Sitka…..the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today the final guideline harvest level (GHL) for the 2014 Sitka Sound herring sac roe fishery is 16,333 tons based on a 20% harvest rate of a forecast mature biomass of 81,663 tons. This is 1,259 tons less than the preliminary GHL announced in December, 2013. This adjustment is based on the winter test fishery sample results showing smaller average weights-at-age for herring ages 3, 4, 5, and 6, when compared to the winter of 2013. The forecast indicates that ages 3-6 will represent 63% of the returning mature population this spring.
Sitka…The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) announced today the following information concerning regulations that apply during the 2014 Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) commercial halibut fishery. This news release details bycatch regulations and allowances for state waters of Southeast Alaska, east of 144° W. longitude. The IFQ halibut fishery opens at 12:00 noon, March 8 and closes at 12:00 noon, November 7, 2014.
Rockfish Possession and Landing Requirements (5 AAC 28.171)
A vessel or Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) interim use permit holder fishing for groundfish or halibut must retain, weigh, and report all demersal shelf rockfish (DSR) and black rockfish taken. The DSR assemblage includes yelloweye, quillback, canary, copper, tiger, china, and rosethorn rockfish.
In the Northern Southeast Inside (NSEI) and Southern Southeast Inside (SSEI) Subdistricts only, a vessel or CFEC permit holder fishing for groundfish or halibut must retain, weigh, and report all rockfish species (excluding thornyheads) taken.
All rockfish retained in excess of allowable bycatch limits shall be reported as bycatch overage on an ADF&G fish ticket. All proceeds from the sale of excess rockfish bycatch shall be surrendered to the state. Excess rockfish retained due to full-retention requirements may be kept for a person’s own use however; the pounds must be documented as overage on the fish ticket.
Federal Demersal Shelf Rockfish Landing Requirements:
Fishermen are reminded that full retention of demersal shelf rockfish is also required in federal waters east of 140° W. longitude (Southeast Outside District). DSR taken in federal waters must be reported on an ADF&G fish ticket and DSR in excess of bycatch allowances must be reported as bycatch overage. DSR overage from federal waters may be retained for personal use or donated but cannot be sold or enter commerce. Full-retention regulations for DSR do not apply in federal waters of the Icy Bay Subdistrict (IBS).
Lingcod bycatch in the halibut longline fishery is allocated by management area. Lingcod management areas include IBS, East Yakutat (EYKT) Section, Northern Southeast Outside (NSEO) Section, Central Southeast Outside (CSEO) Section, Southern Southeast Outer Coast (SSEOC) Sector, Northern Southeast Inside (NSEI) Subdistrict, and Southern Southeast Internal Waters (SSEIW) Sector (Figure 1). The 2014 SSEIW lingcod allocation has been taken and this area is closed to lingcod retention in longline fisheries for the remainder of the year. Lingcod catches will be closely monitored and fishermen are advised that additional closures may occur on short notice as allocations are taken. Closures will be announced by news release, the United States Coast Guard “Notice to Mariners” report and National Weather Service broadcast. For information on lingcod bycatch status and closures, contact the Sitka Area Office at 907-747-6688 or the Groundfish Hotline at 907-747-4882.
Groundfish Bycatch Limits for the IFQ Halibut Fishery in State Waters:
Percentage indicates amount that may be sold and is based on round weight of halibut and round weight of bycatch species.
Demersal Shelf Rockfish (DSR)
10%, Full retention required in all state waters internal and outside (0-3 miles)
Black, Blue and Dark Rockfish (State and Federal Waters)
15% in aggregate full retention required for black rockfish only in State outside waters (0-3 miles); and 15% in aggregate full retention (all species) required in State internal waters (NSEI/SSEI)
All Other Rockfish and Thornyheads
5% in aggregate State Outside waters; and 5% in aggregate, full retention required for all rockfish except thornyheads in State Internal waters (NSEI/SSEI)
Lingcod – Longline Fishery
20% (EYKT, NSEO, CSEO, SSEOC and NSEI)
0% (SSEIW), no retention
Minimum size limit 27″ (tip of snout to tip of tail)
20% State Outside and Internal Waters
Spiny Dogfish - Longline Fishery
35% State Outside and Internal Waters
Sablefish – 0% retention
Other Groundfish – 20% in aggregate
For Jig fishery see ADF&G news release Feb 6, 2014.
For information on the halibut fishery bycatch allowances in federal waters refer to: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries_reports/reports/details/?report_id=386
and http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/rr/tables/tabl10.pdf or
Harvest of bait by commercial permit holders in the state waters of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska:
A CFEC interim use permit holder may take groundfish in waters of Alaska, for use as bait in waters of Alaska, in the commercial fishery for which the permit is held. A person who takes groundfish for bait during a fishing trip and uses the bait during that trip, must report the bait taken by species and estimated weight on the fish ticket prepared for that fishing trip. Groundfish harvested for bait shall be reported on the fish ticket using fish ticket delivery code 92. Sablefish, lingcod, thornyhead, shortraker, rougheye, and yelloweye rockfish may not be taken for bait or used for bait (5AAC 28.190).
