Call for data and information – Essential Fish Habitat Review for Coastal Pelagic Species

The Pacific Fishery Management Council, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center have initiated a review of essential fish habitat (EFH) provisions in the Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP).  This call for data and information is intended to support the review.  Information and data sources can include published scientific literature, unpublished scientific reports, information from interested parties, and previously unavailable or inaccessible data. 

The current CPS FMP can be found on our CPS FMP webpage, and the EFH provisions can be found in appendix D of Amendment 8 (scroll to Appendix D, page 373 of PDF document).  The CPS FMP includes the following species:

  • Pacific sardine
  • Northern anchovy (northern and southern subpopulations)
  • Pacific mackerel
  • Jack mackerel
  • Market squid
  • Krill (Euphausid species)

Fishery management plans are required to identify and describe EFH for each life stage and species, identify and minimize impacts from fishing and non-fishing activities, and identify research needs, among other requirements.  A complete description of EFH provisions to be included in FMPs can be found in the EFH regulatory guidance at 50 CFR§600.815(a).  Information and data should be relevant to:

  • The habitat needs, associations, distribution (including maps), and major prey items of FMP species listed above
  • Adverse impacts on EFH from fishing activities and potential minimization measures
  • Adverse impacts on EFH from non-fishing activities and potential minimization measures
  • Cumulative impacts on CPS EFH from both fishing and non-fishing activities
  • Measures to conserve and enhance EFH for CPS
  • Potential habitat areas of particular concern (HAPC)
  • Research and information needs

Information relevant to the CPS EFH review should be submitted to Emmanis Dorval (emmanis.dorval@noaa.gov) no later than Monday November 30th, 2020.  For further information or assistance with submitting large files, please contact Kerry Griffin (kerry.griffin@noaa.gov; 503-820-2409). 

NOAA Fisheries announces emergency action to temporarily extend the primary sablefish fishery season

Published in the Federal Register October 27, 2020: Emergency rule to temporarily extend the 2020 sablefish primary fishery from October 31, 2020 to December 31, 2020. This action is necessary to provide operational flexibility so that vessels in the sablefish primary fishery are able to fully harvest their tier limits despite high economic uncertainty in 2020. This action would also extend the incidental halibut retention allowance provision for the sablefish primary fishery from October 31, 2020 to November 15, 2020 and set the halibut retention limit during this time period at 250 pounds (113 kilograms) dressed weight of Pacific halibut for every 1,000 pounds (454 kilograms) dressed weight of sablefish landed and up to 2 additional Pacific halibut in excess of the 250-pounds-per-1,000-pound limit per landing.

For further information, including how to comment on the emergency rule, please see the Federal Register October 27, 2020.

HMS Fishery Performance

HMS fishery performance, 2010 – 2019

HMS landings and revenue compared to other species groups

The graph below shows ex-vessel revenue by species groups over the last 10 years. For HMS this has varied from $36 million to $55 million during this period. This equates to between 6% and 8% of total ex-vessel revenue from all species.

Inflation-adjusted ex-vessel revenue by species group.

Landings and ex-vessel revenue by HMS FMP species

North Pacific albacore tuna

In 2019 albacore landings totaled 7,583 metric tons compared to 6,951 metric tons in 2018 while ex-vessel revenue was $27,828,678 and $24,931,455 respectively.

North Pacific albacore landings, mt (left), and revenue, current dollars, $1,000s (right).

Swordfish

In 2019 swordfish landings totaled 321 metric tons compared to 548 metric tons in 2018 while ex-vessel revenue was $1,677,791 and 2,668,279 respectively.

Swordfish landings, mt (left), and revenue, current dollars, $1,000s (right).

Tunas (other than albacore)

In 2019 landings of bigeye, bluefin, skipjack, and yellowfin tunas totaled 1,350 metric tons compared to 3,221 metric tons in 2018.

Landings of tunas, excluding albacore, metric tons.

