Neets Bay Fishing Schedule

The following rotational fishery schedule and area description will be in effect from 12:00 noon, Monday, September 24, 2012, unless changed by subsequent announcement:

The Neets Bay terminal harvest area will be open east of the longitude of the easternmost tip of Bug Island and west of the barrier net at the head of the bay. The barrier net extends from approximately 55°47.22′ N. latitude, 131°29.37′ W. longitude to 55°47.08′ N. latitude, 131°30.18′ W. longitude.

Purse Seine:
12:00 noon, Monday, September 24, through 12:00 noon, Tuesday, September 25, 2012;
12:00 noon, Friday, September 28, through 12:00 noon, Saturday, September 29, 2012;
12:00 noon, Tuesday, October 2, through 12:00 noon, Wednesday, October 3, 2012;

Drift Gillnet:
12:00 noon, Wednesday, September 26, through 12:00 noon, Thursday, September 27, 2012;
12:00 noon, Sunday, September 30, through 12:00 noon, Monday, October 1, 2012;
12:00 noon, Thursday, October 4, through 12:00 noon, Friday, October 5, 2012.

Troll will remain open on a continual basis in the Neets Bay terminal harvest area however, effective 12:00 noon, Monday, September 24; the open area will be expanded to include the area listed above.

Effective 12:00 noon, Saturday, October 6, 2012, the Neets Bay terminal harvest area will be open to the harvest of salmon concurrently by troll, drift gillnet, and purse seine gear. The Neets Bay terminal harvest area will close for the season to all gear groups at 12:00 noon, Saturday, November 10, 2012.

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Net Salmon Task Force Meetings

ADFG announced the following meetings to be held the first week of December 2012:

Gillnet Task Force Meeting – Juneau – December 4th, 1:00 pm until meeting is completed at the ADFG Commissioners Conference Room

SE Regional Planning Team (RPT) Meeting – Juneau – December 5th, 9:00 am until 5:00 pm or until finished at Centennial Hall in the Hickel Room

Seine Task Force Meeting – Juneau – December 6th, 8:30 am until 5:00 pm at ADFG Commissioner’s Conference Room

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Dungeness Task Force Meeting about DEC PSP Pre-season Sampling

Meeting locations are as follows:
ADFG offices: Douglas/Juneau; Petersburg, Sitka and Ketchikan
Wrangell will be at the City Council Chamber
If you are interested and unable to attend at one of these locations, please call SEAFA 586-6652 and prearrange for a teleconference line to be made available for you.

Proposed Agenda
Preseason Dungeness Crab Paralytic Shellfish Toxin (PST) Teleconference
Friday August 31, 2012 1:30- 3:00

1. Background ADEC-Seafood
2. Summer Pre-season Sampling Results ADEC-Seafood
3. Permitting Requirements – ADF&G
4. Laboratory Submission Requirements and comments on sample submission-ADEC Environmental Health Laboratory
5. Fall Pre-season Sample Planning – ADEC Seafood, ADEC EHL, SEAFRA, PVOA & others
6. Recap
7. Q&A

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Welcome our New Business Member – NORTHRIM BANK

Northrim Bank was founded in 1990 with values such as integrity, flexibility, and a commitment to community. We are a commercial bank, headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska, committed to providing Customer First Service. We specialize in serving businesses, professionals, and individual Alaskans who are looking for personal service and value.

As a leader in business banking solutions, Northrim Bank has been helping commercial fishing professionals achieve more through dynamic financing packages and cash management services. We have made a commitment to the Alaskan fisheries industry through our special financing and ongoing relationship with the United Fishermen of Alaska and look forward to working with SEAFA in the future.

Sincerely,

Zac Hays
Vice President, Commercial Fisheries Lending
Northrim Bank
907-261-3347

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2012-2013 Board of Fisheries Proposals Available

Alaska Board of Fisheries 2012/2013 Cycle Bristol Bay, Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim, and Alaska Peninsula/Aleutian Islands Finfish; Statewide General Finfish Provisions; and Supplemental Issues.
DOWNLOAD (PDF 2,240 kB) (Takes you to Board of Fish page, 1/2 way down is link to the pdf file.

