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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 Briefing Book Available Online

Monday, March 30th, 2015

The Briefing Book for the April 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.

April 10-16, 2015 Council Meeting

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

The Council and its advisory bodies will meet April 10-16, 2015 in Rohnert Park, California to address issues related to salmon, Pacific halibut, groundfish, coastal pelagic species, and essential fish habitat matters.

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

March 2015 Council Decision Summary Document Online

Monday, March 16th, 2015

The Pacific Fishery Management Council met March 8-12, 2015 in Vancouver, Washington, USA. The March 2015 Council Meeting Decision Summary Document summarizes the decisions made during that meeting.

April 2015 Public Comment Deadline

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Public Comment Deadline – April 2015 Advance Briefing Book

Public comment materials received BY 11:59 pm, Friday, March 20, 2015, will be mailed to Council members and appropriate advisory bodies prior to the April meeting. This is known as the “Advance Briefing Book Deadline.”

Supplemental Public Comment Deadline

Public comments or materials received at the Council office after March 20, 2015, but BY 11:59 pm, Thursday, April 2 will be included in the supplemental materials distributed to the Council on the first day of the April 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.

Groundfish Management Team to Conduct a Conference Call

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

The Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Pacific Council) Groundfish Management Team (GMT) will hold a conference call that is open to the public on Tuesday, April 7, 2015, from 1 pm until business for the day is completed. To attend the GMT teleconference, participants need to dial the following toll-free number: 888-283-0166 and enter the following Participant Code: 4432591.

Purpose of the Meeting and Agenda

The primary purpose of the GMT working meeting is to prepare for the April 2015 Council meeting. Specific agenda topics include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s proposed revisions to National Standards 1, 3, and 7; a review of the latest West Coast Groundfish Observer Program data; inseason adjustments to groundfish fisheries including carryover for the shorebased individual fishing quota program; further consideration for flexible management of annual catch limit set-asides; and comments on a Council Operating Procedure for methodology reviews. The GMT may also address other assignments relating to groundfish management. No management actions will be decided by the GMT. Public comment will be accommodated if time allows, at the discretion of the GMT Chair.  The GMT’s task will be to develop recommendations for consideration by the Pacific Council at its April 10-16, 2015 meeting in Rohnert Park, California.

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

For Further Information

This listening station is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt at 503-820-2425 at least five days prior to the meeting date.

For further information about the conference call, please contact Ms. Kelly Ames at 503-820-2280, ext. 426; toll-free 1-866-806-7204.

March 2015 Briefing Book Available Online

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

The Briefing Book for the March 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.

Groundfish Advisory Subpanel to Hold Webinar

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

The Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Council) Groundfish Advisory Subpanel (GAP) will hold a webinar on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, which is open to the public. The webinar will begin at 10 a.m. and is expected to end no later than 12 p.m. The primary purpose of the webinar is to discuss and develop statements for the Council’s March 2015 meeting in Vancouver, Washington on two agenda items: 1) Recommendations for incidental halibut retention allowances in the sablefish fishery north of Pt. Chehalis, Washington – this topic will only be discussed if the Area 2A Pacific halibut Total Allowable Catch is high enough to provide such opportunities; and 2) Ecosystem Plan Initiatives -the Council will prioritize a list of fishery ecosystem plan initiatives and provide direction for additional consideration of the highest priority issue(s). Other pertinent items that are on the Council’s agenda for the March meeting may be addressed if time allows.

New! Webinar Materials

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: 101-963-979
  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). (See the PFMC GoToMeeting Audio Diagram for best practices).

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 1-702-489-0004 (not a toll-free number), then enter your phone audio access code 502-039-210, then enter your audio phone pin (shown after joining the webinar).

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

Public comments during the webinar will be received from attendees at the discretion of the GAP chair.

The listening station for this meeting at the Council office is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt at 503-820-2425 at least five days prior to the meeting date. If you have additional questions regarding the webinar, please contact Mr. Brett Wiedoff at 503-820-2424; toll-free 1-866-806-7204.

“The Line”, summary of West Coast fisheries news, December 2014 version available online

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Download The Line, Volume 3, No. 4, December 2014, a publication of the Pacific Fishery Management Council. The Line is a summary of West Coast fisheries news, for fishermen, published four or five times per year. This issue reports on decisions made at the November 2014 Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting.

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

Please direct your comments and thoughts regarding The Line or other public relations matters to Jennifer.Gilden@noaa.gov, Information and Communications Specialist at 503-820-2418, or toll free 1-866-806-7204, ext. 418.

Coastal Pelagic Species Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) document available

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

The Status of the Pacific Coast Coastal Pelagic Species Fishery; Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE), dated December 2014 is now available on the Council’s website. Please visit the CPS SAFE document webpage to download the document.