In 2019 bigeye, bluefin, skipjack, and yellowfin tuna ex-vessel revenues totaled $6,025,859 compared to $7,073,050 metric tons in 2018.

Inflation-adjusted ex-vessel revenue from landings of tunas other than albacore.

Sharks

In 2019 landings of common thresher and shortfin mako sharks totaled 90 metric tons compared to 74 metric tons in 2018.
Landings of common thresher and shortfin mako sharks, metric tons

In 2019 ex-vessel revenue from common thresher and shortfin mako sharks totaled $137,962 compared to $125,615 in 2018.
Inflation adjusted ex-vessel revenue from common thresher and shortfin mako sharks.

Landings and participation by fishery

Participation (number of vessels)

For this 10-year period the annual average numbers of vessels participting in these fisheries are DGN: 20, Harpoon: 16, Pelagic longline: 14, Purse Seine: 10, Surface Hook-and-Line Fishery for Albacore: 608.

No of vessels making HMS landings by fishery type.

Surface hook-and-line fishery for albacore

Inflation adjusted ex-vessel revenue in 2019 was $26,670,704 compared to $24,842,212 in 2018.

Inflation adjusted ex-vessel revenue by the surface fishery for North Pacific albacore.

Large mesh drift gillnet fishery

Inflation adjusted ex-vessel revenue in 2019 was $382,213 compared to $848,671 in 2018.

Inflation adjusted ex-vessel revenue by the large mesh drift-gillnet fishery.

Pelagic longline fishery

Inflation adjusted ex-vessel revenue in 2019 was $5,817,785 compared to $6,109,164 in 2018.

Inflation adjusted ex-vessel revenue by the pelagic longline fishery.

HMS purse seine fishery

Inflation adjusted ex-vessel revenue in 2019 was $633,195 compared to $2,426,006 in 2018.

Inflation adjusted ex-vessel revenue by the purse seine fishery for HMS.

Harpoon fishery

Inflation adjusted ex-vessel revenue in 2019 was $5,817,785 compared to $124,270 in 2018.

Inflation adjusted ex-vessel revenue by the harpoon fishery for swordfish.

Pacific-wide HMS catch

Pacific-Wide Catch

The data used in the graphs and summaries below use Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) public domain data, Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) Tuna Fishery Yearbook annual catch estimates, and International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean (ISC) annual catch tables.

Eastern Pacific Ocean Landings (IATTC Data): 2009 – 2018

Landings by Country

The plot below shows average annual landings by country for all species recorded in IATTC data.

plot of chunk iattc flag ggplot

The Other category includes French Polynesia, Chile, Vanuatu, Canada, Belize, Guatemala, each of which has landings less than 1% of the total, and others not specified in the source data.

Landings by Species

During 2009-2018 Albacore accounted for 6.0% of total landings, Bigeye tuna for 14.8%, Skipjack tuna for 42.3%, and Yellowfin tuna for 36.9%.

plot of chunk unnamed-chunk-2

Landings by Gear

plot of chunk gear ggplot

The Other category includes Recreational , Pole-and-line, Gillnet, Harpoon and others not specified in the source data.

Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPFC Data): 2009 – 2018

Landings by Country

plot of chunk wcpfc flag ggplot

PNG: Papua New Guinea, FSM: Federated States of Micronesia; the Other category includes New Zealand, Fiji, Ecuador, Tuvalu, El Salvador, French Polynesia, Australia, Cook Islands, New Caledonia, Samoa, Palau, Tonga, Eastern Pacific Us Purse Seine Fleet, Belize, Tokelau, Niue, Canada, Senegal, each of which has landings less than 1% of the total.

Landings by Species

During the 2009- 2018 period, Albacore accounted for 4.7% of total landings, Bigeye tuna accounted for 5.7%, Skipjack tuna accounted for 67.0%, and Yellowfin tuna accounted for 22.7%.

plot of chunk wcpfc species ggplot

Landings by Gear

plot of chunk wcpfc gear ggplot

*Small-scale hook-and-line (Philippines and Indonesia). The Other category from source data.

