Archive for September, 2013

Public Comments Sought on Possible Changes for the Trawl Fixed Gear Permit Stacking Program

Monday, September 30th, 2013

For its upcoming November meeting, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Pacific Council) is asking the public to identify any and all potential changes that may be desirable for the limited entry fixed gear permit stacking program. Please see the public notice, NMFS-SEA-1318, dated September 30, 2013.

The Pacific Council has initiated a review of this program and as part of the review will be reconsidering the means by which control is determined for the purpose of applying the three permit limit on the maximum number of permits controlled.  At its November meeting, the Pacific Council will decide whether to add other potential changes to the review or to consider other changes during a second phase of the process.  If only minor additional changes are identified, they might be wrapped into the actions taken through the review process, and there would be no second phase.  If more significant changes are identified, a second phase may be scheduled.

Comments on potential changes to the fixed gear permit stacking program should be provided by midnight (11:59 p.m.) October 9 to be included in the briefing book materials provided in advance of the November Council meeting and by midnight (11:59 p.m.) October 21 to be included in the supplemental materials provided at the meeting. Comments may be sent via email: pfmc.comments@noaa.gov; or see our contact information for addresses.

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Two NMFS-funded opportunities available for west coast longline fishermen to address seabird bycatch in groundfish fisheries

Monday, September 30th, 2013

On September 30, 2013, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) sent out a public notice that describes two NMFS-funded opportunities for west coast longline fishermen to address seabird bycatch in groundfish fisheries. View the Public Notice, NMFS-SEA-13-17.

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Latest Version of The Line, Summary of West Coast Fisheries News

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Download The Line, Volume 2, No. 4, a publication of the Pacific Fishery Management Council. The Line is a summary of West Coast fisheries news, for fishermen, published five times per year. This issue reports on the decisions made at the September 2013 PFMC meeting.

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

We are considering making changes to the newsletter. Instead of developing both the newsletter and The Line (our one-page news summary) four times a year, we would create an enhanced version ofthe newsletter, with more background information, related stories, and photos, twice a year, while releasing The Line after every Council meeting. Please direct your comments and thoughts on this proposal or other suggestions to Jennifer.Gilden@noaa.gov, Information and Communications Specialist at 503-820-2280 ext. 418, or toll free 1-866-806-7204.

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Groundfish Electronic Monitoring Committees Meeting October 15-16, 2013

Friday, September 20th, 2013

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Pacific Council) will hold a work session for the Groundfish Electronic Monitoring Policy Advisory Committee and Groundfish Electronic Monitoring Technical Advisory Committee (GEM Committees), which is open to the public. The primary purpose of the meeting is to discuss and develop potential alternatives for electronic monitoring (EM) for vessels participating in the West Coast groundfish trawl rationalization program for consideration by the Pacific Council and to develop other recommendations as needed to further the Pacific Council process for considering EM. The meeting will include review of current and developing EM programs for other fisheries, and EM reports to guide discussions and the development of alternatives. A meeting report, including the potential alternatives, will be prepared by Pacific Council staff for consideration by the Pacific Council at its November 2013 meeting in Costa Mesa, California.

The meeting will be held October 15, 2013, from 9 a.m. until the earlier of 5 p.m. or when business for that day has been completed, and on October 16, from 8 a.m. until the earlier of 5 p.m. or when business for that day has been completed.

The meeting will be held at the following location:

Watertown Hotel Seattle
Wallingford and Fremont Rooms
4342 Roosevelt Way NE
Weattle, WA 98105
Telephone: 206-826-4242

Driving Directions

For more information regarding this meeting, please contact Mr. Brett Wiedoff at 503-820-2280, ext. 424 or Mr. Jim Seger at 503-820-2280, ext. 416; 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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September 2013 Council Decision Summary Document Online

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

The Pacific Fishery Management Council met September 12-17, 2013 in Boise, Idaho. The September 2013 Council Meeting Decision Summary Document summarizes the decisions made during that meeting.

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Council discusses priorities for MSA Reauthorization

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

After much discussion at the September Council meeting, the Council identified 17 priority matters for potential legislative change in the reauthorization of the current Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA). The Council took input from several advisory bodies and the public, considered the 128 findings developed at the Managing Our Nation’s Fisheries 3 Conference in May, and considered areas of possible legislative concern not discussed at the national conference.

These priorities will be passed along to the Council Coordination Committee (CCC) meeting in October, for consideration by the other seven Regional Fishery Management Councils in their development of national priorities. The fact that the Pacific Council selected these priorities does not preclude discussion (or later prioritization) of the many conference findings or other ideas that are not included in this list. However, the Council felt that 17 possible legislative items should be elevated to a level of priority concern to the Pacific Council at this time and assigned to the Council staff for further analysis.

