Reminder! Public Hearings on the Salmon Fishery Management Alternatives to be Held

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Public hearings will be held to receive comments on the proposed ocean salmon fishery management alternatives adopted by the Council. The hearings will take place March 24-25, 2014. All public hearings begin at 7 p.m. on the dates and at the locations specified below:

Monday, March 24, 2014
Chateau Westport
Beach Room
710 W Hancock
Westport, WA 98595
360-268-9101
Driving Directions

Monday, March 24, 2014
Red Lion Hotel
South Umpqua Room
1313 N Bayshore Drive
Coos Bay, OR 97420
541-267-4141
Driving Directions

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Hilton Sonoma Wine Country
Golden Gate CD Room
3555 Round Barn Blvd.
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
707-523-7555
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 503-820-2280 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; ext. 414.

Reader’s Guide to the Ecosystem Workgroup Report on FEP Initiative 1 available online

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Ms. Yvonne de Reynier, National Marine Fisheries Service, has prepared a short (11 min.) video guide recorded on March 19, 2014, that applies to the ad hoc Ecosystem Workgroup’s report on the Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) Initiative 1.

At its April 2014, meeting in Vancouver, Washington, USA the Council is tentatively scheduled to review the draft range of alternatives contained in the FEP Initiative 1 report.

Please the Council’s Ecosystem-Based Management Protection for Unfished Forage Fish Initiative webpage to download both the report and the reader’s guide video.

If you have further questions, please contact Mr. Mike Burner, staff officer at 503-820-2414; toll free 1-866-806-7204, ext. 414.

Council Chooses Options for 2014 Salmon Season

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

This is the text of a press release sent out on March 14, 2014.

Sacramento, Cal. – The Pacific Fishery Management Council yesterday adopted three public review options for the 2014 salmon season off the West Coast of the United States. The Council will select a final option at their next meeting in Vancouver, Washington on April 5‐9. Detailed information about season starting dates, areas open, and catch limits for all three options are available on the Council’s website at www.pcouncil.org.

“The news is generally good for ocean salmon seasons this year,” said Council Chair Dorothy Lowman. “Most of the key salmon stocks are strong up and down the coast, and all three options provide reasonably good fishing opportunities while still meeting conservation goals for weak stocks.”

“While we have heard a lot about the negative effects of the drought in California on juvenile salmon migrating to the ocean, the older salmon that have been in ocean for the past few years seem to be enjoying excellent growing conditions,” said Council Executive Director Donald McIsaac.

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 159,600 to 193,200 that start in late June and run into September (last year, the quota was 74,760 coho). For Chinook salmon, quotas range from 47,500 Chinook to 60,000 Chinook (last year, the quota was 48,000 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 47,500‐57,500, a moderate improvement from 2013. The marked coho quotas range from 30,400 to 36,800 (considerably higher than last year’s quota of 14,220).

Tribal ocean fisheries north of Cape Falcon

Alternative Chinook and coho quotas for tribal ocean fisheries are at or above 2013 levels. Chinook quotas range from 55,000‐67,500 and coho quotas range from 47,500 to 60,000.

Background for Area North of Cape Falcon

The 2014 Columbia River tule Chinook forecasts are improved from 2013 at 110,000, and combined fall Chinook returns are expected to be over a million fish. The hatchery coho forecasts for the Columbia River are greatly improved from 2013. In addition, the forecast for Oregon coastal natural (OCN) coho is 230,000. North of Cape Falcon, Columbia River hatchery coho returns were 316,000, well below the forecast of 525,000. Columbia River Chinook returns, however, were among the highest on record, and upriver fall Chinook returned at levels nearly double the expected levels.

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.

Oregon ocean recreational options include mark‐selective coho fishing seasons starting in June or July and running into September. Quotas range from 50,000 to 80,000 coho.
In addition, non‐mark‐selective fisheries are proposed in September with a quota of 20,000 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. If sufficient marked coho quota
remains after the mark‐selective sport fishery on the central Oregon coast, incidental coho retention may be allowed in the September commercial fishery. Oregon season options in the Brookings area range from May to September with quotas lower than in 2013 due to reduced abundance of Klamath River fall Chinook in 2014.