North Pacific (ISC Data): 2010 – 2019

The ISC provides member country catch data for the species it assesses. Of these, landings of North Pacific albacore, Pacific bluefin tuna, and swordfish are summarized here. (The other assessed species are blue and short-fin mako sharks, and striped and blue marlins.). ISC catch table data provided in a suitable format for processing by the ISC Data Manager, Kiara Nishikawa.

Landings by Country

Japan accounts for the largest proportion of these three species landings, 66%, averaging 58,111 metric tons annually during the 2010-2019 period. U.S.landings averaged 14,034 metric tons or 16% of total landings.

plot of chunk isc country ggplot

Landings by Species

As depicted below, landings of albacore, Pacific bluefin, and swordfish have declined over this 10-year period. Albacore landings were lowest in 2018 at 49,868 mt, Pacific bluefin landings were lowest in 2018 at 10,177 mt, and swordfish landings were lowest in 2019 at 8,635 mt. The decline in Pacific bluefin landings may be partially attributable to the implemention of catch limits in the WCPFC Northern Committee’s stock rebuilding plan.

plot of chunk isc species by year ggplot

Albacore Landings by Gear Type

The gear types depicted below are the three top ranked in terms of landings and accounted for 95% of total albacore landings.

plot of chunk isc gear albacore

Pacific Bluefin Tuna Landings by Gear Type

The gear types depicted below are the three top ranked in terms of landings and accounted for 87% of total Pacific bluefin landings. Setnet landings increased markedly in 2017. Setnet is a passive gear so this may reflect increasing stock abundance.

plot of chunk gear pbf ggplot

Swordfish Landings by Gear Type

The gear types depicted below are the three top ranked in terms of landings and accounted for 97% of total swordfish landings.

plot of chunk swordfish gear ggplot

November 2020 Briefing Book

November 2020 Council Meeting

A. Call to Order

B. Open Comment Period

C. Administrative Matters

  • C.2 Situation Summary: National Marine Fisheries Service Report
    • C.2, Attachment 1, Federal Register Notice, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Regional Fishery Management Council Membership; Financial Disclosure and Recusal

D. Habitat

E. Pacific Halibut

  • E.2 Situation Summary: Transition of Area 2A Fishery Management – Final Action
    • E.2, Attachment 1: Updated Range of Alternatives for the Proposed Transfer of Management Responsibilities for Area 2A Pacific Halibut Fisheries with Focus on the Non-Indian Directed Commercial Fishery

F. Salmon

G. Groundfish

H. Coastal Pelagic Species

  • H.1 Situation Summary: Preliminary Review of New Exempted Fishing Permits for 2021
    • H.1, Attachment 1: West Coast Pelagic Conservation Group Notice of Intent and Proposal for Biological Sampling
    • H.1, Attachment 2: California Wetfish Producers Association Notice of Intent and Proposal for Aerial Survey Point Sets
    • H.1, Attachment 3: California Wetfish Producers Association Notice of Intent and Proposal for Biological Sampling

I. Highly Migratory Species

  • I.2 Situation Summary: Recommend International Management Activities
    • I.2, Attachment 1: Chairs’ Summary of the 5th Joint IATTC and WCPFC-NC Working Group Meeting on the Management of Pacific Bluefin Tuna
    • I.2, Attachment 2: Provisional Annotated Agenda, Seventeenth Regular Session of the WCPFC
    • I.2, Attachment 3: Recommendations from the Permanent Advisory Committee to the U.S. Section to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Web Conference – October 14-16, 2020

