Archive for July, 2019

Highly Migratory Species Management Team to Hold Webinar August 27, 2019

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

The Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Pacific Council) Highly Migratory Species Management Team (HMSMT) will hold a webinar, which is open to the public.  The webinar will be held on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time, or when business for the day is completed.

Agenda

Purpose of the Webinar

The primary purpose of this HMSMT webinar is to prepare for the September 2019 Council meeting. The HMS topics on the Council’s September agenda are: 1) National Marine Fisheries Report, 2) Recommend International Management Activities, 3) Exempted Fishing Permits: Final Recommendations, and 4) Deep-Set Buoy Gear Authorization: Final Preferred Alternative. In addition, the HMSMT will discuss potential recommendations for updates to the vision (purpose, goals and objectives) of the Council’s Fishery Ecosystem Plan. The HMSMT may also discuss other items related to HMS management and administrative Pacific Council agenda items.  A detailed agenda for the webinar will be available on the Pacific Council’s website prior to the meeting.  No management actions will be decided by the HMSMT.

To Attend the Webinar

  1. Join the meeting by visiting this link:
    http://www.gotomeeting.com/webinar/
  2. Enter the Webinar ID: 544-381-883
  3. Please enter your name and email address (required)
  4. You must use your telephone for the audio portion of the meeting by dialing this TOLL number +1 (562) 247-8321 (not a toll-free number)
  5. Then enter the Attendee phone audio access code 835-605-745
  6. Then enter your audio phone pin (shown after joining the webinar)

Technical Information

System Requirements

  • PC-based attendees: Required: Windows® 10, 8, 7, Vista, or XP
  • Mac®-based attendees: Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer
  • Mobile attendees: Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet (See the GoToMeeting Webinar Apps)

You may send an email to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt or contact him at 503-820-2280, extension 411 for technical assistance.

Public Listening Station

A public listening station will also be provided at the Council office.

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

Additional information

Public comments during the webinar will be received from attendees at the discretion of the HMSMT chair.

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 503-280-2411 at least ten days prior to the meeting date.

If you have additional questions regarding the HMSMT webinar, please contact Dr. Kit Dahl at 503-820-2422; toll free 1-866-806-7204, extension 422.

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Agenda available for August 7-8, 2019 HMSMT meeting in Long Beach, CA

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

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September 2019 Briefing Book public comment deadlines

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

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Salmon Technical Team and Model Evaluation Workgroup to Hold Webinar August 29, 2019

Thursday, July 25th, 2019

The Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Salmon Technical Team (STT) and Model Evaluation Workgroup (MEW) will hold a joint meeting to discuss and make recommendations on issues on the Council’s September 2019 meeting agenda.  This meeting will be held via webinar, which is open to the public.  The webinar will be held on Thursday, August 29, 2019,  at 9 a.m. (Pacific Time) and will end when business is completed for the day.

Agenda

Purpose of the Webinar

Major topics include, but are not limited to Salmon related topics:  Salmon Methodology Review, Salmon Rebuilding Plans – final action for Coho and the report on the Sacramento River fall Chinook harvest model development, Southern Resident Killer Whale Endangered Species Act consultation, risk analysis review, and review of the annual salmon management cycle.  Pacific halibut related topics include:  2A Catch Sharing Plan preliminary changes for 2020, and commercial directed halibut fishery regulations for 2020.

The groups may also address one or more of the Council’s scheduled administrative matters, legislative matters, habitat issues, ecosystem topics, groundfish topics and future workload planning.  Public comments during the webinar will be received from attendees at the discretion of the STT and MEW Chairs.

To Attend the Webinar

  1. Join the webinar by visiting this link: https://www.gotomeeting.com/
  2. Enter the Webinar ID: 565-431-373
  3. Please enter your name and email address (required)
  4. You must use your telephone for the audio portion of the meeting by dialing this TOLL number (1-646-749-3122)
  5. Enter the Attendee phone audio access code (565-431-373)

NOTE: We have disabled Mic/Speakers as on option and require all participants to use a telephone or cell phone to participate.

Technical Information

System Requirements

  • PC-based attendees: Required: Windows® 7, Vista, or XP
  • Mac®-based attendees: Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer
  • Mobile attendees: Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet (GoToMeeting Webinar Apps)

You may send an email to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt or contact him at 503-820-2280, extension 411 for technical assistance.

Public Listening Station

A public listening station will also be provided at the Council office.

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

Additional information

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 503-820-2411 at least ten days prior to the meeting date.

