Archive for September, 2014

September 2014 Council Decision Summary Document Online

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

The Pacific Fishery Management Council met September 12-17, 2014 in Spokane, Washington. The September 2014 Council Meeting Decision Summary Document summarizes the decisions made during that meeting.

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September 2014 Council Meeting

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

DoubleTree by Hilton Spokane City Center

322 N. Spokane Falls Court

Spokane, WA 99201

Phone: 509-455-9600

September 2014 Council Meeting Decision Summary Document

September 2014 Meeting Minutes

September 2014 Voting Log

September 2014 Briefing Book

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Halibut Decisions from the September 2014 Meeting

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

At the September meeting, the Council considered proposed changes to the 2015 Pacific halibut regulations and the Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) for Area 2A. The Council adopted for public review a range of seven non-treaty commercial and recreational fishery allocation options intended to provide for a greater recreational allocation for the California subarea, in response to new information indicating a higher abundance of Pacific halibut and greater fishery interest in this area than when the CSP was originally adopted. Recreational fishery options for Washington, Oregon, and California were also adopted for public review. Details of the options are described below.

The Council is scheduled to take final action on proposed changes for the 2015 Area 2A halibut fisheries at the November 14-19, 2014 Council meeting in Costa Mesa, California. Public comment on the options can be submitted to pfmc.comments@noaa.gov. Those comments received by Friday, October 17 will be included in the advanced briefing materials, which are mailed to Council members and advisory bodies. Comments received after October 17 but before November 4 will be handed out on the first day of the meeting.

Changes to the Non-Treaty CSP Allocations

Description of the Allocation Alternatives

The Council adopted the following range of non-treaty commercial and recreational allocations (See the Council-adopted allocation table). Allocations under Alternatives 2-5 are related to the level of the Area 2A Total Allowable Catch (TAC).

Status Quo: The non-treaty allocation is apportioned according to the 2014 CSP: Washington sport (36.60%), Oregon sport (30.70%), California sport (1.00%), and commercial (31.70%).

Alternative 1: Maintain allocations as described in the CSP (Status Quo), except increase the California sport allocation by two percent, for a total California sport allocation of three percent, by reducing the non-treaty commercial fishery share.

Alternative 2, Option A: Same allocations as described in Alternative 1 when the 2A TAC is one million pounds or less. When the 2A TAC is above one million pounds, the California sport allocation would increase by an additional one percent, for a total California sport allocation of four percent, by reducing the non-treaty commercial fishery share.

Alternative 2, Option B: Same allocations as described in Alternative 1 when the 2A TAC is one million pounds or less. When the 2A TAC is greater than one million pounds, the first one million pounds of the 2A TAC shall be distributed according to the Alternative 1 allocations. For the portion of the 2A TAC that exceeds one million pounds, the California sport allocation would increase to 30-50 percent of the non-treaty share, and allocation percentages for the non-treaty commercial and recreational (Washington and Oregon) would be reduced to remain proportional to the status quo non-treaty shares.

Alternative 3: Increase the California sport allocation by two percent, for a total California sport allocation of three percent, when the 2A TAC is less than one million pounds by reducing the three major non-treaty group allocations (i.e., Washington sport, Oregon sport, and commercial). When the 2A TAC is greater than one million pounds, the first one million pounds of the 2A TAC shall be distributed according to the Alternative 3 allocations. For the portion of the 2A TAC that exceeds one million pounds, the California sport allocation would increase to four percent of the non-treaty share by reducing the three major non-treaty group allocations.

Alternative 4: Increase the California sport share by three percent, for a total allocation of four percent, when the 2A TAC is less than one million pounds by reducing the three major non-treaty group allocations. When the 2A TAC is greater than one million pounds, the first one million pounds of the 2A TAC shall be distributed according to the Alternative 4 allocations. For the portion of the 2A TAC that exceeds one million pounds, the California sport allocation would increase to five percent of the non-treaty share by reducing the three major non-treaty group allocations.

Alternative 5: Increase the California sport share by four percent, for a total allocation of five percent, when the 2A TAC is less than one million pounds by reducing the three major non-treaty group allocations. When the 2A TAC is greater than one million pounds, the first one million pounds of the 2A TAC shall be distributed according to the Alternative 5 allocations. For the portion of the 2A TAC that exceeds one million pounds, the California sport allocation would increase to six percent of the non-treaty share by reducing the three major non-treaty group allocations.

Maximum Limits to the California Sport Allocation

After adopting the CSP allocations from the range described above, the Council will then decide whether to instate a maximum limit on the California sport allocation.

Status Quo: No maximum limit on the California sport allocation.