Advisory Body and Committee Agendas AND Committee Memos

Advisory Body and Committee Agendas

Advisory Body and Committee Memos

Informational Reports, General Information, and Membership Roster

Informational Reports

  • Informational Report 1: Federal Register Notice; Innovative Technologies and Practices for the Agriculture Innovation Agenda
  • Informational Report 2: Report on the Ageing and Data Preparation Coordination Meeting to Support 2021 Groundfish Stock Assessments
  • Informational Report 3: Development of a Research and Data Needs Database for Use by the Pacific Fishery Management Council

General Information and Membership Roster

Recent reports

Request for comments: proposed rule for salmon bycatch minimization measures in the Pacific Coast groundfish fishery

NOAA Fisheries announces a proposed rule to implement measures to minimize incidental take of Endangered Species Act-listed salmon by vessels in the Pacific coast groundfish fishery. The proposed rule will publish tomorrow, October 20, 2020 in the Federal Register. The pre-publication version of the proposed rule is available for public inspection. When the proposed rule publishes, it will be available at the same link.

Public comments on the proposed rule must be received by November 19, 2020.

The proposed rule would:

  1. Establish additional management tools to minimize incidental Chinook and coho salmon bycatch to keep fishery sectors within guidelines;
  2. Establish rules to allow industry to access the Chinook salmon bycatch reserve; and
  3. Create Chinook salmon bycatch closure thresholds for the trawl fishery.

This proposed rule fulfills the terms and conditions of a 2017 NOAA Fisheries Biological Opinion. This proposed rule is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, and other applicable laws, including the Endangered Species Act.

Please see the NOAA Fisheries webpage for additional details and other supporting information. For Information Contact: Brian Hooper (206) 526-6117 brian.hooper@noaa.gov

Pacific Council News Fall 2020: Coastal Pelagic Species

Pacific sardine rebuilding plan approved

In September the Council approved a rebuilding plan for Pacific sardine, which was declared overfished in June 2019.  The Council selected the status quo (Alternative 1) as the preferred management alternative to achieve stock rebuilding, which takes into account the needs of the fishery, the biology of the stock, and the interaction of sardines within the marine ecosystem. 

Alternative 1 uses existing sardine harvest control rule and management measures, under which the annual catch limit (ACL) may not exceed the acceptable biological catch. The Council typically sets an annual catch target below the ACL to ensure that landings do not exceed the ACL.  

The minimum time for rebuilding if no fishing was allowed (Tmin) was estimated to be 12 years, and the maximum allowable time for rebuilding (Tmax) is 24 years.  The  target time for rebuilding  under the adopted rebuilding plan (Ttarget) is 14 years. 

The rebuilding target is an age 1+ biomass (sardines over age one) of 150,000 mt, which is consistent with the harvest control rule  cutoff value of 150,000 mt.  If the biomass estimate falls below the cutoff value, the directed commercial fishery is closed, leaving only live bait, minor directed, and incidental fisheries as allowable harvest sectors.

The directed commercial fishery has been closed since 2015, leaving the live bait and minor directed fisheries still operating, plus incidental catch allowances in other coastal pelagic and non-coastal pelagic species fisheries. Landings have averaged about 2,200 mt the past five years, with less than 500 mt annually composed of the northern subpopulation (the portion of the stock that falls under the rebuilding plan). Landings of this portion have averaged less than one percent of the northern subpopulation biomass since the closure of the directed fishery.

Although the populations of small pelagic species can be impacted by harvest, they are largely driven by environmental conditions. Thus, there is a great amount of uncertainty in future stock status, with or without the relatively minor amount of harvest the northern subpopulation is currently experiencing.

Under this rebuilding plan, the Council will continue setting annual harvest specifications and management measures each April, based on the annual stock assessments. The Council will track the progress of the rebuilding plan and  NMFS will review the process at least every two years.

Council staff will develop fishery management plan amendment language to reflect this decision and will transmit the changes to NMFS.  Final Secretarial approval of the rebuilding plan is expected to be completed by July 2021.

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NOAA requesting comments on proposed rule for 2021-2022 biennial specifications and management measures

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published the proposed rule for the 2021-2022 biennial specifications and management measures, including Amendment 29 on October 2, 2020. The accompanying Environmental Assessment is provided here.

