June 9-14, 2022
Council Meeting Decision Summary Documents are highlights of significant decisions made at Council meetings. Results of agenda items that do not reach a level of highlight significance are typically not described in the Decision Summary Document. For a more detailed account of Council meeting discussions, see the Council meeting record and transcripts.
Coastal Pelagic Species Management
Central Subpopulation of Northern Anchovy Assessment and Harvest Specifications
The Council adopted a benchmark assessment for the Central Subpopulation for Northern Anchovy (CSNA) and utilized the Council Operating Procedure (COP) 9 framework and flowchart for periodically evaluating harvest reference points for CSNA. The Council adopted the following harvest specifications for CSNA:
|Overfishing Limit||243,779 mt|
|Acceptable Biological Catch||60,945 mt|
|Annual Catch Limit||25,000 mt|
Based on the COP 9 framework, the Council is next scheduled to review the status and harvest specifications for CSNA in 2024.
Stock Assessment Terms of Reference (TOR)
The Council adopted the CPS stock assessment TOR for 2023-2024 for public review and is expected to finalize the TOR at the November 2022 Council meeting. Additionally, the Council received an update from the National Marine Fisheries Service Southwest Fisheries Science Center on proposed workshops related to Pacific sardine stock structure and methodology review.
Essential Fish Habitat Review – Phase 2 Action Plan
The Council adopted the essential fish habitat (EFH) Phase 2 Action Plan and instructed the Coastal Pelagic Species Management Team (CPSMT) to consider recommendations from the Habitat Committee and the CPSAS. These recommendations address non-fishing impacts and associated conservation recommendations, consideration of Habitat Areas of Particular Concern, and consideration of the dynamic nature of CPS habitat. The Council also supported a joint CPSMT-HC meeting in November 2022 to discuss the EFH review. At the November 2022 Council meeting, the CPSMT will provide a recommended schedule and timeline for completing the EFH review, under the Future Council Meeting and Workload Planning agenda item.
Current Habitat Issues
The Habitat Committee provided a report summarizing several issues including California water crisis concerns and a proposed Humboldt Bay oyster mariculture project. The Council directed the HC to develop letters on the California Central Valley Project water salmon temperature thresholds for the September Briefing Book, and a letter to the Humboldt Bay Harbor District on the Humboldt Bay Mariculture Intertidal Pre-Permitting Project draft Environmental Impact Review. That draft letter will either be in the September 2022 Briefing Book or will be completed via the Quick Response procedure, depending on timing of the public notice and associated comment period.
Limited Entry Fixed Gear Catch Share Program Review
The Council adopted the Limited Entry Fixed Gear Catch Share Program review document as final, completing the program review. Additionally, the Council proposed beginning the next program review in 2026.
Stock Assessment Plan and Terms of Reference – Final Action
The Council adopted a near final list of groundfish stocks to be assessed in 2023 as follows:
- Full assessments: black rockfish (all areas), copper rockfish (California areas), petrale sole, and canary rockfish;
- Data-moderate assessments: shortspine thornyhead and rex sole; and
- Catch-only projection updates: cowcod south of 40° 10’ N. lat., widow rockfish, and yelloweye rockfish.
The Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) recommended in their report consideration for assessing copper rockfish in all West Coast areas in the event the ultimate decision in the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) amendment to define stocks in the FMP delineates copper rockfish stocks in a manner that differs from state boundaries (see next agenda item). The Northwest Fisheries Science Center informed the Council one stock assessment would have to come off the list to add additional copper rockfish area models. The Council is scheduled to make that decision in September.
The Council adopted a preliminary list of stock assessment priorities for 2025 as follows:
- Full assessments: aurora rockfish, canary rockfish, China rockfish, Pacific spiny dogfish, quillback rockfish, rougheye/blackspotted rockfishes, sablefish, yelloweye rockfish (full or update assessment), and yellowtail rockfish.
The Council also adopted three Terms of Reference recommended by the Scientific and Statistical Committee, including one guiding development of groundfish rebuilding analyses, one guiding review of new proposed methodologies informing management of groundfish and coastal pelagic species, and one guiding groundfish stock assessment reviews.
New 2023 groundfish stock assessments and methodologies that are Scientific and Statistical Committee-endorsed and adopted by the Council will inform groundfish management in 2025 and beyond.
Stock Definitions – Scoping
The Council was briefed on the need to define stocks in the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) to enable NMFS to make stock status determinations. A scoping document provided some considerations for this FMP amendment. The Council gave staff the flexibility to collaborate with NMFS and the states to do some initial analyses to inform further consideration of an FMP amendment to define stocks in September.