If you have additional questions regarding the webinar, please contact Ms. Robin Ehlke at 503-820-2410; toll-free 1-866-806-7204, extension 410.

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Salmon Advisory Subpanel to Hold Webinar August 14, 2019

Thursday, July 25th, 2019

The Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Salmon Advisory Subpanel (SAS) will hold a meeting to discuss and make recommendations on issues on the Council’s September 2019 meeting agenda.  This meeting will be held via webinar, which is open to the public.  The webinar will be held on Wednesday, August 14, 2019, at 2 p.m. (Pacific Time) and will end when business is completed for the day.

Agenda

Purpose of the Webinar

Major topics include, but are not limited to Salmon related topics:  Salmon Methodology Review, Salmon Rebuilding Plans – final action for Coho and the report on the Sacramento River fall Chinook harvest model development, Southern Resident Killer Whale Endangered Species Act consultation: Risk analysis review, and review of the annual salmon management cycle.  Pacific halibut related topics include:  2A Catch Sharing Plan preliminary changes for 2020, and commercial directed halibut fishery regulations for 2020.

The group may also address one or more of the Council’s scheduled administrative matters, legislative matters, habitat issues, ecosystem topics, groundfish topics, and future workload planning.  Public comments during the webinar will be received from attendees at the discretion of the SAS Chair.

To Attend the Webinar

  1. Join the webinar by visiting this link: https://www.gotomeeting.com/
  2. Enter the Webinar ID: 565-431-373
  3. Please enter your name and email address (required)
  4. You must use your telephone for the audio portion of the meeting by dialing this TOLL number (1-646-749-3122)
  5. Enter the Attendee phone audio access code (565-431-373)

NOTE: We have disabled Mic/Speakers as on option and require all participants to use a telephone or cell phone to participate.

Technical Information

System Requirements

  • PC-based attendees: Required: Windows® 7, Vista, or XP
  • Mac®-based attendees: Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer
  • Mobile attendees: Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet (GoToMeeting Webinar Apps)

You may send an email to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt or contact him at 503-820-2280, extension 411 for technical assistance.

Public Listening Station

A public listening station will also be provided at the Council office.

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

Additional information

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 503-820-2411 at least ten days prior to the meeting date.

Public comments during the webinar will be accepted from attendees at the discretion of the SAS chair.

If you have additional questions regarding the webinar, please contact Ms. Robin Ehlke at 503-820-2410; toll-free 1-866-806-7204, extension 410.

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Scientific and Statistical Committee Groundfish Subcommittee to Meet in Seattle, WA August 20-21, 2019

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

The Groundfish Subcommittee of the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Pacific Council’s) Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) will hold a meeting to review new benchmark and update assessments and catch-only update assessment projections to inform new 2021 and 2022 groundfish harvest specifications.  The meeting is open to the public.

Agenda

Purpose of the meeting

The purpose of the SSC Groundfish Subcommittee meeting is to review groundfish stock assessments and catch-only updates that will inform management decisions for 2021 and beyond.  Specifically, the SSC Groundfish Subcommittee will review new benchmark assessments and Stock Assessment Review panel reports for cabezon, longnose skate, big skate, sablefish, cowcod, and gopher/black-and-yellow rockfish; as well as new update assessments for petrale sole and widow rockfish.  The SSC Groundfish Subcommittee will also review catch-only update projections for black rockfish, blackgill rockfish, brown rockfish, California blue/deacon rockfish north of Pt. Conception, canary rockfish, China rockfish, darkblotched rockfish, Dover sole, lingcod, longspine thornyhead, rougheye/blackspotted rockfish, shortspine thornyhead, and yelloweye rockfish.

No management actions will be decided by the SSC’s Groundfish Subcommittee.  The SSC Groundfish Subcommittee members’ role will be development of recommendations and reports for consideration by the SSC and Pacific Council at the September meeting in Boise, Idaho.

Meeting dates

The SSC Groundfish Subcommittee meeting will be held Tuesday, August 20 and Wednesday, August 21, 2019 beginning at 8:30 a.m. each day and continuing until 5:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time or until business for the day has been completed.

Meeting location

The SSC’s Groundfish Subcommittee meeting will be an in-person meeting and will also be held by webinar.

National Marine Fisheries Service
Northwest Fisheries Science Center
Auditorium
2725 Montlake Blvd E
Seattle, WA 98112
Telephone: 206-860-3200

Driving Directions

Visitors who are foreign nationals (defined as a person who is not a citizen or national of the United States) will require additional security clearance to access the NMFS Northwest Fisheries Science Center.  Foreign national visitors should contact Ms. Stacey Miller at 541-867-0535 at least two weeks prior to the meeting date to initiate the security clearance process.

