’s fishery, based on largely the same concerns. When NMFS closes the sardine fishery, a small amount of harvest is still allowed for incidental catch in other fisheries such as Pacific mackerel, to allow them to continue operating. However, if the allocated amount of incidental harvest is reached, those other fisheries will also be shut down.

In making its decision, the Council considered advice from its science, management, and advisory committees, as well as public testimony.

DRAFT Council-Adopted Salmon Management Measures for May 2015-April 30, 2016 Ocean Salmon Fisheries (Tables); Including Press Release

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

The following DRAFT salmon management measures tables were adopted by the Council at their April 2015 meeting and will be published in Preseason Report III (tentatively scheduled for April 24). Please keep in mind the tables are DRAFT until implemented as Federal Regulations.

  • TABLE 1. Commercial troll management measures adopted by the Council for non-Indian ocean salmon fisheries, 2015. (Draft, 4/15/2015 10:18 AM)
  • TABLE 2. Recreational management measures adopted by the Council for non-Indian ocean salmon fisheries, 2015. (DRAFT: 4/15/15 10:19 AM)
  • TABLE 3. Treaty Indian ocean troll management measures adopted by the Council for ocean salmon fisheries, 2015. (DRAFT: 4/15/15 10:20)

Please see the 2015 salmon season PFMC News Release (April 15, 2015) for further information.

Council to Consider Emergency Changes in the 2014-2015 Pacific Sardine Fishery

Monday, April 13th, 2015

The Pacific Fishery Management Council voted today to consider whether to recommend emergency changes in the current Pacific sardine fishing season, which is otherwise scheduled to end June 30, 2015. The Council scheduled the discussion and potential action for Wednesday afternoon at about 3 pm, April 15, at its meeting in Rohnert Park, California.

New information has been presented to the Council that has called into question whether action should be taken to reduce the remaining season, which has about 2,900 metric tons remaining in the directed fishery and 500 metric tons remaining for incidental take in fisheries targeting other species.

The Council will take public testimony prior to taking any action. Participants in the fishery and members of the public are encouraged to make their views known. Because the Council is in session, this can only be done in person at the meeting in Rohnert Park, California. The meeting is taking place at the following location:

DoubleTree by Hilton Sonoma
One Doubletree Drive
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Telephone: 707-584-5466

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Council Votes to Close 2015-2016 Pacific Sardine Fishery

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Rohnert Park, California – The Pacific Fishery Management Council today announced the closure of the 2015-16 Pacific sardine directed fishery, beginning July 1.

Pacific Council members heard from scientists that the abundance forecast for the 2015-2016 season, scheduled to start July 1, was significantly below the 150,000 metric ton threshold for a directed fishery. They also heard testimony from fishery participants and environmental groups before reaching a decision to close the directed fishery. Small amounts of sardines may be taken incidental to target fishing on other stocks, and a much reduced harvest amount was allocated to the Quinault Indian Nation along the mid-Washington coast.

“While this is a sad day for all those dependent on a healthy sardine fishery, it is actually a good thing that this Council is addressing the problem directly, something you don’t always see across the nation or certainly, internationally,” said Council member Frank Lockhart of National Marine Fisheries Service. “This Council cutback on salmon with extensive closures a decade or so ago, and the Klamath and Sacramento stocks rebuilt fairly quickly. This Council also cut back on lingcod and other groundfish catches in the recent past, and those stocks are also rebuilt. This action today paves the way for the sardine population to rebuild as soon as the ocean cycles permit.”

Sardines are subject to large natural population swings associated with ocean conditions. In general, sardines thrive in warm water regimes, such as those of the 1930s, and decline in cool water years, like the 1970s. After reaching a recent year peak of about one million metric tons in 2006, the sardine biomass has dropped to an estimated 97,000 metric tons this year. (Biomass is the (estimated) weight of a stock of fish.)

Council Vice Chair Herb Pollard said, “The Council’s Fishery Management Plan has done its job. When the sardine stock declines to this point, the directed commercial fishery stops. This is a testimony to the precautionary provisions the Pacific Council has locked into our management regime.”

“We know boats will be tied up, but the goal here is to return this to a productive fishery,” said Council member David Crabbe.

The Council takes a precautionary approach to managing Pacific sardines. When the fish are abundant, more fishing is allowed; but as the stock size declines, the amount of allocated to harvest decreases. When the biomass is estimated at or below 150,000 metric tons, directed commercial fishing is shut down.

Although directed commercial fishing will close, the Council will allow up to 7,000 tons of sardines to account for small amounts taken as incidental catch in other fisheries (such as mackerel), live bait harvest, Tribal harvest, and research. However, if the allocated amount of incidental harvest is reached, those other fisheries will also be shut down.

On Wednesday, April 15, the Council will consider whether to take the additional step of making changes to the remaining months of the current season, which ends June 30.

Background

The sardine biomass is assessed annually, and the fishing year runs July 1 through June 30. Although sardine fishing doesn’t generate the money that some other fisheries do, it is an important source of income for communities up and down the west coast.

Sardine productivity is generally linked to ocean temperatures, but it’s not a perfect relationship. For example, temperatures in the Southern California Bight have risen in the past two years, but we haven’t seen an increase in young sardines as expected.

The allowable harvest in recent years has been as high as 109,000 metric tons (2012), but has dropped as the biomass has dropped. In 2013 the harvest guideline was 66,495 mt, in 2014 it was 23,293 mt. Exvessel revenues were $21.5 million in 2012. Sardine exports were valued at $44 million in 2010 and $34.8 million in 2011.

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.

All Council meetings are open to the public.