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 reduced from 2013, again largely due to reduced expectations for Klamathfall Chinook.

Background for California and Southern Oregon

Central Valley fall Chinook are forecast at over 630,000, 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 300,000, providing reasonable sport and commercial harvest while meeting the minimum natural spawning goal of 40,700, and the 2014 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 24 in Westport, Washington and Coos Bay, Oregon; and for March 25 in Eureka, California. The Council will consult with scientists, hear public comment, and revise preliminary decisions until it chooses a final option at its meeting April 5‐10 in Vancouver, Washington. At its April meeting in Vancouver, 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 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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March 2014 Council Decision Summary Document Online

Monday, March 17th, 2014

The Pacific Fishery Management Council met March 8-13, 2014 in Sacramento, California. The March 2014 Council Meeting Decision Summary Document summarizes the decisions made during that meeting.

Incidental Catch Recommendations for the Salmon Troll and Fixed Gear Sablefish Fisheries

Monday, March 17th, 2014

At their March 2014 meeting, the Council adopted halibut landing ratios for the commercial salmon troll fisheries from April 1-30, 2014 of no more than one halibut per each four Chinook, except one halibut may be landed without meeting the ratio requirement and no more than 12 halibut may be landed per trip.  Salmon regulations will also require state landing receipts to include both the number of halibut landed, and the total dressed, head-on weight of halibut landed, in pounds. The Council adopted three options for public review for halibut landing ratios in the salmon troll fisheries from May 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014 and April 1-30, 2015. Final action is scheduled at the April Council meeting in Vancouver, Washington.

Option 1: May 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014 and April 1-30, 2015, license holders may land no more than one Pacific halibut per each three Chinook, except one Pacific halibut may be landed without meeting the ratio requirement, and no more than 15 halibut landed per trip.

Option 2: May 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014 and April 1-30, 2015, license holders may land 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 3: May 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014 and April 1-30, 2015, license holders may land 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.

The Council also adopted halibut landing restrictions for the primary fixed gear sablefish fishery north of Pt. Chehalis. Washington from April 1, 2014 to October 31, 2014.  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 the 75-pounds-per-1,000-pound ratio per landing.

Salmon management alternatives for 2014 now available (tables)

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

The following tables detail the salmon management alternatives for 2014:

These tables are also available in Preseason Report II: Proposed Alternatives and Environmental Assessment Part 2 for 2014 Ocean Salmon Fishery Regulations.

Salmon Preseason Report I Available on Council’s Website

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

The document Preseason Report I: Stock Abundance Analysis and Environmental Assessment Part 1 for 2014 Ocean Salmon Fishery Regulations has been posted to the Council’s website. Please visit the 2014 Preseason Report I webpage to view and download the document.

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.

Notice of Availability: Environmental Assessment on the Continued Implementations of the Area 2A Catch Sharing Plan for Pacific Halibut

Friday, February 21st, 2014

On February 21, 2014, NOAA Fisheries has made available the Environmental Assessment (EA) on the Continued Implementations of the Area 2A Catch Sharing Plan for Pacific Halibut.

The EA can be found on the NOAA Fisheries website, under “Available for Public Comment” at: http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/management/pacific_halibut_management.html.

NOAA Fisheries is accepting public comments on the EA until February 28, 2014.

Please email all comments to: HalibutEA2014.WCR@noaa.gov.

This notice has been posted as a courtesy to the public and the NOAA Fisheries Service.

Decisions Summary Document for October 23-24, 2013 CCC Webinar Available

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Download the Decisions Summary Document for the October 23-24, 2013 CCC webinar.

Materials and background information for that webinar can be found on the October 23-24, 2013 CCC webpage.

Review of 2013 Ocean Salmon Fisheries Available Online

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

The Council’s annual review of ocean salmon fisheries is available online. The review document provides a summary of important biological and socioeconomic data from which to assess the impacts of past management actions, determine how well management objectives are being met, and improve regulations for the future. The Council will formally review this report at its March meeting prior to the development of management alternatives for the approaching fishing season.