To Attend via webinar (option)

To attend the webinar, visit:

  1. Join the webinar by visiting this link: https://nwfscfram.webex.com/nwfscfram
  2. Enter the Webinar access code: 626 668 260
  3. Please enter your name and email address (required)
  4. You must use your telephone for the audio portion of the meeting by dialing this TOLL number 1-650-479-3208, or connect audio using the computer

System requirements

  • PC-based attendees: Required: Windows® 7, Vista, or XP
  • Mac®-based attendees: Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer
  • Mobile attendees: Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet (See the webex system requirements).

You may send an email to Dr. Owen Hamel or contact him at 206-860-3481 for technical assistance.

Additional information

Public Comments during the meetings will be received from attendees at the discretion of the SSC  and SSC Groundfish Subcommittee Chairs.  For more information regarding this meeting, please contact Mr. John DeVore at 503-820-2413; 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, ext. 411, at least ten days prior to the meeting date.

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Council Plans Transition for Non-Indian Commercial Area 2A Halibut Fishery; New Season-Setting Process Begins

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) is requesting public comment on structuring the Area 2A (West Coast) non-Indian directed commercial halibut fishery for the upcoming year. The public is encouraged to comment at the September and November 2019 Council meetings as management of this halibut fishery transitions from the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) to the Council.

In June, the Council committed to working closely with the IPHC and stakeholders on the transition. The Council will focus on a smooth transfer of management authority for the commercial directed fishery, and will rely on the IPHC to continue to issue licenses for this fishery in the near-term. The Council intends to maintain the current management structure, but may consider changes to vessel poundage limits and open periods.

At its September and November 2019 meetings, when the Council typically considers changes to its halibut Catch Sharing Plan, it will also make management recommendations for the 2020 directed commercial halibut fishery trip limits and fishing periods. These meetings will provide an opportunity for public, agency, and advisory body comment. The Groundfish Advisory Subpanel meetings held in conjunction with the September and November Council meetings will also provide an opportunity for public comment on this issue. As always, public comment will be accepted through the Council’s e-portal before the meetings.

The September meeting will be held September 11-18 at the Riverside Hotel in Boise, Idaho. The November meeting will be held November 13-20 at the Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa in Costa Mesa, California.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will hold public meetings August 5-8 to discuss fishing periods and trip limits for the 2020 directed commercial halibut fishery. Meeting dates and locations will be posted online; information is also available at (541) 867-4741. Currently, the Departments of Fish and Wildlife for Washington and California do not have public meetings scheduled to discuss the non-Indian commercial directed halibut fishery season structure for 2020.

See full press release.

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Agenda available for the July 22-26, 2019 cowcod and gopher/black-and-yellow rockfish STAR Panel meeting

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

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Agenda available for the July 23-24, 2019 Ad Hoc Southern Resident Killer Whale Workgroup meeting in Vancouver, Washington USA

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

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Enforcement

Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

Coast Guard Gives Annual Report on West Coast Activities

U.S. Coast Guard crew, Golden Gate Division, train in massive waves off the coast of San Francisco in 2018.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s Thirteenth and Eleventh Districts gave their annual presentation to the Council  in June. Some highlights are provided below; see the full report.

In 2018, there were 877 fisheries boardings and 11 significant fisheries violations in West Coast waters. About a third of the boardings were on commercial fishing vessels, while the rest were on recreational and charter boats. Specific examples include a commercial fishing boat operating illegally in the Cape Perpetua Marine Protected Area, a crab boat deploying gear before the official start of the season, eight halibut aboard a vessel without a commercial fishing license, a tuna troller refusing to respond to the Coast Guard, a salmon troller retaining 18 salmon during a closed season, and an assault on a female crewmember while under the influence.

Many of the Coast Guard’s most effective efforts are the result of working collaboratively with partners from NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, Treaty Tribes, and California, Oregon, and Washington state fisheries enforcement personnel. For example, in May, seven Coast Guard Patrol Boats along with NOAA Law Enforcement, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Oregon State Police conducted an interagency operation focused on the salmon opener, boarding 92 commercial and recreational boats.

In addition to fisheries enforcement, the Coast Guard has an active Marine Protected Species protection program. In 2018, Districts 11 and 13 participated in 12 marine protected species response operations, including locating and helping to free entangled whales and responding to Marine Mammal Protection Act violations. The Coast Guard also participated in efforts to protect southern resident killer whales, review stranding protocols, and provide outreach to the public on interacting with Puget Sound killer whales.

