Groundfish blog

Public Comment Deadlines for the September 2015 Briefing Book

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Public Comment Deadline – September 2015 Advance Briefing Book

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

Supplemental Public Comment Deadline

Public comment materials received at the Council office after August 14, 2015, but BY 11:59 pm, Wednesday, September 2 will be included in the supplemental materials distributed to the Council on the first day of the September meeting. This is known as the “Supplemental Public Comment Deadline.”

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

June 2015 Council Decision Summary Document Online

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

The Pacific Fishery Management Council met June 12-16, 2015 in Spokane, Washington. The June 2015 Council Meeting Decision Summary Document highlights the significant decisions made during that meeting.

Groundfish Inseason Actions from June 2015 Meeting

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

At their June 2015 meeting, the Council considered the latest data on groundfish catches and recommended the following:

  • Sablefish north of 36° N latitude:
    • Increase the limited entry fixed gear trip limit to 1,125 lbs/week and 3,375 lbs/2 months for periods 4 through 6, beginning as quickly as possible in period 4.
    • Increase the open access fixed gear trip limit to 350 lbs/day, 1,600 lbs/week, and 3,200 lbs/2 months for periods 4 through 6, beginning as quickly as possible in period 4.
  • Minor Shelf Rockfish complex, shortbelly, widow, and chilipepper between 40°10′ and 34°27′ N latitude: Increase the open access fixed gear trip limit to 500 pounds/2 months for period 4 through 6.
  • Blackgill rockfish south of 40°10′ N latitude:
    • Increase the limited entry fixed gear sub-limit to 1,600 pounds/2 months for periods 4 through 6, beginning as quickly as possible in period 4.
    • Increase the open access gear sub-limit to 550 pounds/2 months for periods 4 through 6, beginning as quickly as possible in period 4.
  • California scorpionfish: Increase the limited entry and open access trip limit to 1,500 lbs/2 months for periods 4 through 6, beginning as quickly as possible in period 4.
  • Black rockfish: Decrease the limited entry and open access trip limit between 40°10′ and 42° N latitude to 6,000 lbs/2 months beginning at the start of the next bi-monthly period (either July 1 or September 1).
  • Big skate: Adopt a 50 percent discard mortality rate for big skate caught with trawl gear (SSC recommendation). Increase big skate trip limits for the shorebased IFQ program to 35,000 lbs/2 months for periods 4 through 6, beginning as quickly as possible in period 4.

Petrale Sole and Canary Rockfish, Important West Coast Groundfish Stocks, Rebuilt to Sustainable Level

Monday, June 15th, 2015

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON – Two important West Coast groundfish stocks—Canary rockfish and petrale sole—that were formerly overfished have now been rebuilt ahead of schedule, the Pacific Fishery Management Council announced today. The stocks have been the subject of strict rebuilding plans that severely constrained West Coast fisheries for more than a decade. Managing groundfish fisheries in the last 15 years, under the canary rockfish rebuilding plan in particular, has been an immense challenge for the Council and the National Marine Fisheries Service and has caused significant disruption of fisheries. “This is a huge achievement and reflects many hard decisions made by the Council and its advisors, as well as difficult sacrifices by the fishermen and communities that depend on groundfish,” said Council Chair Dorothy Lowman. “While five groundfish stocks are still rebuilding, the Council looks forward to new fishing opportunities based on the fact that these two stocks have completely recovered.”

Canary rockfish, prized by both recreational and commercial fishermen, were declared overfished in 2000 and a rebuilding plan was put in place in 2001, affecting groundfish fisheries off all three west coast states. Because canary rockfish coexist with so many healthy groundfish stocks, they have been known as a “bottleneck species” limiting many fisheries. Further, canary rockfish are a long-lived, slow-growing species, making them difficult to rebuild. Under the plan, catch quotas were dramatically reduced and large area closures put in place, and the stock was expected to rebuild by 2057.  However, the new 2015 canary rockfish assessment adopted today by the Council shows the coastwide canary stock has already been rebuilt, thanks to the strict protections and good ocean conditions.