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Halibut/Sablefish IFQ Amendment – Inactive IFQ to be Revoked

In 2006, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council recommended an amendment to the halibut and sablefish IFQ regulations to revoke quota shares (QS) that have been inactive since they were originally issued in 1995. Inactive QS are those held by persons that have never harvested their IFQ and have never transferred QS or IFQ into or out of their IFQ accounts. The action provides halibut and sablefish fishermen who hold active QS with an opportunity to fish for currently unavailable QS and more fully harvest TACs for these species. In the time since Council recommended this action, the amount of inactive QS and the number of inactive QS holders has reduced dramatically, as those inactive QS were transferred voluntarily to active fishery participants. There are a total of 199 distinct inactive QS holders.

The final rule to remove inactive quota shares from the Halibut and Sablefish Individual Fishing Quota Program is effective on Monday, June 18, 2012. NMFS will not revoke the inactive QS of any person who responds in writing to NMFS within 60 days after NMFS issues a Notice of Determination of Quota Share Inactivity, requesting that the inactive QS not be revoked. NMFS will allow transfers and fishing during the 60-day Notice period which would result in “activation” of the QS. These transfers could include gifting the QS to someone eligible to receive QS and IFQ by transfer. Even without payment, gifting would keep QS active and benefit communities as well as recipients.

The inactive QS and holder list is posted on the NMFS (Restricted Access Management) RAM web page (in Excel). A signed notice with an enclosed form to be returned to RAM will be mailed to all inactive permit holders on or about June 18; fishing, transferring QS or IFQ, or returning the form to RAM within the 60 day response period is the only way for those QS not to be revoked. Contact the RAM Program Division for more information: (800) 304-4846 #2, or(907) 586-7202 #2.

77 FR 29556, May 18, 2012: Final rule to modify the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program for the Fixed-Gear Commercial Fisheries for Pacific Halibut and Sablefish in waters in and off Alaska by revoking quota share that have been inactive since they were originally issued in 1995. Effective June 18, 2012.

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Normal Length Dungeness Crab Season

Juneau. . . The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (department) announced today that the 2012/2013 commercial Dungeness crab fishing season in Southeastern Alaska will not be reduced in duration and will remain as described in 5 AAC 32.110. In accordance with the Southeastern Alaska Dungeness Crab Management Plan [5 AAC 32.146], the department has projected total season harvest based on landings and effort data from the first full week of fishing. The projection indicates that total season harvest will exceed the 2.25 million pound threshold specified in 5 AAC 32.146 and thereby season length will not be decreased.

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Chatham Sablefish Quota Announced

The 2012 NSEI Subdistrict commercial sablefish fishery annual harvest objective (AHO) is 975,000 round pounds. There are 79 valid Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) permits for this fishery, four less than in 2011; therefore the individual equal quota share (EQS) will be 12,342 round pounds (a 16% increase from the 2011 EQS of 10,602 round pounds). The AHO is based on the sablefish acceptable biological catch (ABC) with decrements made for sablefish mortality in other fisheries.

The fishery opens by regulation at 8:00 a.m., August 15, 2012 and will close at 12:00 noon November 15, 2012. Permit holders should have received a letter detailing any legal overage or underage incurred during the 2011 fishing season (up to 5% of the 2011 EQS) and a permit holder’s 2012 personal quota share (PQS) will be adjusted based on this amount. Permit holders who did not receive that letter should contact Kamala Carroll at (907) 747-6688.

NSEI sablefish abundance has historically been estimated with a mark-recapture project. During 2011 the tagging event did not occur due to mechanical failure of the contracted survey vessel. In the absence of a tagging event, sablefish abundance could not be estimated using 2011 mark-recapture data. Instead, exploitable sablefish abundance (numbers of fish) in 2011 was assumed to be the same as 2010 and exploitable biomass for 2012 was forecast using methods similar to those employed in previous years. The ABC increased 11% in 2012 (1,160,674 round pounds) relative to the 2011 ABC (1,046,873 round pounds). The increase in 2012 ABC from the 2011 level was due primarily to updated sablefish length, age, and maturity data used in the harvest rate calculation and biomass forecast, and minor refinements in calculation methodology. The F50% biological reference point (BRP) was used for calculating the ABC in 2012, resulting in a harvest rate of 7.5%.

