Archive for October, 2019

Request for proposal for Audit/Tax Services

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019

Request for proposal for Audit/Tax Services

October 30, 2019

PFMC 2019 RFP Audit Services

Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) is soliciting proposals from qualified certified public accounting firms to provide audit and tax preparation services. The anticipated contract period for this engagement will be for the audit for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2019, with an option to extend for each of the four (4) subsequent years. These audits are to be performed in accordance with Generally Accepted Audit Standards; the standards set forth for financial audits in the Government Auditing Standards issued by the Comptroller General of the United States of America; and the Audit requirements of Title 2 U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.

For questions and RFP information, please contact Ms. Patricia Crouse at the Council office; 503-8201-2408

Notifications/Deadlines

October 30, 2019 Request for Proposals will be posted online.
December 13, 2019 Notice of Intent to submit RFP
January 16, 2020 Deadline for Proposals

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Groundfish Stock Assessment Process Review Webinar to be Held Friday, December 13

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

Participants in the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Pacific Council’s) 2019 groundfish stock assessment process will hold a meeting via webinar to review and evaluate the 2019 stock assessment review (STAR) process.  The webinar will be held on Friday, December 13, 2019 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time) or until business for the day has been completed.  The goal of the webinar is to solicit process improvements to recommend for future groundfish stock assessments and STAR panel reviews.  Process recommendations will be provided to the Pacific Council at their March 2020 meeting in Rohnert Park, California.

The purpose of the Groundfish Stock Assessment Process Review webinar meeting is to review the 2019 groundfish stock assessment and STAR Panel process and recommend process improvements for future groundfish stock assessments and STAR Panel meetings.

No management actions will be decided by the participants attending the Groundfish Stock Assessment Process Review webinar.  The webinar participants’ role will be the development of recommendations and a report for consideration by the Pacific Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee, other Pacific Council advisors, and the Pacific Council at the March 2020 meeting in Rohnert Park, California.

Webinar agenda

To attend the webinar

  1. Join the meeting by visiting this link:
    https://www.gotomeeting.com/webinar
  2. Enter the Webinar ID: 729-240-515
  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. Enter the Attendee phone audio access code 221-339-854
  6. Enter your audio phone PIN (shown after joining the webinar)

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 (See the GoToMeeting Webinar Apps)

You may send an email to Kris Kleinschmidt or contact him at 503-820-2280, extension 412, 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 Mr. John DeVore at 503-820-2413; toll-free 1-866-806-7204.

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10/29/19 SRKW Webinar login credentials Updated

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

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November 2019 PFMC Meeting Fast Facts

Monday, October 28th, 2019

The November 14-20, 2019 Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting “Fast Facts” are available. Fast Facts are answers to FAQs that can help you get oriented for the upcoming meeting.

November 14-20, 2019 PFMC Meeting Fast Facts

If you have additional questions regarding the November 14-20, 2019 Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting:

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November 2019 Briefing Book available online

Friday, October 25th, 2019

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Agenda available for the November 5, 2019 Groundfish Management Team webinar

Thursday, October 24th, 2019

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Agenda available for the October 29, 2019 Ad Hoc Southern Resident Killer Whale Workgroup webinar

Thursday, October 24th, 2019

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Fall 2019 Admin Stories

Monday, October 21st, 2019

Legislative Report

In September the Council received a request for comments from Representative Rob Bishop regarding HR 1979 (the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act) and HR 2236 (the Forage Fish Conservation Act.) The  Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act, introduced by Ted Lieu and Diane Feinstein of California, would extend current California state regulations regarding driftnets to all Federal waters within five years. Meanwhile, the Department of Commerce would be required to conduct a transition program to phase out large-scale driftnet fishing and to promote the adoption of alternative fishing practices.

The Forage Fish Conservation Act, introduced by Debbie Dingell of Michigan, would amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to require Scientific and Statistical Committees to provide scientific advice on maintaining a sufficient abundance of forage fish populations; adds forage fish populations and distribution as a research priority; calls for Councils to develop lists of unmanaged forage fish species and prohibit development of new fisheries (as the Pacific Council has done); and requires Councils to reduce annual catch limits for forage fish fisheries according to the dietary needs of fish species and other marine wildlife.

