Reminder notice and agenda available for the HMSMT August 12-14, 2014 meeting

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

This is a reminder notice that the Highly Migratory Species Management Team (HMSMT) will be meeting August 12-14, 2014 in the La Jolla, California area. An agenda is now available for that three-day meeting.

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NMFS Public Notice: Notice of Swordfish Drift Gillnet Directed Fishing Closure

Friday, July 25th, 2014

This notice announces that, through rulemaking in the Federal Register, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is closing the Pacific Loggerhead Conservation Area, prohibiting fishing with large-mesh drift gillnet (DGN) gear (>14 inches mesh) off the coast of southern California east of 120º west meridian through August 31, 2014.

For information, please contact: Mr. Craig Heberer, NOAA Fisheries, (760) 431-9400, ext. 303.

Reminder notice and agenda available for the HMSMT July 29, 2014 webinar

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

This is a reminder notice that the Highly Migratory Species Management Team (HMSMT) will be holding a webinar on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. An agenda is now available for that webinar.

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NMFS announces the receipt of a rulemaking petition to prohibit Pacific Bluefin Tuna fishing and requests comments

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces the receipt of, and requests public comment on a petition for rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act. The Center for Biological Diversity, a non-governmental organization, has petitioned the U.S. Department of Commerce to promulgate regulations to prohibit fishing for Pacific bluefin tuna and to identify specific reference points used to determine if overfishing is occurring or if the stock is overfished.  See the Federal Register notice dated July 24, 2014 for complete details on the petition and how to comment. Comments will be accepted through September 22, 2014.

If you have additional questions, please contact Mr. Mark Helvey, NMFS West Coast Region, Phone:  562-980-4040; email:; mailing address:  501 W. Ocean Blvd., Ste. 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802.

Comment Period Extended to August 19th for the Corps’ Double-crested Cormorant Draft EIS

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

The Corps is extending the deadline to submit comments on the Double-crested Cormorant Management Plan to Reduce Predation of Juvenile Salmonids in the Columbia River Estuary.  The comment period is extended by 15 days and will now close on August 19th, 2014.

During the extension period, the Corps will be hosting an additional evening webinar August 14th from 6:30-8:00pm. For webinar connection information, visit and click on the Public Meeting section.

See the original blog post from June 12, 2014 for complete DEIS details and more information.

Solicitation Notice for EFPs for Swordfish and other highly migratory species

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

The Council is soliciting applications for an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) to test alternative gear as a substitute to the large mesh gillnet gear currently used to target healthy highly migratory species (HMS), or to test new approaches or methods for using large mesh gillnets to fish with a significant reduction in bycatch. Download the full solicitation letter that describes the purpose, process, and evaluation critieria.

The Council announces a deadline of 11:59 p.m., Pacific Time, August 17, 2014, to submit EFP proposals to the Council office, addressed as follows:

By mail:
Dr. Donald O. McIsaac, Executive Director
Attn: HMS EFP Proposal
Pacific Fishery Management Council
7700 NE Ambassador Pl. Suite, 101
Portland, OR 97220

By fax: 503-820-2299

By email: or

On envelope, fax cover sheet, or email subject line, please enter “Attn: HMS EFP Proposal.” In the event an EFP proposal does not meet the above deadline, it does not necessarily mean the Council will not consider the proposal; however, lack of inclusion in the advance Briefing Book for the September Council meeting may mean no advisory review and dramatically reduced chance of the Council advancing the proposal to the next step.

Should you have any questions on this matter, please contact Dr. Kit Dahl at or telephone: 503-820-2422.

June 2014 Council Decision Summary Document Online

Monday, June 30th, 2014

The Pacific Fishery Management Council met June 20-25, 2014 in Garden Grove, California. The June 2014 Council Meeting Decision Summary Document summarizes the decisions made during that meeting.