The IPHC has announced the 2014 catch limits and season dates
SEASON DATES MARCH 8 – NOVEMBER 7, 2014
Area 2C commercial catch limit up 11.7% for 3,318,720 pounds
Area 3A commercial catch limit down 22.4% for 7,317,730 pounds
The White House issued a press release January 8th with the appointment of Commissioners to the International Pacific Halibut Commission. Bob Alverson, Jim Balsiger, and Don Lane were appointed. Below is information about each individual.
Robert D. Alverson, Appointee for United States Commissioner, International Pacific Halibut Commission
Robert D. Alverson is currently Manager and Executive Secretary of the Fishing Vessel Owners’ Association, a position he has held since 1976. Since 2007, Mr. Alverson has served as a member of the Pacific Fishery Management Council Groundfish Advisory Panel. Mr. Alverson has also served on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s ITQ Advisory Committee for Halibut and Sablefish since 2005. He has served on both the Pacific Fishery Management Council and North Pacific Fishery Management Council. Mr. Alverson has been the recipient of numerous professional awards, including the Norwegian Commercial Club’s “King Neptune” award, for 30 years of service to the fishing industry. Mr. Alverson received a B.A. from the University of Washington.
Dr. James W. Balsiger, Appointee for United States Commissioner, International Pacific Halibut Commission
Dr. James W. Balsiger is currently Regional Administrator for the Alaska Region of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s National Marine Fisheries Service, a position he has held since 2000. He was appointed as United States Commissioner on the United States Section of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission in 2013. From 2008 to 2010, he served as the Acting Assistant Administrator for Fisheries at NOAA. Dr. Balsiger served as the Acting Regional Science and Research Director at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center from 1996 to 2000, where he also served as Deputy Science Director from 1991 to 1995. Prior to that, he was the Program Leader for the Status of Stocks Task within the Center’s Resource Ecology and Fisheries Management Division from 1977 to 1991. Dr. Balsiger received a B.S. from the Michigan Technological University, an M.S. from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington.
Donald R. Lane, Appointee for United States Commissioner, International Pacific Halibut Commission
Donald R. Lane is a commercial fisherman in Homer, Alaska. For more than 30 years, Mr. Lane has been the owner and operator of the fishing vessel Predator and has worked closely with the Alaska fishery communities, including recreational sport users, sport charters, and the commercial industry. From 1984 to 1992, Mr. Lane served as a member of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Homer Advisory Committee. He has served as member of the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission since 1988 and as a member of the North Pacific Fisheries Association since 1985, serving as President from 1996 to 2002. Mr. Lane served in the United State Coast Guard from 1972 until 1975 and holds a U.S. Merchant Marine Officer Masters License.
Southeast Alaska Drift Gillnet Task Force Agenda
Ted Ferry Civic Center, Naha Room, Ketchikan, Alaska
December 4, 2013, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
A. Introduction of meeting participants, distribute meeting materials, and review agenda
B. Review of 2013 season and 2014 season outlook
- 2013 Gillnet Fishery Harvest and Value– Handouts
- Justin Breese – Tree Point
- Tom Kowalske – Prince of Wales and Stikine
- Dave Harris – Taku/Snettisham
- Randy Bachman – Lynn Canal
- Andy Piston – 2013 escapement review
C. Hatchery Operators Summaries and Forecasts
- DIPAC – Eric Prestegard
- NSRAA – Steve Reifenstuhl
- SSRAA – John Burke/Susan Doherty
D. Discussion Issues
- McDonald Lake update, escapement, sentinel project. (Andy Piston)
- Status update for the statewide pink and chum salmon hatchery/wild interaction studies. (Ron Josephson)
- District 8 spring troll and gillnet openings. (Troy)
- Stikine subsistence fishery, FSB increase of subsistence sockeye harvest. (Troy)
- Taku and Stikine Chinook spring opening. (Troy, Dave H)
- Amalga Harbor purse seine fishery, sockeye harvest 2012-13. (Dave H)
- Snettisham wild/hatchery harvest strategy. Stephens Passage mesh restrictions. (Dave H)
- Icy/Chatham/Amalga/Lisianski sockeye genetic sampling program update (Andy Piston, Dan Gray)
- Genetic analysis, capacity & ability to handle demands, status of funding and laboratory capacity, status of sockeye baseline studies. (Dan Gray)