Maximum Limit A: Include a maximum limit on the California sport allocation of 75,000 pounds in an effort to not strand pounds. This limit may be combined with Alternatives 1, 2A, or 2B described in the table above. Any amount above 75,000 pounds would remain in the non-treaty commercial fishery share.

Maximum Limit B: Include a maximum limit on the California sport allocation of 50,000 pounds in an effort to not strand pounds. This limit may be combined with Alternatives 3 – 5 described in the table above. Any amount above 50,000 pounds would remain in the Washington sport, Oregon sport, and commercial fisheries in proportion to their respective shares under the Alternative.

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Agency Proposals from the September 2014 Meeting

Additional information

Download a PDF Version of this blog which contains all changes and proposals

If you have further questions on the proposed changes, you can submit comments by mail, fax, or email, marked to the attention of Kelly Ames, Pacific halibut staff officer; phone 503-820-2426; toll free 1-866-806-7204 ext. 426.

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Final Preferred Alternatives for an Electronic Monitoring Program for the Pacific Coast Limited Entry Trawl Groundfish Fishery Catch Shares Program

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

At the September 2014 Council meeting in Spokane, WA, the Council selected their final preferred alternatives for an electronic monitoring program for the Pacific coast limited entry trawl groundfish fishery catch shares program. See the “Fishery specific tables that show the Council’s final preferred alternatives” (PDF format). More detail regarding the Council’s decision will be provided in the near future on the Council’s website.

The Council also provided guidance to NMFS regarding preservation of the IFQ Program goals and the development performance standards when developing regulations to implement an EM Program. In order to preserve the conservation and accountability aspects of the IFQ Program, the EM Program must accurately capture discard events (i.e., whether discard has occurred), amount of discard (i.e., volume in weight and size of individual fish), disposition of discard (i.e., if we are to consider providing survivability credit for released fish, such as halibut), and do so even for rare events (e.g., catch and discard of rebuilding rockfish, by species).

In developing performance standards and accountability measures, the Council recommends NMFS consider the economic incentives to misreport or underreport catches and mortalities of overfished rockfish and Pacific halibut.

Individual accountability in the fisheries will hold only so far as monitoring programs are able to counteract these incentives. As such, having adequate enforcement to ensure compliance with the EM Program with strong consequences in place for violations are keys to success.

Performance standards examples are listed below:

  1. Require recording of discards in logbooks with estimated weights given for each species for each haul or set;
  2. Require a minimum of 30% video review during times of gear retrieval and 30% of video review of the remainder of the trip; compare to logbook entries for logbook certification;
  3. Logbook certification is achieved if video review determines that logbook amounts are within 20% accuracy of video review, by species;
  4. If logbook amounts do not meet 20% accuracy standard, then a 100% video review is triggered at vessel account holder expense and vessel cannot commence another fishing trip until video has been reviewed and vessel account has been debited;
  5. If the 100% video review is triggered more than twice within a six-month time period, then 100% video review is in effect for all fishing trips for the six months following the commencement of fishing activity, again at the vessel account holder’s expense.
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UPDATED September 11, 2014: NMFS Salmon regulations booklet

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

NMFS has updated their “online” salmon fishery regulations booklet. This booklet provides fishermen with a quick reference guide to the Federal regulations governing commercial and recreational salmon fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (3-200 nautical miles off shore) off Washington, Oregon, and California. The booklet is available by:

Please note fishermen are advised to stay informed of inseason changes to the regulations and to consult Federal and/or State fishery management agencies for current information for the areas in which they are or will be fishing. State regulations, which may differ from Federal regulations, are in effect in State territorial waters (0-3 nautical miles off shore).

(more…)

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Reader’s Guide to the Ecosystem Workgroup Report on Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 1: Protecting Unfished and Unmanaged Forage Fish Species available online

Monday, September 8th, 2014

Ms. Yvonne de Reynier, National Marine Fisheries Service, has prepared a short (11 min.) video guide recorded on September 5, 2014, that applies to the ad hoc Ecosystem Workgroup’s report on Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 1: Protecting Unfished and Unmanaged Forage Fish Species.

At its September 2014, meeting in Spokane, Washington the Council is tentatively scheduled to review the Workgrup’s report on Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 1: Protecting Unfished and Unmanaged Forage Fish Species and provide future work direction.

If you have further questions, please contact Mr. Mike Burner, staff officer at 503-820-2414; toll free 1-866-806-7204, ext. 414.

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Groundfish Stock Assessment and Fishery Evalution (SAFE) document available

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

The Status of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE), dated August 2014 is now available on the Council’s website. Please visit the Groundfish SAFE document webpage to download the document.

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