Hot topics blog

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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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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Council Adopts 2019 West Coast Salmon Seasons

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

Rohnert Park, Ca. – The Pacific Fishery Management Council adopted ocean salmon season recommendations yesterday that provide recreational and commercial opportunities for most of the Pacific coast, and achieve conservation goals for the numerous individual salmon stocks on the West Coast. North of Cape Falcon, a large increase in hatchery coho over last year will provide a welcome increase in both recreational and commercial fishing opportunities.

Season recommendations will be forwarded to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for approval.“Although some salmon stocks are returning in stronger numbers than last year, balancing fishing opportunities with conservation is always a challenge for the Council, its advisors, fishery stakeholders, and the public,” said Council Executive Director Chuck Tracy. “The seasons this year continue to protect stocks of concern, including Puget Sound Chinook, Washington natural coho, and Sacramento River fall Chinook.”

In addition to recommending salmon regulations for 2019, the Council developed a plan to work collaboratively with NMFS on Southern Resident killer whales, which are listed under the Endangered Species Act.

“This year’s package was adopted after careful consideration and analysis in order to meet our conservation objectives, consider impacts on the prey base important to Southern Resident killer whales, and consider in-river and Puget Sound fisheries,” said Council Chair Phil Anderson. “The Council also established a workgroup that will be working closely with National Marine Fisheries Service to assess on a longer term basis the ocean salmon fisheries effect to the prey base of Southern Resident killer whales,” Anderson said.

Washington and Northern Oregon (North of Cape Falcon)

Fisheries north of Cape Falcon (which is just north of Manzanita, Oregon) depend largely on Columbia River Chinook and coho stocks. Overall, Columbia River fall Chinook forecasts are generally considered low to moderate compared to the recent 10-year average. Hatchery coho stocks originating from the Columbia River are expected to return in high numbers, but some natural stocks originating from the Washington coast and Puget Sound are expected to return at low to moderate levels in 2019.

The overall non-Indian total allowable catch north of Cape Falcon is 52,500 Chinook (compared to 55,000 last year) and 190,000 marked hatchery coho (compared to 47,600 last year). Fisheries are designed to provide harvest opportunity on healthy Chinook and coho returns primarily destined for the Columbia River, while avoiding Washington natural Chinook and coho.

Commercial Fisheries

Non-Indian ocean commercial fisheries north of Cape Falcon include traditional Chinook seasons in the spring (May-June) and summer season (July through September). Non-Indian ocean commercial fisheries in this area will have access to a total of 26,250 Chinook (compared to 27,500 Chinook last year), and a marked coho quota of 30,400 (compared to 5,600 coho last year).

Tribal ocean fisheries north of Cape Falcon are similar in structure to past years, with quotas that include 35,000 Chinook and 55,000 coho (compared to 40,000 Chinook and 12,500 coho last year).

Recreational Fisheries

The recreational fishery north of Cape Falcon opens to all salmon on June 22 in all areas, and ends September 30 or when Chinook or coho quotas are reached. In addition, a small area of the La Push subarea will be open October 1-13 with Chinook and coho quotas. Recreational fisheries north of Cape Falcon will have access to a total of 26,250 Chinook (compared to 27,500 Chinook last year), and a marked coho quota of 159,600 (compared to 42,000 coho last year).

California and Oregon South of Cape Falcon, Oregon

South of Cape Falcon, fisheries target Sacramento and Klamath fall Chinook and hatchery coho from Oregon and the Columbia River. California coastal Chinook and Oregon coast natural coho stocks are the primary constraints to fisheries in this area. Most areas are seeing improved opportunity over last year.

Commercial Fisheries

The commercial fishery consists of modest Chinook fishing opportunity in both states. Most areas south of Cape Falcon are seeing improved opportunity over the last two years, and include seasons in the Klamath Management Zone in southern Oregon and northern California.

Commercial fisheries from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. will be open on April 20-30, May 6-30, then re-open June 1 and continue through August 29. This area will also be open continuously in September and October with weekly landing limits in place.

Fisheries from Humbug Mtn., Oregon to the Oregon/California border will be open in late April and for much of May. Monthly quotas for June through August will be in place for the both the Oregon and California portions of the Klamath Management Zone. All quotas feature landing and possession limits, and the California portion of this area will be open five days a week, similar to 2018.

Between Horse Mountain and Point Arena (Fort Bragg), the area will be open June 4-30, July 11-31, and August 1-28. From Point Arena to Pigeon Point (San Francisco), the area will be open May 16-31, June 4-30, July 11-31, August 1-28, and September 1-30. From Pigeon Point to the Mexico border (Monterey), the area will be open all of May, June 4-30, and July 11-31. There will also be a season from Point Reyes to Point San Pedro, a subset of the San Francisco area, on October 1-4, 7-11, and 14-15.