- Troll and Gillnet Coho extensions, additional gillnet opportunities. (Dan Gray/Troy T)
- Limestone Inlet pink salmon harvest management. (Dave H)
- Pink and coho salmon escapements. (Andy Piston, management staff)
- Kootznoowoo concerns, update on extended jurisdiction, ADFG cooperation, 2013 subsistence harvest and escapement, Kanalku modifications, collection of sockeye genetics – 2012 – 2014 plan, harvest in Icy Strait, Chatham and Lynn Canal. (USFS, Dave H, Randy B)
- Skeena River issues. (Scott W)
- Adding latitude/longitude to regulations and EO announcements. (Staff)
- Opening District 11C below Midway Island on a regular basis, beginning the 1st week of the gillnet season. (Dave H)
- Discussion of impacts of increasing gillnets from 60 to 80/90 meshes deep. (5AAC33.331) (Staff)
- Board of Fisheries proposals. (Dan Gray, staff)
- Department budget update for FY2014 and FY2015. How did SE absorb FY2014 cuts? (Dan Gray)
- ADFG involvement/funding in evaluating USFS rehabilitation projects and AK/BC mine reviews:
- Overview of Unuk River stocks and potential KSM Mine impacts(Scott W)
- Tulsequah Chief Mine (Taku)(Dave H)
- Galore Creek Mine (Stikine)(Troy)
- Bokan Mine (Moira Sound) (Scott W)
- ADFG Personnel changes and replacements – Deputy Commissioner Bedford, Gordy Williams, Sue Aspelund, Scott Kelley. (Dan Gray)
E. Future Task Force Meetings
1. Set next meeting time and place (Petersburg/Wrangell)
Southeast Alaska Purse Seine Task Force Agenda
Ted Ferry Civic Center, Naha Room, Ketchikan, Alaska
December 3, 2013, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
I. Call meeting to order and introductions – Introduce participants, distribute handouts, and review agenda. Dan Gray & Bob Thorstensen
II. Review of 2013 season and Preview of 2014 season
1) Summary of 2013 Season Harvest, Effort, & Value – Handouts
2) 2013 salmon escapements/harvests and 2014 ADF&G pink salmon forecast– Andy Piston
3) The NOAA 2014 Southeast Pink Salmon Forecast from Ecosystem Monitoring in Southeast Alaska – Joe Orsi
4) Ketchikan Management Area – Scott Walker
5) Petersburg Management Area – Troy Thynes
6) Sitka Management Area – Dave Gordon
7) Juneau Management Area – Dave Harris
III. Review Hatchery harvests, forecasts, and plans
8) SSRAA – John Burke
9) NSRAA – Steve Reifenstuhl
10) DIPAC – Eric Prestegard
IV. Discussion of issues identified by Task Force Members
1) Status update for the statewide pink and chum salmon hatchery/wild interaction studies. (Ron Josephson)
2) Kendrick Bay spring fishery – conservation measures due to excessive bycatch. (Scott Walker)
3) Loss of one day of fishing at Dall Island during week 31. Management of Week 30 and the Juel Pt. line. (Scott Walker)
4) Northern Gravina Island closure during the final weeks of the season. (Scott Walker)
5) 20% Hidden Falls Tax Assessment – is legislation needed and how is this cost recovery system working? (NSRAA)
6) Hidden Falls broodstock. (NSRAA)
7) Amalga fishery – management and other issues that may arise from fishing in a small area on a road system. (Dave Harris)
8) Hawk Inlet fishery management and breakdown of District 12 subdistrict harvests in 2013. (Dave Harris)
9) Board of Fisheries Proposals. (Dan Gray)
10) GSI Sampling – number of samples, from which fisheries, preliminary data. (Dan Gray)
11) Coho salmon escapement. (Andy Piston, management staff)
12) Pink salmon escapement – low water/weather related issues; thoughts on why SSE was stronger than NSE compared to 2011. (Andy Piston, management staff)
V. ETJ Petition – Forest Service staff
VI. Time and location of next meeting – Petersburg/Wrangell
The 2014 pink salmon prediction is for 22 million pinks. This is below the 10 year average of 41 million pinks but consistent with the average for even years only. This put the return in the average range for management actions. This will be discussed at the Seine task force meeting December 3rd in Ketchikan at 9:00 and NMFS will present their forecast at this meeting.
ADFG in their weekly announcement closed District 1 for the gillnet salmon fishery. District 6, 8, 11 and 15 are still open.
October 2013 C-1 Observer Program Motion
The Council supports the overall provisions for observer coverage described in the 2014 Draft Annual Deployment Plan and the specific observer advisory committee (OAC) recommendations on page 3-5 of the September OAC report. The Council also recommends continuing the policies that allow vessels to make an annual selection for 100% coverage in the BSAI Pacific Cod fishery, and conditional release of vessels to address space and safety concerns.
