Pacific halibut blog

March 2015 Briefing Book Available Online

Monday, February 23rd, 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

Thursday, February 19th, 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.

March 6-12, 2015 Council Meeting

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and its advisory bodies will meet March 6-12, 2015 in Vancouver, Washington to address issues related to salmon, Pacific halibut, highly migratory species, ecosystem based management, and habitat matters.

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

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.

November 12-19, 2014 Council Meeting

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Council to Consider a Variety of Issues Affecting Management of Future Coastal Pelagic Species, Groundfish, Highly Migratory Species, Pacific Halibut, and Salmon Fisheries

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and its advisory bodies will meet November 12-19, 2014 in Costa Mesa, California to address issues related to coastal pelagic species, groundfish, Pacific halibut, salmon, highly migratory species management, and habitat matters.

Listen to the Meeting

Agenda and Meeting Notice

Listed below are some key agenda items, which include Council considerations to:

  • Adopt final preferred alternatives for bluefin tuna management measures for 2015-2016 fisheries;
  • Adopt a final preferred alternative for the Pacific sardine harvest fraction parameter;
  • Adopt final changes to the 2015 Pacific halibut catch sharing plan and annual fishery regulations;
  • Adopt final recommendations for any changes to the lower Columbia River natural coho harvest matrix;
  • Take final action to rescind or revise previous Council action of open access registration under groundfish plan Amendment 22;
  • Adopt recommendations for adjustments to 2014 and 2015 groundfish fisheries.
  • Adopt final changes to salmon methodologies or conservation objectives, and the 2015 preseason management schedule;
  • Download a PDF copy of the November 2014 Meeting Notice and Agenda

Please refer to the detailed proposed agenda for a complete list of issues to be addressed. A schedule of advisory group meetings is provided on the last pages of the detailed proposed agenda. Copies of briefing materials prepared for the meeting can be found on our website www.pcouncil.org the week of October 29.

Meeting Locations and Arrangements

The Pacific Fishery Management Council and its advisory bodies will meet November 12-19, 2014 at the following location:

Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa
3050 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Phone: 714-540-7000

All meetings are open to the public, except a closed executive session scheduled for 1:00 pm on Friday, November 14, 2014, to discuss litigation and administrative appointments. For more information on the meetings, refer to the detailed proposed agenda or call the Council office at 503-820-2280 or 866-806-7204 toll free.

Public Comment Guidelines

The public is encouraged to comment, either verbally at the meeting or in writing. Timing of agenda items may change as the meeting progresses, and items not completed on the scheduled day will be carried over to later in the meeting, usually the next day.

Oral Public Comments

Oral public comments will be accepted during the meeting prior to action on each agenda item.

Written Public Comments

Written public comments are accepted by the Council via one of the methods described below. The public is encouraged to submit written comments as far in advance of the meeting as possible, either by mail, fax, of email addressed to pfmc.comments@noaa.gov. Electronic copies of written testimony is encouraged.

  • Comments received by 11:59 p.m. October 20, 2014 will be included in the briefing books mailed to Council members prior to the meeting.
  • Comments received after October 20 but by 11:59 p.m. November 5, 2014 will be distributed to Council members at the onset of the meeting.
  • If you cannot meet this latter deadline and are going to testify at the meeting, you can provide written testimony for distribution by one of the following methods at the meeting. However, please note these need to be provided to Council staff at the meeting well in advance of your testimony.
    • Provide an electronic copy to be posted with other briefing materials, or
    • Provide 40 photocopies with the Agenda Item Topic Number in the upper right corner of the front page of each copy. Refer to the attached agenda for the topic numbers; i.e., Agenda Item B.1 refers to public comment under Open Comment Period.

This meeting is open to the public and is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Carolyn Porter at 503-820-2280 or 866-806-7204 at least five days prior to the meeting date.

One-Way Live Stream Available

The November 14-19, 2014 meeting of the Pacific Fishery Management Council will also be streamed live on the internet. The broadcasts begin at 2 p.m. Pacific Time (PT) Friday, November 14, 2014-Wednesday, November 19, 2014. Broadcasts end daily at 6:00 p.m. 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. To access the meeting online go to http://www.joinwebinar.com and enter the November Webinar ID, 430-417-591 and your email address. The online attendance can be done using a computer, tablet, or smart phone, using the GoToMeeting application. It is recommended that you use a computer headset to listen to the meeting, but you may use your telephone for the audio portion only of the meeting. The audio portion may be attended using a telephone by dialing the toll number 1-646-307-1719; phone audio access code 536-452-326 (not a toll-free number).

Updated! Public Comment Deadlines for the November 2014 Briefing Book

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Public Comment Deadline – November 2014 Advance Briefing Book

Public comment materials received BY October 20, 2014, will be mailed to Council members and appropriate advisory bodies prior to the November meeting. This is known as the “Advance Briefing Book Deadline.”

Supplemental Public Comment Deadline

Public comments or materials received at the Council office after October 20, but BY November 5 will be included in the supplemental materials distributed to the Council on the first day of the November 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.