2011 in brief
On March 11, a 9.0 earthquake in Japan led to a devastating tsunami that, apart from wreaking havoc in Japan, caused $48 million in damage to the ports of Santa Cruz and Crescent City. In Washington, the process of removing the Elwha, Glines Canyon, and Condit dams began.
Salmon. Ocean salmon seasons provided both recreational and commercial opportunities coastwide. Greatly improved abundance of Sacramento River fall Chinook fueled the first substantial ocean salmon fisheries off California and Oregon since 2007, and Klamath and Sacramento stocks were officially declared rebuilt. In June, the Council selected final preferred alternatives for de minimis fishing provisions, status determination criteria, annual catch limits, salmon stock classification, and accountability measures.
Habitat and ecosystem. NMFS and the Council finished their five-year review of essential fish habitat for salmon. The Council continued to pursue its Fishery Ecosystem Plan, approving a purpose and needs statement in June and creating an outline for the plan. The Habitat Committee discussed a new Army Corps of Engineers policy on removing vegetation on levees which they believed could have damaged salmon habitat. The Council encouraged the regional marine spatial planning body to include a seat for a Council representative. A DEIS for removing the four lower Klamath dams was released. NMFS provided its first Integrated Ecosystem Assessment report to the Council.
Groundfish. Widow rockfish were found to be rebuilt in an assessment presented in November. The Council adopted harvest specifications and management measures for 2011-2012 groundfish fisheries. The council continued to work on an adaptive management program, trawl/nontrawl allocations, and “safe harbors” from quota share control limits as a follow up to the trawl catch share program. The Council adopted stock assessments for 2013-2014 management; the size of the overfished bocaccio stock was found to be higher than expected.
Coastal pelagic species: The Quinault Indian Nation requested a sardine harvest allocation.
Highly migratory species: An assessment concluded that the albacore stock was healthy, but another assessment found that Pacific bluefin tuna were overfished.
Admin: Mark Cedergreen, Rod Moore and Jerry Mallet left the Council, and Rich Lincoln and Jeff Feldner joined.
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