Archive for May, 2012

NMFS Announces Proposed Rule Related to the Trawl Rationalization Program

Monday, May 21st, 2012

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced the publication of a Proposed Rule in the Federal Register on May 21, 2012. This proposed action would delay or revise several portions of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Trawl Rationalization Program (program) regulations. These changes are necessary to enable NMFS to implement new regulations for the program to comply with a court order requiring NMFS to reconsider the initial allocation of Pacific whiting to the shorebased Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) fishery and the at-sea mothership fishery. The proposed rule would affect the transfer of Quota Share (QS) and Incidental Bycatch Quota (IBQ) between QS accounts in the shorebased individual IFQ fishery, and severability in the mothership fishery, both of which would be delayed until NMFS can implement any necessary new regulations in those areas required by the court’s order. Comments on this proposed rule must be received no later than 5 p.m., local time on June 29, 2012.

If you have questions, please contact Ms. Ariel Jacobs, NMFS Northwest Region at 206-526-4491 (phone); or email Ariel.Jacobs@noaa.gov; or visit the NMFS Northwest Region trawl rationalization website at http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/Groundfish-Halibut/Groundfish-Fishery-Management/Trawl-Program/index.cfm.

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June 2012 Council Meeting Notice and Proposed Agenda

Monday, May 21st, 2012

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and its advisory bodies will meet June 20‐26, 2012 in San Mateo, California to address issues related to groundfish, coastal pelagic species, highly migratory species, ecosystem based management, and habitat matters.

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

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South of Humbug Pacific Halibut Workgroup to Hold Conference Call

Monday, May 21st, 2012

The Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Council) ad hoc South of Humbug Pacific Halibut Workgroup (SHPHW) will hold a conference call on June 12, 2012 from 1 to 3 PM to review progress and interim products relative to the Pacific Halibut stock assessment, catch apportionment process, and catch monitoring in Area 2A with the objective of reporting how additional information from south of the Oregon/California border could be integrated into existing processes. A report is tentatively scheduled to be presented to the Council at the September, 2012 Council meeting in Boise, Idaho.

A listening station will be made available to the public, at the Council office:

Pacific Fishery Management Council
7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 101
Portland, OR 97220-1384
503-820-2280
Driving Directions

This meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt at 503-820-2280 at least five days prior to the meeting date.

For further information about the work sessions, please contact Mr. Chuck Tracy at 503-820-2280, ext. 415; toll free 1-866-806-7204.

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PFMC Seeking Comments for Draft Request for Proposals to Modify Groundfish Essential Fish Habitat

Monday, May 21st, 2012

The Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Council) Essential Fish Habitat Review Committee is conducting a review of essential fish habitat (EFH) for Pacific Coast Groundfish managed under the Council’s Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan. This review is being conducted consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and the National Marine Fisheries Service regulatory guidance (50 CFR §600), which states that reviews of EFH should be conducted at least every five years. New scientific research and updated fish and habitat surveys that have occurred since groundfish EFH was updated in 2006 may provide new rationale to consider additional measures.

How to Comment

Electronically

pfmc.comments@noaa.gov

By Mail:

Attention: EFH RFP Comments
Pacific Fishery Management Council
7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 101
Portland, Oregon, 97220

Comment Deadline; Further Information

The deadline to submit comments is June 29, 2012. Any clarifying questions can be directed to Mr. Kerry Griffin (Kerry.Griffin@noaa.gov); 503-820-2280, ext. 409.

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Habitat Committee Will Meet June 12, 2012

Friday, May 18th, 2012

The Pacific Fishery Management Council will convene a public meeting of the Habitat Committee (HC).

The purpose of the Habitat Committee meeting is to discuss habitat issues related to Council-managed fisheries, including Columbia River fisheries issues, the NOAA Habitat Blueprint, and the Council’s development of a Fishery Ecosystem Plan. The HC may also discuss forage fish issues, Army Corps of Engineers levee vegetation policies, ocean energy proposals, and Klamath River water issues. A report is scheduled to be presented to the Pacific Council at the June, 2012 Council meeting in San Mateo, California. Other issues relevant to habitat may be addressed as time permits.