In discussing these priorities with the CCC, the Council will emphasize that in general, the Council views the current Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) favorably and that large-scale changes are not necessary; that proposed changes to the MSA should focus on items that require an MSA change to effectively resolve; that final Council prioritization will depend on the details that develop from further analysis of each finding; and that findings that are not currently listed below are not to be considered permanently “off the table.”  The items below are listed only for the purpose of identifying high priority items for the Pacific Council at this time. [O1]

The list below is not in priority order.

  • Revise rebuilding time requirements:  Fix the ten-year rebuilding requirement dilemma; “Don’t chase noise” in rebuilding plans; Address “rebuilding as soon as possible” problems.
  • Stocks later determined never overfished should not be held to rebuilding provisions
  • Include a viable mixed stock exception
  • Clarify criteria regarding needs of fishing communities
  • Include a carryover exception to allow annual catch limits (ACLs) to be exceeded in order to carry over surplus and deficit harvest from one year to the next, provided there is a finding from the SSC that such a carryover provision will have negligible biological impacts
  • Explore more flexibility for data-poor species where the precautionary approach
    limits information on stock performance under higher catch rates
  • Implement stricter imported seafood labeling requirements in the US market
  • Address rebuilding requirements when environmental conditions may be a predominant factor in a stock’s decline
  • Consider a national standard for habitat: “Minimize adverse impacts on essential fish habitat to the extent practicable”
  • Explore options to improve access to currently confidential harvest or processing information for purposes of enhanced socioeconomic analysis
  • Make a distinction between “overfishing” (a measure of fishing rate) and “overfished” (a measure of abundance)
  • Replace the term “overfished” with “depleted” to account for non-fishing causes of stock size below minimum stock size threshold
  • Amend MSA to change “vessels” to “vessel” in the illegal, unreported and unregulated certification section
  • Designate one Commissioner seat on Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission for the Pacific Council
  • Address social and economic issues such as ‘possible’ to ‘practicable’ in MSA section 304(e)(4)(A)(i).
  • Better align and streamline the National Environmental Policy Act & MSA section 304(i)
  • Provide flexibility in requirements and qualifications for observers. This relates to MSA Title 4, Fishery Monitoring and Research.

The Council also considered a proposal from the Makah Tribe regarding term limits and the application process for the tribal seat on the Pacific Council, but decided to notice further comment from tribal governments and the public before making a decision on it as a general priority matter for further analysis.  Further input is scheduled for the November, 2013 Council meeting in Costa Mesa California.

For more information on the findings and priorities, see the Legislative Committee report and/or contact Jennifer.Gilden@noaa.gov.


[O1]These are not just for the CCC meeting.  They are for anyone who asks, like the House or the Senate. They are for the Pacific Council staff, to look into in greater detail.

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Groundfish Inseason Actions from September 2013 Meeting

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

The Council considered the most recent information on the status of ongoing fisheries and recommended the following trip limit increases:

  1. Limited entry fixed gear fishery north of 36° N. latitude: increase the sablefish trip limits from 1,110 lbs/week, not to exceed 3,300 lbs/2 months to 1,850 lbs/week not to exceed 5,500 lbs/2 months for Period 6.
  2. Open access fixed gear fishery north of 36° N. latitude: increase the sablefish trip limits from 300 lbs/day, or one landing per week up to 800 lbs, not to exceed 1,600 lbs/2 months to 300 lbs/day, or one landing per week up to 1,200 lbs, not to exceed 2,400 lbs/2 months for Period 6.
  3. Open access fixed gear fishery south of 36° N. latitude: increase the sablefish trip limits from 300 lbs/day, or one landing per week up to 1,460 lbs, not to exceed 2,920 lbs/2 months to 380 lbs/day, or one landing per week up to 1,800 lbs, not to exceed 3,800 lbs/2 months for Period 6.
  4. Limited entry fixed gear and open access fishery south of 40°10′ N. latitude: increase the deeper nearshore rockfish trip limits from 900 lb/2 months to 1,000 lb/2 months for Period 6.
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Public Comment Deadlines for the November 2013 Briefing Book

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

November 2013 Briefing Book Public Comment Deadlines

Public Comment Deadline – Advance Briefing Book

Public comment materials received BY 11:59 pm, October 9, 2013, 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

Public comments or materials received at the Council office after October 9 but BY 11:59 pm, October 21 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.”

See the Council’s Briefing Book Webpage for complete details on how to submit comments.

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Adopt for public review: Changes to the halibut catch sharing plan

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

The Council adopted the following proposed changes for public review to the 2014 Pacific halibut Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) and annual regulations. The Council is expected to take final action on these proposals at their November meeting in Costa Mesa, California. Public comment on the proposals can be emailed to pfmc.comments@noaa.gov by October 9, 2013 for inclusion in the advance Briefing Book for November.  The proposed changes include:

Washington North Coast Subarea

  1. Revise the CSP language to more clearly describe the management closure and remove the provision for a nearshore fishery when there is not enough quota for another off-shore fishing day.
  2. Revise the days of the week that the fishery is open so that the fishery is open on Saturdays only after the first week of fishing, which maintains the status quo open days per week of Thursday and Saturday.