The Council also received a request from Senator Maria Cantwell for comments on S 2346, Senator Wicker’s bill “to improve the Fishery Resource Disaster Relief program of the National Marine Fisheries Service.” The letters are on the Council’s legislative correspondence page

Appointments

The Council appointed Bob Dooley and Virgil Moore to the Legislative Committee.  Brian Hooper was appointed to the vacant NFMS seat on the Groundfish Endangered Species Workgroup, and Erica Crust was appointed to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife seat on the Groundfish Management Team formerly held by Jessi Doerpinghaus.

The Council adopted a final Council Operating Procedure (COP) 22, describing a process to conduct essential fish habitat reviews.  The new COP 22 applies to all Council fishery management plans, and establishes a tiered approach, with the expectation that the Council will develop a more detailed approach for each individual EFH review when initiating the reviews.

The Council was informed that Dr. Rishi Sharma and Dr. Aaron Berger have resigned their at-large seats on the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC).  The Council directed staff to solicit nominations for these two seats between now and the November meeting, with a specific request for nominees with expertise in groundfish stock assessment or highly migratory species.  The Council also anticipates that long-time SSC member Dr. David Sampson will be retiring at the end of the year. The Council anticipates working with Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife to fill the Oregon SSC seat he will be vacating.

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Fall 2019 Habitat and Ecosystem Stories

Monday, October 21st, 2019

Habitat Report

Jordan Cove

The Council has sent a letter to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on the proposed natural gas pipeline project for the Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas facility. The letter comments on the agencies’ proposed changes to their Resource Management Plans, which exempt the pipeline from complying with the agencies’ standards. These changes are described in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) draft Environmental Impact Statement. FERC’s joint biological assessment/essential fish habitat assessment for the Jordan Cove Project is now available. 

Klamath River

Klamath River

The Habitat Committee has drafted a letter encouraging the Klamath River Renewal Corporation in their Klamath dam removal efforts. On July 29, 2019, the Corporation and PacifiCorp submitted a license transfer application and plan for decommissioning the four lower Klamath dams to FERC. The dams are currently on track to be removed by 2022.

The letter will be included in the November briefing book for Council approval.

Pre/Post Study in Rockfish Conservation Area 

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) Marine Habitat Project has partnered with marine scientists at Oregon State University (OSU) to study the habitat impacts of the former trawl Rockfish Conservation Area near Heceta Bank before the area is opened to trawling in January 2020.

The trawl Rockfish Conservation Area off Oregon and California will reopen as a result of Amendment 28 to the groundfish fishery management plan. The areas to be reopened provide new opportunities to study the recovery of habitats and associated species, and the effects of long-term closures for fish populations.

The study will use ODFW’s remotely operated vehicle and OSU’s benthic landers to obtain high-definition video of the substrate, invertebrates, and fish, as well as sediment and bottom water chemistry, before and after trawling restarts in the study area.

The full project will include repeat surveys over several years. The 2019 surveys will establish a permanent record that may be used to evaluate habitat and species recovery after an extended closure, and will serve as a baseline against which to compare habitat conditions in the future. Results from the study are expected to inform the Council’s understanding of the impact of modern groundfish trawling on benthic habitats, and may be valuable in the Council’s next review of groundfish essential fish habitat.

Kelp. Ethan Daniels/Shutterstock.com

Council adopts revised vision for Fishery Ecosystem Plan for public review 

In September the Council reviewed alternate visions, goals, and objectives for the Fishery Ecosystem Plan. The Council chose the following vision statement, which is available for public review: “The Council envisions a California Current Ecosystem that continues to provide ecosystem services to current and future generations—including livelihoods, fishing opportunities, and cultural practices that contribute to the wellbeing of fishing communities and the nation.” The Council also adopted for public review a revised set of goals and objectives (see page 9 of the link). Final versions of the vision statement, goals, and objectives will be adopted in March. 

 

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Fall 2019 Highly Migratory Species Stories

Monday, October 21st, 2019

Regional fisheries management organizations discuss bluefin tuna stock status, allocations

Photo of bluefin tuna

Bluefin tuna (Guido Montaldo/Shutterstock.com)

In September the Council recommended that U.S. Commissioners to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) negotiate an equitable allocation of harvest opportunity for Pacific bluefin tuna between the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. The WCPFC is a treaty-based organization established to conserve and manage tuna and other highly migratory fish stocks across the western and central areas of the Pacific Ocean.

The Northern Committee of the WCPFC is mainly relevant to the Council’s highly migratory species. In September, for the first time, it met on the West Coast (in Portland). Up to now, every meeting but one has been held in Japan. This gave Council members and highly migratory species advisory body members a chance to observe its proceedings.