One of the Coast Guard’s primary objectives in working with the Council is to identify ways to improve the safety of all fishing activity. In 2018, four lives were lost from West Coast commercial fishing vessels. This is lower than the average from the preceding ten-year period (6 lives lost per year).

In February 2018, a 48’ wood crab vessel with three people on board, fishing 8 nautical miles (nm) off Humboldt Bay, had two crewmen on deck fall overboard. One person was retrieved quickly and brought back onboard by the master. Despite exhaustive search efforts, the other person was not located and the search was suspended.

In May 2018, a crabber’s family reported his vessel overdue from a fishing trip off the southern Washington coast. The Coast Guard conducted multiple air, surface, and shore searches, eventually locating a sheen in the water inside Willapa Bay. While the Coast Guard continued to search for the crabber, the Pacific and Clark County Sheriff’s searched the Bay with divers and sonar, locating the submerged vessel. The search was suspended.

In September 2018, a 32’ fiberglass troller with two persons on board had one person fall overboard 3 nm off Bodega Bay. Despite an extensive search, the crewmember was not found.

In October 2018, a 40’ fiberglass troller in Dana Point was found with the master onboard deceased due to natural causes.

In addition to these losses of life, further examples of significant safety incidents on commercial fishing vessels are summarized below.

In addition to these four lives lost, there were four fires, 19 vessel floodings or sinkings, 11 medical incidents, 12 groundings, four collisions, and 60 incidents of loss of propulsion:

  • In April 2018, a 48’ steel crab vessel 5 nm off Trinidad had a fire in crew berthing due to an unknown cause that quickly spread to the pilothouse. All five crewmembers abandoned ship into the vessel’s life raft and were rescued with no injuries. Vessel was salvaged.
  • In February 2018, a 36’ wood troller began taking on water from loose planks 3 nm west of Mendocino. The vessel’s pumps were unable to keep up with flooding, and the two persons onboard abandoned ship to a Coast Guard motor lifeboat. The vessel sank.
  • In June 2018, a 28’ salmon troller suffered an engine casualty while passing outbound across the Coos Bay Bar and subsequently grounded on the North Spit. The owner was able to safely get off his boat, and the troller refloated at the next high tide.
  • In August 2018, a 56’ fiberglass vessel with one man and a dog ran aground off Santa Cruz in Monterey Marine Sanctuary. The man and his dog made it safely ashore with no injuries. The vessel broke up in the surf and was a total loss.
  • In November 2018, a 36’ fiberglass crabber had a crewmember hit in the head with a crab pot 7 nm off the Golden Gate Bridge. The crewmember was transferred to a patrol boat and then to awaiting paramedics on shore.
  • In August 2018, a Canadian tuna troller and a U.S. tuna troller collided more than 100 nm west of Newport, OR. Both vessels were able to proceed under their own power to Newport, where the Coast Guard boarded both vessels.

In February 2018, during the first month of Dungeness crab season, Coast Guard units in Washington and Oregon responded to 28 incidents of vessels losing propulsion, steering, or other casualties. Many of these responses involved crossing hazardous breaking bars and required the use of the specialized 52’ motor lifeboats located at Grays Harbor and the Columbia River in Washington, and Newport and Coos Bay in Oregon. These aging vessels are more than 60 years old, but continue to be maintained in the inventory because the capability they bring is essential to Search and Rescue operations on coastal Washington and Oregon Bars.

These incidents from 2018, as well as past incidents involving vessel losses and losses of life in commercial fisheries, make clear the hazards in the fishing industry are not isolated to a particular fishery or gear type or a specific geographic area or time of year. The USCG is constantly working to identify trends and take preventive actions in fisheries where incidents occur more frequently; as well as taking steps to attempt to improve the overall safety of the industry.

Mandatory dockside safety examinations are required for certain commercial fishing vessels, including vessels operating outside 3 nautical miles from the baseline, vessels carrying more than 16 individuals on board regardless of where the vessel is operating, and vessels engaged in the Aleutian Trade. These regulations require a USCG commercial fishing vessel safety examination to be completed at least once every 5 years. Having a current safety examination may reduce the extent and time boarding officers will examine safety and survival equipment at-sea. However, successful completion of an exam will not exempt vessels from boardings.

Further details, as well as updates on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act rulemaking and other important commercial fishing vessel safety information are available at: www.fishsafewest.info.

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