Sablefish Gear Switching
The Council continued its process of considering a limitation on the use of non-trawl gear to catch northern sablefish in the trawl individual fishing quota fishery (sablefish gear switching), and provided guidance to refine its existing action alternatives: Alternative 1, gear-specific northern sablefish quota shares (QS, any-gear and trawl-only); and Alternative 2, gear switching endorsements for trawl limited entry permits. Additionally, it directed the creation of a new action alternative that would be similar to Alternative 1 but with gear-specific quota pounds instead of gear-specific QS. Finally, it directed that Alternative 2 be split into two alternatives, parallel in all their provisions but one with a qualifier based on permit history and the other with a qualifier based on vessel history. As is standard, no action continues to be an alternative.
Exempted Fishing Permits, Harvest Specifications, and Management Measures for 2023-2024 Fisheries – Final Action
The Council adopted quillback rockfish harvest Alternative 1 specifications (annual catch limit (ACL) < acceptable biological catch (ABC); spawning potential ratio 0.55; P* 0.45; 2023 statewide ACL = 1.76 mt; 2024 statewide ACL = 1.93 mt) as their final preferred alternative (FPA) to inform the contribution of California quillback rockfish to the north and south of 40° 10´ N. lat. Nearshore Rockfish complexes. The Council adopted the No Action harvest control rule (HCR) for copper rockfish that would apply the default 40-10 adjustment to each assessment area ABC, which includes the corrected apportionment values as described in F.6, Attachment 3, June 2022 and supported by the SSC as their FPA.
Exempted Fishing Permits (EFP)
The Council recommended that five EFPs be implemented by NMFS for the 2023-2024 biennium. These include: Yellowtail Rockfish Jig Fishing off California, Monterey Bay Regional EFP Targeting Chilipepper Rockfish, Year-Round Coastwide Midwater Trawling for Rockfish, CDFW Recreational Cowcod Sampling in California, and WDFW Enhanced Yelloweye Recreational Fishery Biological Sampling. Additionally, the Council endorsed enhancing the Yellowtail Rockfish Jig Fishing off California EFP and Monterey Bay Regional EFP Targeting Chilipepper Rockfish to include natural bait. The Council also recommended the Yellowtail Rockfish Jig Fishing off California EFP expand the geographic range of the EFP to include areas between 40° 10´ N. lat. and the Washington/Oregon border and between 34° 27’ N. lat. to the California/Mexico border as described in Supplemental REVISED GAP Report 1.
The Council adopted their preliminary preferred alternative (PPA) as the FPA for routine management measures in the 2023 and 2024 groundfish fisheries (detailed in Appendix 2 of the Supplemental REVISED GMT Report 3). The Council adopted updates to the Groundfish Fishery Management Plan that would support the items in this action (F.6, Attachment 9).
The Council adopted updates to Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA) waypoints as described in F.4.a, Supplemental CDFW Report 5, April 2022 and E.5.a, Supplemental CDFW Report 1, November 2021 that will address CDFW enforcement requests, better align coordinates with the depth contours as suggested by industry, and to eliminate crossovers. The Council specifically stated that these updates do not include new proposed waypoints arounds islands, banks, and high spots within the Cowcod Conservation Areas (CCAs) from E.5.a, Supplemental CDFW Report 1, November 2021, which will be considered in the Non-Trawl Management Measures action.
The routine management measures for the 2023-2024 biennium include increases to the Tribal set-asides for darkblotched rockfish and Pacific ocean perch, removal of the 50 mt annual catch target for cowcod south of 40° 10’ N. lat. Additionally, the Council reviewed Supplemental GMT Report 2 which describes annual catch targets (ACT) for copper rockfish and quillback rockfish in the Exclusive Economic Zone off of California. The Council adopted ACTs for both species to be set equal to their annual catch limit (ACL) contribution to the Nearshore Rockfish Complex. If the ACT for these species is exceeded, or projected to be exceeded, the Council will determine if mitigation measures are needed to reduce catch as part of a future Inseason Adjustments agenda item.