Recreational Fisheries

Recreational opportunity is generally improved over last year. Recreational fisheries in Oregon provide opportunities for both Chinook and coho, including both mark-selective and non-mark-selective coho fisheries. California recreational fisheries provide moderate opportunity for Chinook.

Recreational fisheries from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mtn. will allow Chinook retention from now through October. Coho fisheries consist of a mark-selective quota fishery of 90,000 in mid-summer (compared to 35,000 last year) and a non-mark-selective quota fishery of 9,000 in September (compared to 3,500 last year).

Fisheries from Humbug Mtn., Oregon to Horse Mtn., California will be open from May 25 through September 2. The Oregon area also includes a mark-selective coho fishery opportunity in mid-summer.

Fisheries from Horse Mtn. to Pigeon Point (Fort Bragg and San Francisco areas) will be open from April 13 through 30, then re-open May 18 and continue through October. The area from Pigeon Point to the U.S./Mexico border (Monterey area) is open now through August 28.

For details on all seasons, please see the season descriptions on the Council website.

Management Process

The Council developed three management alternatives in early March for public review and further analysis. The review process included input from Federal, state, and tribal fishery scientists and fishing industry members; public testimony, and public hearings in Westport, Wa.; Coos Bay, Or.; and Ukiah, Ca. The Council received additional scientific information and took public testimony at its April meeting in Rohnert Park, Ca., before taking final action. The decision will be forwarded to NMFS for their review and regulatory action.

In addition, the coastal states will independently adopt fishery regulations that are compatible with the Council’s actions.

Council Role

The Pacific Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional fishery management councils established by the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 for the purpose of managing fisheries 3-200 miles offshore of the United States of America coastline. The Pacific Council recommends management measures for fisheries off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington.

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PRELIMINARY DRAFT APRIL 2019 MOTIONS IN WRITING

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

Cautionary Note — These preliminary motions do not represent the final official administrative record. The motions and amendments contained in this blog are as projected on the screen at the Council meeting at the time of the Council vote and often use expedited language and references without the benefit of any final editing or proofing. They may use short-hand language or abbreviations that may not be clear without the context of verbal comments and clarifications made during their development at the meeting, or may contain inadvertent transposition errors. They have not been approved by the Council to represent the final official record of Council action. The final official record will be posted on the Council website after the Council approves the full meeting record at a future Council meeting.

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Public Comment E-Portal for the April 2019 Advanced Briefing Book is now open!

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

The Public Comment E-Portal for the April 2019 Advanced Briefing Book is now open.  Visit the E-portal to submit your written comment. Due to recent revisions to the April Council meeting agenda, the deadline for the Advanced Briefing Book has been extended to Tuesday, March 19th, by 5 p.m.  All comments submitted by the deadline will be reviewed and posted to the E-Portal page on March 22nd, 2019.

Visit our Current Council Meeting page for more details.

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Council Releases Alternatives for 2019 West Coast Ocean Salmon Fisheries

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

Vancouver, Washington – The Pacific Fishery Management Council adopted three alternative season structures for 2019 ocean salmon fisheries off of Washington, Oregon and California today for public review. The Council will make a final decision on salmon seasons at its meeting in Rohnert Park, California, on April 11-15. Detailed information about season starting dates, areas open, and catch limits for all three alternatives are available on the Council’s website at www.pcouncil.org.

“Although some forecasts are up over last year, this year’s salmon runs are still challenging for ocean fishermen and managers,” said Council Executive Director Chuck Tracy. “In the north, conservation requirements for Fraser River (Canada) and other natural coho runs, as well as lower Columbia River natural tule fall Chinook, will constrain fisheries*. In the south, we need to protect Sacramento River fall and winter Chinook, as well as California Coastal Chinook.”

Northern Oregon and Washington (north of Cape Falcon)

Fisheries north of Cape Falcon (in northern Oregon) are limited by the need to reduce catch of lower Columbia natural tule Chinook and coho stocks of concern. Additionally, three stocks of coho (Queets River, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Snohomish) remain categorized as overfished, which is also a concern when structuring 2019 fisheries.

Sport season alternatives

Ocean sport fishery alternatives north of Cape Falcon in Oregon and off the Washington coast include Chinook recreational quotas ranging from 22,500 to 32,500, compared to 27,500 in 2018. For coho, recreational quotas range from 100,000 to 205,000 hatchery coho, an increase from 2018. Starting dates range from June 15 to June 29, and in all alternatives, recreational fisheries are scheduled to run through mid-to-late September. Both coho and Chinook retention are allowed in all alternatives.

Commercial season alternatives

Non-Indian ocean commercial fishery alternatives north of Cape Falcon include traditional Chinook seasons between May and September. Chinook quotas for all areas and times range from 22,500 to 32,500, compared to 27,500 in 2018. Coho quotas in the commercial fishery alternatives range from 5,600 to 32,800 marked coho, compared to 5,600 in to 2018.

