Highly migratory species blog

Pacific Council News Summer 2019: Highly Migratory Species

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

Highly Migratory Species Shorts

Deep-set buoy gear: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) presented an analysis of the biological impacts of a deep-set buoy gear fishery in June. The data comes from observer records and logbooks for deep-set buoy gear exempted fishing permit activity from 2015 through early 2019, and shows how many targeted and non-targeted species were caught with deep-set buoy gear during that period (see Table 1). The Council plans to choose a final preferred alternative on deep-set buoy gear in September. It has identified potential socioeconomic effects stemming from the number of permits that would be issued to fish in the Southern California Bight under the Council’s proposed  limited entry program. An analysis of these potential effects would help the Council decide in September how many limited entry permits should be issued for this new fishery, assuming it moves forward.

Final rule on commercial Pacific bluefin tuna: On May 2, 2019, NMFS published a final rule implementing Inter-American Tropical Tuna Committee resolutions on Pacific bluefin tuna. The final rule includes catch limits for U.S. commercial vessels that fish for Pacific bluefin tuna in the eastern Pacific Ocean during 2019 and 2020. The rule implements a 630 metric ton (mt) catch limit for both years combined, with catch not to exceed 425 mt in a single year, and establishes a trip limit of 15 mt until catch is within 50 mt of the catch limit, and a 2 mt trip limit when catch is within 50 mt of the catch limit.

The final rule also creates reporting requirements. When the trip limit is 15 mt, purse seine vessel owners or operators must submit a pre-trip notification to NMFS 24 hours before starting a trip that will result in landing more than 2 mt of Pacific bluefin tuna (in other words, more than 2 mt of Pacific bluefin tuna may not be landed unless NMFS received a pre-trip notification). The rule also implements new procedures for taking inseason action. Legal notices for inseason actions will be posted on the NOAA Fisheries website, which will be followed up by radio call broadcasted by the U.S. Coast Guard. 

In addition, as of July 1, 2019, fish buyers will be required to submit electronic landings receipts with Pacific bluefin tuna landings in California ports using the “E-tix” system within 24 hours of landing.

West Coast bluefin tuna harvest strategy: In 2018, the Council directed its advisory bodies to bring forward ideas for a long-term harvest strategy for Pacific bluefin tuna, and in May, NMFS hosted a meeting with stakeholders to discuss the future of the bluefin commercial fishery on the west coast. This NMFS report  includes a summary of discussions at the meeting along with a process to allow the Council to contribute to future Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) Pacific bluefin tuna resolutions.

Sea turtle bycatch: The United States plans to submit a proposal to strengthen the IATTC’s existing sea turtle bycatch resolution (C-07-03), recognizing that this would require foreign fleets to take measures that are similar to those currently required by U.S. pelagic longline vessels, such as use of circle hooks and finfish bait.

Management strategy evaluations: The International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-Like Species in the North Pacific Ocean is conducting management strategy evaluations for North Pacific albacore and Pacific bluefin tuna. In June the Council reiterated its support of U.S. stakeholder participation in these processes. 

Bluefin tuna meetings. The Council agreed to fund travel costs for two Highly Migratory Species Management Team members and four Highly Migratory Species Advisory Subpanel members to attend the Pacific bluefin IATTC-Northern Committee Joint Working Group and Northern Committee meetings during the week of September 2, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. This will allow advisory bodies to better understand the regional fishery management organization process and communicate those lessons to the Council.

Drift gillnet performance. Each June, the Council receives a report from its Highly Migratory Species Management Team (HMSMT) comparing estimated bycatch of prohibited species in the large mesh drift gillnet fishery against historical benchmark levels. According to the latest report, in 2016, take of northern right whale dolphins slightly exceeded the benchmark level, while in 2017 take of risso’s dolphin and sperm whale exceeded the benchmark. In its report the HMSMT also described an alternative way to assess bycatch in the fishery. This method, which was reviewed by the Scientific and Statistical Committee in 2018, will be used at the June 2020 Council meeting.

Yellowfin tuna diving (NOAA)

Yellowfin Tuna Regulations Discussed

Additional yellowfin tuna regulations are not needed at this time, the Council concluded in June. In 2018 NMFS notified the Council that the Eastern Pacific Ocean stock of yellowfin tuna was subject to overfishing, and that the Council must make recommendations by November 2018 to address the problem. The overfishing determination was based on a 2018 IATTC stock assessment which found that the fishing level was just barely over the level that defines this condition. The IATTC completed a new assessment in 2019, but there are major uncertainties about the results, meaning that NMFS is unlikely to consider it the “best scientific information available.” 