Harvest guidelines/state shares for stocks in a complex as well as the biennial and Amendment 21 allocations were not changed for the 2023-2024 biennium. The Council adopted the No Action commercial non-trawl open access (OA) and limited entry fixed gear (LEFG) trip limits for all species except for quillback rockfish and copper rockfish in the EEZ off of California. The trip limits for these species will be set at 75 lbs. per two months between 42° – 40° 10′ N. lat. within the 2,000 lbs. per 2 months Minor Nearshore Rockfish limit and 75 lbs. per two months south of 40° 10′ N. lat. within the 2,000 lbs. per 2 months Deeper Nearshore Rockfish limit. Further, the Council adopted the OA sablefish north of 36° trip limits Option 1: 2,000 lbs. per week, not to exceed 4,000 lbs. / 2 months (removing the 600 lbs. daily trip limit).
The Council adopted the recreational management measures recommended by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife .
The Council adopted a suite of new management measures including an amendment to the FMP (F.6, Attachment 9). This amendment formailzes a 2,000 mt threshold for shortbelly rockfish bycatch that would trigger Council review of the fishery. The Council recommended changes to management of the Non-Trawl Rockfish Conservation Area (NT_RCA). This measure will allow commercial non-trawl vessels to access the NT_RCA and fish within its boundaries with specific gear types.
The Council adopted an extension of the primary sablefish season from October 31 to December 31 and, in conjunction with this measure, they recommended that the incidental Pacific halibut closure be the date specified by the International Pacific Halibut Commission, or until the quota is taken for this fishery.
The Council adopted two California recreational fishery measures which would allow the Council to consider a range of bag limit changes to quillback rockfish, copper rockfish, and vermilion rockfish if necessary. The second measure would allow a modification to the use of Rockfish Conservation Areas (RCA) for recreational fishery, whereby an RCA could be used to close areas shoreward of a depth boundary; previously an RCA could only be set seaward of a boundary depth.
The Council also adopted changes to the use of block area closures (BAC) for the trawl fishery. BACs will be applicable to bottom trawl gear off Washington and midwater trawl gear off Washington, Oregon, and California to mitigate groundfish bycatch, if necessary. Additionally, the Council adopted corrected FMP language for BAC that would support this measure ((F.6, Attachment 9).
Inseason Adjustments – Final Action
The Council did not receive or recommend any inseason adjustments to groundfish fisheries at this meeting.
Highly Migratory Species
International Management Activities
The Council endorsed the recommendations of its Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel on harvest strategies for Pacific bluefin tuna and North Pacific albacore tuna.
Recommendations for U.S. actions at the upcoming July 11-13 meeting of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission-Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Northern Commission Joint Working Group on Pacific Bluefin Tuna Management:
- Oppose catch limit increases this year, if proposed
- If increases are agreed to, ensure that, with a high probability, they do not result in overfishing and the that U.S. receives an equitable allocation of any catch limit increases
- Submit a proposal to the Joint Working Group for development of a harvest strategy that would include mechanisms to carry out a management strategy evaluation
- Include in any such harvest strategy proposal appropriate management objectives that are consistent with measures agreed to by U.S. stakeholders that stem from NMFS-sponsored stakeholder workshops. In particular, include those aimed at maintaining the stock at levels that can achieve maximum sustainable yield
Recommendations for revisions to the US draft proposal on a North Pacific albacore harvest strategy (as an Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission Resolution):
- Revise the beginning of paragraph 1 to read, “A harvest strategy shall be adopted for all fisheries which harvest North Pacific albacore in the Convention Area.”
- For the purpose of implementing management measures, develop definitions to distinguish between fisheries (or vessels) that target North Pacific albacore and those that catch North Pacific albacore but are not targeting them
- At paragraph 1(a)(iv) add language that there should be a low probability of management changes resulting in a 30 percent or greater decrease between consecutive assessment periods (consistent with the performance indicator described in the management strategy evaluation)
- Defer inclusion of harvest control rules (paragraph 1(f)) until further consultations with stakeholders can be completed
Exempted Fishing Permits
The Council approved the following exempted fishing permit (EFP) applications for immediate issuance by NMFS:
- J. Bateman (Attachment 1)
- R. & F. Devoe (Attachment 2)
- S. Fukushima (Attachment 3)
- G. Gershman, et al (Attachment 4)
- R & M. Hupp (Attachment 7)
- M. Mandato (Attachment 9)
- M. Rippo (Attachment 13)
- J. Souza (Attachment 14)
The Council will take final action on the following EFP applications at its September 2022 meeting, with recommended modifications described below:
- G. Harold (Attachment 5): Remove requested fishing within state waters
- G. Honings (Attachment 6): Limit total pieces of gear to 15 and the current 5 nm footprint
- K. Jacobs & T. Gomez (Attachment 8)
- S. Mintz (Attachment 10): Remove the proposal to add time before and after sunrise and sunset
- N. Perez (Attachment 11): Limit total pieces of gear to 15
- Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research (PIER) (Attachment 12)
The Council also requested that NMFS provide the information necessary for the HMSMT to evaluate whether existing EFP holders requesting new EFPs (all of the above except for G. Harold) have been in compliance with logbook and annual report requirements, as specified in their EFP terms and conditions. The HMSMT will then report back on any compliance issues at the September 2022 meeting.
