Coastal Pelagic Species blog

June 2015 Briefing Book Available Online

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

The Briefing Book for the June 2015 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.

June 10-16, 2015 Council Meeting

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

The Council and its advisory bodies will meet June 10‐16, 2015 in Spokane, Washington to address issues related to groundfish, coastal pelagic species, highly migratory species, ecosystem management, and habitat matters.

Please visit the “Current Council Meeting” webpage for meeting and agenda details.

Coastal Pelagic Species Management Team to Hold Webinar

Monday, April 27th, 2015

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene a webinar meeting of its Coastal Pelagic Species Management Team (CPSMT), which is open to the public. The primary purpose of the meeting is to discuss agenda items on the June Council meeting, plan for completion of the Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation document, and discuss future meeting plans.

Date and Time of Webinar

The webinar will be held Wednesday, May 20, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Pacific Time. Information on how to participate is below. Public comment may be accommodated if time allows, at the discretion of the CPSMT Chair.

To Attend the Webinar

  1. Join the meeting by visiting this link:
    http://www.gotomeeting.com/online/webinar/join-webinar
  2. Enter the Webinar ID: 100-971-939
  3. Please enter your name and email address (required)

Once you have joined the webinar, choose either your computer’s audio or select “Use Telephone.” If you do not select “Use Telephone” you will be connected to audio using your computer’s microphone and speakers (VolP). It is recommended that you use a computer headset as GoToMeeting allows you to listen to the meeting using your computer headset and speakers.

If you do not have a headset and speakers, you may use your telephone for the audio portion of the meeting by dialing this TOLL number 1 (562) 247-8321 (not a toll-free number); phone audio access code 586-589-471; audio phone pin shown after joining the webinar. (See the PFMC GoToMeeting Audio Diagram for best practices).

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 or contact him at 503-820-2280, extension 425 for technical assistance.

Public Listening Station

A public listening station will also be provided at the Council office.

Pacific Fishery Management Council
7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 101
Portland, OR 97220-1384
503-820-2280
Driving Directions

Additional information

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 503-280-2425 at least five days prior to the meeting date.

If you have additional questions regarding the CPSMT webinar, please contact Mr. Kerry Griffin at 503-820-2409; toll free 1-866-806-7204; ext. 409.

June 2015 Public Comment Deadline

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

PUBLIC COMMENT DEADLINE – JUNE 2015 ADVANCE BRIEFING BOOK

Public comment materials received BY 11:59 pm, Thursday, May 14, 2015, will be mailed to Council members and appropriate advisory bodies prior to the June meeting. This is known as the “Advance Briefing Book Public Comment Deadline.”

SUPPLEMENTAL PUBLIC COMMENT DEADLINE

Public comment materials received at the Council office after May 14, 2015, but BY 11:59 pm, Wednesday, June 3 will be included in the supplemental materials distributed to the Council on the first day of the June meeting. This is known as the “Supplemental Public Comment Deadline.”

See the Council’s Public Comment Deadlines webpage for complete details on how to submit comments.

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.

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.

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.

 

April 2015 Council Meeting Internet Live Audio Stream

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

This listen-only mode webinar is held daily, from April 11-16, 2015, 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM Pacific Time, or when business for the day is complete. (The only exception is a CLOSED SESSION that will be held on Saturday, April 11 from 8 am to approximately 9 am; noting the Council meeting starts at approximately 9 am that day). Please see the April 2015 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 11-16, 2015 Webinar ID is: 109-418-027
  3. Please enter your email address (required)

Participants can use their computer’s microphone and speakers (VoIP) or telephone.  (See the PFMC GoToMeeting Audio Diagram for best practices).

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 1-646-307-1721; phone audio access code 965-893-632 (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 three 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.

Pacific Sardine Facts

Monday, April 6th, 2015

There’s been a lot of attention on sardine management lately, as the Council considers what to do at its meeting in Rohnert Park, California, later this week. Here is some background information about the management of Pacific sardine.

Process

The recent stock assessment of Pacific sardine biomass off the U.S. west coast produced two estimates of biomass, one of which is likely to be endorsed by Pacific Fishery Management Council’s  Scientific and Statistical Committee. Both estimates are below the ‘cutoff’ threshold of 150,000 metric tons; the Council’s harvest control rule for Pacific sardine management curtails directed commercial fishing when the biomass estimate falls below the cutoff. The sardine biomass is assessed annually, and the fishing year runs July 1 through June 30. At the upcoming April meeting, the Council will be recommending management for the fishing year starting July 1.

Sardine Management

The Council takes a precautionary approach to sardine management. When the species is abundant, moderately greater fishing is allowed. When the stock is in decline and/or when environmental conditions are unfavorable, the fishery management plan has built-in brakes, so that both the total amount allowed for harvest and the actual percent of the stock allowed for harvest both fall.  When the biomass estimate falls to the level of 150,000 metric tons, commercial sardine fishing is essentially shut down.

Sardines and the Environment

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

Incidental Harvest

There are usually small amounts of sardines caught incidentally in other fisheries, such as Pacific mackerel, and the Council will have to determine the amount of incidental harvest to allow.

Economic Importance and Past Harvest Levels

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 23,293mt.

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.

Our Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation report includes a section on economics of the CPS fishery for the west coast.  It is slightly out of date, but it’s all that we have at the moment.  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.