Because West Coast catch of yellowfin is a tiny proportion of total eastern Pacific Ocean catch, the Council concluded that additional constraints in West Coast fisheries aren’t needed now. In terms of international action, the Council focused its recommendations on efforts to make sure next year’s IATTC “benchmark” assessment produces reliable results. To that end the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee met with the IATTC staff scientists who worked on the assessment to identify potential improvements.

Seventeen Exempted Fishing Permits Forwarded

The Council reviewed 18 deep-set buoy gear exempted fishing permit (EFP) applications submitted for the June Council meeting and forwarded 17 applications to NMFS for issuance. It also preliminarily approved an EFP for night-set buoy gear under 100 percent observer coverage, with a final recommendation coming in September.

Beyond considering these new applications, the Council recommended that NMFS renew the current twenty-one standard deep-set buoy gear and ten linked deep-set buoy gear EFPs for 2020. Since many previously reviewed and recommended permit applications haven’t been issued, the Council asked NMFS to put the current batch of applications at the head of the line. 

Other EFPs reviewed in 2017 and 2018 haven’t been issued because the applicant hasn’t followed through on steps needed for NMFS to issue a permit. For that reason, the Council recommended that NMFS stop considering these applications if the applicant hasn’t followed through by the end of this year.

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Highly Migratory Species Management Team to Meet in Long Beach, CA August 7-8, 2019

Monday, July 8th, 2019

The Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Council’s) Highly Migratory Species Management Team (HMSMT) will hold a meeting, which is open to the public, Wednesday, August 7, and Thursday, August 8, 2019, and will start at 8:30 a.m. and continue until business is concluded on each day.

The purpose of the HMSMT meeting is to review the analysis of the range of alternatives (including the preliminary preferred alternative) for authorizing a fishery using deep-set buoy gear adopted by the Council in March 2019.  The Council is scheduled to use this analysis to choose a final preferred alternative at its September 2019 meeting.  The HMSMT may also discuss other HMS items on upcoming Council meeting agendas and associated tasks. These items may include international management of HMS, review of exempted fishing permit proposals and related process issues, potential actions by the Council on the pelagic longline and large mesh drift gillnet fisheries, and updates to the HMS Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation document. An agenda listing candidate discussion topics will be made available on the Council website in advance of the meeting.

Meeting Location

Room 3300, Third Floor
Glenn M. Anderson Federal Building
501 W. Ocean Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90802
Driving Directions

Additional information

Public comments during the meeting will be received from attendees at the discretion of the HMSMT chair.

The 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.

For meeting location information, please contact Mr. Lyle Enriquez at 562-980-4025.

Visitors need to present photo ID and pass through electronic security equipment to enter the building.

There is no visitor parking available in the building for the general public.  Metered street parking is nearby. Commercial parking lots are within walking distance to the building.

For further information about the meeting, please contact Dr. Kit Dahl at 503-820-2422; toll-free 1-866-806-7204.

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June 2019 Council Decision Summary Document Online

Thursday, June 27th, 2019

The Pacific Fishery Management Council met June 20-25, 2019 in San Diego, California. The June 2019 Council Meeting Decision Summary Document contains the highlights of significant decisions made at that meeting. Results of agenda items that do not reach a level of highlight significance are typically not described in the Decision Summary Document.

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The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission will hold its 15th Regular Session of the Northern Committee in Portland, Oregon, 3 to 6 September 2019

Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

If you are interested in contributing to the upcoming NC15 meeting as part of the U.S. delegation, please contact Emily Crigler (emily.crigler@noaa.gov) by COB June 28, 2019. Final selection of delegation participation is at the discretion of NOAA. Please do not register for the meeting until you hear back from Emily Crigler.

You may download the WCPFC Circular No.: 2019/29 to view the 3-6, September 2019 meeting announcement.

 

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June 19-25, 2019 PFMC Meeting Fast Facts

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

The June 19-25, 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 (transportation options, internet code, hotel map).

If you have additional questions regarding the June 19-25, 2019 Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting:

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June 2019 Council Meeting Internet Live Stream

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

The June 2019 Council meeting will be live‐streamed on the internet during the following hours:

  • Thursday, June 20, 2019: beginning at approximately 9:00 AM Pacific Time, ending at approximately 6:00 PM PT or when business for the day is complete
  • Friday, June 21, 2019 through Tuesday, June 25, 2019: 8:00 AM Pacific Time, ending daily at approximately 6:00 PM PT or when business for the day is complete

Only the audio portion and presentations displayed on the screen at the Council meeting will be broadcast. The audio portion is listen‐only; you will be unable to speak to the Council via the broadcast.

For agenda item topics and meeting information, please see the June 2019 Council meeting webpage.

Please Note: The GotoMeeting broadcast is not a substitute for attending the Council meeting in-person. We strive to make this service fully available, but due to unforeseen technical issues (internet/power outages, GoToMeeting service issues, etc), this service may not be available during portions of the Council meeting.

