Archive for June, 2015

June 2015 Council Decision Summary Document Online

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

The Pacific Fishery Management Council met June 12-16, 2015 in Spokane, Washington. The June 2015 Council Meeting Decision Summary Document highlights the significant decisions made during that meeting.

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Groundfish Inseason Actions from June 2015 Meeting

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

At their June 2015 meeting, the Council considered the latest data on groundfish catches and recommended the following:

  • Sablefish north of 36° N latitude:
    • Increase the limited entry fixed gear trip limit to 1,125 lbs/week and 3,375 lbs/2 months for periods 4 through 6, beginning as quickly as possible in period 4.
    • Increase the open access fixed gear trip limit to 350 lbs/day, 1,600 lbs/week, and 3,200 lbs/2 months for periods 4 through 6, beginning as quickly as possible in period 4.
  • Minor Shelf Rockfish complex, shortbelly, widow, and chilipepper between 40°10′ and 34°27′ N latitude: Increase the open access fixed gear trip limit to 500 pounds/2 months for period 4 through 6.
  • Blackgill rockfish south of 40°10′ N latitude:
    • Increase the limited entry fixed gear sub-limit to 1,600 pounds/2 months for periods 4 through 6, beginning as quickly as possible in period 4.
    • Increase the open access gear sub-limit to 550 pounds/2 months for periods 4 through 6, beginning as quickly as possible in period 4.
  • California scorpionfish: Increase the limited entry and open access trip limit to 1,500 lbs/2 months for periods 4 through 6, beginning as quickly as possible in period 4.
  • Black rockfish: Decrease the limited entry and open access trip limit between 40°10′ and 42° N latitude to 6,000 lbs/2 months beginning at the start of the next bi-monthly period (either July 1 or September 1).
  • Big skate: Adopt a 50 percent discard mortality rate for big skate caught with trawl gear (SSC recommendation). Increase big skate trip limits for the shorebased IFQ program to 35,000 lbs/2 months for periods 4 through 6, beginning as quickly as possible in period 4.
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Petrale Sole and Canary Rockfish, Important West Coast Groundfish Stocks, Rebuilt to Sustainable Level

Monday, June 15th, 2015

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON – Two important West Coast groundfish stocks—Canary rockfish and petrale sole—that were formerly overfished have now been rebuilt ahead of schedule, the Pacific Fishery Management Council announced today. The stocks have been the subject of strict rebuilding plans that severely constrained West Coast fisheries for more than a decade. Managing groundfish fisheries in the last 15 years, under the canary rockfish rebuilding plan in particular, has been an immense challenge for the Council and the National Marine Fisheries Service and has caused significant disruption of fisheries. “This is a huge achievement and reflects many hard decisions made by the Council and its advisors, as well as difficult sacrifices by the fishermen and communities that depend on groundfish,” said Council Chair Dorothy Lowman. “While five groundfish stocks are still rebuilding, the Council looks forward to new fishing opportunities based on the fact that these two stocks have completely recovered.”

Canary rockfish, prized by both recreational and commercial fishermen, were declared overfished in 2000 and a rebuilding plan was put in place in 2001, affecting groundfish fisheries off all three west coast states. Because canary rockfish coexist with so many healthy groundfish stocks, they have been known as a “bottleneck species” limiting many fisheries. Further, canary rockfish are a long-lived, slow-growing species, making them difficult to rebuild. Under the plan, catch quotas were dramatically reduced and large area closures put in place, and the stock was expected to rebuild by 2057.  However, the new 2015 canary rockfish assessment adopted today by the Council shows the coastwide canary stock has already been rebuilt, thanks to the strict protections and good ocean conditions.

Former Council Chair Dan Wolford stated, “This a big deal. We now have six times more canary rockfish than when we scaled back so many fisheries. This shows the Pacific Council’s conservation policies work.” Petrale sole, an important species for commercial fisheries, were declared overfished in 2010 after an assessment showed that the stock had fallen below the overfished threshold. Beginning in 2011, a rebuilding plan was put in place to rebuild the stock by 2016. The petrale sole harvest limit was cut by half, and fisheries in which petrale sole could be caught incidentally were also reduced and area closures were implemented. A stock assessment conducted this year shows that the rebuilding plan was successful and the stock has increased over the target level.

