Pacific Council News: Administrative Briefs

A dory fisherman brings in his boat in Pacific City, Oregon.
A dory fisherman brings in his boat in Pacific City, Oregon.

New Council newsletter format debuts

The Council is updating the format of its newsletter to make it more flexible and user-friendly. The web-based format uses a “post” style for articles on similar topics, which makes it easier to share articles across platforms and allows third-party news outlets to link to Council articles. In addition, the new format is smartphone-friendly and will eventually reflect the look of the Council’s new website, which is currently under construction. We welcome your comments during this transition period.

E-Portal open for June briefing book comments

The Council’s comment portal is now accepting comments on June briefing book materials. Please visit the June 2019 Council Meeting E-portal to submit your written comment. Select the agenda item you are interested in commenting on and either enter your comments in the text box, or upload a file containing your comments in .pdf format. You may submit one comment per agenda item in advance of the initial advance briefing book public comment deadline (Thursday, May 23, 5:00 pm).

You will then be allowed one more comment opportunity between 5:01 p.m., May 23 and the supplemental public comment deadline (5:00 p.m., Monday, June 10, 2019), which will allow you to review the advanced briefing materials scheduled to be posted to the Council website no later than close of business, Monday, June 3, 2019.

If you have questions on this process, please contact Kris Kleinschmidt or see the instructional demo YouTube video.

Advisory body appointments

In March and April, the Council reviewed and approved the following appointments: Greg Krutzikowsky was appointed to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) seat on the Coastal Pelagic Species Management Team formerly held by Cyreis Schmitt; Patrick Mirick was appointed to the ODFW seat on the Groundfish Endangered Species Workgroup formerly held by Dr. Caren Braby; Caroline McKnight was appointed to the California Department of Fish Wildlife (CDFW) vacancy on the Groundfish Management Team; Travis Buck was appointed to the CDFW seat on the ad hoc Ecosystem Workgroup formerly held by Deb Wilson-Vandenberg; Melinda Rowse was appointed to the NMFS Northwest Fisheries Science Center seat on the Salmon Technical Team formerly held by Dr. Robert Kope; Jon Pink was appointed to the Washington Coastal Tribal Fisheries vacancy on the Salmon Advisory Subpanel; and Robin Bown was appointed to  the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service position on the Groundfish Endangered Species Workgroup formerly held by Laura Todd.

The Council recommended adding an additional at-large Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) position as a means of bringing needed expertise to the committee and appointed Dr. Marisol Garcia-Reyes, Dr. Kristen Marshall, and Dr. Jason Shaffler to the three vacant at-large positions on the SSC.

Chris German of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) will replace CDR Jason Brand as RADM Throop’s second designee and as an Enforcement Consultant for the USCG.  The Council expressed their appreciation for CDR Brand’s contributions to the Council and wished him the best in his future endeavors. The Council also welcomed Sergeant Kit Rosenberger as an alternate for Captain Dan Chadwick as a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Consultant.

The Council approved the revisions to the Council Operating Procedures regarding rules of conduct, staffing expectations, and the Council’s new electronic  public comment policies with minor language changes.

Legislative News

The Legislative Committee met in April to discuss several bills, including:

H.R. 549: the FISH Act, introduced by Ken Calvert (R-CA).  This bill is the same as H.R. 3916, which was the subject of a 2017 Council letter to Congressman Calvert. The bill transfers all functions with respect to anadromous species and catadromous species under the Endangered Species Act from the Secretary of Commerce or National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to the Secretary of the Interior. Opposing groups believe the bill would weaken protections that currently exist under NMFS jurisdiction.

S. 906/H.R. 1979: Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act, introduced by Diane Feinstein and Ted Lieu (D-CA). This bill would extend current California state regulations regarding driftnets to all Federal waters within five years.

H.R. 2236: Forage Fish Conservation Act, introduced by Debbie Dingell (D-MI). This bill amends 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 is tracking the driftnet and forage fish bills, but has not been asked to provide comments. (The Council may not comment on legislation unless it receives a Congressional request).

The Legislative Committee will meet next at the June Council meeting.

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