Tribal ocean fisheries north of Cape Falcon

Chinook and coho quotas for tribal ocean fishery alternatives range from 25,000 to 45,000 for Chinook salmon (compared to 40,000 in 2018), and from 35,000 to 65,000 coho (compared to 12,500 coho in 2018). Seasons open May 1 and run through September 15.

California and Southern Oregon (south of Cape Falcon)

Fisheries south of Cape Falcon are limited by the need to reduce catch of Oregon Coast natural coho, California coastal Chinook, Sacramento River fall Chinook, and Sacramento River winter Chinook. Klamath River fall Chinook and Sacramento River fall Chinook contribute significantly to ocean harvest, and currently remain categorized as overfished. Both stocks are projected to meet their spawning escapement objectives under this year’s management alternatives.

Sport season alternatives

Chinook fishing in the Tillamook, Newport, and Coos Bay areas all open March 15 and run continuously through October 31.

Oregon ocean recreational alternatives include mark-selective coho fishing seasons starting in late June and running through mid-August or September in the area south of Cape Falcon. Quotas range from 80,000 to 105,000 marked coho (compared to 35,000 in 2018). In addition, non-mark-selective fisheries are proposed for the area between Cape Falcon and Humbug Mountain in September, with quotas of 8,000 to 10,000 coho (compared to last year’s 3,500).

All alternatives include proposed fisheries from late May through late August/early September in the Klamath Management Zone in both California and Oregon.

Ocean sport fishing below Horse Mountain, California will see increased opportunity compared to last year due to some improved forecasts. Alternatives for 2019 fisheries were structured to target spawning escapements in excess of what is required under the Salmon Fishery Management Plan in an effort to rebuild Sacramento River and Klamath River fall Chinook.

Commercial season alternatives

Commercial season alternatives south of Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain are constrained this year to protect Sacramento and California coastal Chinook. Chinook salmon seasons are open late April or May through October, with closed periods in May through August.

The commercial alternatives in both the California and Oregon sectors of the Klamath Management Zone are provided primarily by a range of monthly Chinook quotas between June and August, with some additional time for the Oregon sector in May.

The alternatives for commercial seasons south of the Klamath Management Zone vary considerably, with constraints primarily intended to protect Sacramento River fall Chinook and California Coastal Chinook. In general, the commercial alternatives in these management areas (Fort Bragg, San Francisco, and Monterey) provide similar or increased levels of opportunity compared to last year.

Concerns Regarding Southern Resident Killer Whales 

At the Vancouver meeting, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced plans to look further into the effects of Council-area fisheries on southern resident killer whales, which are listed as endangered. The Council will work collaboratively with NMFS on this issue beginning in 2019.

Council Chair Phil Anderson, who also serves on the Governor’s Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force, said, “I don’t think there’s any question that southern resident killer whales are in peril. Pollution, noise disturbance, and lack of prey are the main factors believed to be responsible for the decline. It will be important for the Pacific Council to understand the impacts of the prey base associated with their needs when they consider seasons in April. We would like to discuss these issues with NOAA before we make our final recommendations.”

Management Process

Public hearings to receive input on the alternatives are scheduled for March 25 in Westport, Washington and Coos Bay, Oregon, and for March 26 in Ukiah, California. The Council will consult with scientists, hear public comment, revise preliminary decisions, and choose a final alternative at its meeting April 11-15 in Rohnert Park, California.

The Council will forward its final season recommendations to National Marine Fisheries Service for its approval and implementation by May 1.

All Council meetings are open to the public.

Council Role

The Pacific Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional fishery management councils established by the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 for the purpose of managing fisheries 3-200 miles offshore of the United States of America coastline. The Pacific Council recommends management measures for fisheries off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington.

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On the Web

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PRELIMINARY DRAFT MARCH 2019 MOTIONS IN WRITING

Friday, March 8th, 2019

Cautionary Note — These preliminary motions do not represent the final official administrative record. The motions and amendments contained in this blog are as projected on the screen at the Council meeting at the time of the Council vote and often use expedited language and references without the benefit of any final editing or proofing. They may use short-hand language or abbreviations that may not be clear without the context of verbal comments and clarifications made during their development at the meeting, or may contain inadvertent transposition errors. They have not been approved by the Council to represent the final official record of Council action. The final official record will be posted on the Council website after the Council approves the full meeting record at a future Council meeting.

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Quick Link to March 2019 Briefing Book

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

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March 2019 Council Meeting Internet Live Stream

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

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

  • Thursday, March 7, 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, March 8, 2019 through Tuesday, March 12, 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 March 6-12, 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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March 6-12, 2019 PFMC Meeting Fast Facts

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

The March 6-12, 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).

March 2019 Council Meeting Fast Facts

If you have additional questions regarding the March 6-12, 2019 Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting:

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