Instructions to join the meeting in “listen-only” mode

  1. http://www.gotomeeting.com/online/webinar/join-webinar
  2. Enter the Webinar ID: 634-645-459
  3. Please enter your email address (required)

This is a “listen only” broadcast, you may use your computer speakers or headset to listen.

If you do not have a headset or computer speakers, you may use your telephone to listen to the meeting by dialing this TOLL number +1 (562) 247-8422 (not a toll-free number); enter the phone attendee audio access code: 532-691-006; then enter the Audio Pin: Shown after joining the webinar. The webinar is broadcast in “listen only” mode.

Technical Information

System Requirements

  • PC-based attendees: Required: Windows® 7, 8, 10, 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 Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt for technical assistance.

MP3 Audio Files

Approximately five business days after the meeting has ended, you may visit the “Past Meetings” webpage where you will find links to the MP3 and WAV files.

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NOAA General Counsel seeking comments on Penalty Policy by June 3, 2019

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announces the availability of draft revisions to NOAA’s Policy for the Assessment of Civil Administrative Penalties and Permit Sanctions (Penalty Policy) for public review and comment.

The draft revisions to the Penalty Policy will remain available for public review until June 3, 2019. To ensure that comments will be considered, NOAA must receive written comments by June 3, 2019.

Please see the Federal Register notice dated May 2, 2019 to view the draft Penalty Policy and to view instructions on how to comment.

For further information, please contact NOAA staff member Meggan Engelke-Ros at 301-427-2202.

 

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Highly Migratory Species Management Team to Hold Webinar June 6, 2019

Monday, May 13th, 2019

The Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Pacific Council) Highly Migratory Species Management Team (HMSMT) will hold a webinar, which is open to the public.  The webinar will be held on Thursday, June 6, 2019  from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Pacific Daylight  Time, or when business for the day is completed.

Webinar Agenda

Purpose of the Webinar

The primary purpose of this HMSMT webinar is to prepare for the June 2019 Pacific Council meeting. The HMS topics on the Pacific Council’s June agenda are: 1) National Marine Fisheries Report, 2) International Management Recommendations, 3) Yellowfin Tuna Overfishing Response, 4) Drift Gillnet Fishery Performance Metrics Review, 5) Review and Recommendations on Exempted Fishing Permit Applications, and 6) Review of Deep-Set Buoy Gear Authorization Analyses. The HMSMT may also discuss other items related to HMS management and administrative Pacific Council agenda items.  A detailed agenda for the webinar will be available on the Pacific Council’s website prior to the meeting.  No management actions will be decided by the HMSMT.

To Attend the Webinar

  1. Join the meeting by visiting this link:
    http://www.gotomeeting.com/webinar/join-webinar
  2. Enter the Webinar ID: 544-381-883
  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. Then enter the Attendee phone audio access code 835-605-745
  6. Then enter your audio phone pin (shown after joining the webinar)

Technical Information

System Requirements

  • PC-based attendees: Required: Windows® 10, 8, 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 Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt or contact him at 503-820-2280, extension 411 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

Public comments during the webinar will be received from attendees at the discretion of the HMSMT chair.

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 503-280-2411 at least ten days prior to the meeting date.

If you have additional questions regarding the HMSMT webinar, please contact Dr. Kit Dahl at 503-820-2422; toll free 1-866-806-7204, extension 422.

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First Announcement: ISC Sponsored Pacific Bluefin Tuna MSE Workshop 20 – 21 May 2019

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

The ISC Sponsored Pacific Bluefin Tuna Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) Workshop will be held 20–21 May 2019.

The venue of the MSE Workshop will be:

Tom Ham’s Lighthouse
2150 Harbor Island Drive
San Diego, CA 92101 U.S.A.
http://www.tomhamslighthouse.com

The contacts for the MSE Workshop at the ISC are:

Contact for registration and logistical matters:

Ms. Freddie Logan
Southwest Fisheries Science Center
8901 La Jolla Shores Drive
La Jolla, CA  92037 U.S.A.
Tel: +1-858-546-5621
Mail: freddie.logan@noaa.gov

You may also download the 2019 MSE Workshop Announcement for further information.

This information posted as a courtesy to the ISC, NOAA (Dr. Gerard DiNardo), and SAC.

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Next deadline for submitting completed Exempted Fishing Permit Applications for Deep-Set Buoy Gear is 5:00 PM, Pacific Time, Thursday, May 23, 2019

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Next deadline for submitting completed Exempted Fishing Permit Applications for Deep-Set Buoy Gear is 5:00 PM Pacific Time, Thursday, May 23, 2019. See our “Exempted Fishing Permit Applications for Deep-Set Buoy Gear” webpage for applications and instructions.

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