Electronic Monitoring Regulatory Process (from the June 2014 Council meeting)

Monday, June 30th, 2014

The Council made the following changes to the alternatives to table 2-1 of Agenda Item F.2.a, Attachment 1:

  • Under section 2.2.1 Discard Documentation Technology, add an option that is specific to the bottomtrawl nonwhting fishery that vessels could use cameras in lieu of a human observer if they were a member of a co-op.
  • Under section 2.2.2 Video Reading Protocols, add an option to subsample video with a logbook requirement.
  • Under Discard Accounting, add an option for the mothership (MS) sector of the whiting fishery only to account for unintentional minor discards of whiting by using as a proxy the average percentage of discard from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and any additional averaging from future years. This percentage amount would be deducted preseason from the MS co-ops allocation of whiting. Discard of bycatch species would be determined by pro-rating the observer data from the MS processor.
  • Under section 2.5 Discard Requirements, the Council removed Option C – Discard At Will.
  • Under section 2.8.5 EM Vessel Operational Plan – IVMP Expiration the Council removed Option C – Indefinite (example 2 or 3 year duration).
  • Under section 2.8.6 Declaration of EM Use, the Council added an option for more flexibility in the time frame to announce the use of EM in a given year.
  • Under section 2.12 Spatial Variation for High Bycatch Areas, the Council modified the options to be specific for only the bottomtrawl fishery:
    • Option A – No special provisions
    • Option B – fishing activity in areas that are likely to have lower bycatch could be monitored with EM rather than using observers; no EM in high bycatch areas
    • Option C – Under this option, if you chose to fish in a high bycatch area, a higher level of EM review may be required
  • Under section 2.13 Adaptive or Phased Implementation, the Council added an option to use EFPs to inform Council policy decision making.

Notice of Availability for Amendment 18 to the Salmon Fishery Management Plan

Monday, June 16th, 2014

As published in the Federal Register on June 16, 2014, NMFS announces that the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) has transmitted Amendment 18 to the Pacific Coast Salmon Fishery Management Plan for Commercial and Recreational Salmon Fisheries off the Coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California (FMP) for Secretarial review. Amendment 18 revises the description and identification of essential fish habitat (EFH) for Pacific salmon, designates habitat areas of particular concern (HAPC), modifies the current information on fishing activities and potential measures to minimize their effects on EFH, and updates the list of non-fishing related activities that may adversely affect EFH and potential conservation and enhancement measures to minimize those effects. Amendment 18 is available on the “Salmon Amendments in development” webpage.

Comments on Amendment 18 must be received on or before August 15, 2014. You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2014-0071, by any one of the following methods:

Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal To submit comments via the e-Rulemaking Portal, enter NOAA-NMFS-2014-0071 in the search box. Locate the document you wish to comment on from the resulting list and click on the “Submit a Comment” icon on the right of that line.

William W. Stelle, Jr., Regional Administrator,
West Coast Region, NMFS
7600 Sand Point Way NE.
Seattle, WA 98115-0070

Public Notice: US Army Corps of Engineers releases Draft EIS “Double-crested cormorant plan to reduce predation of juvenile salmonids in the Columbia River Estuary”

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

The US Army Corps of Engineers has released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement: “Double-crested Cormorant Management Plan to Reduce Predation of Juvenile Salmonids in the Columbia River Estuary”. See the Corps website to get the draft document and the public hearings schedule;

Comment timeframe: Comments on the draft EIS will be accepted for 45 days from publication of the Notice of Availability in the Federal Register by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The comment period has been extended, and will close August 19, 2014.

How to comment: In your comments, please refer to the public notice number (CENWP-PM-E-14-08), title and date. Written comments may be sent electronically to or by traditional mail to:

Sondra Ruckwardt
U.S. Army Corps of Engineer District, Portland
Attn: CENWP-PM-E / Double-crested Cormorant draft EIS
P.O. Box 2946
Portland, OR 97208-2946

This information posted as a courtesy to the US Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District.