The Council requests NMFS consider the suggestions provided on page 6 of of the OAC report regarding how to prioritize deployment of the 14 cameras available in the NMFS electronic monitoring pilot project in 2014.
The Council requests NMFS explore whether allowing clean up IFQ trips in multiple regulatory areas is best addressed through a regulatory amendment to the observer program or the IFQ program.
The Council requests that the tables showing preliminary catch data and data on observer coverage from the B-2 supplemental be updated with the entire 2013 data set and included in the June 2014 program performance review. In addition to these tables should show the percentage of catch observed using these same categories. The methods used to calculate total mortalities of halibut in metric tons should also be reviewed and refined in these tables.
Sentence was added to motion to include comments and requests from the SSC.
Clarified that the EM group will not be formed as it appears the timing is not right.
Points from OAC Meeting pages 3-5
• OAC continues to support the priority of setting a higher selection rate for the PSC-limited fisheries.
• OAC recommends further analysis of the de minimus issue be undertaken to evaluate them.
• OAC recommends that the Council initiate a regulatory amendment to address tender activity.
• Overall, the majority of the OAC supports the 2014 ADP, while continuing to support the need to improve some aspects of the restructured observer program.
• OAC recognizes that the actual sampling rate in the vessel selection pool is a concern
• OAC endorses the alternative salmon genetic sampling approach that is incorporated in the 2014 ADP
Page 6 OAC comments on EM
• Noting the Council’s existing priority for developing EM is the 40-57.5” fleet that is not restricted by PSC limits, these vessels should be the first priority for the 2014 pilot program. Secondary priorities can be determined by seeing how other fleets would match against the pilot program monitoring objectives.
• Focus on vessels that have already been released from the requirement to have a human observer, or go back to the Council’s April 2012 comment letter that linked the release from coverage after random selection to the offer of an EM unit. In this way, the EM program would provide data on vessels that would not otherwise be in the program, rather than reducing the pool of vessels that would otherwise have coverage.
• Get as much utility from the camera units during the year as possible, including deployment on multiple vessels. For example, consider deploying in the small boat Pacific cod A season, until vessels switch to salmon fishing. Need to clarify whether only the 14 vessels identified at the beginning of the year will be placed in the zero selection category, or whether that applies to any vessel on which the cameras are placed during the year.
• Be transparent about the objectives of the 2014 EM pilot program, as a way to determine which are the best vessels to participate. For example, is the objective to observe a vessel that is spending most of its time fishing, in order to assess how a lot of data can be processed; to see how easily (or not) cameras can be transferred among vessels; or to see how physically robust the camera systems are when they are used throughout the year in different weather conditions. Prioritize cameras for those vessels whose fishing characteristics are most likely to achieve the stated objectives.
Link to OAC minutes Sept 2013 meeting: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/npfmc/PDFdocuments/conservation_issues/Observer/913_OACreport.pdf
Link to B-2 supplemental report: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/npfmc/PDFdocuments/conservation_issues/Observer/NMFSletter913.pdf
NMFS Letter to Council about EM pilot program
NMFS letter on information requests (council)
2014 draft Annual Deployment Plan:
SOUTHEAST ALASKA REGIONAL PLANNING TEAM, PURSE SEINE TASK FORCE, AND DRIFT GILLNET TASK FORCE MEETINGS SCHEDULE
Sitka. . . The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today the following information about the Southeast Alaska Purse Seine and Drift Gillnet Task Force meetings and the Southeast Regional Planning Team meeting.
The department holds annual meetings each year between fishery managers, researchers, aquaculture organizations, fishermen, gear group organizations, processing company representatives, and interested organizations to review the previous salmon season, to discuss topics of importance for management of the fisheries, and to plan for the following season. Task force meetings have rotated between communities to provide increased access and participation. At the request of participants, task force meetings will be held in conjunction with the Southeast Regional Planning Team (RPT) fall meeting. This year both task force meetings, as well as the RPT, will be held in Ketchikan.
The RPT meeting is scheduled for December 2, 2013. The meeting will be held at the Ted Ferry Civic Center in the Naha Room from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
The Purse Seine Task Force meeting is scheduled for December 3, 2013. The meeting will be held at the Ted Ferry Civic Center in the Naha Room from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
The Drift Gillnet Task Force meeting is scheduled for December 4, 2013. The meeting will be held at the Ted Ferry Civic Center in the Naha Room from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Agendas for the seine and gillnet meetings will be developed in cooperation between the department and the Southeast Alaska Seiners Association, the United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters Association, the Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance, and the Petersburg Vessel Owners Association. Individuals with suggested topics for discussion should contact these organizations or the department. In order to finalize the agenda, please have suggested topics in by November 22.