The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 12, and will conclude at 5:00 p.m. or until business for the day is completed.

Pacific Fishery Management Council
Large Conference Room
7700 NE Ambassador Place
Portland, OR 97220-1384
Telephone: 503-820-2280
Driving Directions

For more information regarding the HC meeting, please contact  Ms. Jennifer Gilden at 503-820-2280, ext. 418; toll free 1-866-806-7204.

The meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt at 503-820-2280, at least five days prior to the meeting date.

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Spring Newsletter Now Available

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

The Spring issue of the Pacific Council News is now available. Please visit the Council’s Newsletters webpage for details.

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June 2012 Briefing Book Deadline

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

June 2012 Briefing Book Deadlines

Public Comment Deadline – Advance Briefing Book

Comments or materials received by 11:59 pm, May 31, 2012, will be mailed to Council members and appropriate advisory bodies prior to the meeting. This is known as the “Advance Briefing Book Deadline.”

Supplemental Public Comment Deadline

Comments or materials received at the Council office after May 31 but by 11:59 pm, June 10 will be included in the supplemental materials distributed to the Council on the first day of the meeting. This is known as the “Supplemental Public Comment Deadline.”

How to Submit Comments

Written comments and materials on matters before the Council are accepted by the Council at any time. However, the public is encouraged to submit comments and materials as far in advance of the meeting as possible to maximize their exposure to the Council process. Comments in electronic format are most welcome, as they expedite posting to the Council’s website. Please email your comments to: pfmc.comments@noaa.gov. Of course, we accept comments by “snail mail” and fax; please see our “Contact Us” page.

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NMFS Issues Final Rule for 2012 Pacific Whiting Fishery

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

NMFS issued a final rule for the 2012 Pacific whiting fishery under the authority of the Pacific Whiting Act of 2006, the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). This final rule establishes: The tribal allocation of 48,556 metric tons of Pacific whiting for 2012; provisions associated with the reapportionment of unused tribal whiting to the non-tribal fishery in 2012; and final allocations of Pacific whiting to the non-tribal sector for 2012. Read the entire rule published May 15, 2012 in the Federal Register.

For further information, please contact Mr. Kevin C. Duffy (Northwest Region, NMFS), phone: 206-526-4743, fax: 206-526-6736 and email: Kevin.Duffy@noaa.gov.

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Bilateral Joint Management Committee Meeting for Pacific Whiting

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

The second bilateral meeting of the Pacific Whiting Joint Management Committee (JMC) will be held in Lynnwood, Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 29-30, 2012. Members of the other panels created by the Whiting Treaty – the Advisory Panel, the Joint Technical Committee, and the Scientific Review Group – are also invited to attend, as well as members of the public.

The meeting will be held at:

Embassy Suites Hotel
20610 44th Ave. West
Lynnwood, WA 98036

For further information, please contact the Groundfish Branch of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Region at 206-526-6140; or visit their Pacific Whiting Treaty webpage.

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Annual NOAA Report Shows Record Number of Rebuilt Fisheries

Monday, May 14th, 2012

A record six fish populations were rebuilt to healthy levels in 2011, bringing the number of rebuilt U.S. marine fish populations in the last 11 years to 27, according to a report to Congress out today from NOAA Fisheries. This report documents historic progress toward ending overfishing and rebuilding our nation’s fisheries, due to the commitment of fishermen, fishing communities, non-governmental organizations, scientists, and managers. 

NOAA’s Status of U.S. Fisheries report declares Bering Sea snow crab, Atlantic coast summer flounder, Gulf of Maine haddock, northern California coast Chinook salmon, Washington coast coho salmon, and Pacific coast widow rockfish fully rebuilt to healthy levels. 

Two indicators of stock health increased slightly over 2011: 
• 86 percent of the populations examined for fishing activity (222 of 258) were not subject to overfishing, or not fished at too high a level, compared to 84 percent in 2011; 
• 79 percent of assessed populations (174 of 219) are not overfished, or were above levels that require a rebuilding plan, compared to 77 percent in 2011. 

These data continue a long-term trend in rebuilding U.S. fisheries to sustainable and more productive levels that NOAA began tracking in 2000. Read more

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