Drift Gillnet Fishery Hard Caps
The Council provided guidance on the completion of the analysis of the range of alternatives so that the Council may choose its final preferred alternative at the November 2022 meeting.
Council Coordination Committee Meeting Report
The Council heard a report on the May 2022 meeting of the Council Coordination Committee. That report included several matters ranging in scope from FY 2022 and 2023 financial information, updates on legislation relevant to U.S. fisheries management, and additional matters of interest concerning management of U.S. fisheries. These additional matters included climate change, management strategy evaluation, alignment between the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the Endangered Species Act, the America the Beautiful initiative, Equity and Environmental Justice, and more. The Council did not take any action after hearing this report.
Financial Disclosure and Recusal Policy
The Council received the first annual briefing on the matter of financial disclosure and recusal from NOAA General Counsel and heard plans for the development of a Regional Recusal Determination Procedure handbook that will be developed over the coming months.
The Council directed the Marine Planning Committee (MPC) to work with the HC as appropriate, to continue developing comment letters on the Oregon Call Areas Notice, the California Proposed Sale Notice, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Aquaculture Opportunity Areas, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management fishery mitigation guidance draft document. The Council also directed staff to develop a new draft policy/guidance document for the September Council meeting, taking into consideration the input received during the June Council meeting, as well as soliciting comments from the Ecosystem Workgroup and the Ecosystem Advisory Subpanel. Information and links to these documents and comment opportunities are contained in the MPC’s supplemental report.
The Council adopted a 2022 calendar year budget of $5,798,871 and requested the Committee to review two preliminary provisional budgets for CY 2023 at its September Meeting. The Council also recommended the committee have a special meeting in October to discuss strategic development of future budgets.
Membership Appointments and Council Operating Procedures
The Council suspended the provision of Council Operating Procedure 1 that states that the Chair may not serve more than two consecutive one-year terms and elected Mr. Mr. Marc Gorelnik as Council Chair and Mr. Brad Pettinger and Mr. Pete Hassemer as Council Vice-Chairs for the August 11, 2022 – August 10, 2023 term.
The Council made the following Advisory Body Appointments:
- Ms. Shannon Adams was appointed to the vacant Northwest or Columbia River Tribal Representative position on the Habitat Committee.
- Ms. Corianna Flannery was appointed to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife position on the Habitat Committee currently held by Mr. Eric Wilkins.
- Mr. Eric Chavez was appointed to the vacant West Coast Region position on the Habitat Committee.
- Mr. Mike Okoniewski was appointed to the vacant at-large processor position on the Groundfish Advisory Subpanel.
The Council decommissioned the Ad Hoc Southern Oregon Northern California Coast Coho Workgroup and the Ad Hoc Sablefish Management and Trawl Allocation Attainment Committee and expressed appreciation for the work these groups contributed to the Council process.
Regarding proposed revisions to Council Operating Procedure 23 regarding protocols for consideration of exempted fishing permits for coastal pelagic species fisheries, the Enforcement Consultants recommended inclusion of language regarding violation history checks of applicants, and the Council directed Council Staff to incorporate the language and publish revised drafts for additional review by the CPS advisors and the public. The Council is scheduled to consider final adoption in September.
The Council directed Council Staff to solicit nominations for the following vacancies for Council consideration at the September meeting:
- Coastal Pelagic Species Advisory Subpanel – Washington Commercial Position
- Salmon Advisory Subpanel – Washington Charter Operator
- Habitat Committee – Sport Fishery Representative
- Scientific and Statistical Committee – At-Large Position
Additional information and instructions for submitting an electronic nomination will be posted to the Council’s Advisory Body Vacancy web page.
Future Council Meeting Agenda and Workload Planning
The Council received a report from the Salmon Technical Team (STT) regarding plans to evaluate effort forecast performance and consider ways to improve the accuracy of effort projections produced by the Klamath Ocean Harvest Model (KOHM). The STT will evaluate effort forecast performance in the KOHM and will explore using shorter time series/more recent data to improve forecast performance. The STT concluded that such changes would not require a methodology review. The STT will report back to the Council on their progress in refining KOHM effort predictions at the September meeting.