Columbia River Subarea (Washington and Oregon)

  1. Revise the days of the week that the season is open from Friday through Sunday to Thursday through Sunday. Changing the days of the week that the fishery is open would also require changing the early season opening date from the first Friday in May to the first Thursday in May.  The late season opening date would change from the first Friday in August to the first Thursday in August.
  2. Revise the subarea allocation such that 1,500 pounds or 10 percent of the subarea allocation, whichever is less, is set aside for a nearshore fishery in the area shoreward of either 30 or 40 fathoms with the remaining allocation divided such that 80 percent is reserved for the early season and 20 percent is reserved for the late season.
  3. Revise the bottomfish restrictions in this subarea such that lingcod retention would be allowed when halibut are onboard according to one of the following three options:
    1. Allow lingcod retention when halibut are on board on Thursdays through Sundays from the first Thursday in May until the first Thursday in August or, until 80 percent of the subarea allocation is taken whichever occurs first, in the area seaward of 30 fathoms.
    2. Allow lingcod retention when halibut are on board seven days per week in the area shoreward of 30 fathoms.
    3. Allow lingcod retention throughout the entire halibut season.

Oregon Central Coast Subarea

General

Current language in the CSP, requires the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to sponsor an annual public workshop shortly after the International Pacific Halibut Commission annual meeting to develop recommendations on the open dates for each season.  Due to the advances in technology (e.g., online surveys) and lack of participation in the public workshops, the Council proposes to modify the CSP language to provide flexibility in method by which input is solicited.

Nearshore Fishery

  1. Revise the open days of the week and the opening date
    1. Status Quo (no action):  open May 1, three days per week, Thursday-Saturday until the earlier of quota attainment or October 31
    2. Open June 1, seven days per week until the earlier of quota attainment or October 31
    3. Open after the spring all-depth season concludes, seven days per week until the earlier of quota attainment or October 31

Spring and Summer All-Depth Seasons

  1. Status quo (no action):  if the Area 2A TAC is < 700,000 pounds the spring (only) all-depth season begins on the second Thursday in May
  2. If the Area 2A TAC is < 700,000 pounds the spring (only) all-depth season begins on the first Thursday in June

South of Humbug Mountain (Oregon and California)

The Council recommends adding for public review a new subarea management line in the CSP at the Oregon/California border (42° N. latitude).  Under this option, a separate California subarea would be created with its own CSP allocation equal to 1 percent of the non-tribal allocation.  Details on the alternative management measures for the Oregon and California components are described below.

Oregon

The Council recommends two options for public review for managing the Oregon portion between Humbug Mountain and the Oregon/California border that would remain in the event a new subarea management line is implemented at the Oregon/California border:

  1. Subsume the Oregon area into the Central Oregon Coast Subarea. Under this option, the area between Humbug Mountain and the Oregon/California border would be subject to the regulations in the Central Oregon Coast Subarea.
  2. Establish a new Southern Oregon Subarea with its own CSP allocation equal to 2 percent of the Oregon recreational allocation.  The new Southern Oregon Subarea allocation could be created from either:
    1. Eliminating the Central Coast Summer All-Depth Fishery. The remaining 23 percent would be allocated to the Central Coast Nearshore Fishery.
    2. Reducing the Central Coast Spring All-Depth Fishery allocation. The Central Coast Spring All-Depth Fishery would then receive 61 percent of the area allocation, with the Nearshore and Summer All-Depth Fishery allocations remaining at 12 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

California

Due to the inability to monitor the catch in this area inseason, a fixed season would be established preseason by NMFS based on projected 2014 seasonal catch.  No inseason adjustments would be made, and estimates of actual catch will be made post season.

The alternative season dates adopted for public review for the California subarea are

  1. May 1 through July 15, and from September 1 through October 31
  2. May 1 through July 31, and from September 1 through October 31

Additional restrictions may include prohibiting retention of salmon on a trip where Pacific halibut are retained, or restricting the days of the week when the fishery is open. Under the days of the week option, the open days would be

  1. Tuesday through Saturday or
  2. Wednesday through Saturday

The daily bag limit would continue to be one halibut per person, with no size limit.

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September 2013 Council Meeting

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

The Riverside Hotel – Boise
2900 Chinden Blvd
Boise, ID 83714
Phone: 208-343-1871

September 2013 Council Decisions Summary Document

September 2013 Meeting Minutes

September 2013 Voting Log

September 2013 Briefing Book

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