“Petrale sole is known as our Cadillac flatfish,” said Ralph Brown, a long-time commercial fisherman from Bookings, Oregon. “Restaurants will love that these fish are now back so strongly.”

Process

The petrale sole and Canary rockfish assessments were developed by scientists at National Marine Fisheries Service and the University of Washington (in the case of petrale) and were reviewed by the Council’s scientific advisory bodies. The recommendation to declare these stocks rebuilt will be forwarded to the National Marine Fisheries Service for approval. New harvest specifications and regulations informed by these assessments are expected to be put in place beginning in 2017.

Council Role

The Pacific Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional fishery management councils established by the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 for the purpose of managing fisheries 3-200 nautical miles offshore of the United States of America coastline. The Pacific Council recommends management measures for fisheries off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington.

 

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Stock assessments and other technical information can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/oyuk4ey

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June 2015 Council Meeting

Saturday, June 13th, 2015

June 10-16, 2015 Council Meeting

DoubleTree by Hilton Spokane City Center
322 N. Spokane Falls Court
Spokane, WA 99201
Phone: 509-455-9600

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PRELIMINARY DRAFT JUNE 2015 COUNCIL MEETING MOTIONS IN WRITING

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Cautionary Note — These preliminary motions do not represent the final official administrative record.  The motions and amendments contained in this blog are as projected on the screen at the Council meeting at the time of the Council vote and often use expedited language and references without the benefit of any final editing or proofing.  They may use short-hand language or abbreviations that may not be clear without the context of verbal comments and clarifications made during their development at the meeting, or may contain inadvertent transposition errors.  They have not been approved by the Council to represent the final official record of Council action.  The final official record will be posted on the Council website after the Council approves the full meeting record at a future Council meeting.

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Attention PFMC authorized travelers – Helpful tips to use the PFMC Concur Travel Account

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Helpful Tips to Use the PFMC Concur Travel Account

There are changes in the way expense claims are completed and submitted for reimbursement when traveling on Pacific Council business. There is also a new option for making flight (transportation) reservations. Direct (Peak) Travel is replacing services formerly provided by American Express Travel for airline reservations, which can now be made on-line.

Initial log-in and Profile set-up

Log in information:

Profile set-up:

  • Once you are logged in, you will be on a Concur web page with options. Click on the Profile icon on the upper right corner to set up your profile and follow the prompts.
  • A tutorial regarding this process can be reached by downloading and reviewing the “PFMC Concur Helpful Tips – Initial log-in and Profile set-up“.

Submitting Expense Claims

Beginning June 1, 2015, expense claims are to be submitted through the on-line Concur account. A tutorial regarding this process can be reached by downloading and reviewing the “PFMC Concur Helpful Tips – Expense Claims“.

PLEASE NOTE: Make sure you have completed your bank account information in advance of submitting a claim, it will take Concur about 2-3 business days to verify your bank information.

Booking Travel (Airfare/Rail/Hotel/Car Rental)

Our contract with American Express Travel has expired. In addition to making your own arrangements and submitting them after travel on an expense claim, you may use the Concur log-in to make travel arrangements with Direct (Peak) Travel and have them charged directly to PFMC. Your Name and TSA information must be updated prior to booking air travel. A tutorial regarding this process can be reached by downloading and viewing the “PFMC Concur Helpful Tips – Booking Travel (Airfare/Rail/Hotel/Car Rental)“.

 

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Changes made within the U.S. VMS program

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

The Pacific Fishery Management Council has received notice from the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement that changes have been made within the U.S. Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) program that will affect vessel owners using Skymate VMS units and those using CLS America’s Thorium TST EMTU (the Thorium TST A2.0 and Thorium LEO A2.0 are unaffected). Affected vessel owners will be required to replace their VMS unit with another type-approved VMS unit. Please see the correspondence explaining these changes and opportunities for reimbursement, along with a list of type-approved units.

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