Pacific halibut blog

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.

March 2015 Halibut Decisions

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Salmon Troll

At their March 2015 meeting, the Council confirmed the existing halibut landing ratios for the commercial salmon troll fisheries from April 1-30, 2015 of no more than one halibut per each four Chinook, except one halibut may be possessed or landed without meeting the ratio requirement and no more than 12 halibut may be landed per trip.   The Council also adopted three options for public review for halibut landing ratios in the salmon troll fisheries from May 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015 and April 1-30, 2016. Final action is scheduled at the April Council meeting in Rohnert Park, California.

Status Quo (Pre-May 1 limit): May 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015 and April 1-30, 2016, license holders may land or possess 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 2: May 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015 and April 1-30, 2016, license holders may land or possess 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.

Option 3: May 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015 and April 1-30, 2016, license holders may land or possess 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 8 halibut landed per trip.

Primary Fixed Gear Sablefish Fishery North of Point Chehalis, Washington

The Council confirmed the existing halibut landing restrictions for the primary fixed gear sablefish fishery north of Pt. Chehalis, Washington from April 1, 2015 to October 31, 2015.  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 ratio per landing.

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.

NMFS Releases Regional Electronic Technology Implementation Plans

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

NOAA Fisheries (NMFS) has released its regional electronic technology implementation plans. The West Coast plan is available here.

NOAA Fisheries is figuring out how technology such as on-board cameras, tablets, and electronic logbooks can be used to monitor fishing activity and report catch. One idea is to supplement human observers with digital video cameras and software capable of measuring and identifying different species of fish.

NOAA Fisheries has supported over 30 pilot projects that experiment with new technologies. They have created regional plans to identify, evaluate, and prioritize implementation of promising electronic technologies that improve our knowledge of the fisheries and empower fishermen and other citizens to become more actively involved in the data collection process. Click below to read plans for other regions:

These plans are works-in-progress and part of an ongoing process to improve the timeliness and quality of our fisheries information. Aiding this process are a series of white papers, an internal policy directive, and a draft discussion paper of advice and best practices to inform the public conversation about emerging technologies in fisheries reporting and monitoring.

NMFS Publishes Final Rule: “List of Fisheries for 2015″

Monday, December 29th, 2014

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) publishes its final List of Fisheries (LOF) for 2015, as required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The final LOF for 2015 reflects new information on interactions between commercial fisheries and marine mammals.

This final rule is effective January 28, 2015. Information regarding the LOF may be obtained from the NMFS LOF website. You may also download the Final Rule published December 29, 2014.

For further information, please contact: Lisa White, Office of Protected Resources, 301–427–8494; Allison Rosner, Greater Atlantic Region, 978–281–9328; Jessica Powell, Southeast Region, 727–824–5312; Elizabeth Petras, West Coast Region (CA), 562–980–3238; Brent Norberg, West Coast Region (WA/OR), 206–526–6550; Kim Rivera, Alaska Region, 907–586–7424; Nancy Young, Pacific Islands Region, 808–725–5156.

“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.

Council-adopted changes to the 2015 Pacific Halibut CSP for Area 2A

Monday, December 15th, 2014

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) adopted changes to the 2015 Pacific Halibut Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) for Area 2A and annual fishery regulations at the November 2014 Council meeting in Costa Mesa, California.  The Council recommendations for the 2015 CSP and regulations are described below.

Non-Indian Allocations

The Council recommended changes to the non-Indian allocations for the 2015 Pacific Halibut CSP for Area 2A in response to new information indicating a higher abundance of Pacific halibut and greater fishery participation in northern California than when the CSP was originally adopted. The recommended allocations are as follows: Washington sport (35.6 percent), Oregon sport (29.7 percent), California sport (4 percent), and non-Indian commercial fisheries (30.7 percent).

Columbia River Subarea Allocations

The Council recommended changes to the Oregon contribution to the Columbia River subarea allocation such that the Oregon contribution would be equal to 2.3 percent of the Oregon sport quota. The nearshore area allocation is recommended to be 500 pounds of the total Columbia River subarea allocation. The Columbia River subarea allocation less the nearshore area allocation (500 pounds) should be managed to one season by removing the early (80 percent) and late (20 percent) season subarea allocations. The start date for the Columbia River subarea and the nearshore area remains as specified in the 2014 CSP.

Central Oregon Coast Subarea Allocation

The Council recommended increasing the spring all-depth allocation to 63 percent of the Central Oregon Coast subarea allocation.

Southern Oregon Subarea Allocation

The Council recommended increasing the Southern Oregon subarea allocation to 4 percent of the Oregon Sport allocation, less the Oregon contribution to the Columbia River subarea.

Groundfish Retention in the Columbia River and Oregon Central Coast Subareas

The Council also recommended revising the groundfish retention allowances during the all-depth Pacific halibut fisheries in the Columbia River and Oregon Central Coast subareas. During the all-depth days, all flatfish species, in addition to Pacific cod and sablefish, may be retained when Pacific halibut are onboard.

California Subarea Allocation and Management

Starting in 2015, the California subarea is allocated 4 percent of the non-Indian allocation. The Council adopted the inseason monitoring and management strategy described by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW, see Agenda Item G.1.b, Supplemental CDFW Report 2, November 2014).  Specifically, the structuring objective for this subarea is to provide recreational fishing opportunity seven days per week, from May 1 until the date determined inseason when the quota is projected to be taken, or until October 31, whichever is earlier. Additional closed periods during this season, such as closed weeks or months and including a later opening date, may be established preseason by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) based on the subarea quota and projected catch. Based on the subarea quota, and considering stakeholder input, CDFW will provide recommendations to NMFS each year as soon as possible following the determination of the Area 2A total allowable catch on the opening date and other closure dates, such as closed weeks or months that would apply during the fishing season that year.  Closure of the fishery or other inseason adjustments will be made by NMFS via an update to the recreational halibut hotline.

Recommended Clarifications

The Council also adopted the NMFS-recommended clarifications (Agenda Item G.1.b, NMFS Report 3, November 2014), which include amending the language for the directed commercial fishery to allow earlier transfer of unused quota to the salmon troll fishery and updating all references to reflect the establishment of the West Coast Region.

The Council understands that NMFS requested the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) add CDFW to the definition of “authorized officer” in the IPHC regulations. This change was recommended by the Council to allow CDFW staff to enforce Pacific halibut regulations.

November 2014 Council Decision Summary Document Online

Monday, November 24th, 2014

The Pacific Fishery Management Council met November 14-19, 2014 in Costa Mesa, California. The November 2014 Council Meeting Decision Summary Document summarizes the decisions made during that meeting.

November 2014 Briefing Book Available Online

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

The Briefing Book for the November 2014 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.