Don’t forget there are new regulations for sablefish from the Board of Fish meetings this winter including:
SABLEFISH
5 AAC 28.110(c). The department is no longer required to randomly select from a pool of interested permit holders when authorizing the take of sablefish outside of established fishing seasons for research purposes. Removal of the random selection process will streamline the procedure for participation of permit holders in department sablefish longline surveys.
5 AAC 28.170(g). Permit holders in the SSEI sablefish fishery are required to retain all visibly injured or dead sablefish. Sablefish that are not visibly injured or dead may be released unharmed, but the permit holder must record live releases, by individual set, in a logbook.
5 AAC 28.180(a). A vessel or person onboard a vessel from which commercial, subsistence, or personal use longline fishing gear was used to take fish in the NSEI or SSEI Subdistricts during the 72-hour period immediately before the start of the commercial sablefish fishery in that subdistrict, or from which that gear will be used during the 24-hour period immediately after the closure of the commercial sablefish fishery in that subdistrict, may not participate in the taking of sablefish in that subdistrict during that open Eastern Gulf of Alaska Groundfish Regulations page 2 of 2 June 26, 2012

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Dungeness Crab Pre-season Sampling Results In!

The Dungeness crab tested clean for all districts from the pre-season sampling for DEC and PSP toxins.

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Restructured Observer Program, Sign Online Petition and Send a letter

ATTENTION ALASKA LONGLINE AND POT FISHERMEN!
DO YOU KNOW YOU MIGHT BE TAKING AN OBSERVER FISHING IN 2013? NOT A CAMERA—AN OBSERVER? CONCERNED? PLEASE READ THE BELOW AND COMMENT BY JUNE 18TH!

NEW Observer Coverage Requirements

Beginning in 2013, NMFS will assess a 1.25% observer FEE on all federal groundfish and halibut vessels throughout the State of Alaska. Under the restructured observer program as proposed, NMFS will also be authorized to place human observers on any federal groundfish or halibut boats 40 feet or longer; in subsequent years, observers might be assigned to vessels under 40 feet as well. Vessels assigned observers will not be allowed to leave port until the observer is on board. If weather or other circumstance prevents the vessel from departing on schedule, the observer will be recalled after 48 hours and the vessel will have to reschedule coverage then wait for another observer to arrive.

The Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance, Petersburg Vessel Owners Association, North Pacific Fisheries Association, Kachemak Bay Fisheries Association, and United Fishermen’s Marketing Association have explained to the Council and NMFS that electronic video monitoring (EM) is far less burdensome to the small boat fleet than human observers. ALFA launched a pilot program in 2010 to operationalize EM so NMFS could integrate EM coverage with human observers for 2013 implementation. The pilot program confirmed that EM provides the at-sea data managers need; EM is used extensively and successfully in Canada to monitor catch and bycatch on fixed gear vessels. NMFS has published proposed regulations that do not include EM as a viable alternative for meeting at-sea coverage requirements, and NMFS does not intend to use the fees collected from the fleet to fund development and implementation of EM.

The public comment period on the restructured observer program is open until June 18th 2012. This is the one opportunity for halibut, sablefish, pot cod and hook and line cod fishermen to fight for monitoring tools that work for your fishing businesses.

What can you do? 

Vessel owners, skippers, and crewmembers can sign the petition online at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/observerprogramem/ and write a letter to NMFS. Please state your name and the fisheries in which you participate, then explain to NMFS:
1) The restructured observer program is unacceptable unless EM is included as a preferred monitoring option for fixed gear vessels;
2) Fees collected from the fleet must be used to fund development and implementation of EM;
3) Unless EM is included as the preferred monitoring option, analysis of the restructured observer program fails to assess the economic and operational burden imposed on vessel owners, crewmen, and coastal communities.
4) Other relevant information regarding your fishing business and the ability to have EM or a human observer onboard including: safety concerns, operating around weather windows, space constraints, participation in other fisheries, or other factors that would affect your fishing business.
Address your letter to Glenn Merrill, Sustainable Fisheries, NMFS PO Box 21668, Juneau AK 99802. You can submit the letter online at: http://www.regulations.gov (click “submit a comment” then enter NOAA-NMFS-2011-0210. You can also fax your letter to: attn Ellen Sebastian 907 586-7557.
Remember: Deadline for comment is 5 pm on June 18th.

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