2009 newsletters

2009 in brief

Salmon: As in 2008, the Council once again adopted very restrictive salmon seasons. The commercial fishery and most recreational fisheries off the coast of California were closed in response to the collapse of the Sacramento River fall Chinook stock. However, fisheries north of Cape Falcon were better than in 2008, with much more coho opportunity. In April, the Council was briefed on the causes of the Sacramento River fall Chinook collapse, which included poor ocean conditions, degraded habitat, water withdrawals, and changes in hatchery operations. Queets River and Western Strait of Juan de Fuca coho met the Overfishing Concern threshold.

Ecosystem: The Council began the process of developing a new Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management Plan (now called the Fishery Ecosystem Plan). The Ecosystem Plan Development Team and Ecosystem Advisory Subpanel were formed.

Halibut management was routine, but the total allowable catch for Area 2A was down about 22 percent from 2008. The Council adopted landing restrictions for incidental halibut catch in commercial salmon and longline sablefish fisheries.

Highly migratory species: The Council decided not to move ahead with a West Coast high seas shallow-set longline fishery, which they had been considering for two years. There were concerns about the take of protected species, such as loggerhead sea turtles, in the fishery. NMFS asked the Council to consider ways to limit albacore fishing; the Council began the process of considering a limited entry program for the fishery.

All species: The Council worked to establish annual catch limits for all of its managed species in response to requirements in the reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Act. The new requirements were incorporated into Amendment 23 to the groundfish FMP and Amendment 16 to the salmon FMP.

Groundfish:

  • Essential fish habitat: The Council began reviewing essential fish habitat for groundfish and solicited proposals for changes to groundfish EFH.
  • Trawl catch shares: Intersector allocations for trawl and non-trawl sectors were adopted for Amendment 21 species. The Council finalized language to implement the trawl rationalization program and worked on trailing actions, including accumulation limits, eligibility criteria for ownership of individual fishing quota, and an adaptive management program. The Council discussed allocation of quota shares for overfished species and discussed allocating more canary rockfish that had been set aside for the adaptive management program.
  • Vessel monitoring systems (VMS): The ad hoc VMS Committee began evaluating performance of VMS systems, and the effects of VMS on small vessel fleets.
  • Open access:  The Council recommended a preseason registration process for open access fishing vessels seeking to take certain groundfish species.
  • Overfished species: Petrale sole was declared overfished late in 2009. Canary rockfish and Pacific ocean perch were rebuilding more slowly than expected, but bocaccio, cowcod, darkblotched and widow rockfish were rebuilding faster than expected.

Coastal pelagic species: The Council reviewed proposals for aerial survey research on Pacific sardine and discussed CPS essential fish habitat requirements.

Habitat: The Habitat Committee focused on Klamath dam removal, the Columbia River Biological Opinion, and the proposed Bradwood Landing liquified natural gas terminal (which was never built). The Council sent a letter on the Central Valley Biological Opinion. Hubbs-Sea World presented to the Council on their offshore aquaculture demonstration project.

Admin: Dorothy Lowman, David Crabbe and Buzz Brizendine were appointed to the Council. Council staff attended Capital Hill Oceans Week.

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2008 newsletters

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2008 in brief

Salmon: In spring 2008 the Council adopted the most restrictive salmon season ever while the Council considered a Klamath River fall Chinook rebuilding strategy and ODFW studied reintroduction of salmon into the upper Klamath River basin. In November, PacifiCorp, the states, and the Federal government signed an agreement to remove the four lower Klamath dams. Meanwhile, the Secretary of Commerce opened the way for Federal salmon disaster assistance. NMFS scientists studied the cause of the decline, reporting to the Council in 2009.

Highly migratory species: An exempted fishing permit for a single longline vessel was approved in the spring, and the Council adopted and refined alternatives for the high seas shallow-set longline fishery. In June the Council looked at management measures for a recreational thresher shark fishery, and adopted an alternative to reduce thresher shark catches in September.

Groundfish: The Council planned new stock assessments for Bocaccio, widow, yelloweye, petrale, spiny dogfish, cabezon, and bronzespotted and greenspotted rockfish. A decision on intersector allocation was delayed until 2009. In September the Council adopted an alternative that would limit access to the directed open access sector of the groundfish fishery. (See March 2009 for final action).

In spring, the Council focused on tracking and monitoring provisions that would be part of the trawl rationalization program, and in June the Council adopted its preferred alternative for trawl rationalization. Hearings were scheduled in several coastal communities in October, and in November the Council voted to rationalize the groundfish trawl fishery.

Habitat/ecosystem: The Council coordinated with the Monterey Bay and Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuaries on their management strategies as Monterey Bay considered additional marine protected areas. The Habitat Committee focused on wave energy proposals and prepared a letter to the Minerals Management Service (now Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) on wave energy impacts. The Council commented on the Central Valley Recovery Plan in California.

Coastal pelagic species: The Council postponed a review of sardine allocation. Other than that, CPS management was routine.

Admin: President Obama was elected in November 2008, signaling a potential new direction for fisheries management. The MSA had been reauthorized in 2006, and the Councils and NMFS worked on implementing the new requirements, including new provisions to end overfishing. The Council reviewed new NMFS guidelines in September. The Council also reviewed its research and data needs document in June and adopted a final version in September.

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Spring 2008 newsletter
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Fall 2008 newsletter
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