Although Pacific bluefin is very depleted, the stock is recovering thanks to country- and fishery-specific catch limits meant to spur rebuilding. Japan’s fisheries account for most of the Pacific bluefin catch, and Japan has pushed hard to have catch limits increased in line with stock recovery projections. The U.S and other countries have insisted on a more cautious approach. This year, as a compromise, the Joint Working Group (which coordinates Pacific bluefin management between the WCPFC, the Northern Committee, and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission) recommended that Taiwan be allowed to transfer a portion of its unused catch limit to Japan for 2020, and that Japan be allowed to roll over a larger portion of its unused 2019 catch limit into next year. 

In the Eastern Pacific, the current Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission’s (IATTC) bluefin tuna measure applies through the end of 2020, so next year’s meeting will be of heightened interest as a new measure for 2021 and beyond must be adopted. The IATTC is responsible for the conservation and management of tuna and other marine resources in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

The International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-Like Species in the North Pacific Ocean (ISC) will complete a new benchmark stock assessment for Pacific bluefin in 2020, evaluating several scenarios that model the effect of catch limit increases over the next 20 years. These projections would support decisions by managers next year about possible across-the-board increases. Over the long term, in line with stock recovery, the U.S. is likely to push for increases that achieve a better balance of fishing opportunity between the Western and Eastern Pacific.

Council takes final action on management measures for deep-set buoy gear 

Photo of swordfish

Swordfish (Gorb Andrii/Shutterstock.com)

Since 2016 the Council has been working on a package of management measures for a new, low bycatch fishing gear for swordfish: deep-set buoy gear. Simultaneously, the Council has been reviewing, and NMFS issuing, exempted fishing permits (EFPs) to test this gear. This exempted fishing has provided valuable data to gauge the commercial viability and environmental effects of this new gear.

The September meeting was the culmination of Council deliberations; it adopted a package of management measures that include definitions of two gear configurations, standard and linked; restrictions on where the gear can be used (in Federal waters off of California and Oregon); requirements on the use of the gear, such as “active tending;” and perhaps most contentious, a limited entry permit system to fish in the Southern California Bight (defined as Federal waters east of 120° 28’ 18” W. longitude, or Point Conception). 

The Council’s final proposal adopted all the elements of its preliminary preferred alternative from November 2018 (See Winter 2018 Newsletter) with some modest refinements mainly related to the process for issuing limited entry permits. To support the Council’s decision, NMFS provided a Preliminary Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which describes the Council’s preferred alternative, along with other alternatives the Council considered, and assesses the anticipated environmental effects stemming from using this new gear. NMFS plans to publish the DEIS for public comment in 2020, incorporating additional data from gear use under EFPs in 2019. Implementing a new gear, and especially a limited entry permit process, requires a long and involved regulatory process, so the regulations are unlikely to be finalized before 2021 at the earliest. Once in place, West Coast fishermen will be able to use this environmentally friendly gear to supply fresh, high quality swordfish to markets, reducing our reliance on less well-managed foreign fisheries.

Council recommends exempted fishing permit on use of deep-set buoy gear at night 

In September the Council approved an exempted fishing permit application submitted by Nathan Perez and Thomas Carson to fish a modified configuration of both standard and linked night-set buoy gear (fishing the gear at night). The Council recommended that National Marine Fisheries Service issue the permit with a 100 percent observer coverage requirement.

So far EFP holders have been required to use deep-set buoy gear during the day, when swordfish stay well below the surface, following their food sources’ daily migration from below the thermocline during daylight to nearer the surface at night. Other gear types that target swordfish at night present a higher risk of bycatch of other species, including protected species. (Deep-set buoy gear has a number of characteristics that make it low-bycatch gear, including the ability to quickly retrieve the gear and release unwanted species in good condition.)

Perez and Carson propose testing the gear at night during winter months. Researchers have tested the gear at night at shallow depths, but found catch was dominated by blue sharks, an undesirable species. However, according to Perez and Carson, anglers using rod and reel have found it possible to catch swordfish at night at about 300 feet, suggesting that deep-set buoy gear could be effective while staying out of the high bycatch daytime surface zone. The proponents argue that night use in December and January could increase the economic viability of the gear.

It is hoped that the EFP will result in useful information to make the gear more economically attractive without compromising its environmentally-friendly characteristics.

 

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