This rule, if approved, would establish the harvest specifications and management measures for the next two years. These specifications and management measures were adopted by the Pacific Fishery Management Council at their June 2020 meeting. Additionally, this rule would implement Amendment 29 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan which would designate shortbelly rockfish as an ecosystem component species and revise the trawl/non-trawl allocations for petrale sole, widow rockfish, lingcod south of 40°10” North latitude, and blackgill rockfish (within the southern slope complex south of 40°10” North latitude) from Amendment 21 amounts to biennial allocations.

Stakeholders have the opportunity to submit comments to NMFS regarding this rule until November 2, 2020 either written or via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Written comments may be submitted to Barry Thom, Regional Administrator, West Coast Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115-0070.

The NMFS contact for this rule is Karen Palmagiano. She can be reached at 206-526-4491 or via email at mail: karen.palmigiano@noaa.gov.

Council staff is also able to discuss this rule. Please contact either Todd Phillips –503-820-2426; or John DeVore –503-820-2413

Request for Nominations for a Vacancy on the Coastal Pelagic Species Advisory Subpanel Representing the Conservation Community

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) is seeking qualified candidates to consider for a vacant Conservation position on its Coastal Pelagic Species Advisory Subpanel (CPSAS).  The successful candidate will serve out the remainder of the 2019-2021 Council advisory body term. To ensure consideration, nominations should be received at the Council office no later than
5 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday, October 19, 2020.

The CPSAS is charged with advising the Council on issues associated with its Coastal Pelagic Species Fishery Management Plan (FMP).  Their duties include offering advice to the Council on the assessments, specifications, and management measures pertaining to the FMP with particular regard to: a) the capacity and the extent to which the U.S. commercial and recreational fisheries will harvest the stocks managed under the FMPs, b) the effect of such management measures on local economies and social structures, c) potential conflicts among groups using a specific fishery resource, or d) enforcement problems peculiar to each fishery with emphasis on the expected need for enforcement resources.

The CPSAS consists of 10 subpanel members representing a coastwide geographic distribution of commercial, recreational, community, conservation, and public concerns and knowledge within the Council management area.  The Council is currently seeking nominees representing the conservation community with knowledge and expertise regarding coastal pelagic fishery issues.

Consult Council Operating Procedure 2 for additional information regarding CPSAS composition and function.

Meeting frequency, travel expenses and stipends

Typically, the CPSAS meets three times per year, generally in three- or four-day meetings in conjunction with the Council’s April, June, and November meetings.  Additional in-person meetings or webinars may be scheduled to discuss issues associated with the other two Council meetings, March, and September.  CPSAS members may also be asked to participate in methodology or assessment review meetings, as needed.

Advisory body members who are not Federal employees are reimbursed for travel, meal, and lodging expenses incurred while attending official meetings at the request of the Council as per the Council’s Travel Rules.  Subject to appropriations, limited stipends may also be available to advisory body members who are not employees of a Federal, state, or tribal marine fishery management agency.

Nomination procedures

To submit a nomination and supporting documents, please fill out the Council’s online Advisory Body Nomination Form.  The completed form will provide contact information and a summary of the nominee’s qualifications.  The form provides an opportunity to upload supporting documents such as a nomination letter, curriculum vitae, etc.

Individuals may nominate themselves or be nominated by other individuals or organizations.  The vacant position is for the remainder of the three-year term that began on January 1, 2019 and will end December 31, 2021.  The Council will review the nominations and may fill the position at the November 2020 Council meeting.  To ensure consideration, nominations should be received at the Council office no later than 5 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday, October 19, 2020.

For additional information on the CPSAS or the nomination process, please contact Mr. Kerry Griffin or Mr. Mike Burner, Pacific Fishery Management Council, 7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 101, Portland, Oregon 97220-1384; telephone:  503-820-2280.