Former Council Chair Dan Wolford stated, “This a big deal. We now have six times more canary rockfish than when we scaled back so many fisheries. This shows the Pacific Council’s conservation policies work.” Petrale sole, an important species for commercial fisheries, were declared overfished in 2010 after an assessment showed that the stock had fallen below the overfished threshold. Beginning in 2011, a rebuilding plan was put in place to rebuild the stock by 2016. The petrale sole harvest limit was cut by half, and fisheries in which petrale sole could be caught incidentally were also reduced and area closures were implemented. A stock assessment conducted this year shows that the rebuilding plan was successful and the stock has increased over the target level.

“Petrale sole is known as our Cadillac flatfish,” said Ralph Brown, a long-time commercial fisherman from Bookings, Oregon. “Restaurants will love that these fish are now back so strongly.”


The petrale sole and Canary rockfish assessments were developed by scientists at National Marine Fisheries Service and the University of Washington (in the case of petrale) and were reviewed by the Council’s scientific advisory bodies. The recommendation to declare these stocks rebuilt will be forwarded to the National Marine Fisheries Service for approval. New harvest specifications and regulations informed by these assessments are expected to be put in place beginning in 2017.

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 nautical 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.



Stock assessments and other technical information can be found here:


Friday, June 12th, 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.

Attention PFMC authorized travelers – Helpful tips to use the PFMC Concur Travel Account

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Helpful Tips to Use the PFMC Concur Travel Account

There are changes in the way expense claims are completed and submitted for reimbursement when traveling on Pacific Council business. There is also a new option for making flight (transportation) reservations. Direct (Peak) Travel is replacing services formerly provided by American Express Travel for airline reservations, which can now be made on-line.

Initial log-in and Profile set-up

Log in information:

Profile set-up:

  • Once you are logged in, you will be on a Concur web page with options. Click on the Profile icon on the upper right corner to set up your profile and follow the prompts.
  • A tutorial regarding this process can be reached by downloading and reviewing the “PFMC Concur Helpful Tips – Initial log-in and Profile set-up“.

Submitting Expense Claims

Beginning June 1, 2015, expense claims are to be submitted through the on-line Concur account. A tutorial regarding this process can be reached by downloading and reviewing the “PFMC Concur Helpful Tips – Expense Claims“.

PLEASE NOTE: Make sure you have completed your bank account information in advance of submitting a claim, it will take Concur about 2-3 business days to verify your bank information.

Booking Travel (Airfare/Rail/Hotel/Car Rental)

Our contract with American Express Travel has expired. In addition to making your own arrangements and submitting them after travel on an expense claim, you may use the Concur log-in to make travel arrangements with Direct (Peak) Travel and have them charged directly to PFMC. Your Name and TSA information must be updated prior to booking air travel. A tutorial regarding this process can be reached by downloading and viewing the “PFMC Concur Helpful Tips – Booking Travel (Airfare/Rail/Hotel/Car Rental)“.


Changes made within the U.S. VMS program

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

The Pacific Fishery Management Council has received notice from the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement that changes have been made within the U.S. Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) program that will affect vessel owners using Skymate VMS units and those using CLS America’s Thorium TST EMTU (the Thorium TST A2.0 and Thorium LEO A2.0 are unaffected). Affected vessel owners will be required to replace their VMS unit with another type-approved VMS unit. Please see the correspondence explaining these changes and opportunities for reimbursement, along with a list of type-approved units.

“The Line” May 2015

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

The The Line, Volume 4, No. 1, May 2015 is now available on the Council’s website. The Line is a summary of West Coast fisheries news published four or five times per year. This issue reports on decisions made at the April 2015 Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting. The Council recommends commercial & recreational fishery management measures for Federal waters off the coasts of Washington, Oregon & California. The Council has five public meetings a year. All Council recommendations are subject to approval by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). To sign up for other notices, please go to

You may view past issues of the “The Line” and the Council’s newsletters by visiting the Council’s Newsletter Archives webpage.

If you have comments, questions, or suggestions regarding The Line, May 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.

June 2015 Council Meeting Internet Live Audio Stream

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

The Council meeting will also be live‐streamed on the internet beginning at 9:00 AM Pacific Time (PT) Friday, June 12, 2015 through Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Broadcasts end daily at 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. Please see the June 2015 agenda.

Join the meeting in “listen-only” mode

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

  2. Enter the Webinar ID – The June 12-16, 2015 Webinar ID is: 159-274-491
  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 1-646-307-1720; phone audio access code 574-408-270 (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.

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.